CASA GRANDE — Like many colleges and universities throughout the state and nation, Central Arizona College will be starting classes and services online this fall while its campuses remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The college has provided laptop checkouts for students and staff since the beginning of the pandemic, Angela Askey, CAC’s executive director of public relations and marketing, wrote in an email. Internet resources have been shared with students who need help gaining access for class.
The majority of fall classes will be held online, she said. There will be some career and technical education classes that require hands-on learning, such as nursing and welding, that will be held using a hybrid approach. These classes will have some online instruction and some in-person instruction due to accreditation and program requirements.
The college is also suspending fall athletics and competitions until the spring of 2021, based on the recommendations of the National Junior College Athletic Association and in coordination with the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, Askey said.
The college does not plan to offer on-campus housing this fall either, she said.
“The college will continue to monitor the pandemic situation and will announce when on-campus housing offering will resume. We do not expect it to resume before the spring 2021 semester,” she said.
The college does not expect the closure of the campuses or virtual learning to affect students’ financial aid and encourages students to apply for financial aid, Askey said.
The college does plan to reopen campuses once state public health data shows that it is safe to do so, she said. Once it is safe to return to campus, the college will reopen in a four-phased approach. The college will install plastic partitions to protect staff, students and visitors in areas where there is one-on-one interaction, and an enhanced cleaning schedule will be put into place.
The college will also be extensively marketing its CAC CARES guidelines, which encourages staff and students to Cover with a face covering, Avoid touching eyes and mouth, Rinse hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, Ensure workplaces are disinfected regularly and Stay 6 feet apart.
According to CAC’s website, the first reopening phase will have supervisors such as deans, vice presidents and directors return to the campus to help prepare for reopening. Campuses will remain closed to students, the public and other staff members.
Other employees and staff members will continue to work and attend meetings remotely. Student services will continue to be offered remotely. All travel and events will remain postponed unless deemed essential by the college’s District Executive Team.
Supervisors who report to work on the campus will have to complete safety protocol training before returning to campus and self-screen daily before reporting to work. They’ll have to report any COVID-19 symptoms to their supervisor before reporting to campus for the day. Supervisors who are over age 65 or have underlying health conditions that may make them susceptible to the virus will not be asked to return to the campus now.
Once on campus, staff will have to follow a series of guidelines such as wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, social distancing and regularly disinfecting their workspace. Police checkpoints on campus will remain active and staff will have to enter and exit specific doorways, follow traffic flow signs and stay within their designated workspace.
In the second reopening phase, more employees will be asked to return to campus, but the campuses will remain closed to the public and students. Services and classes for students will continue to be held virtually. Staff meetings will also be held virtually.
Employees who are asked by their supervisor to return to work on campus will have to meet all of the policies and guidelines that supervisors did in the first reopening phase. And employees over the age of 65 or who have an underlying health condition will not be asked to return to campus immediately.
Some campus buildings such as computer labs, the library, learning centers, student union, micro market spaces, fitness center, Casa Grande Center and Student Services will be open to employees.
Some student activity on campus will be allowed in the third reopening phase. Students and prospective students will be able to register for classes, make payments and use computer labs, libraries, fitness center, etc. The campus will remain closed to the public.
Students will have to wear face coverings on campus and will be asked to make appointments virtually and use the virtual services as much as possible. Students on campus will have to enter and exit buildings using designated doorways and follow traffic flow signs.
Some classes that require hands-on learning will be allowed to take place as long as class sizes are limited to 10 people and employees wear protective face coverings. Faculty will manage the classroom setting and safety protocols for students.
Policies to protect the health of staff and students will be put in place for libraries, labs and the fitness center.
In the fitness center, equipment may be blocked off or spaced out to promote social distancing. Staff in the center will be required to wear masks or face coverings, and mask guidelines will be put up for users. The number of people allowed in the center at one time will be reduced and machines and hard surfaces will be sanitized between uses and at least twice a day. People using the center will be asked to wash their hands and the gym will be closed for all activity except athletic practices.
In libraries and labs, plastic barriers will be put up between staff and students, chairs and tables will be arranged to encourage social distancing, staff and students will be required to wear face coverings and sanitizing stations will be available. Materials checked out from the library will be disinfected and quarantined for at least three days before being reshelved.
Employees who return during phase three will have to follow all of the policies and guidelines from the first phase. Some meetings may start to be held in-person.
Students and employees over age 65 or who have underlying health conditions will not be asked to return to campus.
All employees will be asked to return to campus in phase four of the reopening plan. Employees over 65 or who have underlying health conditions will be asked to work with their supervisor to find the best working options for themselves. All employees will have to follow the policies and guidelines from phase one.
Faculty will be asked to come to campus to teach face-to-face courses and should hold virtual office hours from home. Faculty will manage classroom settings and safety protocols for students.
Some employees and faculty may work a staggered schedule to prevent people from working too closely together in one area.
Academic and Student Affairs will work on plans for the next semester, including the possibility of reopening dorms, athletics, academics, dining services and student activities.