Return to Campus Plan

Austin Community College District's first priority is the health, safety, and well-being of our students and employees. Classes and services remain primarily online as the college works to gradually increase in-person offerings in a manner that ensures our students have access to the instruction and resources they need to succeed in a safe learning and working environment for everyone.

 

Planning Process

The college continues to take a cautious approach to safely transitioning back to campus in phases. Our plans to return to campus follow local and state health recommendations, as well as the guidelines set forth by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to fluctuate. It requires constant monitoring and flexibility. At any time, our plan may change.

Decision-Making Process

ACC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) oversees planning. The EOC, a standing committee convened during emergencies and periods of major operational disruption, established the Return to Campus Advisory Committee and works closely with public health authorities, subject matter experts, and internal stakeholders to develop recommended plans and strategies that guide the college's safe return to campus.

Key Considerations  

  • The intentional effort by all faculty, staff & students to exercise personal and community responsibility in creating a culture that sustains a healthy and safe on-campus environment.
  • State and local government guidelines.
  • Public health status and recommendations from federal, state & local health authorities.
  • Guidelines set forth by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
  • Resource availability such as personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Ability to sanitize/deep-clean spaces and equipment.
  • Testing and effective contact tracing methods.
  • Physical distancing strategies.
  • Alignment with our mission and student success priorities.
  • Financial feasibility.

PHASE 1: Spring & Summer 2020 (Session 1), March 23 - July 5

ACC is all online with students, faculty, and staff learning, teaching, and working remotely. 

  • Campuses and centers closed to students and the public.
  • ACC employees work remotely and require vice president or dean approval to access campuses and centers.
  • Classes and support services transition to online and remain online.
  • Temporary campus hours of operation go into effect.
  • All on-campus activities and ACC travel suspended.
  • All campuses and centers require new health & safety protocols
  • Pass/No Pass grading options offered to students for spring and summer semesters.
  • Summer and fall course schedules updated to reflect that a majority of classes will remain online. 

PHASE 2: Summer 2020 (Session 2), July 6 - August 23

Beginning July 6, in the second summer session, ACC will begin to phase-in a small number of in-person classes. A limited number of courses that can't be taught online such as technical hands-on programs (welding, automotive, nursing, etc.) will slowly return to campus with small class sizes and new protocols in place. All other courses will remain online and the majority of employees will be asked to continue to work remotely.

Note: Students, your current online classes will remain online. If classes are listed as online in the course schedule for summer or fall, they will remain online for the duration of the semester.

  • New on-campus health & safety protocols go into effect and are required for all accessing ACC facilities.
  • Campuses and centers reopen to students attending in-person classes and essential faculty and staff. 
  • ACC employees who can work remotely will continue to work remotely. Supervisors will notify employees who should return to campus.
  • A small number of in-person classes begin with new protocols for the classroom.
  • All other classes will remain online. Classes listed as online in the course schedule will remain online throughout the semester.
  • All student services remain accessible online.
  • Pass/No Pass grading options offered to students for summer semesters.
  • All ACC travel remains suspended.
  • No on-campus events at this time. Live events will be virtual.

PHASE 3: Fall 2020, August 24 - December 13

If the pandemic permits, ACC will slowly scale-up in-person classes and support services, remaining focused on courses that require some component of face-to-face instruction such as technical hands-on programs (welding, automotive, nursing, etc.). In-person classes will require new protocols. All other courses will remain online and the majority of employees will be asked to continue to work remotely.

Note: Students, classes listed as online in the course schedule for fall will remain online for the duration of the semester.

  • On-campus health & safety protocols will continue to be required.
  • Campuses and centers will open to students with in-person classes or appointments. 
  • Employees who can work remotely are asked to continue working remotely. Supervisors will contact employees who are needed on campus.
  • In addition to upper-level, in-person classes offered in summer, entry-level classes that require face-to-face instruction, such as those in Applied Technology and Health Sciences areas, will slowly return to campus.
  • Classroom protocols will be required for all in-person classes.
  • All other classes will remain online. Classes listed as online in the course schedule will remain online throughout the semester.
  • No live performances or events at this time. Virtual only.
  • ACC travel remains suspended unless approved by a vice president or dean.
  • Reopen limited on-campus computer access and study space by appointment at three locations — Highland and Round Rock campus ACCelerators and Hays Campus library space.
  • Host a virtual commencement celebration on December 12.

PHASE 4: Spring 2021, January 4 - May 16

  • The college will continue to monitor the ever-changing pandemic situation in Central Texas and will be ready to change plans as needed to keep our community safe.
  • On-campus health & safety protocols will continue to be required.
  • While many employees and students will continue to work and learn remotely, campuses and centers will remain open to students with in-person instruction, those with appointments, and essential faculty and staff.
  • Portions of Highland Phase 2 will open for the first time in Spring 2021. The new space will allow us to welcome more students back on campus who need in-person instruction.
  • Plans are to increase the number of students enrolled in hybrid classes from the current 3,000 to 4,000 in spring. That's about 10 percent of our total student population, spread out across 11 campuses districtwide.
  • The college will continue to provide limited access to on-campus computer and study spaces at key campus locations for students who don't have reliable internet connectivity or who need a quiet place to study.
  • Continue to explore ways to safely provide in-person TSI testing and application/registration support to remain accessible to all students. No details are finalized at this time.

PHASE 5: Summer 2021 

  • Continue monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Texas and plan accordingly.
  • The specific details regarding the expansion of in-person instruction, in-person student services, and on-campus work and activities are yet to be determined for this period of time.