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.
Cathie Cline, Ed.D.
East Arkansas Community College