San Jacinto College, a community college near Houston, has brought small groups of students back to campus to complete courses in welding, health care and other applied technology that require hands-on learning.
The classes are limited to 10 people, including the instructor and, in some cases, a lab assistant, says Laurel Williamson, the college’s president and deputy chancellor.
“We have to spread those courses over more hours of the day, but it’s working very well,” Williamson says. “We’re starting at 8 a.m. and going until 10 at night to get all the cohorts of students through.”
Students must wear masks and other protective gear, and complete a health questionnaire each time they check into a college building. They are asked whether they have been sick or have any symptoms of coronavirus.
Labs and classrooms are sanitized between each group of students, Williamson says.
The classes should be complete by the end of June, when the college hopes to offer the courses again during its second summer term.
The college also recently held a drive-in graduation ceremony for students in the radiography program.
A podium was set up in a school parking lot while students and family members stayed in or around their cars, where their diplomas and pins were delivered to them.
“We’re trying to be creative about giving students that sense of completion and accomplishment that they all deserve,” Williamson says.
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