SAU Tech Prepares for Students to Start Classes
Southern Arkansas University Tech
August 13, 2020
Camden, Arkansas- Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) is making final preparations for students to return to classes on-campus on Wednesday, August 19. Housing students move-in Saturday, and Monday thru Friday is late registration. The College spent the summer working on a comprehensive plan developed by its Pandemic Response Team (Team). The Team has representation from all SAU Tech's departments and auxiliary divisions. Through Zoom meetings and countless emails, the Team developed processes to ensure the continuation of learning and prevent the spread of the virus.
SAU Tech's Allied Health Program Coordinator and Team member, Shelley Young, stated that "We have in place what I see as comprehensive preventative measures. It is ultimately up to each person to follow the rules to make it work. Wearing a mask, social distancing, and quick recognition of symptoms is crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19. My nursing staff and I will do a swab collection when an employee or student reports symptoms while on campus. The swabs will then be collected by a courier service to be tested by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) or the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). These entities will then contact the employee or student with results. Our plan follows the 14-day recommended quarantine period from the date a test is confirmed positive. We have isolation areas ready if needed." Young is also the College's point of contact for the ADH's contact tracing procedures.
The College has had two employees test positive for COVID-19. Both are employed in auxiliary services located off-campus, and both employees did not attend work when they started experiencing symptoms. The areas were sanitized, and no other employees have reported symptoms in those divisions. The College has not had any on-campus cases, either employees or students.
"We expect to see cases once our students return to the campus.", says Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech Chancellor. "It is going to be important that everyone follow social distancing and masks rules to help prevent a widespread outbreak. We have plans in place for our faculty to continue teaching if we find ourselves going exclusively to online delivery again. The processes and procedures are there; everyone needs to follow them. Each building on campus will take temperatures of students before they attend their first class of the day. Our employees are going to self-report each morning their temperature as well. We won't ask our students to do what we aren't willing to do ourselves. Their safety comes first, and this fall, always, our focus is on our students."
"Maintaining transparency while protecting each individual's privacy is a balancing act during this time.," says Dean of Communications & Development, Kimberly Coker. "While we want to be transparent about cases that occur on our campus, we have to remember that we are in a small environment, and we also must protect individual privacy. Reporting of cases will go through the Arkansas Department of Health and their contact tracing process. UAMS will notify students or employees who were in direct contact with a person with a positive COVID-19 test. For parents of students, without a signed FERPA release by the student, the College cannot disclose any information to the parent. Students must come by our registrar's office and sign the form if this is a concern. We are looking forward to the fall, and I know I am excited to see students back on our campus."
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