Masked students return to CCC campuses

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 12:22 AM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Monday was the first day of classes for all of the Central Community College campuses and centers. As expected, the year is set to look a little different as the school put several COVID-19 precautions into place.

Students have to be masked at all times in all locations. Students say it’s not ideal, but they’re just happy to be back on campus.

"I thought it was going to be a while before we come back in person, but it's nice to be back here and see some familiar faces," Emily Wishman, who returned for her second year on Monday, told Local4 News.

She said she does feel safe being back in school, but can already feel how the pandemic will change the year.

"I'm taking an intro to business class right now. My last semester I had the same professor and now she does it a little bit differently," Wishman said. "We usually did group activities together, work on our projects together and gave out handouts. She's not going to do that this year."

Limited group projects is just one of many changes students can expect to see.

"We have a COVID administrative group that has been meeting weekly since back in March to make sure that we are planning for students to keep them safe," CCC College President Dr. Marcie Kemnitz said. "One of the things is we modified our room occupancy so we took it down to half to make sure that we 're meeting that 6 foot guidance around and have social distancing for our students and labs as well."

Keeping that distance in labs can prove to be pretty hard, especially since many are so hands on.

"Using masks has helped us a bit so if they do need to come in contact or be close to one another the mask helps reduce the potential spread, which is allowed for us by the health department," Dr. Kemnitz said. "That's a little bit challenging, but part of it just having smaller groups spread out in the lab and have more available for the students so they aren't always on top of each other."

Many classes were also moved to a virtual setting or a hybrid of in-person and online. The school says their main goals are to provide a good education and also keep their students as safe as possible.

“We see them as human first and we want to take care of their needs,” Associate Dean of Students Michelle Lubken said. “So in this time if they want to talk to someone we have counseling services, we have a food pantry. We want to meet them where they’re at, so if they are struggling or they’ve been asked to quarantine that doesn’t mean the school is only thinking about their academics. We need to understand their whole well-being and we want to be available for that.”

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the dean will work with them to find who they were around and let those students know if they need to quarantine.

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