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Butler alters fall semester schedule, offering in-person classes, labs

Graphic illustration for fall 2020 semester
Published: Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Students to be finished with fall finals before Thanksgiving

EL DORADO, Kan. – In response to a predicted COVID-19 spike during flu season, Butler Community College has altered its fall schedule to help keep students, faculty and staff safe and healthy. Butler announced last week it is shifting its fall schedule to allow students to finish the fall semester sooner than typical.

The start of classes has been moved up one week to August 10 and the fall break in October has been removed from the academic calendar. Labor Day will still be observed as a holiday for students, faculty and staff. This shift allows for students to still complete the necessary class time while also ending their semester with final exams on November 24.

“Our goal is to have face-to-face classes also offered in the fall,” said Lori Winningham, Butler vice president of academics. “And masks will be mandatory on the college campuses and in classrooms. But this shift is another way we can work to reduce risk of exposure. We believe it will be a great benefit for students to not have to return after Thanksgiving.”

All lab classes and technical training courses will also be conducted in-person, but with safety measures in place. Proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and appropriate social distancing will be adhered to without sacrificing the benefits of hands-on learning. However, exceptions do exist based on health accommodations needed in some circumstances for faculty. These exceptions are noted within the class schedule and students are encouraged to work closely with their advisor during the enrollment process.

Butler is fortunate that for more than 20 years it has been in the online delivery landscape. This fall will be no different with numerous online offerings also available.

“We are poised to go completely remote again if needed for everyone’s safety,” said Winningham. “We hope that won’t be the case, but we are ready if needed.”

Butler President Dr. Kim Krull applauded everyone’s efforts for their flexibility this past spring.

“I am so grateful to our faculty, staff and students for showing their grit in March when we had to move completely remote so rapidly due to the challenges COVID-19 presented,” said Krull. “This rethinking of our fall schedule sets Butler apart as most institutions are finishing the fall term online in December with students completing finals and final projects virtually. Butler’s fall format takes full advantage of the time given us between August and Thanksgiving.

“This is a win-win,” said Krull. “Students get what they pay for while potentially saving a month’s worth of college expenses in December, like spending less on rent or gas for transportation. It may also provide the opportunity to work more hours than they normally would have in December, not to mention they’ll enjoy a longer holiday break.”

While Butler students will be finished with classes on November 24, college offices at all locations will remain open through December 22 to assist students.