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Swimming, ice cream and chainsaws at PSC

Quinn Germann, a senior at Paul Smith’s College works in Jorie Favreau’s Techniques and Wildlife Management class on the first day of classes Tuesday. He wears a mask and sets his tools on a replaceable paper sheet, both requirements of education at the college amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

PAUL SMITHS — Paul Smith’s College got an early start to the school year Tuesday, beginning classes two weeks earlier than usual as part of its coronavirus reopening plan.

This means classes will end two weeks earlier, too. Students will go home Nov. 20 for Thanksgiving break and stay there until the spring semester. In the first week of December they will take exams remotely and give final projects and capstone presentations over the internet.

Students have not let these extra two weeks of warm summer weather at the beginning of their semester go to waste. Senior Jake Harvey, a fishery and wildlife major, said he’s swam every day he has been back on campus, and was planning to again Tuesday afternoon.

Professor Lee Ann Sporn said she’s heard of many more students swimming than usual.

Harvey said he had not been to Donnelly’s Ice Cream yet, but that he might Tuesday afternoon, too.

Usually classes begin right around Labor Day, when Donnelly’s closes up for the season, so Harvey said students are taking advantage of the extra time to get a cone or dish there this year.

Brianna Snyder, an environmental science major in her senior year, said she was taking a boat out to an island with some friends.

Most students attend class in-person. This is how they want to keep things, they said. They vastly favor in-person instruction over remote learning. That is why they chose to attend Paul Smith’s College.

“You can’t teach someone how to run a chainsaw over the internet,” Harvey said. “This stuff needs to be in person.”

Students were confident their peers and the faculty could keep the campus safe.

“It’s such a small amount of people in this huge stretch of land, so we’re really able to distance very easily,” freshman Bridget Fagvan said.

The college plans to test all students and faculty for the virus next week.

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