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PRCC moves most classes online, dorm access limited

Pearl River Community College extended spring break until March 30, and when classes return the majority of students will be doing coursework online for the rest of the semester.

All on-campus events are cancelled until April 30 and students who want to come back to their dorms after spring break must fill out a letter of request that needs to be approved. Students living on campus will also be subject to health checks.

Moving Online

All academic classes are moving online for the rest of the semester to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but some classes in Career Technical Education, the Allied Health program and nursing will have to meet in small groups to complete lab work or learn essential skills, said PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood.

All of the students are on track to graduate, and all of the accrediting agencies the school works with have been cooperative with the changes and adjustments, said Breerwood.

“From our perspective, as long as our students can stay focused and open to all the communication they’re supposed to receive, they all can remain on track,” said Breerwood.

Career Technical Education, Allied Health and nursing courses will also be doing some of their coursework online, but small groups of four or five students will have to meet with instructors to learn those essential skills, said Breerwood. However, the college is trying to push in-person classes as far back into the semester as possible to delay when students and instructors meet in person again. Students will complete as much of their courses as possible online before having in-person coursework.

PRCC has Wi-Fi hotspots in parking lots at all three of its campuses, so that students with limited Internet access can drive to campus and stay in their car to access the Internet and complete online coursework.

Breerwood said faculty members have embraced transferring coursework online. Some faculty were already teaching online classes or had been trained to teach courses online, but some teachers have only taught face-to-face and are relying on the office of E-Learning for assistance, said Breerwood.

As of Wednesday, the college was not 100 percent ready to move to online courses, Breerwood said, but was closer to ready than he thought was possible.

The college is expecting a large call volume from students, so voicemails have been set up to ask students to request help via email, and staff who are working from home and on campus are responding to emails. The college is also looking into using a call center to manage call volume.

Dorms

The dorms at Poplarville’s PRCC campus are not being closed. However, students who did not remain on campus over spring break do have to file a request and inform administrators why they plan to live on campus and what their situation is in order to come back.

Students will have to fill out paperwork and will be subject to health checks before they can return to their dorms. Students who have been traveling and showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be able to move back in. Students who want to stay off campus are not being asked to move their possessions out of the dorms, said Breerwood.

“That’s the last thing we need…is to have 40 U-Haul’s on campus with moms and dads helping them move out,” said Breerwood.

The dorms will be open at specific times for students who need to retrieve items from their rooms.

Breerwood said he does not know if students who choose to move their items completely out of the dorms would receive any refund for the dorm since that is a decision the college’s Board would have to make at a later date.

The cafeteria is still serving food to go on campus, but all gyms, recreation areas and wellness centers have been closed, said Breerwood.