Board approves face mask policy

By Caylee Hanna, Staff Reporter

At the Amarillo College monthly board meeting June 23, the AC board of regents passed a policy that will require everyone on AC campuses to wear face masks. 

Cheryl Jones, vice president of human resources, said that this policy is nonnegotiable and that it applies to everyone, whether they are just visiting the campus or they are a full-time student.

“We have determined that wearing a face covering is one of those things that we can’t negotiate on. It’s one of the ways that we will keep others safe when we are on campus this fall. If you are a faculty, staff, student or visitor on any of our campuses, you will need to wear a face covering while you are on campus, inside or outside, and the only exception is if you are in an office alone,” Jones said. 

Dr. Tamara Clunis, vice president of academic affairs, said that the faculty members are preparing for face-to-face fall classes and that the faculty members have alternative plans for students who will not be in the classroom due to health concerns. 

“The faculty are preparing to come back to campus in the fall to support students in the classroom with face-to-face courses as well as just our regular schedule. We have asked our faculty to stay prepared to provide support for students who, for various reasons, will not be able to come back on campus in the fall or who have concerns. So, we are asking our faculty and they are already stepping up and moving forward,” Clunis said. 

During the meeting Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart also informed the board that the mortuary science program is being closed because it does not meet program accreditation standards.

“In our mortuary science program, the students, in my opinion, have not met our requirements for us to continue to admit students. So, we’re pausing admission of students into that program and we are closing the program, but we may be reopening it at some point,” Lowery-Hart said. “We’ve had 15 years of issues with this program, so we’re going to work with the accrediting agency. We may redesign the program, but we can’t just continue to fix what is broken. We’ve got to start over.”

The board also approved a contract with Heal the City that will provide mental health assessments and treatment services for 100 students each year at an annual cost of $35,000, according to Denese Skinner, vice president of student affairs.

“Our students will be able to go and receive the services that they need to get the relief they need. One of the services that students will be able to receive is the physical assessment to figure out if there are underlying issues that are exacerbating their mental condition. They are also getting the mental health assessment. Heal the City is going to be able to get the students the medications that they need without charge. They will also give the students any referral that needs to be made, for example if they need the criteria to be referred to Texas Panhandle Centers, they will be referred there and make that direct contact with them,” Skinner said.

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