Moberly Area Community College adapts to changing health conditions

MACC hopes to re-open campus in fall
Moberly Area Community College adapts to changing
By MIKE THOMAS
Courier-Post Sports Editor
mthomas@courierpost.com
Posted: Jun. 22, 2020 10:01 am Updated: Jun. 22, 2020 10:04 am

HANNIBAL | Like other colleges around the country, Moberly Area Community College (MACC) is adapting to changing public health conditions regarding COVID-19.

In mid-March, MACC had to move all of its classes to an online format due to the statewide stay-at-home order. Although the stay-at-home order has been lifted, MACC has limited the summer semester to online classes and conducted its summer enrollment period virtually using Zoom.

“We've been doing that since the spring when all of this started, so we've actually became really effective with it and all of our students seem to have adjusted to it as well,” said MACC president Jeff Lashley. “We've been doing enrollment at this point through Zoom technology, virtually.”

The fall semester is scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 24, with the hard deadline for class registration on Aug. 28.

MACC tentatively plans on resuming in-person classes in the fall semester, while also retaining online and virtual classes.

“Students already tend to mix traditional (on campus) courses with virtual online courses,” Lashley said. “Our plan in the fall is to have a typical schedule for us that is a combination of (on campus) courses and online classes. If everything goes the way we hope, that's how we would proceed in the fall.”

MACC plans on having uniform health and safety policies for all five of its locations in Columbia, Hannibal, Kirksville, Mexico and Moberly.

“Right now we are practicing social distancing and all of the sanitation protocols,” Lashley said. “If (staff) are interacting with each other, we are wearing masks. How we will be in the fall will be based on the guidelines we are getting from the health departments and the CDC.”

If there is a coronavirus outbreak in the fall, MACC has a couple of backup plans on how to complete the fall semester. The first plan would be a hybrid approach that would be a combination of students in classrooms and students virtually attending class via Zoom, so that proper social distancing protocols could be followed.

Should another stay-at-home order be issued, MACC would then take the same approach they did in the spring semester by moving all of its classes to an online or virtual format.

For the summer semester, Lashley indicated that enrollment is down seven percent compared to past years.

“From what I know about other colleges around the state, that's been kind of typical of (what most colleges) have experienced, a summer enrollment that's been lower,” Lashley said. “Our summer courses have all been virtual and online, so we don't have students on campus, with very few exceptions. That may have contributed to fewer students taking summer courses, because they weren't able to take traditional courses.” 

Lashley said MACC faculty and students did a great job adapting to moving classes to an online format this spring.

“We already have such a large online program that the vast majority of our faculty have already taught online,” Lashley said. “So it's something they were already familiar with. We also have a really great instructional technology department, and back in March when we had to make the transition we had a large resource pool of training available with a lot of technical support and assistance for our faculty.”

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