GHC planning for mix of online, in-person classes in fall quarter

The fall quarter at Grays Harbor College is likely to be a mix of in-person and online courses, and there will be no food service on campus, said college president Dr. Jim Minkler.

With the smaller number of students expected on campus, “to have two full-time staff manning the kitchen doesn’t make sense,” said Minkler.

The summer quarter will remain almost entirely online.

“In the fall things get more complicated. We have the full curriculum to offer and much more diverse” slate of courses, said Laura Brener, interim vice president for instruction. “Most of the classes for fall will be offered, at this point, as a hybrid, meaning the faculty will move between modalities. Some of the contact will be online or remote via Zoom, but classes that are allowed under Phase 2 guidelines will be able to hold their hands-on portions or labs face-to-face on campus.”

The goal is to have a system in place that allows for flexibility, depending on the phase the county is in at the time and to be able to switch on the fly to deliver different learning experiences.

“The logic is to have one in position to go fully online or remote if need be,” said Brener. “If the governor dials things back we can be responsive to that, but we can also if we are in Phase 3 or 4 by then and there can be more face to face time (go to more in-person learning), it allows that flexibility.”

Phase 2, which the county is in currently, allows for prerequisites for WorkSource programs, like nursing, to have labs and a hands-on component, said Brener. Minkler told the board of trustees at a workshop June 5 that the campus is currently in compliance with Phase 2. He said the college is working with the Governor’s Office, Labor and Industries and public health officials to find out the requirements for each phase of reopening as the fall quarter approaches.

Brener said some faculty have already chosen to put their entire course online in the fall, while others are adopting the flexible plan to move to face to face, online or a mix of the two.

“We want to be able to map out what is happening in Phase 3 and Phase 4,” said Minkler. “We hope to be in Phase 4 by the fall quarter, that allows us to meet face to face in the classroom, but we’re doing so cautiously.”

“It’s tough to look at a crystal ball for September,” said Keith Penner, chief of campus operations. “While we may be in Phase 4, if local case counts rise they may roll us back to Phase 3 or even 1. We’re developing contingency plans to move backward and forward.”