LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – State lawmakers toured Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) in Lexington on Monday for a first-hand look at safety precautions being taken on campus during the pandemic and to see progress on the school’s newest facility, ‘The Den.’
The day began with a visit by Senator Ralph Alvarado, Representative James Tipton, Representative Susan Westrom and Representative Mark Hart. Later in the afternoon, Senator Reginald Thomas, Representative Cherlynn Stevenson and Representative George Brown, Jr. toured the campus.
After all legislators were temperature checked and entered the Classroom Building, BCTC’s Healthy at Work Officer Beecher McCarty discussed safety procedures that keep students, faculty and staff #HealthyAtBCTC, including mandatory face masks, temperature and health checks, social distancing, and cleaning and hygiene practices. Legislators also had the opportunity to ask questions about safety procedures.
They then moved to classrooms to see how instruction delivery is changing for BCTC students as faculty employ new methods and practices that give students flexibility and support as they work toward their educational goals through the pandemic.
In classrooms with 50 percent capacity, legislators learned that the rest of the class was joining virtually and had the opportunity to greet them via Blackboard Collaborate.
Students in the classes discussed how they are navigating the “new normal” learning environment.
In Vicki Partin’s calculus class, students James Blankenship and William Ross expressed how much they like the opportunity to attend in-person classes where they can ask questions of the faculty member and work on problems. Blankenship said, “I learn better when I can be here and ask questions. And, if I want to go back and watch the video to pick up something I missed, it’s an added bonus.” Both students said they feel safe on campus.
Class material is offered through in-person instruction, live remote participation or watching instruction via video and completing online assignments.
Faculty member Erin Howard said, “Our new approach to instruction and flexibility meets the needs of all students.” Students in her humanities class agreed.
Representative Cherlynn Stevenson recognized the work it has taken to create the new normal in education: “I’d like to say thank you to our teachers who keep having things thrown at them and they rise to the challenge every time.”
Legislators ended their campus visit with a tour of The Den, a renovation of the historic Eastern State Laundry Building. This 19,480 square-foot facility will house departments that serve students on the Newtown Campus. The facility is scheduled to open summer 2021.
*Note: The photo of Republican State Senator Ralph Alvarado, of Winchester, getting a temperature check before his tour of BCTC is courtesy of Bluegrass Community and Technical College.