NORFOLK, Neb. – Northeast Community College is preparing to welcome students as the start of the 2021-22 academic year approaches. Classes begin on Mon., Aug. 23 at all campus locations in Norfolk, O’Neill, South Sioux City, and West Point.
During the last academic year, COVID-19 forced Northeast to shift instructional methods to asynchronous and on-line learning for a number of courses with career and technical education (CTE) classes held in socially distanced, face-to-face settings. Northeast will begin the new year with a full academic schedule of classes and delivery options and full-college operations.
“Northeast has been working extremely hard to ensure that our students have a traditional college experience as we return to normal operations,” said Leah Barrett, president. “Face-to-face classes will be held along with instructional delivery options such as online, hybrid/online, hybrid/virtual and virtual classes where appropriate. In addition, athletic, performing arts and student activity events are scheduled throughout the year.”
Northeast will be operating under Phase III of its COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures. Face masks are “strongly recommended” for everyone while they are in all college buildings on all campuses. The College is continuing to monitor the situation across the region to determine if a mask requirement would be necessary on Northeast campuses. In addition, the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department will hold two vaccination clinics on the Norfolk campus for all college employees and students on Aug. 19 and 26.
Amanda Nipp, vice president of student services, said Northeast has created a campaign to educate both students and employees on the benefits of the vaccine.
“The timing of the clinic, especially on the 19th, works perfectly as it is the day students move into the residence halls on the Norfolk campus. It is also one day prior to Fall Orientation. So, we have will have a number of students, faculty and staff here who will have the opportunity to get the vaccine,” Nipp said. “In addition, Northeast’s Marketing Department and the Student Activities office have been working on an incentive program that is open to all students and employees who receive the vaccine at one of the clinics or on their own.”
Nipp said prizes, such as gift cards, will be available to students and employees who receive or have already received the vaccine. The education component of the campaign includes testimonials from students who have already received the vaccine. Videos of the students will be posted on Northeast’s social media sites throughout the year.
Residence Life staff are preparing to fill housing facilities with students on the Norfolk campus with all rooms open for regular occupancy to begin the fall semester.
Nipp said, “We are really looking forward to starting the fall semester with our residence halls at full capacity of 550 students. Last year, we had reduced the number of students living on-campus due to COVID-19; however, this fall, with the COVID-19 vaccine readily available, we feel that we can return to regular capacity. Space will continue to be reserved for quarantine, if needed.”
Students who move in on Aug. 19 will have additional help this year. As part of Northeast’s Becoming a Hawk program, employees from across the College will volunteer to assist students and their families as they move into Burkhardt, Path and Simon halls. WOW (Week of Welcome) begins on the first day of classes with activities to follow each day of the first week.
One popular experience that Northeast instituted last year as a result of the pandemic is making a return. An optional intersession will be held again between the fall and spring semesters. Last year, over 250 college students took advantage of the opportunity to earn additional credits by enrolling in courses during a time they would normally be on break. This year’s intersession will run from Dec. 20-Jan. 14, with a break in between for the holidays.
“Operating under the pandemic has been challenging, but I am hopeful that will be able to get back into a routine as we begin the fall semester,” Barrett said. “The entire College community has been diligent as we continue to prepare to meet the needs of the students. And doing so in a safe environment is critical in providing a learning and student-ready culture that advances Northeast’s new strategic direction, enVISION. Everyone is looking forward to seeing students as they return to campus as we begin the new year.”