Message From the Chancellor 6-16-2020

June 16, 2020

 

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

I hope that this message finds you and your families in good health and spirits. As we welcome our Phase 1 employees back to Blinn College campuses, I want each of you to know that our leadership team has been hard at work preparing for the Fall semester and the return of students and employees to our campuses.

As we prepare for the Fall semester, we have two priorities that guide all our planning and preparation:

  • providing a safe environment for all our students and employees
  • and continuing to provide the quality, affordable education our students and communities expect from Blinn College.

With those priorities in mind, we have developed a wide-ranging plan for students’ return to campus this Fall. Available at www.blinn.edu/back-with-blinn, this plan outlines the steps we are taking on our campuses, including social distancing guidelines, advanced cleaning protocols, and the installation of Plexiglas dividers to protect employees and campus visitors. As part of this plan, Blinn requires employees and students to wear face masks or face coverings when in the presence of others. Please note that face masks are not a substitute for proper social distancing.

Prior to returning to campus and each week thereafter, all students and employees will be asked to self-certify that they have not been COVID positive, did not have COVID symptoms, and have not been in the presence of anyone who is COVID positive for the past 14 days. Should a student or employee answer yes to any of those questions, they will be required to notify the College and to self-isolate for at least 14 days as dictated by evidence-based public health protocols for the control of infectious disease, only returning to campus if they are symptom-free at the end of that period.

The Back With Blinn plan features guidelines for student housing on the Brenham Campus, including screenings that will take place when students move into their rooms and steps to ensure social distancing within housing facilities.

We also outline the changes students can expect to see in the classroom as we use virtual enhancements to limit each face-to-face, on-campus class to approximately 10 students, while the rest of the class participates via live, simultaneous video. Blinn will continue to offer blended and fully online courses, allowing students to choose the class format that best fits their learning style.

Beginning this Fall, Blinn will offer a greater number of 8-week courses, providing students greater flexibility in developing their schedules. Studies have shown that shorter terms lead to an increase in course success rates, higher persistence from semester to semester, and higher graduation rates. Additionally, 8-week courses also allow students to overcome unforeseen interruptions and to get back on track more quickly.

When students choose 8-week courses, they engage in focused classes that cover the same material as a traditional 16-week term.  Due to the time commitment involved with 8-week courses, Blinn advisors recommend that students take no more than two or three 8-week courses at one time.

To safeguard our students from community spread, Blinn will convert all its courses to an online format following the Thanksgiving holiday. While all class interactions will take place remotely after Thanksgiving, Blinn campuses will remain open and all services will remain available.

Blinn will continue to offer the same affordability it always has, with tuition and fees that save students 44% compared to the average state university and more than 200 scholarships available through a single application. We continue to transfer students to four-year universities at a rate higher than any other community college in the State of Texas.

As much as COVID-19 has changed the world in which we live, Blinn’s commitment to students and their success has never wavered. On Monday, July 6th, Blinn’s Summer II term begins, and on Monday, August 24th, we begin the Fall 2020 semester. As we look toward re-opening our campuses to students, faculty, and staff, we invite you to visit www.blinn.edu/back-with-blinn and learn more about what Blinn is doing to help the next generation of Blinn graduates meet their educational goals.

 

Sincerely,

Mary Hensley, Ed.D.

Chancellor of the Blinn College District