Area colleges are starting to make announcements about what the upcoming semester will look like, and Worcester State University says it's in a position to welcome students back to campus.

President Barry Maloney says as long as the state enters Phase 3 of the reopening plan by mid-August, WSU will bring students back to campus and residence halls with classes beginning September 2. Worcester State will be following guidelines from the state, including wearing masks and following social distancing requirements.

Maloney says school won't look like it did before the coronavirus pandemic, and courses will be a mix of face-to-face and online. He adds it's important to the school and the students to provide some type of on-campus community.

"Our returning student numbers into our resident halls, our room reservations from existing students is higher than it's ever been before,” Maloney said. “That sends a signal to all of us on campus that our students are anxious to get back to learning on campus, they're anxious to get back on campus out of their homes, back engaged with their faculty, engaged in their labs, engaged in their co-curricular​ activities.

“And that certainly sends a strong message to us. That is what we are trying to be able to fulfill. We have to do that in a very safe and secure way. That's our challenge.”

Maloney expects after July 1, school officials will have more information to pass along to students, and says there can be modifications made as the summer progresses.