Cosmetology students learning to operate during pandemic

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now)- When the pandemic hit, many schools switched to an online format. It’s something that could become a reality again this fall. But for technical schools, that's not very practical as most classes require hands-on work.

That's why Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown is making some changes. Class is back in session for their cosmetology students. Right now, students are learning how to operate during a pandemic.

“It's definitely been different, but I think we've all adapted pretty quickly to the changes and we're all grateful to be back here learning hands-on instead of online,” said Cosmetology Student Olivia Bertram.

In order to safely come back, classes are broken up into smaller groups.

"We started with having two different times when the students would arrive, so that they wouldn’t all be arriving at the same time, able to do temperature checks as they come in, requiring a mask,” said Cosmetology Instructor, Elizabeth Lloyd.

Usually folks in the community can volunteer to come in so the students can practice on them. However, that's been put on hold. Students are currently practicing on mannequins, each other and Lake Area faculty.

“We are grateful we are able to be here, but that definitely affects the growth of what they could have if we had the community to come in,” said Lloyd.

Also, they aren't able to practice certain services right now like facials and upper lip waxing.

Cosmetology already requires a lot of sanitation and cleanliness. ...but they are going through extra measures. Instead of having clients back to back, students have 15 minute intervals in between clients to clean.

Some students are graduating soon and since there is no telling how long the pandemic will last instructors are preparing their students to know how to work through it.

“So they are going to be ready to go right into the salon and know what to do because of course they are already doing the safety precautions here. So it'll be easy to transition into a salon,” said Angela Larson, Cosmetology Department Supervisor.

The cosmetology Department is one of the first departments to have their full roster back at school. Instructors say this is a test run to practice these changes, so they’ll be prepared for bigger classes coming in the fall.