Board of Trustees pass new budgets and reopening plan

ROCK SPRINGS — The Western Wyoming Community College Board of Trustees passed a budget on July 15 for the 2020-21 fiscal year along with a reopening plan. The board also recognized John Freeman for his service and awarded Jason Barnett the Innovative Teacher of the Year.

The college is estimating a slight increase in enrollment for this year, which will help with their institutional revenues.

“When we were working with our first temporary budget, we did an across-the-board 10% cut,” Western President Kimberly Dale said.

The board expressed support for the reopening plan. Trustee Veronica Donaldson said, “I am proud of how well Dr. Dale and her team did.”

The fall 2020 semester is scheduled to begin on Aug. 24 and end Dec. 11. Face-to-face classes will transition to virtual courses after Nov. 20. The reopening plan notes “the contents in this document are subject to change.”

There will be 76 in-person and socially-distanced classes available on campus. There will also be 175 online courses for students who do not feel comfortable being in class, according to the release.

Spring classes are expected to begin Jan. 25, 2021. Once again, in-person classes will transition online after April 23, 2021, and the semester will end on May 7, 2021. All A, B and C block classes for both fall and spring semester have been changed to four weeks instead of five. There has been an addition of a 13-week block for more flexibility in each semester.

Western’s reopening plan outlines situations they may encounter and how they plan to address them. The college board and Dr. Dale stressed their first priority is the safety of the students and faculty.

The college will continue to follow protocol for indoor and outdoor gatherings set by the state.

According to a press release, there will be campus tours beginning July 20. Students may chat through Zoom with admissions throughout the summer.

Western will offer housing, but not to full capacity. WWCC will accommodate 295 residents instead of 558, and students who live in the residents halls will be in a private bedroom, according to the release.

Students will be required to maintain a safe distance and good personal hygiene. Students must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet and wear a face mask.

Another topic that is being taken into consideration is sports. All fall sports playoffs are being moved to the spring, at the direction of the National Junior College Athletic Association, though scrimmages will be allowed.

and special protocols are being put into place to ensure student athlete safety. Games will continue, but without fans according to the press release.

Athletic director Lu Sweet said, “Fall sports will still scrimmage in the fall, but their competition season will be moved to spring.”

For a closer look at the college’s plan, see the story at rocketminer.com.

HONORING EXCELLENCE

The board also recognized Jason Barnett for winning the Innovative Teacher of the Year award. The board was impressed with the comments students wrote about Barnett, such as, “He knows everyone learns differently and helps each student.”

Board President Regina Clark also recognized John Freeman for his retirement and his service to the board and Western. He taught as a Sweetwater County teacher and then was the high school transition coordinator at the college.

“We all just want to thank you for all you have done,” Clark said.

Freeman said, “The only thing I miss is the students, and nine years later I still miss being with the students.”

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