Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) will move all of its spring term courses into a remote format in accordance with the executive order issued late Wednesday by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
The order prohibits all colleges and universities from conducting in-person classroom, laboratory, or other instruction from March 23 through April 28 in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Though BMCC decided March 13 to shift the majority of its classes to a remote format for spring term, it will now move the remainder of its classes, including most Career-Technical Education (CTE), into this format. BMCC will also delay the start of spring term to give faculty and staff adequate time to prepare for the change.
Spring term will now begin on April 6.
The executive order is designed to drastically reduce the number of in-person interactions at colleges and universities in an effort to further slow the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19.
In addition, BMCC will move to serving students and the community remotely. This means BMCC will provide services exclusively through virtual means and BMCC locations will be restricted to faculty and staff access only. BMCC is asking students and the public to refrain from coming to campus or any center location during this time, and instead utilize phone calls, email, Zoom and other remote access tools to connect with BMCC employees and services. However, it is important to note that BMCC is not closed during this time.
“BMCC remains operational and will continue to serve students and the community through this crisis, just in a new, remote way,” said BMCC President Dennis Bailey-Fougnier. “We know life is changing dramatically for so many in our communities, and BMCC wants to be a consistent and reliable resource. We’re fortunate to be the top user in the state among community colleges of Zoom, so the majority of our faculty and staff are well-prepared to move to a fully remote operation. While this is a challenging and unprecedented time for everyone, BMCC will adapt to the changes, learn from challenges, and looks forward to continuing to provide educational resources to eastern Oregon.”
Not all students have access to the necessary equipment and/or Internet service from home, so BMCC will take advantage of the “essential services” exception in the governor’s executive order to allow students to access “Zoom Rooms” on campus and in each center location to connect to their courses.
The order also gives an exception for in-person instruction to Career Technical Education (CTE) programs that are “required for the completion of a health care-related certificate, license, or degree, or other certificates, licenses, or degrees that are essential to emergency response and resilience efforts, where no remote or online alternative is practicable.” For BMCC, this means the Nursing and Diesel programs will continue in-person formats. However, these interactions will employ strict social distancing measures.
“BMCC is thankful that CHI St. Anthony Hospital has agreed to continue to partner with BMCC to allow student nurses to complete their clinicals this spring,” Bailey-Fougnier said. “This pandemic will be a valuable training opportunity for the students and faculty, and will serve as an additional support to hospital staff and patients during this trying time.”
Students will have the opportunity to meet with faculty advisors and Success Coaches remotely, as well as continue to call into the Service Center. BMCC’s Financial Aid Office will be contacting students via email regarding their financial aid, and the college’s food pantry will take call-in orders.
BMCC’s coronavirus page of its website will keep students and the public informed of the most current information – www.bluecc.edu/coronavirus.