By RUTH MARTINEZ
Amarillo College is welcoming students back to campus with 100% capacity classrooms and a mask-optional atmosphere for the fall semester.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Delta Variant spreads faster than earlier forms of COVID.
“The vaccines are proven to be safe, effective and the benefits far outweigh any negligible risks,” Media Director, Sadie Newsome said.
”In addition to dramatically decreasing the likelihood of contracting the virus at all, the vaccine also protects the few vaccinated people who do end up getting the virus from the most severe and dangerous health outcomes,” Newsome said
There will be a continuation of monitoring positive COVID-19 rates on campus and also a quarantine process. “If a student who was present in an on-campus class in the last 10 days tests positive for COVID, the entire class will quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure—regardless of individuals’ vaccination status,” Newsome said. “During that time, the class will be held in a tech-supported virtual environment,” she said.
Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, the President of Amarillo College said the trust he has for his faculty and students to be responsible during this pandemic remains strong with hopes in the ability to stay open. “I remain very, very concerned about the Delta Variant as it savages or community,” Lowery-Hart said. “The CDC research is so clear – if you are vaccinated and wear a mask, you are protected from the variant.”
There are multiple locations that offer vaccinations for those who want to be prepared for the new school year. AC will also be hosting vaccination clinics on campus for the first two weeks of the fall 2021 semester.
Initially, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on March 10, 2021, lifting the mask mandate and eliminating restrictions on public institutions and businesses.
The 18 member COVID-19 infection task force and the former faculty senate president, Amanda Chisum made the decision to resume in-person classes. The Task force is made up of campus leaders whose main concern is keeping our campuses safe.
“Medical experts are overwhelmingly recommending getting vaccinated. While vaccination is not a 100% guarantee against getting COVID-19 or a variant, it is still effective and may mitigate symptoms, preventing hospitalization and death,” Tamara Clunis, Vice President of Academic Affairs said. “For students, the opportunity to complete courses and earn credits toward a credential is more likely if they do not get sick or really sick,” she said.
To follow encouraged CDC guidelines recommended hygiene practices, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html. COVID-19 illuminated new and improved ways of engaging and educating students. Preference on how to take classes are available with academic advisors in the Student Service Center. Personal counseling is now available in-person or virtually, which is convenient for Hereford and Dumas students to get the help as needed.
Vice President of Student Affairs, Denese Skinner is in charge of student events and activities as well as making sure all safety protocols are being followed. Skinner is excited and eager to get back to in-person on campus. “The energy in the mall area between classes is infectious. I look forward to seeing crowds of students at Student Life’s activities and seeing people enjoying a cup of coffee while they meet with friends in the Cafe,” Skinner said.
To stay updated on what’s going on with COVID on campus, visit https://www.actx.edu/COVID19.