AC transitions into next phase

Courtesy Photo

By Jessika Fulton, Staff Reporter 

The City of Amarillo has announced the move to level red on its coronavirus alert scale and Amarillo College has transitioned to phase three of its COVID-19 response plan. In addition to the level change, the mayor of Amarillo has issued a stay at home guideline that will go into effect at midnight March 31. This order will be in place until at least midnight April 13. 

“I have signed an amended declaration of disaster that requires us to stay in, requires us to shelter in and be all in to fight this outbreak,” Mayor Ginger Nelson said at a press conference March 30.

The order represents an effort to keep the city and community safe by slowing the spread of coronavirus, according to Nelson.

Community health officials recommend following the guidelines that have been stressed since the first case in our area. This includes continuing social distancing, hand washing, avoiding large crowds, staying home if ill and avoiding any unnecessary travel, said Scott Milton, a local infectious disease specialist and public health authority.

Additionally, Milton issued an order making social distancing mandatory for at least two weeks “to adhere to practices that mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Milton said he anticipates the number of cases to increase while the order is in place; however, he will extend the order if he sees evidence of a “continued spread.” 

In compliance with the city ordinance, AC is further restricting in-person services on the Washington Street Campus, with the majority of services confined to the Ware Student Commons, according to a press release.

“We have no higher priority than to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, our workforce and our community,” Russell Lowery-Hart, AC president, said in the press release.

Services such as counseling, advising, tutoring, financial aid and others will continue to operate remotely for students. Additionally, the AC Bookstore will be accessible online only. The AC Food Pantry will give out pre-bagged food from 8:30 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursdays. The Underground will be in operation from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Free WiFi is available in Parking Lot 4 and 5 on the Washington Street Campus, as well as at AC’s Community Link at 24th and Grand.

Casie Stoughton, the Amarillo director of public health, said Amarillo is handling the crisis.

“COVID-19 has changed our lives, however, Amarillo always responds in times of challenges and adversity. This is what Amarillo is all about, our city and our community uniting to accomplish a common goal,” Stoughton said.

To find out more information on how to stop the virus or help the community, visit 

For more updates on how the virus is impacting Amarillo College, visit

Graphic by Sidney West

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