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Hocking College slowly begins to reopen Nelsonville, branch campuses

by Matt Berry on May 11, 2020

NELSONVILLE, OHIO—As workers across Ohio return to their places of business, some of Hocking College's staff and faculty began returning to campus on Wednesday, May 6.

Following strict procedures, staff and faculty will work in certain buildings across the college's three campuses.

Employees are screened every morning when they report to work, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Start times are staggered by employees' last names to avoid large gatherings at check-in. Temperatures are recorded as being lower than 100 degrees or 100 degrees or higher and properly fitting face masks are confirmed. Once that check is complete, they are issued a color-coded wristband for that day.

If an employee's temperature is 100 degrees or higher, they are sent home to follow the college's pre-established procedures for faculty or staff who are possibly ill.

Any visitors to campus must check-in at the Hocking College Police Dispatcher Station, where they will be issued a wristband after their temperature and face mask have been checked.

Hocking College's campuses closed to all but the essential business needed to maintain basic operations on March 19.

Spring Break, which was initially scheduled for March 7-8, was extended through March 17 for faculty and March 22 for students. The spring semester was subsequently extended from May 9 to May 15.

With all but the most essential staff members working remotely, classes resumed in an online-only format on March 23.

Instructors innovated new ways to offer Hocking College's hands-on learning techniques in a distance learning environment. However, faculty determined that some courses require in-person instruction.

Students will return to the campuses on a staggered basis to complete the in-person portions of their Spring 2020 courses or previously scheduled Summer 2020 courses that require in-person instruction.

The first group of students will arrive on May 18, a second group of students on June 15, and a third on July 6. All courses are expected to end no later than Aug. 7.

Complete lists of these classes, with start and end dates, are available, by school, on the Hocking College website. The start and end dates for these classes could change depending on state orders.

To keep students, faculty and staff safe while on-campus courses are in session, and in keeping with state guidelines, classes and other gatherings on campus will be limited to no more than 10 people, and social distancing will be observed in all gatherings. Students will follow similar daily check-in procedures as faculty and staff, including temperature checks, mandatory masks and wristbands.

When each class session ends, the classroom and equipment in it will be cleaned by custodial staff before the next class enters.

The college's dorms are open to students who need them while attending class, are in an apprentice program or have other extenuating circumstances. Students will only be allowed to live in the dorms during the times they need them. Once their class or apprenticeship is over, they'll be asked to move out.

Campus dining services will resume with only carry-out options.

Any faculty members teaching online-only courses over the summer will be asked not to return to campus. Staff members who can work from home can request to continue doing so on either some or all days of the week.

So far, Hocking College has been able to maintain current staffing levels and pay rates for all employees.

From the beginning of the pandemic, the college has kept three priorities in mind when making decisions: 1) The health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community, 2) the continued academic progression of students and 3) the continued operations of the college.

“As we open back up we’re staying vigilant about reducing the risk to our Hocking College family,” Dr. Betty Young, president of Hocking College, said. "We've taken our lead from Gov. Mike DeWine and (state health director) Dr. Amy Acton. We feel that our plan will keep our students, faculty and staff safe while at the same time minimizing the impact on the quality, hands-on education students come here for."

The college's plans for the summer and autumn terms will continue to be updated as more guidance is given from the state.

For the most up-to-date coronavirus information visit info.hocking.edu/coronavirus