In-person classes to resume

Classes will resume Aug. 24 at Rainy River Community College.

Rainy River Community College will resume in-person classes when fall semester begins in August.

Growing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year prompted colleges and universities across the country to transition from in-person instruction to an online learning format in a matter of weeks midway through spring semester.

While much remains unknown about the virus, college officials are making decisions on how to safely return students and staff to classrooms when fall semester begins.

In a letter to RRCC students last week, Provost Roxanne Kelly said work is being done to return to in-person instruction when fall semester begins Aug. 24. Officials are following guidelines and best practices as outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health.

“We will also continue to take action to further clean and sanitize the college facilities while working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health,” she said.

The safety of RRCC students, staff and faculty continues to be a top priority when making decisions, Kelly said. Plans to ensure proper social distancing both inside the college and at Rainy Hall, the college’s only residence hall, are in the works.

The provost, who will retire before the new school year begins, said she understands challenges that may have been brought on during the past few months of the pandemic. And, she said, she is proud of the resiliency of RRCC students, staff and faculty.

“There is no doubt that as we work to welcome you for fall semester and resume our classes, that same positive attitude and strong work ethic will continue to shine through at Rainy River,” she said.

A trend

RRCC is among several colleges and universities in the state that have pledged to reopen their doors to students this fall.

The College of St. Scholastica in May announced plans to reopen its Duluth and extended campuses for fall semester. Courses will be taught both in person and virtually, but officials said they are aware it could change if the pandemic circumstances require it.

University of Minnesota officials last week released a plan allowing for teaching and learning to take place in-person, from remote locations or in some combination of the two. Faculty will develop course material that can be delivered across these options so students and instructors with health concerns or other challenges will be able to continue coursework with minimal disruption. Planning for instruction across formats will also allow for ongoing course delivery even if public health guidance changes.

The fall plan includes the necessary flexibility to accommodate individuals’ needs and the unique environments that exist across the university’s five-campus system, as well as evolving public health conditions.

Each campus will review its academic calendar for the coming year in an effort to end all in-person instruction by Thanksgiving. Any remaining course work would transition to alternative delivery formats after the holiday break, allowing most students to remain off campus during the holiday travel season.

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