SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is Your School Authority and tonight, we are getting answers on how the private colleges in Springfield are adapting to their new COVID-19 restrictions.

Many viewers have also reached out and are wondering how those college campuses are keeping their students and the local community safe.

Classes have been back in session for a few weeks now at Springfield College and American International College.

With the start of the new school year comes new COVID-19 protocols that students and staff are adjusting to.

“It’s been an adjustment for us all. We had to add COVID related policies to our conduct manual,” said Patrick Love, vice president of student affairs at Springfield College.

Matthew Scott, vice president of student affairs and dean of students at AIC, said the majority of the students at AIC are working remotely, but those on-campus need to be vigilant.

“We have lots of new protocols - universal mask wearing any time a student is inside a building our outside and can’t maintain the physical distancing,” Scott explained.

Along with the mask wearing at both institutions, students are being tested.

As of Septemeber 15, two students have tested positive at Springfield College, while three have tested positive at Western New England University.

While AIC reports they had a few positive cases involving students who were coming to campus for the first time, Scott explained, “Before they were able to move in, we had a couple that did have some positive test results, but they were never able to move on-campus. They went through their isolation period and then they were able to move on campus after that.”

Many viewers have reached out to Western Mass News, concerned that college students are not following social distancing guidelines or mask wearing, but Love said the students understand how serious these restrictions are.

“I have communicated directly to the student population. If they host or attend an off-campus party or large social event, they will be suspended,” Love added.

While at AIC, Scott said they are asking students and staff to report any concerns about parties or tips they have.

“If somebody comes forward and says ‘We have this party over the weekend I’m really concerned about it, it seemed like a lot of people packed in one space,’ they can come forward and they won’t be processed through the conduct system the same way,” Scott said.

Both colleges said they are confident that their institutions and students are following the proper protocols and they are even working with the local health and human services department to help with contact tracing.

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