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Northern Community Colleges To Start Fall Semester A Week Early

Northern Wyoming Community College District

The Northern Wyoming Community College District will be reopening its campuses this fall, but with some changes. Students will be able to utilize both in-person and online courses for the upcoming academic year.

Classes will begin on August 24, which is a week earlier than usual.

"What we're looking at is moving that semester start up early, where students end their face-to-face by Thanksgiving break, go home, and then stay home when the break is over and finish their programming online," said District President Walter Tribley.

The calendar change will allow students to spend less time on campus during cold and flu season.

"We're trying to mitigate the cases that come into our rural communities from students going home or going to a big city, flying internationally for an extended break and then coming back to our campuses and communities," Tribley added.

The administration had been considering what to do with the fall semester since COVID-19 cases started to appear in Wyoming. Tribley said he hopes the decision allows students and staff to prepare for the upcoming academic year.

He said if students choose to return to in-person instruction and on-campus living, there will be modifications, such as smaller class sizes and changes to food service.

"It became that for us to offer this quality of education and diverse array of programs that we do, meaning face-to-face types of career training, transfer education and basic skills, some time of face to face instruction would be required," he said.

The district is still working on its plans for how to handle the spring semester. Tribley said that could include starting the spring semester online and moving to in-person instruction to later in the semester as well as creating an inter-session in between semesters for students to be able to catch up on classes.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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