Updated on 03/15/2020
As you know from previous communications, Southern Careers Institute Risk Management Group/COVID-19 Working Group and leadership has been closely following events and public health recommendations surrounding the outbreak and spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Southern Careers Institute has been busy planning and preparing for transitioning to a hybrid/online teaching and learning environment to help manage the potential spread of COVID-19.
Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at SCI at this time, we know that many members of the SCI community have been traveling this week during spring break to parts of the country and world where there may be community spread of COVID-19. As a precaution, we have made the decision to transition in-person classes to hybrid/online instruction wherever possible and for hands-on classes we will reduce the student count to allow for proper social distancing.
Classes at Waco, San Antonio South, San Antonio North and Corpus will be CANCELLED on March 16th. Your instructors will be reaching out to you to provide you with the Zoom link and your lab schedules for your classes. Classes will resume their normal times on the 17th via the hybrid/online format communicated by your instructors. Harlingen, Brownsville, Pharr and Austin students you will return from spring break on the March 23 to the hybrid/online classes.
Effective Tuesday, March 17, the following changes will occur:
• All in-person classes wherever possible will transition to hybrid/online instruction. Classes will continue in this mode for the 3/23 mod which ends on 4/13, at which time SCI will assess where things stand with COVID-19. Hybrid/online Implementation information is below.
• The local campuses will remain open. Classroom labs, Computer labs, and all other aspects of the campuses remain operational.
• All campus events, graduations and other large gatherings over 125 people or more will be postponed until further notice.
We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution. Public health officials have not yet made this a requirement for educational institutions. Nevertheless, given all that we know and what we can anticipate based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we believe this is the most prudent course of action at the current time.
Classes will be held as follows:
Lecture classes that have no lab component or minimal lab component will be delivered in a hybrid modality. The Waco, San Antonio North and South and Corpus Christi campuses will start hybrid courses on March 17th. Harlingen, Brownsville, Pharr and Austin will transition to hybrid courses on March 23rd when they return from spring break.
Lab Classes, Cosmetology and Trade courses will be a hybrid between Zoom and coming to the campus to complete the lab sections of your class. The lab section assignments may vary based on your campus, but will be similar to the following:
- Each class will be reduced to around 10 students attending live at one time. If your class is larger than 10, then you will be divided into two groups and will rotate every other day. For example, Group A may attend Monday and Wednesday in-person and Tuesday and Thursday through Zoom and Group B would attend Tuesday and Thursday in-person and Monday and Wednesday through Zoom. Based on Lab time requirements we will add a part day Monday, Friday or Saturday depending on your courses schedule.
Externships are a little more complicated. If you are currently on an externship site and they are continuing to operate, we ask that you attend your site and use preventative measures we have previously described. If your site is closed, we will place you into our virtual simulator on March 23rd to complete your needed hours for graduation. Until then please report into your career service team for directions. If you are entering an externship site on March 23rd, the following is our plan:
- We are developing a virtual simulation that will allow you to obtain the practical experiences and the hours needed for you to graduate on time. Our career service team will then help you locate locations as normal for employment. We will be ready for all externships starting on March 23rd to move to this format.
- We are also locating physical sites that are not closing and are willing to have externs.
What is Hybrid and how does it work:
SCI will be using Zoom as our hybrid and virtual collaboration tool. Zoom is a video classroom conferencing system that allows for video lectures, video breakout rooms, screen sharing, group chats, and attendance tracking. Zoom works without any special hardware requirements. You can use it on a cell phone, tablet, or computer. How does it work:
- Each instructor has a unique Zoom Room link that will be sent to your personal email.
- Once you click on the link, you will be asked to launch Zoom. If on a phone or tablet it will ask you to download the app.
- Joining the audio portion of class can be done through dialing in with a phone or use your internet as your voice connection. Based on your internet speeds, dialing in on a phone is recommended for proper collaboration.
- Assignments will be sent via school email or Moodle based on your instructor’s preferences.
This is a new challenge not only for our community at SCI, but for the broader community, and the country. We will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation with local, state and federal public health officials.
In the meantime, please carry on with your work and your studies. Do so with care for yourself and for those around you and continue to adhere to the preventative measures as recommended by public health officials, but do not retreat from your commitment to your education and to the important work you do every day. And again, additional information will follow shortly with specific instruction for faculty and students about this transition.
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