Hello Forsyth Tech Faculty and Staff!
This is a big week for us here at Forsyth Tech! Tomorrow is one of the happiest days in our calendar year, commencement. This year we will conduct it virtually – for now – but we hope to have an in-person ceremony for the Class of 2020 as soon as it is safe to do so.
Let me also offer once again my heartfelt thank you to all for carrying on and moving forward to wrap up the spring semester. We couldn’t have done this without everyone pulling together and going above and beyond!
I have important information for you today, not just about tomorrow’s commencement, but also about our plans to “Return to Brave New Normal.” Please take the time to read this message in full.
Additionally, if YOU need emergency help, with anything from food to rent, please contact Forsyth Tech Cares or call 336-734-7195. We want to support you however we can!
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.” Managers will receive training on Thursday, May 7, on how to work with their teams to bring people back in phases over the next few months. Additionally, I want to invite all of you to join me on Friday morning, May 8, 2020, at 9 a.m. for a virtual meeting to discuss our re-entry plans with all of you. We will host this session in Microsoft Teams Live so that we can have a two-way dialogue about what’s to come. We will also record the session to share with those of you who cannot make it at 9 a.m. on Friday, but I encourage you to make every effort to join us so you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
The action team, led by Kristie Hendrix, did a great job and deliver a thoughtful, well-developed plan. While this is not a comprehensive list (please see the attached 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 (up to 20 percent of staff in 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 only can resume.
- May 21 – Centralized Registration for summer 2020 – 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. in RLS
Governor’s Phase II (assumes two-week Phase I)
- May 27 – Summer classes begin (all remote)
- May 27 & 28 – Summer drop/add registration – 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. in RLS
All campuses open on June 1, social distance practices in place
- June 1 – Some summer classes with hands-on components/labs will resume in-person coursework (with social distance), limited employees on campus with additional employees being added, as needed in staggered shifts
Mask Distribution – Thursday, May 7, 2020, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
We still have masks available and we’d like to get them in your hands. We will be handing out masks again tomorrow from 9 a.m. – noon in front of the Allman Center for employees and students as long as the supplies last. If you do not have a mask, please stop by and encourage your students to do so.
We ask that you limit your request to one mask per employee or student.
Virtual Commencement – Thursday, May 7, 2020, at 5 p.m.
Please join us tomorrow at 5 p.m. on YouTube for Forsyth Tech’s first ever virtual commencement ceremony. You simply have to follow this link at 5 p.m. and you’ll be able to comment and cheer our students on. Our graduation committee, Marketing, CTL and IT teams have done an incredible job pulling it all together and I am so very proud. We want to support our graduates the best way we can right now and until the time when we can gather together again, we will do our best to make this a celebration to remember!
As I have mentioned, we still hope to hold an in-person graduation ceremony later this summer or early fall. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and its impacts on large group gatherings, and we will let you know as soon as we know about in-person graduation.
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. I want to extend my thanks to Amy Braswell and the incredible team that worked with her, pulling together to figure this out as quickly as possible.
Thank you + Believe!
I wanted to leave you one last thought as we move beyond commencement. This is one of my very favorite quotes and I mentioned it yesterday on Facebook Live, and included it in my remarks for our virtual commencement tomorrow.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
I feel it applies not only to our students, but to all of us. If this semester has taught us anything, it’s that we can choose to make our future better, brighter and bolder together!
Thank you for all for being Forsyth Tech strong. Stay safe and stay well! I hope to see you back on campus soon.
Dr. Janet N. Spriggs
Forsyth Technical Community College is a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities.