Country music artist Thomas Rhett penned the autobiographical Life Changes to illustrate the unexpected curveballs that life throws. One line from the chorus hit especially hard for me during 2020, “You never know what’s gonna (sic) happen. You make your plans and you hear God laughing.”

While I’m the first to take lemons and make lemonade, the list of 2020 cancellations and disappointments — from graduations to funerals — was daunting. Even lemonade gets old when it’s the only option you’re given.

At Danville Area Community College we’ve learned that we can’t control the pandemic – yet – but we can mitigate the effects. With that in mind, we’re starting the Spring semester the way we ended the Fall semester, with lectures online and only hands-on technical classes, labs and clinical courses meeting in person.

We’ll reevaluate in mid-February in hopes of bringing the scheduled face-to-face classes back to campus. It will depend on the state of the pandemic at that time. In the meantime, those classes that were intended to meet on campus face-to-face will meet online in real time (synchronously) at their scheduled hour to preserve the feeling of an in-person class. It will also help students set a schedule in anticipation of returning to campus before the semester ends.

Another new initiative in early design stages at the College is the Saturday Six Pack. Details are still being nailed down – including which classes will be offered and when (this semester) we’ll start them – but the concept is to take one class for 8 hours a day on six consecutive Saturdays.

The Saturday Six Pack will be a great alternative for working parents who are struggling to manage weekday jobs alongside their kids’ varying school arrangements. Even in a non-pandemic atmosphere, this Six Pack is tailor-made for folks who are busy during the week. You can get a lot accomplished with a relatively short time commitment. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Finally, we’re looking ahead to better days. The DACC Foundation scholarship application went live online Monday, January 4. You can find the application link and a video tutorial for completion instructions at www.dacc.edu/scholarship. One completed application puts you in consideration for any of the more than 550 scholarships for which you qualify. The Foundation awarded more than $660,000 in scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year, and new funds have been established since then. Current and prospective 2021-2022 students can’t afford to leave this money sitting on the table. Completed applications are due Monday, March 8.

Don’t let these unprecedented events slow your roll. With the vaccine roll-out there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The College’s mission is to serve the community and we will fulfill that mission under any circumstances. Happy New Year!

Lara Conklin is director of marketing and college relations at Danville Area Community College. Contact her at 443-8798 or e-mail lconklin@dacc.edu.

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