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Students to have face-to-face, online, remote and split-classes options for spring

Garrett College will offer face-to-face classes as one of four learning options planned for the Spring 2021 semester, according to College officials.

Traditional online, synchronous remote (full remote instruction using Zoom or Microsoft Teams) and split classes will be GC’s other course options.  With the split-class format, half of the class will attend one day a week and the other half will attend class on the other day of the week, with students using Zoom or Microsoft Teams to participate in the class the day they are not physically present.

“This array of academic options to address COVID-related challenges worked well this fall,” said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president.  “Our faculty, facilities and IT staff did a tremendous job expanding technology to offer multiple options, but many of our students told us they wanted to have at least some face-to-face options for learning.  We’re worked hard to create and maintain a safe environment as well as a rigorous, well-supported academic experience.”

Like colleges and universities across the nation, Garrett College continues to work through COVID challenges on an almost-daily basis.  Midcap praised the collaboration and support the College has received from the Garrett County Health Department, Garrett Regional Medical Center, and Mt. Laurel Medical Center in developing health-and-safety protocols to address COVID challenges.

“All of those organizations have been wonderful resources and supportive partners,” said Midcap.  “We are grateful for their willingness to provide their expertise.”

Dr. Qing Yuan, dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer, said the various instructional formats – including face-to-face – were developed with COVID mitigation strategies in mind.

“As with our fall classes, our face-to-face spring classes have drastically reduced room caps,” said Yuan.  “And we will continue the strategies that help mitigate the spread of COVID – including required face coverings, a ban on food and drinks in the classrooms, and a one-hour break between room usage to allow for cleaning and reduce hallway interaction.”

Shelley Menear, GC’s director of equity and compliance, said College leadership continually reviews state and local guidelines as well as recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to stay current with COVID-related practices.

“Operating a college during a pandemic requires flexibility,” said Menear.  “We have understood the need to evaluate and revise practices as more becomes known about COVID.”

Midcap said the College was able to continue running face-to-face classes until mid-November – eventually moving back online just a little over a week earlier than scheduled – because of the combined efforts of faculty, staff and students.

“By and large, our students complied with our COVID-related requirements, and I want to thank them for those efforts,” said Midcap.  “We are going to need that same level of compliance this spring as we navigate through another semester with COVID.”

The most up-to-date information on Garrett College’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), can be found online at