Concord, NH – The Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) has received approval from State public health officials to re-open its campuses for students who need to complete lab work from the spring semester. Lab completion areas range from healthcare to HVAC, welding, automotive technology and advanced manufacturing. This work will continue through the summer to ensure that students can earn the necessary credits, certifications and licenses so they can join or advance in key positions across New Hampshire.
Students and instructors will follow safety protocols in the labs themselves and throughout the facilities, from pre-arrival screening, to practices within the facility, to the use of designated entrances and exits. Plans involve building access and flow control, sanitizing and cleaning practices, space configurations and social distancing, scheduling, individual hygiene and consideration of equity needs. In many cases, adhering to safety guidelines connected to lab and course completion will not only address health and safety on campus, but will also prepare students for new COVID-19 procedures they will need to follow when working in their chosen fields.
“Re-opening the labs on this limited basis is essential to help students complete their necessary training and advance these students into their chosen professions,” said Susan Huard, interim chancellor at CCSNH. “Moreover, the programs we’re talking about produce graduates who are in high demand even in today’s hard-hit economy. We are open for business and students are determined to be here to finish their education.” Huard said that work across CCSNH to plan for summer lab completion will also help the colleges develop practices for greater number of students and staff as CCSNH looks toward a broader re-opening for the fall semester.
Lab work will vary at each of the seven colleges based on specific program requirements. Below are examples of the array of lab work across NH’s community colleges this summer:
At NHTI, Concord’s Community College (NHTI), dental, paramedic and orthopedic labs will be open for students to complete their spring coursework and be positioned to enter the workforce.
At White Mountains Community College (WMCC), small groups of students have been welcomed back to two of the college’s three north country locations. At the main campus in Berlin, students will complete lab-based elements of the industrial mechanics and welding programs from the spring term. In Littleton, about 20 students will complete on-site components of the college’s commercial driver training program.
Manchester Community College (MCC) will be running on-campus labs for its HVAC, welding, and lineworker programs, which train students for essential front-line jobs that remain in demand currently and areas where NH typically sees a shortage of trained professionals.
At Lakes Region Community College (LRCC), students are returning to campus to complete specific lab classes in automotive, electrical and emergency medical technology (EMT) programs.
Great Bay Community College (GBCC) students in the surgical technology program and the veterinary technology program will return to the Portsmouth campus to complete the lab component of their courses. At the Rochester facility, students will be completing lab-based projects in CNC milling, quality inspection and liquid penetrant testing, part of Great Bay’s advanced composites programming. The college will also resume hands-on instruction of business trainees through its non-credit partnerships with regional employers.
At River Valley Community College (RVCC) students in a variety of allied health programs return for lab completion. Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) students will return to labs and clinicals. Student in the physical therapy and medical lab technician programs will also complete summer labs.
Nashua Community College (NCC) developed a phased in plan that will accommodate students in aviation technology, automotive technology, Honda PACT, precision manufacturing and the college’s microelectronics boot camp.
The colleges will remain generally closed to the public during this transitional period as ongoing plans are developed to address safety and public health guidelines beyond this initial phase. Most summer term courses at the seven community colleges will be offered in online formats using synchronous and asynchronous learning platforms and simulation technology.
About Community College System of New Hampshire
The Community College System of NH consists of seven colleges, offering associate degree and certificate programs, professional training, transfer pathways to four-year degrees, and dual-credit partnerships with NH high schools. The System’s colleges are Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth and Rochester; Lakes Region Community College in Laconia; Manchester Community College; Nashua Community College; NHTI – Concord’s Community College; River Valley Community College in Claremont, Lebanon and Keene; and White Mountains Community College in Berlin, Littleton and North Conway. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors. CCSNH embraces the “65 by 25 Initiative,” which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of postsecondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.