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Harford Community College announces reopening strategy, may include limited in-person instruction in the fall

Harford Community College said it hopes to offer at least some face-to-face learning for certain courses in the fall 2020 semester, but said employees and students should plan for a continuation of online-only learning through at least the end of the calendar year.

The college’s Taskforce for Reopening Campus announced its recommendations on Thursday, based on data compiled from state and federal sources, public health organizations and various higher education affinity groups, according to a news release.

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The reopening plan consists of a series of stages, with each stage accompanied by triggers dependent on local, state and federal guidelines and actions/controls that the college must implement before moving into each stage, including physical distancing, administrative and engineering controls, and the use of personal protective equipment, the release states.

HCC has been closed since March 13, and remains in Stage 0, with the campus closed to all but essential personnel. It will remain closed until May 31.

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On June 1, HCC will move into Stage 1 of its reopening plan: Online-only instruction will continue for the duration of the summer semester and nonessential personnel will continue to work from home with only limited exceptions.

By the start of the fall semester, the college hopes to implement Stage 2A, but only after federal and state governments proceed with the second phases of their respective reopening plans. If it does, courses that include a lab or experiential learning components may be done face-to-face or in a hybrid format.

Most classes held in the fall would continue online.

“It is possible that conditions will allow for the college to enter Stage 2B at some point during the fall semester, which would permit a more extensive reopening of key campus offices and possibly enable some courses that had previously been online-only to transition to a hybrid format,” the release states. “However, for now, employees and students should plan for the continuation of an online-only learning and working environment through at least the end of the calendar year.”

The college said it would provide additional updates as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and was the college progresses through its reopening plan. A summary of the taskforce’s findings can be found at www.harford.edu/coronavirus.

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