College extends spring break to prepare for remote learning, other updates

By Lauren Ebben, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, March 18, Amarillo College students received an email update from the office of the president concerning the state of the college in response to COVID-19. Here is what students need to know:

  • AC has officially entered Phase II of the college’s coronavirus action plan.
  • The decision was made based on President Trump’s request that gatherings be limited to no more than 10 people. AC’s minimum class is 12. Additionally, two cases of the virus have been confirmed in Lubbock.
  • The second eight weeks of the spring semester will now begin March 30, 2020.
  • Classes will move to a tech-supported learning model. Classes will still meet at their scheduled times, however these meetings will be held remotely.
  • Several departments on the Washington Street campus will remain open to students, including The Underground, the Counseling Center, Advising, AskAC, Financial Aid, Advocacy and Resource Center (the ARC), the Library, Smart Start, Disability Services, Tutoring (by appointment only), and the Testing Center.
  • Computing labs and Academic Success Centers will remain open on the East and West campuses.
  • For any questions, students are encouraged to contact AC.

“We will do everything possible to support student learning. We have supports for technology, mental health, learning and even student life,” Russell Lowery-Hart, AC president, said. “The way AC loves its students may look and feel a bit differently, but we are committed to ensuring our students are able to continue to learn and progress to graduation.”

According to Joe Wyatt, assistant director of the marketing and communications, spring graduation will be pushed to May 22 to compensate for the spring break extension.

“We are still going to celebrate our students’ achievements,” he said, adding the ceremony may not be a traditional graduation.

Below is the full email students received.

Dear Students,

I’m reaching out to let you know that as of today, Amarillo College has officially entered Phase II of our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Action Plan. This may be unsettling and I want you to know that we are ready and able to support you. We have a solid plan to help you successfully complete your classes and stay on track to graduate. 

This decision is based on President Trump’s request that gatherings be limited to no more than 10 people, and because AC’s minimum class size is 12. To conduct in-person classes now is untenable. Additionally, two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed last night in Lubbock.

Therefore, in keeping with our Phase II guidelines, Amarillo College will pause classes for one week in order to make a successful migration to a remote delivery system.

The second 8 weeks of the spring semester will now begin on Monday, March 30.

Let me stress that we will not be moving solely to online classes, but to tech-supported learning; your instructors will employ a variety of educational tools (high low tech), and your class meetings will be conducted at the specific times they are scheduled. If you do not have access to technology at home, do not be deterred—we have help for you! 
Please contact your faculty through Blackboard Connect. They will assist you from there. Consistent communications will be vital. Never hesitate to contact or call anyone at AC about anything. Below you’ll find important information about ways we can help you succeed—no matter what you barriers you face—so please read every word. 

Key Services for You
Several key departments will remain open and can serve you in-person on the Washington Street campus throughout Phase II. This includes The Underground, the Counseling CenterAdvisingAskACFinancial AidAdvocacy and Resource Center (the ARC), the Library, Smart StartDisability ServicesTutoring (by appointment only), and the Testing Center. Additionally, computing labs and Academic Success Centers will remain open on the East and West campuses during Phase II. For more information on student services available on Hereford and Moore County campuses, please call (806) 379-2700 or (806) 934-7220, respectively. Access a list of all available on-campus student resources and stay up-to-date on any changes to the Action Plan at

For anyone lacking adequate technology, The Underground will be open and observing normal hours of operation in the basement of the Ware Student Commons. We will follow elevated safety protocols to protect you while on campus. You can also access a list of remote-work resources and get assistance with technical issues of almost any kind on the Remote Services web page.

Social Services
Specifics about our wealth of Social Services, and information about greatly discounted and even free internet opportunities, has been compiled here

AC Bookstore
Our Bookstore is offering a 10-percent discount and free shipping on textbooks ordered online before midnight (11:59 p.m.) on Tuesday, March 24. The Coupon Code to use is STAYSAFE. The Bookstore also has limited laptop rentals available to students. 

Student Life
Student Life will be reaching out to engage you through the Weekly Dig e-newsletter, so prioritize monitoring your AC email and see what great innovative ways they come up with to engage you moving forward.  

Registration is ongoing
It is important to note that registration for the second 8 weeks is ongoing and you can register up until the first day of class, which will now be March 30. Also, registration for summer and fall classes begins April 6. Virtual appointments with advisors can be scheduled online or by calling (806) 371-5440. Additionally, if you are pre-planned and cleared for registration, you can enroll in courses online using the Student Planning Module

And finally–
Amarillo College is committed to supporting you during this time of pandemic uncertainty. All of us are in uncharted territory, but we’re moving forward with confidence, unity, hope – and a decisive plan. We have your back. We will not give up on you and will help you in any way you need.

Together we will achieve success – YOUR SUCCESS – because that is precisely why we are here.

Much love and great respect,

Russell Lowery-Hart
President of Amarillo College

For news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact on the Amarillo College community, click here.

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