A student’s guide to returning to campus

COVID-19 guidelines will determine how ARC will return in-person


On March 16, 2020 the area outside of Davie’s Hall at American River College is completely empty, as face-to-face classes have been suspended indefinitely in an effort to contain the COVID-19 virus. After more than a year of lockdown, the ARC campus plans to reopen itself to students in Fall 2021. (Photo by Oden Taylor)

Returning to campus after over a year of distance learning can be confusing. There have been changes made every day, with future changes determined by whether new COVID-19 variants will become dominant.

As of April, American River College and the three other colleges in the Los Rios Community College District will be predominantly online again in the fall with some exceptions for some programs.

Programs that operated in-person during distance learning such as the nursing and the EMT programs, will remain in-person, according to the fall college schedule catalog.

The fall 2021 semester will include additional in-person classes, but not to the level of which it was before the shutdown. These include adapted physical education for students with disabilities, art, fitness and engineering.

Many subjects, including science, math and English composition, are limited with only one or two in-person offerings. The college’s fall college catalog can be set to show available in-person offerings using the “Mode” setting.

It’s still unclear what kind of safety protocols will be put in place to return back to campus, or whether the college will require “vaccine passports” to qualify for in-person learning.

At this time, we do not anticipate that vaccines will be required in order to participate in on-campus activities this fall,” LRCCD Vice Chancellor of Communications Gabe Ross said in an email to the Current. “We are tracking local and regional COVID-19 conditions closely and will continue to follow all guidelines laid out by public health experts.”

 The district is encouraging all students and staff to get vaccinated to help curb the lasting pandemic and increase the possibility of in-person learning. 

So far, the district will not require COVID-19 testing for students to return to campus for classes.

“Currently, we are testing student-athletes who are participating in on-campus conditioning or competition according to guidance from state public health experts,” Ross said. “We will continue to follow public health guidelines in determining whether expanded testing is appropriate for the fall if and when more programs and offices resume in-person services.”

However, normal social distancing guidelines such as mask requirements and 6-feet distance will remain in place for the college to re-open.

Students are starting to learn what returning to campus will look like. 

ARC’s Public Information Officer, Scott Crow says we [ARC’s administration] has yet to make a decision when it comes to restaurants reopening this fall semester. 

A decision has not been made related to food services. If services are opened, again we would follow the relevant guidelines [CDC guidelines for COVID-19],” Crow said in an email to the Current.  

Student services will be accessible online for all students next semester and it is not known yet whether or not they will reopen this fall. 

“A decision has not been made at this time about the potential opening of the library,” Crow said. “If a decision is made to open the library, we will follow public health guidelines.”

Heather Moody, the women’s water polo coach at ARC says Beaver athletics has made a gradual return to campus this semester. 

“​We just got back in the pool so [the team is] taking it slow as the athletes get back in the water. [At this time nothing is planned in regards to games] we have to wait and see [what the district has in store for athletics],” Moody said. 

In order to provide a clean and safe return to campus ARC’s administration has been updating the return to campus webpage for students to reference. 

As of now, Crow says ARC will be operating under public health guidelines for COVID-19 and the college will have sanitation protocols in place in order to keep students and staff members as safe as possible. 

Students and staff can stay up to date on the fall semester by checking out ARC’s website under the campus reopening section.