AUGUSTA — Maine’s community colleges will offer expanded in-person learning this fall, part of an overall effort to return campus life to as close to normal as possible, while still meeting COVID-19 safety measures.

“We are eager for the students, faculty and staff to return to our colleges as much as possible,” said Maine Community College System President David Daigler. “Hopeful signs such as Maine’s clear vaccination rollout plan gives us confidence in planning expanded in-person instruction.”

The fall plans will evolve as more health and vaccine-related guidance emerges. If pandemic-related restrictions ease, the intention is to offer a more traditional student experience this fall, with expanded classes, residential hall capacity, food service and other on-campus activities. During the last year, only about 30 percent of classes were offered in-person, residence halls at five campuses were limited to one person per bedroom, and campus facilities were mostly closed.

The presidents of Maine’s community colleges are releasing campus-specific information about fall plans. All seven colleges will continue to use daily COVID-19 screening apps to monitor the on-campus population and enforce health protocols.

“Expanding in-person learning is in the best interests of our students, our community, and in line with our pledge to prioritize the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students,” Daigler said. “Many students say they prefer taking classes on campus, and businesses are desperate for the graduates of our programs.”

More than 75 percent of the programs at Maine’s community colleges are the only ones of their kind in the state, and MCCS serves more than 29,000 people each year through degree programs, customized training, and credit and non-credit offerings.

“Maine’s community colleges are essential to preparing people with the skills they need for the jobs they want, and for Maine to build a strong, sustainable recovery,” Daigler said. “Throughout history, education has been the cornerstone for transforming our economy after every major disruption.”

Additional information, including links to the colleges’ COVID pages, can be found on the MCCS COVID-19 information page.