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COVID-19 Student Updates

COVID-19 Student 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 EACC Students,

After receiving input from you, we have completed our COVID Campus Safety Guide and Fall 2020 Class Plans. The document is attached. It is also available on the EACC website by clicking the COVID-19 link. If you would like to have one mailed to you, please email cdillard@eacc.edu.

Thank you to all the students who participated in the Zoom student forum. Your feedback was informative and generously given. In this guide, we hope we have covered the most common questions students have. If you have additional questions, please email Care@eacc.edu.

We are doing everything we can to protect you. 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 on the website and you may register now. 

Life is meant to be lived. Sidelining the life you want to have 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 you to have the life you 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 your time on campus, and thus your 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 you with the best possible service, support, and instruction.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to better support you. Our only goal is to help you complete your goals.

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

Cathie Cline, Ed.D.


May 26, 2020

 

Dear Students,

Welcome to all Summer I students! I hope that you have begun your summer I term feeling healthy. In our continuing efforts to protect the health of students, faculty, and staff, we have developed safety policies and protocols outlined below. I know you have questions about upcoming semesters, so I have summarized our plans; however, as the situation develops these will be reviewed and updated as necessary.

In addition, a reminder that CARES funding will be available for summer and fall students.  To be eligible, students must be enrolled in 3 or more credit hours in a summer term (6 or more in the fall) and must be degree seeking. Eligible students in good standing regarding attendance will be sent an email with a link to a certification form after the official censes date has passed.

For any person coming to the Forrest City 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.

Please make sure that you always wear a cloth face covering when you come to campus.  We have cloth face coverings we can provide you that you can wash and re-wear. The CDC has issued guidelines regarding cloth face coverings, and there are a variety of options.

As you know, for Summer session I, which began today, EACC is not offering on campus general education classes. On campus classes are allowed in the technical/allied health areas, but the number of students is very limited (less than 8).   No face-to-face classes will be held at the Wynne Center, although it will remain open for students to use the computers.

For summer session II, some on campus classes in general education are planned, but enrollment will be very limited. This is subject to change based on the evolving situation. All safety protections will be strictly enforced.

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. Of course, all plans are subject to change as the situation develops. 

 

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.

 

Students, we care about your health and the health of our employees. The most important points to emphasize are social distancing - stay away from others! - and do not come to campus if ill or exposed. Cloth face coverings are also imperative.

I applaud you for continuing with your education. The brave and the strong stay on course when strong winds blow. You are brave and strong. You can do this, and we are here to help.

When this crisis has passed, I want you to have a life to go back to that is the life you want. Meeting your educational goals is an important part of that.

I hope your summer term is great!  Please let me know if I can do anything to make your time at EACC better.

 


May 12, 2020

Dear Students:

I told you that all plans are subject to change at any moment.  That moment is here.  In today's press conference, Dr. Smith and Governor Hutchinson expressed great concern about a community outbreak in Forrest City.

I believe it is important to respond to their concerns. Therefore, EACC will close Wednesday, May 13, through Monday, May 18. On Monday, we will reevaluate and plan to reopen Tuesday, May 19. 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 EACC is not the source of any outbreak in our community.

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. It is not due to an outbreak on our campus, but is an effort to prevent that from happening.

I urge you to STAY HOME, because even though the state has eased some restrictions, it is our personal responsibility to be more restrictive at this time due to the spike in community cases. 

This measure is being taken because we have such dedicated, faculty, staff, and students, that if we do not prevent you all from coming to campus, you will be here. We need to curtail that in order to make sure that we do not contribute to the community spike in cases.

We are also taking this step because a large percentage of our employees and students live in other communities, and we do not wish for EACC to be the source of a spread to those communities.

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.

Employees are still working remotely will be glad to assist you with registration for Summer I which WILL take place. You can email ejames@eacc.edu for help in registration or call 870-633-4480 ext. 252 and leave a message. You may also email Care@eacc.edu.

This was a difficult decision to make, but I promised you that I would monitor the situation daily, and make decisions based on what is going on in our community, and what is best for the health of our students, faculty, and staff.  I also promised to be forthright and transparent about the COVID-19 situation. I am fulfilling those promises to you.

So I reiterate, STAY HOME! Be cautious and be careful.

 


April 16, 2020

Dear EACC Students,

This semester all of our lives suddenly changed overnight. Everything we had planned had to be adjusted to a new reality.  EACC understands you are feeling all kinds of emotions as we engage in new ways of learning and new ways of living.

The struggle you are going through may have you feeling uncertain and insecure about the future.  We want to provide you a measure of certainty regarding your academic progress.

To help you feel more confident about your grades, EACC is implementing a Credit/No Credit grading policy that places control of your final grade in your hands and that may be exercised after you receive your final letter grade in a class. Our CR/NC policy places the power of decision about your grades within your control so you can feel confident that your goals will not be hindered by the current crisis. 

The credit/no credit policy will allow students to convert their final course grade to a CR (credit) or NC (no credit). Neither of these grades will be calculated in GPA, and therefore will not affect grade point averages. However, a CR will result in you receiving credit for the course and will count as having passed the course; this will allow you to make progress in your degree program and move on to the next step. It is important that you continue to make progress toward your goals.

For this semester, upon course completion, faculty will assign students a letter grade. Students will then have two choices: (1) keep the assigned letter grade or (2) convert the letter grade to a CR (credit) or NC (no credit).  This will allow you to decide if you want to keep your letter grade or not. The decision to pursue the NC or CR option is entirely up to you.

For those for whom this semester has been disruptive, the option to convert the final letter grade to CR or NC is offered to prevent any negative impact on GPA caused by the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The details of the CR/NC grading policy are outlined below. Please email Care@eacc.edu if you have any questions.

I also want to remind you that you are not alone.  We are still here. You can reach out in person, by phone, or by email any time you have a need or concern.

In order to stay connected and to continue a feeling of community, EACC is offering multiple opportunities for interaction and engagement. Please consider joining in some of the activities or using some of EACC's supportive services so that you can continue to feel connected to us and to one another.

Methods of communication that we use include College email, social media, text, and telephone. Please try to engage with us as a means of coping with the current crisis.

If you have any feelings of concern or anxiety, or if you have any needs that are not being met, we urge you to email Care@eacc.edu. We will do all within our power to help you feel better and to help you find a solution. You may also reach out to me or any of our supportive staff and faculty. The Betty Jo Hodges Student Services Center remains open for students and counselors are available to help you. The Little Food Pantry is operational and is available on campus 24/7 for your use.

Plans are underway for a fun and engaging virtual graduation. We will provide you with details as soon as they are finalized. We are looking forward to celebrating your success.

Life continues. Registration for summer and fall is underway. We will survive this crisis and emerge stronger and better learners, educators, and human beings.

Your goals will be achieved and your best life awaits you.

We miss you!  Stay connected with us,

Cathie Cline

 


We want to help you cross your finish line in the way most suited to you and your academic program.  EACC has taken several steps to support you this semester.

Is EACC's campus closed?

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.

 

Care@eacc.edu

A special email - Care@eacc.edu - has been set up for students. We want to make it easy for you to communicate with us. We have also reached out to you to inquire about your needs and will continue to do so. Please make sure your "Profile" information in MyEACC is correct so we can contact you.

 

WiFi

Wi-Fi is available on campus. Special signs mark where it can be accessed from your car. This is the safest way to access Wi-Fi. If you need log-in instructions, please call 870-633-4480 ext. 400.

Community WiFi Options in Forrest City

Forrest City Civic Center - Accessible from Civic Center Parking Lot from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.  Password: Keepingit6

McDonalds - Does not require log in, access limited to one hour increments before reconnecting

Woodruff Electric

 

Little Food Pantry

EACC is now offering a new service for students.  The "Little Free Library" located on campus has been converted to a "Little Food Pantry."  It is a red cabinet located in the small parking area in front of the Adult Education building, which is accessed via the gated drive on Newcastle. Students may drive-up at any time to pick-up food.  Food may also be dropped off at the Little Food Pantry of you are able to donate.

 

High School Students

Secondary Career Center

Special plans for secondary career center high school students are being coordinated with each school district and program. Students should communicate with their instructors and high schools, and Mr. Kevin Bingham, kbingham@eacc.edu or 870-633-4480 ext. 347.

Concurrent Credit

Concurrent credit students may contact Ms. Tobey Nichols tnichols@eacc.edu or 870-633-4480 ext. 407, as well as their instructors and high schools.

 

Student Services

Although we are physically distanced, 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.

Please contact Care@eacc.edu or the main switchboard 870-633-4480 about EACC services for students. We want to help!

 

Can I register for Summer and Fall classes?

Yes. Current students can register for Summer and Fall semester classes online through the myEACC portal.  New students can call 870-633-4480, ext. 252 to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor.

East Arkansas Community College

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