Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

The situation involving the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing quickly. This site will be updated when new information becomes available in regard to the steps and actions East Central College is taking in response to the CDC’s guidelines and recommendations.

The College has enacted the following protective measures for students, faculty and staff.

College Buildings Closed to Students and the Public

As scheduled, instruction of classes to ECC students will be delivered online and/or remotely beginning Monday, April 6. As of Thursday, April 2, however, tutoring, advisement and other student support will be provided remotely (phone, email. Zoom, etc.)

Facilities will reopen on a very limited basis on Monday, April 20. This will be to provide essential services and/or access to WiFi or computers by appointment. This date is subject to change, based on local restrictions or conditions.

Commencement Postponed

The College will postpone Commencement given the current situation and the likelihood that we will continue to be under advisories regarding public gatherings. No specific plans for a rescheduled date; either this summer or winter to ensure our graduates have the opportunity to take part in this important event.

ECC Campus Closed from March 21 to April 6

The college is closing until April 6 to help impede the spread of COVID-19. 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.

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.

New Student Registration Delayed until April 20

New students can begin registering for classes Monday, April 20, which is about three weeks later than the initial start date. The change also will limit the number of students on campus at the same time. Registration for current students opened Monday, March 16, and it will continue remotely or online after the college staff returns from spring break on Monday, April 6.

Spring Break

Students will return to coursework to be delivered online or remotely starting Monday, April 6.

Online/Remote Instruction

Classes will be taught online or in a remote fashion beginning Monday, April 6.

Facilities closed to the public

All ECC facilities are closed to the public.  Only current and future ECC students are allowed on campus for certain student services assistance. Employees are allowed in facilities.

All Campus Events/Activities Canceled

The College has canceled public events for the 2020 spring semester to comply with the Centers for Disease Control Recommendations. A decision on Commencement and other graduation activities will be made at a later date.


Messages from ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer

Good afternoon,

I met this morning via Zoom with a large leadership group that included administrators, several managers, and the leadership from the various employee groups. One of the primary topics of discussion was our schedule beginning next week, as instruction resumes remotely. As you know, we are working to balance two important priorities: the health and safety of our students and employees, and the need to support the students who are now learning in a much different environment. The discussion and input today was both thoughtful and helpful.

Accordingly, we will resume instruction (remotely) as scheduled on Monday. However, there will be restrictions on the use of our facilities for two more weeks. This is put in place out of great concern for the well-being of our employees and students. I would ask as you become familiar with these restrictions, be mindful that we will likely have students showing up on Monday and Tuesday in need of assistance. We need to be prepared to safely, compassionately, and effectively work with these students to get them the support needed.

We are working diligently to provide WiFi devices or computers, as needed, so students can successfully make this transition. Watch for additional information about those resources and processes.

Effective April 6 through April 19:

  1. Instruction will resume via remote platforms, as scheduled.
  2. College buildings are closed to students and the public. The campus parking lots are open with WiFi availability.
  3. Tutoring, advisement, and other student support will be provided remotely (phone, email, Zoom, etc.).
  4. Faculty and staff are highly encouraged to work at home if possible. With supervisory approval, employees may work from campus to provide remote instruction and essential services. Any employee who is unable to work from home or on campus may use the various forms of leave now available.
  5. Facilities will reopen on a very limited basis on April 20. This will be to provide essential services and/or access to WiFi or computers by appointment. This date is subject to change, based on local restrictions or conditions.
  6. We recognize some students do not have access to WiFi or devices without being on campus. We are working on a process to provide students network and/or computer access in order to proceed with remote instruction. Students should watch for additional information regarding the process to safely check out this technology via the main campus library or the Rolla site. Students without adequate access to technology should contact their advisor or instructor for assistance.
  7. Any exceptions to the restrictions on student access through April 19 must be approved by the President or appropriate Vice President. Exceptions will be granted strictly to provide instruction, testing, or other essential student services, where remote delivery is not feasible. Beginning April 20, student access for technology or services will be granted on an appointment basis.
  8. The college is committed to supporting students who are now learning remotely, and will continue to evaluate methods of expanding or enhancing that support.

The college will continue to evaluate services and adapt based on changing conditions.

These are extraordinary times. Let’s make an extraordinary effort to serve our students and ensure the well-being of our employees. 

Dear student,

I know this is a challenging and surreal time. Within just a few weeks it feels as if our world has been turned upside down. I don’t know about you, but there are times I feel like an extra in a science fiction movie.

I hope you are well, and I hope you are being safe. Please follow the guidelines regarding social distancing and limiting your movements away from home to essential tasks. If you are ill, even just “under the weather,” be in touch with your doctor or a local clinic.

This morning, as we approach the resumption of classes with remote delivery, I want to check in on you. Are you ready to resume class Monday? Have you planned for how you will complete the semester with classes being much different than before the break? Your faculty, advisors, and other college employees have been working diligently to make sure you can succeed in this new environment. I encourage you to focus on how you will do this, because you can!

I also want to know what you need to be successful. What questions do you have? What concerns? What kind of help would be important? Do you have access to the internet? Do you have the hardware you need to work online or by Zoom? You can reply directly to me, or be in touch with your instructors or advisor. We are here to help.

Together, we can have a successful completion of the spring semester. Together, we can make sure you reach your academic goals. Together, we can do this.

Your health and safety is my top priority. But I am also concerned about your academic well-being, and want to be sure we are doing everything we can to help.

I look forward to hearing from you. Be safe, and be well.

Good evening,

I hope this email finds you safe and well as we manage through some very uncertain times. The last few weeks have brought a great deal of change—often at just the time we think we can see the road immediately ahead of us. This in itself can be stressful, as we look for certainty in the midst of great instability.

My goal, shared by other leaders at ECC, is to protect your well-being, ensure a safe working environment, and provide the tools and flexibility needed to do your job and still manage everything else around you. I know it’s a lot, believe me.

We are committed to maintaining an open line of communication, which may mean multiple messages over a fairly short period of time as the circumstances warrant. I also want you to know the kinds of things being considered. This often occurs in nearly real time. It is important for you to know what’s on our radar.

But above all, I want you to be well.

In addition to my concern for employees, I am equally concerned about students through this chaotic time. Many are nearing the milestone of graduation. Others may be struggling under the best of circumstances, and now find themselves dangerously close to leaving college. We need to approach this from the standpoint of doing everything possible to enable students to keep moving forward. Let’s make it possible for them to persist. But we also need to listen to their needs and understand what matters most. Above all, if we do what’s right for the student, we’ll be doing what’s right.

At the emergency board meeting, trustees provided the authority to implement policies as needed to respond to this crisis. I intend to use that authority for the benefit of our employees and students.

The situation continues to evolve, and I want to update you about several specific items relating to the Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. The leadership team met Monday for continued planning and decision-making while we ready for a limited reopening. An expanded group—including leadership from the employee groups—will meet again Thursday.

Some updated information as of this evening:

Third Stimulus (Federal CARES Act)—We continue to learn more about the provisions of the most recent stimulus act. This measure includes funding for higher education, as well as targeted regulatory relief intended to assist colleges and universities as we work through the semester. I took part in an AACC briefing this afternoon. There is roughly $12.558 billion that is expected to be disbursed directly to institutions. These funds will be distributed on a formula that is based 75% on a college’s Pell Grant enrollment, and 25% on non-Pell FTE. There are several models of the funding that have been produced. Our most recent estimate, as of this evening, provides for approximately $1.785 million for East Central College. Half of those funds are earmarked for “Emergency Financial Aid Grants” for students impacted by the Coronavirus. The other half is to provide relief to colleges who are facing (a) extraordinary costs as we respond to the pandemic, and (b) the likelihood of significant reductions in state aid as revenue declines due to decreased economic activity. We do not know at the moment when those funds will be distributed. We also know there will be additional funds distributed to the states, and then allocated to colleges by way of the Governor. We are actively working in Jefferson City to understand how these funds will be handled and to make sure community colleges such as East Central are treated fairly.

State Funding—We expect to hear tomorrow about the initial impact on the state’s economy. As of this writing, I do not know what that means in terms of funding, but it seems likely that withholding of a portion of our remaining state aid will occur. The impact will depend on the amount of any reduction, balanced by the increased funding we expect to receive in federal funds. We have also started to hear pessimistic projections about the upcoming fiscal year, and a likely decrease in higher education funding for FY21. This is much different from the opening of the session in January. I will update you as soon as more details become available.

Our Plans Next Week—We are scheduled to resume instruction on Monday, April 6, with nearly everything to be delivered via remote platforms. There is a very limited amount of instruction that may need to occur in person, but steps will be taken to both limit the number of students involved, and ensure appropriate social distancing occurs.

We originally intended to reopen the campus for essential services for students. Employees have the option of working from home with supervisory approval. We are actively reviewing whether the campus will be open at all next week, in light of federal, state, and local restrictions. At this point, employees who are able to work from home are highly encouraged to do so. We will decide before the end of the week whether circumstances warrant a full work-from-home posture for an extended period of time. We will also be in close contact with students, to make sure they understand what is available in terms of services and support.

Working From Home—Some positions lend themselves more readily than others to working from home. Be sure to talk to your supervisor about how your work can be accomplished from home. We will attempt to provide all of the resources necessary for this to occur. At the same time, we may need to use some employees in different capacities. I ask that you be open and flexible to this as we work through this time.

Rolla Facilities—We are working on plans to consolidate operations as much as possible to the Rolla North facility. This is due in part to the expectation that Rolla Main may not be available due to the school district’s schedule. That discussion will continue when we meet again Thursday. The city government in Rolla adopted a Stay-at-Home order last night. This will be impact our decisions regarding operations in Rolla, although educational institutions are deemed essential and allowed to remain open.

Leave Process—Also Thursday, we will finalize some specific procedures related to the use of Emergency Leave authorized by the Board of Trustees, Emergency Family Leave and Emergency Sick Leave authorized by Congress, and existing leave also available to employees. I realize there are lots of questions about how each form of leave applies and may be used. Watch for additional information by email and on the web page as this is finalized.

Deep Cleaning—Our facilities staff will be conducting a deep cleaning of the campus through the end of the week. Please be advised the campus will be largely inaccessible through Friday. If it is imperative to be on campus, please coordinate with Tot Pratt for a date/time that works for your building an office.

We decided several items related specifically related to students:

Drop Date—We are extending the student initiated withdrawal date to May 1. We want our students to have ample opportunity to work through the transition to remotely delivered instruction. Without this change, students would be faced with deciding within one week whether they will be able to navigate this change, or if they should drop.

  1. If a student wishes to drop a course he or she will first reach out to the faculty member by email. Faculty will have the opportunity to discuss course completion options.
  2. If the student requires resources such as emergency funds, tutoring, or other help in order to be successful, the faculty member is asked to make an AVISO retention referral.
  3. After the conversation with the student, if he or she still intends to drop, the faculty member will forward the email to the student’s advisor in AVISO with a summary of the conversation with the student, and the last date of attendance.
  4. The advisor will also follow up with the student and then forward to Sarah Scroggins. Email will be used, rather than the traditional drop form.

Incomplete:  This option is already available to students. However, Sarah Scroggins indicated in our meeting earlier this week that fewer than half of students with an incomplete finish their contract. This results in an “F” on their transcript.  This option should be considered very carefully. An additional six months may be added if it will assist the student with completion. Consideration of an incomplete should be discussed between the faculty member and his or her dean.

Additional Information for Faculty & Instructional Staff—If you have not reviewed it already, please see Vice President Robyn Walter’s email to faculty and instructional staff sent March 30. Some of the information has been covered here, but there are additional details and instructions related to instruction.

Payment Deadlines—Students will receive information about an extended deadline for payment for Summer 2020 classes. If necessary, we will revise the Fall Semester deadline that occurs this summer. We will also work with students to explore options such as the payment plan.

Emergency Grants—As mentioned above, at least half of the federal funds received must be used for Emergency Financial Aid Grants that we will distribute directly to students. As of this evening, we await more direction from the U.S. Department of Education regarding those grants. We will be sure students are quickly informed as more information becomes available.

Communication With Students:  Students this week will receive a phone call this week from an ECC staff member. As we prepare to resume instruction, it is vital that we check in on their well-being, discuss concerns they may have, and determine what issues they may be facing when it comes to broadband or computer access. This is not a one-time contact. Throughout the semester, please make every effort to remain in close contact with students you teach or otherwise support. As stressful as these times are for us, they are equally concerning for many of our students. Moreover, for many ECC is a place of safety and stability. Now that place is being quickly and significantly changed. It is impossible to do too much to help them through this time.

Website—Be sure to visit the ECC Covid-19 response webpage. We will continue to add information to the site, including the FAQs for students and employees. This week we have added information related to both our health insurance and the PSRS/PEERS retirement systems.

I will have an additional update later this week. In the meantime, if you have specific questions or issues, please contact me or your Vice President.

Together, extraordinary work has occurred in a very short time. We all know there is much more to do, and the most difficult work may yet be ahead of us. Together, however, I have no doubt that we will rise to the occasion.

Jon

I want to provide a few updates regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on ECC.

Commencement—Given the current situation and the likelihood that we will continue to be under advisories regarding public gatherings for quite a while, we will postpone this spring’s commencement exercises. At this time, we do not have specific plans for a rescheduled date. We plan to have commencement either this summer or winter, as circumstances permit, to ensure our graduates have the opportunity to take part in this important event. I will be notifying students today, followed by a public announcement.

Medical Supplies—Yesterday and today, we have been distributing our medical supplies to area hospitals in Washington, Sullivan, and Rolla, and to local ambulance departments. Sincere thanks to all who have participated in this effort, especially Nancy Mitchell and the nursing department, Tom Fitts and Jennifer Goodson for paramedic, and Jen Higerd, who had masks used for ceramics. These supplies include PPE such as masks, face shields, gowns, gloves, alcohol pads, shoe covers, and other supplies. Our hospital & ambulance partners are always there for us, and it is a privilege to provide assistance in this time.

Federal Stimulus—We await specific information about higher education funding in the stimulus package that is expected to be approved today. I have worked directly on this effort over the past few days and believe there will be some regulatory relief from the Department of Education, as well as funding for students and institutions. I know there has been a lot of dissatisfaction that a package was not approved sooner. However, the additional work of the past two days is likely to result in additional resources for higher education. Much of this will be in the form of emergency grants to students, as well as funding for colleges and universities. These resources are badly needed, and I am hopeful the final package will address our needs.  I will keep you informed.

Ongoing Operations—A meeting will be held this Monday, via Zoom, for a range of operational decisions for ECC going forward. As of today, we anticipate resuming instruction on April 6 through remote platforms, and opening on a limited basis for services. However, circumstances change very quickly throughout each day regarding local restrictions, state requirements, and federal regulation.

 

That’s all for now. During the break, I will update the campus as new information becomes available.

Dear student,

I hope you are well during this very difficult time. There is a great deal of change and uncertainty right now, including that which is related to your experience at East Central College. I want you to know that your health and well-being is our top priority, and that we are committed to providing an environment that will enable you to reach your academic goals while protecting the health of our students, employees, and the community.

We have delayed until now a decision about our upcoming commencement. In light of current restrictions concerning large groups, and the likelihood that those restrictions will continue for quite a while, we have decided to postpone commencement.

This is a difficult decision. I believe strongly that commencement is a very important milestone for students, their family and friends, and our faculty and staff. I never want a student deprived of that opportunity.

Our plan is to reschedule commencement later this year, perhaps late summer or as a winter event. All graduates will be invited to participate. We do not have further information about the ceremony at this point, but we will keep you informed. We will also keep updated information posted on our website.

I want to encourage you to keep moving forward as we work through the pandemic. Your academic environment has changed, but our commitment to you has not. You can do this, and I look forward to congratulating you when the day comes that you walk across the stage as a graduate of East Central College.

 

Be well, and be safe.

Good afternoon,

I think it’s helpful to summarize a lot of information in a final update before spring break. Some of this has been conveyed already, but there is some additional detail that will likely be useful.

Campus Closure—We will remain closed for one week after our planned spring break. The campus will reopen on Monday, April 6. During this time, there will be no public activity or planned meetings or events. There is a limited amount of maintenance and business office work that is time-sensitive and will involve employees on campus. Faculty will be allowed to access their offices as needed to prepare for the remainder of the semester. Be advised that daily cleaning will not take place. A deep cleaning is scheduled April 1-3, and employees will not have access to the buildings during that time.

Emergency Leave—The Board of Trustees authorized emergency leave for full-time employees. With the closure of campus March 30-April 3, those days will be treated similarly to snow days, and no leave will be required.

Part-Time Employees—The board authorized pay for part-time employees for up to 10 days when the college is closed for an emergency. Employees should submit timecards no later than noon, April 6, for hours that would have been worked the week of March 30.

Student Workers—Please see Jon Gruett’s email regarding student workers. As with other part-time employees, timesheets should be completed for the week of March 30 for the hours they would have been scheduled.

Work From Home—Employees who are interested in working from home should contact their supervisor. This option is initially available April 6-17, with supervisory approval, and we will evaluate potential extensions of that time the week of April 13.

Web Site—A web site with a wide range of information related to the Coronavirus and the actions taken at ECC can be found at https://www.eastcentral.edu/covid/  Additional information, including employee FAQs, will be added on a frequent basis.

Federal Leave—As we get more information about the regulations surrounding the emergency family leave and emergency sick leave authorized by Congress, we will keep the employee section of the Coronavirus updated. We expect further regulations to be promulgated before the law takes effect April 2.

WiFi/Hot Spots—We plan to secure mobile hot spots that can be used by students or employees who do not have access to broadband. At this time, we do not know how quickly they will become available. We are working now on procedures for obtaining and using those hot spots. Stay tuned.

Public Events—As you know, public events on campus are cancelled for the remainder of the semester. When we reopen, the facilities will be restricted to use by students and employees.

Commencement—No decision has been made to date regarding commencement. We will determine plans by April 1. The bookstore will not plan to order caps and gowns until after that date. If commencement is cancelled, we will look at either a summer or winter ceremony instead.

Board Meeting—The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees will be at 5:30 p.m., Monday, April 13. The meeting will be held by conference call. A link will be distributed with the agenda for the meeting, no later than April 10.

Normally, we would leave for spring break with a great deal of excitement. I understand we leave instead with a great level of anxiety and uncertainty. Please remember it is important to relax and recharge as much as possible in this environment. We have each dealt with a lot over the last few weeks. Use this time to get ready for the remainder of the semester and to be equipped to serve our students when we resume.

Finally, thank you for the encouraging words that have been conveyed to me and the rest of the leadership team. Please know they are greatly appreciated.

Colleagues,

A few updates tonight (March 18) regarding our actions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

New Student Registration—We have decided to delay until April 20 the starting date for registration of new students. This was done in order to better manage the volume of students we expect to be on campus for registration. The delay for new students gives our staff time to work with currently enrolled students for a longer period of time after spring break. This delay is also likely to relieve some initial pressure on the testing center when we return from break, while still providing sufficient time for new students to enroll throughout the spring and summer.

 

Emergency Leave—The first coronavirus relief package was passed by Congress and signed into law tonight. One of the provisions includes emergency leave for certain individuals. My understanding tonight is that this includes employees who need leave as a result of school closures. An initial summary indicates this involves two weeks of paid leave, and a longer period of leave similar to FMLA to guarantee one’s employment. I want to emphasize that this is very preliminary. As more details are known, we will keep you informed.

 

State Response—I have received a number of questions concerning the possibility that the state could mandate closure of schools and possibly colleges. This has happened in some states. Our understanding is that this action is unlikely at present, as the governor believes these decisions are best made at the local level. I think it is impossible to project whether a statewide mandate will occur. At this moment, it seems unlikely. But the situation changes quickly and that could be true for a state mandate.

 

A+ Students—The closure of schools could impact students in the A+ program. For example, high school students may have difficulty meeting the service hour requirement. Moreover, their GPA may suffer as a result of the interruption in instruction. We have the same concern for students at ECC who have to maintain their GPA in order to retain the A+ benefit. We have been informed that the Department of Higher Education is evaluating these concerns and developing proposals to help students maintain their A+ benefit.

 

Work-at-Home—We are developing a plan for employees to work at home where possible, while still maintaining the level of service our students need at this time. Those plans will be finalized by week’s end. One of the overarching objectives in the pandemic is minimizing the number of people congregating at work or other settings. To the extent employees can work at home for some period of time this objective is supported. We will have some employees working at home, and will be identifying those positions and their schedules as soon as possible. Stay tuned for additional information about these plans.

The team will be meeting tomorrow at 4 p.m. for status reports and further planning. Watch for another update at day’s end.

ECC Closes Facilities to Public

March 18, 2020

East Central College facilities will only be open to employees, and students for essential services and support to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Beginning immediately, the public will not be permitted in buildings on the campuses, including the library, learning center and computer labs, said ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer.

“We are taking these measures to ensure the safety and health of our college community,” he said. “This situation is unprecedented and the decision to close the campus to the public was made with the utmost concern of students and employees.”

Dr. Bauer explained that the steps taken at ECC are under the guidance and recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

“Every decision we have made in regards to COVID-19 follows recommendations by public health officials to impede the spread of the virus,” he added.

In addition to limiting access of ECC facilities to employees and essential student services and support, the college began spring break early, on Wednesday, March 18, and is moving instruction to online and remote formats until the end of the semester.

ECC Closes Facilities to Public

March 18, 2020

East Central College facilities will only be open to employees, and students for essential services and support to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Beginning immediately, the public will not be permitted in buildings on the campuses, including the library, learning center and computer labs, said ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer.

“We are taking these measures to ensure the safety and health of our college community,” he said. “This situation is unprecedented and the decision to close the campus to the public was made with the utmost concern of students and employees.”

Dr. Bauer explained that the steps taken at ECC are under the guidance and recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

“Every decision we have made in regards to COVID-19 follows recommendations by public health officials to impede the spread of the virus,” he added.

In addition to limiting access of ECC facilities to employees and essential student services and support, the college began spring break early, on Wednesday, March 18, and is moving instruction to online and remote formats until the end of the semester.

Dr. Bauer’s Message to Students

March 16

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve at a rapid pace. We continue to see the impact this is having both personally and professionally. East Central College takes this situation very seriously, and we are committed to making decisions with your health and wellness as the top priority. At the same time, we remain committed to your academic success. To date, no one associated with ECC has tested positive for the Coronavirus.

However, consistent with CDC guidelines, the following measures are being taken at East Central College:

Instruction—Classes will be held as scheduled today and tomorrow (March 17). Beginning Wednesday, March 18, classes will not be held in order for faculty to prepare for the transition to on-line instruction for the remainder of the semester. We will be closed as scheduled during Spring Break. Beginning on Monday, March 30, and continuing for the remainder of the semester, most instruction will be delivered on-line. There will be no in-person lectures. There will be limited in-person instruction in selected labs, studio courses, and certain career and technical education (CTE) classes for which there is no on-line equivalent. Faculty in those courses will be contacting you directly with information about the scheduling of those labs and other courses.

Campus—Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, the campus will remain open during this period of on-line instruction. Offices and other facilities will be open. Students are strongly encouraged to access services remotely as much as possible. To the extent possible, phone, e-mail, Zoom, or other technology should be used to minimize the amount of direct contact. I realize that many of you do not have access to the hardware and/or broadband necessary to work as an on-line students. Our labs and WiFi will continue to be available to students as long as the campus is open. Our goal is minimizing contact as much as possible, while providing the necessary resources for students to be able to complete the semester.

Public Events—The CDC has advised cancelling events that involve 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. We are finalizing plans today regarding campus events, and a separate communication will follow by the end of the day concerning these activities. One event that will continue to be held is the Mercy Blood Drive on April 16. We have consulted with Mercy leadership on this event, and they feel blood drives will continue to be important throughout this situation. Accordingly, this event will continue as planned.

Commencement—A decision will be made by April 1 regarding commencement, pinning ceremonies, and other end-of-semester events. These events fall outside of the 8-week window identified by the CDC. We will assess these events over the next two weeks and decide whether it is advisable for them to be held. We will keep you informed as decisions about these events are made.

Athletics—All spring competition, including softball at ECC, has been canceled by NJCAA, effective immediately. Spring competition includes all practices, regular season, postseason, and national championship play. Regarding eligibility for spring sports, no spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation.

I realize this is a very uncertain time. If you are concerned about these events, or how they may affect you as a student at East Central, please reach out to our counseling staff, your instructors, or others you know at the college. We are deeply committed to your well-being, and want to ensure that you are able to complete the semester in this new environment.

As other decisions are made, we will keep you informed. To repeat, classes will be held as scheduled today and tomorrow. Beginning Wednesday, March 18, through spring break, there will be no classes. When we return from spring break on March 30, instruction will be offered on-line. You will receive additional information about your work in class, and if you are in a class that will require a limited amount of on-campus work.

In closing, please remain informed about CDC guidelines intended to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus.

If anyone has questions or concerns, they should email studentservices@eastcentral.edu or call 636-584-6500.

March 16, 2020

Public Events Canceled

East Central College has canceled public events this spring to comply with Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer noted that the intent is to minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The cancellations include events off and on campus.

However, the decision to hold commencement will be made at a later date.

“The significant exception at this point is commencement,” he said. “A decision regarding commencement will be made no later than April 1.”

The cancellation impacts the remainder of the ECC Patrons of the Arts Series of concerts, theatrical productions, film and lectures, and art exhibits. The upcoming play “Church and State” will be rescheduled for August 20-23.

The pops concert scheduled for May 8, while held off campus in Washington, also has been canceled.

The “Restaurants at Prairie Dell” offered by the Culinary Arts Department will not be held.

Other major events that have been canceled include Earth Day, April 25; FalconFest, April 15; Phi Theta Kappa induction this Friday, March 20; ECC Library game nights; and the Senior Health Expo scheduled for May 22.

In addition, community education offerings are canceled for the remainder of the spring semester.

Sports competition has been canceled by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA, which includes softball at ECC.

“There may be other events not listed that involve the gathering of 50 or people at the campus. Those guidelines today have been lowered to 10 or more people,” Dr. Bauer added. “These events or gatherings will also be canceled.”

“We will continue to monitor CDC guidelines regarding public events. We will also assess events scheduled for later this spring and summer, and will make decisions about those events as early as practical.”

Dr. Bauer explained that the decision to no longer hold the events was done for health and safety of the students, faculty, staff and the community.

“I regret that our schedule of activities has been affected in such a dramatic fashion, and I appreciate all of the work that has already gone into these events,” he said. “These decisions and others are made with the well-being of our employees, students, and other stakeholders in mind.”

If anyone has questions or concerns, they should email studentservices@eastcentral.edu or call 636-584-6500.

March 10, 2020

Our primary concern is to maintain a safe and healthy environment for students, employees, and visitors. This is a rapidly changing situation and we will keep you informed as these plans change.

The vice presidents and I spent much of the morning on several issues related to COVID-19. As there are positive tests throughout the St. Louis area, it seems increasingly likely that we will see positive tests within our immediate area, or related to someone who has been on our campus. TO DATE, THIS HAS NOT OCCURRED. However, we have been monitoring the outbreak and are keeping current with established sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control.

All of our decisions are grounded in what’s best for our students, our employees, and the community. This is the framework for our decision making. We are closely monitoring the outbreak locally and globally, with our peers in education, and with the guidance of local and national public health authorities.

Read the full message here.

Impact on Campus

Athletics

The National Junior College Athletic Association has mandated a postponement of all sports competition from a scrimmage and game participation effective March 14 through April 3.  An evaluation of the spread of COVID-19 virus will continue throughout this period.

The NJCAA has been in communication with the NAIA and NCAA about the possibility of granting hardships if the spring sport seasons are not to be resumed after April 3.

Practices will be dependent upon classes being held on campus. East Central College sports teams are scheduled to practice next week as of now. The athletic department will be in constant communication with the college administration and the NJCAA if circumstances are to change.

For more information visit the National Junior College Athletic Association here.

Travel

This week ECC cancelled a planned student trip to England. This decision was made with the best interest of students and faculty sponsors in mind. The risk of illness, the uncertainty of international travel, and an abundance of caution on both of those issues led us to the decision to cancel this trip.  Administrators are hopeful it can be rescheduled later this year when the situation changes. Students have been fully engaged and informed regarding this decision.

Work-related air travel for ECC employees is suspended indefinitely. Exceptions will be granted solely for essential college business.

Planning

College administration is actively making plans in the event that there is a need to shift to online instruction for a period of time. At present, there are no plans to do that. However, the college recognizes that this is a rapidly changing situation. Planning now will enable ECC to move quickly if the suspension of face-to-face instruction is warranted.

One of the decisions to be made is whether the circumstances warrant a full closure of the campus, or strictly a shift to online instruction (with offices remaining open). Any decision regarding modifications to the schedule and/or delivery methods will be fully explained to students, employees, and the community in order to clarify what, if any, portions of the campus remain open. At this time, it is premature to say whether the campus will close entirely.

Commencement

There have been many examples of large public gatherings being cancelled. One of the largest events on the ECC calendar is commencement May 16. There has been no decision to cancel commencement at this time, but the college will continue to assess the spread of the virus in this region and the advisability of holding commencement and related events.  Every attempt will be made to make a decision about commencement with plenty of notice to allow students, employees, and others to plan accordingly. It is possible that commencement may not be held as scheduled.

Spring Break

ECC’s spring break begins March 23. Students, staff and faculty has been instructed to take all materials they may need if circumstances warrant that instruction and/or services move on-line for a period of time. A decision whether to extend spring break for any period of time will be made early next week in order to allow time to plan for that change. However, the situation changes rapidly. Every effort will be made to make decisions far enough in advance to allow for appropriate planning.