In planning for the fall 2020 semester, Wake Tech has two priorities: safety and student success. We must protect the health of the campus community while giving students educational opportunities that lead to good jobs, economic mobility and personal fulfillment. Student success is, as always, Wake Tech’s focus. We want all our students to progress toward and achieve their academic and career goals. A safe and healthy campus community is always a top priority as well, and the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to take extra measures to ensure that everyone remains healthy.
With the virus still very prevalent in our community, we must focus on our two priorities with equal purpose and commitment. Students who get sick cannot continue coursework or progress toward completion. Faculty who get sick cannot teach; staff who get sick cannot provide important support services our students need.
We have a detailed plan for addressing these priorities and meeting the challenges they present. Our plan is called Learn Well: Wake Tech’s Plan for Safety and Progress During the Pandemic, and it has been developed with the latest data and guidance from public health officials and state community college leaders. Learn Well outlines a semester that will look very different from past fall semesters at Wake Tech – but one that will enable us to maximize student progress while minimizing health risks and viral spread, within the college and throughout the community.
Wake Tech’s fall 2020 semester will begin, as originally scheduled, on August 17. Academic calendar dates throughout the semester, including exams, breaks and holidays, will not change.
Note that the Learn Well plan was developed using the most current information available to date. Strategies and protocols may be adjusted throughout the semester as new developments warrant.
This fall, all degree and non-degree courses will be offered in a hybrid format (blend of in-person and online instruction) or fully online. The online designation signifies that 100% of the course material is delivered online. Students can access their lessons via a web browser anytime, anywhere. Some online classes may be completed at the students’ convenience, while others are synchronous, requiring students to meet virtually with their instructor and classmates at designated times throughout the semester. Hybrid courses take advantage of the best features of both in-person and online instruction. All students should carefully read course comments in Self Service and check their Wake Tech email for communications from their instructors prior to the start of the semester.
Many of our hands-on applied engineering and health sciences classes returned to our campuses over the summer in a hybrid format. For the fall semester, hybrid options will be offered across all program areas. Classes, labs and shops will meet with typically 1/3 to 1/2 normal student capacity to ensure social distancing. To provide increased opportunities, the college will add more eight and 12-week classes, in addition to the traditional 16-week semester. Students who are age 65 or older or those who have an underlying medical condition are advised to take fully online courses.
With online instruction continuing to be much more predominant than in the past, it’s important to note that Wake Tech continues to be ranked the #1 online community college in the U.S. To strengthen our online preparedness, all of our full-time instructors have completed our EPIC 30 online instruction certification program, and we have made significant investments to expand technology-based tools such as synchronous video. We will also be offering Digital Wake technology scholarships to eligible students to provide hardware and access support for online learning.
Health and Safety Protocols
Wake Tech’s Environmental Health and Safety department has established Safety Guidelines and Protocols for the COVID-19 Pandemic to keep our college community safe and healthy. These guidelines for on-campus interaction emphasize social distancing, stringent building cleaning, and recommendations for personal hygiene.
- Social distancing – Maintaining a safe social distance of at least six-feet apart from one another is a key aspect of this plan. To facilitate this, we will limit capacities in our buildings and classrooms at any given time so that social distancing can always be maintained. Common areas such as gyms, cafeterias, and other gathering spots will remain closed.
- Face coverings – Face coverings will be required in all public locations including classrooms, shops, labs, hallways or outside locations where people may congregate. Students will be expected to bring their own face coverings, however the college will have a supply of disposable masks on hand if needed.
- Building Cleaning – Classrooms and buildings will be cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals throughout the day. Recognizing that staying healthy in a pandemic is a shared responsibility, faculty and students may be asked to wipe down their desks and work stations before and after use. Buildings will be deep cleaned at night.
- Personal Hygiene – In addition to wearing face coverings, everyone on campus is asked to wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. Everyone should avoid close contact with one another – no handshakes or hugs. Anyone who is at high risk – age 65 or older, or anyone with an underlying medical condition – should not come to campus. Anyone who feels sick should stay home and seek medical care.
- Direct or Indirect Contact with COVID-19 – Employees or students who have come in contact with the coronavirus, either directly or indirectly, should follow these important protocols.
Wake Tech has established a Virtual Support Center for students, which is the best and safest way for students and prospective students to receive services such as admissions, financial aid, registration and records, advising, veterans services, career and employment resources, and wellness counseling.
Beginning Monday, July 20, the college will offer limited on-campus assistance for those who are not able to access virtual services. This assistance will include admissions, advising, financial aid, and registration and records, and will be available on the Southern Wake and Scott Northern Wake campuses, Monday through Friday from
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Visitors who need to drop off documents or receive basic information will be able to do so in Building L on the Southern Wake Campus and Building B on the Scott Northern Wake Campus. Those who need to speak with a staff member in a specific department will be assisted to join an EagleQ virtual waiting line. Once registered, they will be asked to wait in their vehicle until they receive a text or call that a staff member is available to see them. Due to limited staffing on campus, wait times may be longer than usual. Visitors will be required to wear face coverings and will be limited to one other guest while inside a building.
Students are encouraged to pay their bill online, but for those who prefer to pay in person, the Cashier’s Offices in Building M on the Southern Wake Campus and Building C on the Scott Northern Wake Campus will also be open as of July 20. These offices will operate Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Face coverings and social distancing will be required. Online bill payment is easy and convenient on Self Service or the Wake Tech mobile app. Mail-in payments are also accepted.
Limited on-campus assistance will begin on the Perry Health Sciences and RTP campuses on Monday, August 3. Additional departments, including career and employment resources and wellness counseling, will begin offering limited on-campus assistance at that time and those services will continue for fall.
Activities and Events
Wake Tech will not be having events or activities on our campuses until further notice, and we will be keeping our food and lounge areas closed. Fall sports (fall golf, soccer and volleyball) are canceled and winter sports (basketball) will be evaluated at a later date. Fall graduation will be virtual, but fall graduates will be invited to participate in our spring commencement exercises.
We realize that this environment which limits on-campus gathering to enable safe social distancing may not be what many students expected when they enrolled at Wake Tech. In acknowledging this fact and in recognition that many of our students are facing financial challenges at this time, our Board of Trustees recently enacted a “No Fee Fall” initiative which waives all college wide (i.e., activities, access or technology) fees for the fall semester. This should result in an average 15% savings for degree students. Individual course fees will still apply.
In an effort to provide all Wake Tech students with the academic services and resources needed to support their learning and success, the college will continue offering limited in-person and remote access to tutoring support through its Individualized Learning Center, reference and research support through its Libraries, and online learning and online teaching support through its eLearning and Instructional Design department. While most academic support needs can be met through web meeting, email, or phone, limited in-person assistance by appointment is available to help with specific special cases. To make an appointment, follow the links above. All students who access academic services in person must follow Wake Tech’s Safety Guidelines and Protocols, including mandatory face coverings and social distancing, and should not come to campus when feeling sick.
Wake Tech is committed to providing students with the online technology and resources they need for academic success in an online environment. As a nationally-recognized leader in online education, Wake Tech offers unparalleled e-learning and technology support to help students reach their goals and advance up the educational ladder into local employment and economic opportunities.
Digital Wake Emergency Aid
Wake Tech will designate a portion of its federal CARES Act funding, along with Wake County CARES Act funding appropriated to Wake Tech, to offer the following two opportunities:
- Wake Tech students enrolled in six or more credit hours eligible for Title IV financial aid may apply for emergency aid of up to $500 to support their technology hardware and Internet access costs.
- Eligible students, including those who do not receive Title IV financial aid, may apply for a laptop computer with software supports for their educational programs. (These students must be residents of Wake County or work for a Wake County employer and be enrolled in at least six credit hours in a degree program, the College and Career Readiness program or the TechHire partnership with the Capital Area Workforce Development Board.)
ITS Help Desk
The college’s ITS Help Desk offers support for students and employees Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Friday 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (The Help Desk is open until 8:00 p.m. for the first 2 weeks of the semester).
There are several ways connect with the Help Desk:
- Call 919-866-7000
- Send email to [email protected]
- Open a help desk ticket using SchoolDude.
- Email or Call to schedule an appointment for walk-in support.
Staff and faculty whose jobs permit will continue to work remotely for much of their work schedule, with staggered work hours when on campus to allow for social distancing in offices. Faculty will conduct all office hours virtually through Microsoft Teams and all college meetings will be held in a virtual environment. While working on campus, employees will be required to wear face coverings in common areas such as hallways and break rooms. Employees who are at high risk and are scheduled to work on campus should contact HR at [email protected] or 919-866-7890. Those who feel sick should stay home, contact their supervisor and seek medical care. Employees who have had direct or indirect contact with COVID-19 should follow the guidance outlined in the college’s Safety Guidelines and Protocols.
Wake Tech appreciates the cooperation of all members of the college community during this challenging time, and we look forward to resuming campus life when circumstances allow. In the meantime, let’s all stay healthy and work together to learn well!