COVID-19 has presented hurdles for schools everywhere. But when classes include preparing food or learning how to become a nurse, like those offered at Charlotte Technical College, it’s even more challenging.

“All students and staff wear masks daily and they’ve been counseled in proper handwashing and proper wearing of all PPE,” said CTC Director Deelynn Bennett. “Currently in culinary, we are not open to the public. We serve Charlotte County Public Schools employees and students with takeout option only. Fortunately, our dental students do not start clinical rotation until January. All nursing students are receiving their clinical skills in our laboratories and using virtual simulation programs for which we have purchased from the CARES Act COVID-19 funding. We have also purchased additional mannequins and equipment necessary to teach the skills required to complete the course.”

Linda Rogers Antuono, a registered nurse and a member of the nursing faculty at CTC, said extra precautions have been put in place since students returned to school.

“Every student is gowned and they all wear a mask and face shield in the lab,” Rogers Antuono said. “I usually try to keep two students at each bed in the lab, and the beds are spaced at least 6 feet apart.”

There are 19 students broken up into two rooms: one classroom and one lab.

Student nurses Anthony Emil and Rayshawl Rasheed said they are used to wearing gowns and masks, but not as often as required this year.

“Clinicals are different because we have to be fully protected at all times,” Emil said.

The class recently visited Deep Creek Elementary School to do hearing, vision and scoliosis screenings for the students.

“Fawcett Hospital invited 10 students to visit patients on a non-COVID floor,” Rogers Antuono said. “They’ve been very helpful throughout this and we are fortunate to work with them. We try to get the students to interact with different age brackets. They do daily scenarios in the lab, but nothing is like the real experience.”

Enrollment is down a bit compared to last year at Charlotte Technical College, but Bennett said the January numbers are looking strong.

“We have been following the district protocol regarding COVID-19 and we have implemented CANVAS (software) training during the summer months in preparation for using this learning management system within the classroom and as a tool for online learning, should we have to make a switch back to full online learning,” Bennett said. “Students that have COVID-19 related issues are switched to synchronous learning using Google Meet and CANVAS so they can stay connected with their class, should they be quarantined based on recommendations from the health department, or if someone in their family has had COVID.”


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