Running Start student Azal Aghos thought her first day at Clark was going to be a dramatic change from high school to college, even with school being online.
However, Aghos was pleasantly surprised once she began classes. Her classes were efficiently organized and her professors were well equipped for the online setting.
“[My professors] explained everything pretty well, they gave you a really good overview of the class,” said Aghos. “In the beginning I was like, this is probably going to be a little bit difficult, but then once I actually got into it, it was pretty good.”
Moving into a post-pandemic world, Clark must now transition back into the classroom after five quarters almost entirely online. Clark is in the process of planning this re-integration to in-person learning. To acquire some student input, the college sent out a survey to current students about whether or not they wish to return to campus in the fall.
The results reveal that about 37% of students wish for all their classes to be full-time in-person, 27% want a hybrid version of classes and 21% want to stay fully online.
Miles Jackson, the Associate Vice President of Instruction at Clark College, said that Clark has decided to offer two different types of class options for fall quarter. The first option is hybrid classes, which are a mix of online work and face-to-face classes. The other is a full time face-to-face option.
“There are students who’ve really thrived in the online learning environment. Others are very enthusiastic about getting back into the classroom,” Jackson said. “That’s why we’re adding more hybrid and face-to-face classes in the fall.”
Ashlynn Harris, 16, is entering the Running Start program next year and is excited to be joining the Clark community and to connect with new people in her classes.
“I hope that [Clark is] able to open up to a full base schedule and have as many classes as possible in-person,” Harris said. “I think that a very important part of learning, at least for myself, is connecting with others, sharing ideas and discussing topics.”
Gov. Inslee made a statement on April 30 detailing how community colleges may require proof of vaccination if students are to return to campus. However, Clark is still in the planning process and is waiting to get more guidance from the governor, Jackson said.
“I think Clark needs to remind people that we are still in a pandemic, they shouldn’t completely act like everything is back to normal because it really isn’t yet,” Aghos said. “We’re still in that beginning phase of finally getting back to some sort of normal.”