New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI) opened its classrooms back up to students July 27 after having to suspend in-person instruction in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the ongoing health situation, the school currently has several precautions in place to reduce the risk of infection for students and staff members.
Class sizes have been cut in half with just seven or eight students in class at a time. Classes are split into two groups with one group attending in person Monday and Wednesday and the other group attending in person Tuesday and Thursday. The days that students are not on campus, including Friday, they are completing assignments at home.
To ensure social distancing in the classrooms, desks have been placed six feet apart and students must sit in their assigned seats each day they are in the classroom. Students must wear face coverings while on site and are required to wear both face masks and face shields while participating in hands-on learning activities. NCCTI has signage displayed in its facilities about the new requirements and instructors facilitated a lecture and clinical workshop on proper handwashing. The school has also arranged for cleaning and disinfecting of classroom space after each use.
Resuming in-person instruction is critical for NCCTI students, according to the school’s Director Rodney Brutton, because they have to physically perform tasks in order to obtain certification and employment.
“They have to gain and demonstrate through practical assignments and clinical tasks the skills and competencies as it relates to their area of study,” he said.
Automotive Technician, Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) and Patient Care Technician (PCT) students are currently receiving in-person instruction. NCCTI plans to resume its Building Trades Specialist and Culinary Arts Specialist programs in the near future.
The students currently in the CMA and PCT health care programs at the Main Campus began their instruction online in May and are now on campus for in-person instruction and hands-on assignments. The Automotive Technician students at the NCCTI Training Center are a combination of individuals who started their instruction online in June and those that were enrolled in the program before the pandemic forced NCCTI students out of the classroom in March.
Brutton said NCC’s Environmental Services and Finance Departments were instrumental in preparing NCCTI for resuming in-person instruction. Members of the Environmental Services staff disinfected both the Main Campus and Training Center and continue to ensure clean spaces. The Finance Department provided the financial resources needed for the school to purchase equipment, including face shields.
“We’re very pleased that the students are back,” Brutton said. “They are excited about coming on campus and coming back on site to complete assignments.”
While the hands-on tasks are an important aspect of the in-person instruction, Brutton said that students are experiencing more than that while on site. Instructors are conducting lectures and reviewing topics before the hands-on learning takes place.
Providing a high-quality education in the safest possible environment is NCCTI’s priority.
“We’re taking it very slowly,” Brutton said. “We’re not opening up too aggressively.”
The full guidelines for in-person instruction at NCCTI are available here.
NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business and Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.