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Shorter fall semester part of BCC phase-in plan

Barton Community College’s fall semester will start Aug. 12 and end on Nov. 24 this year. And students who arrive from at-risk areas will need to come two weeks early for a two-week quarantine at Camp Aldrich. This and other information is part of the latest “Cougar Driven” phase-in plan for classes and events on the Great Bend campus.

Barton administrators revealed the latest plan at Tuesday’s BCC Board of Trustees meeting. They said the COVID-19 pandemic has created a complex situation, which continues to change as needed in accordance with guidance and recommendations issued by federal, state and local public health and government officials.

Vice President of Administration Mark Dean said plans can change in a day. He also noted that most employees who have been working remotely returned to work on campus Tuesday.

A full semester

Trustee Gary Burke asked the administrators to reassure the public that the students won’t be shortchanged by having their fall semester end just before Thanksgiving. The plan for spring is to have a normal schedule.

“The students will be in class the same amount of time,” Dean said.

Vice President of Instruction Elaine Simmons added that this is the last year that the fall semester will start this early, but it works well because the college won't have to worry about students coming back with infections after the break. Faculty have been advised to prepare for the compact schedule. “There will be no ‘snow days.’” she said.

There also won’t a “finals week.” Finals will be due at the end of the class.

Academic Plan

For the summer, Barton will offer a variety of courses in multiple formats:

• Fuzion classes, which have a scheduled meeting time for students meeting both in-person and via Zoom; 

• LiveOnline classes, which have a scheduled meeting time for students participating via Zoom;

• In-person classes, where students meeting within the same physical space; and

• Online classes

Fall will offer similar options for a diverse selection of course offerings, delivery methods and time, said Simmons. Classrooms will be re-configured to allow for social distancing. The emphasis is on flexibility, so options will be determined based on the limitations, requirements and regulations in place this fall.

• There will be an additional BartOnline session added at the end of the semester.

Employee and student travel restrictions

• Until June 1, on a case-by-case basis, travel determined as necessary must be approved by one of the three vice presidents and must follow Kansas Department of Health and Environment/Centers for Disease Control travel guidelines for high-risk areas.

• After June 1, all travel must follow KDHE and the CDC travel and quarantine guidelines for travel to high-risk areas. Campus Nurse Kathy Brock will monitor the list of high-risk areas as they change frequently.  • The college highly encourages all employees and students to follow the KDHE and the CDC travel and quarantine guidelines for travel to high-risk areas when traveling.


For the summer, some special accommodations have been made to allow for students – primarily international – to remain in the dorms due to still not being able to travel home.

In the fall, the college is planning for full standard occupancy in student housing. In the past, student housing has exceeded standard occupancy at the start of the fall semester and the college has allowed triple occupancy in some rooms intended for two beds. This year, there are no plans to exceed standard occupancy.

Anyone coming from any state or foreign country on the KDHE’s and CDC’s lists regarding travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine upon entering the state will be asked to arrive early. Early arrival is set for July 20-22.

If necessary, Camp Aldrich will be used as quarantine location for any student arriving from an area noted on the KDHE or CDC lists until residents can satisfy quarantine requirements and be moved into student housing facilities. Students and families will need to watch KDHE and CDC requirements, said Vice President of Student Services Angie Maddy.

The college will suspend its requirement for students from outside Barton and border counties with less than 24 hours to reside in the dorms.

The college may stagger move-in sessions to accommodate for less crowding and for health screening upon arrival.

Meal times will be expanded to spread out the number of people eating in the Student Union over a longer timeframe, to meet COVID capacity and social distancing requirements. In addition, assuming that social distancing requirements continue to be in place, meals will be restricted to students. Employees will need to make other arrangements but the restriction may change if it is determined the dining service can move additional individuals through the space once the semester starts.

Enrollment-related processes

On-campus placement testing has begun. The college is in discussion with partner high schools to offer related testing in May and June. Enrollment Days are planned for June and July, with limited capacity initially.

Safety measures

Classrooms will be re-configured to allow for social distancing.

Employees, students and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear masks while on campus, but employees in their own offices who can maintain social distancing would not need to wear the masks.

While there will be some disposable masks available to employees and students, it is highly recommended that they secure their own cloth masks.

There will be hand sanitizers and disinfectants distributed to all classrooms, service counters and common office areas. Areas will be sanitized daily; common areas and restrooms multiple times per day.

Social distancing classroom capacities will be posted on each classroom. Additional signage will be posted campus-wide encouraging social distancing and other safety protocols.

If Camp Aldrich is used for a quarantine location, meals will need to be provided to those students. Alternative course delivery methods will be in place to ensure student access to their classes.

Testing and monitoring for students/staff will be determined at the recommendation of KDHE and the local health department.

Major campus events

Throughout the summer and fall semesters, Barton will adhere to the governor’s phase-in plan as far as the number of individuals that may attend large events. Social distancing will be encouraged and facility capacities will be enforced. This includes sporting event, music and theater events, public events and events hosted by outside agencies.




Meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at Tuesday’s Barton Community College Board of Trustees meeting.

• Coordinator of Assessment Jo Harrington reported on the Barton Assessment Institute. It is an in-house training program developed to educate faculty and staff on the assessment of student learning and to develop the next generation of assessment leaders.

• Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Charles Perkins provided the Strategic Planning Report. Planning for the 2021 budget is in progress but currently all other strategic planning is on hold.

• Vice President of Instruction Elaine Simmons gave a monitoring report on Barton Services and Regional Locations. These include the Workforce Training & Economic Development Division and the Military Academic, Technical Education and Outreach Programs Division.

• Vice President Simmons led the discussion on the Barton Phase-in Plan for the Barton County campus.

• Stephanie Joiner talked about the Barton Cares Initiative 2020, and how the college has connected with students following the COVID-19 response.

• The board tabled the approval of contracts for head coaches, management staff and administrators. It will return to the topic in June.

• The board approved hiring Shawgi Ahmed as an instructor for the gas program on the Barton County campus.