BCC Attleboro campus

Bristol Community College and Bridgewater State’s Attleboro location.

Bristol Community College will be offering in-person classes when students return later this month, including at its Attleboro campus.

The school will also offer online courses and support services for spring 2022, a college spokesman says, and could roll back in-person learning if the extent of the COVID-19 virus requires it.

“We have found that, especially now, our students need access to in-person courses and services. We have been fortunate that our college community has been very responsive and compliant with the safety protocols that we have put into place,” Kevin Spirlet, associate director of media relations for BCC, said in an email.

That’s in contrast to the decision by education officials in neighboring Rhode Island.

Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island announced Wednesday they will start the spring semester entirely with remote classes as new coronavirus cases continue to surge in the state.

“Due to the expected rise in omicron COVID-19 cases in mid-January, Rhode Island College will begin its spring semester as scheduled on Tuesday, January 18; however, classroom instruction will be predominantly remote for the first three weeks of school,” the school posted on its website.

RIC, with about 7,000 students, is hoping to return to in-person instruction after three weeks.

Bristol Community College, with some 9,000 students across four campuses, says it is not planning to delay returning for the spring semester that, for students, begins Jan. 24. Besides its Attleboro campus at 11 Field Road, Bristol has campuses in New Bedford, Taunton and Fall River.

The school requires all employees, students, vendors and visitors to be vaccinated and students cannot register for in-person classes unless they are vaccinated or have a valid COVID-19 accommodation. Everyone must wear a mask while indoors at all college locations.

“At this time, we are not requiring vaccine boosters but strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to receive one,” Spirlet, said.

Online courses and virtual support services are available for those students who are not vaccinated or do not wish to go to any of the college locations in-person, he said.

The Bristol Together plan continues to be revised and updated as new information about the pandemic, vaccination rates and guidance from federal and state health officials, Spirlet said.

Tom Reilly can be reached at 508-236-0332 or treilly@thesunchronicle.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tomreillynews

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