With the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects still impacting the New Orleans community, local colleges and universities have kicked off their fall semesters employing teaching modes as well as modifying schedules, classroom, residential, dining and work spaces to keep students, faculty and staff safe.

Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) is offering online and hybrid classes for the Fall 2020 semester

“The health, safety, and well-being are my highest priority,” said Dr. James H. Ammons Jr., Interim Chancellor of SUNO. “As such, we have decided that the best path forward is to offer both online or hybrid teaching modes in hopes of minimizing the risks associated with COVID-19 for SUNO’s faculty, staff, students and the community-at-large.”

SUNO officials says students will receive guidance from their instructors on which of their classes will follow either the online and hybrid mode. Hybrid classes will include the combination of online and in-person instruction. This flexibility allows for the opportunity to offer some form of in-person instruction while also limiting the number of students on campus at one time in accordance with city, state and CDC guidelines.

Dillard University also started its semester with  a hybrid instruction method—a mix of online and in-person classes. At Dillard, all instruction will take place Monday through Thursday with classes meeting twice a week both face-to-face and online. The instructional day has expanded, with classes available as early as 7:30 a.m. and ending as late as at 8:45 p.m. to ensure that instructional time requirements are met, according 

Meanwhile, students at Xavier also returned to class this month, but are expected to move to online instruction after the Thanksgiving Break, with residential students having the choice of returning to campus or not.

Local campuses with residence halls are operating them at reduced capacity to adhere to social distancing requirements as well.

Delgado Community College has also started for the fall with a mix of online and hybrid classes. 

College students are not the only ones navigating a return to learning amid the pandemic.

NOLA Public Schools has started its school year with remote learning. In neighboring Jefferson Parish, the start of the new school year has been delayed until to Aug. 26.

Local and state officials plan to keep a close eye on what the restart of schools means for the pandemic.

“We are closely monitoring our school and college reopenings to see how reopening affects our numbers,” Gov. Edwards said recently during one of his twice-weekly press conferences.

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