Musings and Reflection on the power of education during COVID-19 the “new normal”
The summer months are now well underway and it is that time of year where prospective and current students decide to start or return to college. The advent of COVID-19 has added an additional impact on those decisions as we adjust to the “new normal.”
I have been spending quite a bit of time reflecting on what I should say to students to encourage them to stay the course on their education pursuits. First and foremost, I would imagine that safety is at the top of the list and specific details of how WKCTC is addressing COVID-19 safety concerns, both currently and as we begin this upcoming fall academic year. We cannot guarantee total safety with regards to COVID-19 due to the evolving understanding of the virus and changing guidelines issued by the federal and state government.
What we can guarantee is our daily efforts to making the College as safe as we can by promoting social distancing, the importance of consistently wearing masks or face coverings, and multiple, daily cleanings. In addition, we are looking at a three-point contingency plan for the fall delivery of classes, which are face-to-face, hybrid (some face-to-face and remote instruction combined), or fully remote instruction if there is a second outbreak in the Fall 2020-Spring 2021 academic year.
Specifically, we are taking every precaution recommended by the CDC and the state to ensure our facilities are as safe as possible. Here are just a few of the things we’re doing:
- WKCTC has named a Healthy at Work Officer to oversee all health and safety on our campuses.
- Masks will be required for everyone on our campus.
- Classrooms will be spaced for social distancing.
- Floor signage will remind everyone of social distancing, and other signage is visible throughout our buildings to reinforce CDC recommendations.
- All employees will take training before returning to campus and do a daily online health check to make sure they are healthy before coming to work.
- Students will be asked to do a temperature self-check every day before coming on campus.
- Some common areas will be closed to avoid large groups congregating.
- Campus staff will continue to clean and sanitize surfaces, doors and other areas that are frequently touched.
The cabinet and campus leadership in academic and non-academic affairs are continuously reviewing, assessing and planning safe spaces, class schedules and capacity of classes to meet social distancing requirements. It is among these reasons that I ask for your continued patience, flexibility and support of maintaining a safe environment for teaching and learning.
I want to encourage all our students to stay the course and seek the pathway and delivery that best fits their needs to continue their education. As the economy emerges out of COVID-19, it is more apparent than ever that students who access and upgrade their higher education academic credentials, and are workforce ready will have a competitive advantage versus peers who choose not to.
At WKCTC, “we never underestimate you” is more than a saying; it is one of our core values and mission to provide excellence in teaching and learning inside and outside the classroom. The transformative power of higher education is within your grasp but you must be committed to reaching out and making those key steps toward enrolling or continuing at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
See you soon!
Dr. Anton Reece