Dalton State to fully open for fall semester

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Dalton State College students posing at a photo booth with Rage, the college's mascot, during a new student orientation this summer.

After more than a year of partial remote learning, nursing major Mackenzie Manley is looking forward to resuming the sense of community and belonging he experiences on Dalton State College’s campus.

Classes begin Aug. 9, which will be the first time since March 2020 the campus will be fully open. Dalton State is planning for fall semester to look more like life before the COVID-19 pandemic but will retain some of the virtual programs and options begun during the pandemic.

“I’m excited,” said Manley, who is on the orientation lead team and set to graduate in December 2023. “It’s going to be great to see people in person again, to be able to get close again and have that community back on campus. It’s going to be fun to see the parking lots full again. It has been weird to see them vacant. I want to have everyone back, to have the sidewalks full, to have classes at full capacity. I’m ready to be back in class two times a week instead of the hybrid model we followed last year.”

Classes will return to full capacity for fall semester. During the 2020-2021 academic year, classes operated using a flipped model where half of the students would attend class in person one day while the other half attended virtually; then they would switch.

Also, masks are no longer required except for in the Ken White Student Health Center; however, those who are not vaccinated or have compromised immune systems are strongly encouraged to continue wearing them.

“We are busy preparing for the beginning of fall semester, and I’m excited to see us return to full capacity,” said Margaret Venable, president of Dalton State. “We will always maintain a commitment to operating safely. With the widespread availability of the vaccine, we can resume a much more normal campus environment this fall that provides our students with a more enriching experience. We did the best we could to continue educating our students, so the pandemic didn’t derail their goals. But we know last year wasn’t an ideal situation for anyone. We’re eager to bring everyone back full-time to campus and return to normalcy.

“The pandemic taught us some students appreciate the option to participate virtually in some activities such as tutoring or consultations with financial aid,” Venable said. “So, we will continue to offer a virtual option for some of our services.”

This summer, new student orientations are once again being held in person on campus.

“It has been amazing,” Manley said. “It is so nice to have students back on campus. Last year if someone wanted to know more about the library, I could tell them, but I couldn’t physically show them. Now I can take them into the library and introduce them to a member of our library team. It has been great to get back to that level of service.”

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