East Central College is closing until April 6 to help impede the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus.)
ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said the decision was made in regard public health and safety. The closure begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 20.
To date, there are no active cases of COVID-19 among the ECC community, and no one associated with the college has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Dr. Bauer explained that the closure is consistent with a Franklin County Commission order addressing the capacity of people in buildings, as well as CDC and Surgeon General guidelines of “15 days to stop the spread” of the coronavirus.
“This closure is necessary for the safety of our students and employees, and consistent with public health objectives,” he said.
ECC was scheduled to be closed for spring break March 22-28. The new directive states that employees and students will not be on campus until April 6. The closure includes the Union and Rolla campuses.
Beginning April 6, instruction will continue remotely and online. ECC facilities will only be open to employees, and students for essential services/support.
During a special board of trustees meeting March 20, Dr. Bauer said he has been meeting with ECC vice presidents, faculty, staff and other college representatives, as well as the presidents of other Missouri colleges and universities.
“This is consistent with what other institutions have been doing and what we all feel is the appropriate thing to do,” he said.
Trustees also approved several emergency measures that will enable ECC to take immediate action to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There will be 10 days of paid emergency leave available to full-time employees who are unable to work because they are caring for a minor due to school and daycare closures. The leave must be approved by supervisors. The leave is in conjunction with federal emergency leave recently approved by congress.
Part-time employees will be paid up to 10 days of work that they would be scheduled if the college must close due to a pandemic.
“The sudden and unexpected nature of the pandemic has created significant economic uncertainty,” Dr. Bauer said. “This measure will provide some stability for part-time employees if we need to close for a period of time.”
Trustees also granted the ECC president the authority to close the college during an emergency. Previously the college could only be closed for holidays and inclement weather.
The ECC president also was granted the authority to enact other student or personnel policies to meet public health objectives as a result of a pandemic. The authority to enact measures would not exceed 90 days.
“These are unprecedented times. Consequently, the measures requested are extraordinary,” Dr. Bauer said. “They are proposed after a great deal of consideration and with the interests of our students, employees, and other stakeholders in mind.”
ECC will continue to update the community on the impact of COVID-19 on students and employees at www.eastcentral.edu/covid/. Information also shared through the ECC Facebook page and Twitter.