Central Maine Community College in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Central Maine Community College has a plan for the fall semester.

The colleges’ academic calendar will not change, with classes scheduled to start on Aug. 31 and end Dec. 18.

But the only students who will be on CMCC campus this fall are those who need essential hands-on education on equipment and technology that are only on campus. Programs that don’t involve hands-on training will offer online classes, according to school officials Thursday.

“They are going to be scheduled a little bit differently than we first thought before (the pandemic) happened,” CMCC Vice President Betsy Libby said. “They will come in smaller groups, equipment will be moved to maximize (social) distancing. They will participate in the lecture portion of the classes online, but we strongly feel we want to educate our students in technical training programs on the equipment they need practice on before they go do it in the workforce.”

Programs like nursing, automotive technology, building construction technology, precision machining technology, architectural and civil engineering, heating and plumbing, and electrical and mechanical technology are some of the programs that will be allowed to have students on campus. Libby said a few more programs will also allow students on campus.

“For example, we want to prepare our nursing students on equipment, tools and technology that we have in our nursing simulation lab,” Libby said. “We don’t know if they would be as effectively prepared if they had to do it remotely, and we want them to experience these things on our campus with us before they become a nurse at a hospital.”

The school will cap the number of students living on campus to 105. Normally the school houses around 260 students. Dorms will be open to students in those programs that allow in-person classroom training and who live more than 20 miles away. If there’s still space available, other students will be considered for on-campus living if they live within 20 miles and are taking allowed classes on campus.

There will be one student per dorm room.

“Residential hall students will have to wear face coverings all the time unless they are in their own room,” Libby said. “Residential hall students aren’t allowed to go visit other students’ rooms and they can only be in their own room.”

The school will be asking residential students not to travel during fall recess, which runs Oct. 9 to 12, and Thanksgiving break, Nov. 25-29. “Travel should be limited to necessary local travel only,” said a letter that went out to students.

Students will go home for Christmas break, which runs from Dec. 19 to Jan. 10. Libby said it is the school’s hope that students do not travel to states that would require them to quarantine when they return.

The dining commons will offer more grab-and-go and pre-packaged offerings under the plan.

All departments have established procedures for sanitizing and cleaning, allowing time for cleaning after one group of students leaves a classroom.

Along with the other six Maine Community College System campuses, CMCC athletics have been postponed until Jan. 2021.

Libby said it’s a balancing act on who needs to be on a campus and who doesn’t.

“We are happy to be able to have some capacity, because in mid-March we had to pivot and completely close down our buildings to our students,” Libby said. “Although this is not what we wished and this is not the way we wanted it to be, this is the realty that we are living in. We are happy to open in somewhat of a capacity and we are hoping to learn in the fall (we’ll) be able to open to a wider capacity in the spring.”


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