By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Barton semester coming to close
crows nest 2020
Barton student Corey Hale from Hays attends a biology class online while seated alone in the Student Union this past week. Students wear masks when they are unable to maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet. - photo by Susan Thacker

Campus will close for break

Tuesday, Nov. 24, is the last day of the fall semester at Barton Community College.

The campus will be closed for Thanksgiving break from Wednesday, Nov. 25, through Friday, Nov. 27. Offices will resumes their regular schedule on Monday, Nov. 30 and summer registration will begin that day. 

Sunday, Dec. 6, is the last day to enroll in the BARTonline fall intersession, which begins on Dec. 7.

When Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday at Barton Community College, it will be the end of the fall 2020 semester. Some students won’t be back until classes begin on Jan. 19, 2021.

Like thousands of other students in Kansas colleges and universities, Barton students have been on a unique schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a recent lunch hour in the Student Union, Clayton Brown and Johan Cue from the swim team sat across from each other at a table, with other tables spaced at least 6 feet apart. Both said they would be leaving until January 11 when some of the athletes return. Brown will go home to Wichita and Cue, who is from Cuba, will visit family members in Florida.

“It’s a lot different from last year, for sure,” Brown said of this semester. “I have a couple of classes that are face-to-face.” The rest are online.

On-campus social activities have been significantly reduced this fall, said Jonathan Dietz, director of Student Life. Instead of evening events in the Student Union, he and Student and Resident Life Assistant Erica Stacey have planned a few activities over the noon hour, such as pumpkin decorating in October. There was room for students to maintain social distancing, he noted.

But there have been no off-campus trips to the movie theater or to bowling alleys this semester.

“It’s a challenge, for sure,” Dietz said of scheduling safe, fun activities during a pandemic.

Athletic Director Trevor Rolfs can attest that the year has certainly been different for student athletes.

“The only sports that are competing here at Barton Community College this fall were men’s and women’s cross country and eSports,” Rolfs said. “All other sports will be competing during the spring academic term.”

Most years, the student athletes are also involved in community service projects that often include interacting with students in grades K-12. This year the community service has focused on outdoor projects such as laying a new layer of surface mulch at the My Backyard Playground at the Great Bend Activity Center.

Ending the semester

Now that the semester is winding down, student housing remains open through Dec. 8, with meal service available through Dec. 4 as outlined in the housing contract, said Angie Maddy, vice president of student services. The dorms will reopen on Jan. 8.

“I think they’re going to test us (for COVID-19) when we get back,” Brown said.

Maddy said residential students were sent messaging about limiting their potential exposure prior to any travel.

Recommendation for testing is directed by Barton’s Student Health Nurse Kathy Brock, who takes into consideration all the variables for a particular student. Asymptomatic students may be referred for testing if other variables indicate the need. If “Nurse Kathy” recommends testing and the student does not have insurance, Barton covers the cost of testing for the student, Maddy said.

Barton is currently developing its own in-house testing plan for the spring 2021 semester, Maddy said.

The college has already worked out isolation or quarantine arrangements for residential students this semester. Those are handled in partnership with the Barton County Health Department and Barton’s Student Life/Student Health personnel. A portion of the residential facility was set aside this academic year to address isolation and quarantine needs when warranted. Back on Nov. 16, Maddy said approximately a dozen students were either in isolation or quarantine in Barton’s residential facilities.

Bart in mask
Bart the Cougar has been “masked up” this semester and is shown next to a sanitizing station on the Great Bend campus of Barton Community College. Tuesday is the last day of classes for the fall semester and when Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday, Nov. 25, most students won’t be back until January.