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Grayson College moves online during COVID-19

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
Grayson College has transitioned most of its courses into an online format for the 2020 fall semester.

As students return to the classes for the fall semester, Grayson College is taking steps, including remote learning, to keep them safe amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

College officials said GC has worked to take as many of their courses online as possible. In other cases, some courses have had their capacity reduced to allow for social distancing.

“I feel like we are doing a good job of keeping people as safe as humanly possible,” said Rhea Bermel, GC director of marketing and communications. “Essentially we’ve taken as much of our courses online as we can, but we do have a certain number of students on campus for courses that just couldn’t be brought online.”

Since June 8, there have been 29 positive cases reported to the college, with only two cases active as of Tuesday. College officials noted that some cases may be students or staff who were tested positive but were not on campus, as some people have submitted exposure forms regardless of campus activity.

The courses that have not been transitioned into an online form are typically hands on courses or those with a technical component. As an example, Bermel said nursing, welding and career tech are the types of courses still being conducted in person.

In others cases, some classes have adopted a hybrid format with some of the coursework in person and some conducted remotely.

“There are some aspects of nursing that we have brought online, but there are some things that just have to be done in the classroom,” Bermel said.

Students and faculty who are on campus must go through a wellness check each day before reporting to class. These checks involve a temperature check and other screening questions at stations in each major building.

Bermel noted that some students have been stopped at the station and were told to stay home.

For this semester, the college is at about 92 percent enrollment compared to 2019’s numbers. However, Bermel noted that the college still has a second fall semester and she hoped to match last year’s attendance.

“The health and safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance,” she said. ”We also know that our students have experienced a big disruption in their lives ... and we want to help them move forward, reach their goals and move on to what is next.”

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.