NEWTON COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – East Central Community College in Decatur is making plans to reopen its campus to students and resume in-person, on-campus classes beginning with the fall 2020 semester.
“East Central Community College has been monitoring local, state, and national developments surrounding COVID-19 and recommended health and safety guidelines since early March, with our No. 1 goal to keep members of our campus community safe,” said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. “Although our campus is currently closed to the public and our students are engaged in online and alternate format courses this summer, college officials are making plans to reopen our campus and resume in-person classes beginning with the fall 2020 term.”
Stewart, who retires on June 30, said he is working with incoming ECCC president Dr. Brent Gregory and the college’s Reopening of Campus Task Force in shaping the college’s COVID-19 reopening plan.
Gregory will assume his duties on July 1. He said the Reopening of Campus Task Force will have separate committees to address various aspects of reopening, such as instruction, student services, and health and safety protocols.
Fall 2020 full term day and evening on-campus classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 17. ECCC will continue to offer online classes in the fall as well, in full, intensive, and four-week terms. There is also the potential that all campus classes will have to switch to the online environment should developments related to COVID-19 warrant.
Tentative plans call for the Fall 2020 semester to end on Friday, Nov. 20, or the week of Thanksgiving so that students do not have to return to campus after the traditional Thanksgiving holiday. This would be accomplished by using Fridays and other open dates in the fall schedule to fully complete classes and labs. ECCC moved to a four-day class schedule in spring 2016, with Fridays open for studying and learning opportunities outside the classroom.
“By completing our fall semester a few days early, we hope to have students at home during a time of the year when the health agencies we monitor daily believe there could be another increase in COVID-19 cases, along with the normal flu season,” explained Stewart.
“We will continue to monitor all pertinent information shared by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and higher education institutions across the state associated with COVID-19 as we shape our return-to-campus protocols for students.”
Registration for any ECCC academic term is being held online at www.eccc.edu using the Student tab under the myEC portal, which includes all the information students need to register, including course schedules and academic calendars.