North Montco Technical Career Center adjust to COVID-19 protocols

From the challenges that COVID-19 has brought, North Montco Technical Career Center has been forced into making changes in its operation, such as schedule changes, distancing protocols and student class limits.


**Taking precaution…** *Wearing a mask, North Montco Technical Career Center junior Jenna Manfredi practices her cosmetology skills safely in the classroom during the current pandemic.* *Photo by CeCe Ryan*

By incorporating necessary changes to abide by COVID-19 protocols, North Montco Technical Career Center is facing a different type of school year.
Junior Savana Johnson attended NMTCC for cosmetology part-time during her sophomore year and full-time this year.
“Instead of going in [toNMTCC] every day, we would go on Monday-Thursday,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, when COVID-19 struck, part time students like herself would go onto a website called “MindTap,” which acted as the cosmetology textbook.
Johnson said she had to complete assignments regarding cosmetology, which is how she could obtain hours for her cosmetology license. Johnson said she prefers learning in-person over online.
According to recreational and outdoor power equipment teacher David Bodzioch, before the pandemic, 12-16 students could work in the shop at a time.
“There were many more group projects,” Bodzioch said.
The cosmetology classroom has also been affected by COVID-19.
“Prior to COVID-19, the classroom was operational for 24 students at one time,” cosmetology teacher Maryalice LaBar said.
According to LaBar, due to the virus and “proper distancing protocols,” there are now only “12 stations.”
“Masks are never taken off, with the exception of lunch,” LaBar said.
Bodzioch agress. “Masks are worn all the time. [There are] no mask breaks.”
According to Bodzioch, in the recreational power equipment field, masks are worn part time due to “dust, metals and harsh chemicals,” so wearing masks is “good practice for the students.”
Johnson said that students are not required to take a COVID-19 test or complete any sort of screening in order to attend NMTCC for part-time or full-time students.
Students take many precautions in order to stay safe during COVID.
“Upon immediate arrival, students must wash their hands.” LaBar said.
According to LaBar, students must also wipe down their work stations, then sanitize their hands. Only then can students begin setting up their stations.
During cosmetology classes in the fourth marking period, students will “work on each other” as “pretend clients.” The class now uses disposable chair covers, because “people may have their arms and legs exposed,” LaBar said. “The disposable chair covers will be changed between clients.”
Bodzioch said that time in the shop can be used effectively, utilizing “hands on skills.” “It’s difficult to teach about a motorcycle from a computer,” Bodzioch said. “I use the online days as theory days.”
There have been occasional moments that have been positive.
According to Bodzioch, “Students did receive more personal instruction due to less students in the class at a time.”
At NMTCC, there is a hair salon where customers can go, and students can work.
“Prior to the pandemic, customers could visit the salon without an appointment,” Administrative Director Gina Pardovich said. “Now, customers must make appointments.” There is also less available space due to guidelines.
“The salon adheres to strict mitigation standards set by the PA State Board of Cosmetology,” Pardovich said.