By Elisabeth Lively
With COVID-19 shutting down many social aspects of the country, Northeast Texas Community College has decided to continue educating its students solely through an online format.
Last week, NTCC President Dr. Ron Clinton addressed the students and employees via email stating that spring break would be extended through March 27. This extension allows instructors time to work on transitioning their courses to the online format. Classes will begin March 30 and will be delivered virtually on Blackboard through the remainder of the semester.
Speaking to students in his recent email, Clinton said, “Always remember that we stand ready to work with each and every one of you to make sure you have every opportunity to be successful in completing your coursework.”
Clinton urges students to seek their course instructors if they need assistance with the transition. For additional help with the online aspect, students should submit an IT request at firstname.lastname@example.org or use Blackboard’s around-the-clock technical support.
The president said he understands that not all students have access to internet services in their homes, which becomes problematic when those students are enrolled in online courses.
Sebastian Barron, NTCC director of computer and technical services, recently sent out an email to students about temporary, free internet access for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The email includes a link to an official pledge made by the Federal Communications Commission on March 13 describing its leniency for 60 days. Additional information on special offers advertised by select internet and cell phone providers can be found in the email.
In his original email to students, Clinton said that computer labs would be opened on a limited basis for students to work on their online classes. In a followup email to The Eagle, however, Clinton said he is uncertain “if or when” computer labs will be opened. He said decisions would be made based on student needs and safety recommendations from Governor Abbott.
Clinton added that students might be able to access the internet on their devices from the parking lots of public places, such as the local library.
Clinton asked students to abide by the guidelines put forth by national and state agencies and officials by staying at home unless absolutely necessary.
“The campus will be open in a very limited capacity,” Clinton said. “Per a new Executive Order by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, we are asking students not to come to campus. Employees will work a modified schedule in order to maintain campus operations.”
Clinton said that Student Services, the business office and additional campus departments can be accessed through phone or email. Many services are also available on MyEagle Portal.
All activities affiliated with the college, including meetings, conferences, conventions, fundraisers and sporting events have been cancelled until stated otherwise by the NTCC administration. Clinton said they have not yet decided if the May graduation ceremony will be postponed.
Since many programs, such as those in Health Sciences, have upcoming application deadlines, Clinton encouraged students to contact the director of each specific program for additional information.
Clinton said students should check their NTCC email accounts daily for any possible changes to the courses and the college.