BOSTON – Today the Presidents from the fifteen Massachusetts Community Colleges announced in a joint statement that their colleges would all be continuing to offer primarily remote, online, and hybrid learning, with limited in-person courses, in the Spring 2021 semester.
“As Presidents of the fifteen Massachusetts Community Colleges, monitoring public health conditions, ensuring safety for our campus community, and maintaining high-quality academic instruction are top priorities during this pandemic. Therefore, the fifteen community colleges will continue to offer primarily remote, online, and hybrid learning, with limited in-person courses, in the Spring 2021 semester. Each college will continue to provide students with the services and support they need to succeed while tracking local public health conditions. We are hopeful that making this decision early will give our students, faculty, and staff, who are already balancing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession, the necessary time to prepare for the Spring semester. We look forward to serving all who rely on Massachusetts Community Colleges for an affordable, safe, and flexible higher education experience.”
The 15 community colleges offered high-quality online and remote course options for students prior to the pandemic, but these were expanded in preparation for the Fall semester to meet the demands of COVID-19. Students can enroll in traditional academic degree programs like engineering or nursing, or can participate in short-term training programs such as IT, Certified Nursing Assistant or Manufacturing, and more.
The Massachusetts Community Colleges educate nearly half of all students in the Commonwealth’s public higher education system, serving the largest share of first-generation students, low-income students, and students of color. Current and former students have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as nurses, respiratory therapists, CNAs, hospitality and service industry workers, among others. Faculty and staff at the community colleges have transitioned traditional supports to provide virtual services to students impacted COVID-19.
With the state facing a 9.6% unemployment rate in September, many families and students still face uncertain financial futures. The community colleges remain the most affordable higher education opportunity, providing flexible options for students who want to earn a high-quality education close to home. They also serve as critical local and statewide economic engines, training and educating the workforce through credit and noncredit offerings. At a time when many workers will have to be retrained, re-skilled, and further educated to find new careers in this new economy, the community colleges offer the necessary education and training in high-demand fields.