By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – With six months to prepare for the return of in-person classes, all three colleges that call the Auraria Campus home said the fall semester will be as close to a return to normal as possible. It’s been a slow return to in-person classes since students switched to remote learning a year ago when the pandemic began.

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“Many people are ready to get back into that face-to-face classroom, but they want to do it safely,” said Ruthanne Orihuela the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs for Community College of Denver. “We’re really hoping to send the message to students that if remote learning hasn’t been your gig, we’re going to have options for you back on campus. And not only are you having classes on campus but those student support services you’ve been depending on and counting on, advising, financial aid, food pantry, will also be available for you.”

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On Thursday, the joint decision between Community College of Denver, Metro State University of Denver and CU Denver all envision a fully operations fall semester. The hope is a lengthy acknowledgment will bring stability for students trying to decide where to take classes next year.

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“Our enrollments are down but our enrollments are disproportionately down for our first-generation students, our Pell-eligible financial aid students, male students, Latino and Black students and our undocumented students. Our numbers have gone down drastically,” said Orihuela.

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The return to campus is especially important for some programs on campus.

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“Our welding programs our machining programs, many of our health sciences programs they need that face-to-face engagement,” Orihuela said. “We will continue to have some form of social distancing requirements. I would imagine in the fall we’ll still be wearing masks and doing elbow bumps.”

Jeff Todd