News Release – Diné College prepares for Fall 2020

Diné College prepares for Fall 2020


July 07, 2020

TSAILE, Ariz.— Diné college will offer 358 courses this fall with all but 10 courses to be offered online, and staff are getting ready for the return of students by instituting campus-wide safety measures, a $6.4 million technology upgrade, developing a laptop loaner program, and other student success measures.

Fall semester begins on Aug. 17. Online registration began June 22.

In a pre-recorded radio announcement, Diné College President Charles Roessel said the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic should not be a barrier to education, “We are getting the college ready for you this Fall. This is a time of uncertainty, but it should not deter you from making a new future for you and your family.”

Roessel said students can expect a much safer campus, with new signage encouraging social distancing. Plus, he said, plexiglass has been installed in offices and classrooms to ward of transmission of COVID-19.

Regarding changes made to the college learning environment, Roessel said the college invested in the $6.4 million technology upgrade, pointing out expanded broadband capacity, Zoom studios, and the laptop loaner program.

“A combination (48) of laptops and MAC Air Books were ordered,” Diné College Information Technology Director Joy Thompson said, saying the discounted cost of each machine ranged from $500 to $700. “There are more (40) to be purchased.”

And, Thompson said a few months ago that wireless Internet units with wireless data plans were ordered for students who do not have internet access at their homes. In addition, students can access the Internet from wireless access points at either of the college’s six campuses. The access points are at the student parking lots, which means students must drive to these locations. Hours of access are within the curfew times stipulated by the college.

“We’re looking to making your educational experience successful,” Roessel said during the radio address. “We’re making things as safe as we can.”

Over the past few months, college officials have said COVID-19 testing and tracing protocols are encouraged and the campuses will be regularly cleaned in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The college intends to prioritize on-campus instruction for courses, labs, studios, and practicums where hands-on experiences are critical for learning, officials have said.

Also, there is a cap on class size based on square feet, but not to exceed 10 students and only essential classes will be face-to-face. Hand-washing stations will be provided throughout the six campuses of the college. There will be help for students to be more successful with online education. Security check points at college and buildings – temperature checks, ID scan – required upon entry.

For the summer session, the college reported 424 students were enrolled. Diné College Enrollment Services Director Priscilla Leonard said the summer semesters were rolled into one session due to COVID-19.

A campus wide Zoom meeting was held at the end of June whereby employees were informed of a return-to-work plan. There are close to 300 people who work at Diné College at its campuses in Arizona and New Mexico.



Marie R. Etsitty Nez 
Vice President of External Affairs

George Joe, M.A., M.Ed, Director Of Marketing and Communications

Bernie DotsonPublic Relations Officer

Scott TomGraphic Design and Digital Media Specialist

Jazzmine D. MartinezMarketing Assistant

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