“If students have traveled, when they return, they’ll have a week to develop symptoms and we’ll be able to make sure that there’s some kind of provision of protection there,” she said.
The center has large lab spaces, so with about six or seven students in each group, they’ll be able to social distance, Carter said. Students will have their own set of tools and not share equipment, in addition to other mitigation measures such as strictly enforcing the mask requirement.
Students will enter from one of four doors that will be tented so staff can check their temperature and complete a health screening. If someone fails the screening or temperature check, they’ll go to a designated quarantine space.
The plan will be evaluated quarterly. If Albemarle reverts to Stage Two, CATEC will go back to online-only.
Other technical education centers in the region have started in-person classes. Carter worried about how that would affect the competitiveness of CATEC students.
Additionally, the lack of in-person instruction has meant that some students have lost the chance to get dual-enrollment credits.
Stacey Reedal, whose son is in the firefighting program at CATEC, said online learning had been a great start and credited the school with providing an authentic learning experience in the virtual classroom and thinking outside the box to get materials to students.