When an electrical system failure resulted in a fire on the campus of John A. Logan College last week, it was not only the first day of fall semester classes but also the first day that students had been back on campus since COVID19 had cut their spring semester short.
"We were having a very busy day with a lot of traffic with students returning for the first day of classes," said John A. Logan College President Dr. Ron House. "Even though that day got cut short, we have remained open and serving students, the semester never paused. It has kept going."
Almost immediately after the fire alarms silenced administrators began working to make the adjustments necessary to keep the semester going. The first issue to resolve was to determine if the air quality was good enough for individuals to be on campus. After consulting with an industrial hygienist, and a professional cleaning service, it was determined that the Student Services area, the Bookstore, Cafeteria, Athletics, and adjacent areas could not be occupied until a thorough cleaning process has taken place. That process is underway, and some offices have been relocated while other staff members continue to work remotely.
"Offices such as Student Financial Assistance were moved immediately to continue providing essential services that have to be conducted on campus," said Vice President for Business Services and College Facilities, Brad McCormick.
According to McCormick, advisers had already spent the spring and summer advising students remotely, so the transition back to remote advisement, even during an incredibly busy time, was a smooth one.
"Our advisers had been working remotely throughout the spring and summer, so that staff was prepared and has not missed a beat," said McCormick. "Even on the day we shut down, our advisers continued to work with students using email and personal cellphones."
McCormick added that to assist students with the registration process, the College extended the registration period by two days until 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 20.
With the majority of the fall semester class offerings already being online due to COVID restrictions, administrators decided to move all classes online at least through August 21.
"We already had plans in place to be able to move all classes online if increased COVID restrictions were put in place," said President House. "Our number one priority is the health and safety of our students and staff. The air quality after the presence of smoke is not at a place that we can have individuals occupy those areas of campus, so to allow cleaning crews to evaluate and begin the cleanup process we went ahead and moved all classes online through this week."
According to House, face-to-face and hybrid classes will resume on campus on Monday, Aug. 24.
We will resume classes in the manner of which they were scheduled starting on Monday," said House. "We have spent a great deal of time this week identifying areas on campus that we can relocate offices during the restoration process. We hope to have a temporary landing place most of our staff by early next week but all of our staff will continue to do just as they have and serve our students either remotely or in person."
Students that have questions or concerns about their current classes should email their instructors. Individuals that need assistance registering for fall semester classes should email firstname.lastname@example.org.