Alamance Community College is extending its spring break for students through Friday, March 20, in response to the spread of the coronavirus. The College is not closed, business operations will continue, and staff and faculty will report to campus on Monday, March 16.
Students who are currently taking online courses will continue their studies as usual during the week of March 16-20. They should log in and continue their work.
During the week of March 16-20, the ACC faculty – in consultation with department heads and deans – will use this time to migrate lesson plans online so that the College can begin virtual instruction and simulations starting Monday, March 23.
Additionally, the College will address alternatives for clinicals, practicums, work-based learning and Continuing Education/Workforce Development training.
“We envision an initial two-week remote instruction plan,” said ACC President Dr. Algie Gatewood in a statement to employees. “This will be re-evaluated before that two-week period expires. It is entirely possible that we will be extending this distance learning strategy into the foreseeable future.”
No coronavirus cases, also known as COVID-19, have been confirmed in Alamance County at this time. North Carolina has confirmed its 17th coronavirus case. Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on March 10.
The College’s Five-Star Child Care Center will continue operations as normal. However, the College is cancelling on-campus events involving outside groups and re-examining the school’s own off-site events and activities.
“The health and safety of our employees is of equal concern,” said Dr. Gatewood. “To that end, we are re-examining sickness protocols, leave policies, attendance policies, classroom make-up plans, and the extent to which our technology will allow some employees to telecommute from home. In some instances, we are awaiting guidance from the N.C. Community College System.”
ACC has activated its Emergency Operations Plan, providing a structure and process to monitor and mitigate this unique situation. College administrators are coordinating with the Alamance County Health Department, the Alamance County Emergency Management and appropriate state agencies in monitoring the situation locally and across North Carolina.
The College is communicating hygiene and social distancing guidelines through email, through the College web site, through the College’s internal web page and signage across campus. ACC has increased staffing to step up the cleaning of commonly-used surfaces–door handles, desk tops, railings, keyboards, for example–with hospital-grade products.
The coronavirus is a respiratory disease that has spread to more than 100 countries, infected over 120,000 individuals and killed more than 4,300 people worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. According to the WHO, a pandemic is the “worldwide spread of a new disease.”
More than 90 other colleges and universities across the U.S., including Elon University and the University of North Carolina System, have suspended in-person classes.
Updates on the situation at Alamance Community College can be found on the ACC website (www.alamancecc.edu).