Local universities weigh options for bringing students back to class

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BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – On one stretch of I-80 you have Bucknell to the west, East Stroudsburg in the Poconos, and there’s Bloomsburg University.

Each have had a different set of challenges and lessons learned from the last couple of months.

We saw right off the bat that as Bloomsburg opened up their campus to students, a major spike in cases followed and caused a big pivot to online learning.

Out in Lewisburg, Bucknell sits in a region that had less of an issue. They managed to move some of their academic calendars and get provisions in place to keep campus safe.

East Stroudsburg, in the Poconos, stood as firm as possible on their scheduling for continuity but relied heavily on virtual work as well as some outdoor learning for the 62 campus residents and locals.

“The first hurdle was really determining whether or not we could come back to campus and once we made that decision than figuring out how we could do that as safely as possible,” said Catherine O’Neil, Medical Director at Bucknell University Student Health.

“We are able to go fully remote, even with our face to face at any point of time again being informed by the health and safety concerns promulgated both by CDC and of course our, the commonwealth,” said Joanne Z. Bruno from East Stroudsburg University.

“So we’re hoping that all those efforts will lead to a very good spring semester,” said Tom McGuire, Director of Communications at Bloomsburg University.

All three universities are taking recent guidance from the secretary of health Dr. Rachel Levine and what they’ve learned from this semester to safely move forward.

All three hoping to safely bring more students back onto campus but are closely monitoring the rise in positive coronavirus cases across the commonwealth.

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