The fall semester of Allan Hancock College’s 2020-2021 school year will begin on August 17, mostly consisting of remote online classes. According to the college’s superintendent, Kevin Walthers, the distance learning will be “more organized” than when the college was abruptly forced to switch to virtual lessons when COVID-19 restrictions went into effect last spring.
While a majority of classes in the coming semester will be digital, there will be certain classes that will require in-person attendance from students, mostly science lab classes that can’t be replicated outside of the school’s laboratory setting. Others that will require personal attendance include classes in the college’s public safety program and automotive and machine classes.
When students show up on campus to take a class, they will be required to wear a mask. Those with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to attend. Instructors for in-person classes have made plans for conducting lessons in a way that accommodates social distancing.
“Everything is set up to be done the way you would want it to be during a pandemic,” Mr. Walthers said.
As most of the coming semester will be conducted virtually, however, Allan Hancock College has taken steps to ensure that all of its students have the required access to technology and Wi-Fi. While last spring the college was in a mad scramble looking through every closet and cabinet to find spare laptop computers for students to borrow, over the summer months it has purchased new laptops to loan out. For students taking graphic design courses that require higher power computers, the college has recently set up labs with machines powerful enough for those classes.
To ensure that its students have access to Wi-Fi, the college has purchased 100 hotspots and strengthened its signal outside its buildings. According to a press release, students can access Wi-Fi in the parking lots outside of the Joe White Memorial Gymnasium, the humanities building, and the patio between the library and the student center.
Those who go to campus to use its Wi-Fi must remain outdoors unless they are using specially designated classrooms, which Mr. Walthers said have been set up with between six and eight desks for students to work at. Students can also make appointments to use the school’s computer lab Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Under Allan Hancock College’s current arrangement of mostly online classes, Mr. Walthers said its students should have no problem graduating by their desired date.
“We’ve made sure that students are on a pathway to graduation that will have the classes they need. That’s a primary goal for all of us,” he said.