East Central Community College (ECCC) continues to actively monitor information concerning the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) provided by the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH), Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, College officials are maintaining contact with our colleagues at colleges and universities across the state.
EXTENDED SPRING BREAK FOR STUDENTS
In keeping with the actions of community colleges and universities in the state and in an effort to monitor the continued impacts of COVID-19 in Mississippi and to develop contingency operational plans, ECCC will extend Spring Break for students taking on-campus classes through Friday, March 27. As such, traditional face-to-face classes will be suspended for the week of March 23-27. At this time, the extension of Spring Break applies to students only and the one-week class suspension applies to traditional, face-to-face classes only. Please know that ECCC students currently enrolled in online classes through MSVCC will continue with their regular schedule next week.
Even with the suspension of classes for students taking on-campus classes this one week, it is not the intention of the College to extend the spring semester at this time. Currently, the College plans to conclude the Spring 2020 semester on May 1, 2020, as originally scheduled. However, please know that this plan is subject to change based on developments at the local, state, and/or federal levels regarding the spread of COVID-19.
TRANSITION IN MODE OF INSTRUCTIONAL DELIVERY
At this time, the College plans to transition classes originally scheduled in a face-to-face arrangement to an online environment or other format using alternative instructional method(s) to minimize disruptions to the educational process. This transition from face-to-face to an alternative delivery format is the most prudent course of action and will provide students the best opportunity to meet their educational goals and responsibilities. Please know that labs, as well as skills, demonstration, and performance classes may require some small group instruction to measure student learning outcomes. In all cases, our goal will be to follow the guidance and recommendations made by healthcare professionals that mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 while maintaining the quality and integrity of our instructional programs.
In consideration of this transition to the online environment and/or to the use of alternative instructional method(s), all students are encouraged to begin making plans now. Students are asked to identify locations within their own communities to access adequate internet capabilities. It is anticipated that the College will inform students during the week of March 23-27 regarding resources that may be available to them at the College. However, students should begin making preparation now for this transition that is scheduled to take place on Monday, March 30.
All residence halls will remain closed to students during the week of March 23-27. Therefore, all residential students should refrain from returning to campus until further notice. At this time, no decision has been made regarding residence halls after the week of March 23-27. When a decision is made concerning the status of campus residence halls, the College will communicate with residential students. Should a decision be made for residence halls to remain closed after March 27, residential students will be informed when residence halls will be open to allow them to retrieve from their campus room any textbooks, laptops, and/or other items needed to respond to the transition in instructional delivery. In that case, the temporary opening of a residence hall would be for the limited purpose of claiming those items and then promptly exiting campus.
ON-CAMPUS STUDENT & COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
The CDC and the MSDH have recommended that individuals avoid social gatherings where 10 or more people would come into close contact in hopes of minimizing the time spent in proximity to one another in confined spaces. In an effort to be proactive in reducing the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 on campus and to the communities we serve and in keeping with the guidance and recommendations of the CDC and the MSDH, effective immediately, ALL extracurricular activities and College-sponsored events and gatherings scheduled on- or off-campus as well as community-related events scheduled on-campus are canceled until further notice. This includes, but is not limited to, Athletic contests, Fine Arts events, Student Life activities, Continuing Education courses, etc. As a result of this decision, all rental agreements for events scheduled in any ECCC facility will be canceled. At an appropriate time in the future, the resumption of on-campus events will be re-evaluated.
We understand that this decision will be disappointing to many students who have been preparing for various activities and events throughout the Spring semester. However, the goal is to keep our students, faculty, staff, and the community as safe as possible during these uncertain times and to follow the social distancing guidance and recommendations of the CDC and the MSDH.
DEADLINE FOR GRADUATION APPLICATIONS
Just a reminder: All students who are planning to receive a diploma and/or certificate this spring semester must fill out a graduation application. Applications will be accepted through 4 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020. No applications will be accepted after that date. The application should be completed online using myEC. An Application for Graduation is required even if you do not plan to walk at Commencement.
Speaking of Commencement, a final decision regarding graduation exercises currently scheduled for May 1, 2020, will be made soon and in consideration of national and state public health protocols established by the CDC and the MSDH. When a decision is made, it will be communicated to our College family.
Effective immediately, ECCC will suspend ALL non-essential, College-sponsored in-state travel until further notice. This is in addition to the continued suspension of all out-of-state travel communicated to the College family previously.
WEEK OF MARCH 23-27 FOR EMPLOYEES
Operational processes and procedures for faculty and staff for the week of March 23-27 will be addressed in a separate message later this week. It is anticipated that the operational plan will address the ability of the College to maintain critical operations and functions, the engagement of staff in contingency planning for the remainder of the spring semester, and the preparation of faculty to move to alternative instructional delivery formats beginning March 30. The goal of the operational plan will be to provide ECCC the best opportunity to make the transitions necessary to most effectively meet our educational responsibilities and commitments.
Today, we will use the Warrior Alert emergency communication system to ensure that you are aware of this most recent update addressing extended Spring Break for students and other decisions as a result of COVID-19 and to stress the importance of reading these communications from the College. However, going forward we do not plan to use Warrior Alert when there is a new update unless it is an emergency situation. Therefore, it is imperative that you check your college email and the www.eccc.edu/coronavirus website daily.
Please know that the decisions shared in previous communications, the decisions shared here, and the decisions that will be shared in the future are made after careful thought and consideration. With each decision, it is our desire to follow the most recent guidance and recommendations made by the CDC, the MSDH, and other healthcare officials. Once again, please continue to monitor your email and the College’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.eccc.edu/coronavirus for the most recent updates and information related to ECCC.
Update No. 4