SMC President Discusses Plan For Fall

Southwestern Michigan College has announced in-person classes will resume this fall, while on-campus residence halls will be open as the institution operates as normally as possible while staying safe. SMC President Joe Odenwald tells WSJM News the faculty spent the past month going around campus and assessing options for a return to classes. They have a social distancing plan.

“What we’re gong to do for the vast majority of our courses is we’re going to have either reduced size sections, smaller classes where we can guarantee that students can be six feet apart, or in some larger situations, we’re going to move out of the typical, more traditional classrooms into maybe some areas that haven’t been used as classrooms to take care of those larger sections,” Odenwald said.

Dr. Odenwald says there will be a mask requirement for students, and instructors will wear face shields. He notes the college has made large purchases of hand sanitizer and other sanitation materials.

“In each station, the practice is going to be you clean it when you get there and you clean it when you leave. So when a student is in a classroom and the y come into their area, you’re going to sanitize when you start class, and you’re going to sanitize when you finish. That way, we feel like we cover all bases.”

SMC is going to use a slogan of “Safety Means Compassion.” Odenwald tells us the residence halls will be operated at 85% to allow for more distancing and keeping space free available for possible quarantines. Also, there will be a move-in week instead of a move-in day. Odenwald says the coming year at SMC will not be normal, but taking extra precautions is the “cost of being here.”