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Career center back to in-person classes

In-person classes start back up at county school

Photo by Janelle Patterson Steve Burnfield, left, hands out quizzes during day two of CDL class at the Washington County Career Center Tuesday.

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic’s spread into the Midwest, Wyatt Jones, 19, of Parkersburg, was let go.

“I was working at a pizza place and they had to lay a bunch of people off,” Jones explained.

Many restaurants faced the same predicament, without customers to serve at tables and with fewer people employed overall and able to eat out as frequently, the economics of working in the food industry was brought into sharp contrast for the teenager.

“It really solidified that decision to find more stable and secure employment,” he said, before dropping a welding mask over his face and getting back to Tuesday’s lessons on perfecting a fillet.

The career center is the first educational institution in Washington County to return to in-person classes since the virus closed the doors of brick-and-mortar institutions and forced many classes online.

“We have five classes in here running at the same time, different levels,” explained Dana Johnson, a welding instructor at the Washington County Career Center, on Tuesday.

Tony Huffman, director of adult technical training at the center, explained Tuesday that classes larger than 10 students have been modified, with space to allow for social distancing to continue, but otherwise, classes and enrollment continues at the facility on Ohio 676 just outside Marietta city limits.

“Most of our classes are on a quarter design besides the two one-month programs– the CDL and STNA programs,” explained Huffman. “But the industrials basically had to go on a longer spring break and we’ve added hours each week to get them back into the regular schedule by fall and stay on track.”

Tuesday was day two for both the Commercial Driver’s License and the State Tested Nursing Assistant programs at the center with students spaced at desks more than six feet apart and all wearing cloth masks.

Erika Chidester explained that even clinical (practical hands-on lessons) for the STNA and other medical programs at the center have had to adjust to solely-campus training.

“Before we’d have clinicals in a nursing home but now we’ve set up the lab with the (mannequins) to practice wound dressing, bathing and personal care,” Chidester explained. “And the students practice putting on proper (personal protective equipment) and feeding each other with that on.”

On Tuesday, Steve Burnfield, CDL instructor, led his students through the changing hour requirements for truck drivers to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations and maintain road safety for surrounding motorists.

“You’ll have the computer logs, but eventually those computers stop working and if you’re at a weigh station or pulled over and you don’t have a log, you can get in big trouble, (even) fined,” Burnfield explained. “You need to have a paper log with you anyways.”

Students in the class asked about logging hours by short-distance hauls, adverse weather conditions, too, before taking a short quiz over the day’s material, and all if successful may be certified to be on the road by months’ end.

“Our STNA and CDL programs are rolling admission,” explained Huffman. “The next classes for those start again next month and the surgery technician and medical billing courses start July 6.”

Then, the center’s next round of Saturday classes for phlebotomy begin July 11, and classes for welding, chemical operator and industrial maintenance begin on July 20.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

•The Washington County Career Center continues is holding in-person classes on campus with social distancing and mask policies in place.

• State Tested Nursing Assistant and Commercial Driver’s License courses are available with rolling admission monthly.

• New classes for surgery technicians and medical billing begin July 6.

• New Saturday classes for phlebotomy begin July 11.

•New industrial courses in welding, chemical operator and industrial maintenance training begin July 20.

• Daytime courses are on Mondays and Tuesdays, evening courses are also available.

• For more information contact the Adult Technical Training office of the Washington County Career Center at 740-373-6283.

Source: Washington County Career Center.

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