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Miles Community College has announced that its September start date for the 2020-2021 academic year will remain the same. However, other adjustments have been made to the fall academic calendar to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The fall semester will begin as planned on Wednesday, Sept. 9. On campus instruction for most MCC programs and students will run through Wednesday, Nov. 25, with a move to remote instruction after the Thanksgiving break, for the final three weeks of the fall semester. Select career-technical courses and programs, including Auto Tech, CDL, Heavy Equipment, and some Allied Health programs, will continue face-to-face. The term will conclude on its regularly scheduled date of Dec. 18, with spring semester 2021 beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

“By understanding the needs our faculty and students have to access classrooms, the library, and other physical spaces to fully engage in learning and instruction, we look forward to opening in the fall with face-to-face instruction,” said Miles Community College President, Ron Slinger. “Keeping our start date but modifying the instructional modality at the end of the term lets us meet the many and varying needs of our students and constituents in the best way possible, given these challenging times. The health and safety of this community and our campus community remains our highest priority.”

Slinger noted that the decisions about calendar changes were not made lightly and were made in consultation with MCC Board Members, Faculty, Staff, and various campus committees. The changes follow guidance from Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian that encouraged campuses to design an academic calendar that reduced significant return travel to campuses after Thanksgiving, and reduced campus and community density - and therefore virus transmission - during the typical late fall and early winter influenza season.

In addition to the calendar changes, Slinger said MCC has already and will continue to implement strategies to combat the spread of the virus, including promotion of safety protocols such as social distancing in classrooms, labs, residence halls and athletic facilities, and thorough and visible cleaning regimens.

Students who need to remain on campus for programs that continue with face-to-face instruction will be allowed to return to campus and residence halls after the Thanksgiving break. International and other students with specific needs for on-campus housing will have those needs accommodated. Additionally, MCC plans to work with all students throughout the course of the fall term to determine any access or connectivity issues they might face with the virtual conversion after Thanksgiving.

“We know that these changes may come with personal challenges or additional questions for some of our students or others, as they make their academic plan or make adjustments to travel or employment plans for the end of the fall term,” stated Dean of Student Engagement, Richard DeShields. “We want to encourage any students or families to not hesitate to contact us with whatever questions they have and to let us know how we can be of assistance.”

Key dates for the 2020-2021 academic calendar include:

•Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 - new students arrive on campus

•Thursday, Sept. 3 - Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 - all students return

•Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 - first day of classes for fall semester

•Thursday-Friday, Nov. 26-27, 2020 - Thanksgiving Holiday Break

•Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 - instruction moves to online for most students

•Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 - fall semester ends

•Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 - first day of classes for spring semester

In addition to on-campus, face-to-face instruction resuming in the fall, Miles Community College continues to offer a large number of online courses and fully online programs, in both transfer and career-technical fields. For questions about MCC’s academic calendar, or for more information about enrolling at MCC, please contact the MCC Student Services Office at 406-874-6101 or visit www.milescc.edu.

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