With COVID-19 vaccination rates increasing and pandemic restrictions easing, Minnesota State Community and Technical College is making plans for the return of students to its four campuses for fall 2021.
“Our staff and faculty have been incredibly creative and resourceful in successfully providing virtual and limited in-person instruction and assistance to our students over the past year and, although we’re proud of our endeavors, we’re eager to return to in-person instruction and services,” M State President Carrie Brimhall said. “Offering a full college experience for our students with on-campus classes, performances, athletics, student clubs, organizations and activities and in-person services is exciting and important to us.”
M State previously announced plans to restart its normal fall athletics schedule, which will mean the resumption of football, volleyball and golf, plus the new sport of trap shooting for men and women.
While the college is having its first-ever virtual open house on Thursday, March 25, M State has begun offering in-person tours on its campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena.
Some hands-on courses in technical and health care fields continued to meet on M State’s campuses during the pandemic, but courses moved online for nearly all students beginning in March 2020. One of the programs most affected by the pandemic was Fine Arts on the Fergus Falls campus, which had to cancel more than a year of live music concerts, theatre performances and art shows.
“I’ll be elated to resume rehearsals this fall,” said vocal music instructor Laura Quaintance. “Our students worked diligently and safely to make it through these past semesters, and we’re looking forward to moving ahead together.”
While M State intends to have a majority of its courses and student services available on campus for fall semester, Brimhall assured students that the college will continue to offer flexible and online learning experiences for those who prefer or need those options.
Despite optimism that students will have a near-normal college experience in the fall, M State officials also cautioned that the return to campus could be affected if COVID infection rates start to rise and vaccination numbers fall short of expectations.
M State will continue to follow recommended safety guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control, Brimhall said, emphasizing that “the health and safety of students, staff and faculty is and will remain a priority.”
As a member of the Minnesota State system, M State serves more than 8,000 students in credit courses each year in more than 70 career and liberal arts programs online and at its campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena. By partnering with communities, the college also provides workforce development services and other responsive training programs.