Fall 2021 College System Operational Update
Sep 1, 2021
When HCC announced changes to the start of the Fall 2021 semester, we committed to providing an update on our operational plans resulting from high-risk levels of COVID-19 in the Houston area. Today we are announcing the in-person start for most face-to-face classes will be delayed another two weeks. Details about what that means for our students, faculty, and staff is provided at the end of this memo. But first, I want to share information about why we came to this decision and what you can expect on October 4 when all face-to-face classes fully resume in-person delivery.
The promising news is that local COVID cases appear to have peaked and are starting to decline. However, the overall numbers remain very high and historically holidays, such as the upcoming Labor Day, result in a spike in infections. For this reason, we feel it is prudent to delay the full return of all in-person classes by another two weeks. However, as we approach 1.5 years of the COVID pandemic altering our normal way of operating, it is clear this global pandemic will continue as part of our everyday lives for the foreseeable future. As a learning organization, HCC is committed to applying the lessons learned over the last 1.5 years to establish a new “normal.” One that continues to prioritize safety, but also enables operations to return in-person, even with an elevated risk status in the area.
What does that mean? For HCC, it means continuing to implement screening protocols, which are proving effective at identifying and keeping potential COVID risks off campus. Also, maintaining enhanced cleaning standards, setting spaces up for social distancing, and – when COVID-19 does impact our campuses – quickly implementing plans to quarantine affected individuals and shift to remote operations until the campus risk window has passed.
Perhaps most importantly, it means committing to the HCC Soar Safe Pledge. It is critical that every member of the HCC Community do their part to protect themselves and those around them. Wearing a mask, keeping social distance, practicing good hand hygiene, getting vaccinated and staying home if you are ill; these five actions can make the difference. While no effort can eliminate the risk of COVID-19, the above are measures we have successfully put in place at HCC that have helped to mitigate the risk. These measures form the baseline for our new normal and will continue to be implemented when in-person classes fully return on October 4. Show your support today, take the HCC Soar Safe Pledge.
Serving a large and diverse community is a privilege and an institutional strength, but challenges us in designing operations to meet everyone’s expectations. We will continue to prioritize safety while using best efforts to be responsive to both online and in-person learning as we fully commit to operating in this new normal. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and willingness to do your part to keep HCC campuses as safe as possible.
Detailed Description of Operational Changes as of September 1
- Most in-person and hybrid/hybrid lab courses will be conducted as “Online on a Schedule” until October 4.
- All in-person academic courses will be conducted remotely as Online on a Schedule until October 4, after which time we will transition back to in-person instruction. This means that students will continue to log into Canvas instead of coming to campus for these courses until October 4. This applies to all regular 16 week, 8 week, and second start academic courses.
- Workforce, Health Sciences, ESL and fast-track Continuing Education courses will continue as scheduled with in-person instruction, unless stated otherwise by the course instructors. This applies to all regular 16 week, 8 week, and second start courses with these classifications.
- Students can learn how these changes impact their Fall courses in three different ways.
- Read this memo to understand the ways you can check whether your class(es) are delivered online or in-person until October 4.
- Remember, these changes only impact in-person and hybrid/hybrid lab courses. Fall courses that were Online Anytime or Online on a Schedule continue to operate as planned without any changes to course delivery.
- On-campus student support services will continue to be reduced.
- On-campus support services (advising, counseling, enrollment, financial aid, tutoring, library services, etc.) will be limited and will vary by campus depending on available resources. Specific information about hours of operation and services available at each campus can be accessed on the HCC Locations page. Remember schedules can and do change, so check the Locations webpage frequently.
- Students will continue to have access to all support services virtually through the HCC Virtual Lobby.
Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E.