How Central Carolina Community College is readying for the start of classes

BY HANNAH MCCLELLAN, News + Record Staff
Posted 7/31/20

Central Carolina Community College will remain open with student services available virtually and in a curbside service capacity, according to an announcement by the college last Thursday.

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How Central Carolina Community College is readying for the start of classes

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Central Carolina Community College will remain open with student services available virtually and in a curbside service capacity, according to an announcement by the college last Thursday.

Along with many public schools in North Carolina, including Chatham County Schools, fall semester classes at CCCC will begin Aug. 17.

Precautions are being taken to support physical distancing in campus buildings, the release said, and many classes will be offered online or as a blended, in-person and online, format. There will be 30 to 50% fewer students in all courses and labs with seat requirements and students 65 years old or older, or those with high-risk medical conditions, are being encouraged to take fully online classes. CCCC President Lisa Chapman told the News + Record that a college task force, with representatives from all areas of the college, has been coordinating all of the work required to prepare for reopening.

“We must put safety and wellness for our students and employees at the forefront right now,” Brian Merritt, CCCC’s vice president & chief academic officer, said in the release. “In fall 2020, we will offer over 90% of our courses through distance education. Approximately 60% of those courses are fully online — a 50% increase from fall 2019.”

Merritt said many of the blended courses, which “require a reduced amount of in-person time,” will conclude in-person meetings at Thanksgiving and finish up the remainder of the course online. He said many online courses will include synchronous meeting requirements — meaning meetings will occur during specific days and times for all students — to “keep the learning experience as personalized at possible.”

CCCC’s Chatham County Provost, Mark Hall, said the college has been working with CCS to decide if CCS students enrolled in CCCC courses will do any in-person learning or follow CCS’s timeline of four weeks of remote learning. He said there are currently 280 CCS students enrolled in courses for the fall, though he expects the number to increase before the first day of class.

CCCC will be requiring synchronous class meetings for many online courses, and Hall said the college is discussing how to serve students with limited or no broadband service. There are plans to open up computer labs, he said, as well as boosting Wi-Fi around campus and attempting to provide laptops and hotspots to students in need.

“We recognize serving these students is something we must do,” he said. “So we’re trying to figure out the best ways to do that.”

Faculty have generally been very willing to take precautions to teach in-person, Hall said, but CCCC has worked with those who have health concerns to set them up to teach completely remotely. Chapman praised her team, emphasizing that their work has continued as many new challenges related to the pandemic emerged.

“These demands take their toll on all of us, including our college employees,” she said. “In addition to taking care of their families they have taken care of each other and strive every day to find effective ways to serve our students. They are in this business because they believe in CCCC and its importance to the community — I am so honored to be a part of this college.”

All students and employees will be required to follow health and safety protocols on campus, the release said, including the three W’s: wear a mask, wait six feet and wash your hands. Masks will be required inside all CCCC buildings, social distancing will be required and there will be hand sanitizing stations at classroom and building entrances.

“We are striving to prioritize the safety of our students and employees while still addressing our responsibility to the community to provide education and training for the jobs that are available and those that are coming,” Chapman said in the release. “We all know these are unprecedented challenging times, but our college family continues to rise to the challenge.”

More information can be found on the school’s website containing coronavirus updates at www.cccc.edu/covid.

Reporter Hannah McClellan can be reached at hannah@chathamnr.com.

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