NEWTOWN >> As southeast Pennsylvania slowly prepares to reopen amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Bucks County Community College has announced some limited in-person instruction will be allowed starting in August, although most courses will be taught online or remotely.
Since closing all campuses on March 14, Bucks has moved all courses online, using both asynchronous and synchronous delivery. These methods will continue in the fall.
Online, or e-learning, courses are offered asynchronously, while remote classes require students to be online synchronously with faculty and classmates. Classes previously designated as hybrid (a mix of online and in-person) or face-to-face will have a virtual meeting component outlined in the course syllabus.
Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, Bucks County Community College president, announced the findings of the “Green Team Task Force on Reopening Campus” on June 18.
“Our plan is grounded, first and foremost, with consideration for the health and safety of our college community,” said Shanblatt. “Our second consideration is ensuring a quality learning experience for all enrolled students.”
The team recommended that for the fall semester, the college continues with most courses offered online and remotely, and only bringing students to campus for courses that have a required hands-on component.
Students enrolled in specified hands-on courses will be granted access to campus for the class time allotted, and will leave campus once their class has finished. Students will not be permitted to gather before or after class, and masks are required to be worn on campus.
The team also recommended no group gatherings, and as a result, fall sports have been canceled. The cafeteria remains closed. The college bookstore, library, and student services remain available online and remotely to serve students.
“While our facilities, especially classrooms, do not permit us to bring back all students given the strict screening, social distancing, and sanitizing protocol required between each class, under this plan we will ensure course learning goals are met in a safe manner,” said Shanblatt.
“Should conditions continue to improve once the semester is underway, we have the option to bring more students to campus to meet with their faculty at designated class times. Conversely, should the situation worsen in the fall, our students’ learning modality will not be disrupted,” added the president.
“I believe we have crafted a responsible plan, beginning with students on campus for lab portions of health science, chemistry, culinary, kinesiology, workforce training, public safety training, and some music and arts.,” said Shanblatt. “The plan outlined by the Green Team is a thoughtful, phased approach that provides flexibility to adapt to changing conditions without disruption to students’ experiences.”
Most fall semester classes begin August 26, with additional courses starting September 14 and October 19. The public, open-admissions college offers more than 80 majors that lead to either a two-year associate degree or shorter-term certificate, and most credits can be applied toward a bachelor’s degree upon transfer to another college or university. Tuition is only $165 a credit for Bucks County residents, unchanged from last year, which may lower the need for student loans. To apply and to register, visit bucks.edu/fall.