Spring Semester Underway, Northland Colleges Prep for Incoming Students

As the pandemic continued through the fall, local colleges had to adapt rapidly to the changing situation and now with the spring semester beginning, educational leadership continues to work to keep their students safe during these unique times.

DULUTH, Minn. – As the pandemic continued through the fall, local colleges had to adapt rapidly to the changing situation and now with the spring semester beginning, educational leadership continues to work to keep their students safe during these unique times.

With the spring semester underway, college leaders are taking steps to ensure a safe experience for both students and staff.

“I was very pleased with how the fall semester went regarding COVID-19,” said Lendley Black, a UMD Chancellor. “We never had a major surge at UMD. Our numbers were reasonable.”

During fall semester, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that there were 600 total cases reported at UMD out of about 12,000 university members and workers.

This all coming as fall enrollment decreased by about five percent.

The college is offering blended instruction, which is a combination of both face-to-face and online learning. Currently, more than half of the students have at least one face-to-face class or a blended class.

“It’s really hard to plan right now for fall 2021 to be honest with you,” said Black. “We are heavily recruiting. We are also continuing to work hard to retain the students we have and we’re hopeful that given the overall successes we had this past fall we’ll be able to see some gains there.”

At LSC, the schedule is pretty similar to what it was in the fall, also offering both in-person and online classes. As a technical college, there are courses that have to be offered in-person, such as manufacturing, aviation, truck-driving, and healthcare programs.

“Once we kind of got a rhythm in the fall, we did a pretty darn good job, I think almost all the schools in the area did a good job with adjusting,” said Daniel Fanning, the vice president of advancement and external relations at Lake Superior College.

When it comes to enrollment, LSC initially experienced a dip during the fall semester of 2020. However, there has been an increase in the number of applications for fall of 2021 as students took some time to wait and see what happened with the pandemic.

“Now that we’ve done a really good job in the fall with managing the pandemic the best we can, making sure that the campus community stayed as safe as possible, I think we’re actually seeing more students sign up even if it’s part time,” said Fanning. “Coming back to school, wanting to be back in school.”

LSC began classes on Monday while spring semester begins on Wednesday for UMD.

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