Message from the ACC President
January 14, 2021
Dear College Community,
Spring semester 2021 began this week on a positive note, with the return of some students to our campus while others continued their studies remotely. This model is expected to continue through this semester. Discussions are underway as to what summer semester will look like.
Over the past 10 months, since this virus became known in the United States, our College has not experienced a COVID cluster outbreak. Notwithstanding, given what has happened and is happening across our state at colleges and universities, it is critical that our staff, faculty and students practice our pandemic-prevention protocols.
This week, we added walk-up temperature check kiosks in the Literacy Building, Main Building, and the Advanced Applied Technology Center. We’ve had a temperature check kiosk in the Powell Building for many weeks now.
While not foolproof, an elevated temperature is an early sign of possible COVID infection. Consider it an early alert that protects you and others around you. Utilize this technology.
Later this month, on January 25, we will have a second testing clinic on our campus. The nasal swab test – considered the gold standard – will be administered to the first 100 participants from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day.
We are continuing discussions with the Alamance County Health Department about making vaccines available to some staff and faculty in the coming weeks. Vaccinations will likely be prioritized by age and by those who come into contact with students and others on campus.
We are examining those priority lists of prospects and we will ask prospective employees if they will get the vaccine. When that survey comes your way, answer immediately yes or no. Again, please answer immediately. Time is of the essence. We need to provide the health department hard data so they can better plan a vaccination process.
We are fine-tuning a plan to share with our staff and faculty a COVID “dashboard” – an anonymous summary report of known COVID infections among our College community. More details will follow.
I want to go back to something I alluded to earlier. The virus is spreading. Alamance County remains on red alert status, meaning the virus has reached critical levels and could overwhelm the county’s health care system. Further, the positivity rate of those administered a test recently stood at 14.7 percent. That is three times higher than the state’s target for easing restrictions.
I’m not going to sugar-coat this. The post-holiday surge is upon us. Let me put that into context:
As part of its trending analysis, the state looks at 7-day rolling averages of COVID cases. I note that in early October, a one-week rolling average showed about 2,200 positive cases each day.
One week before Thanksgiving, that average jumped to about 3,400 positive cases per day.
Over the past week – two weeks after the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s holidays, the rolling average was about 8,300 cases per day.
Sure, the U.S. now has a vaccine. But that vaccine may not be available to the vast majority of those in our College community for many, many months.
This is all the more reason to double down on safety measures and relentlessly follow our protocols. Wash your hands frequently. Wear your mask. Don’t congregate in large groups. Maintain social distancing.
Stay positive. Test negative.
Dr. Algie C. Gatewood
Alamance Community College President