Local colleges, universities plan for return to campus and online learning

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The college experience will be different for students across the nation this fall, and schools in the National Capital Region are no exception.

“I refuse to accept that COVID-19 will break us. It will make us stronger,” said DeRionne Pollard, President on Montgomery College.

Funding from the federal CARES Act is helping to ease the burden on institutions and students. Montgomery College received nearly $11 million, about half of which went directly to students through emergency financial aid programs.

Effects of the virus on higher higher ed haven’t been all negative, though.

“Despite challenges, more students completed this last semester than they did last spring,” said Pollard.

Montgomery College says it will stick to remote operations for the foreseeable future, even with the prospect of incurring financial losses associated with having students away from campus.

The University System of Maryland is planning for a combination of in-person and online learning — also known as a hybrid approach. This includes the system’s Regional Higher Education Systems like Universities at Shady Grove and University System of Maryland at Hagerstown.

Across the bridge in Northern Virginia, George Mason University is also planning for a hybrid approach, while Marymount University hopes to have students in seats.

Montgomery College says its enrollment numbers are up in the air for Fall 2020, citing student concerns about the cost of schooling during the pandemic and concerns surrounding international student enrollment.

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