ESCC Announces “Close to Home” Plan for Fall Classes


President Jim Shaeffer Shares Details

One of the great rewards I inherited when I started my new job as president of Your Eastern Shore Community College was the unrelenting support the greater community gives to the college. I see this play out every day when I’m stopped at the YMCA or the grocery store or most anywhere here on the Shore and people ask about how the college is doing. 

When people ask me about the college it’s not exactly like when we may ask someone, how are you doing?  While we want to know how the person is, we hope they don’t go into detail.  That is simply not the case when people ask me about the college. They truly want to know what is Eastern Shore Community College going to do in the Fall?  

That question is a bit difficult to answer because the COVID 19 crisis has moved our goal posts nearly every day.  I am proud to report that because of great planning and foresight, Your Eastern Shore Community College has prepared for a number of scenarios for Fall. We call our plan “Close to Home.”

Most of our courses are now offered in eight-week sessions which creates more options for students and allows them to earn credits more quickly while focusing on only a couple of classes at a time.

We are planning each class to maximize the educational experience and minimize risks. We have designed five types of delivery methods, depending on the class, the student, and the instructor.

(1) All on-campus. This is the plan for classes like welding which must be taught in the welding shop.

(2) Switch-days on-campus. Half of the students will come on-campus for the first meeting day of the week and participate in the class through Zoom the other day, and half will participate through Zoom on the first day and come on-campus the second day. We will do this for classes like math where in-person instruction is not required but is extremely beneficial. The Zoom sessions also will allow a student to avoid campus completely if their health condition requires that.

(3) Sometimes on-campus. These classes might come to campus a few times, such as for an introductory meeting, biology labs, or proctored testing.

(4) Live online. We recognize that sometimes students feel disconnected in online classes, so we will offer some that will include live instruction each week through Zoom. 

(5) Anytime online. We also know that some students need maximum flexibility to complete classwork when it is convenient for them. These will be traditional online classes that do not require students to be online on certain days and times.

We will publish on our website and in our schedule the plan for each class.

To prepare Your Eastern Shore Community College faculty to implement these options, this summer every ESCC instructor will complete 14 hours of training and will redesign their courses to enhance quality.

I want to thank the faculty, staff, and students for what they achieved in the Spring 2020 semester.  The faculty moved quickly to modify courses for remote delivery, the staff kept the college’s virtual doors open through email, phone, and our website, and our students prevailed through the semester.  We graduated over 100 students in May.

Your Eastern Shore Community College recognizes that with COVID 19 many students and parents are faced with difficult decisions such as, do I send my child away to a four-year institution or can they stay close to home for this first or second year of college?  

The great news is Your Eastern Shore Community College offers excellent programs with guaranteed transfer to any public university in the state of Virginia. We also offer short-term certificates and degrees that lead directly to great careers in healthcare, manufacturing, trades, information technology, and childcare.  

Not only does ESCC allow you stay close to home, your community college is less than one third the cost of the other colleges and universities in Virginia. And here is the kicker, we have over $250,000 in scholarships to keep your costs even lower. 

Nearly every ESCC student will receive some form of financial aid or scholarship this year. It’s not that we are expensive and need to offer aid to make us look inexpensive. Instead, we are a great value and offer as much aid as possible to make college affordable and accessible for everyone on the Shore. 

I speak for all the faculty and staff at ESCC when I say we so appreciate the support we receive from our friends and colleagues on the Eastern Shore. We feel that the best way to continue to earn that support is to respond to the needs of the Eastern Shore community.  

We hope by providing multiple delivery modes of high quality programs at affordable prices and giving a scholarship to nearly every one of our students, we are taking strides to be your YES!

Your Eastern Shore Community College, YES! ESCC Strong.

Dr. James Shaeffer is president of Eastern Shore Community College. He can be reached at