As we prepare for Fall 2021 semester “Bright Opening”, our focus will be on designing a plan that will protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors while providing quality technical education and customer service in a learning environment that promotes intellectual and social growth. We will continue to monitor the pandemic closely and follow public health guidance from the Technical College System of Georgia, Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the coming weeks and months, we must continue to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, wash our hands frequently and use hand sanitizer, even as vaccines become more prevalent. Adherence to these health and safety protocols has served our campus community well and has provided a positive outlook for Fall Semester. Even though it is projected that approximately 63% of the United States’ population will have total immunity from the COVID-19 virus by August 2021 (see link: https://covid19-projections.com/path-to-herd-immunity/), we must continue to follow the recommended health and safety protocols established by TCSG, CDC, and DPH in order to keep in-person learning practical and safe for everyone. This likely will include universal and correct use of protective face masks, physically distanced classroom seating, and self-reporting of direct exposure to COVID-19 virus. All in-person instruction activities, and anyone participating in these activities, will be required to strictly adhere to these standards.
Classes for Fall 2021 semester will be offered in face-to-face, hybrid, web-enhanced and/or online formats. Hybrid and online classes may be synchronous or asynchronous. We will continue to encourage all faculty, staff, and students to self-monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19 and self-report direct exposure and/or positive COVID-19 cases to Human Resource Office and/or Exposure Control Coordinator. However, the College community must remain in a state of “readiness” to pivot to social distancing—with a mix of instructional formats of in-person, hybrid, web-enhanced and online modes of instruction—if the situation warrants such a change. This plan describes the maximum extent of in-person instruction for fall semester. Instructors who are designated to provide in-person instructions should be mindful of the possible need to revert to remote instruction and should develop an alternative instructional plan that minimizes the impact on students and academic achievement.
While this information is encouraging news and potentially helpful for our efforts to return to more normal campus operations, uncertainty remains regarding adequate trends in infection rates within our region and adequate trends in the number of citizens being fully vaccinated by the start of fall semester. April 2021 2
- • Option #1- The college’s preferred and best option for instructional services is to return to a pre-COVID instructional delivery model (in-person) with established limits to classroom capacity.
- • Option #2- If inadequate trends in infectious rates within our region reach a disturbing level to public health and TCSG officials, the college will revert to a hybrid instructional delivery model with modified and limited lab contact.
- • Option #3- If infectious rates reach an unacceptable level for Public Health and State officials and a state of emergency is declared that suggests shelter in place orders, the college will revert to 100% online instructional delivery model.
Pre-screening temperature checks
The established procedure for pre-screening body temperature checks will continue until further notice. Please see the email communication from Mr. Kenneth Singleton (Campus Safety Coordinator) on March 26, 2021, for the current procedure. We will discontinue pre-screening temperature checks when public health conditions are determined to be acceptable.
Classroom and Lab Capacity
Targeting 60-63% of all courses for in-person instruction, with varying enrollment densities.
- • For classes with enrollments or classroom capacity above 40 students, the maximum allowable density will be 50% of room capacity.
- • For classes with enrollments or classroom capacity between 30 and 40 students, the maximum allowable density will be 65% of room capacity.
- • For classes with enrollments or classroom capacity between 21 and 30 students, the maximum allowable density will be 80% of room capacity.
- • For classes with enrollments or classroom capacity of 20 and below students, normal density (full room capacity) will be allowed.
Progressively higher densities for smaller classes reflect the reduced risk associated with having fewer people sharing an indoor space, as well as the significant benefit to students of participating in high quality in-person experiences in labs, learning communities, and other intimate settings. This information assumes that high vaccination rates and declining infection rates will lead to new public health guidelines that will support these classroom densities and/or further relaxations. If not, we will revisit our strategies for in-person instructions and adjust accordingly. April 2021 3
Live Work Instructions
As of March 2021, we were unable to determine if live work for Barbering, Cosmetology, and Culinary Arts will be permitted. Having customers from the general public on campus would be our preferred and best option. However, this decision will need to be determined later (TBD) as more people become fully vaccinated and infectious rates trend downward.
As of March 2021, the travel ban remained in place for non-essential matters. Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek virtual options for professional development. We will keep you abreast of changes regarding this matter.
Requests from students for an accommodation due to COVID-19 will continue to be handled through the Special Needs Coordinator’s (SNC) Office existing accommodations process. SNC professional staff will work directly with students to assess their individual needs and develop appropriate plans for accommodations and services, as needed.
Over the past 12 months, the college has invested resources to support instructional services and combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We will continue to seek and invest in strategies that are designed to enhance the work and learning environment for faculty, staff and students. Resources and investments thus far include, but not limited to:
- • weConnect distance learning system- A real-time distance learning solution that enables live and active collaboration between students and faculty.
- • Desk partitions- Over 500 3-sided desk partitions were purchased for classroom and computer lab areas in order to provide an additional layer of protection for faculty, staff and students.
- • BlackBelt 24/7 Help Desk Service- The Titian Tech Support team acquired the service of a 24/7 help desk service for faculty, staff and students who need technical support with email logins, accessing Blackboard or Banner web and other technical issues after normal work hours, weekends and holidays.
- • Tutor.com- Students have 24/7 access to free online tutoring in various subject areas. Students simply login into their Blackboard account and select Tutor.com from the navigation panel and will be automatically connected to a virtual tutor.
- • PC Sticks- 100 PC sticks were purchased to support students with limited or no access to necessary software for instructional purposes.
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- • Lending Library- A limited number of computer laptops are available for students to borrow as needed.
- • Body Temperature checkers- (3) Walk-through body temperature checkers were purchased to pre-screen faculty, staff, students and visitors for possible high-grade body temperatures.
- • Renovations-Work areas on campus were redesigned in order to practice social distancing and provide a safe work environment.
Academic Support Services
- • Library services will return to normal work hours and days of operation; however, will operate at 75% room capacity.
- • Academic Achievement Center will return to normal operating hours at 75% area capacity.
- • Help Desk will return to normal operating hours in Prosperity Hall in rooms #101 and #109 at 80% room capacity.
- • Academic Advisement Center will return to normal operating hours at 80% area capacity.
The following strategies were based on recommendations from the Georgia Department of Public Health as of March 24, 2021:
Symptomatic persons with confirmed COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 can return to school or work after:
- • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND
- • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
- • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.
Asymptomatic persons with confirmed COVID-19 can return to school or work after at least 10 days have passed since the positive laboratory test, AND the person remains asymptomatic.
- • Asymptomatic persons who test positive and later develop symptoms should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above.
Quarantine of Unvaccinated Contacts
All unvaccinated close contacts with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case MUST be quarantined and excluded from the school/work setting and all extracurricular activities, regardless of students, faculty, or staff wearing April 2021 5
masks or the use of physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass). A 14-day quarantine period is recommended.
If an individual, who is a close contact AND ended quarantine after day 7 or 10, develops symptoms they should be sent home immediately and follow the guidelines for symptomatic individuals and seek COVID-19 testing.
Quarantine of Vaccinated Contacts
Individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if has been at least 14 days (2 weeks) since the completion of the COVID-19 vaccination series (two doses in a two-dose series OR one dose in a one-dose series).
Individuals not fully vaccinated (e.g., it has been less than 14 days since completing the COVID-19 vaccination series OR all vaccinations in the series have not been received), who are exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, should follow the guidance in the section of this document titled “Quarantine of Unvaccinated Contacts". Regardless of vaccination status, individuals should still monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following a suspect or confirmed exposure. If they develop symptoms of COVID-19, they should be sent home immediately, follow the guidelines for symptomatic individuals, and seek COVID-19 testing. Additional guidance can be found at https://dph.georgia.gov/contact in the section titled “What should I do if I am a close contact to someone with COVID-19 and get sick?”
Vaccinated individuals should continue to follow all other DPH guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands often. Complete guidance for fully vaccinated people and scenarios where precautions may be changed can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html.
The College will continue to use ATC’s main web page, social media outlets, local media, and college email accounts to keep faculty, staff, students and the general public abreast of changes in campus operation. The College will maintain bi-lateral communication will local and state officials regarding public health and safety concerns within the region.
About Albany Technical College
A public postsecondary institution of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), Albany Technical College provides technical education and training support for the evolving workforce needs of Southwest Georgia through traditional and online classroom settings. Albany Tech is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS/COC). For more information about Albany Tech, go to www.albanytech.edu or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlbanyTech or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbanyTech. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel by visiting www.youtube.com/albanytech1 .