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HOT SPRINGS -- National Park College plans to resume normal operations this fall with face-to-face classes, but is adding flexibility that will allow any student to attend those classes synchronously in a virtual manner.

"We respect any safety concerns our students may have and want to remove that barrier while they pursue their education," said Wade Derden, vice president for academic affairs.

The college aired its plans for delivering instructions and student resources for the fall semester during a board of trustees meeting on May 27.

"NPC will provide students with the tools they need to succeed, pandemic or not. We are aware of our deep responsibility to our community, our workforce, and especially to our students and we fully intend to keep that covenant," said President John Hogan.

"Investing in our communication infrastructure will expand learning avenues for our students," he said.

The college closed its campus and transitioned to remote learning in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The college started reopening the campus Monday in a phased approach. A drive-thru commencement ceremony is scheduled for June 13.

"We want to meet students where they are and provide them with quality programming. Students may feel more comfortable attending remotely, and we certainly respect that," said Blake Butler, chief information officer.

"We want to do everything we can to keep our students safe while ensuring their success," he said.

Butler said in the release that the virtual classroom will bring videoconferencing capabilities to classrooms with the goal of giving students as many options as possible to keep up with their courses and ensure their success.

Derden said the virtual classes are a precaution used for the pandemic. By outfitting classrooms with video, students will be able to attend the live class sessions virtually if they prefer.

"Faculty [members] will also have the ability to record and post their classroom sessions on the web for later viewing," he said.

Metro on 06/06/2020

Print Headline: College to offer class flexibility

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