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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates

Covid-19 Resources


In the interest of safety, face masks are required in all COA buildings and encouraged whenever on campus.

Updates

It is hard to believe that another month has passed, but fall is finally upon us. We are finally experiencing some abatement of the Covid numbers nationally and locally, which is wonderful news. While we are improving, we are not quite ready to stop masking up. As such, we are going to keep the mask requirement in place through Dec. 1. We will do a follow-up then and see if we can continue the progress that we have recently made.

Thank you all for your quick and enthusiastic response to the Covid incentive program. We had 170+ certification documents uploaded in about 24 hours — amazing!

If you have not had your vaccine and are making the decision to move forward, it is not too late to get vaccinated and qualify for the incentive. Rumor has it that you may be able to get an incentive at specific vaccination sites around town, so you could leverage several incentive programs if you are so inclined. You could also still win the grand prize here at COA!

You all have been doing an amazing job of masking and helping to control the spread of Covid. Thank you for all you do every day to make this a safe and welcoming place to work and learn!

Thank you for the successful start of the fall semester. I am pleased with the way you all responded to the challenges of a new semester, especially as we are still firmly entrenched in Covid times. As you know, however, regional infection and exposure rates continue to increase. We are also seeing more Covid reports on our various campuses than we have previously.

We want to continue to be able to offer classes in the face-to-face environment and to continue with our work. As such, I have a few new requirements and some reminders to share with you all.

Effective immediately, masks are required indoors on all COA Campuses. You MUST wear a mask while in any COA building. The College will enforce this masking requirement for all visitors, students and employees.

We encourage you to wear your masks when you are out and about in the community. There are high levels of viral spread in our area, and folks exposed in the community are bringing the virus back to campus and exposing others. Please do your part to minimize your exposure.

Please consider being vaccinated. We are going to try to set up some additional Q&As with healthcare providers and the health department folks to answer any lingering questions you have about the vaccines. While neither masks nor vaccines are 100% effective in every instance, they are the best tools we have in our toolbox.

We have had more reports of exposures than ever before — this is true for faculty, staff and students. For instance, in the last seven days, we have had approximately 30 student reports come through our Maxient reporting system. For every report, there is the possibility and potential for multiple people to have been exposed. I am thankful that students, faculty and staff are doing a good job making these reports. However, we need to be mindful to submit in a timely manner. There is much to be considered with every Maxient report. Please notify us immediately via Maxient if you test positive or are exposed to someone who has tested positive.

Please help us enforce the mask requirements, and please help us set a good example for your fellow students and campus visitors. As you have probably read, even the school districts that started out as mask-optional are transitioning back to mask-required because of the exceptionally high numbers of faculty, staff, and students being exposed.

There were two particularly interesting articles published in our area over the weekend. The first contained information about the number of cases we are seeing and speculation that the peak will not be seen until late October: https://www.dailyadvance.com/news/local/arhs-chief-rise-in-covid-cases-may-not-peak-till-late-october/article_4c4ef946-141a-5c61-96ef-ededc269f78f.html

The second article was published in the Outer Banks Voice and is essentially an appeal from the Chief of Staff at the OBX Hospital in which he says, “I am telling you, we are in crisis: https://www.outerbanksvoice.com/2021/08/28/i-am-telling-you-that-we-are-in-a-crisis/.

Both articles are worth reading and will shed some light on the current situation.

As I have repeatedly tried to communicate from the beginning of this pandemic, we are going to do everything in our power to ensure our faculty, staff, and students are safe. To continue to do that, we need your help! Please consider all the information above and help us continue to provide a safe environment.

We will continue to consider all options at our disposal to keep our folks safe. Thank you for helping us with this.

As we get ready to start a new year, I am looking forward to getting everyone back on campus. I had hoped we could get everyone back with limited Covid restrictions. I don’t know about you, but I long for a time when we no longer have to worry about masks, social distancing, or variants. Unfortunately, we are not there yet and find it necessary to take some actions at the start of the coming school year that will hopefully help us to complete the year with as little disruption as possible.

I am sure you all have been watching the news with interest as colleges and universities across North Carolina and the country have addressed Covid-19 on their respective campuses. I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a brief progress update about what has been happening here at COA and encourage you all to stay diligent in your efforts to maintain our campus’s safety.

We have continued to fare well with Covid, but we cannot let down our guard. To that end, the College will temporarily return to masking in our classroom, lab, and academic and student support settings as we all return this fall. This requirement will take effect on the first day of classes, August 16th, and remain in place through Friday, Sep. 17. As we approach mid-September, we will evaluate the impacts of the coronavirus and its variants on our community. The masking requirement applies regardless of vaccination status.

In addition to the above requirement, here are some other guidelines we will be using:

We encourage everyone in the COA family to wear masks in public settings (on and off-campus), especially where public distancing is not possible. The four COA campuses are melting pots for our regions in that we serve over 7,000 students in a given year. These students come primarily from our seven-county service area, with many of our counties currently experiencing “high” or “substantial” levels of community transmission.

At this point, we are not restricting access to our campuses, nor are we instituting health checks before entering our facilities. Still, we are asking students, employees, and visitors to self-monitor. If you are sick, please stay home. The symptoms of Covid continue to evolve, so please continue to monitor your own health. You might find this Covid self-assessment helpful.

We also encourage everyone to consider being vaccinated. To that end, we will continue to sponsor opportunities for folks to be vaccinated on campus and will share information on where to go to get vaccinated. Whether to vaccinate or not is a personal decision at this point for most of the COA family. However, students and faculty who must access clinical sites are required to be vaccinated since we are dependent on our clinical partners to continue these programs.

Over the past few weeks, the college leadership team has updated the Covid-19 Student Resource Guide and the Covid-19 Employee Resource Guide. The college posts copies of both resource guides. The latest updates will be posted later this week.

Please remember to continue to use our reporting system to ensure incidents are reported in a timely fashion to allow the college to take appropriate action. Please make sure to review the Incident Reporting Information. When providing a detailed description related to a Covid incident report, please use specific, concise, objective language (who, what, where, when, why, and how). Detailed reports allow the college to take appropriate actions to keep everyone safe.

  1. Go to our “Report an Incident” form
  2. Fill out the entire report and click “Submit Report”

In case I haven’t told you — I am so proud of you and this College. COA continues to impact lives and change the trajectories of families. This level of impact is only possible because of the excellent work you do!

Wishing you all a wonderful and safe fall semester!

By the way, if you are curious as to some of the myriad considerations we considered before deciding to bring back masking, please see the postscript below.

Considerations

Our commitment to faculty, staff and students from the start of the pandemic is that we would continue to do what was required to keep them safe.

From the pandemic’s start, we have relied on the CDC’s guidance on mask-wearing and other considerations. The CDC currently recommends that even fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks indoors when in areas of the country experiencing “high” or “substantial” levels of community transmission.

The Delta Variant is growing considerably. Its growth rate has been exponential in recent weeks, and we are likely not through yet.

The Delta Variant is said to be much more transmissible than the original. Some are even saying that it is one of the most contagious viruses we have had to deal with for some time.

Most of our seven-county service area is experiencing “high” or “substantial” levels of community transmission. Our faculty, staff and students travel between our four campuses with regularity, which could allow us to be involved in the spread of the variant.

ECPPS and ECSU have both announced masking policies for the coming academic year. Most of our face-to-face students are on the COA – Elizabeth City campus and masking keeps us in alignment with our local educational partners.

Most other universities and colleges in North Carolina have announced or are planning to announce that they will require masks when they resume.

The governor has not mandated masks again, but in his recent guidance for state agencies, he strongly encouraged colleges and universities to follow his lead in what he has required of cabinet-level agencies.

We have a large population of credit students (48 percent or so) at COA who are dually enrolled. The last data I saw suggested only 30 percent or so of that population has been fully vaccinated.

As you all know, we have a number of cohort and hands-on programs that are very difficult to manage when there are disruptions to the education process. We cannot afford to shut these programs down repeatedly during the semester. There simply are not enough make-up or alternative learning opportunities.

We have rolled back our reliance on social distancing. Almost every community college in North Carolina took a beating with respect to its enrollment last year. We simply cannot afford to do that again. Accordingly, we have expanded enrollment in our programs to pre-pandemic levels. We will use social distancing when and where we can, but we are going to depend on masks and vaccinations to keep us going. We hope students continue to register and fill available seats.

Break-through infections are a real thing! People who are fully vaccinated are still getting Covid. These infections are not generally as severe as those suffered by the unvaccinated. We cannot, however, avoid the reality that none of us are completely out of danger.

Masking seemed to work last year. We did a great job of keeping Covid at bay in the previous academic year, and we are hoping we can do that again. Masking also considerably cut down on the incidence of colds and flu for our faculty, staff and students.

These are just some of the considerations that led us to where we are. Rest assured that I am looking to be out of a mask requirement as soon as possible, but we are simply not there yet.

Emergency Teleworking

We have been leading up to the date when we are ending our emergency use of teleworking. As you all know, we have been gradually reducing our dependence on teleworking over the summer. Next week, we are back to 100 percent in-person work schedules.

We will continue to be as flexible as possible for those affected by Covid quarantines or isolations, but we are discontinuing teleworking in other situations.

The College’s Leadership Team is also exploring options to create opportunities for flexible work schedules, potentially including some form of telework for eligible positions.

I have said many times that the world changed in many ways last year. One of those changes is our expectations associated with the workplace. People are leaving their current jobs for more flexible working conditions and better work-life balance in all industries. In this arena, we are endeavoring to rethink what we do and how we do it. We must keep in mind, however, that we are in the people business. We need to serve people in person. Our path forward will involve finding a balance between the work we are called to do and identifying how we can provide increased flexibility to COA employees in how we do that work.

Covid Restrictions

As you are undoubtedly aware, our Covid journey is not over. The Delta Variant is threatening to derail the progress we have been making. As of now, we are not changing our plans for fall. If you are not vaccinated, we recommend that you wear a mask when you are around others. If you are vaccinated, the choice is yours for now. As you all know, the CDC guidance has been in flux again. There have been a couple of updates to this guidance, and we will update the Covid-19 Re-Entry Plan for Employees as new recommendations are released. We are going to see what comes out of the Governor’s Press Conference that is scheduled to occur tomorrow before making the latest updates.

COA encourages all eligible students, faculty, staff, and visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19. While the College does not require vaccination, we all share a responsibility to do everything we can to keep our community safe from the coronavirus.

If you are interested in receiving your immunization on the day of Convocation, please see your COA email account details. We will also encourage students to be vaccinated and sponsor appropriate campus opportunities for students to roll up their sleeves.

You have done an excellent job of being flexible and getting creative over the past 18 months. We are all tired and worn out by what we have been through so far, but our journey is not over. There is no way to predict what changes are coming our way. You will remember that things changed quickly last March and April, and it appears that we are back in that same mode as a country. Let’s stay diligent and committed to our goal of Transforming Tomorrows, and we will get through the challenges presented by the Delta Variant.

On Friday, May 14, 2021, Governor Roy Cooper announced the following changes are in place for North Carolina with some limited exceptions:

  • No statewide mask (face covering) mandate
  • No mandatory mass gathering limits
  • No mandatory capacity limits
  • No mandatory social distancing requirements

Effective immediately, COA will not impose any additional restrictions beyond those in the executive order. Face coverings and other social distancing protocols, while still encouraged for unvaccinated people, will not be required.

Please continue to follow site-specific protocols that our partners may have in place if your duties or studies take you to other locations.

Employees and students may continue to wear face coverings. Please keep in mind that individuals should not be asked to disclose their vaccination status or why they are wearing a face covering. This is private information and should be respected at all times.

During this transition time, please be patient as our employees and students make their own decisions about how to continue to protect themselves on campus. For instance, if you meet with someone in a small space, such as a private office, be mindful that your student or fellow employee may request that you meet in an alternate location that allows more distance.

Please continue to report if exposed, tested, or diagnosed with Covid using the Maxient reporting form. We do want to keep track of any issues that might arise in the future.

Thank you for your diligence in observing the various protocols that we had to put into place over the last 14 months. The lifting of the protocols happened faster than many of us might have predicted, but I am certainly glad that we are in such a new and positive position.

We are still working on our plan with respect to transitioning out of the telework environment. The reason we are currently teleworking was to cut down on workplace density. That requirement is no longer in place, but for now, we are going to hold to our plan. We will be looking into whether telework will continue to be part of our workforce plan moving forward. So, for now, stay tuned.

As we approach the end of the spring semester, we wanted to update you on how the college continues to transition toward bringing all of our students back on campus at full capacity, just as it was before Covid-19 changed all our lives.

We’re Here for You

As we move through the summer, faculty and staff will be spending more time on campus with the goal of being back to 100 percent before the start of the fall semester. We will continue to be available online, by phone and email during that time, but will now be more accessible to meet you in-person (still maintaining masking and social distancing protocols). And for your safety and ours, COA employees across all our campus locations have had the opportunity to receive the Covid vaccines through our
area health departments.

In-Person Events

As part of our opportunities to have more personal interaction, we will be hosting a series of in-person, on campus events over the next few weeks.

For Current Students and Potential Students

Let’s Register Together events — where we will help you register for summer and fall classes in a group setting — are planned for all campus locations April 13 through 30.

COA Open House — offering information on all our programs, as well as help with applying, advising and completing financial aid applications — will be held from noon to 3 p.m., Wednesday, April 14 at COA – Elizabeth City and Friday, April 16 at COA – Dare.

COA’s Student Government Association has also been busy planning upcoming on-campus, in-person events for students. Check your COA email for future information regarding these events on each campus.

FAFSA Drive-in to Your Future — this event will be held Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at COA – Elizabeth City and COA – Dare.

For Current CCP Students

CCP to COA Day — designed to give College and Career Promise students the additional help needed to make the transition to curriculum students — will be held from noon to 3 p.m., Wednesday, April 14 at COA – Elizabeth City and Friday, April 16 at COA – Dare.

Spring 2021 Graduation Events

We will host four modified traditional graduation ceremonies and one walk-thru celebration in May.

COA – Elizabeth City
Date: Wednesday, May 12
Location: Performing Arts Center
Ceremony Times: 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

The traditional ceremonies at COA-Elizabeth City will offer a shortened program and graduates will be able to walk across the stage. The ceremonies will be limited to 50 graduates each, and each graduate will receive up to three guest tickets.

The event will also be live streamed for guests who may not be able to attend in person.

COA – Dare
Date: Thursday, May 13
Location: Technology Building
Ceremony Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

The event at COA – Dare will be a walk-thru celebration. Graduates will need to RSVP for their time slot. Once the RSVP has been received, a confirmation email will be sent. Social distancing guidelines will be followed for each event, and graduates and guests must wear face masks while in the building and traveling about campus where social distancing cannot be maintained. Graduates must RSVP for the event of their choice. Time slots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Graduates may attend only one event and time slots may not be changed once selected. Guests will be required to have a ticket for entry.

Getting Back to Face-to-Face

We know you are ready to start returning to in-person classes; we are, too! We have added more face-to-face classes that will be limited in size and others offered as hybrids (part face-to-face/part online) to our Summer Schedule. Of course, we will still have many online classes available. We want to be sure you have options you are comfortable with.

Moving Forward

If Covid-19 trends continue to improve, we are looking forward to providing even more face-to-face classes for fall — keep an eye on your student email for more updates on this. And, as always, visit this page for updated information on the college’s response to the pandemic.

Ready to Get Your Covid-19 Vaccine?

Area health departments are hosting clinics throughout the area, and everyone age 16 and up is now eligible. Check out their websites for dates, times and locations:

Please keep in mind that whether you have been vaccinated or not, all students, faculty and staff, and guests are asked to continue wearing masks while in campus buildings and when social distance cannot be maintained outdoors.

We are excited for the upcoming semesters and can’t wait to see you back on campus!

A Message from President Jack Bagwell

On this anniversary of the September 11 tragedy that changed the world in 2001, I find it a bit ironic that I am providing an update on the event that continues to change the world in which we live and work.

I am sure you all have been watching the news with interest as colleges and universities across North Carolina and the country have addressed Covid-19 on their respective campuses. I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a brief progress update about what has been happening here at COA and encourage you all to stay diligent in your efforts to maintain our campus’s safety.

We have continued to fare well with Covid, but we cannot let down our guard. We continue to receive sporadic reports of COA family members who have had exposures or expected exposures to the virus. Because these folks have reported these incidents through the correct channels, we have been able to work with the college’s established protocols and in partnership with our local health authorities to ensure we minimize the impact of these incidents. To date, we have not had any evidence of spread on campus. I really would like for us to keep it that way!

Please remember to continue to use our reporting system to ensure incidents are reported in a timely fashion to allow the college to take appropriate action. When providing a detailed description related to a Covid incident report, please use specific, concise, objective language (who, what, where, when, why, and how). Please make sure to review the Incident Reporting Information. Detailed reports allow the College to take appropriate actions to keep everyone safe.

In the coming weeks, we will be starting to move forward with our “Re-Entry Plan.” We have been paused in Phase 2 along with the Governor’s plan. We will be moving to bring more of you back for additional time. As you know, schedules are highly variable based on departments, jobs, and college needs, but we will be moving the needle a bit over the next few weeks as we ease back into “normal” mode. I don’t see us getting back to full force for a while, but we need to build up to that eventuality. I certainly do not want us to lose the lessons these Covid months have taught us about telework and creative solutions. I see us continuing to employ these lessons into whatever future awaits us.

In case I haven’t told you — I am so proud of you and this College. COA continues to impact lives and change trajectories of families. This level of impact is only possible because of the excellent work you do!

Let’s continue to be #COASAFE.

A Message from President Jack Bagwell

The health and safety of our employees continue to be a top priority, and, in these unprecedented times, this priority continues to guide our decisions. On Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, an employee notified us of their positive test result for Covid-19. While we are unable to identify the affected employee due to the confidential nature of the medical information, we can share that it has been four business days since the employee was last in contact with any staff in the workplace. To date, this is the second reported positive Covid-19 diagnosis among our employees at the College. Please be assured that all those that had been identified as being in close contact have already been personally notified. The CDC defines “close contact” as “a person that has been within six feet of the infected employee for a prolonged period of time” defined as longer than 15 minutes. The affected employee is self-quarantining in accordance with the public health recommendations, and we wish them well toward a speedy recovery.

Employees in the close contact group are asked to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce the spread of the virus. During this time, employees should consult and follow the advice of their healthcare provider or public health department. They should also review information on the CDC website.

We are doing everything within our ability and resources to keep you as safe and healthy as possible at work. Additionally, because of the unfortunate positive test, we had the work area deep cleaned and sanitized in accordance with recommendations by the CDC prior to anyone being allowed to reenter after we learned of the positive test. Still, with many cases of Covid-19 transmitted before anyone knows they have been exposed, and with you only being at work for a fraction of your day, we cannot 100 percent guarantee the virus won’t enter our daily lives while in the workplace. It is critically important that all of us do our part and adhere to all guidelines and new protocols established in the Employee Re-entry Guide for the purpose of keeping us safe in the workplace.

As a reminder, if you are sick please stay home. It will help prevent and minimize exposing co-workers. We encourage you to continue practicing social distancing, wear a face covering or mask, good hand sanitation, and monitor yourselves and your family for Covid-19 symptoms. Please contact the Human Resources Office for information on available leave programs. We are here for you and have put policies in place and made other ones more flexible to help support you during a difficult time.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and understanding as we work together to promote the health and well-being of our community. Please take care of yourself, your family, and each other.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or the Human Resources Office.

On Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, several College of The Albemarle (COA) employees will return to campus. In an effort to keep everyone safe and informed, please see below some helpful information to be aware of.

Important Links for Employees:

COA Guide for Returning Employees

Additional Covid-19 Resources: Cleaning Supplies and Incident Reporting

Campus Entrance Points:

All campus locations are currently using a single point of entry, and will continue to do so until the Covid-19 situation improves.

Campus Building Entrance/Exit
COA – Elizabeth City AE Primary entrance will be the main entrance located at the front of the building
COA – Elizabeth City A Primary entrance will be through the front entrance of building AE
COA – Elizabeth City Library Primary entrance will be the main entrance to the Library
COA – Elizabeth City C Primary entrance will be the entrance at the rear of the building; Early College will use the front entrance for entering and exiting
COA – Elizabeth City FC Primary entrance will be the main entrance located at the front of the building
COA – Elizabeth City Owen Center Primary entrance will at the rear of the building main entrance — do not use the YMCA entrance
COA – Elizabeth City Performing Arts Center Primary entrance will be the side entrance by the water fountain unless there is an event; Event entrance will be the main entrance

COA – Currituck Main entrance
COA – Dare,
132 Russell Twiford Rd
Primary entrance to each building
COA – Dare,
205 Highway 64 S.
Professional Arts Building Primary entrance at the front of the building
COA – Edenton-Chowan Primary entrance at each building

Students received an email last week and will have another email go out to them on Monday to keep them informed as we approach Aug. 17. Please continue to check your email.

The college will return to regular administrative office hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Continue to work with your supervisor on your current work/telework schedule.

A Message from President Jack Bagwell

Several things have happened in the past week that has caused us to reevaluate our Re-entry Plan. As you know, we recently had a case of Covid-19 among our COA family. We are thankful the employee is doing well and there has been no additional spread. Also, Governor Cooper has paused the state in Phase 2 for the next several weeks. As such, we are going to pause our current re-entry plans. We are going to stay in our current phase for a bit longer as we continue to evaluate the latest information coming our way. Based on individual duties and responsibilities, we are going to maintain our current level of telework instead of moving to more on-campus work. Ella Fields-Bunch will be sending out an updated version of the COA Re-Entry Plan the first of next week.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind going forward.

Dr. Carter and our academic folks have worked on a series of plans as to what instruction looks like in the fall. We know there is going to be a combination of online and face-to-face instruction (where needed), but the plans that are being developed will need to be flexible because as we have seen, things change quickly in regard to Covid-19.

We need to wear masks or face coverings at all times unless you are alone in your office. Even though social distancing is being practiced, there are still opportunities for spread when folks are coming in contact with one another, even fleetingly. As such, faculty please make sure your students who are on campus are wearing their face coverings too. We all need to police this. I appreciate your help.

In talking to colleagues with our public school systems and the University of North Carolina system, neither of these systems appear to be especially bullish on a full return of face-to-face courses. Both are expected to make announcements in the coming days so we shall see how all of this plays out. With our large dual enrollment population, we are especially tied to the plans of our public-school partners.

Despite the fact we are continuing to telework, we need to have an all hands on deck approach with regards to enrollment and recruitment activities. We are still tracking 13 percent behind where we were this time last year. We have been steadily making up some ground, but we still have a long way to go. We keep hearing that students are waiting to see what school will look like next semester before registering. I understand that, but we need to try to find ways to help assuage their concerns. If we don’t, this year’s Covid pain will be magnified by next year’s budget pain. As you might know, our enrollment for the coming year will determine our state budget for next year.

Speaking of budgets. for a while, it looked like we might not be fully funded in this budget year for our FTE growth from last year. However, the legislature has sent a bill to the Governor’s desk that would provide $41.5 million to fund the FTE growth in the NCCCS. This is great news, but since the money is coming from Federal CARES Act monies, there are some limitations that we will need to work around. I am thankful that the legislature found a way to make this happen. The bill is on the Governor’s desk and indications are that he will sign it.

We continue to be in challenging times. Thank you for your flexibility and cooperation as we navigate the swirling waters of Covid-19.

I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.

Thank you for all you do!

A Message from President Jack Bagwell

I am writing to you all to inform you of our first known Covid-19 positive test result on campus. We knew this was a matter of time, but it makes it no less intimidating to confront.

In short, the employee self-identified as having been in close contact with a suspected positive Covid-19 person. This employee notified their supervisor and HR, and began isolating at home. We immediately closed off the employee’s office area for 24 hours and a deep cleaning of the space was completed after the 24 hours had passed.

Ultimately, the employee’s close contact tested positive, and subsequently so did the employee. We have gathered the names of individuals who had close contact with the individual. Close contact that would apply in this case is defined as:

Being in proximity to a Covid-19 positive individual for a period of time longer than 10 minutes, less than 6 feet away, and without using recommended infection control precautions/face coverings.

HR has communicated with the individuals who may have been impacted and will be requiring those employees to follow the protocols outlined in the “Covid-19 Guidance for Supervisors and Employees” document. If you have not heard from HR, you are not at high risk of exposure from this situation. However, this does underscore our commitment to face coverings while at work. Anyone you are interacting with should be treated as potentially positive. I know face coverings are uncomfortable for long periods of time, but they are the best defense we have. Accordingly, unless you have mitigating circumstances you can document through your healthcare provider, please continue to wear your face masks. If you are in need of a face mask, please contact HR (or Security). The college has purchased a number of face masks that are available for distribution.

We are also seeing that more municipalities and counties are requiring face coverings. Governor Cooper has also indicated that he is also leaning toward making them mandatory in North Carolina. As you might have heard, Dare County is now requiring face coverings in certain settings.

This is also a good time to remind you that we should continue to use social distancing, Zoom or Google meetings, and encourage students to make appointments online. We are seeing upticks in the numbers of individuals in the community infected so we need to continue our diligence and not let down our guards.

According to the reentry plan we distributed a few weeks ago, we should be moving into the next phase soon, which would mean more folks on campus for longer periods of time. We will continue to monitor our situation and decide whether we move forward in the coming days. That said, we still have a lot of work to do to make sure we maintain our enrollment and appropriately serve all the students that will need us in the fall. As we continue to determine what a healthy and safe balance looks like, we appreciate your cooperation.

This is also a reminder to continue to be diligent outside of the confines of work. We know that we still have a long road to travel in this fight against Covid-19.

We understand that you may have questions and concerns, and we will update you as we move forward. We reiterate our commitment to the health and safety of our workforce. This is new territory for all of us, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions as we move forward together.

Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time. Should you have any questions, please see your supervisor or Human Resources.

Thank you for the work you continue to do on behalf of our students during this trying time.

Summer Schedule

Beginning Monday, May 18, College of The Albemarle (COA) will operate under a modified summer schedule. The change in operating hours takes into account the necessary parameters as set forth by the Governor’s office and recommendations from the North Carolina Community College System, to maintain the health and safety of our students and employees as we continue to contend with the Covid-19 pandemic. The college will operate under the following schedule at all campus locations:

Monday – Thursday: College facilities will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There may be areas where some staff members continue to work remotely, but they will be available by phone, email and appointment.
 
Fridays: College will be closed.

All campus locations will continue maintaining a single point of entry into the buildings:

  • COA – Currituck: Front entrance of building
  • COA – Dare: Russell Twiford building – main entrance
  • COA – Edenton-Chowan: Building 3
  • COA – Elizabeth City: AE building – front entrance

Cashier’s Hours: Monday through Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Library/Computer Lab Hours: Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Virtual office hours will still be available.

Academic Support Center Hours:

Learn How to Schedule Tutoring

Testing Center
Download Testing Center Hours

Revised Business Hours

COA remains open while faculty and staff continue to operate in a remote learning and work environment. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all COA campus locations are revising the hours that are open to the public beginning this Friday, April 17. Please see specific times below.

COA’s new business hours will be Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The revised hours will not affect the critical needs programs that continue to operate in a face-to-face setting. Students in these programs who have questions should contact their instructor. This schedule will remain in effect until an announcement is made to return to regular business hours or a new executive order from the Governor’s office is enacted that allows for a change in the current schedule.

College administration has met virtually on a daily basis to discuss the most recent updates made available in regard to the novel coronavirus on a local, state and national level. While student resources remain available for those who need to utilize them on campus, the amount of physical traffic on campus has slowed considerably since the college moved to online instruction on March 23. By moving to a schedule of three days per week, the college can better utilize its personnel to make critical resources available to students when they most need it.

Changes to business hours are listed below and reflect all campus locations:

COA will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. While the college’s physical facilities will be closed on Monday and Friday each week, faculty and staff members will be working remotely and are available via phone, email, virtual meetings and appointments (as needed).

Cashier’s Office in Dare and Elizabeth City will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students may also pay tuition online through their MyService accounts. Read additional information about payments.

Library and Academic Support Center will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Online tutoring is available through MyCourses. Additional information regarding resources can be found by visiting our Academic Support Center web page. You may also contact the director at 252-335-0821 ext. 2244 or robin_robertson03@albemarle.edu.

Testing Center will be open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Revised testing schedules have been emailed to all students. For questions regarding testing, please contact 252-335-0821 ext. 2253. If you need to take a placement test, send an email to advising@albemarle.edu before arriving on campus.

Student Success and Enrollment Management: Online/virtual support is encouraged and available Monday through Friday by accessing the following:

  • Academic concerns: Please reach out to your instructor or advisor
  • Admissions: admissions@albemarle.edu
  • Advising and registration: advising@albemarle.edu
  • Career and College Promise: derek_meredith@albemarle.edu or contact your high school COA Liaison
  • Financial aid: coafainfo@albemarle.edu
  • Personal/financial concerns: coacares@albemarle.edu
  • Accessibility Services: tiffany_bakerstrot04@albemarle.edu
  • Student Life and Leadership: Log into MyCourses and visit “Student Life”
  • Transcripts/verifications and Veterans: registrar@albemarle.edu

You may also call any campus site to speak to college staff.

Within the facilities at each of the college locations, staff will continue to implement social distancing measures for students who access resources on campus. Capacity will be limited based on the Governor’s Executive Order 121 and the space needed to maintain adequate social distancing. COA staff also continually cleans the buildings and high traffic areas frequently, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Public Wi-fi at COA

Campus Location Wi-fi Setting
COA – Elizabeth City Foreman Center parking lot choose “COA-Public”
COA – Currituck parking lot in front of the building choose “COA Public”
COA – Dare Russell Twiford parking lot, near the main entrance choose “COA Public”
COA – Edenton-Chowan parking lot in front of the Culinary Arts building choose “COA Public”

Summer and Fall Registration

Students, remember that COA faculty and staff are here to help you as we all navigate through these unprecedented times. While we anticipate continuing courses online until the college receives guidance to make a change, we sincerely hope that we will have the ability to welcome you back on campus in the near future. Summer registration is underway and fall e-registration will open very soon. Please do not hesitate to reach out to faculty and staff for any questions or concerns you may have, whether they are related to your courses or you personally. You are part of the COA family and your health, well-being and success is vital to all the faculty and staff at the college.

Online Instruction Begins on March 23

Beginning Monday, March 23, COA classes will resume through online course delivery methods only. In the following recommendations outlined by the North Carolina Community College System on March 18, face-to-face instruction of classes that cannot be delivered online are considered suspended until further notice. To accommodate the critical need for public safety and public health services in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the following exceptions are allowed:

  • Basic Law Enforcement Training
  • Fire Training
  • Emergency Medical and Rescue Training
  • Nursing (RN, LPN, CNA)
  • Other training specifically requested by public safety and public health response agencies, including the military

This also includes healthcare clinicals related to the above (either at a clinical site, if permitted by the site, or through simulation).

If face-to-face instruction is offered, the following conditions will be met:

  • Students and faculty follow appropriate social distancing and safety measures
  • Students are willing to participate and not penalized if they opt to delay instruction
  • Students are provided appropriate personal protective equipment, if applicable
  • Students in the programs listed above have been contacted regarding these recommendations

A Message from Dr. Jack Bagwell, COA President

Resources at Campus Locations

While providing online course instruction methods will aid in mitigating the spread of Covid-19, the college is aware that there may be students who lack adequate internet services and/or computer equipment. In an effort to continue to provide student services such as computer labs and libraries, designated lab space at each campus location will remain open for use. Within each area, appropriate social distancing will be applied as well as frequent sanitizing of space and equipment in accordance to the recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Capacity will be limited based on the number of people in each lab to maintain social distancing (6 feet of space between each person).

The revised hours for each lab location can be found by visiting Computer Labs web page.

Hours have been revised in the testing center to accommodate testing needs for COA students only. See our revised testing center hours.

If you have a request for a test proctor, please fill out the Google form.

Online tutoring services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week through Tutor.com. To access this resource, use the link provided in each of your MyCourses courses.

For questions regarding the Academic Support resources, contact Robin Robertson at robin_robertson03@albemarle.edu.

Existing online library services continue and in an effort to support students’ library and research needs, virtual library office hours have been made available using Blackboard Collaborate. This information can be found by visiting Blackboard.

Access at Campus Locations

With the majority of course delivery online, there will be limited access to buildings at each campus location. To ensure the safety of COA students, faculty and staff, there will be a central access point of entry at each campus location. Please enter through the following buildings at each location:

  • COA – Currituck: Front entrance of building
  • COA – Dare: Russell Twiford Building – Main entrance
  • COA – Edenton-Chowan: Building 3
  • COA – Elizabeth City: AE Building – Front entrance

While faculty and staff at each location will continue to work under normal operating hours, there will be limited staff on each campus. Students are encouraged to contact the faculty or staff member they need to speak with by email and/or phone.

Advising

Students should contact their advisors via email to make arrangements for advising sessions that can be completed by phone or alternate electronic means (virtual meeting options such as Zoom or Google Meets). In addition to advising, a student “help line” will be available in the coming days. More information on this will follow.

Visit our web page for a list of advising staff.

Additional Information

COA students, faculty and staff should check their COA email accounts regularly for updates regarding the college’s response to Covid-19. COA administration will continue to actively monitor recommendations provided by the CDC, as well as guidance provided by the state health department, local health departments and the North Carolina Community College System. Any changes or updates will also be posted on COA’s Facebook page and sent through the Regroup Emergency Notification system as needed.

For any student questions or concerns, please email coacares@albemarle.edu. COA staff members are here to support you.

We realize the changes that we are putting in place will be challenging for everyone. Please know that every faculty and staff member at COA is working to make this as smooth a transition as possible for you. Your safety and success are our top priorities. Please reach out to your faculty member as soon as you experience any difficulties. We are going to be there for you. Help us to help you!

Dr. Jack Bagwell
President

In response to the Governor’s recent actions to close all North Carolina K-12 public schools, COA has moved its spring break to Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 22. As previously communicated, COA plans to move forward with an online instruction model for many of its curriculum courses beginning Monday, March 23. For specific courses that require hands-on learning components, social distancing policies will be implemented.

The decision to accelerate the college’s spring break will give the entire COA community the opportunity to adjust to the coming changes in course delivery. It will also allow the college to work with its various partners to ensure effective communication in this time of numerous changes.

Faculty members: Please contact your Deans for specific questions or concerns.

Staff members: As with a regular spring break schedule, we ask that you report as you would for normal hours. However, we also ask that supervisors who have staff members with childcare challenges to be flexible and work with staff who cannot be on campus.

As this situation is constantly evolving and changing, please be assured that the college will provide additional updates throughout the week. Please continue to monitor your COA email, the COA Facebook page or this web page for further updates.


A Message from Dr. Jack Bagwell, COA President

Dr. Jack Bagwell