Harper College to continue primarily online for spring 2021 semester

Harper College has announced its current instruction approach will continue into the spring 2021 semester. Classes and support services will be offered primarily online, with select lab classes taking place on campus.

“While our communities have done an excellent job mitigating the spread of COVID-19, too many unknowns remain, including whether the Chicago area will experience a resurgence of the virus this winter as many public health experts expect,” said Dr. MaryAnn Janosik, provost. “Remaining primarily online helps to protect the health and safety of our campus community.”

The timing of this announcement is necessary from a college operations standpoint. Harper is in the process of finalizing the spring schedule for publication on October 15. This provides students, many of whom have numerous family and work commitments, with the certainty and time they need to begin planning. Announcing a decision now also allows faculty to better prepare their courses and be even more effective in a virtual setting.

As with the current fall semester, courses will be taught in three modalities:

  • Online (Asynchronous): All classes that can be taught remotely will remain online. This includes most of Harper’s courses.
  • Online Discussion (Synchronous): These online classes require students to be logged in at a certain time for class.
  • Blended: Classes with labs will be offered in a blended format, with the lecture portion online and labs conducted on campus.

Existing safety measures for on-campus labs will continue: no more than 10 people in a classroom, face masks required, social distancing practices in place, and enhanced cleaning of classroom and lab spaces; these measures may change as we learn more about the virus.

“I do want to acknowledge that while this decision is necessary, it’s far from ideal,” Dr. Janosik said. “Many of our students are struggling in this virtual environment, both in the classroom and at home. We’re all doing our part to keep students engaged and connected during these challenging times, and Harper faculty continue to step up and provide numerous opportunities for student success.”

Harper will continue to provide technology loans (laptops, hotspots and calculators), basic needs support, tuition relief and other support services, including the college’s soon-to-launch mental health app to supplement the work of faculty counselors. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of a variety of free, virtual events to stay connected.

Registration for the spring 2021 begins the week of November 9.

For more information on Harper College’s COVID-19 response, please visit harpercollege.edu/advisory.

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