One year ago we were learning, teaching, and working nearly 100 percent in online environments. A lot has changed over the past year. While we’re not through with the pandemic, we are in a better place.
ACC continues to closely monitor the situation in our region including local case and vaccination rates. We are using this information to help guide our planning for summer and fall. While our approach continues to be conservative, we will do more to offer the programs and services students need and want.
Beginning this summer, you can expect more in-person and hybrid learning and more student support services on campus. By fall, we could see at least 10,000 students per week on our campuses. Some of these students will come for class. Others will come for face-to-face support like tutoring, advising, or testing.
These changes mean more employees will return to campus as well — from instruction and student support to administration. I’ve asked each area to explore what they can do to support students and their success whether on-campus or online. Decisions and planning happen at a departmental level. You can expect updates from your supervisor about how this may impact you.
Our return to campus remains gradual and thoughtful. Anyone who comes to campus, whether vaccinated or not, is still required to follow ACC’s health and safety protocols. These are not changing at this time. Face masks and social distancing as well as health screenings and temperature checks at the door are a standard at all our campuses and facilities. These measures have worked. To date, there have been no on-campus transmissions at ACC. I thank you for your ongoing cooperation and understanding to help keep everyone here safe.
Health and safety remain our top priorities as we move forward. The college is working with regional healthcare partners to explore if and how we can provide COVID-19 vaccinations for employees on our campuses. I will keep you updated. The vaccine is not required, but is strongly encouraged for those who are eligible.
As always, our planning is a fluid process. If you missed the Campus Conversation on transitioning to a ‘new normal,” I encourage you to take a listen here. We discussed how our process works. We will adjust our plan as the situation evolves. I promise to share updates with you as they become available. I want to thank you for your patience and commitment to this college and the good work that we do here. Because of you, our students continue to thrive.
Richard M. Rhodes, Ph.D.
Austin Community College District