What Will College Look Like This Fall?

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Greater Flint college students will return to class soon … what can they expect? Local institutions shared their thoughts with My City Magazine.

 

Mott Community College

How will the COVID-19 crisis change the 2020-2021 school year at Mott Community College (MCC)?

As we transition to the “new normal,” MCC has adopted an intentional five-phase approach to restoring on-campus operations. What this means is that most of the MCC workforce and students will continue to work and learn remotely for the immediate future to reduce risk for staff, students, on-site partners and visitors.

Some of the more noticeable changes for the fall 2020 semester include fewer people on campus, implementation of reopening standards that must be followed by everyone coming to campus facilities including students, faculty, staff and visitors, some changes in the volume of classes offered online, a cessation of public events on campus other than those that serve the greater good (e.g. blood drives and as a site for voting precincts) and, unfortunately, we will not be able to welcome the community to our campus for meetings, events, or to use the MCC Library. Details of the return to campus plan can be found at mcc.edu/reopen/index.shtml

What will the college experience look like for students?

MCC is doing everything we can to continue to offer students a robust college experience, both in and out of class. Our Student Life department is working with student groups and clubs to facilitate and manage virtual meetings and events. Some of the popular events have been online trivia contests, a virtual candlelight vigil was sponsored by a student group, and we host streamed Q&A events to help students navigate the changes.

We are still awaiting notification of whether our athletic teams will be able to compete, but our E-Sports initiative is growing, with a student club for gaming and a competitive collegiate E-Sports team that is very active. The E-Sports team is currently developing plans to host competitions.

Our support services will continue to operate, primarily online, but with some exceptions, most notably our Mott Eats food pantry, which addresses the needs of our students experiencing food insecurity. Volunteers come to campus every other week to sort and pack food boxes, and deliver the boxes on alternating weeks to approximately 150 MCC students. This is a big undertaking, because some deliveries are as far away as Lapeer, Owosso and Detroit. Being able to support our students so they can continue to pursue their academic and career goals is very important to us.

In the fall 2020 semester, we will also open our on-campus child care center under strict COVID-19 safety protocols, to support student parents who need a safe, quality learning environment for their children while they attend classes or work.

Additionally, some students do not have access to technology. To address that, MCC is providing laptops and hot spots to students who need them, during the first week of classes.

The MCC Library will be open for students to use, with some new protocols in place such as making a reservation for study space and additional sanitizing of study areas. Other student support services, such as Financial Aid, Counseling and Academic Advising will operate online and via Zoom meetings as much as possible.

What will classes look like?

As we have done for a number of years, the academic schedule will offer four types of classes, but because of new safety protocols, MCC will offer significantly more WWW, WCA and Hybrid classes.

  • WWW Classes – taught completely online
  • WCA Classes – taught predominantly online with some in-person requirements (i.e. exams/oral presentations)
  • HYB Classes – a minimum of 50% of instruction is online
  • Face to Face Classes – meet exclusively in a classroom

However, face to face and hybrid classes will include new protocols such as the use of recorded and live broadcast video lectures, smaller class sizes allowing socially-distanced in-class attendance, social distancing inside of classrooms/labs, and frequent cleaning/sanitizing of classrooms during class changes throughout the day. Additionally, classrooms will be arranged to facilitate social distancing.

Because many occupational degree programs require hands-on experiential learning using equipment that students only have access to while on campus, these classes WILL have on-campus class time, but with some changes. Students will have to wipe down and sanitize their areas before AND after use, there will be fewer people in the room at one time, and masks and social distancing will be required of everyone.

What safety precautions are being taken?

The Return to Campus plan is comprehensive and multi-layered. There are reopening standards everyone must adhere to. Prior to coming to campus, all students, faculty and staff must take the MCC reopening training online to be certified to return to campus.

  • Everyone must wear a mask/face covering at all times on campus.
  • At designated entry doors of every building (enter only) there will be thermal scanning equipment to take each person’s temperature.
  • Once on campus, everyone must follow directional signage designed to support social distancing. This includes staying to the right in hallways, utilization of stairways as either up or down only, building entrances designated as in or out only, one person at a time on all elevators, a schedule for classroom and office sanitization by custodial staff.
  • Plexiglas barriers have been set up in areas that traditionally have face-to-face contact, and between work stations where social distancing is difficult.
  • Sanitizing protocols for every work area/office have been developed and sanitizing supplies will be distributed to every classroom, work space and shared space with the understanding it is all our responsibility to help keep each other safe. And as stated before, custodial staff will sanitize every classroom between uses, labeling the classroom door “safe to use” after every cleaning.

“The Return to Campus plan is comprehensive and multi-layered. Most of the MCC workforce and students will continue to work and learn remotely for the immediate future to reduce risk for staff, students, on-site partners and visitors.”
Dawn Hibbard,
Communication Specialist, MCC


 

University of Michigan Flint

How will the COVID-19 crisis change the 2020-2021 school year at UM-Flint?

With the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and public health experts, the fall 2020 semester will be a unique experience for the campus community. Navigating the ongoing pandemic and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is our top priority, as we recommit to our tradition of an excellent educational experience for our students. Here are just some of the ways we will move forward this academic year:

  • The majority of courses will be taught remotely, with some in-person classes taking place on a limited basis.
  • There is a new screening process in place for those who come to campus, which includes a health check and a face-covering requirement for everyone.
  • Staff is encouraged to work remotely, if at all possible.
  • Events and activities will mostly occur in a virtual format.
  • Face coverings are required on campus grounds, indoors and outdoors at all times.

What will the college experience look like for students?

Students will still be allowed to live on campus in the residence halls, and protocols will be in place for physical distancing and other safety measures as necessary. The majority of courses will be online, and all classes will move online after the Thanksgiving holiday break through the end of the semester in December. There will also be designated areas for eating food on campus, with some food service available with new health measures in place to mitigate the spread of any germs. There will be events and activities scheduled, some outside with physical distancing measures, and other events and activities will be scheduled online.

What will classes look like?

The fall course schedule will provide a mix of face-to-face, synchronous (with established meeting times) online courses, and asynchronous online courses that will be in line with public health guidelines and fit student expectations and faculty expertise on our campus.

What safety precautions are being taken?

All visitors must take a health screening before coming on campus. Face coverings are required at all times at UM-Flint. Additional cleaning and disinfection protocols are taking place. The majority of staff will continue to work remotely to reduce density across the campus.

“We look forward to continuing to help our students navigate this unprecedented time, and we are putting support services into place to help them be successful and reach their educational goals. We are with them.”
Jen Hogan, Interim Director
Marketing & Digital Strategy

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