On Monday, Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC) had a “soft” opening at all of its locations, but it wasn’t business as usual.
Eighty-six students came to the college mainly to return borrowed books and laptops, take care of business office matters, and to chat with advisors about registering and enrolling for summer and fall courses.
About 30 percent of staff is currently on campus — “Just enough to have these offices open to serve students,” said KCKCC President Greg Mosier, who noted that more employees will return to campus during a three-week transition.
Students who did come to campus on Monday had to adhere to strict new procedures to enter buildings, classrooms and more that the college has worked on over the past month. The college’s comprehensive “Blue Devils Comeback Plan” was developed using information from federal, state and local health organizations, as well as input from students, staff and faculty, said Mosier, who serves on the mayor’s emergence management team for COVID-19.
Monday’s opening — which was publicized mainly to current students — is the start of a three-week transition prior to the start of the summer term on June 8, Mosier said. During this time, students from some technical education and allied health programs will return to finish practicals and required hands-on projects to complete their spring courses.
For the summer term, courses that don’t require in-person labs will be held online, Mosier said. Most classes with labs will focus on lectures remotely over the first three weeks. Around June 29, students taking those courses will start coming to campus to complete hands-on classwork.
“We’re front-loading the summer semester with lectures online, and doing the labs the second half of the summer semester,” with hopes that the virus will dissipate in warmer summer months, Mosier said.
KCKCC’s nine-page plan covers how employees should enter designated buildings, how students and guests should enter, rules for social and physical distancing, as well as protocols for elevators, classes and labs, facilities cleaning and more.
“We put together a comprehensive plan to keep the entire campus community as safe as possible and still provide the needed services to our community and students,” Mosier said.
For example, the plan recommends that students use remote/online student services. If an in-person visit is needed, students should schedule an appointment. The college will accept walk-ins based on availability while maintaining social distancing protocols, but scheduled appointments have priority over walk-ins, it said.
All students and guests will be screened for fever or signs of COVID-19 at designated entry points on campus, and they must provide a photo ID, reason for the visit and where they are going in the building.
After checking in, students and guests will receive a date-stamped disposable bracelet for entry.
All students and guests also are required to wear a face covering during the visit, and they must sanitize hands (sanitizer will be available at all entry locations) upon entering and exiting the building and throughout the day.
“Not wearing a face covering or abiding by social distancing requirements will result in you being asked to leave the facility,” according to the plan.
KCKCC said it will amend the plan as needed, with a plan for the fall term coming later.
Other colleges’ openings
Other community colleges across the country also have started to open campuses, mainly for career and technical education programs that have in-person training or project requirements. On Monday, Delgado Community College in New Orleans re-opened its Maritime and Industrial Training Center that will include a hybrid model of distance learning and modified on-site practical sessions.
The college said it worked with industry partners and the U.S. Coast Guard on a process to meet training needs in the “new normal.” Campus police will take temperatures of everyone entering the center, and classrooms will be completely sanitized and maintained with hourly cleanings.
Masks and gloves will be provided, and to keep class sizes small to minimize exposure, the college said it will stagger staff and classes. In addition, some chairs were removed from classrooms and the break area to help maintain social distancing and limit exposure in common areas.