Local colleges prepare for fall semester with COVID-19 in mind

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — We are in the midst of colleges and universities starting to reopen for the fall semester. So, where do some local schools stand?

Lackawanna College will start in less than two weeks. At the University of Scranton, the semester started on Monday for students. Students are on campus, walking to class while wearing masks.

“Just being on this campus make me so happy. It’s a beautiful campus. You know I love seeing my friends. I love the teachers here and everything and the community of the university. I really missed that when we were in quarantine,” said Ashley Fischetti, University of Scranton senior.

To regain some normalcy, the University of Scranton is offering these three options for learning—full in-person learning, hybrid and fully remote.

Fischetti is adapting to the new change on campus.

“I’m occupational therapy so a lot of our classes are hands-on, like especially our labs and so the teachers have to adapt but they’re doing really well with it,” Fischetti said.

Through summer planning, the university has rearranged classrooms, installed plexiglass in high-traffic areas and added signs to remind students to keep social distance in mind.

“The excitement is there. The students are glad to be here. We’ve emphasized expectations, again because the virus is still here. So you know we have to wear masks, we have to social distance, we have to wash our hands,” said Stan Zygmunt, director of news and media relations for University of Scranton.

A few blocks away at Lackawanna College, its education structure is similar but different for students returning Monday, August 31st. Choices include a hybrid format, fully online or remote learning.

“Our remote classes are the same classes that you would have been taking here on campus with the same instructor that you would have on campus and you are still meeting on a scheduled day, every week but in a virtual environment,” said TJ Eltringham, chief operating officer of Lackawanna College.

Lackawanna College is offering general education classes for students attending other schools but remaining online through their college or university.

“Which are transferable to most colleges. So, it’s a good option for the student looking stay home and possibly save some money too,” said Eltringham.

For those visiting campus, signs for one-way directional hallways have been posted—plus covering your “beak” is required.

Classroom sizes have been reduced to 50 percent. Self-temperature checks have been placed on the walls for visitors. Students will have, “Self-screen assessment that has to be done before you arriving on campus. So these pieces are a little different than what you were used to in March,” Eltringham said.

Lackawanna College has reduced its dorm room occupancy by 80 percent, making the rooms single-use only. At the University of Scranton, its residence halls are at normal capacity—keeping the rooms to a double or single student.

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