COVID-19 Spring Semester Announcement

April 3, 2020 Alex Long

Dear WTMC families,

Thank you for your continued patience and involvement with your student’s education during this difficult time. As of today, Washtenaw Community College has announced that all spring semester classes will be held online and virtually. The State of Michigan has ordered schools to create a Continuation of Learning Plan for the remainder of the school year. The goal of these steps is to permit learning to continue while taking decisive steps to reduce the damage that the coronavirus pandemic does to our community.

Here is how we, as a school, will adapt to these circumstances. 

Your student’s individual needs will be our guide. BASE advisors and support staff will work with every student and family to adapt schedules and EDPs based on what the student and family needs at this time. We want to encourage all of our students to continue to stay focused on their education this spring, whether by taking a WTMC class that satisfies a graduation requirement or by taking a college class that moves them closer to completing a certificate or degree. We understand that for some families, life during the pandemic may make school much harder. We want to be there for you in whatever way the school can.

Soft skills:
Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, college classes will not suddenly become easier next year. We still plan to hold students to the academic and soft skill standards we have in the past -- and, more importantly, we will continue to do the hard, honest work of getting students prepared for success in any college class they take. 

Spring classes, virtual versus online: 
A “virtual” class will have specific times during which students need to sign in and participate with the rest of the class. This type of class will require steady internet access and a computer or device with a microphone and webcam, which we can provide for students if the family requests it.

An “online” class will take place exclusively through web page interaction at the times students choose to work. There will be common deadlines, but no specific times during which students would need to sign in each week.

The college will offer both types of class this spring. WTMC will also offer both types of class.

Technical & lab classes at the college:
Technical, hands-on classes will not be offered this spring. Any student currently enrolled in a college technical class (something that can’t be taught online, like culinary arts, automotive services, etc.) will be receiving an “incomplete” grade for the winter semester. These students will also receive a learning plan from their instructor that will tell them what specific steps need to be taken to complete the course. We anticipate that students will be able to use spring / summer semester to complete these courses, or they may choose to complete them next fall.

Ninth-grade students:
All ninth-grade students this spring will take an online Biology of Healthy Living course, combined with a supported independent-study for physical education. They will also take a skill-appropriate virtual math class to continue their learning and prepare them for next year. Ambitious ninth-grade students will be permitted to take a third elective class if they choose --- but this will not be required of anyone.

First-year (10th or 11th grade) students:
Students who have already created a spring schedule will see it change. Some classes have been cancelled. Students who have not yet transitioned to college math class should plan to take the virtual WTMC math class recommended by their current instructor. All students will be able to earn soft skill credentials and academic recommendations for college classes during spring term. Online and virtual WTMC courses will be offered that meet high school graduation. Students who have transitioned to full-time college courses are not required to take spring classes, and should let their EDP and educational goals guide their choices.

The WTMC spring course schedule is being revised to reflect these changes. It will be available the week of April 6.

Graduation:
Our graduation ceremony has been delayed until fall. However, students intending to graduate this year will still be allowed to earn their diplomas and certificate and / or degree from the college. Questions about your student’s specific circumstances should be directed to our counselor Mr. Cockels at [email protected]

Mental health and emotional support:
Our professional counselors and social workers will remain on the job through the rest of the school year. They are available by phone or videoconference. Your student’s BASE advisor can make a referral or help your family to connect with these services. Just ask.

So, please sit down with your student and talk about what makes the most sense for them and for your family. You may want to contact your student’s BASE advisor, too, if you have questions. Then, help your student communicate with their BASE advisor about their needs for spring semester.

Sincerely,
The WTMC Staff and Faculty