Wake Tech has served as an institution of hope, opportunity and success for thousands of students for 57 years. The past few months have been unprecedented and perhaps some of the most challenging times in our college’s history as our students, faculty and staff have navigated through the coronavirus pandemic. The next few months and even years will also be unprecedented as our students and community look to Wake Tech as the path to economic recovery and opportunity.
The time has come to look toward the fall semester and a safe return to campus. With the guidance of state health and community college officials, Wake Tech leaders have spent the past three months monitoring the pandemic’s data and developing a reentry strategy that prioritizes safety while helping students continue to advance toward their academic goals.
Our plan “Learn Well: Wake Tech’s Plan for Safety and Progress During the Pandemic” outlines our safe reopening for fall. We know that some students and faculty are eager to get back on campus while others would prefer to continue instruction in a remote environment. This plan provides both options – with either hybrid (a combination of in-person and online courses), or fully online instruction. We are planning to begin offering limited on-campus student services on July 20, and our fall semester will begin as scheduled on August 17.
Our “Learn Well” plan includes Wake Tech’s Safety Guidelines and Protocols which has details on the safety measures we are putting into place to help keep our college community healthy. The fact is, that students cannot continue to learn if they are sick; faculty can’t teach if they are sick, and staff can’t provide the support that students need if they are sick. Educational advancement this fall is particularly intertwined with everyone’s health and safety.
For that reason, we will be limiting all events and student activities on campuses in the fall, while limiting student capacities in classrooms, shops and labs. Fall sports (soccer, volleyball and fall golf) are canceled, and winter sports (basketball) will be evaluated at a later date. Our fall graduation will be virtual, but fall graduates will be invited to come back and participate in the spring ceremony.
Since students will be spending less time on campus, all college-wide student fees will be waived, including student activity, campus access, and technology fees. This will save the typical student about 15% on their fall bill. Individual course fees will still apply. Since all of our course offerings, whether hybrid or fully online, will require an aspect of online connection, we will provide Digital Wake scholarships to eligible students to help with technology needs.
In order to keep our college community as safe as possible, social distancing measures will be in place in buildings, classrooms, and outdoor locations where people may congregate; face coverings will be required in public spaces such as classrooms, hallways and lobbies; and common areas such as cafeterias, gyms, and other gathering spots will remain closed. Classrooms and buildings will be disinfected throughout the day and deep cleaned each night.
Staff and faculty will work remotely as their positions and functions allow, with staggered scheduling while on-campus to allow for social distancing.
Prioritizing health and safety is a core goal for this coming fall semester, and we remain as committed as ever to providing a pathway for our students to achieve their goals. This means continued access to the vital supports and services that help students along their academic journey. In preparation for fall, we have expanded the services that can be provided to students remotely and have centralized the accessibility to these services through an online Virtual Support Center or by phone through our Answer Center at 919-866-5000. For students needing in-person support, appointments will be available for onsite library time, tutoring sessions, computer labs and testing centers.
This plan has been developed with the most up-to-date information we have. We’re prepared to pivot backward or forward, if necessary, based on future developments. We know this has been a challenging situation for all of us, but in true Wake Tech spirit, we continue to rise to the occasion. Of course, we all look forward to the time when we can safely welcome everyone back to campus with fully seated courses, and the robust student experience that everyone knows and expects.
Stay safe and be well,