President's Message - Fall 2020 Semester

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To the College Community:

While we are all eager to return to campus, a measured and gradual approach must be taken to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Given the continued complexities of COVID-19, the College will offer most fall 2020 semester for-credit and noncredit courses online or remotely.

There is a possibility that State regulations will permit on-campus instruction in the fall; if so, we are prepared to offer some face-to-face classes in areas such as Nursing and Health Sciences. In addition, we may consider offering other courses that require hands-on labs, including Criminal Justice and the Arts.

With a limited number of classes on campus, additional space will be available for students and faculty to maintain social distancing recommendations. We will fully adhere to all health and safety protocols as recommended by the State and the CDC, including enhanced cleaning and monitoring the wearing of personal protective equipment. Should some limited in-person instruction be resumed in the fall, alternatives will be offered to students who prefer to learn remotely for the semester. Technology-enhanced courses in Science will also be developed that provide an immersive experience by streaming live experiments.

The College’s plans will be informed by two guiding principles: 1) ensuring the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff; and 2) maintaining an unyielding commitment to students’ success both inside and outside of the classroom. First and foremost, decisions will be made based on what is most likely to keep our students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible while delivering the highest quality instruction possible.

With the assistance of our well-prepared faculty, staff, and administrators, an even more comprehensive virtual education experience will be offered for students in fall 2020, including robust academic and student support. The College will provide computers to students who need them, as well as a host of remote student services, including tutoring, counseling, online student club activities, career services, and advising.

The College has continued to serve the needs of its students in various ways since the end of the spring semester. Most notably, “crisis boxes” are and will continue to be distributed by the OCC Foundation and Fulfill to students and their families who are experiencing food insecurity. These boxes of food will feed a family of four for four days.

I want to once again express my deep appreciation, as well as that of the members of the Board of Trustees, for your outstanding efforts as we met the challenges of the past three months and for your continued dedication to serving our students.

Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.