Southwest leaders announce full return to campus this Fall


By Daphne Thomas
April 14, 2021

Southwest Tennessee Community College officials announced during a virtual Town Hall Forum for faculty and staff yesterday a full return to campus this Fall. After 13 months of primarily remote learning, officials said the College’s Back to Campus Plan – Phase IV focuses on getting students and employees safely back for in-person learning and campus operations in accordance with Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“We have already exercised extreme caution by working from home for one year and one month,” Southwest President Tracy D. Hall said. “We look forward to a return to on-campus operations because of the nature of the work we do,” she later said.

Understanding the mission of Southwest, Hall said the College will continue to accommodate students and respond to their needs, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Southwest’s senior leadership and COVID-19 Task Force have worked diligently to enhance safety protocols already in place and, with Coronavirus vaccination rates increasing and students asking for in-person classes, administrators are confident in the College’s reopening. “We will return with the same safety in mind as we have throughout the pandemic,” Hall said. In addition, face masks and social distancing will continue to be promoted and enforced until health agencies recommend otherwise. Public facing workspaces also have been retrofitted with sneeze guards and new air filters have been installed in facilities to lessen the risk of disease transmission.

Regarding classes, a variety of teaching modalities will continue to be offered, including online, on-campus and hybrid courses that are half online and half on-campus. Southwest plans a shift to about 40 percent of courses offered online and 60 percent on campus. Student support services return to campus operations April 19. Staff from recruitment, admissions, records, advising, financial aid, and more will provide face-to-face service by appointment only. In addition, on-campus tours resume April 23 on the Macon Cove and Union Avenue campuses. The College’s summer bridge programs that prepare entering freshman for college coursework will be held on campus this summer.

Hall also announced that the Gill Center vaccination site will open Tuesday, April 20 in Frayser as the College’s second COVID-19 vaccination site. It will be operated in partnership with the City of Memphis and Shelby County Health Department. “We are the community’s college,” Hall said. “We are obliged and happy to serve the Frayser community in this manner.” This marks the College’s second vaccination site. The Whitehaven Center vaccination site has administered 30,000 shots since it opened Feb. 5.

Southwest celebrates this year’s graduates with an in-person commencement ceremony May 1 at 10:30 a.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Designed to provide the safest environment possible, this year’s ceremony marks the College’s first-ever outdoor commencement. The rain date is May 2. More commencement information is available online at www.southwest.tn.edu/graduation.

The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to monitor the pandemic and plan accordingly. Additional information is available on the College’s Back to Campus Plan website at www.southwest.tn.edu/back-to-campus/.

 

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