TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Fall semester at Pima Community College is less than three weeks away, and school administrators are working hard to make sure it’s a safe space for all students.
Libby Howell with PCC says they’re excited for the school year to get going, assuring student and staff safety is their number one priority.
“We’re looking forward to seeing our students as much as possible, face to face, and interacting with them directly,” she told KGUN9.
While in-person learning may be required for some majors, she says PCC is aware of the spread of the delta variant in Pima County. So, they will be as flexible as possible when offering students learning options.
“32% of our classes are going to be in person. Another 18% will still be that virtual delivery live, but via video technology...and then another oh roughly 29% that are going to be online. We have some hybrid courses...about 16% of our courses are going to be one class a week, face to face one class a week via virtual to try to reduce the exposure,” she added.
Howell says enrollment is down from last year, by about five percent.
“Right now we have a little over 13,000 students enrolled, and I won't be surprised if we hit 14,000 when the semester starts,” said Howell.
All the more reason, she says, they are being extra careful with safety protocols and social distancing.
“I think the biggest challenge is going to be that the young adult group, 25 to 35, is the lowest vaccinated group and so, we’re going to have to work hard to encourage those students to become vaccinated,” she added.
That’s because the school can’t legally require students to get vaccinated. So, PCC is working on creating incentives for students to do so. The also plan on providing vaccines for students who would like them.
The college is also asking students to self report, should they test positive for COVID-19.
“So we ask that not only our own employees report that, but that students report that as well so we can decide: do we need to shut down that cohort temporarily? Do we need to ask the entire group to get tested? So we do have a process in place, should that occur,” Howell told KGUN9.
As for masks, PCC has not decided whether or not it will require students and staff to wear them.