East Central College began implementing a Back to Campus plan last week to safely ease back into normal operations for the fall semester.
The plan was developed by an ECC leadership team comprised of administrators and staff to ensure the health and safety of employees and students.
ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said the goal of the Return to Campus plan is to strategically restore college operations through three phases. The college will strictly follow CDC guidelines.
“We are making plans and decisions with the well-being of our employees and students as the top priority,” he said. “We are looking further ahead to the fall with the hopes of moving from being reactive to proactive.
‘While all of us prefer stability, it is important that we remain flexible and responsive to this volatile and dynamic environment,” Dr. Bauer added.
He further noted that many decisions, including a new graduation ceremony date, will be made by June 9. Changes to the plan that would impact the fall semester will be made by July 14. The first day of classes for the fall semester is Monday, Aug. 24.
The first phase began Monday, May 18 and will end Tuesday, June 30. Phase 2 will be Wednesday, July 1-Sunday, August 16. ECC buildings will not be available to the general public during phases 1 and 2.
Phase 3 occurs from Monday, August 17-Thursday, December 31. The reopening plan applies to both the Union campus and Rolla sites.
Phase 1 of the plan calls for all summer semester courses to be held remotely or online with the exception of on campus labs that are limited to science and allied health courses. Classes will be held with appropriate social distancing and other safety measures.
In addition, computer labs will be closed for student use but may be available by appointment as needed.
Student services, such as admissions, advising, counseling, registration and financial aid will be available online/remote or on campus by appointment only.
The ECC Learning Center and Testing Center will offer testing and tutoring by appointment only or online/remote. Library materials will be available upon requests, with contact-free distribution following MOBIUS guidelines. Appointments can be scheduled at www.eastcentral.edu/virtual-ecc.
The bookstore will be open with a limited occupancy of five customers/students in the store. The ECC cafeteria, Café Central, will be open with social distancing and other applicable food service guidelines in place.
The library and college facilities will be closed to the public during the first phase of reopening.
The Fitness Center will be closed through the summer until Aug. 17.
During the first phase of the plan, employees will begin returning to their campus work stations. Students coming to campus for an appointment are required to wear a mask to enter the building.
According to Dr. Bauer, during the second phase, the campus plan will expand to allow for more on campus communication with students but maintain online/remote options.
Student services, such as admissions, financial aid, registration, advising and counseling, will be available online and on campus.
The Learning Center/Testing Center will open for normal operations.
Several safety measures implemented in Phase 1 will continue into Phase 2. That includes limited numbers of customers at the bookstore and distance protocols to remain at Café Central.
All ECC employees are slated to return to campus by Wednesday, July 1.
Under the final phase of the return to campus plan, a wide range of courses will be in-person, seated classes on the ECC campuses. There also will be online and remote courses available to students.
Dr. Bauer noted that it is the intent of ECC to be transparent with its return to campus plan.
“It is important for the public and students to know that we are taking this seriously,” he said. “We want them to know it will be safe to be on campus.”
The college facilities crews have been and will continue to clean the campus facilities.
Dr. Bauer added that supplies for sanitizing surfaces and hands such as disinfectant wipes and sprays have been deployed across campus and will be used frequently to mitigate risk.
Custodial staff will rotate through the buildings continuously throughout the day to sanitize “high-touch” surfaces.
The staff is working staggered shifts at the Union campus and Rolla sites to provide continuous cleaning from early in the day until the evening.
Details of the entire plan is posted at www.eastcentral.edu.
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