Hello Forsyth Tech Faculty and Staff!
Last night’s virtual commencement was a hit! We had more than 200 student photo submissions and 5,000 views of the ceremony, which made it very special. While it wasn’t quite as good as being together, it was amazing! Many thanks to everyone who participated and made it happen! Watch the student videos that I thought you would enjoy. We hope to have an in-person ceremony for the Class of 2020 later this summer or early fall and we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and its impacts on large group gatherings. We will let you know as soon as we know about in-person graduation.
This morning we held a virtual all employee meeting for all employees to share our plans to “Return to Brave New Normal.” It was thrilling to interact with you all again and it made me long for the time when we can do so together in-person.
During the session (we recorded for those of you who couldn’t participate), we answered many questions and have attached a full Frequently Asked Questions document for you. There will be signage posted around the campus to help remind us how to practice social distancing and proper hand hygiene so we can all remain as cautious as possible as we return to campus.
Please take the time to read this message in full and if you have questions, please check with your manager or ELT representative. Thank you!
Return to Brave New Normal – Our Re-entry Plans
As you know, the governor’s stay-at-home orders have entered into Phase I. North Carolina has successfully flattened the curve of COVID-19 and we want to continue to do our part. However, Phase I doesn’t change much of what we have been doing as a college. Our goal is still to keep as many services as possible at-a-distance for now, but to begin to reopen some on-campus, in-person operations that are not conducive for telecommuting. Please let me assure you that we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe by following recommendations of our public health officials. We are following extensive safety precautions, following social distance requirements, providing masks for employees and students, and maintaining remote operations to the fullest extent possible while also meeting business needs.
As you may recall, we created an action team of staff and faculty from across the college to help us develop thoughtful re-entry plans for both the short-term and the longer term. The team worked to quickly provide recommended guidelines and plans for our Return to our Brave New Normal. This plan helps us phase in our approach to bringing our services and classes back to “normal.”
The action team, led by Kristie Hendrix, did a great job and delivered a thoughtful, well-developed plan. While this is not a comprehensive list (please see the plan as a whole for more details), here are a few key dates that will give you an idea of where we are trying to go. Please note these are subject to change, depending upon guidance from our public health officials as this situation continues to evolve.
Governor’s Phase I (two-three weeks)
Limited on-campus operations only on Main Campus, West Campus, NWFC, and TTC
- May 11 – Limited employees return to campus on an as needed basis as determined by managers (less than 20 percent of each division)
- May 18 – Students who accepted an incomplete for a spring 2020 course work with their instructors individually to determine how to complete their coursework. In-person coursework for this purpose will be allowed to resume.
- May 21 – Virtual Centralized Registration for summer 2020 – 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Students may RSVP in advance or call in that day to be registered remotely: 336-734-7195 – Watch Techlink for more information next week
- May 27 – Summer classes begin online
- May 27 & 28 – Summer drop/add registration – 8 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. Students may call in that day to be registered remotely: 336-734-7195 – Watch Techlink for more information next week
Governor’s Phase II (assumes three-week Phase I)
All campuses open, social distancing practices
- June 1 – Some summer classes with hands-on components/labs will resume in-person coursework (with social distance practices in place), limited employees on campus with additional employees being added, as needed in staggered shifts (with social distance practices)
- Limited employees on campus (up to 40 percent of each division)
Governor’s Phase III
- June 22 – Up to 60 percent of employees in each division
- June 29 – Up to 80 percent of employees in each division
- July 6 – Some summer classes with lectures may introduce face-to-face classes (while maintaining a remote option); possible to have a full employee compliment
To help maintain social distancing, we have established one entrance and one exit for campus buildings that will open Mon., May 11. Please help us adhere to one-way foot traffic through the buildings.
Allman Center –
Enter building through front doors into the lobby
Exit building using either of the side doors (doors will remain closed for entry)
Hauser Hall –
Enter building through 2nd floor Entrance only (with exception for handicap access, exit permitted)
Exit building through 1st floor, your choice of door on this floor (doors will remain closed for entry)
Ardmore Hall –
Enter building only from lot K (Learning Center) doors
Exit building only through Student Circle doors (doors will remain closed for entry)
Technology Building –
Enter building through front doors
Exit building through the rear doors (doors will remain closed for entry)
Snyder Hall –
Enter building through lot D (Dental Lab) doors
Exit building through any door that is not the entrance door (all doors will remain closed for entry)
Bob Greene Hall –
Enter building from rear, through single entry door on right
Exit building from rear, through the glass foyer doors (doors will remain closed for entry)
Strickland Center –
Enter building from rear, use left side (Lot CC3 /Greenhouse side)
Exit building through the right side (Lot CC2 side), or any other door that is not the entry door
Carolina Building (CAM) –
Enter building through lot C doors
Exit from vending area doors (doors will remain closed for entry)
Transportation Center –
Enter building lobby through right side main lobby door
Exit building keeping to your right as you exit, through the right side door
(Keep to your right in the direction traveling)
NW Center –
Enter building through the Main Lobby doors
Exit building at either of the hallways-end doors (doors will remain closed for entry)
West Campus –
Enter building through the South Lot doors
Exit building through patio doors across from the gym door (doors will remain closed for entry)
New Emergency Pay Provision – New Version in place until May 22
As you may recall, the new Communicable Disease Policy approved by our Board of Trustees in March allows me, as president, to protect employees’ pay for up to 30 days in the event of a crisis like COVID19. In response to the Governor’s stay-at-home order, I exercised this authority, protecting all employees’ pay through April 29. Then, after our Governor extended the statewide order through May 8, our board gave me the authority to extend our emergency pay provision through May 8.
Since then, the Governor has also extended the state employees’ version of this emergency pay provision through May 22. While this doesn’t apply to us directly, it does set a guideline for us. With the authority given to me by the Board of Trustees, I have extended our emergency pay provision through May 22.
However, now that we are in our re-entry phase, the details of this emergency leave are slightly different:
- Employees who are sick due to symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who are caring for a dependent with such symptoms will receive State of Emergency Leave up to the maximum hours allowed. All other absences will utilize regular forms of leave such as sick, vacation, and bonus leave, or shared leave if approved.
- Employees who cannot work because they have childcare or eldercare needs due to COVID-19 related facility closings may receive State of Emergency leave for the period of time they are unavailable. If more than one person in the household is a state employee, then the employees are expected to work with their supervisors to determine how to allocate paid State of Emergency leave to avoid inappropriate overlap of leave usage.
- Employees may receive paid State of Emergency leave if they cannot telework because their position and duties cannot be performed remotely, and reasonable alternate remote work is not feasible or productive.
- Employees who were on other pre-approved leave, choose not to work, or are unavailable for reasons other than provided for in the special COVID-19 provisions must use available and applicable leave types; e.g. vacation leave, paid parental leave, bonus leave, compensatory time, or take leave without pay.
- For part-time employees with irregular schedules, paid State of Emergency Leave should be based upon the employee’s average hours per week over the course of a month. In no case shall paid State of Emergency Leave exceed 40 hours per week.
Note: Due to the unique contract arrangements for some of our EDW faculty, they will receive a separate communication to cover their specific situations.
We are grateful to our Board for making it possible for employees to remain whole with respect to their regular pay. This is an unprecedented moment in our lives and in history, and the best we can do is to work through challenges together. Forsyth Tech remains committed to working with all employees to support you and your needs through this crisis, to the greatest extent possible. Please work with your managers directly on your work arrangements.
If you have not picked up your mask, we will have those on campus when you return. You may pick up in HR on Main Campus – Allman, or check with your manager. Masks will also available be available at Northwest Forsyth Center and West Campus. While employees are not required to wear masks, they are strongly encouraged.
CARES Act Distribution
We have a plan for distributing these funds to students as soon as possible. We will send an email to all eligible students next week, with instruction on how they will receive their money. Thank you all so much for your patience as we develop our plans for distribution and waited to receive the funds from the federal government.
Please note that the college is thrilled to have these funds and to get them directly in the hands of our students. However, the guidelines regarding who can receive the funds was set by the federal government. We want you all to know that regardless of those guidelines, we are here to help any student. If any student needs emergency help, with anything from food to rent, please contact Forsyth Tech Cares or call 336-734-7195. We want to support our students however we can!
In Memoriam – Vivian Burke
Forsyth Tech was saddened to hear about the passing of City Council Member, Dr. Vivian Burke. To us, she was a friend of the college, passionate about equitable education for all, dedicated to her values and committed to her principles of bringing the community together for progress. Forsyth Tech honored Mrs. Burke in February during our Black History Month celebration for her dedication to education and the college. With Mayor Allen Joines, Vivian Burke established the Joines/Burke scholarship given to students in public housing or in a home where the household income is below the poverty level which pays for tuition, books or both for up to six semesters at Forsyth Tech. As Mrs. Burke said, “The scholarship is for those who have the will but not the means to attend college.” Her legacy will long be remembered and we will strive to uphold her ideas. Our deepest condolences go to the Burke family.
Next Facebook Live – Tuesday, May 12, 2020 – 2 p.m.
I have been enjoying talking with you in the Facebook Live sessions. I hope you will be able to join me for another Facebook Live for you at 2 p.m. next Tuesday, May, 12, 2020. Please join me if you can to talk with you and answer your questions!
Thank you! + A Quote
I wanted to leave you one last thought as we look toward re-entry and summer semester.
“The 3 C’s of Life: Choices, Chances, Changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”― Zig Ziglar
We had to make a choice to take chances this semester and I feel certain those choices changed us. I also believe we are now stronger together than ever.
Thank you for all for being Forsyth Tech strong. Stay safe and stay well! Hope to see you back on campus soon.
Dr. Janet N. Spriggs
Forsyth Technical Community College
Forsyth Technical Community College is a Catalyst for equitable economic mobility,
Empowering lives and Transforming communities!