Local colleges prepare for in-person education during fall semester

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Local colleges including Marywood University, Wilkes University and King’s College have all announced that they will resume in-person education in the fall, leaving themselves time to prepare for some changes in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“King’s is not an online institution,” Father Thomas Looney, Associate Vice President for Student Success at King’s College, told Eyewitness News. “We do online education very well, we have great professors and instructors but the heart of what we do is that in-person contact.”

A return to the classroom does not mean a complete return to the way things were. Wilkes University and King’s College will begin their fall semesters one week early, on August 24th in order to have classes end by Thanksgiving and having take-home finals and projects to finish during the last two weeks of the semester.

“Basically there’s a lot of talk from the CDC and other health organizations about another wave of COVID-19 becoming active towards the end of the year,” Justin Kraynack, Assistance Vice President of Operations and Compliance at Wilkes University said. “That is also when the flu season is most active.”

The idea is to get students home and done with schoolwork before a second wave on infects hits. Another major change will be the lack of breaks like Labor Day or fall break during the semester.

“Keep students here longer, they’re not going home and maybe bringing back the virus if they contacted someone at home or here, and it provides us that opportunity of intense engagement and a full academic reality,” Father Looney said.  

Meanwhile, faculty at Marywood University will begin what they call a “hybrid” program that combines online learning and in-person instruction. Residence life may also see some changes.

“We counted all of the rooms and we figured, we measured them all. Most of them will have to be single occupancy but we think they’ll all be filled. A couple can be double but that’s because they’re bigger,” Sister Mary Persico, President of Marywood University said.

Marywood University dorming costs will remain the same. Priority for the dorms will be given to freshmen, who have to live on campus, and to those who have already been committed a room before the pandemic.

Persico says the pandemic has challenged those in the education field. 

“It’s amazing how this has allowed people to be creative and think about all kinds of different ways of doing things,” she said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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