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NTC Cosmetology stays in-person, precautions in place

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 4:53 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Cosmetology is as hands-on as a class can get, and that can be difficult in times of a pandemic. Northcentral Technical College is making it work inside the classroom to keep students safe and educated.

“We’re really getting into the meat of the chemistry because that’s going to follow them the length of their careers,” Scott Staples, Cosmetology faculty member at NTC, said.

Normally you would imagine students in this field to be in a salon setting, styling guest’s hair and working on their craft. But for right now, they are learning the chemistry behind the hair they are styling. Even if shampooing hair isn’t happening just yet, their work in the lab is still hands-on.

“In the lab is certainly the consideration of goggles and facemasks,” Staples explained.

NTC has had to be creative with how students can operate in an environment where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is still prevalent.

“It’s just giving gentle reminders that we do need to be mindful of COVID and the presence of this in our classroom," Staples said.

Not only are masks required, but safety glasses are also required in a classroom where students have to be up-close and next to each other.

“It’s definitely tough with all of the extra protocols that we’ve been having to use with the masks and safety glasses,” Lily Thao, a cosmetology student at NTC, said.

“It kind of gets in the way. If it falls down in the middle of a haircut, you’ve got to stop. Then re-sanitize your hands and then wash them,” added student Katelin Herring.

Classes will soon move next door to the salon portion of the classroom.

“We’re going to practice social distancing, out with the stations on the current floor. That we have that 6-foot distance. Masks will be required,” Staples said.

Live models, composed of only volunteer NTC staff, will come in to give the students experience. No guest haircuts will be allowed.

“It’s very unconventional for anybody but this is what we’re faced with in a salon,” Staples said.

“We’ve been able to experience that hands-on, which actually helps us learn a lot faster. It actually helps us retain more information,” Jerry Jones, another student, said about he experience.

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