SIERRA VISTA — Cochise College is adapting with the fluid nature of the coronavirus by moving nonessential in-person classes to remote learning.

On Tuesday the Cochise County Community College District Governing Board approved a recommendation by the college’s administration to adopt a motion authorizing the college president to move all instruction, except that requiring in-person classes, to a remote format for the fall semester.

“We didn’t see improvement to (local) infection rates,” Cochise College President JD Rottweiler said about moving to remote learning.

Students who are affected by the change are being contacted directly by college staff to make the needed adjustments. Sharrina Cook-General, media and communications coordinator for Cochise College, said the change affected just “a few” students.

Classes pertaining to nursing and allied health, aviation and career and technical fields will be in-person with CDC guidelines in effect. Students will be in smaller class sizes, will have to wear a mask and will have to sign an acknowledgement and waiver before attending the class. A number for the smaller class sizes had not been determined as of Friday afternoon.

“Students know the expectations and students can make a wise decision,” Rottweiler said.

Some of the programs offered by the college are required by the state to have in-person instruction time. There are about 30 students housed on the Douglas campus because they are in the aviation and police academy programs. Both programs will have in-person instruction for the fall.

Rottweiler said the college’s take on remote learning is to have scheduled classes but not have the students on campus. Students will have to log onto Zoom or another video chatting platform at a designated time for their lectures or discussions. Labs and art projects will be done at home but in-person labs and studio time may occur when needed.

Rottweiler and college administration learned from the spring semester and did what they could to upgrade and enhance their offerings. He said more than 150 laptops are available for students to check out for their courses, and by appointment students can use computer labs on all campuses to attend virtual classes and do schoolwork. Parking lot J on the Sierra Vista campus, parking lot K on the Douglas campus and the parking lots at the Benson and Willcox campuses will have free public WiFi for students.

“We’re going through uncharted waters with the pandemic but the college is dedicated to our student success,” Rottweiler said. “Our staff is going to be incredibly proactive in reaching out to students.”

Tutoring, counseling and academic services will be available to students virtually if they need help throughout the semester. Registration is still open for the fall semester. Rottweiler said as of Friday afternoon the college is at a 20 percent enrollment decrease from last year. He said community colleges are experiencing this across the state and the country.

Rottweiler said he hopes to welcome all students back in January as well as see a return to athletics on the Douglas campus.

For information, call Cochise College at (800) 966-7943.

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