JCCC lays out COVID-19 plan for fall semester, will not require masks on campus

JCCC COVID-19

Roughly half of Johnson County Community College students are expected to return later this month to the school's Overland Park campus for in-person classes. The college currently says it will recommend but not require those on campus to wear masks and also encourages anyone not vaccinated to get COVID-19 shots. File photo.

At least half of Johnson County Community College’s students will return to in-person classes for the fall semester starting Monday, Aug. 23, with restrictions in place to minimize risks of COVID-19 transmission.

In keeping with recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, JCCC now recommends — but will not require — that everyone at its campus and other facilities wear face masks indoors when they can’t maintain six feet of social distancing.

This includes students, faculty and staff, including those who are fully vaccinated.

The college also recommends that all those who are unvaccinated get vaccinated as soon as possible.

JCCC will offer additional vaccination clinics on it main campus at College Boulevard and Quivira Road and also at its satellite campus West Park Center, 9780 W. 87th St. in Overland Park, during the fall semester, college spokesman Chris Gray said.

Employees on campus this summer

Kansas and Missouri, including the Kansas City area, remain among the states with high COVID-19 transmission rates, according to the CDC.

All JCCC employees returned to campus June 7.

The college updated its cleaning protocols, enhanced its air filtration systems and put temperature check stations throughout its campus, college officials say.

It has also updated guidelines for those on the main campus and at all its other facilities, including recommendations to:

A full list of JCCC’s COVID-19 recommendations can be found here.

Testing offered on site through Aug. 21

JCCC has been a Kansas Department of Health and Environment partner site for free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing for Kansas residents with or without symptoms since Dec. 10.

The college will extend that testing in partnership with Texas-based WellHealth through Saturday, Aug. 21, weather permitting.

Testing will be offered from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday in the college’s Clock West parking lot. Online registration is required.

Enrollment still behind pre-pandemic levels

JCCC, which serves more than 35,000 students a year, will continue offering online classes, President Andrew Bowne, EdD, told the Roeland Park City Council this week.

JCCC President Andy Bowne has been speaking to local Johnson County cities in recent weeks, laying out the college’s plan for students to return to campus amid rising case numbers in the region. File photo (pre-pandemic).

Bowne has been giving updates to Johnson County city councils the past few weeks on the school’s return to campus plan, Gray said.

Bowne, who started as JCCC’s president June 1, 2020, succeeding Joe Sopcich, couldn’t be reached for comment after the council meeting.

“Certainly, it has been an interesting year,” Bowne told the Roeland Park city council. “As we move forward to the fall semester … enrollment is looking OK. We’re ahead of where we were last year but behind where we were in 2019, which is about where we thought we would end up this year.”

Capacity limits at Nerman, Midwest Trust Center

The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art on JCCC’s main campus reopened to the public June 1 after having closed more than a year ago, Bowne said.

The Midwest Trust Center also has reopened and starts its performing arts series this week.

The venues will operate at less than 50% capacity.

“The nice thing is, if conditions were to change positively, we can scale up,” Bowne said.

In May 2020, JCCC released a four-step plan to resume on-campus activities while protecting the “health and safety of the campus community.”