FRANKFORT, Ky. — We are now weeks away from the start of the new school year at colleges and universities across Kentucky.

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky Council on Postsecondary education speaks to all schools

  • Universities planning for face-to-face courses, hybrid options as well

  • Fall semester won't be like last year

  • Digital capacity increasing at all schools

When the pandemic hit in March, campuses closed down for the most part, except for some international students who were able to stay on campus. With the new semester looming, there will be students heading back to these campuses soon for the first time since March.

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson said, throughout all of this, he's been having frequent conversations with the presidents of all of the Kentucky colleges and universities to navigate this in the safest way possible. With that being said, this fall certainly won't be the same as the last.

"Plans are still to open up face-to-face or a hybrid form, but what we do know and what most of our campuses are doing is they will have far more online and digital learning options than we did last year. All of our campuses are," Thompson said.

Sunday, marked the highest single-day report of coronavirus cases in the Commonwealth ever. With cases on the rise, we asked Thompson if that in-person plan could change as we get closer to the start dates for the different campuses.

"All our campuses are ready for anything that may happen if we have to move to an online or purely digital learning motive. We are ready for that. That's not what we would like to do and not what many of our students want. Our students want to come back and do this in a normal setting. However, we know this fall will not be normal," Thompson said.

No campus will be like last year. In what way it will be different depends on the particular college or university. Thompson said some colleges plan to either end the semester before Thanksgiving or switch to digital-only after Thanksgiving. Other campuses are considering rotating which days certain students are on campus to keep the volume down. 

While there are a lot of changes unique to each campus, one thing is constant across the board. All are increasing digital capacity. Thompson said, if things get worse and they have to go digital-only, it will be better than it was in the spring since the colleges and universities had time to prepare expanded technology over the summer.

Each university has a unique plan. You can find more about UofL's plan, UK's plan, WKU's plan, EKU's plan, and NKU's plan on their respective websites. Keep in mind, these are the plansgiven current information. Thompson said the universities will continue to be on the lookout for the latest COVID-19 information and, if needed, adjust accordingly.