Area colleges and universities plan for in-person learning - with masks

UD senior Patrick Schmidt, from Chicago, begins another year at the University of Dayton Friday August 13, 2021. Schmidt and his roommate, Alex Spoto, not pictured, are hoping for a good year at school. "70% of the campus has been vaccinated," Spoto said. "I'm ready to move on." JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: Jim Noelker

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UD senior Patrick Schmidt, from Chicago, begins another year at the University of Dayton Friday August 13, 2021. Schmidt and his roommate, Alex Spoto, not pictured, are hoping for a good year at school. "70% of the campus has been vaccinated," Spoto said. "I'm ready to move on." JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

This fall, area college students can expect to return to some form of normalcy — majority in-person classes, extracurricular activities, etc. — that’s been missing since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the nation’s education system.

But they’ll be required to wear masks.

Institutions such as Miami University, Wright State University and the University of Dayton are among the region’s schools that will require masks for all students, regardless of vaccination status. Antioch College, however, is requiring all students to provide proof of vaccination before the fall term starts.

Wright State plans to test students who will live in university housing, and the school has scheduled a vaccine clinic on move-in day.

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Wright State’s classes will look more like they did in fall of 2019 than they did in fall 2020, the university said.

“We are so excited to welcome students, staff and faculty back to campus,” said Wright State President Sue Edwards in a campus-wide email earlier this summer. “We have heard from our students and our employees that there is simply no substitute for being together, whether through on-campus instruction or other campus activities.”

Dayton plans to return to 100% in-person classes during the upcoming academic year, but the university requiring everyone to wear face masks, regardless of vaccination status.

UD student Schmidt Alex Spoto said he was hoping for a good year at school.

“70% of the campus has been vaccinated,” Spoto said. “I’m ready to move on.”

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Miami University announced early this year that it will not offer 100% remote classes this fall. However, students at its regional campus will have access to a typical complement of in-person and online classes, said Carole Johnson, a university spokesperson. Most classes at the Oxford campus will be in-person, she said.

At Cedarville University, students are encouraged to get vaccinated, said Mark D. Weinstein, spokesman for the university. He said the plan for this year focuses on individuals assuming responsibility for their health while also following testing, contact tracing and other processes to serve the community.

Sinclair Community College is also requiring everyone on-campus and in their buildings to wear masks but is not asking students and staff to report their vaccination status.

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However, Sinclair spokesman Cathy Petersen said, many classes will still be online. She estimated the ratio of online classes to in-person classes to be about 50-50. In the fall of 2020, she said about 85% of classes were online.

“Many of our students are trying to balance family, work and education,” she said. “Having that flexibility to create an education plan that suits their needs is vital.”

Similarly, Clark State Community College in Greene County plans to have about 58% of classes in-person and 42% are planned to be virtual.

“Based on guidance from public health officials, we will adjust the class modality as needed,” said Tiffany Hunter, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Clark State officials noted they are also encouraging their students to get vaccinated.

Jim Noelker contributed.

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