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Five tips for adjusting to being back in person

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NWTC welcome sign in front of campus.
NWTC welcome sign in front of campus.

It has been almost 18 months since COVID-19 made NWTC pivot to online and limited in-person course offerings. A lot has changed in that time. The Olympics were postponed, demands for social justice reform swept the nation, a new U.S. president was elected, vaccines were developed and delivered, hundreds of millions of people worked and studied from home, and the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA championship for the first time in 50 years. At NWTC, we developed new programs and delivery methods and rolled out new student services. 

Yes, a lot has changed, but not everything. One thing that has remained constant is our commitment to providing quality education and training. We are excited to welcome everyone back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester, and we want you to feel welcome, safe, and just as energized as us. To help, we have put together a list of things you need to know: 

  1. Wear pants! In-person classes mean that we can see more than just your face.  
  2. Get up a little earlier. Rolling out of bed, throwing on a hat, and logging into WebEx or Blackboard might not be possible. Do not forget to factor in your long-forgotten morning routine and commute.   
  3. Be mindful of the fact that people will have different comfort levels about being in person. Some people might not feel comfortable giving you a high five, handshake, or a fist bump, so don’t take it personally. Be patient – we are all learning how to interact on a large scale again. 
  4. Try to plan. One thing that working and learning from home gave us was flexibility. We could make meals, do chores, watch TV, listen to music, and more while studying or attending class. That’s not possible when you are on campus. Taking some time to plan out childcare, meals, study spots, and anything else you can control will help reduce the stress of changing back to in-person courses. 
  5. Bring a mask. It might not be the most comfortable thing to wear but neither is an arc flash bodysuit, fire turnout gear, a climbing harness, or any number of other personal protective equipment required in our careers. We do not wear them because they are comfortable, we wear them because they work. They keep us safe. 

We look forward to the start of the new semester and recognize that this is still an uncertain time. There are new variants of COVID-19, changing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and new masking policies going into place. COVID-19 is something that we are learning to live with, and at NWTC, we have spent a lot of time considering how to return to campus safely. Know that we care deeply for the safety and health of all our students, staff, and faculty and that we want to make this fall semester special. We have been apart for too long, and we look forward to opening our doors.  

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