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UMD shares back to school plan for fall semester

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DULUTH, MN -- University of Minnesota Duluth is gearing up for the fall semester with a new COVID-19 back to school plan.

"All of the classrooms on campus have been measured and have taken at least 6 feet physical distancing from each chair," said Lynne Williams the Director of Marketing and Relations.

Keeping the distance in classes also means red dotted stickers on the floors, tables, and chairs to ensure everything is kept in place.

For the beginning of the year, this plan heavily involves changes to classes.
That being said, about 47% of undergraduate classes will be offering in-person or hybrid models and the other 53% will be offered online.

UMD officials say 80% of undergrads will have at least one class that meets on campus in some fashion.

Officials also allowed professors to structure classes best suited for learning.

Williams said, "Faculty, you know they own the curriculum. They know how to do it the best, it's three areas of expertise and so it is under there purview of how they decide to teach the class."

The facilities department has made cleaning efforts across campus.

Plastic barriers and social distancing stickers have been placed throughout campus buildings.

The department is also providing all cleaning supplies for campus buildings.

"We're fortunate at the university where we have a budget to be able to provide those supplies in each of the classrooms," said Chris Stevens an operations manager for the department.

Officials say it's a team effort made by all who come to campus to keep it safe and clean.

"We have enhanced our cleaning pieces, but we're going to need their help as well," said Stevens.

Meanwhile, in the admissions office, on-campus tours started on Wednesday. Since the end of March, they were all virtual.

The admissions office has reduced the number of students during group tours from 60 to 6.

The route of campus visits has also changed in order to showcase the campus and maintain social distancing.

UMD officials were not able to share the number of incoming freshmen but they hope more students will consider a UMD education and their changes to recruiting efforts will pay off.

Ian Pankuuk, Director of Marketing for the office said, "We continue to focus on what makes UMD really distinct among our peers and other institutions that are out there. You get that University of Minnesota education, the big-time academics, but in this wonderful location and community."

The university said only two students will be living in a dorm room, triples will be offered.

Pankuuk adds move-in day will be over a span of five days compared to traditionally one.

Three days will be for incoming students, and two days for returning students.

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Emma Quinn

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