Austin Community College District (ACC) will begin a gradual approach to return to campus beginning in July. The college released new health and safety procedures and protocols to safely phase-in a small number of workforce classes and student services that require face-to-face interaction. All other courses will remain online, and the majority of employees will be asked to continue to work remotely.
“While we are all eager to return to campus, the health and safety of our students and employees is our first priority. The transition back will be gradual; we’re starting off small. Only the programs that truly require face-to-face interaction like in our welding classes and nursing labs will return to campus at this time, but we recognize our plan may change,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “ACC continues to closely monitor the pandemic in our community, and our timeline will evolve as needed.”
The college works closely with local and state health and public safety agencies, as well as local government, schools, and universities to track the evolving situation.
RETURN TO FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES
ACC will slowly integrate face-to-face courses beginning July 6 with a small amount of technical hands-on programs such as Welding, Automotive, and Nursing that can't be fully taught online. These courses will slowly return to campus with small class sizes and new protocols in place. Students who were unable to complete classes during the spring semester, or are close to graduation, will be given priority. All other courses will remain online.
ACC’s student support services, including free tutoring, advising, academic coaching, library services, and tech support will remain accessible online. Beginning July 6, ACCelerator learning labs at Round Rock and Highland campuses as well as the library at Hays Campus will open to currently enrolled students by appointment only.
If the pandemic permits, ACC will slowly scale-up in-person classes in fall semester, remaining focused on courses that require some face-to-face component. The majority of classes that can be offered online will continue in a virtual environment and all courses that are already listed as online will remain online. Registration for fall classes begins Monday, June 15.
RETURN TO CAMPUS PLANNING
A Return-to-Campus committee, made up of employees across the college, developed ACC’s new health and safety protocol to ensure a safe return to campus. The college continues to monitor the pandemic and will follow local, state, and national health recommendations as well as the guidelines set forth by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The timeline will evolve as circumstances demand.
“The college is putting a priority on prevention and preparedness. We are meeting several times a week with faculty, staff, and administrators to develop appropriate plans,” says Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, ACC executive vice president of campus operations and public affairs. “The college is committed to providing a quality education for students in a safe learning, teaching, and working environment for all.”
ACC is following and exceeding guidelines from national, state, and local health authorities, as well as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The new health safety protocols include: