As many of you may know, in light of the continuing spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our State and out of an abundance of caution to safeguard the public health, Governor McMaster has directed the closure of all public institutions of higher education in the State effective Monday, March 16, 2020, and lasting through Tuesday, March 31, 2020, unless such directive is otherwise modified, amended, extended, or rescinded. The Governor’s Executive Order No. 2020-09 is attached for your review and information.
These two weeks will allow time for Denmark Technical College to test our business continuity plan and online instruction module and for the President’s Cabinet to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in our service area.
Please note that included in the Executive Order is authority extended to me as President of the College to require personnel designated as essential, or whose presence is otherwise deemed necessary, to be excluded from this Order. Consequently, Public Safety Officers, Parking Enforcement Officers (Gate and Patrolling), and Residence Hall Supervisors (at least for the next two days), and members of the President’s Cabinet will be required to work as previously scheduled or based on a modified schedule. Any scheduled changes for essential personnel will be communicated by the respective Vice President or Associate Vice President, with Presidential approval.
Additionally, the Executive Order allows flexibility to the College to make any necessary and appropriate decisions or arrangements to account for local needs and other unique circumstances, to include establishing or maintaining means to deliver virtual instruction and remote learning, make needed repairs to facilities, and to prepare for upcoming time-sensitive documents to include SACSCOC, the Strategic Plan, etc.
I am convening the President’s Cabinet tomorrow morning to begin discussions around our path forward in the current environment. These discussions will be about the potential of having faculty and staff participate in Zoom conferencing, professional learning to administer online learning, discuss and plan for the impact of our state closure, and lastly, to ensure we are prepared to return to full operations at the earliest possible time.
Please know that any decisions made regarding College operations will be made in full consideration of both our employees and our students.
I pray that you and your family as well as we traverse through these uncertain times. I appreciate each of you and know that you understand that our current circumstances will likely require that we all perform some work-related tasks during these two weeks.
In our effort to keep the Denmark Technical College (DTC) community updated on the College’s actions with COVID-19 (the coronavirus) and the steps underway to ensure your health and safety on campus, College leadership has been and continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and is receiving guidance from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At this time, no classes are canceled, our campus and satellite sites remain open, as there are no reported cases of COVID-19 on campus nor any known cases in the general service area of the College.
To ensure you always have access to the latest information and guidance, the college has created a COVID-19 webpage that will be continually updated with actions we are implementing to keep you safe and provide ways you can stay healthy, including infection prevention tips and information. Please check this site regularly for the latest COVID-19 updates from the college.
The College has established a COVID-19 Response Task Force that is guiding our planning efforts and ensuring departmental/program business continuity plans are in place. Additional cleaning and disinfectant actions are being implemented. As part of this plan, we will be wiping down with disinfectants all doors, doorknobs/handles, banisters, water fountains, telephones, elevator buttons, and anything hands touch. Additional hand sanitizer stations will be established and training on proper hand washing and other preventive measures will be scheduled.
A number of colleges and universities in the state have extended student break periods and/or suspended in-classroom instruction due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are hopeful that Denmark Technical College will not have to move to this measure; however, we are planning ahead for this possibility and preparing resources now for students to receive on-line instruction in the event it becomes necessary to move from a face-to-face mode to an online course delivery mode.
Desire2Learn (D2L) is the college’s integrated online learning platform. Even if you are not taking online courses currently, you should log in to your D2L account now to ensure access to online instructional materials in the event that the college must modify its in-person class schedule. If you need assistance accessing your D2L courses, you can get help by emailing StudentITHelpdesk@wordpress-396735-1248807.cloudwaysapps.com or calling 803-793-5247. Any specific questions related to course content should be directed to your class instructor.
COLLEGE ACTIONS TO HELP MITIGATE SPREAD OF VIRUS TRAVEL
• Once students return to campus, Residence Hall students are strongly encouraged to limit travel outside the tri-county area.
• There will be no college-sponsored travel for students outside of the tri-county area with the exception of mandatory clinical rotations.
• There will be no travel for employees outside of the tri-county area with the exception of travel required to support an essential function. All travel outside of the tri-county area must be approved, in advance by a member of the College Cabinet. Employees should explore video and teleconferencing as alternatives to travel.
• These travel restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. We are continuing to monitor the guidance from the CDC and SCDHEC concerning travel and will revisit the travel restrictions on a weekly basis.
COLLEGE SPONSORED EVENTS
Although SCDHEC does not recommend closing schools or canceling public events at this time, the College has decided to postpone large college-sponsored events until further notice.
More events may likely be canceled; however, we will provide updates through the COVID-19 webpage and the student portal as those decisions are made.
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is offering free virtual care screenings for COVID-19. This service is available through video visits, phone calls, or chats to anyone in South Carolina who is experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms or believes they have been exposed to the virus. Anyone in South Carolina can log on to the following website and get this free screening using the promo code COVID19 when checking out. https://campaigns.muschealth.org/virtual-care/index.html
We are committed to keeping you fully informed as the situation evolves. Please review the DTC COVID-19 webpage frequently to remain updated and continue to practice prevention actions such as handwashing, coughing and sneezing onto your arm, and self-evaluating for symptoms of fever, difficulty breathing, coughing, body aches, and pain.