FARGO — As students are enjoying summer vacation, colleges are hard at work, preparing to welcome students back to a new normal. But what will that look like?
Not too long ago, colleges across the country were forced to close their doors and teach students virtually because of rising COVID-19 cases.
With more and more people vaccinated, colleges like Minnesota State University Moorhead are getting ready to welcome students back with some changes.
"It'll be normal, but it'll be a new normal," said Ryan Nelson, the director of public safety at MSUM.
Classes at MSUM will be in person, except for ones that make sense to keep online. Student events and sports will go on as they typically do.
Nelson said MSUM is encouraging students to be vaccinated before returning to campus but not requiring it. He said they're planning to put on a vaccine clinic for students in the early fall to help make the shot accessible to students who want it.
In the classroom and around campus, masks and social distancing aren't required to those who are vaccinated.
MSUM will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases on campus and provide quarantine and isolation housing for student who need it.
"You can feel it; you can feel the energy. I think everybody's kind of taking a deep breath, and ready to move on through this pandemic safely," Nelson said.
Just blocks away, Concordia College is also moving back to a new normal, with in-person classes, events, sports and more.
"We're being sort of careful to not just return to what we used to do just because we used to do it," said Mikal Kenfield, the assistant dean of students.
The college is asking students to fill out a form and send it in with their vaccination status.
For students who are not vaccinated, Kenfield said, the school is expecting them to strictly follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Concordia will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases with the dashboard on its website.
NDSU is expecting a full return to its traditional educational model, with both staff and students physically in the classroom. School officials are encouraging, but not requiring, all students and staff to get vaccinated.