Since 2001, the Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus has been preparing students for careers as police officers, chefs and chef supervisors, automotive technicians and more.
Many of the programs taught at Miller Campus require in-person learning. With COVID-19, instructors had to find new ways to deliver the same essential course content to students.
One department that heavily requires in-person learning is the police academy.
“There are some things that you can’t do remotely. You can’t do physical fitness training or defensive tactics training in a remote environment,” said Gary Cox, associate dean of the Institute of Public Safety at SLCC.
Cox explained that the academy is a “critical position” because law enforcement is constantly needing new recruits.
“We knew we needed to complete the people that were already in the academy,” Cox said.
In order to do this, Cox said the department has made every effort to keep the classes active and the learning environment as safe as possible.
According to Cox, anyone outside of the classes cannot access the Public Safety Education Learning and Training Center, and all essential COVID-19 precautions are being followed.
“We have been checking temperatures, requiring masks, sanitizing everything and we make sure that there is always adequate distancing. Also, at least once every other week all of our academy cadets are COVID tested,” Cox said.
Cox acknowledged times where remote learning has been used because of a COVID-19 exposure or a positive test.
“Luckily, we have great technology that allows for us to continue through that, but that can certainly be a challenge for students,” Cox said.
Despite the challenges, Cox claims that the department has kept on track.
“We have continually been meeting the schedule that was established at the beginning of the semester with little to no hiccups,” Cox said.
The SLCC culinary arts department also requires firsthand learning.
Jeffrey Coker, associate dean for the Culinary Institute, explained that students and faculty have been the program’s highest priority through the pandemic. In order to keep with this goal, the program has undergone various kitchen accommodations.
“We follow social distancing protocols, and we follow the mask mandate. We also reduced our cohort sizes from 16 to 14 people. This was to make sure everyone had enough room in the kitchen. We only allow one class to be in the kitchen at a time,” Coker said.
Another change came last spring, when the program transitioned several classes to hybrid format. Other scheduling adjustments were needed to preserve the pre-pandemic total of seven hours of weekly kitchen time.
“We decided on moving our two-hour weekly lecture section of our teaching online and left our vital kitchen time in-person,” Coker said.
Despite the new delivery, Coker stated that the content of the classes has remained the same, and that students attending the culinary classes are still getting the same amount of in-person kitchen learning time as they would have previously.
“The delivery has undergone some changes, but the content is the same,” Coker said.