September 18, 2020
Dear Students of Virginia’s Community Colleges:
I hope that you and your family are well, and safe, as we endure this public health crisis.
I am writing to tell you that Virginia’s Community Colleges will continue to offer most of our classes online for the spring 2021 semester. Just as we have done for the current fall semester, that means most courses which can be offered virtually will be while we continually seek safer ways to offer the classes that must be done face-to-face. (More on that below.)
With the threat posed by the pandemic still very much upon us, this approach represents the safest and most prudent choice we can make to serve you this spring. We will continue to follow the science in this matter and take guidance from public health agencies. Indeed, public health experts say moving into the traditional cold and flu season will do nothing to slow down the spread of COVID-19. We aspire to minimize the disruptions you face on your academic journey. In announcing this decision now, we prioritize your safety, your family’s safety, and that of your community – all while giving you as much time as possible to plan your spring semester.
Further, we will continue to offer hands-on courses, that cannot be offered remotely via computer, as safely as possible. Many of our career and technical education classes, FastForward short-term training programs, and some science classes with lab components, require face-to-face interaction. Those in-person classes that are offered will be done so in compliance with mask-wearing, social distancing, and other public health guidance.
Please note that our virtual courses are not all the same. Some of them are structured to gather at specific times on tools like Zoom, just like a traditional in-person class, so you can engage with your instructor and classmates together. Others offer a chance to learn material at your own pace, needing simply to complete assignments or take exams by specific deadlines. Nearly three-quarters of our fall classes are being conducted through these online formats. Further, several colleges are still adding campus Wi-Fi hotspots, often in parking lots, to provide students with high-speed internet access.
Our college navigators, career coaches and advisors who work at each of our colleges, can help you find the option that is right for you, and answer questions you may have about a specific class. Please visit CollegeAnywhereVA.org, or your local community college’s website, to explore our offerings and connect with those folks at your college.
We look forward to the time when more in-person classes can be offered safely. Until then, your community college is dedicated to helping you stay on track and earn the credentials and degrees that will prepare you for a great career and to provide for your family – and to do so as safely as possible. Never hesitate to reach out and let us know how we can support you in building the better future to which we all aspire.