Allen Takes Action For Safety of Students, Their Families

Bruce Symes, Flame Adviser

Allen Community College administrators and departmental directors have been keeping apprised of the latest news from federal, state and local official and have been meeting continuously to determine the most prudent ways to continue the college’s operations while ensuring the safety of students and their families as well as college personnel.

“College Administration and key personnel have been meeting, and will continue to meet, to work on viable alternatives to help our students complete the spring semester,” Allen President John Masterson said. “We continue to monitor directives and recommendations from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment), and Southeast Kansas Mulit-County Health Department. Alternative processes for college operations are also being developed.”

Allen students and personnel were told before Spring Break began this week to watch emails and the college’s website for news about the coronavirus and college operations. Monday, it was announced that online classes would resume as scheduled on Monday, March 23, and that all face-to-face classes would be converted to online format beginning March 30.

The following official statement from Masterson was issued today, March 19, regarding the coronavirus and its effect on operation of the college at its Iola and Burlingame campuses, as well as online.

Buildings:

  • Effective immediately, all College facilities will be closed to the general public and students.  Signs will be posted at all entry doors, on both campuses.  Starting 03/19/20, employees will need a key to enter the building.  Doors will lock behind us.  Visitors and students will need to make an appointment to be allowed in the building.
  •  Students in college housing are being encouraged to move home if at all possible.  With the campus closed to all but employees and those individuals with appointments, there will be little for students to do and meals will be grab-and-go.  Coaches are helping reach out to their athletes to encourage and help students move home.

Academic:

  • Our professional online staff has loaded BCS content into course shells where it exists for faculty to review and update, for each face-to-face course that is being converted to an online course.
  • Faculty will be physically present to prepare courses starting 03/23/20.  Jon Marshall and the deans will meet with faculty in small groups beginning 03/23/20 to provide guidance as needed.
  • Courses that were converted to online instruction will begin on 03/30/20.
  • Courses that were previously scheduled for online delivery will begin on 03/23/20, as planned.
  • All courses will remain online through the SP20 semester.

Refunds:

  • Refunds for room and board will be available.  College administrators are collecting information about how and when to complete refunds, and will provide employees with guidance.  Currently, it is unknown exactly when refunds will be issued.  This will take place as soon as we have the names of those individuals eligible for a refund and determine how and when those refunds will be made.

Student Services:

  • Alternative check out procedures for student housing have been developed.  Ryan Bilderback will notify students regarding new processes, and work with housing personnel about how to carry out those processes.  Safety of the students and staff are paramount.
  • International students need to talk with Nikki Peters prior to leaving campus.

Quarantine:

  • The directive from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as of March 18, 2020 indicates that a mandatory 14-day home quarantine for Kansas who have: Traveled to California, Florida, New York and Washington state on or after March 15, 2020; Visited Eagle, Summit, Pitkin, or Gunnison counties in Colorado in the week prior to March 15 or after; or have been on a cruise or traveled internationally since March 15.
  • It is important that faculty, staff, or students who fall into any of these categories, self-report so that arrangements can be made.  Faculty and staff should self-report to their supervisor and Shellie Regehr, HR Specialist.  Students should report to Ryan Bilderback on the Iola Campus and Dr. Chris Green on the Burlingame Campus.

Student Workers

  • Beginning Monday, March 23, student workers will not be permitted in College buildings.

Food Service

  • Beginning Monday, March 23, food service will be serving only grab-and-go meals.
  • Details will be provided to students who are still on campus.
  • At this time, food service will not be available to faculty and staff.  The business office is developing a plan to reimburse for meal tickets.

Human Resources

  • While the College remains open, faculty and staff will be subject to existing policies regarding paid time off.
  • College leadership will be flexible in approving requests for paid time off, please schedule with your supervisor.
  • Alternative work schedules are being considered.
  • Employees who have a position that job requirements have changed due to actions taken in response to the COVID-19 virus may be given alternative duties.

Cancellations, postponements and building access.

  • Commencement ceremonies have been cancelled.  Alternatives are being considered
  • The endowment GALA is postponed.
  • Athletic Booster Club luncheons are cancelled until further notice.
  • The athletic banquet is cancelled.
  • No meetings with more than 10 people are allowed, and social distancing should be practiced.
  • No student workers on campus after 03/20/20.
  • All athletic events and practices have been cancel nationally for the remainder of the semester.
  • No recruiting travel until further notice (NJCAA).
  • No athletic visits on campus.
  • Theatre/Music productions are cancelled.
  • Business travel is prohibited, except campus to campus travel (as approved).
  • No students on campus without an appointment, including housing.
  • The Allen Library is closed.
  • The Student Center is closed.
  • The Activity Building is closed.
  • The Allen Bookstore is by appointment.
  • The Cafeteria is by appointment.  The College will set times for grab-and-go lunches, and relay that information to the students.

Masterson concluded, “I have never been confronted with such challenging and wide ranging problems in my career. Updates on national, state, and local information regarding our fight with COVID-19 can be found on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Southeast Kansas Multi-Health Department.  I encourage you to visit those sites to get information not only on the virus, but also how to control it.

“We will get through this together.  Please do not hesitate to contact an administrator with your concerns or problems.”