ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A-B Tech has announced its reopening plans for the Fall 2020 semester scheduled to begin August 24, 2020.
In an announcement Monday, July 20, 2020, President John D. Gossett said more than 75% of academic classes will be online or virtual, while 25% will have an in-person component for hands-on training, clinical settings and labs.
Citing ongoing concerns with COVID-19 infection rates, Gossett said the college opted to take a more conservative approach for the fall semester.
"We are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the state of North Carolina, and Buncombe and Madison counties, as well as our local school districts,” Dr. Gossett said. “We also surveyed our employees and students and heard overwhelmingly that they are concerned about COVID-19 and want us to have as few people as possible on campus this fall.
A-B Tech converted more than 95% of its academic classes to online instruction for spring and summer, trained all faculty in best practices for online instruction, and is well-positioned to offer enhanced virtual offerings this fall, he said. However, approximately 25% of academic courses must be delivered in person to accommodate clinical, hands-on and laboratory training requirements.
"Virtual education is different. I don’t know if it’s better or worse, yet. But it is different. And our students are really seeking that connection, and we want to do that as best we can," Gossett said.
For in-person classes, Gossett said A-B Tech has implemented strict safety protocols that adhere to CDC, North Carolina and county public health guidelines. Safety measures include regular deep cleaning and disinfection, screening for symptoms, physical distancing, face coverings, smaller classes, and no large group gatherings.
"The main thing is safety. We want to make sure our faculty, staff and students are safe as possible. So, as many things as we could push off campus online in virtual environment, we did," Gossett said.
Academic courses have been classified as follows under A-B Tech’s “Trailblazer Plan B”, which is a hybrid instruction model:
- 23% Real Time via Zoom
- 8% Real Time with Some Intensive Hands-On In-Person Instruction
- 16% Intensive Hands-On In-Person with Online Lectures
- 49% My Time Online
- 2% Clinical/Work-Based Learning
A small number of in-person courses designed to meet local or state needs in Emergency Services
High School dual enrollment, Career and College Promise, Early College and Middle College classes will follow guidelines set by the state and local school districts.