Dear City Colleges Community:
We are committed to both serving our student population and maintaining the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. With that in mind, we want to share more about our approach to fall classes and services. CCC welcomes all students for the fall term and in order to best serve all students, some limited in-person services and in-person instruction are required.
Most classes and services will be remote. This fall, City Colleges is offering more than 80 percent of our credit courses remotely or online. All adult education courses will be offered via distance learning. In addition, all student services are available remotely. We are proud that we have been able to serve many students well with our remote offerings and are confident that we will be able to offer them to our students again this fall.
Limited CTE Classes will be held in-person. The courses not available online are primarily Career Technical Education courses that require full or partial in-person delivery due to the hands-on experiences as required in the curriculum. This summer, we successfully and safely completed most hands-on courses from spring semester that had to be paused when we went remote in March. Our students need these courses to advance towards their careers. We will serve these students again with social distancing in place this fall as health conditions allow.
CCC will offer limited in-person services during peak enrollment. While most of our students can be served remotely, we must recognize that the remote offerings do not always effectively support every student. A subset of our students is best served in-person. These students may be entering college for the first time, have language barriers, or limited technology experience. Among recent survey respondents, 31% of students planning to enroll in fall courses stated that they may prefer to enroll in person or didn’t know how they would enroll. As an open access institution, we are committed to serving every student who comes to us. Our plans for limited in-person services seek to provide these students access to college in a safe manner. As one prospective student told us:
“I am 100% new to all this so I have no prior knowledge of how any of this works except for the vast amounts of things I can research which is very time consuming. I’m sure it would be a lot quicker to find answers if I can just speak with someone.”
We cannot let students like this fall through the cracks.
To serve these students, each of our college plans calls for limited in-person student services to be offered, in particular during the peak registration period through August 20th. City Colleges typically sees 20-25% of its enrollment during this two-week time period.
As we move beyond the peak enrollment period, on August 21, all student services will return to remote delivery with the exception of computer labs and limited in-person tutoring embedded in face-to-face classes. Our colleges will remain open for our limited face-to-face classes, as study spaces, and for technology and Wi-Fi use in the computer labs.
Our Safety Plan.
We have developed a comprehensive safety plan for any in-person classes or services taking place on our campuses.
We require facial coverings, health self-screening in advance of building entry, strict social distancing, and we encourage service appointments. Additionally, our facilities have been equipped with Plexiglass barriers at all areas of interaction between employees and the public, disposable face masks are available at every entrance for those who arrive without a mask, and our facilities undergo regular cleaning and disinfecting.
The inflow of outdoor air has been increased at each CCC facility. Air ventilation systems at all CCC buildings are started at least one hour prior to public opening to allow for fresh air change-over before occupancy each day. Increasing outside air comes with the tradeoff of making it harder to cool buildings in the summertime. Slightly higher summer indoor temperatures are expected.
Our plan has been reviewed by experts from the Chicago Department of Public Health, and follows the standards and recommendations of the Illinois and Chicago Departments of Public Health (IDPH and CDPH), the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We’re grateful to CDPH, who collaborated with us on, reviewed, and approved our re-opening plans and ongoing COVID-related communications. According to CDPH Commissioner Arwady, “The Chicago Department of Public Health appreciates this thoughtful and very thorough planning process. Every educational institution is different and we agree this is the safest path for City Colleges.”
We recognize that the best plans need to be executed. Each college was visited on multiple occasions prior to their re-opening to ensure compliance, and the City Colleges leadership team continues to visit colleges to ensure adherence to our plans. Our college Presidents are committed to diligence regarding oversight, implementation and compliance with these plans. Compliance, of course, also requires that each of us follow the rules. For a reminder of our COVID-19 facility policies, please see the overview here.
We want to thank everyone for working together in unprecedented circumstances to help our students reach their goals while maintaining a healthy and safe City Colleges community.