11 May 2021 6:46 AM | Anonymous

Let’s hear what they have to say regarding this past year of education...

Central Oregon Community College

By McKenzie Scott

"The dental assisting program was a lot different than I was expecting due to COVID-19. I was expecting a lot of on campus and in person work, but that all changed when COVID hit. I fortunately went into the program a few months after COVID had initially hit, so the professors were able to figure out how to make our program run smoothly with the new guidelines.

Most of our classes in the first term were all online except for one lab. Some being only online (self-lead) and others in a remote setting (Zoom videos). It was a big change at first. After getting more comfortable with the new set-up, a lot of my fellow students and I began to really enjoy the change. Having all classes that can be online made the program far more accessible to more students. Most of us work, some are parents, and others live far away. Having these classes online made it easier for all of us to attend school with our own schedules.

The in-person class that we did have was once a week and consisted of half of the students one day and the other half another day. We were required to wear masks and practice the 6-foot social distancing, (which is easy, since we have operatories). I felt that I got a better education having the smaller and more physically spread-out workspaces, because I was able to focus on my work and get one on one help when I needed it.

Although we were in class for labs, our school specifically did not allow us to open our clinic. However, one of our professors was able to get us into an office during the middle of the second term, which was a great experience. If the program remained the way it is now, I would certainly encourage more students to go into the program. I would like to see a few of our online classes to include a Zoom meeting or be in person, but other than that I think it was better than the original setup."

Chemeketa Community College:

By Marisa Wilson

"Once I received the notification that I was accepted into Chemeketa’s Dental Assisting Program, I cried. I have always wanted to be in the dental field and it was finally happening for me! Then the fear set in of 'how am I supposed to do this with COVID-19 running ramped in our community?'

At the time, I still had high hopes because I know that I wouldn’t have been accepted into this program if it was completely virtual. I went into this program with an open mind and was willing to take on whatever was thrown at me, especially during this pandemic. Thankfully, Chemeketa has approved this program to be semi-on campus when most other programs are completely virtual.

Virtual learning throughout this program has been very tough for me as a hands-on learner. I generally don’t do the best on tests and exams and I have had to put the pieces from my readings together whenever I have the chance to be hands-on in the clinic, which has been the hardest battle that I’ve faced.

My greatest fear to this day is that due to this pandemic, the students will not be prepared for our national board exams that are coming up this June. With that said, all the instructors in this program have truly done their part to give us all the information, resources, guidance, and understanding to their students and I am eternally grateful for them. They know and understand how we are feeling and that we aren’t getting the full experience of this program as we should.

Although this has been a crazy year, especially in a hands-on learning environment that has been forced to go semi-virtual, I am confident that all of the dental assisting team is doing their best with the cards that we were dealt."

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