Administrators at Grand Rapids Community College announced Wednesday they will be suspending face-to-face classes for the first segment of summer 2020 to continue distance learning.
According to the release, “The college will temporarily waive online course fees for students who have only the option for distance learning during the 14-week and first seven-week sessions.”
“These are difficult decisions during challenging times,” Brian Knetl, GRCC Provost and Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, stated in a release. “But we’ve also watched students, faculty and staff rise to the occasion. We’ve not wavered in our focus to provide a robust education while keeping safety and wellness our top priority.”
The summer schedule consists of two seven-week segments and one 14-week segment with most classes scheduled to begin May 11. The college has been working with state and local authorities on how best to proceed during this global pandemic.
Decisions about the second segment of summer classes will be made by May 22. “Things right now are so unpredictable,” GRCC President Bill Pink explained. He went on to say that the staff and faculty of the college are prepared and “very dedicated.”
Administrators hope that the college will be able to offer in-person classes for the second summer segment, set to begin June 30. However, the health and safety of students and faculty is of utmost importance. The president said that the college needs to “be strategic” about how to proceed forward.
“The question then becomes – for a country, for a state, for an institution – ‘How do you shift back to normal?’” Pink said. “Those will be questions that we have to answer in the coming months and coming weeks.”
Traditionally there is a process professors must go through to be certified to teach online classes. The president and provost have been discussing an “abbreviated version” of that plan as they go into summer classes. However, final decisions have not yet been made.
For now, students are encouraged to “finish strong.”
“Finish this thing. We put some options out there for students because we care about our students,” Pink said of the new grading options for students. Although it is advised that students don’t use that as a “default.”
Given that there are some “interesting advantages” to distance learning, Pink recommends students use the remaining few weeks of the semester to determine what works and what doesn’t. That way, people can go into online summer classes better prepared.
Students can enroll for these classes online. The college advises students to continue checking their student email for additional information.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4:17 p.m. on April 10 to include information from President Pink.