Two nursing students posing in a lab by a mannequin

The Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Adult Practical Nursing Program is doing what nurses all over the world are doing – quickly adjusting to the new normal in response to the coronavirus public health crisis.

Herkimer BOCES is continuing its program that trains local adults to be licensed practical nurses by moving to virtual instruction and virtual clinical experiences and is actively recruiting new students through virtual open houses at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in April and May.

“We missed one day of instruction and one week of clinical, which will be made up over spring break,” LPN program Coordinator Sara Nicolette said. “We have not only extremely dedicated staff, but we have extremely dedicated students, who will graduate on time.”

Herkimer BOCES received a waiver from the New York State Education Department to continue to operate the LPN program by offering virtual clinical experiences – something many other nursing schools are also doing, Nicolette said. The LPN program is also providing virtual instruction in a lecture format through Zoom video conferencing.

Nicolette thanked Herkimer BOCES administrators and the New York State Education Department for working with the program to allow it to continue to operate.

Students and staff have adjusted to using Zoom for instruction, and things are going well, Nicolette said.

“We simply have shifted gears, and we did it rather fast,” she said.

Recruiting for new students also will continue virtually.

Nicolette will be hosting live virtual open houses using Zoom video conferencing at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in April and May. The open houses through Zoom can be accessed through a computer or smartphone. To receive your invite to one of the virtual open houses, email Nicolette at Find more information about the program, the open houses and admission testing at

“We are eagerly looking for students to come and to join our program,” Nicolette said. “Our full-time program takes 12 months, and you’re employed in a field that is desperate – absolutely desperate – for healthcare workers. Or you can go part-time and continuing working your job.”

The part-time program takes 20 months to complete. The part-time day program is two days per week the first year and three days per week the second year. The part-time evening program is three nights per week with clinical experiences on Saturdays.

There are no college prerequisites to join the LPN program, but applicants do need a high school diploma or an equivalency diploma.

The next full-time class begins at the end of June, and the part-time classes begin in September. If the full-time class isn’t able to begin at the end of June at the Herkimer BOCES LPN facilities at the Remington school building in Ilion due to the coronavirus public health crisis, the class will begin virtually.