There is increased nationwide concern over the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and how it may impact our lives. Naturally PCC students and their parents are also concerned.
We received a call from a parent yesterday indicating they heard we had a case on campus. To be clear: there have been no instances of presumed or confirmed COVID-19 in our PCC community. Nonetheless, this is a very serious situation, and the health and safety of our students is first and foremost our top priority.
Every school and every state is grappling with determining the best course of action. Some states have advised that schools continue to meet as usual; others have advised differently. You may have heard in the news that state universities in Florida are moving to online learning for a period of time and asking students not to return to campus until two weeks after spring break. In those schools, only faculty, staff, and student workers would be required to come on campus. This makes sense since students are traveling and universities want to avoid risk of bringing illness back to campus after spring break. Two weeks provides the needed time to know if anyone is infected, so students in those 12 universities will need to find somewhere else to go and will have to receive their instruction online.
At PCC, our Easter break is not until April so the need to take that kind of step is not imminent for us.
Coronavirus Pensacola Christian College Here is what we are doing:
Per executive order in Florida, schools and colleges (the ones not part of the university system) are to work with their local county health departments to establish protocols. We have done that and have been working directly with the Escambia County Health Department. Our county’s director, Dr. John Lanza, told us yesterday that at this time he does not advise us to close or eliminate face-to-face instruction.
Very likely that advice is based on the fact that the Surgeon General of Florida has stated that there is currently no community transmission of COVID-19 in Florida. As of this morning, there were 31 total cases in the entire state of Florida, and 2 deaths.
In a memo yesterday to Florida College Presidents, it was noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ruled Florida’s student population is at low risk. At this time in Florida, there is no limitation on large group gatherings, and school systems and college systems are still meeting.
President Shoemaker has consulted with PCC’s Board of Directors and Response Taskforce. For now, we will continue on our schedule while exercising appropriate precautions. We will advise should the situation change.
If it doesn’t make sense for students to travel and return to campus, then it also does not make sense that large groups of guests should travel to campus. So, in abundance of caution, for the next two weeks all guest events are canceled including March 18-20 College Days and the pastors advisory panel.
Students have invested much into their education this year; and are concerned about how to finish academically. Some students are eager to finish so they can graduate this year! Whatever happens, we are committed to fulfilling our academic promise. Our entire faculty has been asked to finalize preparations for alternative delivery of instruction. If at any time we cannot meet face-to-face, we will provide each student with online instruction and assessments so that they can finish what they’ve invested so much in.
Coronavirus We are committed to students’ safety and well-being, to continuity of academics, and to each student personally. For example, if the situation warranted sending everyone away from campus, there are many students who may have no place to go, and we want to help them as well. Even if we change modes of instruction, campus will remain open to help.
There is a possibility of changing our mode of instruction. Easter break isn’t until April, so between now and then we’ll be considering best options related to Easter break. There may also be future impacts on graduation ceremonies.
For now, we will continue practicing prevention and containment. We have increased cleaning and disinfecting (and ask students to do the same in their rooms), encouraging covering a cough, maintaining awareness, and not going to class if sick.
We are taking this a day at a time and continually re-evaluating, will seek to do what is in the best interest of our students, and will continue to provide updates as changes occur.
Coronavirus Outbreak Map
Coronavirus Outbreak Map . Com