Returning to Campus: Embracing Change

Virtual Graduation

With the end of summer around the corner, PCC anticipates the privilege of welcoming students to campus this fall. In preparation, PCC released the Return to Campus plan for the fall semester, which covers changes to course offerings, campus health, student event and athletics procedures, and remote learning alternatives.

RayleneCochran

“PCC’s plans align very closely with what is being done by other Florida colleges and universities,” said Dr. Raylene Cochran, academic vice president. “We have a great support team that has worked very hard to think of every detail required to make these adjustments as quickly and accurately as possible. They all have a heart for the students and want to do whatever is possible to ensure as many students as possible are able to get the courses they need.”

RoseChapman

When Rose Chapman (Sr., CT) read the Return to Campus plan, she was thankful for the opportunity to return to PCC and appreciated the safety measures being put in place. “Whenever I’m talking to my friends about the new protocol and regulations, I like to remind them not to look at this semester as ‘We have to do things differently.’ Look at it as ‘We get to be here even though it’s different,’” she explained. “I will be taking Life of Christ (BI 203) as an online class this semester. I’m looking forward to being able to do that class from the comfort of my dorm room. It will be like having a break without really having a break.”

The health and safety of the PCC community has continually been the focus of the Return to Campus plan. Several changes allow for easier social distancing across campus, including smaller class sizes, reduced residence hall occupancy, staggered chapel times, and lessening traffic in hallways and stairwells by varying class start times.

Semester planning revolved around being adaptable as necessary. “All courses are being designed to transition fully online if required. Wherever possible, the course sequence will be adjusted so that projects or assignments that require access to campus facilities can be completed earlier in the semester,” said Dr. Cochran. “Planning courses with this possibility in mind helps ensure a smooth transition if it is necessary.”

Because travel restrictions may prevent students from returning to PCC, staff and faculty have been planning their coursework to allow these students to continue earning their degree from home. “Students who are unable to come to campus due to health concerns will be able to take a full load of fall classes online,” Dr. Cochran explained. “While it isn’t possible to offer every course online, our goal is to help as many of these students as possible be able to stay on track for graduation. With the increased number of online course offerings, all students should be able to make progress toward meeting degree requirements.”

Although events will be reworked to allow for social distancing or modified to a virtual space, students can still expect an engaging student experience. RachelMoses “Many of our activities have been the same for several years, so rethinking their purpose, scope, and mechanics has opened up some great conversation and brought about some good ideas,” said Rachel Moses, student programs and communications coordinator. “We’ve also been more in contact with our student leadership teams this summer than ever before. With many events going virtual, we’ll be using social media more to keep students informed about opportunities and engaged in campus community.”

While social distancing is necessary, maintaining an environment that provides venues for shared student experiences is vital as well. “We believe our role as Student Activities is to think outside the box to continue providing opportunities for connection and engagement during these uncertain times,” Rachel explained. “In-person connections may need to be limited, but we need each other now more than ever—we need time to just relax and forget about all the big decisions that need to be made and how everything seems in the world.”

AndrewRasmussen

Returning freshman Andrew Rasmussen (CA) has a hopeful outlook toward the semester. “I was just glad that we would be able to come back to campus! I think President Shoemaker and his staff have a good plan, and we as a student body need to be as supportive as possible,” he said. “If you sit around and think about what you can and can’t do, then you will miss out on the opportunity God’s giving you. Everyone will need to adapt, but with a good attitude and encouraging those around us, I believe this could be one of the best years PCC has ever had!”

Since the reopening plan’s release, parents have also voiced their support on social media. “So thankful for PCC in all the hard work in this pandemic,” one parent wrote. “I’m sure many many hours have been put into giving the best opportunity for everyone. Thank you all very much! I feel extremely confident my daughter will be safe and healthy!”

Please continue to pray for guidance and safety in the PCC community as we continue on this adventure together.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:6–7

To learn more about PCC’s Return to Campus plan and to view current updates, visit the Coronavirus Response page.

Published7/31/2020

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