Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Gadsden State returns to ‘normal access’
Dr. Kathy Murphy, president of Gadsden State Community College, announced to employees and students via email that the College is returning to normal access, effective immediately.
“As we transition to summer semester, I have re-evaluated our COVID-19 protocol,” she said. “It was our plan to begin summer semester with adjusted-normal access. However, based on the decline of serious COVID-19 cases and the increased number of individuals who have been vaccinated, we will transition immediate to normal status.”
Masks are no longer mandatory in any of Gadsden State’s buildings on any of its five campuses; however, Murphy said masks may be worn as a matter of personal preference.
“I fully respect your right to continue wearing a mask without requiring others to do so,” she said. “We all have a personal responsibility for our health and well-being, and I encourage you to continue to find ways to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19.”
Murphy encouraged employees and students to maintain appropriate distance and consider getting the vaccination if they have not already. Gadsden State has had two vaccination clinics for employees and one clinic for employees, students and the public.
“Dealing with the pandemic has not been easy for any of us,” she said. “In a career that spans three-plus decades, COVID has been the single biggest challenge of my career. I pray COVID is quickly moving into the rearview mirror.”
March 4, 2021: Gadsden State announces 'adjusted-normal' access
January 8, 2021: Second Quarter CARES Act Report
October 23: Gadsden State postpones commencement ceremony
October 22: New checkpoint for East Broad campus
October 7: First quarter CARES Act Report
October 6: Random COVID testing begins
July 16: Gadsden State Face Mask Policies
June 22: COVID-19 Testing Services
May 28: 30-Day CARES Act Report
March 12: Letter from the President
March 12: ACCC statement on the Coronavirus
General COVID-19 FAQs
COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. The virus is spread mainly from person-to-person. It’s spread between people within about six feet from one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.
People may also contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes but, according to the CDC, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with others by practicing the 6-foot social distancing guideline.
- Stay home if you’re sick, except if you need medical care.
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Wear a face mask when in public and around others.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. Use EPA-registered disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Call your doctor if symptoms develop.
- Stay home unless you need to get medical care. Home isolation tremendously decreases the chances of spreading the virus.
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
- Avoid public areas. Do not go to work, school or public areas.
- Avoid public transportation.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your house. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Limit contact with pets and animals. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people with the virus limit contact with pets until more information about the virus is known.
- Wear a face mask if you are sick and are around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are unable to wear a face mask then people with you should wear a face mask if they enter your room.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Dispose of used tissues in a lined trash can.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
- Clean all high-touch surfaces every day.
- Monitor your symptoms.
- Stay at home until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to below. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
- Gadsden State has transitioned to online and hybrid instruction to minimize large groups and in an effort to social distance.
- In an effort to limit possible exposure, all events on all of Gadsden State’s campuses have been cancelled until further notice.
- The Maintenance Team is practicing enhanced cleaning procedures in all buildings.
- All international and domestic travel has been cancelled and will be enforced until the spread of the disease has been decreased or contained.
- Gadsden State is practicing its Infectious Disease Policy.
- Gadsden State will communicate with its students and faculty on a regular basis through College email and Blackboard. Communications will also be posted on this webpage.
Technical issues should be addressed to email@example.com. You will be contacted by a member of Information Technology Services as soon as possible.
- Monitor your campus email account for official updates. Regularly visit gadsdenstate.edu/coronavirus.
- Posts will be made to Blackboard when appropriate.
- Updates will also post to Gadsden State’s social media platforms. Facebook: @gadsdenstate Twitter: @gadsdenstate Instagram: @gadsdenstatecommunitycollege
How much in CARES Act funds were distributed to Gadsden State for emergency student aid?
How many Gadsden State students have been deemed eligible to receive CARES Act funds?
2,496 students (62% of students enrolled in Spring Semester)
Who is eligible for CARES Act funds?
Students who meet all of the following criteria:
- Students working towards a degree or certificate at Gadsden State
- Students enrolled in at least one traditional (in-person) course on one of the five Gadsden State campuses
- Students who have a valid 2019-2020 FAFSA on file with the Financial Aid Office OR those who are eligible to apply for FAFSA
- Students who have a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) status
- Students enrolled at Gadsden State during the Spring Semester (with exception to those who exclusively attended Spring Mini I Term)
Who is not eligible for CARES Act funds?
- Students enrolled exclusively in online courses
- Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card holders)
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students
- Dual-enrolled high school students (ACE Institute)
- Students who do not have a valid high school diploma or equivalent
- Incarcerated students
- Students enrolled exclusively in Spring Mini I Term
- Students who withdrew from all Gadsden State classes as of close of business on March 16
Did Gadsden State determine the eligibility requirements?
No. The guidelines for eligibility were issued by the U.S. Department of Education.
How will students be notified about their eligibility?
Students who can expect a CARES Act check will be notified via email by May 15. The eligibility email will be sent to the primary email address the student has listed in OneACCS.
How will Gadsden State spend/disburse CARES Act funds?
Residence Hall Refunds – As of March 17, 71 students residing in Fowler Hall on the Wallace Drive Campus are eligible to receive funds. Dates the students left campus were monitored, and refunds were calculated based on a per day of cost for residence. Total spent on Residence Hall Refunds is $21,287.70.
Food Service Refunds – Using the same list of eligible students from Fowler Hall, 71 students will receive a partial refund for food service from the date of departure through May 8. Total spent on Food Service Refunds is $27,919.36.
Technology Grants – A total of 2,496 students have been deemed eligible to receive emergency financial assistance in the amount of $733 per student for a total of $1,829,568.
How will eligible students receive CARES Act funds?
A check will be mailed to the student to the address on record by May 22. Those eligible should log into myGadsdenState and verify their home address to ensure the check will arrive in a timely manner.
Are there guidelines/requirements on how students can spend CARES Act funds?
- How can I use the money?
- CARES Emergency Financial Aid Grants should be used for expenses incurred due to COVID-19 and/or the transition to online instruction.
- If I have a GSCC balance on my student account will the grant be applied towards the balance?
- No, your grant will be issued to you in the form of a check mailed to your mailing address on your student record.
- Who do I contact if I have questions about my Standards of Academic Progress (SAP) status?
- Contact the GSCC Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Can I apply for an Emergency Financial Aid grant more than once?
- Yes, but only once per semester as long as funds are available. Do not apply more than once per semester.
- Is documentation required for an Emergency Financial Aid Grant?
- No, but documentation will assist the committee to make grant awards where there is greatest need.
- Will Emergency Financial Aid Grants be available for Summer 2021?
- Yes. The grants will be available until funds are disbursed.
- Do I have to be enrolled full-time (at least 12 semester hours)?
- When will I know if I have received an Emergency Financial Aid grant?
- Checks will be mailed approximately every 14 days.
- I receive a full Pell grant. Am I still eligible for an Emergency Financial Aid grant?
- Am I eligible if my classes are all online?
- Can I apply more than once per semester?
a. No. Only your first application submission will be considered.
NOTE: Gadsden State is currently NOT accepting applications for CARES EFA Grants.
Accordion Item Content
COVID-19 FAQs for Students and Employees
No. Although the ADA prohibits discrimination based on association with an individual with a disability, that protection is limited to disparate treatment or harassment. The ADA does not require that an employer accommodate an employee without a disability based on the disability-related needs of a family member or other person with whom s/he is associated.
For example, an employee without a disability is not entitled under the ADA to telework as an accommodation in order to protect a family member with a disability from potential COVID-19 exposure.
Kim Cobb, director of Human Resources, is the designated COVID liaison for employees. She can be reached at 256-549-8236 or email@example.com.
Kelley Pearce, associate dean of Enrollment and Retention, is the designated COVID liaison for students. She can be reached at 256-549-8230 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Only the President or the designated COVID liaison can ask for an employee’s COVID test results.
Information on a COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms is confidential medical information. Contact tracing does not require disclosing the name of the employee or the student. The employee or student may give permission to be identified to those who they have had close contact.
GSCC may send the employee or student home. CDC guidance and public health guidelines recommend temperature checks. Before taking any action to remove an employee or student from campus, we will attempt to determine their reason for refusing the temperature check. Our emphasis will focus on protecting the health and safety of everyone in the workplace and all information will be kept confidential.
Yes, to the extent possible. Information will only be shared with those that need to know. Information of a COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms is confidential medical information. The employee or student may give permission to identify them to those with whom they had contact. The College is required to report a positive COVID-19 employee or student to the Alabama Community College System for tracking purposes only.
Close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to specimen collection) until the time the individual is isolated. While masks may be worn, any close exposure for 15 minutes or more will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Close contact should be avoided.
No. At this time, deans are authorized to make decisions about flexible scheduling, modified staffing and telework. Each position has been reviewed to determine if productive telework is a feasible option. In-person attendance is essential for many positions, and COVID-19 is an extraordinary circumstance. After normal operations resume, telework may be approved as a temporary accommodation only after engaging in the interactive process provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Students and employees who have COVID-19 symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
- At least 24 hours have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms and
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
Students and employees with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had ANY symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test. If they develop symptoms, then the symptom-based strategy listed above should be used.
Many more courses are being offered in an online or hybrid format. Online courses do not require any in-person attendance. Online courses can be asynchronous or synchronous. With asynchronous online courses, materials will be available in Blackboard, but students are not required to be online on specific days or at specific times. They can work independently on their own time schedule. With synchronous online courses, classes will be held online on specific days and at specific times. Students will be required to “attend” class virtually through Blackboard Collaborate.
Traditional hybrid courses allow the entire class to attend in-person one day a week and work online for the other class day. Split-hybrid courses divide the students in a class into two groups – one group attends one day a week and studies online for the other class day, and a second group attends on an alternate day. This allows for better social distancing. Students will be provided specific details shortly before classes begin.
Courses may also be offered via live-streaming video – where some of the students are attending in the classroom while others are watching the class live on their devices through Blackboard Collaborate.
All students in the in-person class will be notified that someone in their class has tested positive for COVID-19. Students will be reassured that CDC-recommended guidelines were followed during in-person attendance. All students wore masks and sat facing forward and at least six feet apart on all sides. All surfaces were cleaned in between each class. However, students will be provided with testing information in case they choose to get tested at their own expense. The classroom will then be closed for at least 24 hours, cleaned and thoroughly disinfected before further use.
It is everyone’s personal responsibility to stay home and contact their physician if they are not feeling well with symptoms such as fever, cough, body aches and shortness of breath. If feeling well and getting out among others, it is everyone’s personal responsibility to wear a face mask, social distance six feet, wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer, and keep hands away from their face.
Because COVID-19 is spread by droplets from the nose and mouth, a face mask must cover both the nose and mouth to be effective.