Ridgewater Announces Plans for In-Person Classes for Fall 2021
April 2, 2021
April 2, 2021
HUTCHINSON and WILLMAR, MN – As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise and the central Minnesota region shows signs of virus case stabilization, Ridgewater College is preparing for a gradual return to normal and in-person classes over the upcoming summer and fall semesters.
“We are increasingly confident we will be able to safely return to campus this fall and provide students with face-to-face instruction and on-campus student life activities,” said Ridgewater President Dr. Craig Johnson. “As a first step, we will gradually re-open our campuses during the summer session with in-person classes and increased group activities.”
Fall student life activities, including athletics, are expected to return to normal as well. Student clubs will meet face-to-face on campus and engage in off-campus meetings and events. The full range of athletic activities will resume once again, although it’s uncertain whether spectators will be allowed. Campus services such as fitness centers, the gym, test centers, and Academic Support Centers will also re-open on campus.
For the past year, Ridgewater has prioritized the safety of the college community by pausing on-campus student life interactions and limiting on-campus employees and guests. When the college did open campus for in-person prospective student visits, groups were limited to a maximum of 10 people. Many Ridgewater technical program students have been attending classes on campus with limited capacity to ensure appropriate hands-on experiences with equipment and machines. Most general education courses, however, like communications, math, and history, have been strictly online. Exceptions have been sciences that require lab work and some art courses.
Currently, about 73 percent of employees are working from home due to COVID-19. Ridgewater expects to bring employees back to campus gradually, beginning late spring and over the summer. By fall, Ridgewater expects to be back to full staffing levels on campus in most areas, with some continued telecommuting for employees on a selective basis. The college will offer a full array of face-to-face, fully online, and hybrid courses that combine both on-campus and online instruction.
“We expect to offer more online and hybrid courses than we did prior to the pandemic,” Johnson said. “It’s a great way to apply the many positive lessons we learned through our COVID experience this past year, and respond to student demand as well.”
“While this plan for fall means a ‘return to normal’ regarding activities on campus,” Johnson explained, “the health and safety of the college community will continue to be our top priority.” Students, employees, and visitors should expect to begin Fall Semester with masking and distancing requirements still in place to continue to comply with Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. If COVID conditions change, the college will be prepared to adjust accordingly.
For information on summer or fall courses at Ridgewater College, go to www.ridgewater.edu/admission-aid/admissions-checklist/ or call 320-222-5971.