JJC responds to COVID-19: New safety protocols enforced on all campuses

JJC made the switch for all lecture classes to be held online back in March and has continued that practice into the fall semester for 2020. Certain lab classes are being held in a hybrid format with new CDC approved safety procedures.

On campus interactions have been limited. In-person services are being offered Mondays -Thursdays, but remote services are highly encouraged. Remote services will be provided by appointment. In-person services should be scheduled with a department prior to visiting campus.

Buildings A, U, G, and J at Main Campus and key points of entry for the Romeoville, City Center, Weitendorf, and Morris campuses are the only doors open. Each has touch-free thermometer stations that read a person’s temperature at their tear ducts. Anything higher than 100.4 is considered a fever.

Temperature checks are a requirement to enter campus. At the temperature stations there are charts with CDC outline COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are symptom free can proceed to get a temperature check, anyone with symptoms are urged to stay home.

Rishida Knight, previously employed with Food Services who now runs temperature stations, demonstrates how to use temperature reader. Due to COVID-19 everyone screening is required upon entrance.

Masks are required in all common areas on campus. They must be worn properly, covering both mouth and nose. Masks and hand sanitizer are available upon entry.

Classes have been altered to limit interactions between peers.

“The technical department has 17 programs covering architecture to welding and a bunch of stuff in between. All classes that are lectures only (about 6 percent of our courses) are being taught fully online,” Jeff Bradford, technical Professor and department chair, said.

To ensure “quality lab experiences” technical classes have been limited to a “maximum of 9 students,” some have attendance as low as four as stated by Bradford.

Anyone on campus is expected to follow social distancing guidelines when on campus. Stickers and arrows have been placed on the floors across campus to designate the flow of traffic, six feet apart per CDC guidelines. In areas where social distancing may be compromised clear plastic dividers have been installed.

The full cafeteria at Main Campus is not open. However a limited breakfast and lunch menu is being offered. To order one must pay for food in advance through JJC’s on-line ordering system “Wolves Den To-Go.” Food is to be picked up at the Beanery. The Micro-Market will be open on Romeoville’s campus, serving a variety of “grab & go” items.

Food Services are “required to wear masks, disposable gloves, and hair restraints as well as perform frequent hand washing” according to JJC’s operations FAQ. Condiments and cutlery will be packaged individually. Reusable coffee and water containers are not allowed.

To ensure a safe campus, cleaning measures have been heavily increased. Tables in common area seating have been arranged to accommodate social distancing and are being sanitized on a regular basis as well as immediately after use.

Restrooms are disinfected and sanitized every 2-3 hours and paper towels are provided, air dryers have been turned off. Workspaces are sanitized daily. Labs are disinfected with the use of electrostatic sprayers between each lab.

“Our department has 10 electrostatic sprayers that are distributed between B, C, S & T Buildings,” Bradford said. “We have hand sanitizer available in all lab spaces as well as additional sanitizing products. At the end of each lab session, the rooms are sprayed by trained personnel.”

The custodial staff goes through and does a deep clean of each lab once class lets out.

Programs, such as Honors at JJC, have also been switched to an online format to maintain student safety.

“We have transitioned to supporting our students remotely at this time,” Al Golden, honors director, said. “For example, we are hosting our monthly Honors Forums through Teams and Zoom. We are also offering group orientations to the program and individual advising sessions for our students.”

Field opportunities, such as the study abroad Costa Rica trip in spring 2021, have been postponed. Low enrollment resulted in one class being cancelled. However, they have adapted other opportunities and forums to fit the new online format encouraged by the CDC.

“So, even though we have had to cut some of our programming, there is still plenty going on in Honors and interested students should apply!” Golden said. To apply, visit the JJC website at jjc. edu/honors.

Classes sizes within the Honors program have remained small, typically containing about 15 students. Other departments, particularly hybrid courses, have been slashing class sizes.

“We have decreased the number of students in each lab class by having half the students come to class for the first half of the scheduled class,” Mary Beth Luna, nursing professor and department chair, said. “This allows for extreme social distancing.”

This safety feature, plus the alteration of some “in-person sessions to virtual sessions,” have allowed for the nursing department to continue teaching while “[lessening] the chances of the virus being spread at school.”

Other departments, like culinary or technical, rely heavily on learning the material hands-on. Class sizes have also been cut. Similarly to nursing classes, this allows for social distancing due to equipment/space limitations.

Culinary professor and department chair Michael McGreal notes that classes dealing with “cooking, butchering and baking classes in the curriculum are being taught on campus in the traditional face-to-face format” at half capacity.

To excel in a hybrid course it is important to complete the online coursework prior to coming in for the lab.

“As faculty, we can answer a few questions regarding the online portion when students come in for lab, but we cannot reteach it,” Bradford said. “We need students to come as prepared as possible to the lab so that they can get the most benefit from the hands-on activities.”

Face masks are to be worn at all times by students and staff during face-to-face classes per CDC regulation. For the culinary students this has resulted in a big alteration for lab courses.

“We can no longer meet in groups to work on projects, taste test items together to provide feedback, or work on recipes and techniques as teams,” McGreal said.

With the switch to online, another worry is students falling behind in coursework. Professors urge students to access resources and reach out if they feel this semester is too overwhelming.

“Whether you are just starting college for the first time, or returning to school in this incredibly challenging time, the one thing I recommend is to remember who your allies are and to lean into them for support when you need it,” Mitchell said. “We have many allies and support services for you at the college. No question is unworthy of an answer, and no challenge is too big to address.”

Not only that, but professors also ask students to be understanding as well. The pandemic has increased workload for faculty, and everyone is trying to adapt.

“To help us help you, please get your assignments turned in on time. This helps us keep the course between the curbs which helps you achieve the student learning outcomes.” Bradford said.

For all remaining questions and resources please consult JJC’s FAQ regarding college operations at jjc.edu/ answeringyour-questions-covid-19-0.