ANDERSON — Ivy Tech Anderson Chancellor James Willey walked through the silent, seemingly cavernous halls of the 60th Street campus Wednesday to oversee the placement of guides on the floors in preparation for the safe return of students Aug. 24.

“We’re trying to get the lines down, the setbacks like you see in stores,” he said. ”We’re taking every precaution, and we’re currently doing a reconstitution plan along with a deep cleaning,”

Ivy Tech Community College officials announced Tuesday that in-person classes are expected to resume throughout the state, though in an effort to maintain flexibility and the comfort of students, virtual options will continue to be offered, officials said in an online statement. Classes will be offered for eight-week and 16-week terms.

Ivy Tech is the last of the local institutions of higher education to announce its plans for the fall. Anderson University and Purdue Polytechnic through its parent, Purdue University, already announced plans to bring students back to campus for the fall semester.

Ivy Tech officials also will continue to monitor federal regulations and guidelines set by Gov. Eric Holcomb and make adjustments accordingly, the statement said.

“We’ll take it week by week to see where we’re at,” said Willey, who is expected to retire next month. “Masks will be optional. There will be no mandatory masks, but they will be highly recommended. All high-touch surfaces will receive special attention. It’s going to be very strict guidelines on distancing and sanitizing,”

Though the comfort of students is a primary goal, there are some programs for which in-person attendance is necessary, Willey said.

“There will be some in-person because there may be a lab situation,” he said.

Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said in the prepared statement that campuses throughout the state will be prepared to welcome students back for the next step in their preparation foe high-wage, high-value career.

“Ultimately, our students’ success is the goal, while providing them the safest, most accommodating learning environment,” she said.

Ellsperman said because of the pandemic, many students are considering a “gap year,” rather than attending a residential campus in the fall, However, she encourages students to remain on course toward starting and completing their post-secondary educations by spending the year as a guest student at one of Ivy Tech’s campuses.

“Ivy Tech’s affordable tuition, guaranteed transfer to Indiana four-year partners, and personalized instruction make the community college the perfect place to take classes. Transfer is one of the important roles the community college plays to serve Indiana’s thousands of bachelor degree seeking students.”

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB,

or call 765-640-4883.

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