Preseidents's Message: Dr Janet N. Spriggs, Forsyth Tech Community College, #Elevate

Good afternoon Forsyth Tech Students,

As we finish the first week of our expanded spring break, I want to reassure you that Forsyth Tech is doing everything possible to help maintain the health and safety of our college community while trying to alleviate as much of your worry and stress as possible.

We recognize we’ve never faced a pandemic of this magnitude in our lifetime and we are in a critical moment in history. However, if we are to help “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), it is our responsibility to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and state and federal recommendations to protect our campus community, friends and families.

At this point, the status of the college remains open, with all classes on pause until the end of the expanded spring break. Classes will resume on Monday, March 30, 2020. We continue to offer all services online or over the phone, with very limited offerings face-to-face. We’re maintaining a list of these services online. We have asked all employees who can work remotely to do so.

As you know, we were already planning to transition the vast majority of our classes to online or remote formats as of March 30, at the conclusion of our expanded spring break. However, in response to this crisis, the North Carolina Community College System office is now formally requiring that we now pause all face-to-face classes, and move those classes online for remote learning. As we navigate the changes, there are very few exceptions to this rule (e.g., students who are in nursing and public safety courses such as fire & rescue, EMS, law enforcement). We are evaluating all the available alternatives for other face-to-face classes and labs.

I know this is not ideal and not something many of you would have chosen. However, in the interest of all of our safety, it is our new reality. Our plan is that instructors will reach out to students next week via email and through Blackboard to achieve this goal of moving those classes online. Let me assure you that we will do everything possible to help support you in this transition.

I also want to take this opportunity to commend our faculty and staff who are embarking on unique opportunities to teach and engage with students. I have heard some incredible options that faculty are employing to creatively connect with their students. For instance, we’re planning a curbside technology offering that would allow us to loan students laptops and wireless access from our parking lots. We’re coming up with unique ways and partnerships to provide fun snacks and treats (go Student Life & Engagement!) as well as an arrangement with the local school system to provide free or low-cost breakfasts and lunches to our students. Again, we will have more details next week, but we plan to have computer labs available for students and support for those needing technology.

I want to thank you for being patient, staying strong and being safe. It is evident that we support each other as a family. We know unconditionally, Forsyth Tech Cares… and that inspires me. That’s not only what we do, it is who we are.

In light of that effort, the College has recruited a taskforce of interested staff and faculty, and especially those who cannot work remotely in their current jobs, to become student advocates, connecting with students with the goal of having a two-way conversation to show them Forsyth Tech Cares, and to find out how the College can help them weather the COVID-19 storm. The college has also developed a special webpage where students and employees can share their needs.

Finally, I was pleased to host my first Facebook Live on Thursday afternoon. It was well received and I look forward to doing more of these. I encourage you to come to our Facebook page on Tuesday, March 24, at 2 p.m. for another Q&A. I welcome your questions and the time to have a more two-way conversation with you.

Thank you for hanging in there! Please tell us what we can do for you to keep Forsyth Tech the great college and the close family that we are, and will continue to be, not only through this crisis but through the months ahead.

Warm regards,

Janet