Colleges in the Borderland encourage high school Seniors to enroll despite COVID-19 pandemic

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Some may have doubts about whether or not to hold off for a semester. However, local colleges want to remind them they have options.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As high school Seniors in the Borderland are getting ready to graduate, some are wondering what college life will be like amid a pandemic.

Some may have doubts about whether or not to hold off for a semester. However, local colleges want to remind them they have options.

​EPCC is encouraging students to not put off classes. The college said staff have been working remotely on a “calling campaign” and helped students register for summer sessions and the fall semester.

As for how classes will be held once enrolled, EPCC President Dr. William Serrata shared some sessions will be held online with limited hands-on courses at the campuses.

A “hybrid approach” will be followed during the fall semester, which means class sizes will be reduce to 10 student per class, and meet in person once a week.

“We’re working on a plan that will make sure that we reduce that number of students on campus,” Dr. Serrata explained, “Our in courses at any given time from a third to no more than a half of those classes being on campus.”

Dr. Serrata also said staff will be provided with PPE and students will be encouraged to have PPE as well.

The enrollment status for the fall semester at EPCC has been growing daily by 1 to 2%. EPCC anticipates 29,000 to 30,000 students to enroll throughout its six campuses for fall.

As for UTEP, President Heather Wilson has set up a task force to help prep for the fall. She explained it in a letter sent out to students and faculty which reads in part, “The task force will develop and provide recommendations to UTEP’s senior leadership team on actions, timelines, resources needed, and policies and procedures related to the campus reopening.”​

A spokesperson with NMSU in Las Cruces said it plans to reopen as usual in the fall, and added enrollment has been up. The University says the safety of students and staff is a top priority.

“I don’t think anybody really has a good sense of what the future holds with regard to COVID-19 and the spread of this virus. So we’re trying to make those plans as flexible as possible so we can accommodate as many students as possible,” Justin Bannister, Spokesperson with NMSU said.

For those on the fence about enrolling during a pandemic, Universities suggest the following:

​”Don’t wait, don’t hold off. We’re here for you. We cant wait to see you on campus this fall. We want to make sure that everything is done to benefit you as a student and ensure your success,” Bannister shared.

​”Even if it’s one, two courses… even if it’s online because you don’t feel comfortable yet, please enroll. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to enroll immediately. I want to make sure that students have not a 1% chance of earning a credential. I want to make sure they have a 99% chance,” Dr. Serrata added.

UTEP officials said more plans on the re-opening of the University will be discussed this week.

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