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Fall Plan Is Taking Shape For JCC

Jamestown Community College expects to release it's class schedule for the fall semester this week after months of planning. P-J photo by Jay Young

The administrative staff of Jamestown Community College is continuing to build on months of work as plans for a new COVID-19 conscious fall semester continue to take shape.

“We’ve had two teams working on what summer, fall, are going to look like, for three months now,” said Dr. Daniel DeMarte, Jamestown Community College president. “Their work is reaching a point where we are going to be ready to go out with some details by Wednesday.”

JCC expects to release its class schedule this week, and is also waiting for approval of its reopening plan from the State University of New York, which was submitted last Tuesday.

Whether COVID-19 restrictions continue to be relaxed in the months to come, or need to be tightened once again, the plan allows for flexibility in either direction.

“It could be that they want us to make some adjustments, maybe it is good and we’re good to go,” DeMarte said. “What we’ve tried to do is put a class schedule together that allows us to flex in either direction, depending on the conditions and the approvals.”

JCC administrators have been in contact officials from St. Bonaventure University, SUNY Fredonia and Jamestown Business College as they develop reopening plans that fit the particular public health situation in Western New York.

At this stage, JCC plans to reduce its normal on-campus student population significantly, allowing the majority of classes to continue to take place online.

“We’ve had online courses and programs for several decades, so when we had to pivot in the spring quickly to getting everything basically online, we were prepared,” said Kirk Young, JCC vice president of student affairs. “We feel like the quality of the courses was better than they would have gotten at other places that just didn’t have the experience doing this.”

There are certain parts of the curriculum, such as hands-on learning for students in the nursing program, that are harder to shift online. For hands-on learning in labs and technical training, students are expected to return to campus while following health guidelines.

“At most, best-case scenario, we would have students in 25-33% percent of our course sections back on campus,” DeMarte said.

The challenge with bringing students back on campus is that support staff will also need to return to work in person.

“If individuals can work from home, if they can do their work remotely, that is preferred, and we should allow that where we can,” DeMarte said. “Where this gets tricky for us on staffing and the operations side is, we’ve got to have enough staff on campus to support those students who are going to be on campus, and those others who could be on campus if conditions improve.”

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