OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - While K-12 schools and parents are gearing up for the school year, so are higher learning institutions like Southern Union State Community College, who shared Tuesday it’s continuing with its summer model of online and hybrid studies.
Daniel Callaway continued his welding studies at Southern Union throughout the summer amid the pandemic, and said he will continue this fall.
“The theory classes we would do in a classroom online,” he said. “And then I came in and did lab work in person.”
Officials with Southern Union are gearing up for students just like Callaway for the upcoming school year. President Todd Shackett said they’re working hard to balance the demands of a quality education and the health of students, faculty, and staff.
“We have to be flexible and adjust as necessary,” Shacket said. “We had the summer. It’s gone well for the students who have come back to campus, and I expect we’ll do our best for the fall.”
According to Shackett, classes begin August 17.
“That’s going to be a combination of online, hybrid, and face-to-face,” he said.
Shackett said a majority of academic classes will be held online, but they’ll offer hands-on instruction or in-person labs when needed.
“That’s what we’re doing again with our career technical education, so all of our industrial technology, welding, machining, HVAC, and also our health sciences,” he said.
For those students who do head to campus, Shacket said there are some new policies. They’re checking temperatures, encouraging masks, and sanitizing.
“We’re taking some of our non-traditional venues like our theaters, our auditorium, some of the larger rooms and turning those into classrooms, so we can have proper spacing for some of our larger classes,” he said.
Despite the changes across campus, as the fall semester approaches, Callaway looks forward to the semester.
“[I’m] excited,” he said.
According to the president, there will also be changes to the dining hall on campus in Chambers County. There will be limited capacity, social distancing, and a served lunch rather than buffet-style food.