Most Montgomery College classes will be virtual this fall

Montgomery College expects virtual learning in fall, with ‘small number’ of in-person lessons

President says current COVID-19 conditions keep college from reopening classrooms

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Although most Montgomery College classes will be virtual this fall, some lessons might be done in person, the college said Wednesday.

The 34 classes offered in person will primarily fall under “automotive technology, building trades, landscape technology, biotechnology, health sciences, and nursing” programs, according to the college’s website. These courses require interactive technology and equipment that could not translate to an online setting.

Classes such as landscape graphics and introduction to surgical technology will be offered in person.

“In order to best serve students, we are working to host a small number of in-person learning experiences for a limited number of students,” Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard said in a statement, “but this will be the exception rather than the rule.”

Classes that will be conducted online will either be “distance learning,” with no set class times, or “structured remote,” with videoconferenced instruction at certain times. 

Courses begin Aug. 31.

Pollard cited the continuing concern of the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the county as one of the reasons for the majority-online instruction.

As of Wednesday, there had been 17,305 cases in Montgomery County, and there has been a daily increase in caseload of less than 1% for nearly a month.

For the in-person courses, stringent health protocols will be enforced, such as “wearing masks, social distancing, frequent cleaning, and staggered student attendance,” the statement said.

The statement added that college employees with unique circumstances, such as those with young children or health risks for themselves or their families, were considered as the plan was developed.

The college has Rockville, Germantown and Takoma Park/Silver Spring campuses, and serves about 60,000 students annually. It has set up “Student Guidance” and “Resilient MC” pages to help students navigate the fall semester.

All in-person college events and college-sponsored travel are canceled until further notice, according to the school’s website.

In May, Pollard announced that the college intended to begin the fall semester with completely remote learning and might reintroduce in-person classes “if conditions improve.”

The college previously said its summer classes would all be conducted remotely with “minor exceptions” for the second session.

Since the pandemic began in March, the college and the Montgomery County Foundation have donated more than $600,000 in emergency student assistance to nearly 1,500 students. These funds have gone toward providing students with laptops to participate in virtual learning, grocery gift cards and rent assistance.

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