Online, on campus, hybrid, HyFlex - MSC Southeast is welcoming students to Fall Semester with education options
As Fall Semester begins, Minnesota State College Southeast is meeting students' needs with a unique mix of approaches designed to keep the college community as safe as possible.
Some students are coming to campus, especially for classes that require hands-on experience. Others are taking classes online. Hybrid courses are a mix of on-campus and online instruction.
"We're here, we're ready for you - masks, gloves, keeping the place as clean as we can," said Amanda Griffin, Automotive Technology instructor.
Instructor Jonathan Powell is teaching his Construction Technology lectures using HyFlex technology. Students can choose to come to campus, or they can participate via Zoom.
"I had students who wanted to be in my program but didn't want to be in close proximity to others in a classroom," he said. "By doing HyFlex, they can still attend lectures from home. I still have a requirement that students actually attend together at the same time. In my classes we have a lot of conversation, and I want the students to be engaged in discussion with each other."
Keeping a safe distance
At a community and technical college, some programs just can't be taught online. Students need to have access to campus for the equipment and experience that will prepare them for the career skills they need.
Keeping people safe at MSC Southeast means passing the online COVID-19 Self-Assessment before coming to campus, wearing masks, keeping surfaces clean, and maintaining safe social distance.
One of the most creative solutions to maintaining physical distance has been implemented in the Truck Driving program. "I've installed CB radios in all of the trucks, and I teach by CB radio from a van, where I can keep in visual contact with the truck and the student," said instructor Tom Gierok.
Having already taught truck driving throughout the summer, Tom is ready for his Fall semester classes. "Every single day when the students arrive, I go over our policy and procedure. Every student wipes down their truck and locks it at the end of the day," Tom explained, adding, "If somebody doesn't feel good, they have to stay home and that's OK. Everybody has got to put safety first."
Keeping it clean
Keeping equipment sanitized is critical in all of the hands-on programs. In CNC Machine Tool, instructor Rick Hengel (pictured) explained that there will be only one student per machine, so no one will be doubling up on machines.
"After each student has completed a project on a machine, they will be wiping down the machine to make sure everything is very clean. Students will have a lot of their own tools, but if they are using tools that belong to the college, they will be wiping them down and sanitizing them after they are done using them."
The Automotive Technology and Auto Body Collision Technology are extremely spacious, allowing for social distancing, spacing out work stations, and excellent ventilation.
The Auto Body classroom area is set up so that there is social distance between students, with only one student per table. The entire shop is large and well ventilated. "If the temperature is 65 or above, the doors will be open and we'll be exchanging the air with outside air on a regular basis," said Auto Body Collision Technology instructor Tom Brandt.
"We are all working hard ensure that you are able to continue your education at MSC Southeast without interruption," said Josiah Litant, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
"We are thrilled to have students back on campus," said Vice President of Academic Affairs Chad Dull. "It means everything to us, and we want you to know that MSC Southeast cares."