Parent’s Playbook: Lake Michigan College

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT
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Mich. (WNDU) - The coronavirus has changed the way universities and community colleges are holding classes and conducting business.

The president of Lake Michigan College spoke with Tricia Sloma about the changes students will see when classes start Sept. 8.

Dr. Kabatzke: In July we wanted to come up with our fall plan so our students knew what their plan for coming back to school was. To give some certainty in this time of uncertainty. So we came up with a plan that all classes that can be done remotely will be done remotely, in multiple different modules whether it's purely online at your own pace or synchronous with your faculty using webcams so you're sitting in your classroom, although you're at your computer. So we have turned all the classes that can be into those type of modules. Then we do have classes that have to have hands on-- our CTE courses, welding, CNC, our nursing, so we have divided those classes out into small groups. And we'll invite those students back on a scheduled time in their labs with probably less than six people in a lab. And then cleaning between classes.

Tricia: Now are students required to be tested before they show up, maybe to those labs or any other in-person class?

Dr. Kabatzke: Our students who are just coming for classes are not, we do have residence halls and athletics, and all students that are moving into our residence hall, although we're only opening the hall at 65% capacity, will be screened before moving in.

Tricia: OK, what safety protocols will be in place for those in-person learners? You talked about those cleanings between the labs, anything else they need to be aware of? Will masks be required at all times?

Dr. Kabatzke: Anyone on our campus, whether in a classroom or in an office, will have a mask on. We have a checkpoint as you come on campus on all three campuses and ask that you wear a mask. And we have a series of questions from the CDC- do you have a fever, do you have aches and pains- and if you answer yes to all of those, any of those, then we're going to ask you to go home and contact us remotely. If you answer no you can come onto campus, keep your mask on when inside the building, whether you're six feet apart or not we want masks on at all times and then in the labs we will have plexiglass shields in place where necessary, our faculty will be teaching at a distance, we will keep all students at a distance, to keep them as safe as possible.

Tricia: I want to ask now about enrollment. How are your numbers looking? Any changes due to the pandemic? I know whenever a community suffers a lot of job loss, community college tend to have an uptick in enrollment because people are making a shift in careers. What's happening with your school?

Dr. Kabatzke: Normally I'd agree with you that when unemployment is high, our enrollment is high. We're unfortunately not seeing that this fall. I think there's a lot of uncertainty out there. We have students not knowing if their four-year school is opening, or closing, or if they're going remote. So I think a lot of students just kind of held, waiting to see. We have seen some uptick in enrollment in the past couple of weeks, I think because students are finally realizing that it's time to get back to class. And so we are down in enrollment, but much better than we were a month ago.

Tricia: All right well, we'll see if the lake effect has a good effect on you folks there at Lake Michigan College. Thank you for joining us and we wish you the best. Sept. 8 will be here before you know it.

Dr. Kabatzke: Thank you.

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