All classes at Lake Superior College, including technical and hands-on courses like welding and aviation maintenance, have been suspended from any in-person meetings for at least two weeks.
Prior to a weekend directive from the state government to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system over the weekend, about 10% of courses at LSC were slated to still meet periodically in person using social distancing and cleaning standards.
Daniel Fanning, LSC vice president of institutional advancement and external relations, said that those decisions were being made on a case-by-case basis. For example, in order to make the necessary COVID-19-related changes to programs like aviation maintenance, which is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the college needed to obtain approval from both the FAA and the Minnesota Department of Health.
"We're doing everything we can to protect our students, but also trying to make sure that they get what they need to be successful," Fanning said. "So it's a little bit of a balancing act."
The college is anticipating that it will be asked to suspend those would-be in-person meetings beyond the current two weeks.
"But for now, we're taking this two weeks at a time," Fanning said.
Only a portion of LSC's main campus — the first floor of the "S building" — will remain open to students, as it contains the computer lab, food shelf and essential student services.
"If not all, almost all of our services are available online, such as advising and counseling and even tutoring," Fanning said. "That said, we recognize that not all students have the ability to access those services online. So all of those are available on campus but with limited amounts of time, hours and staff."
LSC resumed class on Monday with the majority of employees working remotely.
Cloquet's Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, which also belongs to the Minnesota State system, will resume class Monday. FDLTCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Anna Fellegy said the system's plans have been changing rapidly.
"It's been this week where we've really had to come to greater restrictions," Fellegy said.
On the FDLTCC campus, only the main doors are open and public access is largely limited to the computer lab.
"The reason why we do that is because we really need to be careful about controlling the sanitation of the facility," Fellegy said of the system-guided decision.
Since Minnesota State made the decision a few weeks ago to transition courses into alternative formats, Fellegy said FDLTCC has been able to make the proper adjustments to teach all of its programs remotely, including its most technical program: electrical utilities technology.
"I think that on the whole we're doing a really good job and we'll be ready for Monday," Fellegy said.
As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.