KALISPELL — Flathead Valley Community College has plans in place to ensure every student who wants to attend college this fall can do so safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
FVCC president Jane Karas says that the college has different options for remote and in-classroom learning this fall.
"We'll have in-person classes in classrooms for students who want to come to class and be face to face with an instructor," said Karas. "We have remote classes where students have virtual lectures at certain times and you can sign in."
Occupational trades advisor Will Richards explained to MTN that many of the trades, like welding, need to be done face to face. But he says this coming school year they're taking extra precautions.
"Sometimes it's easier than others. For instance, with welding you have your individual bay where you have your booth and you're all by yourself and you're wearing a mask already," said Richards.
Richards also says that occupational trades classes are smaller this school year which allows for social distancing.
Professor David Long -- who teaches chemistry -- has been doing real-time virtual learning with his students.
Students are able to link up a video chat with him and ask questions during class, which he says is similar to being in class in person.
"It approaches the quality of face to face," said Long. "Nonverbal communication is very important during teaching, that comes through video links."
He says that this face to face learning prevents students from falling behind in their studies at home. And for hands-on lab projects, Long has developed a system to keep his students safe.
More advanced levels of chemistry students will have a hybrid of on-campus labs and home labs.
"The students will have kits of equipment and chemicals that they'll receive on campus and they'll do labs on campus until a time when that's maybe not appropriate and then they'll take that kit home," he said. "And then again, through video link with me the instructor they'll accomplish those labs at home."
Long did acknowledge that some students are fearful of falling behind in their studies at home. He reassures students that the college has plans in place to help those students pick up extra classes and courses if this does happen.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misidentified Occupational Trades advisor Will Richards