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Piedmont Tech planning phased return to campus

Piedmont Technical College (PTC)

To safely welcome employees, students and visitors back on campus during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Piedmont Technical College will be implementing a phased return-to-campus plan beginning Monday.

All summer lecture courses are being conducted online. Courses with a lab, shop or clinical requirement are hybrid — with the lecture portion online. During the next few weeks, students will be brought into labs for hands-on training in small groups to ensure that social distancing and cleaning recommendations are followed.

In phase one, select Piedmont Tech faculty and staff will return to work in their offices on-campus on staggered schedules. Students and visitors will be welcomed back to campus by appointment only. Following guidance from the state, the college is strongly encouraging students and visitors to conduct meetings remotely whenever possible. Students and visitors will be required to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s six-foot social distancing guidelines, and wear a face mask at all times. The college will have face masks available.

“We have spent the last several weeks planning for this re-entry,” Ray Brooks, Piedmont Technical College’s president, said in a press release. “It’s important to understand, however, that we absolutely will not compromise on safety. All employees, students, visitors and contractors on every PTC campus must wear face coverings and observe social-distancing guidelines.”

The college has been working to prepare a safe campus infrastructure — including the installation of plexiglass screens at customer service points of contact, appropriate positioning of conduct and distancing signage, placement of hand-sanitizer dispensers in high-traffic public areas and regular sanitization of surfaces, equipment and tools.

The college is asking students who are sick or exhibit COVID-19 symptoms to stay at home and seek appropriate medical advice. Those who have tested positive for the new coronavirus, or been exposed to individuals who tested positive, should notify the Office of Academic Affairs for the next appropriate steps — which might include a 14-day quarantine.

In phase two, additional employees will return on staggered schedules to ensure social distancing. Summer labs will begin, with unfinished labs in credit classes from the spring semester also being conducted during this time. Small groups of students will be allowed on campus for essential functions, such as placement testing. All protective policies outlined in phase one will continue through phase two.

Face-to-face interactions with the public may gradually resume where they are deemed necessary, and when a feasible remote alternative is not available.

Phase three will begin on an appropriate date in mid-summer, contingent on guidance from the state of South Carolina. During this phase, the college will return to normal operations.

Piedmont Tech will be providing a mix of course options for the fall semester, including an expanded selection of online courses; courses that are a mix of online and face-to-face courses; and a selection of face-to-face coursework that can be delivered while ensuring social-distancing protocols are followed and appropriate safety measures are in place. Courses with a lab, shop or clinical component will meet in-person in small numbers as directed by faculty.

For details about the plan, visit ptc.edu/return.

Contact reporter Jonathan Limehouse at 864-943-5644 or follow him on Twitter @jon_limehouse.

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