FRC phases-in a limited student return to campus

Feather River College is making plans to resume limited on-campus classes that cannot be taught online. The spring semester began Jan. 19 in a virtual format for all courses. Laboratory classes that train essential infrastructure graduates and other hard-to-convert programs will begin slowly returning to campus over the next month.

“It is important for our students who cannot complete an online curriculum to be on campus. We have found that access to technology, housing security, Wi-Fi, on-campus resources, mental health counseling, and tutoring yield higher success rates,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Kevin Trutna.

Trutna said that returning to campus will be a “slow, planned effort in conjunction with Plumas County Public Health and Plumas District Hospital to help promote safety of students and the community.”

Only students who are enrolled in on-campus classes for essential infrastructure or hard-to-convert laboratories are allowed to move into the dormitories. Dorm capacity will be severely reduced and students will be housed in cohorts according to similar classes. “We learned from the fall semester, that the better we can group people within a closed cohort, the better we can monitor and help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Trutna added. FRC did not have any COVID cases in dormitory housing during the fall semester.

A negative COVID-19 test result is required before attending any on-campus class, laboratory, or moving into the dormitories. Students will also be required to use the daily SaferPlay monitoring app before attending any class session. Students returning in the next few weeks have been instructed to use the monitoring app before returning to campus.

All on-campus classes will operate at less than 50 percent capacity, or they will be held outdoors later in the semester. Facial coverings are required as is social distancing.

Once athletic contests are scheduled, student-athletes will undergo the strictest monitoring with weekly random testing, and all participants must test negative for COVID 19 within 48 hours before any competition. Travel will be limited to the region and conference games; no spectators are allowed.

Students training in health care — in EMT and licensed vocational nursing programs, including required clinical laboratories — returned to class Jan. 19. LVN students are now performing COVID testing on fellow FRC students as part of their clinical rotation at Plumas District Hospital.

On Feb. 1, students taking animal production and agricultural mechanics classes and early spring sports will return (football, volleyball, cross-country, and basketball pending Golden Valley Conference competition).

During the week of Feb. 16, other hard-to-convert laboratories or prerequisite laboratories for essential infrastructure academic programs will start on campus to supplement the existing online portion.  These include: biology, chemistry, culinary, early childhood education, outdoor recreation leadership (including rescue classes), environmental studies (including forestry), art, and late spring sports (softball, track, baseball).

Even with Plumas County’s return to the Purple Tier, the Feather River Fitness Center will remain closed to the public until the region moves to a lower tier.

“This decision is about student success and keeping our community safe,” commented Dr. Trutna.  “We have students who need on-campus services to succeed in their educational goals.”

FRC staff are diligently working to plan and coordinate a safe, limited return of students to FRC over the next several weeks, in coordination with local health officials and Plumas District Hospital.