Based on guidance from public health experts and Virginia's Community Colleges amid the pandemic, Thomas Nelson Community College will continue most classes online for the spring 2021 semester. Thomas Nelson joins Virginia’s other 22 community colleges in the decision.
Dr. Glenn DuBois, VCCS chancellor, issued a letter to students Sept. 18 explaining the measure and assuring students their safety is the highest priority as the public health crisis remains a threat.
“Just as we have done for the current fall semester, that means every course that can be conducted virtually will be offered that way, and we are finding safer ways to offer the classes that must be done face-to-face,” wrote DuBois. "With the threat posed by the pandemic still very much upon us, this approach represents the safest and most prudent choice we can make to serve you this spring.”
Dr. Susan English, Thomas Nelson's vice president for Academic Affairs and Workforce Development, said the College assessed options early on and developed a plan for spring. For the upcoming semester, Thomas Nelson will essentially mirror what is being done this fall.
"Thomas Nelson began this work earlier in the summer and is prepared to present to students the spring 2021 academic schedule on or around Oct. 1,” she said. “In line with the chancellor’s message, we have prepared a spring schedule very similar to the fall schedule—mostly online with limited face-to-face sections as required by accreditors and/or hands-on activities."
DuBois said the onset of the traditional cold and flu season (which is not conducive to slowing COVID-19) was among factors for the decision to stay with online instruction. Thus, VCCS schools will continue maintaining all measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while also doing all possible to deliver top-notch academic, career training and technical courses.
“… We will continue to offer hands-on courses, that cannot be offered through a screen, as safely as possible. Many of our career and technical education classes, FastForward short-term training programs, and some science classes with lab components, require face-to-face interaction. Those in-person classes that are offered will be done so in compliance with mask-wearing, social distancing, and other public health guidance,” DuBois stated in the letter.
English emphasized that Thomas Nelson is strongly committed to helping students succeed, particularly in these challenging times. The College provides a network of resources to make sure students have the support necessary to navigate online. Students can visit tncc.edu for assistance with everything from applying and financial aid to tutoring and tech help.
DuBois encouraged students to remain optimistic and stay the course.
“We look forward to the time when more in-person classes can be offered safely,” he said. “Until then, your community college is dedicated to helping you stay on track and earn the credentials and degrees that will prepare you for a great career …”