The following is submitted by Dr. Jim, Shaeffer, ESCC president
Do you remember it was March, nearly eight months ago, that Your Eastern Shore Community College pivoted to offering nearly all our classes remotely? It seems like ages ago. In August, we launched the first 8-week session of classes for the fall semester with more on-campus classes, expanded hours in student services, and access to the library.
8-Week Session Success
And our students, staff, and faculty accomplished something remarkable—students completed one, two, or three courses and earned college credits on October 20. At most colleges, it takes students until near the end of December to earn any college credits, but ESCC is now the leader among Virginia’s Community Colleges in offering all classes, except healthcare, in 8-week sessions.
Why did we do it? Because research shows that students are more successful when taking fewer classes at a time over fewer weeks. Because if a student does not succeed in a class in the first 8-week session, they do not have to wait until the next semester or even longer to retake the class and regain momentum.
And, because there are more opportunities for students to jump on the educational causeway when it aligns with their calendar and jump off if they need to return to work, care for children, or just take a break.
Safety Close to Home
At ESCC our YES! is celebrating what students, staff, and faculty have accomplished, while at the same time maintaining our guard with the COVID-19 crisis. We see what is happening at some colleges in the commonwealth where they have had multiple outbreaks of COVID-19.
I am so proud of our faculty, staff, and students because they continue to be vigilant in taking the appropriate steps of wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and sanitizing. I can tell you that the path to getting back to normal is to continue to be vigilant.
It would be easy to let our guard down—I join all of you who are simply tired and worn out because of this crisis. However, we are reminded every day that we need to continue our fight against this crisis. ESCC invites all residents on the Shore to join us in renewing our efforts in doing the right things, not so much for ourselves, but for our families and friends.
Spring Registration is Now
We are now registering for the 8-week sessions that start in January. Students should not delay in signing up for classes because some of our classes will sell out early and because research shows that students who enroll earlier are more likely to pass classes and graduate from college.
For the Spring, ESCC is modifying some of our instructional practices based on comments from students and faculty about what is working. We will continue with fully online instruction, online instruction with Zoom meetings, and onsite instruction for hands-on classes like welding.
But we are making two enhancements. The first we call Optional Zoom Online. These classes will meet at scheduled days and times through Zoom, but for students who cannot attend one or all sessions, recordings will be available.
The second enhancement is offering more opportunities for on-campus classes. ESCC has not had a confirmed COVID-19 case traced to the college because everyone has been observing safety precautions. We believe we can now allow more on-campus sessions, such as chemistry labs. Of course, should the virus surge on the Shore, we are prepared to return to all remote instruction.
Stay Safe, Stay Local
We especially invite any students who went away to college but had to return home or anyone who delayed starting college because of uncertainty and safety concerns. As president of Your Eastern Shore Community College, I am committed to ensuring the 2020-21 academic year does not become a gap year for those who want to learn.
We have a scholarship or grant available for almost every student, we’ll lend you a computer, and we’re the mightiest small college in Virginia, leading the commonwealth in enrollment growth and innovations like our 8-week session strategy.
Your future is waiting for you, but you have to act. Contact the friendliest college staff you’ll ever meet through email, phone, or by coming on campus.
ESCC support services are open Monday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (757)789-1720. YES! we’d love to hear from you.