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UCCS, Pikes Peak Community College open classes at full capacity for fall semester

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and the three Pikes Peak Community College campuses are reopening at full capacity for fall of 2021.

For the first time since the pandemic, mask-wearing will be mainly on the honor system. Students without vaccinations are being asked to wear a mask, but officials said they have no plans to regulate who is vaccinated versus who isn’t.

“I think at some point if you want to build a strong organization, you have to build a culture of trust and transparency," said Venkat Reddy, Chancellor at UCCS. "We have to respect that. We have to respect that our faculty, staff, and students are going to go by that honor code."

As of now, UCCS is anticipating around 12,000 students to return this fall.

“We’re asking faculty staff and students to take a survey to say if they’ve had the vaccine,” said Reddy.

Of the 30% of students who responded to that survey, 77% percent of them said they are vaccinated.

Pikes Peak Community College didn't survey students to see who is vaccinated. Unvaccinated students at PPCC are also asked to wear a mask.

“We are not trying to police this, or keep tabs on who is or who isn’t,” said Lance Bolton, president of Pikes Peak Community College.

To incentivize students’ return, Pikes Peak Community College is offering free books to students for the fall semester. It's a needed push given their recent enrollment numbers.

“We typically have 12,000 students in the fall, and we’re hoping to get there," said Bolton. "We’ve been down in our enrollment which is really concerning as we lead up to the fall semester.”

As of late July 2021, UCCS is also down 5% in enrollment compared to fall 2020. Officials at UCCS said enrollment numbers also impact our local economy.

“We are a pretty big employer in the city," said Reddy. "Anything we do is an impact to our community, and anything our community does will have an impact on us.”

Both UCCS and Pikes Peak Community College are continuing to offer remote learning options for students.

Fall 2021 semester starts at both schools on Aug. 23.

Article Topic Follows: News

Mia Villanueva

Mia is a weekday reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Mia here.

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