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Local community colleges kick off fall semester

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Posted at 2:06 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 22:31:59-04

Monday kicked off the start of classes at two community colleges on the Central Coast.

Cuesta College, in San Luis Obispo, and Allan Hancock College, in Santa Maria, both started their Fall 2022 semester on Aug. 15.

At Allan Hancock College, instructors are no longer relying on Zoom or out-of-class learning for now, but College President Kevin Walthers said distance learning may come back, if it's needed.

"It's back to normal," Walthers told us, but noted enrollment has not bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. "We could use a few more students. Our community needs to get back to school. We want to get back to those 2019 enrollment levels. But otherwise, things are good. We have plenty of resources for everybody on campus."

Cuesta College staff is also keeping an eye on enrollment as classes begin.

"We've got more face-to-face classes than we've had in recent semesters, so it's great to see students back on campus in greater numbers, and things are picking up," Jason Curtis, Vice President for Instruction at Cuesta College, said.

He said that enrollment for the fall semester is mostly tracking with Fall 2021 enrollment levels. Some areas are down 1-2%, but other areas have risen.

Curtis says that Cuesta College is looking to guidance from the CDC and the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department to set their COVID-19 rules.

"Right now, there are not masks required indoors, just strongly encouraged," Curtis said. "And we're definitely tracking possible exposures and letting people know that they need to mask up if they've been exposed recently. That's the strategy right now."

Allan Hancock student Sianna Williams was back on campus for the first day of classes.

"I see on the doors that masks are strongly recommended, and I really appreciate that you have that option to stay safe," Williams said, "and also if you're outside, it's nice that you don't have to do that. I feel very safe."

Cal Poly's Fall Quarter classes begin on Monday, Sept. 19.

UC Santa Barbara's fall classes will begin on Thursday, Sept. 22.