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COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

EACC COVID Campus Safety Guide and Fall 2020 Class Plans

August 31, 2020

Dear EACC Students:

The COVID Campus Safety Guide has been revised. I urge you to review it carefully as several things have been updated, including a section on priority testing for EACC students.  In addition, now that we have lived this for a week, the impact of COVID-19 is much clearer and many things in this guide will be more important to you.

I am pleased to report that EACC students will be given priority status for testing at the Local Health Unit of the ADH in Forrest City. The College will make an appointment for students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have come into close contact with a person diagnosed or testing positive for COVID-19.  For more information, read the guide. It also tells you how to report being diagnosed with or testing positive for COVID-19, being exposed to the virus, or what to do if you are experiencing symptoms. EACC students are required to report this information to the College.

COVID-19 is in Eastern Arkansas, and it is important that you are diligent about following safety practices. It is up to each person to decide their priorities, but I ask you to think carefully about what contact with others is absolutely essential in your life.  In an effort to be transparent about the number of cases at schools, on Mondays and Thursdays the ADH will update a "Report on Educational Institutions with 5 or More Active Cases" that can be found here https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-reports#schoolcovidreport.   Be aware that this report does not list cases contracted on a campus; it merely counts persons who have identified themselves as being employed by or attending classes at a particular school, even if they only attend classes online. At present, EACC is not on this list. Please strictly follow the safety protocols listed in the attached guide to help keep everyone healthy.

I hope your first week of classes went well, and that you are adjusting to the new world we are currently inhabiting. I would like to say this will all be over with soon, but I would do you a disservice if I did. We all did a good job of following safety precautions during the first week; our carefully planned protocols and processes served us well.  We are succeeding, despite all the challenges placed in our path!

Thank you for being a student at EACC during this time of crisis. I am proud of each of you for not sitting out the pandemic. You are doing something with your time that is going to lead to a better life. Rather than letting the coronavirus choose your future, YOU are choosing your future.

Please don't hesitate to let me know if there is anything EACC can do to serve you better. I truly enjoy hearing from students, and I would love to know how you are doing. We may not always be perfect, but we always strive to improve our efforts to help you achieve your goals.

Take care and be safe,

Cathie Cline, Ed.D.


July 20, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

East Arkansas Community College is committed to protecting students, employees, and visitors to the greatest extent possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While we realize there is a risk of exposure for any individual who comes to a facility open to the public, we seek to provide the best and most up-to-date protections and protocols to minimize that risk. We also hold paramount the goal of providing students with quality learning opportunities using the method that best helps them learn, whether that is online/virtual, on campus, or a combination of both.

The COVID Campus Safety Guide and Fall 2020 Class Plans contains health and safety protocols EACC began putting into place in May and has been updating and refining as the situation has developed. We anticipate that these guidelines will evolve with the changing pandemic and public health assessments. They will also be updated with additional student, employee, and community input as we progress.

We are doing everything we can to protect our campus community. This summer, we have ordered personal protective equipment and cleaning/sanitizing supplies, face coverings including surgical masks, cloth masks, face shields, and goggles/safety glasses.  We ordered gloves, isolation gowns, and no-touch thermometers. We ordered bottles of hand sanitizer, personal-sized units of hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, Lysol disinfecting spray, multiple automatic hand sanitizer dispensers for buildings, and gallons of cleaners and disinfectants. We have constructed barriers with plexiglass and shower curtains in areas where more protection is needed that can be provided by PPE.

All summer long I have heard from students who wish to return to the classroom. Yes! We are having on campus classes. The schedule is available ONLINE and students may register now. 

Life is meant to be lived. Sidelining the life of our students is not acceptable to us, and we will do all in our power to prevent the COVID-19 crisis from deterring students from their goals.  This pandemic will end, and we want our students to have the life they want to lead when it does.

This fall, students will be able to select which method of instruction best fits their needs: online/virtual, on campus, or blended, and may transition to a different method if needed. EACC holds paramount the goal of providing students with multiple, flexible ways to attend class, so that they may learn and take care of themselves and their families, regardless of health or childcare disruptions.

EACC has many features that work in our favor during these risky and uncertain times. Because we do not have dormitories or high-touch activities such as sports or fraternities/sororities, we can keep students' time on campus, and thus their exposure risk, to a minimum.  This will also help us continue to teach in-person classes as long as possible.

In addition, one of EACC's best defenses against COVID-19 is the unique layout of our campus. Our many small buildings rather than a few large buildings help keep people dispersed in different areas.  Limiting the number of persons we come into contact with as much as possible is an important safety practice for us all.

Guiding Principles for Fall 2020

  • We will remain focused on our students and our mission at all times.
  • We will protect our students, faculty, staff, and visitors as much as possible.
  • We will provide flexible and adaptable learning opportunities to accommodate all students.
  • We will adjust quickly to meet the demands of the pandemic and student needs.
  • We will provide inclusive and equitable opportunities to work and learn.

Foundational Strategies for Student Safety

  • Face coverings required and provided.
  • Distancing of 6 feet required at all times possible.
  • Use of protective barriers where risk of exposure is higher or additional protection needed.
  • Enhanced and frequent sanitizing and cleaning at an institutional level.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing products available to all (i.e., sanitizing sprays, wipes, hand sanitizers.)
  • Daily screening.
  • Flexible attendance options.
  • Limiting the number of students in each classroom.
  • Options for students, including on campus, virtual, or blended instruction, that accommodate the intellectual and health needs of all learners.
  • COVID-19 testing as recommended by ADH.
  • Compliance with national, state, and local public health regulations and guidelines.

This situation is indeed a crisis; however, at EACC, we also view it as an opportunity to provide students with the best possible service, support, and instruction.  Our only goal is to help students complete their goals.

Cathie Cline, Ed.D.


EACC's campus is open.  The following building access protocols will be observed. The health of our state, community, and employees and students will be monitored daily.

 

OPEN AND CLOSED BUILDINGS

Currently the following buildings are open to students and the public with legitimate business related to academic study or enrichment:

  • Betty Jo Hodges Student Services Complex;
  • The Learning Resource Center (Library);
  • Adult Education Building;
  • The Wynne Center.

These buildings are open to students, but closed to the general public:

  • Computer Education Center;
  • Technical Instruction Center including Cosmetology (may be closed in July except for special programs);
  • Transportation Technology Center (will be closed in July);
  • Bookstore/Cashier;
  • The Business Office.

These buildings are open to employees only or persons with appointments or scheduled meetings:

  • All office buildings not listed above including Administration;
  • The Fine Arts Center. 

These buildings are closed to everyone:

  • All classrooms, other than those being used for class (for Summer I, only the TIC and TTC; for summer II, only CB 1 and 3);
  • The Gym;
  • The Student Center;
  • The Lecture Hall;
  • All other locations not specifically identified here.

 

SAFETY PROTOCOLS

All safety protocols recommended by the State of Arkansas and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will be utilized and enforced. These include:

Limiting access, movement, and the number of persons:

  • Groups will be restricted to either 50% of capacity of a particular facility or groups of 10 or fewer in any one area unless prior permission is granted by the President to exceed that allowance.
  • Employees must remain in their own work areas and not walk around or congregate on campus unless their job duties require moving from one area to another, such as maintenance, security, or computer services staff.
  • Students must remain in their learning area and not walk around or congregate on campus. "Hanging out" in pairs or in groups is not allowed. This helps with disinfecting, limits exposure, and assists in contact tracing.
  • Face-to-face meetings must be avoided. Zoom videoconferencing, College email, and the phone system should be used.

Strict social distancing:

  • The minimum social distance of 6 feet will be strictly observed. Back up! Distances of greater than 6 feet are preferred. If you observe someone violating this distance, please ask them to move. Adherence to this requires vigilance on the part of everyone. DO NOT be offended if someone asks you to move.
  • The College has the right to ask anyone not engaging in at least 6 feet of social distancing to leave campus.
    • All seating areas will be marked so that students and others remain 6 feet away from each other or barriers will be used to separate seats.
    • Computers will be marked so that patrons remain 6 feet away from each other or barriers will be used.
    • Places where students may need to form a line will use cones, tape, or other method to mark off the 6 foot required distance.
    • No one will be allowed to gather or interact anywhere on campus for any purpose other than legitimate educational business (i.e., classes, testing). . We must prioritize our face-to-face engagement with others and limit ourselves only to that which is absolutely necessary. Social gathering is not a priority.
    • Vending machines, eating areas, and other common areas will be closed. All breakrooms, conference rooms, or other areas people might gather will be closed.
    • Entry and exit points to work areas and buildings will be separated and designated in order to prevent people from passing by each other or to restrict the number of people who utilize any one entrance.

Face coverings and gloves:

  • EVERYONE must wear a cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth when on campus. Pulling your face covering down below your nose and/or mouth is the same as not wearing one. Remind others to cover themselves if they are without a face covering or have pulled it below their nose and/or mouth.

Special note: EACC has purchased cloth face coverings. Each employee, student, and visitor will be issued one and should wash it regularly. The CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health websites provide guidelines for cloth face coverings.

  • The College has the right to ask anyone not wearing a face covering to leave campus, including you.
  • Certain personnel will be required to wear gloves and will be provided those. Gloves are NOT a replacement for hand-washing. In fact, the CDC prefers hand washing in many normal work situations.
  • Likewise, face coverings are NOT a replacement for keeping socially distant.

Daily health screenings:

  • Daily strict screening will occur until further notice for employees, students, and visitors. Anyone coming to campus must undergo a screening process that includes a temperature check and filling out a screening form.  Any person answering "yes" to any one of the questions may not remain on campus.
  • A special screening location will be set up for students coming to campus that spaces students a minimum of 6 feet apart as they wait to be screened. It will take place in a building or area with one entry and one exit so that anyone screened out does not turn around and pass healthy people waiting to be screened.
  • For student forms, instructors should note who the student interacts with while under the instructor's supervision.
  • Employees should keep a daily log of who they interact with and when.
  • Thermometers will be located in every building for a daily temperature check. This is part of the screening process and must be reported on the form. Anyone with a fever must leave campus.
  • If an employee or student passes screening but begins to feel ill or feverish during the day, they should retake their temperature. Instructors observing someone they suspect of having a fever may ask that person to undergo an additional temperature check.
  • Forms should be kept for future reference.

Disinfecting and cleaning:

  • Instructors will disinfect tools or other hands-on materials between students or at least twice a day.
  • Employees should wipe down their immediate work areas including keyboards, mice, desks, door handles, and other high touch areas at least twice a day. Employees are urged to take responsibility for their own health.
  • Regularly touched surfaces and high traffic areas will be cleaned and disinfected twice a day.  
  • All classrooms to be used will have disinfecting wipes/sprays and hand sanitizer.
  • Restrooms will be disinfected frequently, but if a person is only on campus for a short amount of time, avoiding restrooms that multiple people share is the best practice.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are available in every open building. Use them, but note that the CDC advises that thorough handwashing is the best method of killing germs.
  • Training on cleaning and disinfecting procedures is ongoing with cleaning staff.
  • New cleaning and disinfecting equipment has been purchased and will be utilized.
  • Everyone is required to wash hands frequently for at least 40 seconds. EACC has an excellent video on handwashing on its You Tube channel.

Reminders:

  • Reminder signs regarding safety protocols including face coverings, social distancing, and other restrictions will be posted in all open buildings

Those who should avoid campus:

  • Per the CDC, persons who should not come campus include those:
    • who are 65 years of age or older;
    • who have underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, severe obesity, asthma, or weakened immunity.
    • Persons who may not come to, or remain on, campus include those:
      • who have fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell.
      • who have had exposure of less than 6 feet to someone diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past 14 days.
      • who have traveled to known hot spots.
      • who have been diagnosed positive with COVID-19.

COVID 19 Testing:

  • Forrest City has offered several opportunities for free COVID-19 testing through a mobile lab from UAMS. I urge you to take advantage of these free and easy opportunities to test if you think you may have been exposed or if you have symptoms.  You may also contact your healthcare provider or utilize testing available in other communities in the state.
    • I am investigating the possibility of on campus testing. At present, no college in Arkansas is testing on campus.
    • Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 should let their supervisor know as soon as possible. Any student who has been on campus and who tests positive for COVID-19 should let their instructor know as soon as possible.  If an employee or student is confirmed to have a COVID-19 infection, EACC will inform those whom we can determine are at risk of possible exposure, but will maintain confidentiality as required by federal law.

If someone tests positive:

  • Employees have been asked to keep notes of whom they come into contact with on campus and when, so that we can aid in contact tracing if a person is diagnosed with coronavirus. This is why it is so important that when on campus, you stay in your area.
  • Whenever we learn of a confirmed case, we will deep clean and disinfect any area that person may have accessed. Anyone confirmed positive, exposed to a confirmed positive, or exhibiting symptoms will not be allowed to return to campus unless certain conditions are met (details follow).
  • If an employee or student is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, EACC will inform those whom we can determine are at risk of possible exposure, but will maintain confidentiality as required by federal law.

Returning to campus, per guidelines issued by the CDC, after illness, diagnosis, or exposure.

  1. Persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 AND who experience symptoms may return to campus under ALL the following conditions:
  2. Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
    • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and
    • Negative results of a COVID-19 test from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens).
  3. Persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have NOT had any symptoms may return to campus under the following condition:
    • At least 14 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

III. Persons who have not had any symptoms but were exposed to someone with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 may return to campus under the following conditions:

  • Negative results of a FDA authorized COVID-19 test, OR
  • At least 14 days have passed since the date of exposure, assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms or tested positive.
  1. Persons demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19 but not diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to campus under ALL the following conditions:
    • Negative results of an FDA authorized COVID-19 test or letter of clearance from licensed healthcare provider, and
    • No fever for 48 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
    • Absence of respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) for at least 48 hours without medications.
  2. Persons demonstrating symptoms of any other illness may return to campus under the following conditions:
    • Absence of symptoms for at least 48 hours without medication, and/or
    • Letter of clearance from licensed healthcare provider, (depends on the symptoms).
  3. Persons traveling internationally or to known U.S. hotspots for COVID-19 may return to campus under the following conditions:
    • At least 14 days have passed since the last date of exposure, assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms or tested positive.

Note: As of May 6, 2020, per state directive known hot spots include California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Washington, and the city of New Orleans.

 

 


SUMMER CLASSES

For summer session ONE, EACC will not offer on campus general education classes. On campus classes will be allowed in the technical/allied health areas, but the number of students will be strictly limited. 

No face-to-face classes will be held at the Wynne Center, although it will remain open for students to use the computers. For any person coming to campus or the Wynne center, daily screenings, social distancing, face coverings, sanitizing, and other protective measures recommended by the State of Arkansas and health agencies will be utilized and strictly enforced (more details follow).

For summer session TWO, some on campus classes in general education are planned, but enrollment will be limited. However, this is subject to change based on the evolving situation. An online version of all on campus general education classes will be scheduled and will be taught by the same instructor to ease transition in case cancellation becomes necessary. Most technical/allied health courses do not meet in July, and those areas will be shut down. All protective will be strictly enforced.

 

FALL CLASSES

At this time, EACC is cautiously planning for on campus classes for the fall, but will limit those classes based on critical need and maintaining safe social distancing.  All students will have options for required general education classes that do not require them to come to campus. Face coverings will continue to be required of everyone.

All classes - including technical, vocational, and occupational - will have plans in place to be able to deliver some content remotely. It is expected that the virus will resurface when flu season begins, and we will prepare accordingly. For technical or occupational programs that require specialized equipment that cannot be sent home with students, micro labs of fewer than 10 students will be utilized and social distancing will be utilized, as well as frequent cleaning by instructors.

All plans are subject to change as the situation develops. 

 


EACC's Commencement ceremony was held virtually on May 22nd at 7:00 p.m.  The virtual Commencement Ceremony is available on EACC's YouTube channel or through the College's Commencement 2020 webpage 
 

EACC employees are still working remotely and are available to assist with advising and registration for Summer I online classes.  To schedule an appointment with an advisor or for more information about registration, call 870-633-4480, ext. 252 and leave a message, or send an email to ejames@eacc.edu.


 
COVID-19 Campus Update 5/12/20
 
EACC will close campus to faculty, staff, students, and the public through Monday, May 18th in response to the community outbreak of COVID-19 cases.  Administrators will monitor the developing situation closely, and EACC plans to reopen on Tuesday, May 19th using strict safety protocols and social distancing.

"In today's press conference, Governor Hutchinson and Dr. Nate Smith expressed great concern about a community outbreak in Forrest City," said Dr. Cathie Cline, EACC President.  "This is an appropriate time to take this measure as Summer I term does not start until May 26, and this will allow us to be sure that we are not the source of any outbreak in our community," she added. 

"This step is being taken out of an abundance of caution in response to what is happening in our community, and not on our campus. I want to emphasize that it is not due to an outbreak on our campus, but is an effort to prevent that from happening," said Dr. Cline. 

"We have such dedicated faculty, staff, and students, and if we do not prevent them from coming to campus, they will be here.  This measure is being taken in an effort to curtail that in order to make sure that we do not contribute to the community spike in cases," said Dr. Cline. 

"We have a large percentage of our employees and students who live in other communities, and we do not with for EACC to be the source of a spread to those communities," she added.

"This decision is characteristic of how EACC has handled the COVID-19 crisis.  From the beginning, our College has done what is best for our students and our community, and this is another one of those examples," said Dr. Cline. 

EACC employees are still working remotely and are available to assist with advising and registration for Summer I term online classes.  To schedule an appointment with an advisor or for more information about registration, call 870-633-4480, ext. 252 and leave a message, or send an email to ejames@eacc.edu.

"Closing campus completely was a difficult decision to make, but based on what is going on in our community, I felt it is best for the health of our students, faculty, and staff," said Dr. Cathie Cline. 


COVID-19 Update 4/29/20
 

East Arkansas Community College received notification that a member of the campus community has tested positive for COVID-19.  This is the first confirmed case within the EACC community that has been reported.

 

In an email sent to students, faculty, and staff on Thursday, April 29, EACC President Dr. Cathie Cline said, "The person was on campus briefly on Tuesday, April 21.  The person was asymptomatic while on campus and only developed symptoms later.  Out of respect and privacy and in compliance with federal regulations, we are not revealing identifying information."  Dr. Cline also said EACC is contacting anyone who may have been at risk for exposure, and the college is deep-cleaning and disinfecting the relevant area.  

 

"I have been in contact with the health department and have been assured that we are doing everything we should do in this situation," said Dr. Cline.  "Out of an abundance of caution, I am notifying all of you and using this moment to remind everyone of the need to maintain social distancing at all times and to wear a face covering," she said.

 

Dr. Cline also stated in the email to the EACC campus, "EACC has been preparing for this moment. We had screening measures in place on the date the now-positive person came to campus and the screening yielded no indications of a likelihood of infection."

 

"I recognize that this news may heighten your anxiety at an already anxious time. I assure you that we have been taking all necessary precautions by following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our local and state health departments, and in keeping with all federal and state directives," said Dr. Cline.

 

EACC faculty, staff, and students have been encouraged to get tested if anyone thinks they have come into contact with someone with the coronavirus or if they are experiencing symptoms. Information for the UAMS free community screening and testing at the Forrest City Civic Center on Friday, May 1st was also provided to faculty, staff, and students.

 

"We will inform you of any further developments that might impact the campus as a whole," said Dr. Cline. "We must remain vigilant in social distancing, handwashing, covering our faces, and staying home as much as possible," she added.

 

EACC has been engaging in alternative methods of instruction since March 16 with limited exceptions for critical programs under the strict guidelines.  EACC faculty and staff have been working remotely as much as possible since March 20, and all EACC buildings have been closed since March 20 except for the Computer Education Center, the Betty Jo Hodges Building, and the Wynne Center.  The campus has been closed to the general public since that date.  

 


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:

Prevent Cross-Contamination-How to Properly Remove Gloves by PN Instructor Debbie Hill:

Importance of Changing Gloves by EACC nursing student:

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 

East Arkansas Community College

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