LEWISTON, Idaho – With finals week winding down, Lewis-Clark State College faculty, staff and students are sharing virtual high-fives and fist bumps for a successful fall semester filled with innumerable challenges but even more accomplishments.
LC State is among the ranks of a small number of schools nationwide that were able to offer in-person learning opportunities this fall. Many schools opted to go fully online from the onset, while others were pushed to transition to remote learning only due to rising COVID-19 cases on campus. LC State was able to stick to its plan of maintaining face-to-face classes up to Thanksgiving Break and then holding the final two weeks of the semester remotely.
“Early on, a fall semester that included face-to-face learning looked at best improbable, even unlikely and everything in between,” LC State President Cynthia Pemberton said. “But LC State stayed the course, stayed optimistic, and kept moving forward thanks to the perseverance, creativity, care, and discipline of our innovative, hardworking and incredibly resilient faculty, staff and students. Yes, the semester was challenging and, yes, it was different, but ultimately we were able to continue our tradition of providing exceptional instruction and service to our students – and our students were able to move one semester closer to graduation.”
Despite dire national enrollment projections, LC State served 3,856 students this fall, its third largest enrollment in school history and an increase of 2.88 percent from the prior year. In all, and not completely unlike other years, LC State used a mix of instructional modalities to get these students to the finish line including face-to-face (63 percent), online (23 percent), and hybrid/virtual remote (14 percent).
“Overall, the fall semester went way better than I thought it would,” said Yakira Jones (pictured left and above), a freshman from Sandpoint, Idaho, majoring in psychology. “Going into this school year I had thoughts that we all may have to go home halfway through. Now I am so glad that we got to come here and have that full semester. I was still able to meet new people and build a friendship from it.”
To keep case levels on campus low, LC State implemented a full slate of protocols and strategies including modified classrooms, heavy restrictions on college travel and, of course, face covering and social distancing requirements. In total, from Aug. 24-Dec. 16, LC State had 149 confirmed COVID-19 cases among its 3,856 students and over 400 employees. Its highest number of active cases at one time was 24 on Nov. 13. More information on the college’s case totals and protocols can be found at www.lcsc.edu/coronavirus.
“With all things considered, the fall semester went better for me than I was expecting,” said Meghan Garrison (pictured right), a sophomore from Meridian, Idaho, majoring in secondary education. “It took a couple weeks to get adjusted to the changes, but with everybody working together to follow the safety precautions and have a positive attitude, it was easy to stay motivated and have an enjoyable semester.”
Spring semester begins Jan. 19, 2021, per usual, and administrators say the instructional plan is similar to that of fall with a mix of face-to-face (62 percent), online (24 percent), hybrid (8 percent), and virtual remote (6 percent) classes being offered.
Nearly all of the health and safety protocols from fall will be continued, including the requiring of face coverings and social distancing, and a few new mitigation strategies will be implemented as well:
- Student-athletes and students living in campus residences will be tested for COVID-19 in January prior to arriving on campus.
- Spring break will be later-than-usual on April 26-30, and then most classes will transition to remote delivery for the final two weeks of the semester.
- Plans are being made to hold protocol compliant live commencement ceremonies outdoors at Harris Field on May 14.
“The first semester was not how I envisioned the first year of college was going to go. However, I really have found my LC family and have settled into school,” said Travis Derrick (pictured left), a freshman accounting major from Rathdrum, Idaho. “I am making the most of my experience, and I am really enjoying my classes as well.”
Students looking to attend this spring can apply online for free at www.lcsc.edu/apply. The admission application deadline is Jan. 8.