Southeast Community College planning for in-person classes, despite increase in Covid variant cases

BEATRICE – Southeast Community College is planning for this fall term with students on campus.  Despite a rise in Covid-19 cases in many areas of the U.S. primarily because of the Delta variant of the virus, SCC President Dr. Paul Illich said this fall term will bring students on campuses.

"We're in close communication with our local health departments and the guidance that we've received to date, has been that even with the variant and we're starting to see an increase in spread, if you're vaccinated, they are still very much encouraging us to be open and operate....not requiring masks if you're vaccinated. If you're not vaccinated, we are strongly encouraging students to wear a mask...but we're not requiring it."

When Covid-19 took hold in the Spring of 2020, the community college went to all online learning….but last fall, was able to offer classes with student attending in person, or if needed, by online means.

"It is very important to be in a position to pivot, because you're not going to know exactly when you're going to have to do so. We need to make sure we are still ready to offer our classes. Maybe our faculty members are in the classroom, but they may need to be able to quickly adjust if a student would take a class from their house, if they needed to."

Illich said even though the college will be in normal operations this fall, officials are encouraging students who have not been vaccinated, to voluntarily do so.
"We're going to try to make that easier for them, too. So, once they are on the campuses, we want to have clinics and make it as easy as possible to access that vaccination."

This past year students and staff, Ilich said, gained an improved knowledge and use of technology, because of the effects of the pandemic and the need to use remote learning when needed. But, students have indicated in surveys that they favor face-to-face learning in the traditional approach.

"They really appreciated the opportunity to come back into the classroom as they could. Right now, we're up almost a thousand students for the upcoming fall as of this same time last year. We'll see how that pans out, but I think that's a really good sign that the students are eager to get back."

The fall semester at Southeast Community College is scheduled to begin, August 23rd.