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Community college reorganizes, regroups for fall semester

St. Charles Community College

The COVID-19 pandemic has had resounding effects in nearly every aspect of life, and a student’s college education is not exempt.

To abide by constantly updating rules and regulations by local governments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many public and private colleges and universities across the nation have juggled dates and initiated changes quickly and frequently to preserve the safety of their staff and students in their classrooms, residence halls and other common areas.

St. Charles Community College (SCC) in Cottleville had released the following information for fall 2020:

  • Registration will continue through 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 9. Registration reopens again at 10 a.m. on Aug. 10.
  • The fall semester begins on Aug. 15.
  • Registration officially closes at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 16.
  • Last day to register or make changes to class schedules is Aug. 20.
  • The Labor Day holiday will run from Sept. 5-7.
  • Last day to change from credit to audit/audit to credit is Sept. 11
  • Priority deadline for December 2020 graduation is Sept. 18.
  • Midterms due at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11.
  • Fall break will run from Oct. 12-13.
  • The Thanksgiving holiday break will run from Nov. 25-28.
  • All classes will be virtual following Thanksgiving break. Remote online courses will meet virtually on specific days and times.
  • Priority deadline for May 2021 graduation is Dec. 4.
  • Finals will be held Dec. 8-14.
  • Final grades due at noon Dec. 17.

The SCC Reopening Plan is an amalgamation of the college’s existing pandemic plan as well as feedback that was solicited by students and SCC staff members. When surveyed, about 55% of students indicated that they were comfortable with the idea of transitioning from in-person classes to a solely online format. However, that same report also showed that over 90% of surveyed students had access to the technology needed to transition to online-only.

As a result, SCC is adopting what it and other education systems across the county are calling a “hybrid” approach, meaning the semester will include a blend of face-to-face, remote and online classes.

The majority of courses will be offered online, but a small number of traditional, in-person classes will remain available. Those include classes with hands-on learning components, such as some science labs or art classes that require highly specific equipment. In those settings, social distancing will be enforced. Classes may also meet on-campus less often.

In addition to social distancing, the College will require the use of face masks, check temperatures of those on campus, follow a regular cleaning and disinfecting schedules and reduce capacity in public spaces. Students are encouraged to bring personal masks to campus; howver, disposable masks will be provided as available if needed.

Student services, such as admissions, will also transition to online or have their existing online availability emphasized.

Students, when medically able, will be required to wear masks in all shared spaces. Students are also encouraged to bring personal masks to campus as disposable masks will be provided as available.

Elevators will have one-person occupancy, except in cases where an individual requires assistance from a caregiver. Bathrooms also will have occupancy limits.

From a student affairs perspective, many services pertaining to admissions, advising, counseling, registration and financial aid will now be available remotely or by appointment-only in-person. Individual appointments with students will occur in spaces that allow for social distancing.

Tutoring is available online and in-person, but social distancing and added cleanliness measures will be implemented and enforced for all in-person sessions.

Library services also are available online and on-site, but all interactions with reference librarians will occur in spaces to allow for social distancing.

One area where services will be limited will be on-campus food offerings, at least for the fall 2020 semester. The college’s Fitness Center will remain closed until further notice. The re-opening of the on-campus bookstore has yet to be determined as of press time.

All the campus modifications, guidelines and procedures created by the task force may change or be updated over time to respond to the ongoing state of the pandemic or to align with health and safety mandates from the CDC or any other state or county restrictions.

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