By Elisabeth Lively
In the past week alone, the campus has received two different emails regarding the coronavirus as addressed by Northeast Texas Community College President Dr. Ron Clinton. “Dear college family” and “Have a great spring break” were the opening and closing lines of his most recent email, though the content in between the two remarks are not as cheerful.
With fears of the coronavirus on the rise, the president said that he, the college administration, and Titus County leaders have been meeting to discuss the issue and its possible impact on the community.
Clinton said that the college administration has been working on both structural and operational continuity plans to keep the college operating and accommodate students in case face-to-face classes had to be suspended.
“I don’t want to put those out there, because, again, that’s only in the event that we would have to move that direction,” Clinton said.
Throughout the country, many educational institutions are cancelling classes or moving online for the remainder of the semester. Unless the administration says otherwise, Clinton said that NTCC students should plan on returning to campus following the spring break. The official statement on whether or not the college will continue with face-to-face classes will be released at noon on Wednesday, March 18.
Clinton said that he knows the COVID-19 situation changes daily, which is why the administration will be giving daily updates throughout the spring break. These updates can be found on NTCC’s website homepage.
Hand sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes have been added to entrances and high-traffic areas around campus. The president asked that anyone traveling over the break to first consult the Center for Disease Control’s travel recommendations concerning COVID-19.
“The impact that it’s having is unquestionable,” Clinton said. “And the fact that the responses that have already been put in place, not only on the national level now, but the fact it’s been officially referred to as a pandemic, I think we have to treat it with all seriousness.”
The president said that the administration “would bend over backwards” by doing whatever they can to protect the college community from the rapidly-spreading contagion.
“We don’t want to fuel any more anxiety than we have to, but just to say that we would take all appropriate measures in that event,” Clinton said.
The president added that the college is following and will continue to follow any recommendations concerning COVID-19 as stated by the CDC, the World Health Organization and the Texas Department of State Health Services. He also said that the entire campus will be deep-cleaned and disinfected using products as approved by the CDC.
To protect oneself from the virus, the CDC is asking everyone to use proper handwashing techniques, use hand sanitizer between washes, avoid person-to-person contact when possible, and to stay home when feeling sick.
For additional information on the virus, consult the CDC’s website.