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

Good Evening Forsyth Tech Family,

This afternoon, Mayor Allen Joines issued a “Stay-at-Home” Order for the City of Winston-Salem.  The order takes effect at 5:00 PM on Friday, March 27, 2020 and continues in effect through April 16, 2020.  The Mayor’s Executive Order allows educational institutions, including Forsyth Tech, to continue to operate “for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research related to COVID-19, or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible.”

As you know, over the past two weeks, we have worked diligently to transition as many business functions and services as possible to remote operations.  We have still been offering some in-person services, (like the really cool and creative drive-in WiFi initiative that started this morning, Crumbs & Chrome!), but most staff and faculty have been working remotely.  During this extended spring break, our faculty have also worked diligently to prepare for remote learning beginning March 30.  Together we have accomplished a great deal!

In response to the Mayor’s Shelter-in-Place order, college functions and services will now transition to remote operations, with only minimal exceptions.  During the Shelter-in-Place order, only a small number of employees will be allowed access to Forsyth Tech campuses, and only on a very limited basis (some examples of the limited on-campus work that may be done during this time include but are not limited to: our Campus Police, business office staff responsible for writing checks and distributing emergency aid to students, faculty who need to take care of horticulture plants, or facilities staff who might need to deal with a campus maintenance emergency).

If you are an employee who will be able to access our Main campus or the Northwest Center during the Stay-at-Home order, you have already been informed or will be contacted by Friday. All employees allowed to access campus have already received or will receive by Friday a special letter signed by me authorizing you to access one of the campuses.  Beginning Friday, March 27, 2020 at 5:00 PM, only authorized employees will be allowed access to Main campus, and only between 9 AM and 12 Noon, Monday through Friday.  On Northwest Campus, only authorized staff and faculty, and BLET, EMS and first responder students will be allowed access to campus, and only during the scheduled BLET class times.  To access Main Campus or the Northwest Center, you must have the letter from me, along with your Forsyth Tech Photo ID and your driver’s license.  PLEASE NOTE: The COVID19 situation continues to evolve and change rapidly – at this time we are continuing to offer the limited classes mentioned above in person at Northwest Center, however, this is also subject to change.  Stay tuned for updates if anything changes to cause us to shutdown these in person classes.

Forsyth Tech IS open for business – just remotely and under “New Normal” conditions!

I have loved talking with many of you and our students on Facebook Live this week and last. At this, point, I’m planning to have another one on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at 2 p.m. If that changes and we have one sooner, I’ll be sure to let you know.

This Instagram quote resonates with me and is very moving:  Winston Churchill said, “It would be foolish, however, to disguise the gravity of the hour. It would be still more foolish to lose heart and courage.”  Wisdom from the past can be so applicable many, many years later and to me, this particular nugget of wisdom could not be truer than it is right now.

I want you to know that I am thinking of each of you during this stressful and uncertain time. I know we can weather this storm together, but I also know that it has not been easy, and it will likely continue to be difficult in the near future.  We are each dealing with the fear and anxiety that happens in this kind of unprecedented situation.  Please take care of yourselves and your families and please take time to take care of yourself!  Keep the faith and don’t lose heart — we will get through this together and I believe we will come out stronger on the other side!  I also predict, we may never again take a handshake, a hug, or a warm personal greeting for granted, I know I won’t!  Our students still need us and I know how dedicated our faculty and staff are to continuing to support them as they work towards completing their educational goals and achieving their dreams.  I encourage you all to lead them through this storm by BeingCalm, Confident and Courageous, and Compassionate.

Thank you all. Stay home. And stay safe.

Warm Regards,

Janet