Idaho college campuses prepare for fall classes with COVID-19
CSI expects a 5% decrease in enrollment
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - With the fall semester approaching, colleges in Idaho are worried about a decrease in enrollment due to COVID-19.
Back in March, COVID-19 forced the College of Southern Idaho to shutdown its campus, and it is currently looking at a 5% decrease in enrollment from last year at this time, partly because some students are worried about what classes will look like this fall.
“Many students are saying they will take a semester off if it is online again,” said Angel Montes De Oca, College of Southern Idaho student.
Montes De Oca, who is a chemistry major, said taking online courses for him is tough due to the intensity of his classes and he likes having face-to-face time with the instructors.
Another concern raised by students and families is health, due to Coronavirus cases spiking in the Gem State.
“A lot of parents and students are concerned about being close to someone that may be infected, or may test positive for COVID-19,” said Kimberlee LaPray, public information officer at CSI.
Prospective CSI student Michael Johnson, who was checking out the campus Wednesday, said social distancing from your friends can be a drag when you're a teenager going to college.
“I just don’t like that we are just so far apart. . . ‘hey friend’. . . I don’t like having to shout,” Johnson said.
However, LaPray said the school is working to alleviate students’ concerns by notifying them that classes will be in-person and not online again.
“The fall semester is scheduled to start as though it was any other semester,” LaPray said.
LaPray also said when students return to school masks will be handed out to students. There will also be hand sanitizer stations in buildings and markings to maintain social distancing. Students will also be asked to help instructors wipe down desks between classes.
“Everyone is responsible for our health and safety. Anyone who can help wipe down, sanitize will certainly help,” LaPray said.
Johnson said he was impressed by what he saw at the school on Wednesday. He said he feels better about attending the school in the fall after walking around the campus, talking to people.
LaPray said all the instructors are planning on returning this fall, but the school will be instituting a hiring freeze as they are expecting a 5% budget cut this upcoming Fiscal Year 2021 due to COVID-19, and the hiring freeze will continue and until revenue projections allow it.
Officials with Idaho State University and the University of Idaho said their schools are also talking with current and prospective students to address any concerns and to minimize any possibility of decreased enrollment this fall.
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