As the spring semester comes to an end, students and teachers look towards summer and fall semesters. After Illinois’s stay at home order was extended until May 29, the decision was made that all summer classes will remain online.
“As it became clear that the Governor’s stay at home order would be extended due to the COVID 19 pandemic, it became necessary for ECC and other community colleges to make a rapid decision on how to deliver instruction safely over the summer term,” said Toya Webb, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at ECC. “In order to protect the health and safety of ECC students, faculty, and staff, a decision was made to offer only remotely delivered classes throughout the summer semester.”
Governor J.B. Pritzker has said he is confident Illinois will be able to move into the next phase of reopening at the end of the month, according to NBC Chicago.
“While we are currently set to gradually re-open the college on June 1st, the Governor predicted recently that the projected peak for the virus may even occur in mid-June, so we recognize it is possible that the stay at home order may be further extended,” Webb said. “If this should occur, we would have been unable to launch our summer semester on June 1st.”
Despite the uncertainty, the ECC administration has a plan in place to start classes again.
“When we are able to re-open the campus this summer, we will be focusing on safely bringing back our spring students to complete lab-based and specialized classes that could not be completed remotely in the spring,” Webb said. “Aside from these classes, all classes will be held remotely to ensure classes can be completed without disruption. We recognize that face-to-face classes are preferable to many students and remain committed to bringing them back to campus as soon as it is safe and reasonable to do so.”
Summer registration is lower then it would normally be. According to Webb, as of May 18 enrollment for summer classes is at 2,947. At the same time last year, enrollment was at 4,988, a drop of 41%.
Now as doctors and scientists predict a potential second wave of virus cases in the fall, colleges and universities across the country have to start planning for fall semester classes. Notre Dame announced that their fall semester will begin Aug. 10 and end before Thanksgiving break.
“At this time, colleges are enmeshed in considering options for the fall semester, as we are at ECC,” Webb said. “The Chief Academic Officers across the state will be holding a meeting on March 15 to discuss fall planning, and the ICCB is kicking off a statewide task force on the same day to come up with guidance for the community college system, which should be available in early June. ECC has been invited to serve on the taskforce and so will have a good sense of what others are doing and the advice coming down the pipeline.”
The decision on fall classes may come sooner than later.
“Many of the four year universities are waiting until July to make decisions regarding the fall, and the K-12 public school system may not receive guidance until this time, as well,” Webb said. “However, we feel we cannot wait until July to make our decisions for fall, as we need time for faculty and students to prepare for a successful and high quality semester. Our final decision regarding the overall format of the fall semester may not be made until early June, to ensure we are making as informed a decision as possible.”
For more information on ECC’s response and to find future decisions you can go to https://elgin.edu/about-ecc/campus-safety/emergency-management/