Education Matters: Students at Fresno-area community colleges returning to in-person learning

Education

CLOVIS, California. (KSEE) – State community colleges are welcoming students back this week and administrators are waiting to see just how many young people will enroll.

The pandemic saw enrollment drop system-wide.  

18-year-old Logan Livingston showed up on a weekend to register for classes at Clovis Community College.  He is looking forward to his freshman year because his classes will be in person.

“I’m very happy for it because I was kind of struggling online doing online school.  I’m just ready to go back in person.  It’s a lot easier for me to focus and get all my work done,” explained Livingston.

This extreme registration event was an opportunity for community college students who waited until the last minute to sign up for classes, COVID-19 is causing a lot of uncertainty.

“A lot of our students are maybe unsure is everything in person or is it online.  For those that want to continue online, we are continuing with some online classes,” explained Stephanie Babb with Clovis Community College.

Both Clovis Community and Fresno City College held registration events in person, the first time that’s happened in almost two years

“The main message is that we are here, we want to support them with their academics and ensure that they have the resources needed to register, meet with a counselor to get financial aid assistance,” said Nick Lucio with FCC.

Fresno City College is working to transition back to on-campus learning as soon as possible, this semester about 35% of its classes will be in person.

“I’m definitely looking forward to be on campus with those classes so, I liked the online because it gave flexibility so to have both of those available to us is pretty great,” said FCC student Alyssa Flores.

The challenge for community colleges is getting those students they lost when campuses shut down back and re-engaged in their education.  They want students to know colleges have resources to help them, from tutoring to food pantries and financial aid. For some college is now free.

“A lot of parents and students say I don’t think I will qualify because of my income but his option is regardless of income.”

Community colleges district-wide will follow state health department and CDC recommendations for covid and require masks be worn while indoors, vaccinated or not.

After a year and a half of living with this virus, some students are taking it in stride.

“I just graduated cosmetology and we shut down halfway through my education and I haven’t felt much of anything.  I’m also in the restaurant industry so I’m not too worried about what’s going to happen here.  I will be just fine,” said FCC student Trisha Bylsma.

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