Villa Maria College says student population and campus size will help with social distancing

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Colleges and universities throughout Western New York are also getting ready to welcome students back. Villa Maria College is spending the next few weeks readjusting classrooms to keep everyone safely distanced.

Villa Maria College will soon welcome about 550 students back to campus. Because of the college’s student population, Vice President of enrollment, management and operations Brian Emerson says it won’t be difficult for them to keep everyone spaced apart.

“We’re already a small campus a ton of square footage so we can really spread out, we can really use that to our advantage” he said. “Every space on campus is physically distant, so you got that six feet, in every classroom, in every lab, the library, the dining hall.”

One of the first things students will notice when they head back to campus is that as they enter each building they’ll have to get screened for covid 19, by filling out a questionnaire and getting their temperature taken.

“We’re trying to be as safe as possible, so that people feel comfortable,” Emerson said. “You got to feel comfortable if you’re going to learn.”

He says class sizes will be smaller and many classes will be offered as a hybrid model where some days students will come to campus, and other days the class will be taught online.

“So that we’re ready for whatever happens, if a student has to step out for a period of time or if we’re required by New York state to shut down our campus buildings again,” Emerson said. “We’ll be ready to continue a high quality Villa Maria education online at a moments notice.”

Villa Maria College will also be providing computers to students who will be taking hands on courses like graphic design, game design or animation.

“Every student who’s in one of these kind of high tech programs is going to be lent a computer if they need one,” he said. “Then any student who struggles to afford a computer will be given a computer for this year.”

Emerson says the college is trying to keep tuition costs the same as last year, but the college is waiving the $85 student activity fee.

Students return back to campus on August 24th.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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