May 19, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is working toward the return of some on-campus instruction for the Fall 2020 semester, in addition to a robust schedule of hybrid and enhanced distance learning options.
The college is exploring all options to offer some classes on campus, while continuing to work with state and local authorities and follow recommendations to safely emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
“The pandemic will change many of the ways we do things, but it will not change GRCC playing an essential role in West Michigan’s recovery,” President Bill Pink said. “We embrace our mission, and we won’t compromise on the safety and wellness of our students, faculty and staff.”
Pink said a task force headed by Provost Brian Knetl and Lisa Freiburger, vice president for Finance and Administration, developed a four-phase strategy to gradually and safely reopen campus. The group is working with campus leaders to determine how classes in which on-campus instruction is preferable or essential can incorporate social distancing, deep cleaning and other measures effective in slowing the spread of coronavirus.
“We are by no means out from under this crisis yet,” Pink said. “And we may never go back to exactly the way we were. But in many ways, we will be stronger. We can be nimble and flexible – and highly effective. That’s how this college has risen up and faced challenges in the past, and this is no different.”
The college has been offering classes remotely since March because of the crisis. Knetl said there will likely be many students who will continue to feel safer in an online environment.
GRCC will continue to deliver instruction for most classes and student services in online and remote delivery formats for a second seven-week summer session, which begins June 30. Some classes in the School of Workforce Development and Job Training programs will be offered on-campus.
“Our faculty is doing a tremendous job transitioning classes to distance learning,” he said. “As we move into the fall, we will continue to find innovative and creative ways to deliver quality instruction in a variety of formats.”
Knetl said GRCC is ready for adult learners looking to re-enter the job market with new skills as well as younger students looking to stay closer to home as they start or continue their educational journey.
The college will continue offering a wide range of academic support services remotely to help all students be successful. It also recognizes that the COVID-19 crisis has created or expanded outside-the-classroom obstacles, such as food insecurity and mental wellness challenges.
GRCC plans to continue weekly curbside food distribution for students and their families, while offering a growing number of textbooks free through open educational resources, and connecting students to campus and community resources through its grcc.edu/gethelp webpage.
Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.