With the combination of the COVID-19 vaccination process and the college’s resources, the 2021 Fall Semester will bring a promising future to the campus halls. The midterms have passed, and it is time for students to look at the future of the college that will come with the upcoming semester.
The college’s staff have been working hard since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden transition COVID-19 brought to the college was fought precisely by the college staff, and for the upcoming semester the work will not be different.
Gurbhushan Singh, associate vice president of Academic Affairs, explained the expectations of the quantity of face-to-face classes that, for now, will be available in the Fall Semester. He made sure to emphasize this number is subject to changes. These changes can be caused by fewer safety protocols, which will allow more classes to be taught in person. On the other hand, if protocols get stricter, it will make the number of allowed classes to go down.
“I would say, compared to before the pandemic, probably 50% of those courses will be back this fall,” Singh said. “As of today, if we were talking today March 25, we have 750 sections that are selected to be face-to-face for the upcoming Fall Semester. The reason I say ´as of today` is because as soon as enrollment starts, when we realize more and more courses are filling up, we might open more. So, I don’t want you to think that 750 is a number that is set in stone. Hopefully, by the time we get done with fall enrollment, we can have 800 to 850 sections of face-to-face classes.”
Singh talked about which classes will meet the criteria in order to be opened to face-to-face first. The plan is to offer the 100 level introductory courses. The reason for this is simple, most of the students that take these courses are freshman and the college wants to give the face-to-face experience to the ones who still have not experienced it at the college.
“The plan for that is to try to offer more of the gateway courses face-to-face,” Singh said. “When I say getaway courses, it means the 100 level courses because these are the courses which the majority of new students are so that they can benefit more from the face-to-face method. So, we are going to offer more of those in the Fall 2021 semester.”
The restrictions with the face-to-face classes will still be present for the Fall semester. Singh said the college cannot force students to vaccinate themselves, and the number of students allowed per class will vary depending on the safety protocols/requirements established by the government.
“The college cannot force you to vaccinate yourself,” Singh said. “Right now, the course size is according to the guidance that we were giving, which says that students need to be six feet apart from each other. So, courses maximum of students allowed varies on the room size, but as time goes by, we will change those. The next thing I am hearing is that the government is saying that you don’t really need the six feet distance, you only need three. If that happens, once we get that communication from the government or the Johnson County Medical team, we will change the cap on the courses.”
Leslie Quinn, registrar and director of Enrollment Services, talked about the advice she would give students, who will take classes in the upcoming semester, when choosing the type and class they intend to take. Students will need to be careful because once they request a type of class, even if conditions improve, they will need to keep following the same format throughout the semester.
“If things suddenly improve, everything go back to normal, and everybody can walk free of masks, online classes will still be taught online until the end of the semester once they are schedule,” Quinn said. “So, if I was a student with possible changes, I would think carefully about my class selection before choosing any classes. It will vary depending on the comfort of students with each method and their style of learning.”
For students like Aurora Ivester, face-to-face classes are essential to their learning. Ivester still has not experienced the pre-COVID college life, but she would love to have the option to choose face-to-face classes.
“I would really like to see more face-to-face classes because I was always one of those people who thrive in face-to-face environments,” Ivester said. “I am not going to say that I expect that it will have face-to-face classes, but I would love to have the option to. I think it would make sense to restrict how many people you could have in a classroom, and I think we should still be wearing masks and avoid eating and drinking in the building. We should follow as many safety precautions as we can.”
Pre-enrollment for the 2021 Fall semester is April 19-21. Enrollment begins April 21 at 9.pm. To enroll go to the “myJCCC” portal.
Story by Matheus Camossa