"To achieve our objectives, an interdisciplinary task force has met throughout the pandemic to monitor the public health situation and provide guidance to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. This task force has developed guidelines based on the following principles to ensure a safe return to campus during the coming months and into the fall."View the plan
1. Resume in-person campus activities in compliance with state and local directives as soon as it is safe to do so.
2. Implement a four-phased return to campus plan and communicate it with employees and students.
3. Amend plans and protocols as needed in response to rapidly changing circumstances related to COVID-19.
To achieve our objectives, an interdisciplinary task force has met throughout the pandemic to monitor the public health situation and provide guidance to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. This task force has developed guidelines based on the following principles to ensure a safe return to campus during the coming months and into the fall.
1. The health and safety of our community is paramount. Protecting our students, faculty, and staff is the starting point for each decision. Our decisions to resume in-person activities are dependent on the best public health practices available, from social distancing and personal protective equipment, to stopping the spread of germs and staying home if you are sick.
2. We will fulfill our mission and meet our standard of excellence. EAC’s core mission remains unchanged, even in a changed environment. We will continue to provide lifelong learning and educational opportunities to all who seek them, and help students thrive in a complex, ever-changing world.
3. We will be flexible and innovative in the face of evolving circumstances. We will embrace the challenge of exploring new ways and preparing multiple scenarios to continue our mission as circumstances evolve. The path of this pandemic is not linear and may require us to be flexible for quite some time.
4. We will provide inclusive and equitable solutions. Students, faculty, and staff will be integral to shaping and implementing our plans. Our approach will be thoughtful and attentive to the disparate impacts of the pandemic on our community.
5. We will ensure EAC’s financial strength and stability. Our response to this pandemic will have lasting effects on EAC. We will be mindful of our commitment to fiscal stewardship and make decisions that position the institution for sustained excellence.
General Instructions for All Phases of Returning to Campus
1. Face Coverings - All employees will wear protective face coverings when entering campuses, in common areas located in buildings, during any interaction where there are less than 6 feet between people, or when walking near others. Students will be encouraged to wear face coverings.
2. Social Distancing - Employees will strive to maintain at least 6 feet between themselves and other individuals at all times and will not loiter or congregate in public areas, hallways, or work areas. Students will be required to comply with social distancing protocols.
3. Controlled Access – Entry and exit protocols will be developed for all buildings. Employees should use the most direct route from the point of entry to their work stations.
4. Illness - If an employee is ill or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, he/she should stay home and contact their supervisor, who will then contact Human Resources.
5. Positive for COVID-19 - If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, she/he should contact their supervisor, who will contact Human Resources immediately. EAC will communicate and collaborate with the Graham County Department of Health Services during all phases of the return to campus.
6. Sanitization - EAC will continue to adapt and implement new cleaning and sanitization practices. A comprehensive cleaning will take place before the return to campus, and ongoing cleaning will continue at increased levels. We are all in this together, and employees in each department should be encouraged to pitch in and regularly sanitize their own areas.
a. High touch door handles will be cleaned twice daily, once during the day and evenings by maintenance staff.
b. Surface areas will be wiped daily by custodial staff, and throughout the day by each department.
c. Workspaces that have contact with students will be provided with sanitizing spray so employees can clean work surfaces as needed during the day.
d. Small hand sanitizer bottles will be provided to employees to use at their work stations. (Since large quantities are difficult to obtain at this point, employees are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer for their own use if they have any available.) Large quantities are on backorder, and when received, sanitizing stations will be available throughout campus locations.
e. Restrooms will be cleaned daily by maintenance.
f. Employees are asked to wash hands frequently following CDC recommendations.
g. Sanitizer wipes will be made available in computer labs with instructions for students to clean the used computer before and after use.
7. Signage and Print Resources – Health-related messages will be developed, printed, and maintained throughout campuses to support COVID-19 recommendations.
8. Protective Barriers - Plexiglass shields or other protective barriers will be placed in many high traffic areas, and tables and chairs will be re-arranged or removed to enforce the required distance in front of desks and counters.
9. Security - If someone is violating social distancing rules, it is appropriate to politely share information with them, especially during a pandemic. However, keep in mind that these types of situations can quickly escalate, and that most people will comply with rules if they know what to do, why to do it, and they see other people like themselves doing it. If a situation arises that compromises campus security, please contact the EAC Campus Police Department at (928) 428-8240, (928) 428-8241, or call 9-1-1.
10. Coordination - Supervisors will work with their staff to develop individual department plans for returning to campus. Once approved by the task force, these will be forwarded to the District Executive Team.
Phased Guidelines for Safely Returning to Campus
Phase I: Pilot Openings in Administration Buildings, Development of Operations, Summer Faculty In-Person Planning
Timeline: Begins Monday, May 18
Guidelines: This pilot opening is meant to test the effectiveness of the team planning.
Phase II: Implementation of Return to Campus Plans for Administration Buildings, In-person Summer Courses Allowed, Pool, Wellness Center, and Alumni Library and Media Center Re-open
Timeline: Begins Tuesday, May 26, and Monday, June 1
Guidelines: Phase II begins a gradual return to campus for administrative employees, and includes pool and Wellness Center re-openings and the start of some in-person meetings for summer courses.
Guidelines: The pool will operate with the following prescribed limitations and/or protections in place:
o Anyone rescuing a distressed swimmer, providing first aid, or performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with or without an automated external defibrillator.
o Individuals in the process of evacuating an aquatic venue or entire facility due to an emergency.
Guidelines: The Wellness Center will operate with the following prescribed limitations and/or protections in place:
o Monday - Thursday, 5:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
o Friday, 5:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
o Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
o Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
o Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
o Wear disposable gloves when handling used towels from guests.
o Avoid shaking used towels.
o Clean and disinfect bins that hold used towels according to guidance for disinfecting surfaces.
o After handling used towels: remove gloves, and wash hands right away.
Alumni Library and Media Center
Guidelines: The Alumni Library and Media Center will operate with the following prescribed limitations and/or protections in place:
o Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phase III: Return to Campus Operating Plan for Administrative Staff
Timeline: Begins Monday, July 1
Guidelines: This phase represents a full return of all administrative employees to campuses.
Phase IV: Return to Campus – Faculty returns on Aug. 17 and students begin in-person classes on Aug. 24.