ROCHESTER, Minn. - College students all across the country are getting ready to head back to class for spring semester. For students at Rochester Community and Technical College, it's going to look similar to the fall.
Classes begin both in-person on campus and online January 11th. However, 80% of students are taking at least one online class now during the pandemic compared to before, which was only 30%. RCTC led the Minnesota state system in enrollment growth during the fall semester. That was the first time in four years the school has seen the numbers increase. The school offers three different learning options: in-person, online and the hy-flex model, which is the two combined.
Nate Stoltman with RCTC said there hasn't been any COVID-19 transmission within the school and that's because students don't live on campus, classes are at less than 50% capacity and they've been able to make adjustments to allow for social distancing. He explained these guidelines are working so everything will stay the same. "We continue to get new guidance. We continue to get revised recommendations. So we're planning for spring as basically a continuation from fall," Stoltman said. "But as the vaccine is getting rolled out and things are changing, there's a possibility that maybe we can bring more folks back to campus and there's a possibility that maybe we have to go online."
Schools across the nation are rolling out testing sites on campus, but according to Stoltman, its own testing site isn't necessary thanks to their guidelines. "We ended up doing a lot of rearranging of rooms," he said. "We took out a lot of furniture and we even moved some classes out of their traditional spaces and put them in new spaces."
Because the holidays were just last week and many people traveled to see family they don't see every day, staff is encouraging students to get tested for COVID-19 before classes start begin and again a week or two after. If you still need to apply for enrollment at RCTC, the deadline is January 6th and it is free to do so.