With COVID-19 mandates, restrictions, and guidelines quickly changing, it is hard to picture what the fall term of the 2021-2022 school year will look like. The Clackamas Print spoke with the Clackamas Community College Dean, Tara Sprehe, to get a better understanding of what to expect this Fall.
CCC follows the Oregon Health Authority for reopening guidelines. This means that even if the Center of Disease Control advises new guidelines, the school must get the okay from the Oregon Health Authority first. The school also follows their own return to campus guidelines, influenced by the OHA.
As of now, students and staff are still required to wear masks on campus, but Sprehe says this mandate may soon be subject to change. “We are waiting for guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority,” Sprehe said.
The school plans on starting a gradual return to campus this Fall. Fall classes may be around 30% capacity, while winter term classes could be around 75%. This plan will become more clear throughout the Summer.
There are also many rules as to what counts as a mask and what does not. In short, masks must cover the wearers’ nose and mouth and need to rest snugly above the nose, below the mouth and on the sides of the face. Students and staff may not wear bandanas, face shields or masks with ventilation as a mask on campus.
Online options will be available for anyone who feels unsafe or uncomfortable returning to campus. In-person, online only, and hybrid class options will be available for students. The school is also taking a look into offering online classes even after the pandemic is over. “We believe we didn’t have enough online learning opportunities before COVID,” Sprehe said. “We’re hoping to explore the right balance of modalities [and] making sure we have the right amount of online [classes] versus the right amount of in-person.”
It is unclear whether or not COVID-19 testing will be available on campus, but staff and students currently use a self-health check in app that allows users to document how they are feeling and log any symptoms they are having. However, the school does not collect this data, so the health of staff and students coming and going through campus is unknown.
If in-person classes are required to stay smaller due to social distancing guidelines, they may fill up quickly. Sprehe says that if they do, the school may offer more time slots for the same class.