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Community colleges across the state are gearing up for the fall semester; however, it will be a very different fall than they are used to.

Many colleges are offering the majority of their classes online. For those that require in-person instruction, colleges have set up health screening protocols and social distancing requirements for students and faculty.

Building on our work documenting how community colleges responded to COVID-19 this spring, EdNC created a database to track how all 58 community colleges are providing instruction and reopening their campuses this fall.

Drawing on our previous research, we developed a list of additional questions and began evaluating each college’s website. Since our last publication, many colleges developed more robust COVID-19 response pages, which streamlined information gathering.

We created seven indicators that were then grouped into one of three categories: instructional delivery formats, Career and College Promise, and health screening/reporting.

The indicators include: instructional formats the college plans to use for the fall term, how traditional Career and College Promise courses will be delivered, if instructors for Career and College Promise courses will be allowed to teach face-to-face on high school campuses, how Cooperative Innovative High Schools will operate, if the college plans to conduct health screenings for students coming to campus, what method of screening will be used, and if the college’s website indicates how to report COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test.

For information that could not be found or clearly identified on a community college’s website, EdNC contacted the college’s public information officer in order to complete the remaining gaps in the database. 

Our hope is that community college leaders and the public use this database to quickly and easily see how community colleges across the state are responding to COVID-19 and adjusting their operations for fall 2020. Additionally, we are optimistic that our work will highlight community colleges’ strategic approaches to instructional delivery and health screenings for the fall. We are also hopeful that this project will continue to shed light on the gaps and challenges that many institutions face when bringing students back to campus and creating an equitable educational environment during a pandemic.

While completion is always the goal, data gaps remain. Missing data indicates the information was not available on the community college’s website, we were unable to appropriately code the indicator given the information provided, or the community college had not yet released information for fall 2020 operations.

As community colleges’ plans evolve and adapt to the dynamic circumstances, EdNC will continue to update this database. If you see information in our database that needs to be updated, please contact Emily Thomas at ethomas@ednc.org.

Emily Thomas

Emily was born and raised in Western North Carolina. After graduating from Caldwell Community College, Emily went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Organizational/Public Communication from Appalachian State University and a master’s degree in Communication from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Emily has over 10 years of higher education experience. Much of her career has been spent in enrollment, advising, and teaching within the communication discipline at two-year and four-year public and private institutions.

Molly Osborne

Molly Osborne is the director of policy for EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.