Northern Essex Community College announced it will significantly increase the number of courses with an on-campus component for the spring semester, which begins Jan. 19.

Almost 75% of classes will have an on-campus component, either in a hybrid format which combines online and face-to-face meetings, or online with on-campus labs. This fall, 25% of courses had an on-campus component, up from 10% in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, college officials said.

One quarter of spring 2022 classes will continue to be delivered fully online in an asynchronous format which increases student accessibility.

In making this announcement, Paul Beaudin, NECC’s vice president of academic affairs, said remote instruction continues to exacerbate the enrollment challenges of America’s community colleges.

“The academic needs of many of our students require more face-to-face instruction,” he said. “Greater physical presence on campus is key to the wider work of community building and student support.”

Earlier this month, the presidents of the Massachusetts community colleges announced that students, faculty, and staff at the state’s 15 community colleges must be fully vaccinated by January of 2022. Students who are registering for online courses that do not include any in-person component will be exempt from the vaccine requirement.

The college will continue to offer a rich selection of online options. In response to the pandemic, the college’s Center for Instructional Technology helped faculty transition 300 courses to online delivery. The college now offers 11 programs that are 80% online as well as three new fully online programs in Business Transfer, Criminal Justice, and General Studies: Health Specialization.

“While the return to campus was important to us, we wanted to offer robust online options to provide accessibility for students, some flexibility for our faculty, and decreased campus density,” Beaudin said.

College administration will be carefully monitoring public health conditions and will respond quickly and appropriately to adapt spring plans to meet those changes if needed.

Registration for the spring semester begins Monday, Nov. 1.

For more information, contact enrollment services at 978 556-3700 or admissions@necc.mass.edu.

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