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JCC students return to campus for first time in 18 months

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 5:11 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Monday marked the first day of school at Jefferson Community College and that brought a sense of normalcy to the students and faculty.

For some, it was refreshing to see students walking around campus. Jefferson Community College held its first day of classes on Monday, many of which were in-person for the first time since the before the pandemic.

“Well this year we are inviting students back to campus. We have 165 that have moved into the residence halls, so that’s a great thing,” said JCC President Dr. Ty Stone.

She says campus already looks busier than a year ago. That’s because the college ran mostly virtual classes last year.

“I’ve been walking around campus all morning just talking to students because I haven’t had the ability to do that over the last 18 months,” said Dr. Stone.

Only vaccinated students are allowed to participate in-person; that’s a SUNY mandate. Masks have to be worn inside, too. The school is offering a few virtual options for everybody else, like Zoom classes and at-home course work.

“Well the point is to give students an option to continue to pursue their education based on the circumstances that we’re in right now,” said Corey Campbell, vice president for student engagement and retention at JCC.

The students that are on campus say in-person learning is their preference.

“It’s easier for me to study and absorb the information. It’s a little harder to stare at a screen,” said Brenden Persing, JCC student.

In an effort to bring students back on campus, JCC is hosting a vaccination clinic in its gym all week. Madelyn Countryman is one student that got the shot on Monday.

“I learn a lot better in person anyways and I can concentrate more. There’s less distractions here than there is at home,” she said.

Dr. Stone says there is no vaccine mandate for faculty members, but she says that 95 percent of the staff has been vaccinated.

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