GCC plans mix of in-person, hybrid and remote classes for fall semester

  • A student arrives at Greenfield Community College’s main campus in March 2020. The college’s schedule of fall courses will allow many students to return to campus, with more than 100 classes offered in a face-to-face or hybrid format. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Report
Published: 3/30/2021 3:26:27 PM

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Community College’s schedule of fall 2021 courses will allow many students to return to campus, with more than 100 classes offered in a face-to-face or hybrid format, meeting at least once a week on campus with some possible online instruction.

“We understand that our students are eager to come back in person to campus. We provide a caring learning environment where students get to develop deep relationships with the staff and the faculty, and they are eager to resume their studies and their lives,” GCC President Yves Salomon-Fernández said in a press release. “We are equally enthusiastic about getting them back on campus. However, we must do so in a safe manner, and in a way that preserves the health and safety of not only the students and our employees, but also of our entire community.”

According to the release, students in the college’s health career programs — including the nursing, medical assistant and paramedic programs — will meet on campus in hands-on courses. Those in other professional programs, such as business and education, will also have on-campus options.

The college will also offer many math and science courses and a range of other general education classes in a hybrid format. Students will complete some of their coursework online and will participate in weekly experiential learning opportunities including lab activities and field trips, the release states.

GCC’s arts programs — art, music and theater — will also return to campus. Students interested in other courses in the humanities, including history, English and human development, can take some courses on campus and some in a hybrid format.

In addition to providing these on-campus and hybrid courses, GCC will offer a dynamic set of fully online courses, including some asynchronous classes that students may access at a time that is convenient for them, the release explains.

The fall course schedule is now available online at gcc.mass.edu, and registration for returning students has opened. New students can register starting Tuesday, April 6.

Regarding health safety precautions amid the lasting COVID-19 pandemic, the release states GCC will follow state guidelines on occupancy limits in classrooms and offices, as well as mask requirements. Currently, anyone coming to campus must have prior approval and check in for a health screening. The college will maintain that practice. According to the release, staff will also maintain air quality practices and a thorough sanitizing schedule, allowing enough time between classes to clean classrooms.

As with courses, GCC student and enrollment services will partially return to campus and students will have some access to facilities, depending on state guidelines.

“Right now, there are more questions than answers, and much of it will depend on how the current situation evolves,” Dean of Students Anna Berry said in the release. “Our goal is always safety for our students and our employees, and we want to open it in a way that’s smart and grounded in science.”

Although the college is not yet returning to the full in-person operations that were typical before the pandemic began last March, GCC’s leaders say they are excited to see some life return to the campus.

“What makes the GCC community special is what each of us brings that enhances the richness of the community, and the pandemic and remote learning have put limitations on what we are able to do and how we are able to engage with each other,” Salomon-Fernández said. “It will be delightful to see students eating in the dining commons, sitting outside enjoying the sun and the beautiful grounds that we have. I’ve missed the noise, vibrancy and the vitality of our campus.”

Greenfield Recorder

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