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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

August 25, 2020 - Fall Semester Health & Safety Guidance Reminders

As we begin the fall semester, Columbus Tech is excited to welcome you to learning and working on campus in a limited and carefully scheduled manner.  In accordance with guidance from the Governor’s Office, TCSG, and the college president, much instruction continues in a virtual, online format.  However, campus labs are being scheduled with small groups of students in a manner that will continue to protect the health and safety of instructors and students.  Access to the college campus will remain restricted until further notice to visitors, including any other adults or children accompanying students.  Students and employees will have campus access as scheduled by a lab instructor, by appointment with a college office or service, or as approved by supervisors.

Upon coming to campus, you will be asked to submit to a thermal temperature screening and to answer a few questions designed to help us verify that you are able to enter the campus.  You are expected to honestly report and to provide your signature as verification of the accuracy of your information.  If, upon arriving at a campus building, your temperature is read at 100.4 degrees or higher, you will be asked to return home and seek medical attention if appropriate in accordance with your symptoms.  Students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 while on campus should inform their instructors/lab coordinators and leave the building immediately.  Employees should inform their supervisors and leave the building as quickly as possible.  If you are unable to leave immediately, please report to the designated isolation area, which will be identified for you by Campus Police, until you are able to depart.

You will be required to wear protective face coverings while on campus any time you are within the presence of others.  Protective face coverings are also required when in elevators, stairwells, hallways (especially those that are narrow), classrooms, labs, restrooms, conference rooms, copier areas, and break rooms.  If you do not have a face mask, you will be provided with a disposable face mask when you sign in on campus.  The CDC also advises that face coverings may be used to slow the spread of the virus and help people who do not know they have the virus keep from transmitting it to others.  CDC Face Covering Guidance.

In addition to the precautions described above, please adhere to the following social distancing and preventative measures:

  • As posted in the restrooms, break areas, and public areas, “Help Stop the Spread,” and observe appropriate preventative measures including respiratory etiquette (cover your cough and sneezes), frequent hand washing, and maintaining a minimum of six feet of space between you and others.
  • Sanitize all shared equipment such as copiers, file cabinets, computers, printers, lab equipment, etc. after each use.
  • Do not share equipment such as phones and computers with others without proper sanitizing.
  • Sitting down and eating or spending extended amounts of time in break rooms will not be possible in order to maintain social distancing.
  • Adhere to floor marking tape where present.  For example, an “X” marked on the floor of the elevator indicates where a single person should stand to maintain social distancing.
  • Additional information may be found on the CDC’s website at the link below.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you are currently experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please do not report to the campus.  Please notify your supervisor, instructor, or lab coordinator for additional instructions.  You will receive detailed instructions from the college if you notify Columbus Tech that you are ill or have been tested positive, but the following information provides appropriate expectations. 

Following CDC and Department of Public Health (DPH) guidance:

  • If you have a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis and are under care at home, you will be expected to delay your return to campus for at least fourteen days after the first symptoms appeared or the positive test and at least three days after the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).
  • If you are tested positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic and under care at home, you will be expected to delay your return to campus for at least fourteen days after the latest positive COVID-19 diagnostic test. 
  • If you have been hospitalized, the expectations for your return to campus may be different. 

As CDC and DPH guidance develops and changes, these expectations may be modified to remain in compliance.

The entire Columbus Tech team cares greatly about our students and employees.  We look forward to a successful learning and working experience this fall.  Your efforts to help us keep everyone safe and healthy are much appreciated.

 

August 3, 2020 - Returning to Campus Details from Columbus Technical College President Martha Ann Todd

August 3 letter from Martha Ann Todd re- returning to campus in fall 2020

 

July 13, 2020 - Returning to Campus Plans

Columbus Tech looks forward to welcoming students to campus for fall semester beginning August 24.  The semester will start with hybrid classes, taught partly online and partly in small group campus labs, so that safe social distancing may be practiced.  Students will also be able to access computer labs, library facilities, tutorial sessions, and instructor office hours by appointment.  Student services such as admissions, advisement, and financial aid will be accessible to students by appointment as well.

While the classes and campus may look different from any past fall semester, the services and supports that Columbus Tech provides for its students will all be available.  We will be wearing masks as we practice social distancing on campus, and we will be meeting virtually using tools like Blackboard, WebEx, and others.  Providing students a safe learning environment while maintaining high-quality instruction and student support services is our top priority.  To support that goal, the college is deploying almost 100 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout its six-county college service area between now and the start of fall semester, helping increase student access to a free Internet connection. 

Columbus Tech is prepared to adjust class delivery models and campus access practices – to be more open and flexible or to be more limited - as needed and dictated by COVID-19 data, the status of cases in the area, and state guidance.  You will be as safe as possible at CTC, and you will be able to continue learning and developing your skills to reach your educational and career goals. 

Fall is going to be an exciting time at Columbus Tech, and we are looking forward to helping you Succeed Sooner!

June 29, 2020 UPDATE

Columbus Tech plans to offer on-campus, face-to-face instruction in most programs for the fall semester to the greatest extent practicable. The College will adhere to health and safety recommendations in place at the time of the course delivery. Based on the best available guidance at this time, on-campus courses will be conducted in smaller class sizes, and most, if not all, courses will have an online component to reduce time on campus. Students on campus will be required to follow all posted safety instructions, and common areas will be limited.  The College has also increased the number of fully online programs available to students who may not be comfortable returning to campus at this time.

  1. Campus labs will be accessed, as during summer semester, with waiver and assurance forms, temperature checks, PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), appropriate social distancing, classroom/lab sanitization between scheduled student groups, etc.
  2. Group lab/workshop sessions will be held in all or some hybrid classes and scheduled by the instructor or by student appointment.
  3. Student access will be provided to the campus library facilities, including computer labs, by appointment.
  4. The college has protocols in place to prioritize - through staggered scheduling, telework, and online instruction - the protection of higher risk individuals, both employees and students.
  5. Protocols are in place for handling campus access and return to work or class for employees and students who are exposed to a positive case or who test positive on campus or off campus.

Columbus Tech will be prepared to return to fully online operations for a time as needed, depending on local COVID-19 infection rates, community circumstances, and guidance from the state and the CDC.  The college recognizes that there may be a potential need for rolling closures of sections of the campus or the entire campus for 14-28 days throughout the next academic year since a vaccine is likely to be at least 18 months in development.  The College will also be prepared to reopen the campus more fully, increasing open access in gradual stages as is appropriate according to local infection rates and state and CDC guidance.

UPDATE for Students June 4, 2020

Columbus Tech is beginning a return to learning and working on campus in a limited and carefully scheduled manner.  In accordance with guidance from the Governor’s Office, TCSG, and the college president, most instruction continues in a virtual, online format; however, campus labs are being scheduled with small groups of students in a manner that will continue to protect the health and safety of instructors and students. Access to the college campus will remain restricted until further notice to visitors, students, and employees unless directly invited by supervisors or scheduled by instructors.

Upon returning to campus, you will be asked to submit to a thermal temperature screening and to answer a few questions designed to help us verify that you are able to enter the campus.  You are expected to honestly report and to provide your signature as verification of the accuracy of your information.  If, upon arriving at a campus building, your temperature is read at 100.4 degrees or higher, you will be asked to return home and seek medical attention if appropriate in accordance with your symptoms.  Students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 while on campus should inform their instructors/lab coordinators and leave the building immediately.  If you are unable to leave immediately, please report to the designated isolation area, which will be identified for you by Campus Police, until you are able to depart.

You will be required to wear protective face coverings while on campus any time you are within the presence of others.  Protective face coverings are also required when in elevators, stairwells, hallways (especially those that are narrow), classrooms, labs, restrooms, conference rooms, copier areas, and break rooms.  You will be provided with a disposable facemask when you sign in on campus.  The CDC also advises that simple cloth face coverings may be used to slow the spread of the virus and help people who do not know they have the virus keep from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home may be worn in place of CTC-provided face coverings.  Information from the CDC on cleaning masks and making your own can be found at CDC Face Covering Guidance.

In addition to the precautions described above, please adhere to the following social distancing and preventative measures:

  • As posted in the restrooms, break areas, and public areas, “Help Stop the Spread,” and observe appropriate preventative measures including respiratory etiquette (cover your cough and sneezes), frequent hand washing, and maintaining a minimum of six feet of space between you and others.
  • Sanitize all shared equipment such as copiers, file cabinets, computers, printers, lab equipment, etc. after each use.
  • Do not share equipment such as phones and computers with others without proper sanitizing.
  • Sitting down and eating or spending extended amounts of time in break rooms will not be possible in order to maintain social distancing.
  • Adhere to floor marking tape where present.  For example, an “X” marked on the floor of the elevator indicates where a single person should stand to maintain social distancing.
  • Additional information may be found on the CDC’s website and at the links below.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you are currently experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please do not report to the campus.  Please notify your instructor or lab coordinator for additional instructions.  The Governor’s Shelter in Place Order for those with a higher risk for severe illness from the COVID-19 virus is in effect through June 12th.  You will be receiving communication from the Office of Disability and Special Services about the steps you may take if you notify Columbus Tech that you are ill or have been tested positive, but the following information provides appropriate expectations. 

Following current CDC and Department of Public Health (DPH) guidance, if you have a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis and under care at home, you will be expected to delay your return to campus for at least ten days after the first symptoms appeared and at least three days after the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).  If you are tested positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic and under care at home, you will be expected to delay your return to campus for at least ten days after the first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test.  If you have been hospitalized, the expectations for your return to campus may be different.  As CDC and DPH guidance develops and changes, these expectations may be modified to remain in compliance.

As we slowly re-enter the campus over the next few weeks, please remember that the entire Columbus Tech team cares greatly about your education, health, and well-being and is here to help you Succeed Sooner!

UPDATED May 5, 2020

The spring 2020 semester remains as previously scheduled.

  • Final exams are May 5 and 6, 2020.
  • All 100% online courses will end on the stated semester end date.

Students who are enrolled in spring semester classes that cannot be completed 100% online due to required on-campus lab activities, skills tests, or off-campus clinical or internship activities will receive a grade of "I" incomplete at the end of the spring semester. Students will have an opportunity to complete these classes when it is safe for the College to resume these activities. All decisions will be made based on guidance from the State of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. Faculty will communicate with students via Blackboard or student email with information about the process and timeline for completing classes. Once students complete the remaining class activities, grades of "I" will be changed to the final course grades students earn.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Columbus Technical College has adjusted the start and end dates for the summer 2020 semester. The first day of the summer 2020 semester will be May 26, 2020, and the last day of classes and exams will be August 12, 2020. As many summer semester courses as possible will be delivered in an online format. Students in programs requiring on-campus labs or other activity will be notified by their instructors when lab or other such classes will be held on campus. Some of those summer courses may begin online until state and system health officials determine it is safe to resume on-campus activities. All decisions will be made based on guidance from the State of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. The new summer term calendar can be found here.

The college campus continues to remain closed until further notice to visitors, students, and employees unless directly invited by supervisors or instructors.

Orientation for new students beginning classes in the summer semester will be available via WebEx beginning on May 7, 2020. If you have questions about summer semester registration or orientation contact student services using the links below or call 706-649-1800. Columbus Tech Admissions Columbus Tech Financial Aid Columbus Tech Student Advisement Columbus Tech Business Office

Continue to monitor the Columbus Tech website, the Blackboard system, and CTC emails for updates as the working and learning conditions evolve in the next few weeks. The goal is to resume in-person instruction on campus for everyone at some point during the summer semester, but the safety of Columbus Tech faculty, staff, and students must come first. The Columbus Tech team looks forward to helping you stay on the path to achieve your academic and career goals!

UPDATED April 23

Columbus Tech can’t wait to be back on campus and together again as a learning community, but with continuing precautions against Coronavirus/COVID-19, spring semester moves ahead in the all-online distance/digital learning format.  Lab instruction is beginning to be scheduled on campus during May to complete spring semester course requirements on an individual, case-by-case basis only, in small groups with significant safety and health precautions.  Students will be notified by their program instructors if they are included in one of the sessions being scheduled.

Summer semester 2020 will begin on May 26, and the college will know more about whether students will be able to be back in classrooms together or continuing to work online as that date approaches.  The goal is to resume in-person instruction on campus for everyone at some point during the summer semester, but the safety of Columbus Tech faculty, staff, and students must come first.

Continue to monitor the Columbus Tech website, the Blackboard system, and CTC emails for updates as the working and learning conditions evolve in the next few weeks.

Questions about summer semester registration? Contact student services using the links below or call 706-649-1800.

            Columbus Tech Admissions

            Columbus Tech Financial Aid

            Columbus Tech Student Advisement

            Columbus Tech Business Office

UPDATED April 3

In accordance with Governor Brian Kemp’s Executive Order 04.01.20.01, Columbus Technical College will remain closed for in-person instruction and has transitioned to online learning for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester.   Instruction and learning continue in every program as the college operates through distance education in a virtual environment.

Columbus Tech strongly encourages you to comply with the Governor’s shelter-in-place Executive Order 04.02.20.01 effective April 3 through April 13.  During this time, all college personnel remain readily available to students through telephone, email, and Blackboard channels.

Announcements and Reminders:

  • Graduation has been postponed from June 11 until a date that will be announced later.
  • Summer semester web registration for current students will begin at 8:30 AM Monday, April 13.  Current students should notify their program advisors if they encounter any issues with registration. 
  • Summer semester web registration for new and returning students will begin Monday, April 27.  New students may contact the academic advisement center for assistance through email, aac@columbustech.edu, or by phone, 706-649-1113.
  • Summer semester classes will begin on May 26.
  • Registration for fall semester will begin on July 6.
  • Fall semester classes will begin on August 24.

 

UPDATED March 26, 2020:  In accordance with Governor Brian Kemp’s Executive Order 03.26.20.02, Columbus Technical College will remain closed for in-person instruction with limited exceptions through the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. Instead of in-person instruction, Columbus Tech has transitioned to online learning for the remainder of the semester. Students will be contacted regarding the limited exceptions where in-person instruction may be allowed if it applies to that program of study. To avoid any interruption in service to students or the public, non-faculty employees are continuing to work remotely. Spring break will be the week of March 30-April 3 as originally scheduled, and online classes will resume on April 6 and continue through the rest of Spring semester.

UPDATED MARCH 25, 2020:

The Columbus Tech campus has been closed to the public and students since March 13 and employees since March 24 to protect the health and safety of all concerned.  Students and faculty are continuing classes in an online environment. To avoid any interruption in service to students or the public, non-faculty employees are continuing to work remotely. Spring break will be the week of March 30-April 3 as originally scheduled, and online classes will resume on April 6 and continue until further notice.

UPDATED MARCH 23, 2020:

The health and safety of Columbus Tech’s students, faculty, and staff is always our first priority. Early this morning, the decision was made to close the campus to all personnel beginning Tuesday, March 24. Shortly afterward, Columbus Tech was notified that a member of the college community has self-reported a positive COVID-19 test. This person was last on our campus March 16, and those who came into direct contact are being individually notified.

Health officials are taking precautionary measures to quickly identify cases of COVID-19, take appropriate public health action to reduce its spread, and protect the general public in identifying potential contacts.

For members of the Columbus Tech community, the best prevention measures for any respiratory virus, including COVID-19, are:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.


We advise the Columbus Tech community to watch for signs and symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and to contact their primary care physician if they experience any symptoms. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center.

For accurate and reliable information about COVID-19, visit dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.

UPDATED MARCH 19, 2020:

In compliance with Governor Brian Kemp’s Executive Order 3.16.20.01, all TCSG colleges will be closed from March 18, 2020 to March 31, 2020. This Executive Order affects in-person learning environments. However, please visit Columbus Tech’s website for specific information regarding online classes. Certain faculty and staff may be required to report on campus and should contact their supervisor for guidance.

Compliance with the Governor’s order does not substantially change the procedures that Columbus Tech already has in place so previous guidance you may have received from the college instructors or supervisors is still accurate.

We are monitoring ongoing developments and will update this web page accordingly. The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is always our primary concern.  College leaders are working as quickly as possible to respond to all questions, concerns, or issues during this rapidly evolving situation.

As of today, the plans are for summer registration to begin online on April 6.  The next Adult Ed registration and orientation session is tentatively scheduled for April 13.

Columbus Tech will observe Spring Break as scheduled during the week of March 30.

These plans are flexible and may change rapidly as made necessary by changing conditions on campus or in the service area.

Additional updates and reminders have been added to the Columbus Tech website - columbustech.edu.  Emails, text messages, and/or voice messages will be distributed to students, faculty, and staff when significant changes to current procedures or plans are made.  And, you are encouraged to continue monitoring this website closely for more frequent updates.  Additional information may be obtained by calling (706) 649-1800.

            Columbus Tech Admissions

            Columbus Tech Financial Aid

            Columbus Tech Student Advisement

            Columbus Tech Business Office

            COVID-19 FAQs

Columbus Tech leaders are continuously reviewing procedures along with frequent guidance from federal, state, and local agencies.  Providing a healthy and safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff is one major focus as we work through this evolving situation together.

Preventing the illness

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyday preventive actions, including:

  • Practice social distancing by putting at least six feet between yourself and other people.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility.  You can also refer to the guidance on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

The State of Georgia has a new COVID-19 hotline where you can hear and share more information: (844) 442-2681.

What happens if a case is identified?

The CDC, Georgia State Department of Health, WCHD Columbus Health Department, and local health care experts will be integrally involved in handling cases in our area. The College remains in close contact with them to understand their protocols and refine our plans as the recommendations from national and state authorities evolve and change.  You can also call the  Columbus Health Department toll-free information line to receive the most current information on the virus: 1-855-962-0955.

 


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