Monroe Community College

How are local colleges and universities handling the 2021 spring semester during the pandemic? Nazareth College has shifted the start of its spring semester to February 1 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases after the holidays, while continuing to offer classes online. Monroe Community College resumed on-campus classes on Monday, but nearly 80 percent of its courses are being delivered remotely. The University of Rochester restarts most of its classes on February 1, offering both in-person and remote options.

This hour, we hear from representatives from all three institutions about plans for the spring semester, including access to courses, testing protocols, dorm life, and more. Our guests:

  • Beth Paul, Ph.D., president of Nazareth College
  • Katherine Douglas, Ed.D., interim president of Monroe Community College
  • Jeff Runner, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester

provided photo

Monroe Community College will be getting a new president. Officials with SUNY announced on Tuesday that DeAnna Burt-Nanna has been appointed the college’s sixth president; she begins on May 21, 2021.


A conference at Monroe Community College on Friday has the goal of trying to strengthen mental health support for a diverse student population.

College officials note that the intersection of three crises, COVID-19, economic struggles and racial injustices, has taken a toll on the mental well-being of many college students and also exposed health disparities in communities across the state and the nation.

Monroe Community College has announced its plans to resume on-campus operations for the fall semester. MCC will start resuming those activities in early August.

Officials say their plan for reopening has been approved by SUNY, and it covers the phased restart of on- campus operations, capacity of classrooms and other spaces and flexible teaching options as well as health and safety protocols.

The fall 2020 academic calendar remains the same; it runs from August 26 to December 16.

James Brown / WXXI News

Monroe Community College Interim President Kate Douglas said she doesn’t like the term “reopening,” because she said the college never really closed. Classes moved online in mid-March due to the pandemic. 

Douglas said different work groups filled with more than 70 staffers are discussing how to safely bring students back in person this fall.

“One of them is called the facilities and operations work group and they have been going through every room on campus and revising what the room capacity would be,” Douglas said. 

A. Sue Weisler/RIT

Local colleges and universities are cautiously optimistic about a fall campus reopening, although what that may look like is still up in the air.

Campuses emptied in March as the pandemic went into full swing, with schools switching to online learning and directing most students to go home. But as the state moves to slowly reopen portions of the economy this month, schools are looking ahead to the next academic year and most are preparing to reopen their campuses.

Monroe Community College says that in response to developments involving the COVID-19 outbreak, it is canceling classes Monday-Saturday, March 16-21.

The college will remain open for students who need access to technology and other support services. Faculty and staff are to report to work.

MCC’s dental clinic is also closed to patients next week.

freeimages.com/Griszka Niewiadomski

Another local community college is trying to make it easier for former students to return and earn their degrees and certificates.

Finger Lakes Community College is launching a Return to Finish program that will cancel any outstanding college bills, up to $1,200, once the student graduates.

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

It could be more than a year before a new president is in place at Monroe Community College, and the search for Anne Kress' successor may put the already tense relationship between faculty and college leadership to the test.

After a decade leading MCC, Kress is leaving to become president of Northern Virginia Community College.

Monroe Community College President Anne Kress has been selected as president of Northern Virginia Community College.

In a statement on the college's website, Kress called it "a genuine privilege to serve as MCC’s president over the past decade."