Students adapt to the new normal on campus

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The coronavirus has changed the way we enter the front door at Hennepin Technical College. Each day, when people arrive at the entrance, a HTC security team member uses a hand-held electronic thermometer to take each person’s temperature. In addition, everyone is required to wear a mask and answer health screening questions. The HTC security team says it’s rare that someone walks through the door without a mask and typically it’s because they forgot it in their vehicle. Team members are happy to provide a free mask to anyone who needs one.

Student Rain Daley is grateful that HTC is allowing students to continue in-person learning for lab work.

“I have worked in public health previously so I understand the necessity of everything taking place. It’s becoming the new normal. I don’t mind doing it to protect myself and others,” said Daley.

Daley is learning furniture fabrication at HTC and hopes to open a custom furniture-making business in the future. He’s currently building a decorative cabinet for his class project. To complete it successfully, he needs access to HTC’s state-of-the-art woodworking equipment and instructor input.

“We can’t do our work on a Zoom call and we don’t have this kind of expensive equipment at home. It’s important that we’re on campus,” says Daley.

While many HTC classes are online, there are also hybrid classes available. That means the class is both online and in-person; lectures are online and lab work or skills learning are available in-person, on campus.

HTC developed a comprehensive safety plan and is working closely with public health officials and Minnesota State to ensure that necessary safety protocols are in place for each program and area of the campus. Among the many protocols, desks are spaced further apart and throughout the college, students, faculty and staff are frequently sanitizing surface areas. In some cases, large classes are meeting in two classrooms instead of one.

Nursing student Sparkle Davis spent time in the medical simulation lab on campus to practice taking a patient’s blood pressure. She listens to class lectures at home during Zoom calls. Prior to the start of the semester, she was reluctant about online learning but she’s surprised that how quickly she’s adapted to it. Davis works full-time at a hospital and fewer trips to campus is proving to be a big benefit to her busy schedule. “I have test anxiety and I think that spending more time at home has helped me relax. Also, I realized how much more convenient it is to take online classes. I make really good use of break times during Zoom calls,” said Davis.