Madison college employee forum, update on plan moving forward for pandemic and budget changes.

Chris Bird, Managing Editor

In the Madison College: All Employee Forum that occurred on April 1, college leadership shared updates on their plans moving forward for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their budget goals for the 2021 fiscal year.

Madison College’s President, Dr. Jack Daniels, outlined a four-phase plan for Madison College to return to a new normal, in time. Phase one is the phase we are currently in, and calls for a continuation of the college’s response to COVID-19. All protocols are required, which includes masks, distancing, and screenings at entrances. Only students with classes or appointments are allowed in facilities. Authorized employees only, with one time and occasional facility access available to others through a process. No guests or visitors, and limited access and hours for facilities, and appropriate facility cleaning.

This summer is phase two, which is a continuation of the limitations from phase one, but also allows for more in-person instruction and services, as well as allowing more employees to return if a regular on-campus schedule is approved.

Phase three is to adopt limitations and guidelines based on whatever the current public health recommendations will be, no longer screen those entering facilities, work to communicate safe practices to minimize risks, allow open access to all facilities, and allow even further in-person access for employees and classes.

Phase four will be the new normal at Madison College. There will no longer be pandemic protocols, provided that is in line with public health recommendations. There will be a continuing communication campaign for general safe health practices. In person instruction and services will be at optimal levels, and all campuses will be open to students, employees, and the community.

These four phases represent the process that Madison College has planned, but the college is not setting specific times that they will be moving on beyond phase two and they will be following recommendations to decide when to move forward.

This summer, the college is still planning to have a majority of classes be offered as online courses. For summer 2021, the college was planning to have one percent of classes be totally in-person, 23 percent be a blend of in-person and off campus learning and have the remaining 76 percent of classes be totally off campus. Courses have actually had a 19 percent increase in offerings for this summer, and the new plan is to have two percent of courses in person, 24 percent hybrid, and 74 percent off campus. Summer enrollment is also higher this year, when compared to the same time period last year.

The college’s plan for Fall of 2021 was originally planned to be similar to Fall of 2022, which had two percent of classes on campus, 25 percent hybrid and 73 percent off campus. For now, the plan has changed to have eight percent of classes in person, 32 percent hybrid, and 60 percent totally off campus. The college has changed these plans “to reflect the changing health conditions and respond to data, and lessons learned about student access, success and the faculty experience over the prior four terms,” said Provost Turina Bakken, Ph.D.

Areas that benefit more from in person learning are being focused on, based on student success data, access, faculty experience, and other factors. Areas of study such as Health Sciences, Applied Science, Engineering and Technology, and Early Childhood care. The college is also looking at specific courses that benefit from in-person learning.

Madison College’s Budget for fiscal year 2021 is projected to have even revenue and expenditure. The college is projecting higher revenues than initially expected due to an increase in State and Federal aid, as well as gains in program fees, despite some decline in revenue from Student Fees and Institutional Revenue. The overall gains in revenue amount to 2,961,000 dollars.

The college is planning to cut spending overall by 3,712,000 dollars. on Fringe Benefits (only by $19,000), District Insurance, Utilities and Leases, IT/Data Processing and the College’s contingency fund for unforeseen expenses. Despite the overall cut to spending, Madison College is increasing spending in salaries and supplies and services.

Overall, Madison College plans to earn and spend 159,174,000 dollars for fiscal year 2021, and the institution is still waiting on more information about ARPA (America Rescue Plan Act), which recently passed in Congress, and will be providing further relief funding to the college. The act, similar to the CARES and CRRSAA acts, will ask that the college spend the money in a certain way divided between the college itself and support for students. Madison College’s Vice President of Administration Sylvia Ramirez expressed confidence that the college will be able to focus on students, as the college spent 64 percent of the previously received funds on direct student aid.