West-MEC students

West-MEC students at nine campuses, including Buckeye and Glendale, returned to classrooms Sept. 9. They were required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. 

Following weeks of online learning, students at Western Maricopa Education Center’s four campuses returned to class for in-person instruction Sept. 9. 

West-MEC—a public career technical education district that provides career training programs for both high school and adult students—welcomed around 2,200 students to experience campus and meet the other students in their individual career technical training programs.

Two West-MEC campuses are in the West Valley: the Central Campus in Glendale and Southwest Campus in Buckeye.

Students were required to don masks and stay socially distant as much as possible.

Caleb Rushing, a senior in West-MEC’s automotive technology program, even enjoyed getting to do mundane tasks like mopping the floor of the school’s car shop, knowing it was a step toward getting to actually work on cars again.

He said that he immediately felt “a different vibe” compared to the important-but-limited online learning environment.

“It’s just a whole other learning experience rather than watching YouTube videos on cars and online lessons. You get to actually be there to walk through every single step of learning about the cars,” he said.

For others like Alexia Schuyleman, a senior in the veterinary sciences program at West-MEC, the return to in-person learning is important, too.

For her, being in the classroom and labs is the reason she wanted to enroll at West-MEC in the first place.

“It’s amazing being back. We get that person-to-person connection with our teachers and classmates,” she said. “And in this program it means hopefully we’ll be able to actually work the animals soon, too.”

For more information, visit west-mec.edu.