Attention: This is a constantly changing situation and will be continually monitored. EAC's intended plan may change should circumstances warrant it.

"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

COVID-19 Emergency Aid Grant

EAC President Todd Haynie has announced the establishment of the COVID-19 Emergency Aid Grant to help students who are financially impacted.


Frequently Asked Questions

We've provided an up-to-date FAQ regarding EAC's response to COVID-19 and operational changes on campus.            



This year, instead of a traditional commencement ceremony, we joined together online to celebrate our graduates virtually.

Phased Return to Campus

We know how important it is for our community to return to campus as quickly as we can, to once again collaborate and learn in our classrooms, our libraries, and our athletic arenas. But our first priority is, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. With safety as our guiding principle, we will begin a phased return, one that ensures we protect all members of our community while repopulating our campus. For more information on each phase, please refer to the information below the following chart.


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.

Guiding Principles

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.

  • Supervisors in the Thatcher Campus’ Student Services Building and Gila Pueblo and Payson campuses administrative buildings will return to work to review departmental preparedness.
  • The majority of administrative staff continue to work remotely.
  • Employees who are at a higher risk for severe illness, including adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, are asked to not return to campus as this time.
  • All College-related travel and events remain cancelled unless deemed essential by the District Executive Team.
  • The College will continue to hold meetings in electronic format.

Phase II: Implementation of Return to Campus Plans for Administration Buildings, In-person Summer Courses Allowed, Pool, 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 re-opening and the start of some in-person meetings for summer courses.

  • Administrative Supervisors and employees who are designated by their supervisors will work from campus starting May 26, and the campuses will be open to the public for College business only.
  • Students and prospective students will be allowed to register for classes, make payments, use computer labs, etc. Students will be strongly encouraged to wear a protective face covering when on campus and make appointments and work with the College virtually whenever possible. Signage around campus will reinforce this message.
  • Employees, students, and patrons who are at a higher risk for severe illness, including adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, are asked to not return to campus as this time.
  • When summer classes begin on June 1, the “hands-on” portion of classes will be allowed to take place as long as strict social distancing is practiced, and there are groups of not more than ten involved. Employees will be required to wear a protective face-coverings in these settings.
  • The College will continue to hold meetings in electronic format. There will be no in-person group meetings during Phase II and reservations for meeting rooms will not be approved.
  • During Phase II, decisions will be made concerning details of which Phase II features will continue into Phase III.


Guidelines: The pool will operate with the following prescribed limitations and/or protections in place:

  • EAC’s pool is tentatively scheduled to open on June 1. Hours of operation are being determined.
  • Signage will be posted at pool entrances regarding social distancing measures and encouraging any patrons who feel sick to please go home.
  • Social distancing must be observed with a minimum of 6 feet between employees and patrons. Exceptions include rescuing a distressed swimmer, providing first aid or resuscitation, or evacuating an event due to an emergency.
  • Additional space will be provided between pool chairs to allow for appropriate physical distancing.
  • Soap and water for handwashing or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at stations around the pool will be provided for employees and clients.
  • Reduced occupancy and capacity will be enforced. Capacity will be limited under Graham County Department of Health Services guidance.
  • Sanitation protocols will be implemented, including sanitizing pool chairs, tables, and other poolside furniture after every use.
  • Employees will wear non-medical grade face coverings except when in the water. Those who are swimming should not wear masks.
  • Waiting areas, service areas, and break rooms will utilize appropriate physical distancing and areas will be sanitized regularly between use.
  • Pool floats or toys will not be allowed.
  • Guests will be required to provide their own towels
  • Swim Aerobics is scheduled to begin on June 1. This class and all other programs and lessons will adhere to all local and state guidelines and require social distancing of at least 6 feet between people.
  • Exceptions to the physical distancing guidance include:

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.

Alumni Library and Media Center

Guidelines: The Alumni Library and Media Center will operate with the following prescribed limitations and/or protections in place:

  • EAC’s Alumni Library and Media Center will be available for use beginning June 1.
  • Hours of operation are as follows:

o Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Patrons must show a valid EAC student identification card to access the Media Center.
  • Temporary plexiglass barriers will be installed around each staff desk.
  • One student will be allowed per large table, and every other testing carrel will be available for use.
  • Library items will be disinfected upon return and then quarantined for at least 3 days before circulating or being shelved. DVDs will be cleaned on both sides of each disc as well as the case.
  • Other rooms in the Academic Programs building will be provided for students to study and use the Wi-Fi. Social distancing will be required.
  • Staff will avoid handling student ID cards.
  • Online resources such as the chat services, NetTutor, and electronic resources, along with hotspot locations, will continue to be advertised.
  • No more than two employees will be allowed in a room at a time.
  • Staff will be required to wear face coverings and students will be strongly encouraged to do so. Signage will be used to strongly recommend face coverings for everyone.
  • Chromebooks will be circulated to provide laptops for students who do not have one or need access to technology after hours.
  • Students will be encouraged to reserve a computer in the Media Center up to 7 days in advance and in 2-hour time slots.
  • Course reserves will be unavailable until further notice.
  • The number of students in the Media Center will be limited to 15. This allows one student per pod and maintains 6 feet between students.
  • Sanitizing wipes will be placed in each pod for students to use prior to and at the end of each computer session.

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.

  • All 12-month employees will return to campus by July 1 unless approved to work from home by the supervisor.
  • Telecommuting options will end unless approved by supervisors and social distancing will remain in place.
  • Academic and Student Affairs will submit scenarios for fall semester that will continue to be reviewed and revised as appropriate. This will include plans for academics, residence halls, athletics, dining services, and student activities.
  • During Phase III, final decisions on Phase IV will be made.

Phase IV: Return to Campus – Faculty returns on Aug. 17 and students begin in-person classes on Aug. 24.