MASON CITY, Iowa - The NIACC campus in Mason City reopened in June with masks and social distancing in place. Some students and faculty have already been on campus working. Plans are in place for how the college will handle classes in the fall.
"We've taken every possible precaution to keep them safe," said NIACC President Dr. Steve Schulz.
Schulz says the college is ready to educate students and protect their health and that this fall will not be like an ordinary academic year.
"It's going to be starts and stops and we're going to try to keep moving forward, but it's not going to be a traditional, go to class every day, that you may be expecting," he said.
NIACC will try to reduce the number of students on campus as much as possible, by having classes both online and in person.
"Historically you sign up for a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class or a Tuesday, Thrusday class. You may only come one day a week."
For students worried about taking class in person, Dr. Schulz says there's another option open to them.
"We're advising students who are overly concerned about that, there's online options. You better enroll online this fall if you're not willing to take that responsibility and a certain amount of that risk."
Students who may have trouble accessing online classes will have some help. NIACC is using money from the CARES Act to purchase laptops and wi-fi hotspots for them.
The college is doing what it can to keep things clean by investing in fogging equipment and germ killing UV devices.
Mason City City Administrator Aaron Burnett added there's only so much that can be done during a pandemic.
"The reality is that it is a fluid situation and I know that all of us in the public sector and the private sector are trying to do our best to deal with the situation as it evolves," said Burnett.
There is also a plan in place for student housing. Students living in dorms will be grouped according to their activity. For example, members of the basketball team will all live in the same area. One floor of the dorm will be dedicated to coronavirus quarantine.