Clark College announces plans for return to campus in fall

More than 400 classes will be offered at least partially on campus, with safety precautions in place

VANCOUVER —  Last week Clark College published its 2021 fall class schedule, which includes 430 classes with on-campus components. This is a major step by the college — which has been in remote operations since March 2020 — to safely return to campus this fall. 

Fall term begins Mon., Sept. 20. The fall schedule is released early to give students ample time to consider their options and sign up for classes. Registration for both summer and fall terms opens on May 10. File photo
Fall term begins Mon., Sept. 20. The fall schedule is released early to give students ample time to consider their options and sign up for classes. Registration for both summer and fall terms opens on May 10. File photo

“This is an exciting moment for the college, as we prepare to safely welcome large numbers of students and employees back to a campus that has been too quiet for far too long,” said Clark College President Karin Edwards. “At the same time, it’s important to understand that we are not making this decision rashly. We will continue to follow the guidance of our state and local public health agencies to ensure that this return is done with everyone’s safety in mind.” 

Fall term begins Mon., Sept. 20. The fall schedule is released early to give students ample time to consider their options and sign up for classes. Registration for both summer and fall terms opens on May 10. 

Currently, about 25 percent of Clark’s fall classes will be in-person — a much lower percentage than during pre-pandemic times, but much higher than the handful of lab classes that were being taught on campus during the 2020-2021 academic year. More classes may be added over the next several months as the college closely monitors the COVID-19 pandemic response. 

“Our faculty are excited to get back to in-person instruction in the fall, but are prepared to roll their classes back into online delivery if the COVID landscape changes,” said Interim Vice President of Instruction Genevieve Howard.  

Some of the fall in-person classes will be hybrid classes — in other words, taught partially in a classroom and partially online. This allows students to have a chance to get the hands-on learning that Clark College is known for, while still limiting the amount of people on campus at any given time. Other classes will be “web-enhanced” — taught in person, but with online materials or activities to read or complete online. Still other classes will be taught fully in person. Students can search for in-person, hybrid, and web-enhanced classes on CTCLink, the state’s online software system. 

The college is also developing plans for some support services to return to campus as well, while retaining the virtual help center that has operated throughout the pandemic. The college has already announced its plans to bring back athletic competition in the fall; athletic practice returned to campus in spring term. An announcement has also been made that the 2021 Commencement ceremony will be held in-person on June 17, though with restrictions on how many people may attend. 

The college is working to ensure its infrastructure and equipment meet its needs for re-opening the college safely. Visitors may need to use safety precautions like hand sanitizing, face coverings, and health screenings in order to participate in on-campus activities. Details will be announced closer to fall term. 

The college is taking care to include student voices in its decision-making process, sending out a survey to all current students this past week to get their input on what services and supports are most important to them. The survey results will help inform the college in planning for fall.  

“We will center the students in all our planning,” said Michele Cruse, interim vice president of Student Affairs. “Their voice is vitally important as we begin this slow and gradual process of returning to campus.”  

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