MILWAUKEE — Colleges and universities spent months preparing for a new school year in the era of COVID-19, thinking of every detail to bring students back safely.
"I’m about half online half off-line so I’m not sure how it’s going to feel going back-and-forth," said Kira Dayton, a college senior.
"I feel safe going back in person. It is what it is I think the virus is going to be here for a while so might as well make it work," said Alex Mercer, a college junior.
Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee plan to resume a mix of in-person and online classes this fall.
Both schools have new safety measures for students coming on campus.
"It could be some dividers in some of those classrooms. We're also adopting some other spaces on campus that are maybe a little bit larger that can handle some of the larger classes and provide that appropriate social distancing as well," said Kimberlie Goldsberry, Vice President for Student Affairs at Carthage College.
"The extra cleaning we'll be doing focusing a lot on our classrooms and the common touchpoints, also providing resources for people to be able to clean spaces themselves," said Melissa Spadanuda, Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities, Planning, and Management at UWM.
UWM and Carthage will require face masks indoors and when social distancing is not possible.
"I have two jobs on campus and I’m gonna be going to campus a lot so it just makes me feel a little bit more at ease that they’re at least going to try to be vigilant," said senior Isaac Hopper.
Online courses will still play a big role in colleges reopening, but students are mixed on the switch.
"It’s a lot easier to study and do my homework on my own time rather than being in classes," said Mercer.
"I would say the biggest challenge is staying focused," said Katrina Frederick, a senior at UWM.
"It will take a little bit of time to get into this routine," said Simone Conceição, professor and chair of the Administrative Leadership Department in the School of Education.
Conceição also specializes in online education says staying focused virtually is the biggest challenge.
"When you are face to face, you are in close proximity with your classmates and the instructor. Online, you have to make an effort. You have to adapt your senses," said Conceição.
Her advice: create a dedicated space to your online course, set deadlines and a schedule, stay a week ahead and take a break.
"You might spend a couple of hours in front of the computer. Stop. Go for a walk, you know, take the dog out. This way you are managing your time instead of your time managing you," said Conceição.