Valencia College Announces Plans for Fall Semester

Like many community colleges around the country, Valencia plans to offer most classes online during the fall semester, but will reopen campuses for in-person classes that are difficult to conduct online. The college’s top priority is the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, while minimizing disruptions to student learning in the event there is a second wave of Covid-19 infections or if stay-at-home orders are reinstated.

While most of the courses will be taught online in the fall semester – which starts on Aug. 24, 2020 – some classes will be conducted in person, with social distancing and masks required. Those courses include classes in culinary arts, dental hygiene, nursing, architecture, engineering and dance.

Those programs, along with School of Public Safety and the college’s Accelerated Skills Training programs, will be taught face-to-face because each of those programs require students to successfully demonstrate skills so that the students can complete the programs.

The majority of students and employees will continue to work, study and learn remotely. Only faculty and staff who are involved in the safety, security, cleaning and maintenance of facilities – and the faculty and staff required to teach the face-to-face-classes – will be working on campus.
Likewise, not all buildings on Valencia’s seven campuses will be open; only those where face-to-face courses are being held will be open.

Valencia College consulted with Orlando Health to design its “Roadmap for Reopening,”  a scientifically-based reopening plan, which the college is implementing in phases. The college is currently in Phase One – in which nearly all courses are taught online and only essential workers are permitted on campus. Phase Two is scheduled to start on Aug. 1 and continue through Dec. 31. If stay-at-home orders are reinstated, the college will revert to Phase One operations.

“Most important, we must feel confident that we can provide a safe and healthy environment on our campuses and that students and employees feel safe and ready to return to campus,” said Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia College. “Throughout this process, we’ve been in close consultation with Orlando Health to ensure that our plans meet or exceed current public health recommendations and best practices.”

As part of its Phase Two operations, employees and students will be asked to conduct self-screenings each day before coming to campus. Students who are ill are advised to seek medical care and to connect with Valencia’s illness reporting and contact tracing team. While on campus, employees and students will be provided with hand sanitizer and required to wear a mask.  In classrooms, desks and tables in classrooms will be spaced at least six feet apart.

“Valencia has taken a careful, measured approach to bringing students and employees back to campuses, with a focus on protecting their health and safety,” said Dr. Don Plumley, chief quality officer at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and member of the Orlando Health Business Ready Task Force. “We are confident that if the plan is followed, the chance /risk of contracting coronavirus on campus will be minimized. We believe the college’s illness reporting and contact tracing protocols will be effective in isolating any positive cases if they occur and preventing any further transmission of the virus.”

To prepare for fall semester, more than 700 instructors and faculty members will be training this summer to develop and refine high quality online learning experiences  for students. In addition, the college has moved all of its student services online — including library services, advising, counseling and expanded online tutoring sessions. Most services, including advising and online tutoring, are now available through Zoom, so students can meet an advisor or tutor through an online meeting. The college has also expanded the hours of tutoring and other student services, so students can get help at night and on weekends.

Read the complete reopening plan here: