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Hesston College sent students out on spring break, and anticipated their return a week later. However, on March 18, the school made a decision to ask students to not return.


The school will not hold any group classes for the remainder of the school year, moving to an online-only course delivery for every program possible.


"We made the difficult decision to adjust our COVID-19 action plan by moving classes online for the remainder of the academic year, instead of until April 13 when we would have resumed normal classes,“ wrote president Joe Manickam in a letter to students, alumni and others.


Last week was the college’s first as a dedicated online learning college.


“While this is not what anyone anticipated as part of the Hesston Experience, it is our current reality,” Manickam wrote. “... As you might expect, after this first week, student responses have been varied. I have mostly heard of students engaging and connecting well with one another and their professors. Yet, I have also heard that some students are feeling overwhelmed by the pace of change.”


When the college made the change, it also asked students still in the dorms to go home, it at all possible. The majority of students in the dorm moved out by March 22. Some still remain. On March 30, about 50 students remained in the dorms.


According to Manickam, about 50% of students on campus are international students, 25% are aviation students and the remaining 25% are students who need to remain on campus “for various legitimate reasons.”


According to the Hesston College website, the dorms normally house 400 students from 28 states and 14 countries.