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OJC Press Release ID: 3043

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Look of Fall Semester at OJC

In-Person Classes – Health & Safety Guidelines –Fall Sport Competition Moves to Spring

Otero Junior College has made some major decisions over the past week about how Fall Semester will move forward in the wake of COVID-19.

Dr. Timothy Alvarez, president of OJC, explains that the current plan is based on guidance from a multitude of agencies, starting with the Governor of Colorado and then ranging from national, state, and local health agencies. Also included in the list is the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and several accrediting agencies for specific programs offered at OJC.

“We are balancing all of the guidelines that are being expected of us in order to provide the best possible situation that ensures the health and safety of our employees and students, while providing our high caliber education within a semblance of a normal college experience,” said Alvarez.

In-Person Classes plus Options

The primary focus for Fall Semester at OJC will be to conduct in-person classes for the majority of the courses offered. Alvarez explained that there will be some exceptions.

“We are intending to give our students several choices for how they want to take classes this fall. There are some courses that will start out being offered as hybrid or hybrid-remote classes. Some in-person classes will offer livestreaming for those who don’t want to come to campus. For those who want a total online experience, they can take online classes through the Colorado Community College’s CCCOnline. We are trying hard to accommodate the various needs and preferences of our student body by offering multiple options,” said Alvarez.

Students are currently being accepted into the College’s residence halls. Room assignments in the Residence Halls will allow for double and single occupancy, with cohorts of students grouped together and social distancing measures put in place.

On-Campus Requirements for Fall Semester

• Students, faculty, staff and guests will be required to go through a check-in process each day to have their temperature taken and complete a short health questioner. Wristbands will be issued daily to indicate that people have completed the process.

• Masks will be required when within 6 feet of others.

• Classroom and other gathering places will be re-arranged to accommodate social distancing.

• Signage will be placed throughout campus to remind people of handwashing, masks, social distancing and other measures to ensure health and safely.

To view a full list of frequently asked questions about Fall Semester, go to this link FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - RECOVERY OPERATIONS PLAN: or type in Frequently Asked Questions in the search bar above.

Fall Sports move to Spring Competition Schedules

An announcement by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) on Monday set the course for all fall sports at OJC to move to a spring competition schedule.

In making the announcement, Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO stated, “Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes. Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the Board of Regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level with proper safety measures in place.”

The most recent plan of action shifts all close-contact fall sports to the Spring Semester. Fall sports teams will be allowed 60 consecutive calendar days for practice and scrimmages, with no regional or district competition. All regional and district competition will be held in the spring with an abbreviated competition schedule.

OJC fall sports being impacted by this ruling include; Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Men’s Wrestling.

View the NJCAA Full Plan of Action:

Preparing the Campus in the Wake of COVID-19

Alvarez said that hours of work have gone into making the campus clean and safe for student and staff to return to this fall.

“Our staff in the Physical Plant were considered essential staff, and continued to work throughout the Safer at Home order by cleaning and sanitizing our campus. They have continued to work this summer to have the campus fully ready by our August 17 start date,” he said.

To ensure that the College is following the protocols recommended by local, state and national healthcare agencies, OJC’s Pandemic Recovery Plan was submitted last week to the Otero County Health Department for approval.

“The faculty and staff developed a comprehensive plan that the Otero County Health Department approved last week. The plan met the Otero County Health Department’s guidelines, thus allowing us to move forward with our plans, while maintaining the health and safety of our campus community,” explained Alvarez.

Currently all staff, other than Physical Plant staff, are working no more than 50 percent on campus. The rest of their work is being done from home utilizing the technology OJC had in place prior to the Safer at Home order.

“We will gradually bring more employees back to campus for longer periods of time, but until we have fully passed this pandemic, or we receive different orders from the Governor, I will not expect all faculty and staff to be on campus full-time as they would have been in the past,” explained Alvarez.

Alvarez also stated that some community events and activities, that were previously scheduled to be held during the fall months, will be postponed until after the New Year in 2021.

“Once again, this is all about timing, if things have quieted down with COVID-19 by January 2021, we will once again welcome our community back on campus.”

Fall Semester at OJC will begin on August 17. All classes are currently being planned to be in-person, with options for hybrid, hybrid-remote, live-streaming or full online learning for those who wish to remain at home to study. To apply for admission, got to

Press Release Photo
Otero Junior College has made some major decisions over the past week about how Fall Semester will move forward in the wake of COVID-19.