Responding to COVID-19
Thursday / April 16, 2020
The month of April is a time when students are usually wrapping up spring semester classes and looking toward their next steps. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the timeline for students and faculty alike this year, but Iowa Valley is taking steps to ensure that Ellsworth Community College and Marshalltown Community College students don’t miss a beat this semester. A sample of the adjustments made include:
Classes were transitioned from in-person to a virtual format. When they returned from spring break, students were able to transition from face-to-face to virtual instruction which combined online learning with video and audio lectures with discussions. Faculty and staff made special arrangements for classes with labs that require hands-on instruction, such as nursing and welding.
Classes are technology-enabled. Because many community colleges emphasize hands-on coursework, many instructors had their first opportunity to facilitate classes without students in the classroom. The District’s IT staff enabled instruction so remote users can access the same content and coursework materials. This effort was aided greatly by collaboration between the IT team and faculty.
Housing and dining transitioned to fewer students. While many students are local, the Colleges are also home to students from around the United States, as well as from around the globe. The Residence Life teams balanced students moving out of the residence facilities, and making plans for select students to remain on campus.
Cleaning and sanitation practices are front and center. While the physical plant staff rarely gets the attention they deserve, the cleaning and sanitation efforts have been key to fighting the spread of COVID-19 from the start. The staff quickly implemented additional cleaning practices for each campus when the virus hit, following CDC guidelines for cleanliness and sanitation.
In one way or another, every single person in the District has adjusted to meet the needs of the students. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way the faculty and staff have transitioned in this ever-changing environment,” said Dr. Kristie Fisher, Chancellor of Iowa Valley Community College District. “Our classes may look a little different but we are committed to helping each student succeed during this time. Our commitment to our students in unwavering, even though our delivery method has changed temporarily.”
As part of the pandemic response, the Colleges have revised policies on withdrawing from classes, and staff are making every effort to work with students as they transition to virtual coursework. Students needing assistance with the transition are encouraged to communicate with their academic advisor.