Sowela Technical Community College will begin the spring semester with the first two weeks completely online. According to an announcement made on Tuesday, courses will begin for all students virtually on Tuesday, Jan. 19 with face-to-face instruction resuming on Monday, Feb. 1.
“Around the holidays, students may have been around larger groups than normal,” Darlene Hoffpauir, marketing and communications manager, said. “This is a way to sort of mitigate and curb any potential COVID-19 exposure.”
The start of the semester has also been pushed back from its original start date to allow students and faculty additional time to prepare for course work. “It just gives everybody more time to get back into a normal routine because everything was pushed back in the fall,” she said.
For students studying a primarily hand-on trade, Hoffpauir said the two weeks of virtual will have “little to no impact” on hands-on instruction. “That part of the class (the first two weeks) is really more about learning about the equipment they may potentially practice on during a semester…Students will still be getting the same excellent curriculum and training that they’ve come to expect at Sowela.”
COVID-19 protocols will remain in place when students return to campus. Students unable to return to on-campus classes should contact their instructor or dean, she said.
To accommodate students in the first virtual weeks, the college will continue to offer laptops and hotspots to students in need. Hoffpauir said over 1,000 devices have been distributed as of the fall’s semester close.
Students can request technology by visiting www.sowela.edu/student-life/student-services/health-center/coronavirus/or renew current technology at stcc.formstack.com/forms/student_laptop_loan_renew.