It’s been four months since the coronavirus pandemic forced the closing of elementary and secondary schools across the Twin Counties and introduced us to remote learning. Columbia-Greene Community College also shut its doors, and the campus has remained in lockdown.
On Wednesday, Columbia-Greene unveiled plans for the fall semester. The college will offer primarily online and remote classes. That is not what we wanted to hear, but it wouldn’t be too far off the mark to say it’s what most of us expected.
However much we might have wished for full classrooms, the college led by President Carlee Drummer has done a good job with its reopening plan for the fall semester.
The plan is outlined in an 11-page document, titled CoGreene Forward, and includes protocols for the campus over the upcoming semester. CoGreene Forward includes requirements for social distancing, disinfecting procedures and classroom sizes. Anyone entering a college building will be required to wear a face covering and other personal protective equipment.
Most classes will be offered online, but a select group of courses that require hands-on instruction will be taught in person and on campus. In-person courses will include automotive technology, building construction technology, nursing clinicals, art studios and select science labs.
The college is also altering its classrooms to be social distancing friendly. C-GCC will use the honeycomb style that accommodates the greatest number of seats while maintaining 6-foot social-distancing protocols.
Other changes will be made to accommodate students on campus, including staggering class start and end times to reduce foot traffic in the hallways. Furniture in areas such as the dining hall, student courtyard and art galleries has been removed to discourage gatherings, and the college’s fitness center will remain closed for the fall semester.
In-person events and meetings are suspended until further notice and only essential employees will work on campus on rotating schedules.
In the meantime, C-GCC will work to provide the best educational experience possible for students under health-and-safety conditions that change almost daily. Here’s a message to students and staff: Prepare for another semester in a virtual teaching environment and, as it has been since the start of this crisis, be ready for anything.