PCC creates task force to fight COVID-19 on campus

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The return to school is just weeks away.

Administrators at Pitt Community College are getting ready for students to return.

They made a task force to help create a fall reopening plan.

The group is made up of representatives from different departments on campus.

Their job is to come up with a plan so students and employees stay safe when they return.

“For the learning environment to be successful, we need buy in from all parties involved,” said Rick Owens, PCC VP of Administrative Services. “If the faculty are coming in and they’re terrified, it’s just not going to work. It’s not going to be effective. Our folks want to be here, but they way to be here safe.”

Owens is leading the task force, which is aimed at minimized the risk of coronavirus on campus.

“Because we offer so many different options as far as educational opportunities and students services and all that fun stuff, we wanted to make sure that we had some kind of broad input to hopefully garner as much support as possible,” he said.

PCC is using guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

But school officials also wanted input from instructors and other employees to ensure each department had a say.

“I’ve got stuff that has to take place in person,” said Owens. “I can’t teach welding online. I can’t teach some of the health sciences stuff online. So we went back to them and said, ‘these are the guiding principles. What do we need to do to put this in place in your area?'”

Owens says the majority of general education subjects will be online.

Classes requiring hands-on instruction will be in-person.

Everyone will be required to wear a mask.

There will be signs directing traffic flow in buildings to allow for social distancing.

Hand sanitizer stations are already installed.

“We want to keep this at the forefront of the students’ and faculty’s and staff’s minds and guests’ minds as they’re coming into the building,” said Owens. “I’m scared of people getting comfortable with it, to be honest. I really think that’s the issue we’re seeing with the spikes. There’s just some complacency and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

PCC administrators say this is a rapidly changing situation.

The task force will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments to the reopening plan accordingly.

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