NEWPORT NEWS — Most classes at Virginia’s community colleges will remain online early next year, the system’s head announced months before the spring semester to “minimize the disruptions” for students from COVID-19.
Chancellor Glenn DuBois sent word of the system’s plan to students at the 23 colleges, including Piedmont Virginia Community College, on Friday, The Daily Press of Newport News reported.
“In announcing this decision now, we prioritize your safety, your family’s safety, and that of your community — all while giving you as much time as possible to plan your spring semester,” DuBois wrote. Staying online is the “safest and most prudent choice” with the continued pandemic and the traditional cold and flu season arriving, he added.
Like the current fall semester, some in-person classes will be held in the spring for short-term career credential and technical programs.
About 72% of community college courses during the fall are fully online, according to data presented to a recent state community college system board meeting. Another 14% are on campus, with the rest either online hybrids or those with optional face-to-face components.
The number of people enrolled this year is almost 10% below last year’s totals, or more than 14,000 students, according to data. Much of the decline can be attributed to a drop in the number of high school students who also would be enrolled at community colleges.