East Central Community College in Decatur is making plans to reopen its campus to students and resume in-person, on-campus classes beginning with the fall 2020 semester.
“East Central Community College has been monitoring local, state, and national developments surrounding COVID-19 and recommended health and safety guidelines since early March, with our No. 1 goal to keep members of our campus community safe,” said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. “Although our campus is currently closed to the public and our students are engaged in online and alternate format courses this summer, college officials are making plans to reopen our campus and resume in-person classes beginning with the fall 2020 term.”
Stewart, who retires on June 30 after eight years as East Central’s president, said he is working with incoming ECCC president Dr. Brent Gregory and the college’s Reopening of Campus Task Force (formerly the Pandemic Response Team) in shaping the college’s COVID-19 reopening plan.
Gregory, who currently serves as vice president for student affairs at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit and will assume his duties on July 1, said the Reopening of Campus Task Force will have separate committees to address various aspects of reopening, such as instruction, student services, and health and safety protocols.
Fall 2020 full term day and evening on-campus classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 17. ECCC will continue to offer online classes in the fall as well, in full, intensive, and four-week terms. There is also the potential that all campus classes will have to switch to the online environment should developments related to COVID-19 warrant.
Tentative plans call for the Fall 2020 semester to end on Friday, Nov. 20, or the week of Thanksgiving so that students do not have to return to campus after the traditional Thanksgiving holiday. This would be accomplished by using Fridays and other open dates in the fall schedule to fully complete classes and labs. ECCC moved to a four-day class schedule in spring 2016, with Fridays open for studying and learning opportunities outside the classroom.
“By completing our fall semester a few days early, we hope to have students at home during a time of the year when the health agencies we monitor daily believe there could be another increase in COVID-19 cases, along with the normal flu season,” explained Stewart.
“We will continue to monitor all pertinent information shared by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and higher education institutions across the state associated with COVID-19 as we shape our return-to-campus protocols for students.”
East Central transitioned to online and alternate delivery of coursework following an extended two-week spring break in March to complete the spring semester. The June and July summer terms also are online and alternate delivery format only.
East Central began a phased-in return to campus for employees on June 1, with a return to a normal full-time schedule for all employees anticipated by Monday, June 29. In addition, students in 12-month programs such as Surgical Technology, Cosmetology, and Diesel Equipment Technology, are returning to campus for small group instruction.
All employees and students are being screened before entering campus each day and are expected to follow social distancing and other safety and health protocols as communicated by the CDC and the MSDH and contained in the college’s Manual for the Resumption of Normal On-Campus Operations in Response to COVID-19.
The college has operated since March 23 with mostly essential personnel only on campus Mondays through Thursdays, and until 2 p.m. on Fridays. Essential personnel are defined as all college vice presidents, deans, directors, and the superintendent of the physical plant. Non-essential personnel were allowed to work from home, unless they performed essential functions and responsibilities that required attendance at the office during the week.
Maintenance staff at the college are cleaning and disinfecting campus facilities on a daily basis, while using Friday afternoons when other employees are gone to conduct deeper and more targeted cleaning and sanitizing of each facility to prepare for the next week.
Registration for any ECCC academic term is being held online at www.eccc.edu using the Student tab under the myEC portal, which includes all the information students need to register, including course schedules and academic calendars.
In order to register, students must complete the admissions process: complete and submit the Application for Admission; submit ACT or Accuplacer scores, which are used for placement in English and math; and submit high school or college transcripts. Transfer students must have all college transcripts on file before they can register for classes.
Students who have already satisfied all three steps in the admissions process will have received information from the ECCC Office of Admissions on how to log-in to myEC and how to register for classes.
Students who need assistance registering for classes once logged in to myEC should contact [email protected]. Students who have questions about their admissions status or who need help in applying to attend ECCC should contact the Office of Admissions at [email protected] or 601-635-6207.
Prospective and current students can schedule virtual meetings with the college’s student services staff to discuss registration, applying for admission, financial aid, and online classes by visiting www.eccc.edu/go-virtual.