GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College plans to have more in-person classes and student services this fall, according to a news release Wednesday.
“Our community is emerging from the pandemic, and the community’s college will play a key role in helping people continue their education and West Michigan getting back to work,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “I hesitate to say we’ll be back to normal, because this virus and the racial and social issues we’ve faced as a nation highlighted the inequities in the previous normal. We’re coming back with a new normal, with a greater on-campus presence but also more classes and support services offered in ways that make them more accessible to more students. We will be a better institution because of what we have learned from navigating this pandemic.”
About 80% of the college’s classes were partly or entirely offered virtually during the 2020-21 academic year.
A “significant” number of Fall 2021 classes will be on campus or through a hybrid format.
But the college also acknowledges that virtual classes were popular with some students, especially those scheduling around home and work responsibilities. Students attending through the state’s Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs particularly benefited, GRCC said.
The pandemic also cast a light on the technology gap that exists for many students, and the college plans to continue offering loaner laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots and other equipment.
GRCC also plans to continue waiving online course fees through the fall, saving students $16 per contact hour, or about $50 for a three-credit class offered online.
Students would still be responsible for tuition and other universal fees.
The college will continue working with local, state and federal health authorities to monitor the pandemic and recommendations for health and safety protocols, including masks and social distancing.