April 24, 2020
Dear College Community:
It’s been four weeks since the College transitioned from away face-to-face to online delivery of curriculum instruction. This will continue for the duration of the Spring Semester, through May 8.
I want to emphasize we remain open for business. We’re just doing business in a different way.
The registration window for Summer Semester is open. To register for classes, I encourage you to visit with us by telephone or on our website’s home page. Our plan is to deliver Summer instruction online as well.
This week, as reflected on our website, we shared important information about the College’s Alternate Grading System for Spring. We have provided a detailed FAQ about grading options, which addresses transcript and university transfer issues as well. These options aim to provide more flexibility and optimize student success.
Also this week, the Student Bookstore placed a drop box just inside the front entrance of the main campus for students to return rentals. Please remember the due date for returns is May 11. With the drop box is a spreadsheet listing students and the books they rented. Please check-off or highlight your name at the time of return.
While our skills labs remain temporarily unavailable, I remind everyone: Our parking lots have free wi-fi, and thus Internet access is available there. Please continue to take advantage of that.
I know many of you have graduation on your minds. Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Commencement in order to protect the health and safety of our students, their families, and our faculty, staff, and guests. The College is still in discussions about the possibility of holding a ceremony in July. No decision has been made, but we hope to share an announcement soon.
Please also be aware that we have postponed cap & gown pick-up on campus until June 5. On that day, in accordance with social distancing guidelines, we will allow students on campus to pick up their caps & gowns. We hope to have a photographer on campus on June 5 as well to take pictures of our proud graduates. More details will be made available.
The College leadership team has formed a sub-group to ask and answer: What does “more normal” look like on campus in the months and years ahead. We will formulate a plan, which will include the use of CDC guidelines for higher education. I’ve asked the sub-group to begin this critical conversation now.
As of today, there are 8,052 COVID-19 cases in North Carolina according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, 73 of them in Alamance County.
Following social distancing protocols and limiting travel remains our best defense against this pandemic. Some people may be experiencing mild symptoms of the virus – or may be asymptomatic altogether – but they can unknowingly spread this virus.
By staying at home, you are doing your part “to flatten the curve,” decrease the viral spread, and assist the health care system’s response to this pandemic.
As you may know, Governor Roy Cooper announced yesterday that he is extending his shelter-in-place order until May 8. He said he is doing so out of an abundance of caution.
Which is a shared reminder: Stay vigilant. Stay the course. Stay safe.
Dr. Algie C. Gatewood
Alamance Community College President
April 16, 2020
Dear College Community,
In the three weeks since our spring break ended and the College transitioned away from face-to-face instruction to all-online delivery, our faculty, staff and students have done an admirable job of meeting the challenges of a socially-distanced world.
More challenges are ahead but I’m confident in the tenacity and perseverance of our College community.
One challenge, as you might expect, are the financial pressures COVID-19 exerts on any institution. We are incurring expenses never before imagined.
On that front, we received some very good news: The College is estimated to receive $2.37 million in federal stimulus funding. The financial relief comes from the Coronavirus Relief Act (CARES Act) approved last month.
Half of that funding can be earmarked for student emergency aid. The U.S. Department of Education has guidelines for using those funds. The other half of that funding is to off-set college costs incurred as a direct result of the pandemic.
Effective April 13, we began limiting inside access to our Main and Dillingham Center campuses to essential employee personnel only. However, both campuses are providing drop-boxes to allow exchanges between students and employees. And of course, faculty and staff continue to be available via phone and email to students and guests.
While our skills labs are temporarily unavailable, I remind everyone: our parking lots have wi-fi and we are providing Internet access there.
In the more-good-news department, the Alamance Community College Foundation used funds from an anonymous donor to purchase 100 laptops to assist students with technology challenges.
This week, we opened the registration window for Summer Semester students. You can learn more about that on our website.
The Summer Semester term, beginning May 18 and concluding July 31, is an excellent opportunity to complete your General Education requirements. It is also an excellent option for many of our area university students who remain sheltered in place and away from such campuses as UNC-Chapel Hill, NCSU, ECU, Elon, and App State. Our online delivery makes this a convenient and affordable option.
I want to emphasize we remain open for business. We’re simply doing business in a different way to meet the challenges.
Let me provide this context: According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), as of today (April 16), N.C. reported 5,465 cases of the Coronavirus, 45 in Alamance County.
I want to remind you too of this: Thousands of Alamance Community College graduates – nurses, nurse aids, medical assistants, diagnosticians, paramedics, law enforcement personnel and first responders – are on the front lines right now taking care of the sick. They have placed themselves in harm’s way to help their community.
Help those caregivers by staying at home and practicing social distancing.
April 9, 2020
Dear College Community,
It has been two weeks since our spring break ended and the College transitioned away from face-to-face instruction to all-online delivery, an unprecedented move in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
I commend our students, faculty, and staff for their commitment to this endeavor and encourage everyone to continue to observe social distancing protocols.
In so maintaining our distance, I think you would agree that the “new normal” is far from normal. We have been sheltered in place for more than two weeks. The governor is likely to announce soon that we may be sheltered in place for two months.
Some students have had questions about graduation. If you are on track academically, if you are progressing with your studies to your instructors’ satisfaction, you will graduate. You will receive your earned credential. College leadership is discussing how we might confer those credentials, and a plan will be shared soon. In fact, I met with a committee on this matter just this morning. The main thing is that students stay on course, so that we can celebrate your success.
I know recent weeks have been difficult. The weeks ahead may prove equally challenging. This will require self-discipline and a commitment to doing your part through social distancing.
In that spirit, let me add this perspective: The College is considered an essential operation because of its educational mission and because our workforce training is critical to battling this virus. Thousands of Alamance Community College graduates – nurses, nurse aids, medical assistants, diagnosticians, paramedics, law enforcement personnel and first responders – are on the front lines right now taking care of the sick, maybe even taking care of your friends or family.
As such, those ACC graduates have put themselves in harm’s way.
As ACC students, faculty, and staff, you can best help their cause by helping stop the virus from spreading. Observing stay-at-home protocols is how we can all contribute. I note that a recent health department assessment of stay-at-home participation in Alamance County was graded a C-minus.
We must do better.
This week, we are making masks and gloves available to the few employees who remain on campus to ensure business continuity. As you might know, most College employees are working remotely.
Next week, effective April 13, we are limiting inside access to our Main and Dillingham Center campuses to essential employee personnel only.
We are operating as a business but doing so slightly differently. That means while our skills labs will be temporarily unavailable, I remind everyone: our parking lots have wi-fi and we are providing Internet access there. Please avail yourself of that access. We must avoid face-to-face interactions wherever possible.
I also remind you that both campuses will provide drop-boxes to allow appropriate exchanges between students and employees.
Here’s a recap of how we got to this stage:
- In mid-February, we activated our Emergency Operations Plan, providing a structure and process to monitor and mitigate this unique situation. We are continuing to coordinate with the Alamance County Health Department, the Alamance County Emergency Management and appropriate state agencies in monitoring the situation locally and across North Carolina.
- We created and posted across campus signage urging proper hygiene practices. We increased daily cleanings of commonly-used surfaces on campus.
- The College began official communications about this virus on Feb. 27, building a web site presence to inform students, faculty and staff of ongoing developments.
- In early March, we announced that we were extending Student Spring Break an extra week in order to prepare for online, virtual delivery of instruction.
- Online delivery began March 23.
- In light of the governor’s order to extend shelter in place through April, we announced that online instruction would continue until semester’s end, May 8.
- As of today, there are 3,500-plus coronavirus cases in N.C., resulting in 64 deaths. There are now 30 confirmed cases in Alamance County alone.
In the coming days, we hope to announce the opening of the registration cycle for summer semester – which we anticipate will also be delivered in an online format. We have been working hard to greatly expand those summer General Education options for students.
Let me close by saying hang in there and hang on to hope. If you recall the old saying, this too shall pass.