RCBI deploys systematic changes to protect students

The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University has implemented a series of procedures and protocols designed to safely deliver classroom and hands-on training to students in its nationally recognized Machinist Technology/CNC and Welding Technology programs.

“Protecting our students, clients and staff is paramount,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director and CEO. “Based on recommendations and guidance from health officials and scientists at the federal, state and local levels, we have developed and adopted innovative tactics to reduce risks as we deliver educational opportunities during this pandemic.”

Beginning immediately as existing students return to complete testing for their national certifications and continuing into the new fall term, RCBI has introduced the following changes at its training facilities in Bridgeport, Huntington, Welch and Williamson.

  • Reduced classroom sizes by staggering student schedules
  • Erected plexiglass dividers between student workstations that are spaced at least six feet apart
  • Moved preparatory coursework and classroom testing to online delivery
  • Created real-time virtual lectures and demonstrations to complement hands-on instruction
  • Implemented frequent disinfecting of heavily touched machinery and other surfaces
  • Required the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) by students and instructors
  • Provided hand sanitizers, face masks and gloves at PPE stations in each RCBI location
  • Posted signs emphasizing safety precautions and frequent handwashing
  • Developed one-way foot traffic patterns to maintain social distancing
  • Required everyone who enters an RCBI facility to answer questionnaires about their potential exposure to Covid-19 or travel to hotspots and have their temperature taken daily as they arrive.

RCBI is enrolling new machinist and welding students for the fall term, which begins in August. Students in RCBI’s career skills programs earn nationally recognized certifications and have the opportunity to earn a college degree from either Mountwest Community and Technical College or Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Both programs qualify for the West Virginia Invests Grant Program, which pays toward the full tuition costs for students pursuing careers in high-demand fields such as machining and welding.