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Some employees return to Gadsden State campuses

A limited number of faculty and staff members returned to Gadsden State Community College offices today following a 76-day closure of all five campuses due to the spread of COVID-19.
 
“We are using a modified operational approach,” said Dr. Martha Lavender, president. “Our deans have made decisions about flexible scheduling, modified staffing and telework. Admissions, the Advisement Resource Center, Financial Aid, the Business Office and other departments supporting our students are open and available to those needing assistance.”
 
She said there is strict enforcement of social distancing at least six feet between individuals, and everyone should wear masks while on campus. Employees are provided with cloth masks while students are asked to bring a mask with them while visiting a Gadsden State campus. Frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer are also mandatory.
 
“Our employees have been asked to role model strict compliance with the social distancing, masks and handwashing procedures,” she said.
 
Instructors are allowed to work on campus full time with approval from their dean. Remote work continues to be permitted for instructors teaching online courses. Full-time staff, including administrative assistants, clerks, librarians and programs directors, have returned to work full time. Flexible scheduling for employees can be approved by supervisors.
 
“Division chairs and directors have developed a schedule for faculty and staff to ensure social distancing in close office spaces,” said Dr. Leslie Worthington, dean of academic services. “Not all instructors should be in office suites at one time, unless the area is large enough for continuous social distancing.”
 
Students and employees returning to campus are required to sign-in at every building visited in an effort to conduct contact tracing in cases of a positive COVID-19 report. Students will sign a waiver indemnifying Gadsden State and the Alabama Community College System of any legal action as a result of receiving in-person services or instruction.
 
“We have deep-cleaned and sanitized all of our buildings,” Lavender said. “We are taking many precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have clearly marked building entrances, exits and traffic flow to ensure social distancing and safety. Communal areas, such as lounges, the cafeteria and the weight room, are closed.  Seating is limited in reception areas and lobbies. Hand sanitizer dispensers are located in every building, and employees must clean their workspaces when they arrive and before they leave work daily. Video conferencing is being used to reduce the need for meetings and other close personal contact.”
 
Fowler Residence Hall and the Gadsden State Cafeteria will remain closed during the summer semester. Athletics and extracurricular activities continue to be delayed or conducted virtually. Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center and the Gadsden State Cherokee Arena will be closed June and July. The Beck Conference Center on the Wallace Drive Campus will be open for Gadsden State events only.
 
“The future availability of these facilities will be determined based on the safety of visitors, students and employees,” Lavender said.
 
Summer semester courses begin online June 8. Registration continues at www.gadsdenstate.edu. Fall semester operational plans will be announced at a later date. To stay up-to-date on information regarding Gadsden State and COVID-19, visit gadsdenstate.edu/coronavirus.
 
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