Fort Scott Community College employees have been working on how to provide an education safely to all involved during the pandemic that has played havoc across the world.
“We have been working with local, regional, and state health officials to determine how best to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 for our students, employees, and community,” President Alysia Johnston said. “We want to meet the unique needs of our students while keeping everyone safe.”
Schedules have been changed.
“The June summer schedule has been changed to an all-online format with the exception of John Deere,” she said. “The classes will be split so there are not more than 10 students at one time.”
“Currently, John Deere has two classrooms and a total of 15 students will be on campus in June,” Adam Borth, vice president of academic affairs, said. ” This will allow us to utilize both classrooms and appropriate distancing requirements. We will also be cleaning and sanitizing surfaces to exceed recommendations. We are hoping and planning for all of our technical classes to begin in August 2020, just as they did in 2019. While we prepare for this, we also will likely need to be prepared to have quite a bit of hands-on training in the first portion of the classes, should we need to go back online again. Our plan, at this time, is face to face courses for fall.”
“We are looking at a possible change to our fall calendar schedule that would have students finish the fall semester before Thanksgiving,” Johnston said. “We believe this would help mitigate the spread of the pandemic as we would not be bringing students back once again from a wide geographical area.”
“We are discussing the idea of moving our start date up for fall classes, to begin on August 10,” Borth, said.
“We have tentatively set the commencement ceremony for Saturday, November 21, 2020 for graduates from spring 2020, summer 2020, and fall 2020,” he said.
“This would allow us to end the week of Thanksgiving, and hopefully minimize exposure during the fall semester. Our spring 2021 semester has not changed at this point, although this could change, given the fluidity of this situation,” Borth said.
“We are still evaluating courses which begin in July, and will continue to do so while the situation evolves,” he said. “The primary changes will be the amount of students in a classroom at any given time. We will ensure 15 occupants are in a classroom during this phase of reopening, and also ensure social distancing is occurring. This may mean significant changes to how our courses are scheduled by the time August rolls around.”
Some students will be tested for COVID 19.
“We plan on bringing back some student-athletes in July and have been working with Community Health Center of SEK to perform COVID-19 testing for the students,” Johnston said. ” We have procedures and protocols in place if someone tests positive for COVID-19. We are extremely grateful to CHC of SEK for working with us to establish best practices and administering the tests at no cost to the college or students.”
Budgets are revisited.
“We are currently developing the 2021 fiscal budget and analyzing available data and information to determine the best budgeting solutions,” she said. ” We know our state funding will be lower and we are making adjustments – keeping in mind the critical needs of students and all stakeholders must be met.”
Safety is a priority.
“Making sure students, employees and the community are safe is our greatest concern and we are working every day on best practices to make sure we meet all our stakeholder’s needs,” Johnston said.
On-campus classes for the fall semester are planned for students.
“The students, faculty, and the staff have done an amazing job adapting to online classes and working remotely,” she said. “However, we are all looking forward to having students on campus for the fall semester.”