POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Higher education is facing an uncertain fall semester because of the pandemic.
Idaho State University announced on Tuesday that courses would return to campus in the fall semester.
"ISU will resume full campus operations for the fall 2020 semester," said university president, Kevin Satterlee.
Classes, on-campus housing and sporting events will return in the fall, but they will function differently in accordance with CDC guidelines, Satterlee said.
How classes will look:
Classes will take place in larger spaces to allow more room for students to social distance. For example, ISU may transform spaces like the ballroom into lecture halls.
Distance-based learning will be available for students as well.
"We will have online classes for those who want it or prefer it," Satterlee said.
It's possible some instructors will have to teach an in-person version and an online version of their course, Satterlee said. ISU already conducts some classes this way for their four additional campuses.
"That concept isn't new to our faculty. So we could have a situation where some classes are 100% live, some that are mixed live and online, and some that are online. We're prepared for that," Satterlee said.
All courses have contingency plans to move to complete distance-based learning if the pandemic progresses.
Epidemiologists predict a possible second wave of COVID-19 cases in late fall. So, ISU adjusted the fall schedule so that all in-person instruction takes place before Thanksgiving.
"When students go back home for Thanksgiving, they won't have to come back to campus. After Thanksgiving, the only thing we will do is final exams," Satterlee said.
ISU will administer all exams online, with exceptions for some courses like lab or technical classes.
How dorms and sporting events will look:
ISU is currently taking on-campus housing deposits and are following CDC guidelines for residence halls.
"We should be able to accommodate every student who wants to live on campus without turning anyone away, but still meet all of the CDC guidance," Satterlee said.
Some residence hall wings will be set aside for students to self-isolate if needed.
ISU is working with local public health officials, the NCAA and the Big Sky Conference to rework sporting events for community safety.
"We are working with public health officials about how you do line queuing for people coming in, how you manage the food service, how you manage the seating,” Satterlee said.
Tuition to remain the same
"We are not increasing tuition at all this semester over last year. This fall, our tuition will be exactly the same as it was a year ago. We are not doing any increases," Satterlee said.
Student fees will also remain the same as fall 2019.