FARMINGTON – As the national debate continues about how to open higher education institutions, San Juan College released its plan for a hybrid model.
The college’s plan involves offering classes in four formats: face-to-face, traditional online, online live and hybrid instruction.
“The important thing we want students to know is that while this may be different, our instructors are working diligently to design classes that are engaging and provide a positive and enjoyable experience,” said Adrienne Forgette, vice president for learning at San Juan College.
Programs with hands-on learning, such as technical, mechanic or health care classes, will be held face-to-face, but limited in size to adhere to social-distancing standards. In classes with lab components, half the students will meet in classrooms and half in the lab, and then rotate.
Some foundational classes will be offered face-to-face for students who might not learn well in an online environment, Forgette said. Masks will be required for anyone on campus, in line with the state mandate requiring masks in public.
“It’s important that students continue moving forward with their education, even during these trying times,” she said.
The college’s announcement said most fall courses will follow a traditional online format, meaning students may attend the class and complete the coursework when it suits their schedule. Instructors will offer virtual office hours and be available to assist students throughout courses.
The college will also offer live online courses. Unlike traditional online classes, live courses will be offered at a set time with an instructor virtually present. They will closely resemble the dynamic of face-to-face classes.
The fourth option is a hybrid of online and face-to-face classes. A science course may include an online component and face-to-face lab assignments. Another option would alternate two groups of students in face-to-face instruction one week and online the next.
“As we move into the fall, our plan is to complement the online services with limited on-campus services, as it is deemed safe and in compliance with state public health orders,” Forgette said.
The college’s announcement comes as higher education and K-12 school systems struggle with whether to open schools this fall if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in the West.
The Chronicle of Higher Education is tracking more than 860 institutions across the country as they outline plans for the fall semester. According to its data, 7% of colleges plan online-only classes, and two-thirds plan in-person classes with students back on campus.
Durango’s Fort Lewis College said on its website it plans “in-person instruction in the fall and all of your favorite activities, but with safety measures in place, like masks and distancing, to keep our community healthy.”
A lot of colleges, like San Juan College, plan to offer hybrid options, allowing students to pick an option that fits their education and health needs.
“Helping ensure our students succeed is paramount,” Forgette said.