MOORHEAD — As Concordia College students get set for their Thanksgiving break, they're also getting ready to transition to all online-only classes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen.

Many students will head home in just a few days for Thanksgiving break and won't return again this semester. Concordia has 21 active cases, and reported 4 new ones cases on Friday, Nov. 20.

Vice president of enrollment Dr. Karl Stumo says the majority of classes have an in-person component with other having a hybrid component. The rest are being completely conducted online.

"We've tried to keep our focus on that face-to-face interaction, as we have for 125 years at Concordia, but we also take the pandemic very seriously," Stumo said.

There are a little less than 2,000 students who are Cobbers right now, some say that they're hopeful for the future.

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One thing offering some hope is a $15,000 tuition drop for next schools year from nearly $43,000 to $27,500.

"We really did that as a clarity move for our students so tuition really does reflect the cost of attendance for one student," Stumo said.

Concordia College's drop in tuition cost is two years in the making, and it comes at a time where students may need it most.

"The time during the pandemic, it's really disconnected from that," Stumo said. "This is a piece that the college has been looking at for a number of years, and it just happens to be the right time now to make this move."

With the pandemic taking its toll, Stumo also says they hope their recently announced flex program - that offers Concordia students hurt by the pandemic a free year of school - will also alleviate some burdens.

"That really is the key," Stumo said. "That we continue to make the changes that positively influence our students, during a time of challenge."

Minnestoa State University Moorhead is also going all online after the Thanksgiving break. They are reporting 34 active coronavirus cases, totalling 236 positives cases at the college since August.

North Dakota State University has reported 195 confirmed positive cases in the last two weeks, the majority being students. 128 are in quarantine in university housing, with 29 students in isolation.