Three local colleges have announced they will modify their schedules beginning Monday, March 16 in response to the Coronavirus and the public health concerns that have resulted from the subsequent pandemic.
All three colleges worked together in their emergency preparations and communication strategies, each with variations on implementation according the particular needs of their institutions.
The three presidents, Dr. Jonah Rice, Southeastern Illinois College, Mr. Terry Wilkerson, Rend Lake College, and Mr. George Evans, Kaskaskia College, all emphasized the importance of student, staff, and public safety in their decision-making.
The presidents said they have worked with key personnel and for nearly two weeks on planning and implementation for just such an emergency, and have kept staff and students informed of the process. State and federal officials and resources also were utilized in the decision to modify schedules.
Kaskaskia College President George Evans wrote in a mass email Friday afternoon:
Due to the highly unusual situation regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, we have made the prudent choice to implement the following procedures effective immediately:
1) Kaskaskia College will cancel all college classes, functions, and events from Monday, March 16 through Friday March 20. As per the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations for higher education, when classes are closed due to Coronavirus, all extra-curricular activities are to be canceled during this time. This period will allow instructors and staff to prepare for alternative/remote instruction and services.
2) Effective immediately the remainder of the spring athletic season will be cancelled. All athletic and student scholarships will continue to be honored.
3) Beginning Monday, March 23 through at least Friday, April 3— all students will engage in online/distance learning for two weeks in order to limit disruption to learning. KC staff and faculty will reach out to students as needed. KC administrators and faculty will be working over the next few days to address the lab portion of courses and clinical site cancellations. Further information regarding such will continue to be posted on the college’s website, and come from your respective program coordinators.
- All currently scheduled online courses, to include online and hybrid courses beginning Monday March 16th will continue as scheduled with no interruption. Any questions should be directed towards your instructor or Instructional Dean
4) All students are expected to check their KC e-mail daily for communication from the college and your instructors.
5) Enrollment questions should be directed to kc[email protected] for current students and new students. All faculty mentor holds will be lifted during the time frame of March 16 through April 3.
6) The Kaskaskia College Children’s Learning Center will be open, and following all CDC recommended protocol.
7) The Kaskaskia College Board of Trustees meeting will take place as scheduled on Monday, March 23rd, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
8) The College is not closing. We will transition for the next three weeks to an alternative method of providing coursework and programming to our student populations. All staff and faculty will continue to work from campus during this time period with social distancing and safety standards to be stressed. Remote work is an option with no absences registered as long as the immediate Dean and Cabinet supervisor are informed of the option during this defined period of time.
9) Effective March 16, all non-essential travel will be cancelled. Anyone with questions regarding their travel plans are to contact their immediate supervisor for consultation on what is deemed essential travel
10) All campus events (public and private) scheduled during this time frame will be cancelled. Only a few exceptions will be made regarding operations and facility projects. Employees or external point of contact personnel, please contact the immediate cabinet member or appropriate campus administrator over the event for consultation on any gathering on campus.
These decisions were made in consultation with State and Federal sources as well as local college officials, and in a cooperative spirit amongst the southern Illinois Community College Presidents. We have been in near constant contact and are actively sharing resources in order to make the best decisions we can with the best evidence at our disposal. Ultimately, this strategy is a calculated precaution and public health measure designed to align with other higher education institutions and entities. Our top priority is the comprehensive safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.
This situation is unprecedented, resulting in major disruptions at all levels of our society and economy. I thank you for your patience and understanding, particularly as we all navigate through uncharted territory. I know questions will arise, challenges will occur, and unforeseen issues will result. Please know that patience and perseverance will help us prevail as long as we work together for the common good. This too will pass and we will work through this temporary situation together.
We encourage staff and students to continue to follow CDC and IDPH guidelines regarding hygiene and social distancing especially during this alternate scheduling period.
For campus updates, please visit https://www.kaskaskia.edu/covid19/. Kaskaskia College will post updates and important communication at this location.”
Rend Lake College is also extending its spring break and will move to online beginning March 23. Students are encouraged to check their school email and Canvas for further updates.
“We are taking these actions out of an abundance of caution, with the well-being of our students and employees in mind. We have been in contact with state and federal sources, as well as educational partners in our area,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson.