Don Doucette (EICC photo)

As grade school leaders debate how classes will be held this fall, higher education will continue in eastern Iowa with a mix of in-person and virtual classes.

Don Doucette, chancellor of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, expects about one-third of students to take classes face-to-face.
“We’re also offering courses on campus, especially those that require on-campus hands-on training, laboratories, things like that, but others as well,” Doucette says. “We know that some students learn and need to learn with in-person instruction.”

Students at the community college campuses in Clinton, Muscatine and Scott counties will be asked to follow CDC recommendations for COVID-19.  “Our classrooms have been socially distanced with reduced capacity in all of those classes, all kinds of plexiglass shields for front-line staff, disinfectants and hand sanitizer all over the place,” Doucette says. “Everybody picks up a wipe on the way into a class and wipes down their desk.”

Craig DeVrieze (SAU photo)

Craig DeVrieze, at Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, says classes will start a week early on August 17th, and they’ll be in the hybrid format. “Half of the students will take a class on a Monday in-person and then the other half will be observing online. Then, the following day, they will switch places,” DeVrieze says. “That will help us achieve the social distancing that we need in order to stay safe.”

Students at Saint Ambrose, where the school mascot is the Fighting Bees, are being asked to commit to the “Bee Safe, Bee Responsible” promise, to follow CDC guidelines.  “We make available to students an opportunity to learn strictly online, to stay home and take advantage of as many of our online offerings as they can,” DeVrieze says. “We hope the students who don’t feel like they want to come on campus will take advantage of that and work to complete their degree.”

Doucette and DeVrieze say enrollments at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Saint Ambrose are steady to slightly higher compared to a year ago.

(By Michelle O’Neill, WVIK, Rock Island)