WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College administrators have created a taskforce to develop procedures for maintaining a safe and healthy campus for students and employees during the fall semester.
With the coronavirus pandemic still a public health threat and August quickly approaching, PCC President Lawrence Rouse established the Ongoing Operations Taskforce in May. He asked Vice President of Administrative Services Rick Owens to lead the eight-member group, which is comprised of faculty and staff from departments throughout PCC.
“My priority as we face this novel coronavirus is to keep all members of my PCC family safe and well, so PCC administrators are being very intentional with regard to establishing guidelines for the eventual return of students, faculty and staff,” Rouse said. “I would like to thank members of the Ongoing Operations Taskforce for their hard work and dedication to the important task they’ve been assigned.”
Owens says the taskforce has already developed guidelines for a campus return and is now working with employees and public health officials to identify needs and challenges for each area of campus. He said changes are being made in classrooms, labs and other meeting spaces to minimize health risks.
“Departments across campus are continually making adjustments to their service delivery models that enable them to offer the best possible experience to students in a safe manner and without compromising the academic integrity of the programs being offered,” Owens said.
In addition to social distancing protocols, Owens says PCC has stepped up sanitization processes, including frequent cleaning of ‘high-touch surfaces’ and the installation of hand-sanitizer dispensers at the entrances to campus buildings. He said that when fall semester begins, students, employees and guests will be required to wear masks in shared spaces, such as hallways, classrooms, labs and shared offices.
“Our end goal is to provide a safe teaching/learning environment for students to complete their educational goals and to help individuals whose employment has been affected by the pandemic receive the training they need in order to get back on their feet,” Owens said. “We also want to assure the community, Pitt employees and parents concerned about their children going away to college during an extremely uncertain time that we’re taking every possible measure to protect everyone’s health.”
Owens says notification, self-reporting and contact tracing protocols are being finalized to ensure individuals at risk of coronavirus exposure on campus can make informed decisions. He said the college is also working to establish protocols for temperature screenings and additional safety measures for the fall.
“The taskforce will continue developing protocols and making recommendations to the President’s Leadership Team to consider implementing during the fall semester, keeping in mind that the status of COVID-19 could change at any time and may shift throughout the upcoming semester,” Owens said.