By Joy Bratcher
Last week, snow and ice swept across parts of Georgia once again causing Georgia Perimeter College to shut down for four days leaving students, faculty and staff to wonder if more school days will be added to the calendar.
It is the second time this semester that the college has had to shut down its five campuses due to inclement weather, and Friday, faculty and staff were called in at 10 a.m. to begin to access the situation.
According to Vice President of Academic Affairs Phil Smith, the board does not plan on adding classes back to the schedule, but if more school days are missed this could change.
If more days are taken away from the school calendar due to inclement weather, then students may be forced to give up spring break.
“We do not have many days to work with inside the semester calendar to add days with the exception of days over spring break,” Dr. Smith said.
Department heads across the five campuses are also struggling to make adjustments to try to cover all the necessary course material in the best way possible.
“School closings due to inclement weather are bad for students and instructors alike,” Life and Earth Science department head, Dr. Carl McAllister said. “When we lose instructional minutes, it makes it difficult for us to cover some course material as thoroughly as we would like to.”
One of the options being considered is for instructors to post material missed on iCollege and leave it the students’ responsibility to learn before midterm and finals week.
“Each instructor will decide what will be left to the student to master on their own,” Dr. Smith said. “We are encouraging instructors to move some class materials/instruction to the online environment, as all classes have an iCollege section established.”
According to Dr. Smith, some instructors will also try to set up some additional study sessions for Fridays and Saturdays, but this will be determined on case-by-case basis when rooms are available.
“We do not have enough rooms to handle every class,” Dr. Smith said. But, he said, “We are also encouraging students to utilize the tutoring center and are hopeful faculty will provide additional availability to students.”
Labs will cause a bigger problem for students and professors.
“Lab supervisors on each GPC campus are working on revised lab schedules to give to each lab instructor,” Dr. McAllister said. “In some cases, lab exercises are being combined, and in a few cases certain exercises may have to be done in a shortened format or eliminated.”
Dr. McAllister added that instructors will be responsible for communicating changes to their students once they have been given these changes by the lab supervisors.
“Each instructor will make decisions on how to adjust their schedules,” Dr. Smith said. “They will still need to ensure that all core objectives are covered in some manner.”