Albany, Georgia – Albany Technical College (ATC) will begin the 2020 fall semester on Thursday, August 20. As the college returns to limited in-person learning next week, the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff will remain the top priority.
ATC faculty and staff are excited about the upcoming semester and look forward to seeing students back on campus. The college is following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) for institutions of higher education. The college’s reopening plan is designed to protect students, faculty, staff, and administrators from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and slow the spread of the virus.
“This fall, we are committed to ensuring a safe learning environment for everyone. There will be new ways to learn, new health procedures in place, and recommendations students can consider to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This semester will present more options than ever before for students as they decide which learning environments best suit their needs,” said Dr. Anthony Parker, Albany Technical College President.
Outline of College Plan
Course Delivery Methods
Instruction delivery will occur in a flexible mix of in-person, remote, and online instruction with all classes delivered 100% online or in a web-enhanced format. In-person instruction will take place for courses with laboratory requirements. In these instances, students will follow lab plan policies and restrictions to mitigate COVID-19.
College officials emphasized that students who are unable to return to campus this fall have options so that they can continue to progress toward their degrees. If a student has missed admissions for the August 20 start date, additional entry points for fall semester are September 10 and October 19.
With the fall 2020 semester beginning on Thursday, August 20, any campus-based instruction will end Tuesday, November 24, with the remainder of the semester — including final examinations — being delivered remotely and online when classes resume after Thanksgiving break on November 30. Courses with lab component requirements will conduct limited lab plans for students up to the Thanksgiving break (November 24 ‒ 27, 2020).
With the exception of Commercial Truck Driving and Healthcare students in clinical rotations, all courses will convert to 100% online from November 30 until December 14, 2020. The last day of class for the fall semester will be December 14 with final exams on December 15.
Campus operation hours will be extended to avoid congestion on campus and facilitate social distancing among faculty, staff, and students. This may include adjusting class start times to 7:00 a.m. and end times to 10:30 pm (Monday ‒ Friday). Also, some weekends may be used for instructional time in programs like Nursing and Commercial Truck Driving.
It will be required for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors of Albany Technical College to wear a protective face mask while inside any building on the main campus and off-site locations where social distancing cannot be effectively practiced.
All faculty, staff, students, visitors, and vendors will be subject to pre-screening for COVID-19 related symptoms before entry into any ATC facility. Students must sign a waiver before entering campus that includes required medical certification questions.
The College has identified an area in each building on campus to isolate individuals displaying COVID-19 symptoms who lack transportation to leave the school immediately.
Other Campus COVID-19 Safety Policies
- Anthony O. Parker, Ph.D. Library/Media Center is open Monday ‒ Friday at 50% capacity.
- Childcare Operations are open and complying with CDC, GDPH, and Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) guidance.
- All non-instructional business is operating by scheduled appointment.
- Gatherings of more than 25 are prohibited.
- Masks are required when entering common areas on campus.
- Classroom/computer labs will be open at 50% occupancy. These areas will follow CDC and GDPH procedures for social distancing and cleaning.
- Public health indicators will continue to be monitored so that aspects of campus procedures can be adjusted as necessary to ensure campus health and safety.
Maintaining Healthy Environments
Cleaning and disinfection will take place for frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, sink handles, grab bars, hand railings, bathroom stalls, and break room tables) within the College. This will be done at least daily or between usages as much as possible. Use of shared objects (e.g., lab/computer equipment and desks) will be limited or cleaned between uses.
- The sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect will be discouraged.
- Sharing electronic devices, books, pens, and other learning aids should be avoided.
- Water fountains located in building hallways cannot be used.
Modified Classroom Layouts
- Seating/desks are spaced at least six feet apart when feasible. For large lecture rooms, seats and rows have been taped off to ensure distancing requirements between seats.
- For individuals engaged in experiential learning opportunities (e.g., labs, technical skills training activities) adequate social distancing will be observed.
- Individuals riding in state vehicles will maintain social distancing (e.g., skipping rows) when possible.
- In communal spaces, use will be staggered and restricted to allow everyone to maintain a distance of at least six feet apart. These areas will be cleaned and disinfected between uses.
Campus signage has been placed throughout campus to direct faculty, staff, and students to the appropriate areas for prescreening, to practice social distancing, to wear a protective mask in common areas, to follow CDC guidelines regarding COVID 19, and other related reminders. Signs are posted in highly visible locations.
ATC will continue to communicate the importance of personal responsibility in mitigating the spread of the virus to help keep the local communities surrounding the campus healthy, as well as the campus community. Members of the college community should continue to wear personal protective equipment such as face masks in common areas, inside buildings, maintain social and physical distancing of at least six feet from other individuals, and wash hands frequently with soap and water.
Each off-site location will follow the safety and health guidelines of its assigned school district and/or
Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC). Adult education off-site locations will follow the safety and
health guidelines as employed on ATC’s main campus.
Promoting social distance outside of the classroom
Certain common areas on campus will be roped off and signs will be posted so that students will not
congregate in these areas. Computer labs and testing lab stations will be separated by adequate distances
and numbers limited by square footage guidelines. Computer lab cleaning practices will be enhanced to keep surfaces clean. Keyboard covers have also been purchased for computer labs.
ATC will use its main web page, social media outlets, and email to keep faculty, staff, students, and the community abreast of changes in campus operations. The College will maintain bi-lateral communication with local and state officials regarding health and safety concerns within the region. Please refer to www.albanytech.edu/Campus-Reopening for the complete reopening plan at Albany Technical College.
From the onset of the pandemic in Georgia, Albany Technical College has followed COVID-19 guidance from the CDC, the GDPH, and TCSG, and will continue to do so. Albany Tech personnel came back to campus on July 6 with mandatory thermal temperature screening for faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Now with fall semester starting, the college is ready for students through the extensive re-opening plan that is in place.
About Albany Technical College
A public postsecondary institution of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), Albany Technical College provides technical education and training support for the evolving workforce needs of Southwest Georgia through traditional and online classroom settings. Albany Tech is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS/COC). For more information about Albany Tech, go to www.albanytech.edu or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlbanyTech or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbanyTech. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel by visiting www.youtube.com/albanytech1 .