College reopening campuses this fall, starting semester a week early

Northern Wyoming Community College District, including Gillette College, Sheridan College and Sheridan College in Johnson County, plans to begin all fall classes on Aug. 24. This is one week earlier than originally planned and is just one of the measures the District is taking to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff while reopening campuses.

President Dr. Walter Tribley said by moving the start of the fall 2020 semester up by one week, the college hopes to reduce the amount of time students will be on campus during peak cold and flu season, which seemed to coincide with COVID-19.

“We are excited to welcome students back to campus this fall to continue their education,” said Tribley. “By taking these and other creative measures, we can prioritize students, faculty and staff safety and limit the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to offer a quality learning experience.”

The updated fall schedule also shortens the previously scheduled fall break from two days to one day with in-person classes ending prior to Thanksgiving. Students will complete their semester with approximately two weeks of online instruction.

According to Tribley, these changes to the schedule limit students traveling back and forth to campus.

“This schedule allows us to limit student travel, thereby reducing risk of exposure ahead of any potential resurgence of the virus,” said Tribley. “Our reopening plan prioritizes safety and health while attempting to minimize the impact to students.”

In addition to the adapted fall schedule, the college will implement social distancing measures on campus and employ increased sanitation measures, among other techniques, to limit the spread of COVID-19.