FREEPORT – Highland Community College welcomes back employees, students, and visitors to campus as it prepares for the fall 2020 semester. On July 7, the College announced its Phase 4 Campus Safety Precautions asking everyone to social distance, wear a mask, self-monitor, and use proper hand hygiene practices.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Highland Community College has restricted visitors on campus with most of the workforce working from home and ending the spring semester through distance learning. The May commencement ceremony, typically held on-campus, was also presented in a virtual format. Following recommendations from the Illinois Community College Board, Stephenson County Health Department, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the College entered into Phase 3 on June 8, allowing classrooms with no more than 10 people to meet.
“Throughout the summer, our in-person labs were able to complete while using safety precautions during Phase 3,” said Christina Kuberski, Highland Community College President. “From this, our Emergency Management team and faculty could decide how to offer services and courses safely to students during Phase 4, which we’re optimistic will last into the fall semester.”
Highland is offering services in-person and remotely. This flexible service allows each individual to determine their comfort level. However, all people on campus must wear a mask and practice social distancing.
“We want to make sure everyone’s needs are met while preparing for the fall semester, so if someone wants to attend campus for services like the bookstore, financial aid, or advising, they can do so,” said Kuberski. “If someone is more comfortable over the phone or virtual, we can do that, too. Our advisors continue to be available through Zoom™.”
The classrooms for fall are also offered with flexible options. Students can learn remotely from home with Zoom™ real-time classrooms, a combination of Zoom™ and in-person classroom, entirely in-person or completely online.
“Our faculty and deans are continuing to work through our fall schedule to offer courses remotely and in-person. Students will be able to see a final schedule on our website on July 21. Again, everyone wants to make sure students can keep progressing while staying safe and within their comfort zone,” said Kuberski.
The College is implementing a system for in-person classrooms for the fall that allows each classroom of students to sit at a sanitized desk. The system will maximize classroom use while maintaining social distance and allowing for proper sanitizing.
The library is open for access and also remains available virtually. The cafeteria is closed for the summer, but the staff is working through fall opening plans.
“I appreciate the time and consideration everyone at Highland has put into making our campus safe and still welcoming,” said Kuberski.
Highland’s summer hours are Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. To read more about Highland Community College’s campus safety precautions, go to highland.edu/phase4. To register for fall classes, call 815-599-3414.