August 5, 2020: TCTC Strong: Our Path Forward
TCTC Strong: Our Path Forward is the name we have chosen to represent our collective journey to return to on-campus learning amidst the coronavirus pandemic, while protecting the health and safety of students, employees and the community. As we prepare to embark on Phase 3 of this journey, I want to provide an update on what to expect.
Reporting to Work
Essential employees who can report to campus during Phase 3, which begins August 10, are:
• Faculty members who teach on-campus classes
• Support staff
• Employees supporting enrollment efforts
• Other employees as defined by their supervisor
Those reporting to campus may experience a mix of on-campus and remote work while other employees may continue working entirely remotely. We will continue to evaluate who needs to be on campus based on the local COVID-19 environment and the business needs of the College.
TCTC will begin its fall term on August 17 and offer face-to-face, online and hybrid courses. Most courses will have a combination of online and on-campus instruction, and courses that require hands-on learning will continue in person as much as possible. In addition, we have altered our academic calendar to allow students to complete all instruction and exams prior to Thanksgiving. Since our course delivery modes have changed, we know that fewer students will be on our campuses compared to prior years. Additionally, our approximately 1,000 Bridge to Clemson students will begin all their coursework online through September 21.
Student Support and Engagement
Student support and engagement services will be available both virtually and in person during the fall. In-person support services will be offered by appointment, and virtual support services like tutoring and librarians will be embedded in online courses as deemed appropriate.
Health and Safety Guidelines
The health and safety measures in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus will continue through the fall term. Everyone is required to practice physical distancing and wear a face covering/mask while on our campuses. Additionally, employees reporting to campus will continue to complete a weekly health screening survey, and students returning to campus must watch a return-to-campus video and review a weekly health screening form.
Our Path Forward
Since early March, the majority of our efforts have centered on responding to the emergency immediately before us. With all the energy, creativity and commitment we have come to expect from our TCTC family, we were able to quickly transition to online classes, shift our student support services and engagement activities online, reinvent our orientation and enrollment processes, and address countless other issues and concerns that arose during this period. We also completed a successful summer term and celebrated our 2020 graduates with a virtual ceremony. We have accomplished a lot in a short period of time, and now we must look forward to fall and what we need to do to keep our students on track academically.
As I’ve said before, our communities need us now more than ever, and it’s imperative that we continue to deliver accessible, affordable, high quality learning experiences for our students whether that is in person, online or a combination of both.
The coronavirus pandemic may have thrust us into the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. Each of you has and will continue to experience the pandemic in a different way. Please know that the College is here for you and cares about your health and well-being. A number of free resources are available through REACH, our Employee Assistance Program. A flier outlining available services is attached. You can access services any time by calling 1-800-950-3434 or visiting Reach-EAP.com.
The 2020-2021 academic year will be unlike any other, but I am confident that we will persevere and come out of this stronger and more committed to our mission than ever before. Stay safe and be well.
In your service,
Galen DeHay, Ph.D.