I took one of my photo independant studies during my first and second trimesters.
Tongs should be used always anyways! But during the first trimester, I was careful to wear a mask- a respirator, not just a covering. I got some thin latex gloves and didn't have much trouble using them. They were kind of a pain, but didn't hold on to chemicals and transfer them to my paper or anything.
Also, I made the decision to have my film developed for me. It sucked, because I couldn't do my own tweaking to my film, but was a way to cut down on chemical exposure.
I think you'll be ok with basic B&W printing chemicals. And that's usually what a basic photography class is. But, just in case... Stay far away from toning chemicals! If it's an issue with your class assignments, maybe you can work with your professor to find different ways of toning (coffee, tea, koolaid?) or different ways to manipulate your photographs (painting, coloring, etc...).
So fun, though! I miss the darkroom!