Alamance Community College opened its summer 2020 term on May 18 with the first on-campus students since mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic closed the school and placed most classes online.
Students in Medical Assisting, Nurse Aide, and Associate Degree Nursing met in classrooms as normal with some differences: the wearing of facemasks and observing social distancing between desks.
The College welcomed approximately 32 students in Medical Assisting, 64 total in Nurse Aide, and 36 in first-year Nursing classes.
Instruction for these programs is staggered with a limited number of students in each class. For example, Medical Assisting has 18 students in Exam Room II and 14 in Lab this summer.
“The most significant challenge is to maintain the six-foot distancing between students,” said Cindy Thompson, instructor in Medical Assisting. “When it’s time for students to practice tasks on one another, which is how they learn, we will amp up our sanitizing. We have separated the class into two groups who will be here on different days. This means fewer students in our lab area. The students really like this idea.”
Nurse Aide has 40 returning spring semester students who need 30 hours of simulated clinical experience because the nursing homes where this is normally done are closed to visitors. In addition, the program has 24 summer students beginning their first year of training.
“Healthcare workers just do what we have to do to safely get the job done,” said Rhonda Pierce, Nurse Aide Department Head. “The students didn’t seem too concerned about wearing masks or the challenge of finishing their 30 hours. They are just glad to be back.”
Approximately 36 first-year Nursing students began their classes the evening of May 21 in order to keep distant from students in Medical Assisting and Nurse Aide who are in the same building during daytime hours.
The College is evaluating how those students will move through their respective spaces, how best to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizing protocols, and how continued online instruction can be leveraged where appropriate.
ACC will be monitoring the first weeks carefully for safety and health issues.
The week of May 25 will see Dental Assisting students on campus, including those requiring licensure or certification training under Continuing Education.