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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

EACC will continue to engage in online and remote instruction as much as possible for the remainder of the spring semester. EACC's Commencement ceremony and activities scheduled for May 8th have been postponed. Application deadlines for the practical nursing, registered nursing, rad tech, and paramedic programs have been extended. 
 
Campus is not closed. The Wynne Center, the Betty Jo Hodges Student Services Complex, and the Computer Education Center are open for students. The number of people present at any one time will be limited and students have been asked to come to campus only if absolutely necessary. Screening and strict social distancing are being enforced.
 
All services for students continue, either virtually, by appointment, or in small groups. These include: Testing, Advising, Registration, Tutoring, Financial Aid, Student Services such as SSS/Trio and CPI.
 
EACC employees, except for "essential employees," will continue working remotely. Check EACC email regularly for additional information. 

COVID-19 Update 4/1/20
 
EACC will continue to engage in online and remote instruction as much as possible for the remainder of the spring semester.  The current health goal is to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and limiting access to campus remains the best course of action. 

In addition to online teaching, other forms of instruction continue. EACC is engaging in creative ways to deliver instruction to every student.

EACC's Commencement ceremony and activities scheduled for May 8th have been postponed. "It is disappointing, but concern for the health of our students, their families, and our faculty and staff means we must postpone commencement," said Dr. Cline. "It is clear that a large crowd will not be allowed to gather in May, and we appreciate everyone's patience while we explore options. Details will follow when finalized," she added.

Application deadlines for the practical nursing, registered nursing, rad tech, and paramedic programs have been extended. For more information, email Lhutcherson@eacc.edu or call 870-633-4480, ext. 408.

EACC has also organized and is now offering a new service for students.  The "Little Free Library" located on campus in the small parking area in front of the Adult Education building has been converted to a "Little Food Pantry."  Students may drive-up at any time to pick-up food.  Food may also be dropped off at the Little Food Pantry. "We hope this new way of serving students who may need a little extra support, while safely enforcing social distancing, will also provide a way for our EACC community to feel connected to each other," said Dr. Cline.

EACC continues to support students in many ways during this time.

  • Student assistance and help has been provided through the special email Care@eacc.edu. In addition, every student has been contacted to inquire about their needs and will continue to do so.
  • Laptops and hot spots have been loaned to students who said they were unable to access an appropriate device through any other means.
  • The EACC campus is not closed. The Wynne Center, the Betty Jo Hodges Student Services Complex, and the Computer Education Center are open for students. The number of people present at any one time will be limited and students have been asked to come to campus only if absolutely necessary. Screening and strict social distancing are being enforced.
  • Special signs on campus mark where Wi-Fi can be accessed from a car. 
  • Special plans for secondary career center high school students are being coordinated with each school district and program.

All services for students continue, either virtually, by appointment, or in small groups. These include:

  • Testing
  • Advising
  • Registration
  • Tutoring
  • Financial Aid
  • Student Services such as SSS/Trio and CPI.

"As we make swift decisions to support everyone's health and safety, I will continue to keep the campus and community informed," said Dr. Cline. "Protecting the futures of our students and our employees is uppermost in my mind at all times.  When life returns to normal, I want us all to have the best life to return to," she added. 


Letter to STUDENTS 3/24/20

Dear EACC Students,

Good afternoon. I hope you are having a safe Spring Break, and that you are putting your health first by adhering to travel and social distancing restrictions. Today, Arkansas announced its first 2 deaths from the COVID-19 virus. The majority of the 218 cases in Arkansas have occurred among those aged 19-64, per Governor Hutchinson's 1:30 p.m. update. The situation grows more serious and your health is paramount.

EACC is not closed during this event, but is engaging in only very limited essential campus operations in order serve students while following social distancing restrictions.  We are adapting daily as the Governor gives his updates.

This unprecedented health crisis has led EACC to engage in innovative, individualized, and creative methods of instructional delivery. Taking into account individual student needs has always been a hallmark of this College, and is even more important than ever to us.

Therefore, we have made the decision that alternative methods of instruction will continue through April 17. AMI may include such things as Blackboard, email, correspondence, tele- and videoconferencing. What is most suitable for each student varies based on student and programmatic needs. Please note that adjustments to plans are made as we receive directives from the State of Arkansas.

Although we are electing to continue AMI as much as possible, many students, courses, and programs have special needs. For example, at present we plan that next week, some labs for vocational, occupational, and technical courses will be open at limited times for a limited number of students. There may be other special situations as instructors work to accommodate students. Flexibility remains paramount to continue to provide the best education possible. Communication between faculty and students is essential.

The Computer Education Center is open this week, and will continue to remain open, for students who need help with technology or Wifi. Drive-up Wifi locations are noted on signs located throughout campus, and emails and social media posts regarding this access have been sent.

At present, we plan to reopen the Wynne Center and the Learning Resource Center (library) on Monday, March 30, to provide students with more access to technology. Again, this situation could change based on announcements from the Governor's office, and I appreciate your understanding and patience as the situation evolves. Our focus is on providing you, our students, with the access and resources you need.

Students, faculty, and staff wishing to come to campus will be screened for COVID-19. Anyone with positive indications will not be allowed on campus. No groups of more than 10 will be allowed in any one area.  At the present time, these guidelines fit the directives issued by Governor Hutchinson. We will make changes as changes to his directives are announced.

The fluidity of this situation is frustrating to me, and I know that it is difficult for you as well. Rest assured that we are working hard to best serve your educational needs while responding to a rapidly evolving situation in an unprecedented environment.

Our goal is for your learning to continue so your goals can be realized, even though at present, education requires an extraordinarily high level of flexibility, creativity, and adaptability.

All essential student services continue. If you have a need that is not being met, please email care@eacc.edu. We care about what you need and want to serve you.  I admire the determination and resilience you have shown in this situation, and by working together, we will ensure that you are able to finish strong (#FINISHSTRONGAR).

 


Urgent COVID-19 Update 3/19/2020

Following Governor Hutchinson's directive announced this afternoon, all EACC employees, except for "essential employees," will begin working remotely tomorrow, Friday, March 20.  Essential employees have been, and will continue to be, notified by their supervisors when they are needed on campus. Employees who cannot work remotely will receive President's authorized leave without impacting employee leave balances. However, per the Governor's directive, work continues as much as possible but is being done remotely.

At this time EACC is mandating remote work only until Monday, March 30. This mandate will be reevaluated next week as more information becomes available.

Beginning tomorrow, Friday, March 20, all EACC buildings will be closed except for the Computer Education Center, which will remain open for students who need access to internet service or computer technology.  The campus will be closed to the general public.

"EACC is doing everything we can to provide students with the most outreach, the most support, and the best possible instruction. We have reached out to every degree-seeking student this week and have set up a special email that they may use to report any need or concern that is not being met: Care@eacc.edu," said Dr. Cathie Cline.

Students and faculty will be on Spring Break next week, but have been engaging in alternative methods of instruction (AMI).

A final determination regarding how long AMI will continue cannot be made at this time, as it is dependent on the Governor's directives and most importantly, the needs of the students enrolled in each of EACC's unique programs. Faculty will continue to be closely connected to students in order to be able to continue to deliver the best programs possible.

No employee may come to campus if they exhibit symptoms of the COVID-19 Coronavirus or believe themselves to have been exposed to it or diagnosed with it.  Any employee coming to campus for any reason is required to maintain proper social distancing practices.  If any employee must come to campus, they must do so from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. only. The campus will be closed outside of those hours. 

"Much work has been done over the last 3 weeks to prepare for this very situation, and it has arrived. I will continue to update everyone as I receive information, as I have been doing since the crisis began.  We are making decisions as we receive the information necessary to make them, and will continue to exercise prudence and caution. The health of our employees and our students is of the utmost concern," said Dr. Cline.

 


Update from College President 3/16/2020

To the Greater College Community:

On Sunday, the Governor announced the closure of all K-12 schools beginning Tuesday with a planned reopening on Monday, March 30.  Although this order does not apply to institutions of higher education, out of concern for student and community safety, on campus classes have been suspended this week and alternative methods of instruction (AMI), including the use of online platforms and other methods of remote teaching, are being utilized.

At the present time, faculty and staff will continue to report to work as usual, but remote work is under consideration for the future based on the Governor's directives, the need for safe social distancing, and the health and welfare of students and employees.

Everyone on the EACC campus is urged to maintain a distance of 6 feet, if possible, between themselves and other persons. Faculty and staff are required to restrict movement on campus only to that which is absolutely necessary. These are sensible precautions in keeping with social distancing recommendations.

Although we have suspended on campus classes for this week, faculty and staff will be available to offer support, distribute books and other materials, and to assist students with all their needs as they begin to engage with alternative methods of instruction.

Next week is Spring Break; however, all faculty will continue to be available via telephone and email for students who have concerns or questions, or who wish to engage in their studies.

At present, the College plans for all buildings and offices to remain open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm each day, and expects that student services such as the library, computer education center, and student center will remain active during those times. Harold's Kitchen will close today.

We welcome students to campus to access wi-fi and computer technology in order to complete assignments, but there may be times when the number of users in any one area may be limited if staff consider such limitation prudent.

The College will increase its student outreach and support. All degree-seeking students will be contacted by telephone and/or email this week by their instructors and by student support staff, with the priority of reaching out to students in face-to-face campus classes first, and with the goal of each student being contacted by 2 or more personnel. They will assist with questions and determine if there are any students who have needs that are not being met.

Concurrent credit and secondary career center staff and instructors are in contact with high school students and personnel, and have prepared AMI packets for delivery to high school students.  Many superintendents of area high schools have loaned their students laptops or tablets so they may continue their college studies online. EACC is very grateful for that assistance.

Adult Education, Allied Health, Cosmetology, and other programs have special limitations and needs that are under review. Students may contact instructors and program administrators at any time.

All community education classes and all activities and meetings will be suspended until March 30, at which time the College will reevaluate. Additional cancellation notices have been sent to relevant parties. Community education staff have reached out to all CE students.

EACC realizes that our students, who have begun something new in order to better their lives, must feel very disoriented, confused, and unsure. Our hearts are with our students. As we move through this uncharted territory, faculty will engage frequently in individual communication with all students.

Due to the diverse nature of the College's programs and students, this letter is a general report, and exceptions will be necessary to best serve students. Flexibility is paramount.

The extensive planning that we have engaged in over the last few weeks and the preparation that faculty have undertaken have served us well. I can assure you that we are not merely reacting to a crisis, but are implementing plans we had formulated.

However, this is an absolutely unprecedented event. I believe we will, over the longer term, have to experience inconvenience and accept that things may not always go as we would like. I plead with our greater campus community to be understanding as we work through this crisis.

I ask everyone to support each other and to stay as physically distant from each other as possible.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to EACC if there is anything we can do to better support you.

 


EACC is closely monitoring the CDC, AR Department of Health, and local emergency management agencies reports regarding the coronavirus public health concerns, and are following the guidance provided by the agencies. We are taking precautionary measures and routinely disinfecting commonly touched surfaces throughout campus.  Given the rapidly changing information on COVID-19 as it relates to academic requirements, travel restrictions, and the possibility of cancelled or postponed classes and events, EACC will continue to provide the latest updates and guidance for the campus community.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of illnesses, including viruses and respiratory diseases.

Practice Good Prevention:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC's recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Avoid public places when possible will decrease risk of contact with infected persons.

The safety and wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff are the highest priority. If you experience fever and other flu-like symptoms, please stay home. If absence from work of more than five (5) days is required, please obtain a health care provider's excuse and clearance to return to work once you are asymptomatic or cleared from quarantine in order to provide for the safety of all.

At this time, we have no plans to cancel classes or events, but have planned for this should the need arise.  We will comply with all state and federal government mandates regarding practices for institutions of higher education such as ours, that do not have a significant population of students, faculty, or staff who engage in substantial travel.  However, as you know, the situation must be monitored continuously and is subject to change at any moment.

In addition, faculty have prepared to deliver as much instruction as possible either online or via other methods that allow remote coursework if a significant disruption in College operations should occur.

Given the current uncertainty, students, faculty, and staff should be proactive in health choices and travel plans. If you plan to travel, please be cautious and informed in selecting destinations and modes of travel.  If you are planning travel, please review "Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel" located on the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html -- particularly as it relates to travel outside of the country and via cruise ships. As of March 8, the U.S. Department of State recommends against cruise ship travel. The CDC also advises that U.S. citizens should carefully evaluate the risks associated with choosing to travel out of the country or to any area that may be subject to quarantine.

EACC has engaged in substantial planning regarding emergency and pandemic response and continuity of operations, and we are ready to implement response plans if needed. While some aspects of delivering education to students may be temporarily challenged over the coming weeks or months, we will handle each challenge with our characteristic steadfastness to do all within our power to ensure student success.

Please be sure you are subscribed to EACC Alert in order to receive urgent communications. The sign up and account log in are located here:  https://eacc.omnilert.net/subscriber.php

STUDENTS:

If you are diagnosed with or have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, please report via email to care@eacc.edu

Financial Aid Update-

The Office of Postsecondary Education through the Department of Education has offered guidance on Financial Aid, and it is important to know that the majority of students who are already in attendance but whose attendance is interrupted by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will be permitted to transition to alternate methods of learning (receive instruction through methods including online, such as Blackboard, email, conference calls, and other remote exchanges) without any negative impact to financial aid. If you are a student in an internship, clinical rotation, or fieldwork course OR if you are in a clock-hour course that leads to licensure (such as Cosmetology), please keep in contact with your instructor(s) for updates and additional information.

Work study students should remain in contact with their FWS supervisor for updates. It is expected that the college may continue paying work study wages in the event of an extended campus closure.

If you need to request a leave of absence to due illness from COVID-19, you may do so as long as you notify EACC in writing and then return to complete the program of study within 180 days. If you wish to request a leave of absence, send your request to CARE@eacc.edu .

EACC's Financial Aid Office will be happy to answer any questions you might have about satisfactory academic progress, adjustments to expected family contribution, cost of attendance calculation, or the disbursement schedule. If I may be of assistance, I can be reached at (870) 633-4480, ext. 225 or via email at kjumper@eacc.edu.

OTHER RESOURCES:

Proper Hand washing Techniques by RN Instructor Liz Ramsey:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Arkansas Department of Health https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus

CDC Travel Notices https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

Resources for Institutes of Higher Education (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/index.html

UAMS Online Screening for COVID-19: https://uamshealth.com/healthnow/

VA Online Class Certification Letter: https://www.naicu.edu/naicu/media/pdf/VA-School-Closure-or-Change-in-Modality-Due-to-COVID-19.pdf 

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