HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Thirty-four colleges across Massachusetts have reported nearly 300 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, that’s according to a New York Times survey that tracked the virus in 1,500 American colleges and universities.

Most Holyoke Community College students are learning remotely, but certain programs, including nursing, require some on-campus learning.

“At the end of the day its the safety of everyone that drives every decision that we make,” said Narayan Sampath, vice president of administration and finances at Holyoke Community College. “HCC has a return to campus task force which is to evaluate and looks at all the aspects related to COVID-19. Do we have enough PPE to reviewing all the plans that may come across our plate.”

To ensure the safety of the students and faculty permitted on campus, masks must be worn at all times. That includes inside classes and restrooms, and even outdoor spaces and walkways. Social distancing is also required. You’ll also see greeters at the building entrances.

Morgan Froebel, a HCC student studying remotely said she learns better in-person but understands the necessary safety measures.

“For me, that’s just a more of an environment that I feel more comfortable learning in,” said Froebel. “I feel like I can really absorb information better in that kind of learning environment.”

If a department wishes to have their program return to campus they are required to submit a control plan to the college’s task force for reviewing and approval.