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Returning to campus looked different for many area college students

Monday was back-to-school for many college students, and most campuses look a bit different this year.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Monday was back-to-school for many college students, and most campuses look a bit different this year.

"Campus is rather quiet today," Janet Kasckos, Director of Communications at Millersville University, said. "Which would not be how it usually is. The parking lots are empty."

About 20% of the classes are in-person at Millersville University. At York College, there are also new procedures in place. Students must have their temperatures taken before entering the dining halls, and can no longer serve themselves.

"This year there's a process in place to keep them socially distanced," Mary Dolheimer, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at York College, said. "They're not permitted to get their own food, and basically dining services has come up with a to-go option."

At Shippensburg University, about 42% of their classes are being offered online. For those who are on campus, there's a unique "seating chart."

"For our large classrooms, we've even added green and blue dots. So when it's 8 o'clock students will sit in the blue dots, and green dots at 9 o'clock," Dr. Tom Ormond, Provost at Shippensburg University, said.

And while it's not a 'one-size-fits-all' operation at each institution, all the schools FOX43 spoke to today have smaller class sizes, have implemented'synchronous learning in and out of the classroom, are requiring all students wear masks, and are strictly enforcing social distancing.

"The only way that we were going to bring students back was to have a good plan with protocols and safety precautions that would allow them to remain safe," Dolheimer said.

"It was a lot of work, but it was necessary work," Dr. Ormond said. "We wanted to bring our students back, they wanted to come back."

FOX43 also checked in with Elizabethtown and Dickinson Colleges. Only first year students are back on campus at E-Town. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will come back in the coming weeks.

Dickinson College went 100% virtual starting last week. Leaders there said it's been successful so far.