Lakeland Community College moved forward with plans to offer in-person classes this fall.
Classes started Aug. 22 with 40% of those offered in-person. The remaining 60% of courses are either online or hybrid options being delivered remotely via the college's online learning platform.
Those opting to take classes in person, were required to sign a "Code of Personal Responsibility" as a commitment to safety before coming to campus.
College employees were also required to acknowledge their safety commitment beginning as early as this summer when a limited number of staff members worked to provide a safe re-opening and return to campus this fall. The college established a task force to ensure that safety was a top priority. A three-point reminder "Lakeland Smart, Safe, Strong," was established to make it easier for employees and students to remember to keep their safety commitments:
• Lakeland Smart - follow guidance from federal, state and local health experts
• Lakeland Safe - accept social responsibility for the safety of ourselves and others
• Lakeland Strong - adapt to change with empathy and creativity
But before coming to campus, students were introduced to the new safety measures taking place with a video, "Welcome Back: Keeping Each Other Safe," which was sent out via email and then shared on the college's social platforms. The segment provided the reassurance needed to those planning to attend in-person classes.
"I was not scared to come back. When I saw the video and all they were doing to prepare and organize and get everything ready, I knew it was safe," said Janice Robinson, a second year, full-time student this fall. As a student leader in Lakeland's student government, she eagerly pitches in to help out students at the beginning of each semester and this year was no different. "I was ready to come to campus and help students find their way."
Among the new protocols on campus are:
• Students, staff and faculty are required to wear a mask or face covering.
• Reduction in the number of entry ways.
• Chairs and desks will be arranged at least six feet apart in classrooms, conference rooms and study areas.
• Restrooms and elevators will have limited occupancy.
• Hand-sanitizer stations will be located at entrances and high-traffic areas.
• Employees and students will have access to cleaning products to wipe desks and counters as needed. High-touch surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day, and individual room and area cleaning will be conducted during closed hours.
• Frequently visited office areas and some instructional settings will have plexiglass barriers.
• Clear signage of entrances/exits of buildings with multiple doors marked as one-way; one-way stairwells and where to stand to wait for service.
• Athletic and fitness center requires additional protocols including a self-assessment to answer questions about any health symptoms.
In-person classes will end Nov. 25, with the remainder of the semester's instruction—including final exams—being delivered remotely when classes resume after Thanksgiving break Nov. 30. This revised schedule is intended to limit the number of people on campus following Thanksgiving holiday travel.