SWTJC fall start looking different than ever before

SWTJC fall start looking different than ever before

Uvalde, TX, August 24, 2020 - SWTJC's fall semester begins Monday, Aug. 24, with classes looking different than usual.

College administration decided in July to move all Fall 2020 academic and some technical program courses to be offered virtually or remotely via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Canvas Conference.

Currently, programs and departments are required to submit a plan on returning to campus, which is evaluated by a committee that oversees the overall college reopen process.

According to Derek Sandoval, vice president of academic services and reopen committee member, once the committee evaluates the plan, it is sent to the College President for final approval. 

The programs approved thus far include Airframe Mechanics in Del Rio, Lineman Program, Uvalde; Vocational Nursing, Uvalde, Del Rio, Eagle Pass; Cosmetology, Uvalde; Automotive Technology, Uvalde; Diesel Technology, Eagle Pass; Wildlife Management; Uvalde; Air conditioning and refrigeration, Hondo and Uvalde and Welding in Uvalde, Hondo, Eagle Pass, and Crystal City.

SWTJC also submits documentation for the programs approved to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

Safety Protocols
SWTJC continues to enhance protocols to protect students and staff required to be on campus to complete technical program lab hour requirements.

Our students in our programs will answer screening questions. Their temperature is taken and given a wristband for the day, indicating that they have been screened.

All students, faculty, and staff are required to watch and acknowledge a COVID-19 health and safety training video before returning to campus.

According to SWTJC President Hector Gonzales, safety for students and staff continues to be the guiding principle as the college moves forward to the fall semester.

"We have used our time during the summer to strengthen our technology component, offer additional professional development opportunities to our faculty and staff, and modify the delivery of student support services via remote learning," said Gonzales. "Since deciding on March 11 to extend spring break, the health and safety of our students and employees is the primary focus behind all of our decisions."

SWTJC has followed the safety protocols of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the beginning of the pandemic. Mitigating practices such as social distancing, washing hands regularly, face masks, daily temperature screenings have been implemented on all campuses.

Access to Student Services
Since transitioning to a remote working environment after spring break, the college's focus is to remain accessible to students and the community.

A call center was created to help address students' questions and provide a quick response to them. Recently an online chat box function was added, which provides students with responses in real-time. Online support agents have seen a surge of students utilizing the chat box feature. 

Reported Cases
SWTJC has reported six cases of staff contracting COVID-19 since June. According to college officials, the employees contracted the virus outside of the college environment.

Gonzales said, "we believe that our protocols and mitigation efforts have contained any spread of infection on campus up to this point. Important to our protocols is an audit process that monitors employee's adherence to them."

According to Sandoval, employees followed protocol by advising their supervisors of their positive test for COVID-19. Once an employee tests positive, the safety protocol calls for the daily attendance sheets to be reviewed for notification and tracking of those that might have been exposed. 

The custodial team is notified to immediately repeat the building's disinfecting process, which also calls for it to be closed for several days.  

Additionally, housing, food services, and daycare will remain closed until further notice.