Bay College opening going smoothly
ESCANABA — Bay College’s fall 2020 semester got started Aug. 17. So far, Bay College President Laura Coleman and other people on campus said the college’s return to in-person education has gone well.
“It has absolutely been going fantastic — faculty, staff and students are all thrilled to see each other in 3D,” Coleman said.
According to Coleman, people have been doing a good job of adhering to social distancing guidelines while on campus.
“The students and everyone are wearing their masks like they need to,” she said.
When students first arrive on campus this semester, they are being given a small bag filled with masks, hand sanitizer and a thermometer. As Bay’s traditional Welcome Back Cookout has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bags also contain coupons to Cafe Bay as a substitute.
“The cafeteria has been very busy,” Coleman said.
Social distancing has been further encouraged by an increase in online classes during the fall 2020 semester. Typically, about 30 percent of Bay College classes are held online; this year, roughly 40 percent of classes are being held in this fashion, with all in-person classes offering some form of virtual or online availability.
“We are also doing other differences,” Coleman said.
Along with traditional online classes, some classes at Bay are being held over Zoom. Meanwhile, some in-person classes are being held on a “staggered” schedule while others are being held in two rooms at once.
“The same faculty member is teaching in two different classrooms through ITV,” Coleman said of classes using the latter setup.
This flexibility should make it easier for instructors at Bay to adjust their classes if the need to do so arises.
“We look forward to being in classrooms until Thanksgiving, but we’re certainly able if needed to go online or (use) other modalities,” Coleman said.
Coleman noted the pandemic has, in some ways, given students at Bay an opportunity to learn how to function on a high level in different venues than they are used to.
“That makes people very flexible,” she said.
June Klees, a history professor at Bay, said she is currently teaching one in-person class — United States History to 1865. Additionally, she has an online class and a class she teaches via ITV to students at Bay’s Iron Mountain campus.
Klees said things are going well in her classes.
“Obviously, there’s a learning curve for everybody … but students are eager and they seem excited to be here,” she said.