• 66°

Smithfield Camp Center closed for now

In the COVID-19 era, the student experience at Camp Community College will be different by necessity.

The college confirmed it has extensive plans and protocols in place to protect the safety of students and staff, as fall semester classes were set to begin on Aug. 24. Plan details are online.

Camp has campuses in Franklin, Suffolk and the Camp Center in Smithfield at 253 James St.

The college also confirmed it is not opening its Smithfield location at this time, according to Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, the college’s vice president of academic and student development. Camp’s Franklin and Suffolk campuses are set to reopen following health and social distancing guidelines.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, 103 Camp students took classes in Smithfield and 494 students took classes at the Franklin campus, according to Damay Bullock, Camp’s coordinator of institutional research and assessment. Bullock said Camp has “seen a decrease in the number of students registered when compared to last year.”

Student access to on-campus services in the fall will be by appointment only, until further notice, the college said. Camp plans to phase in access to campus computer labs, libraries, testing centers and other in-person services such as admissions and financial aid.

Classes with hands-on learning requirements such as nursing and welding have been prioritized for on-campus instruction. Instructors and students in other classes may have opportunities for limited, optional meetings on campus by appointment.

All fall classes scheduled as asynchronous online classes will remain online. Career and technical education classes in which hands-on learning is required will follow a hybrid model, with a distance learning component; students will also be required to meet on campus at times set by the instructor. And all other classes will be synchronous hybrid classes with virtual meetings at regularly scheduled times, according to Atkins-Brady.

In asynchronous classes, the instructor and students don’t meet together as a group at the same time. In synchronous classes, the instructor and students are in class at the same time but may be participating from different locations using virtual meeting technology like Zoom.

During the summer, nursing, EMS and welding program students were on campus to complete simulation, skills and lab requirements, Atkins-Brady said. Some of the current fast track workforce programs with in-person instruction include welding; forklift, clamp and reach truck; logistics certifications; and weekday and weekend truck driver CDL classes.

Camp’s in-person classes are capped at eight students, who will be spaced eight feet apart for social distancing, said Dr. Angela Lawhorne, the college’s director of workforce development. Fast track health care programs (clinical medical assistant, phlebotomy and EKG tech) are being offered in a hybrid format, while several information technology programs are online only.

“We are also renting out rooms at the Regional Workforce Development Center, following the governor’s current executive order regarding social distancing and maximum capacities,” Lawhorne said.

Workforce development staff are still meeting with students and prospective students. Call 757-569-6050 or email workforce@pdc.edu for an appointment.