Enterprise State Community College students returned to the classroom on Monday, Aug. 31, for the first face-to-face academic instruction held on campus since March.
"Monday was a great day,” ESCC President Matt Rodgers said. “I was so excited to see our students and faculty back on campus. ESCC is a special place because of the people. The pandemic has certainly made us all appreciate our students more and the people we get to work alongside.
“I am not only proud of our students but of our faculty and staff also. Everyone has handled the last few months well and continued to excel. We will continue to do everything we can to remain vigilant and provide a safe learning and work environment for everyone at ESCC.”
Before students could return to campus, several changes were made and students were required to take several steps to ensure a safe return to the classroom.
For the Enterprise and Ozark campuses, new safety protocols were implemented as part of the College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While planning for the fall semester at ESCC, instructors and administration worked together to find a solution that would reduce risks and keep the quality of instruction.
“When we were planning this semester, we put a lot of focus on safety and instruction options,” Dean of Instruction Danny Long said. “We knew there would be situations where face-to-face instruction would be the only option, so we developed a plan that would allow our students and instructors to meet in-person safely for class. I’m proud of the work of our faculty and staff to make this fall semester come together, and I know that we are all happy to see students back on campus again.”
ESCC's plan for safe on-campus instruction included requiring students to complete the college’s COVID-19 Canvas course and sign a COVID-19 waiver, which were incorporated in the college’s orientation class, before coming to campus.
Students are required to use the CampusClear app as part of the self-screening process to enter campus. The app sends a push notification as a reminder to complete a self-assessment, which will determine if the student is cleared to enter campus or not. Students coming on campus will also be required to wear a mask while around others and have their temperature checked at Wallace Administration Building on the Enterprise campus.
The college also implemented several safety protocols in classrooms, such as marking or arranging seats to meet social distancing guidelines and placing plexiglass safety shields on instructor stations.
Many students were excited to return to campus to receive face-to-face instruction in a safe learning environment.
“Coming back to campus has allowed me to have a face-to-face interaction with my professors,” Ambassador Marisa Thomas said. “I am glad that I am able to come to campus and have those interactions safely.”
Other students were happy to have class on campus in order to feel a semblance of “normal.”
“Coming back to campus allows me to see the face behind the course, making me feel like things aren’t so different,” Ambassador Layken Hussey said. “In addition to this, it allows me to interact with other students, giving me the social factor that I’ve missed for the past few months."
No more than 130 students are expected to be on campus in class at any point thanks to class schedules that were staggered to reduce the number of students on campus. No face-to-face instruction was held on campus during the first week of class that began Aug. 24.