Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) announced its instructional plan for the remainder of the 2021 Spring term to faculty, staff, and students last week. Earlier this month, Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Chancellor Jimmy Baker recommended that all Alabama community colleges begin returning to on-campus, in-person instruction as much as possible in February and for colleges to be completely operational in person by March 1, 2021.
NACC will return to normal operations while observing strict COVID-19 safety measures by March 1, 2021. Also observing strict coronavirus prevention measures, NACC healthcare and workforce labs and clinicals were moved back to campus for in-person instruction beginning February 1st. Northeast will open a select number of condensed General Education courses on campus beginning February 15, 2021.
“We are being extremely careful in opening the college campus back up with classes,” stated NACC President Dr. David Campbell. “We are beginning with healthcare and career tech labs and clinicals and selected small general education classes, which will prevent us from having too many people on campus too early. The smaller class sizes, of course, are easier to maintain as far as social distancing and spacing are concerned.”
Beginning March 1, 2021, all NACC courses will be brough back to campus for in-person instruction. Students will be allowed to return to campus at this time, or they may continue completing their courses synchronously or virtually if they wish to do so. “I am very proud of the way Dean Chad Gorham and our Division Directors set up our in-person classes,” Campbell stated. “Students may come to campus to take their classes, or they may continue taking their classes at the same time online.”
Dean Gorham is appreciative of Northeast faculty members during this transition to in-person learning. “NACC instructors have done an outstanding job working with students during this unprecedented time to ensure that their educational goals remained attainable. Our instructors will continue to work with students during this transition back to campus and help to facilitate a successful semester for all involved. Students enrolled in on-campus courses who are unable to return to campus at this time will have the opportunity to complete their courses virtually or online. We are looking forward to an increased student presence on campus,” said Gorham.
Dr. Campbell also spoke of the College’s plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “We will be strictly following all Covid-19 prevention techniques on campus. The safety of our students, staff, and faculty remains our number one concern. I applaud Northeast personnel for the way they have dealt with the pandemic. The college has been a model for safety, and the education of students has progressed right along virtually. We are grateful to have had the advanced technology to achieve this and a great IT staff to support us.”
Wearing masks, social distancing, the frequent disinfecting of surfaces, not gathering in social groups, and other Covid-19 prevention measures will be enforced, even for those individuals who have received full Covid-19 vaccinations or who have had Covid-19. NACC has also placed additional hand sanitizing stations in common areas. The college purchased 10 iWave air purification units that will be placed in the central heating and cooling units across campus to kill any virus existing in the system. Thirteen additional iWave units will soon be added throughout campus. The filters clean 96 percent of the air where they are operating. “I think our commitment to safety is demonstrated in that we spent some $13,000 on these iWave units themselves,” Campbell added.
Faculty, staff, and administrators will continue to follow standards such as meeting virtually, not congregating in groups, and not visiting individual offices will remain in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on campus. Northeast personnel have been back working on campus since the beginning of the Spring Semester but are permitted to work staggered and rotating times to keep the number of employees down at any given hour. Employees are highly encouraged to meet virtually whenever on campus.
“Since Spring 2020, we have been navigating the unprecedented and murky waters of the coronavirus pandemic,” stated ACCS Chancellor Baker. “We have collectively used our best efforts, while relying on available research and guidance from the CDC and ADPH, to maintain the Alabama Community System’s (“ACCS”) and our colleges’ operations. The health and wellness of students and employees have been and continue to be matters of high priority.”