HELENA -- In Carroll College's 111-year history, it weathered the 1918 Flu Pandemic. In 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic will shape the educational landscape for the college.
However, as long as it's safe to do so, the college plans to have students attend classes according to the Marching Back from COVID-19 plan the college devised over the past several months.
Chato Hazelbaker, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing for the college, said though that is their overarching goal there are some specifics to be discussed.
“In terms of whether or not everything has been decided so far, the answer is clearly no. The information changes pretty rapidly," said Hazelbaker. "What we're trying to do is, we're trying to make sure that we take the best available information as it comes to us.”
Carroll College's Marching Back from COVID-19 plan has broad guidelines for Phases 1, 2, and 3 of Governor Bullock's Opening the Big Sky plan, but as Hazelbaker told MTN, they're not the rule of the land and faculty and staff will continue to meet throughout the year to discuss the best plan moving forward.
“There's basics that we have in place that will remain throughout the fall semester," said Hazelbaker. "I think we'll have to make some adjustments and we'll have to continue to meet as a group and the Marching Back all throughout the semester to see how things are going. I think the basics, the fundamentals are there, but we're going to need to be flexible, which is what, I think, this pandemic is taught all of us.”
Despite the pandemic's toll on the economy, Hazelbaker says the college hasn't seen an uptick in students deferring their admission or taking a gap-year, noting that students want to get back into the classrooms.
"We haven't seen students take a gap year yet, because we're going to be able to provide the majority of our instruction face to face and that's clearly what students want," said Hazelbaker. "We haven't seen a lot of deferrals yet. We are seeing fewer we're seeing less traffic coming from the harder hit states like Oregon and Washington. This fall we anticipated a decline in those two geographies specifically... but in general, if we're open, we're face to face. There's strong demand for students to come back to campus."