Enterprise State Community College and Alabama Aviation College, a unit of Enterprise State, will reopen on June 2 for technical students to return to campus to complete spring semester classes.
“The safety and well-being of our students and employees is our top priority,” Rodgers said. “From the beginning, we have been methodical in planning a return to campus. Our preparation has been lengthy, but our goal has always been to do our best to minimize the risk while maintaining the quality of training and instruction.”
ESCC/AAC transitioned to online learning on March 17, but technical and specialized courses were ultimately suspended until students could return to complete hands-on training. On May 21, Gov. Kay Ivey announced an amended Safer At Home order that allowed educational institutions to reopen while following social distancing, sanitation and facial covering guidelines.
When campuses closed, College administration and faculty began working on a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan that met guidelines provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) office, Gov. Kay Ivey’s office and state health officials, local Emergency Management Agency representatives and local health professionals. This plan, which included the June 2 return date for both campuses, was accepted by the ACCS office last week.
“All of us are excited about teaching our students again,” AAC Director Stan Smith said. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated to prioritizing student safety while maintaining the high educational and training standards for which we are known.
“For the remainder of the summer, we will finish our spring semester in smaller groups, specifically at AAC, to reduce risk. Our students are training for high demand and high wage jobs. We are excited to prepare them for the workforce.”
The majority of summer technical instruction will be delivered on the AAC campus in Ozark while a small number of students will return to the Enterprise campus. To comply with guidelines provided by the governor, schedules have been altered to reduce the number of students on campus at a given time.
In order to further minimize risks and ensure a successful return to campus, essential steps were taken by employees and students. These steps included:
- Contacting students to inform them of the process to return to class,
- Updating student contact information,
- Ensuring that all students, faculty and staff members completed the online COVID-19 Training Course that was created by AAC instructors Aubri Hanson and Glen Brackin,
- Providing face masks and requiring the use of a mask while students and employees were in the presence of others in any ESCC/AAC building, and
- Providing safety goggles and gloves for use in labs when appropriate.
As part of the COVID-19 Mitigation Plan, plexiglass safety shields were purchased for employees, and sanitization and social distancing signage was placed on both campuses. Sanitation and cleaning protocols for each area of both campuses have also been established as part of the plan.
AAC instructors also rearranged classrooms and labs to be in compliance with new social distancing guidelines. Instructors also joined ESCC/AAC administration in conducting walkthroughs with Alabama Technology Network hygienist Jared Choat.
Administration and faculty members received COVID-19 response training and practiced the established response protocols found in the plan.
“We, as a community college, serve a very important role, especially today,” Rodgers said. “While COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work, essential workers across industries, from trucking to emergency medical services, are standing on the front lines to help our communities and nation get through this pandemic. It is critical that we provide the instruction to keep our essential workers trained and in the field.
“We are ready to have our students return to our campuses, and we are doing everything we can to make that return as safe as possible.”
Cutline: Sanitation and social distancing signage has been placed on both campuses as part of the COVID-19 Mitigation Plan for ESCC/AAC.