Update on in-person class plans given current COVID-19 situation
It has been too long since the last communication regarding our plans for returning to in-person classes. And we were just getting ready to announce an in-person class for the fourth quarter of this year, but then the CDC threw a monkey wrench into the works last week with their revised guidance about masks and general discussion of the newest COVID-19 variant. Given the current situation, with what seems to be contradictory guidance from public health officials, and insufficient public data to let us all make up our own minds, we feel we have no viable choice but to delay in-person classes again for another 3 months.
We know this is a frustrating time for everyone. We know from our recent surveys of applicants that many of you would prefer attending NSS in-person. We miss the in-person experience and we look forward to when it will be responsible to again offer that option to students. But our surveys also tell us about the doubts still present in the minds of many people. All things considered, we believe that we’re best off if we keep offering all of our courses in the remote learning mode for a bit longer.
One thing we DO know for certain is that remote learning at NSS works. We’ve proven that over the past 18 months. We set new monthly placement records for our graduates in the second quarter: May and June are now the 1st and 2nd all-time best placement months for NSS. The majority of our graduates hired in recent months have been hired to work remotely on virtual teams - the remote learning experience at NSS better prepared these graduates for the new world of tech work than a purely in-person experience would have done.
Remaining 2021 Bootcamps & Jumpstarts
So here’s the news: all NSS bootcamps that are due to start in September through the end of 2021 will start in remote learning mode identical to what we’ve been offering since mid-March of last year. All Jumpstarts scheduled for the remainder of 2021 will also be delivered in remote learning mode. This includes the full-time Data Analytics bootcamp scheduled to start Sept. 7, the part-time Data Science bootcamp scheduled to start Sept. 14, the full-time Web Developer Bootcamps scheduled to start on Sept. 27 and November 8, the part-time Web Developer Bootcamp scheduled to start Oct. 2, the Web Development Jumpstart scheduled for September and November, and the Data Analytics Jumpstart scheduled for October.
This news does not affect any currently active bootcamps - those are all being delivered in remote learning mode and will continue to their completion in that mode. This also does not change our existing policy that any student who starts a bootcamp remotely will always have the option to complete that bootcamp remotely, i.e. even if we were to bring some classes or class activities in-person, no student will be required to participate in-person.
January 2022 Bootcamps
As to what will happen with all of the classes that start in early 2022, here are our current plans. We expect that the part-time Web Development and Data Analytics bootcamps that start in January 2022 will be offered as remote learning classes. We are currently planning for the full-time Web Development and Data Analytics bootcamps that start in January to be offered in hybrid learning mode. What we mean by hybrid learning is that students will have the option to attend the class either as a remote student attending class online or as an in-person student physically present in the classroom. Both the remote and in-person students will interact with their instructors and each other in a shared online synchronous classroom.
Note that our plans for offering an in-person option as part of hybrid classes in January is subject to change based on new information becoming public regarding COVID-19 and its variants. As always, we will take into account the best information available as we get closer to class start dates to make final decisions regarding remote vs. in-person attendance.
We believe that by offering our full-time classes in both remote and in-person modes we will be able to support both those who are vaccinated or immune through prior COVID-19 infection and who desire an in-person learning experience as well as those who cannot physically come to NSS in-person either because of distance or for health reasons such as being immunocompromised or being a caregiver or family member of a high-risk individual.
We fully expect to support a mix of remote learning and in-person learning experiences in 2022. Even if COVID-19 disappears as a public health risk, we have learned over the last 18 months that there are many adults that seek to take advantage of NSS but who live outside commuting distance of our campus, or who live nearby but for other reasons cannot make it to campus every day. We do not want to take the NSS experience away from such individuals so we expect that some remote learning options will have a permanent presence on our course calendar.