Gadsden State announces plans for fall semester operations
Gadsden, Ala. – Gadsden State Community College President Martha Lavender has announced that the College will begin fall semester classes as planned on Aug. 19.
“We have been given approval to have a measured reopening with modified access,” she said. “We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust our instructional and operational plans as needed. At this time, our goal is to educate our employees, students and the community on protocols and procedures designed to mitigate risk of transmission while providing educational guidance and instruction.”
All of Gadsden State campuses will reopen for registration, advisement and financial aid services on Aug. 13. Fowler Hall, the College’s dormitory located on the Wallace Drive Campus, will also open for resident check-in.
“In-person faculty advisement and any other meetings with students will not be conducted in offices but in a large conference room or classroom,” she said. “We encourage students to request advisement and other meetings to be conducted by phone, email or virtual meetings through Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate.”
On Aug. 19, in-person, on-campus instruction will begin for courses and programs that require hands-on assessment of skills and technical competencies, clinicals and work-based learning experiences. The majority of general education courses, as well as theory-based courses in career technical and health sciences programs, will be offered completely online.
“When in-person class sections are necessary, they will be offered in a split hybrid format,” she said. “Half of the class meets in person one day a week and the other half of the class meets in person the second day of the week.”
All course content will be online so students can take online classes when they are not attending in-person classes.
“This will allow for six-foot social distancing and ensure courses have also been fully developed in an online format if a quick transition to exclusive online instruction becomes necessary as it did during the spring semester,” Lavender said.
Students will be required to sign waivers indemnifying the Alabama Community College System of any legal action as a result of participating in in-person instruction. Instructors will have the waivers for student signatures.
The libraries located at the Wallace Drive, Ayers and Cherokee campuses will be open for student use.
Computer areas will allow 50 percent capacity for social distancing and student safety. Libraries will continue to be closed to the general public.
Adult Education programs, such as GED courses and testing, will be conducted with social distancing and hybrid classes. Skills Training courses, such as the certified nursing assistant program and Ready-to-Work, will be conducted with hybrid online instruction and a modified schedule to limit contact and maximize social distancing.
Modifications will be made in the class schedule to provide opportunities for all in-person, on-campus instruction, including labs and hands-on instruction, so that they are completed by Nov. 20. Off-campus clinicals, preceptorships and apprenticeships (work-based learning) may continue until the end of the semester, which is Dec. 15.
As a part of the reopening with modified access, all Gadsden State students, faculty and visitors are required to wear masks on College premises whenever a six-foot distance cannot be maintained. Handwashing and sanitizing will continue to be frequently encouraged. And, facilities will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by the trained custodial and maintenance staff.
“One of the biggest changes everyone will see is the requirement that they have their temperatures checked upon arriving to campus effective Aug. 13,” Lavender said. “If a person’s temperature is 100.4 degrees or greater, the student or faculty member will be asked to leave campus. Those who do not have a fever will be given a color-coded wristband, which will be required throughout the day to be on campus. Individuals without proper clearance will be asked to leave campus until they can indicate that they are cleared through a temperature checkpoint.”
Students, employees and visitors should come to campus at least 15 minutes earlier than their usual time to accommodate the temperature checks. Campus security officers will staff temperature checkpoints on the Wallace Drive, East Broad, Ayers and Cherokee campuses from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. Officers will scan people’s temperature as they remain in their personal vehicles. The Valley Street Campus will have temperature testing stations located at the entrance of each building.
There will be designated entrances at the campuses with drive-thru checkpoints. All other entrances will be blocked to ensure that everyone is coming through a temperature checkpoint. Details on the designated entrances and checkpoint locations include:
- Wallace Drive Campus: Entrance is the traffic light at Cardinal Drive and Wallace Drive. The temperature checkpoint will be located in the median between the first and second lane into the Wallace Hall parking lot.
- East Broad Campus: Entrance is the front gate from East Broad Street. Checkpoint will be at the end of the drive.
- Ayers Campus: Entrances are at the main campus entrance by the Learning Resource Center and the Cheaha Center entrance (6:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. only). The checkpoint will be located before the intersection leading to the Cheaha Center.
- Gadsden State Cherokee: Entrance is the first entrance before the arena. The station will be located at the beginning of the educational building parking lot.
Students and employees will be required to show their Gadsden State-issued identification badge before they are scanned in their cars. Visitors, including prospective students, will state the purpose of their visit and their destination.
Students, employees and visitors are also asked to self-assess for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before entering a Gadsden State building.
“We have a short health screening questionnaire posted on the entrance of every building,” Lavender said. “If someone answers yes to any of the questions, they are asked not to enter the building and to go home or seek consultation with their health care provider.”
Students are encouraged to regularly check their Gadsden State email and Blackboard for communication from instructors. Information will also be regularly posted on social media and the College’s website.
The detailed reopening plan can be found at www.gadsdenstate.edu/coronavirus. The plan contains more in-depth information regarding facility protocols, COVID-19 testing, campus events and meetings, housing and dining services, student services, disability services and resources, workforce initiatives, Adult Education programs, access levels, cleaning protocols and temperature procedures.
Download the detailed reopening plan here: GSCC REOPENING PLAN: Preparations Instructional/Operation Services ~ Fall 2020