Johnson County Community College administrators this week began informing faculty they are planning for a fall semester where instruction will be delivered primarily online, though campus will be open and several hands-on classes will be taught in person.
Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications Chris Gray said plans for delivering courses while reducing unnecessary in-person contact were still in their formative stages, but that the college was keeping safety as a top priority.
“A lot of these decisions are still being made at JCCC as we are receiving guidance from local and state authorities and we are in close contact with the county working to lay out our plan and needs to serve students, community and the economy,” Gray said. “It is our desire to get back to campus as quick as possible while ensuring safety of our employees, students and community…[We] have and will continue to build plans upon plans to be nimble, responsive and ready to meet the needs of the community and our students when allowable all within a safe environment.”
JCCC instructors were forced to quickly transition to online teaching methods last month when the college announced it was closing campus for the remainder of the semester as the pandemic began to spread. Many have been using virtual teaching platforms like Zoom to deliver lectures that would typically be given in person. Traditional online classes, where students access instruction materials at a time of their choosing, continue as well. Both virtual and traditional online instruction will factor in to plans for the summer and fall, Gray said.
“I think it is safe to say that virtual and online options is one thing that will not be going away and JCCC has quickly transitioned in this area over the past two months to meet the needs of our students and community – this speaks volumes to the faculty and staff working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen,” he said.
As for courses that require hands-on demonstrations and practice — in fields like nursing and technical trades like HVAC repair — the college is working to develop plans that allow for in-person instruction while adhering to social distancing guidelines. This might include steps like reducing the number of students allowed to enroll in a given section, or modifying class times to ensure there aren’t too many people in one place at once.