LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - There is no part of our society left untouched by COVID-19 including higher education.
However, on Wednesday we learned what local college campuses will look like for the fall semester.
Leaders at UW-La Crosse, Viterbo University and Western Technical College are planning for the return of students for the fall semester in a much different format.
All three institutions agree that wearing masks and social distancing will be a must. They also all said that classrooms will not look the same. Class sizes will be much smaller and professors will likely be operating a hybrid classroom, meaning they'll still try and have an online portion if possible.
Western Technical College President Roger Stanford hopes their students understand that when they return things will be different.
"We're going to wear face masks, we're going to care about social distancing. We're coming back, we're going to deliver education. Our dorms might have to look different, our residence halls, how people might move about the building might have to be different," said Stanford. "We're committed to doing it and doing it safely based on CDC and for us using the benchmark of La Crosse's public health department."
UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow says he hopes students will plan to return in the fall, and if they do it will be to a healthy environment.
"What we really don't know is how people are feeling in late August. Are they ready to be back on campus or do they want to stay home? That's a big unknown, but we hope that if we get this planning right people will say, 'You know they thought this through very well, it's going to be safe on campus, I'm excited about being there,'" said Gow.
All three colleges said that certain social aspects of college will also be different, at least for the fall semester. Things like student clubs and organizations, and really anything in a large group settling will likely change completely.
Western Technical College has actually already started phasing students back to campus with the summer term. They said students have been adapting well and they think this will work with a full student load in the fall.