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MCHENRY — Garrett College will offer face-to-face classes as one of four learning options planned for the fall  semester.

Asynchronous online, full remote instruction using Zoom or Microsoft Teams and face-to-face switch classes will be part of GC’s course offerings. With the face-to-face switch format, half of the class will attend one day a week and the other half will attend class another day, with students using Zoom or Microsoft Teams to participate in the class the day they are not present.

“Our Academic Affairs Division, working in concert with IT and facilities, did a great job determining in what formats we could safely deliver instruction during a pandemic,” said Richard Midcap, Garrett College president.

Like colleges and universities across the nation, Garrett College transitioned to an all-online instructional platform in response to the coronavirus pandemic for the second half of the spring semester. Midcap said the college has a plan in place to pivot back to an all-online instructional format for the fall if the pandemic worsens in Garrett County or the state.

“All of our decisions with regard to addressing this pandemic will be made in concert with the Garrett County Health Department, Garrett Regional Medical Center officials and the Maryland Higher Education Commission,” said Midcap. “Obviously, we will also make sure our return plan continues to align with any of Gov. (Larry) Hogan’s executive orders that remain in place as well as CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance.”

Qing Yuan, dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer, said the five instructional formats to be offered in the fall were developed around promoting social distancing along with enhanced cleaning procedures and other mitigation strategies.

“For classes with a face-to-face component, we’ve drastically reduced room caps,” said Yuan. “We’ve also implemented policies – including required face coverings, a ban on food and drinks in the classrooms and a one-hour break between room usage to allow for cleaning and reduce hallway interaction — to support healthy pandemic practices.”

Shelley Menear, director of equity and compliance, said each student will be issued a Garrett College-branded face covering.

“We are still learning about effective mitigation strategies but we know the wearing of face coverings is one of them,” said Menear, noting the college is also requiring all students and employees to complete an online daily health assessment before coming to GC. “We will be educating our students as they return as to the steps we’ve implemented to provide them a safe and effective learning environment.”

JR Kerns, dean of student affairs, said the college has voluntarily implemented a reduction in residence hall slots to ensure there is only one student resident per bedroom. Kerns said that is “consistent with the strategies other residential colleges plan to employ for the fall semester.”

“Garrett College is going to look and operate differently this fall, but it’s still going to be Garrett College,” said Midcap. “We’ve redesigned our spaces and our teaching methods to help keep everyone — students, faculty, staff and visitors — as safe as possible.

New processes for students who receive additional services, including dining, tutoring, student activities and library and learning commons use, will also be implemented.

“In return, it is our expectation that everyone will follow the new processes being implemented,” said Midcap. “A few relatively minor changes in how we interact with one another can help stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s important that we remember that we’re all in this together.”

The most up-to-date information on Garrett College’s Fall 2020 Return to Campus Plan can be found at

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