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File / The Outlook Central Alabama Community College has released its plan for returning to school in the fall semester and limits contact with individuals on campus.

As sharply noted by Central Alabama Community College public relations director Brett Pritchard, education does not stop simply because the coronavirus pandemic is still present. Therefore, the Alabama Community College System, including CACC’s Alexander City location, has released a plan for reopening schools for the fall semester while following the appropriate health and safety guidelines.

“We’re trying to move forward with fall registration and get everything lined up for starting Aug. 17,” Pritchard said. “It’s right around the corner. It will be different for everyone — not just us — but for every other college out there. It’s all in a new world right now.”

All CACC employees, students and visitors are required to wear face coverings within 6 feet of other individuals, in common indoor spaces, in a vehicle operated by transportation service and in outdoor public places with 10 or more people. Employees will be provided face coverings but students are responsible for providing their own. Individuals will not be allowed in buildings without a face covering.

All academic courses will be delivered through online and virtual formats. Any face-to-face classes will be reduced by 50% capacity and require social distancing guidelines.

“Probably one of the best things about all of this is how far advanced we are for online education,” Pritchard said. “Even up to 15 or 20 years ago, we would have been set far back if it weren’t for these online capabilities.”

On-site instruction will take place in career technical education (CTE) programs where hands-on activity is required and cannot be delivered in a virtual environment. Each administration for workforce programs and health programs will develop a specific plan for disinfecting labs and equipment. When social distancing is not feasible, all students and instructors will wear face coverings and follow Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention guidelines.

Faculty will conduct remote office hours or limited on-campus office hours by appointment only.

Students must sign and return the Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to Coronavirus before being allowed on campus to participate in in-person instruction, advising or meetings.

All college events and club and organization meetings will be held virtually and remotely. TRIO programs, one of eight federally funded programs to increase access to higher education, will operate virtually and remotely but students make contact TRIO program for face-to-face meeting if necessary.

Library services will be delivered remotely and by appointment only if necessary.

Athletic practices and activities will resume for fall semester and adhere to guidance from ACCS and National Junior College Athletic Association. Coaches and recruits will be required to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and meet other protocol identified by CACC. Coaches must wear face coverings for off-campus recruiting trips as well.

All students, faculty, staff and guests will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and have their temperatures taken with an infrared digital thermometer. Individuals will receive a color-coded paper bracelet to indicate they have been cleared each day. Those who do not pass the screening will be directed to leave campus.

Students diagnosed with COVID-19 are not allowed on campus and may not return until they receive medical confirmation and approval from Dr. Sherri Taylor, dean of students.

Students who have direct exposure to COVID-19 must report this information to dean of students so protocol can be followed. Examples include but are not limited to: someone in the student’s household, a boyfriend or girlfriend or a co-worker who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, students with disabilities that may require reasonable accommodations should contact the ADA coordinator for assistance. For the Alex City location, contact Tiffanie Character at tcharacter@cacc.edu.

Student services will be offered remotely. If the student’s situation cannot be resolved remotely, the student may request an on-campus appointment.

General hygiene and respiratory etiquette will be followed college wide with additional sanitation measures on at least a daily basis. Elevators use should be limited and all staff and students are asked to not congregate in break rooms, parking lots or other common areas.

“Student safety is first and foremost and we want people to know we’re moving on and we’re still open for business,” Pritchard said. 

Tune in to Central Alabama Community College’s Facebook page for a live information session about the fall semester at 9:30 a.m. today.

Amy Passaretti is a staff writer with the Alexander City Outlook.