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By Micah DeSilva 

In the wake of the state-wide shutdown of in-person learning, many students have been left wondering what to expect from their education in both the near and distant future. Information regarding plans for reopening can be scarce, but in the case of Skagit Valley College, the administration has recently provided a helpful update.

In a statement from January 5th, 2021, Kathryn Bennett – the Chair of SVC’s Board of Trustees – outlined the administration’s primary objective in their decision making. “As a trustee of Skagit Valley College, my first priority, and that of my fellow trustees, is the health and safety of SVC students, employees, and the communities we serve. During these challenging times we are committed to meeting the Governor’s guidelines that apply to critically-needed learning institutions like our own.” She later went on to name SVC’s President, Dr. Tom Keegan, as the “leading the administrative decision-making process regarding the on-going delivery of instruction and services to students and prospective students.”

In fact, Dr. Keegan provided further information about the administration’s plans going forward, commenting that “the College has made a decision to remain in Remote Operations and Online Instruction modes for Spring Quarter,” although there will be “select courses and Workforce programs (…) that will continue to operate in face-face mode.” Dr. Keegan also outlined some of the administration’s plans for future quarters, saying “We will begin planning for summer and fall at the end of Winter Quarter. Of course, those plans are subject to change depending on the state of the pandemic—infection rates, vaccination rates, Governor’s directives, and local health department guidelines. We have not yet developed procedures for a “full” return to in-person services and instruction—it’s just too soon at this point.” Finally, the President pointed to SVC’s Principles and Service Considerations. Among other things, these principles re-affirm Katheryn Bennett’s promise that the health and safety of students will always be considered first. Notably, one of these principles included the fact that “the College will implement a ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy regarding compliance with safety protocols,” which may provide some insight into the level of seriousness and care with which the administration plans to treat the enforcement of their policies during this pandemic.

In any event, the future of in-person learning at SVC seems to remain unknown, and barring updates from the Governor, will likely continue to be. While perhaps a bit uncertain, students and faculty alike can rest assured knowing that their health and safety will always be the first priority.