RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College will welcome students back to the classrooms this summer, as the institution plans for a return to face-to-face instruction for the second summer session beginning July 6.

The decision to return to face-to-face classes came after several meetings of the COVID task force, the university stated in a press release.

“It is important that we recognize the dialogue is still constantly changing. Rio will continue to make decisions based on the recommendations of local, state and federal health care officials.” said Rebecca Long, Chief Operating Officer and VP of Student Affairs.

Although the state has begun opening up, Rio plans to be conservative in how we return to face-to-face operations, the university stated in a press release.

Class sizes will reportedly be limited, with lectures divided or moved to larger spaces allowing for safe social distancing. Rio will also offer additional general education courses for students not ready to head to the larger populated areas.

“We are taking several precautions and have put in additional measures to assure the safety of our students, staff, and community” Long said. “Things are still changing rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are planning for any scenario.”

Rio closed campus and moved to an alternative learning model on March 16.

Staff continued to work remotely during the pandemic. In July, Rio plans to reopen all offices face-to-face, with staff moving to staggered workweeks in preparation for the summer session and fall campus learning, according to the university press release.

“We are very fortunate to be in a rural area of the state.” President Ryan Smith said. “We have had very few reported cases in our county and surrounding areas. Precautions must still be made for the safety and peace of mind for the Rio family and our community. Recognizing that students from all over the state, will join us for our small class sizes and personal attention, their health and safety remains the utmost importance.”

For more information on Rio visit rio.edu and COVID-19 changes at rio.edu/coronavirus.

sdawes@vintoncourier.com; @sydneydawes_95

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