SWCC works to close digital divide for students

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Southwest Community College gave an outlook of the second phase of their back to campus plan this morning.

Southwest Community College welcomed students back to class Monday. But, students may have quickly noticed the changes that have been in the works for months.

“We look forward to sharing with you everything we have done. It feels like it’s been six years but it’s only been six months,” President of SWCC Dr. Tracy Hall said.

This fall 89 percent of the courses at Southwest will be online compared to 11 percent of courses on campus.

Those numbers are flip-flopped compared to the beginning of classes last fall.

“We never closed that is something I wanted to make sure we detailed. We have not closed. Some buildings are closed but the business of the college has continued,” Hall said.

The number of students enrolled on the first day of class is down by nearly 21 percent.

Leaders hope with registration still going on those numbers will increase.

They said a real talk topic the COVID19 pandemic shined a light on is students who are facing poverty having to decide to eat or pay tuition.

The college has put procedures in place to help students who fall into financial trouble.

“I’m really proud of the that we have done we are not perfect, not saying that we are perfect but I’m saying what has done took a lot of strategic planning,” Hall said.

Leaders said as the year progresses the digital divide among students will continue to close on and off-campus.

The Macon, Union, Whitehaven, and Maxine Smith locations will have internet in the parking lot.