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Western Tech Reopens Campuses and Phases In Hands-On Training

May 7, 2020

Greetings Students and Staff,

First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. With COVID-19 affecting people and communities around the world, this is a difficult time for all of us. My heart goes out to all those who have been impacted.

As you all may have heard, our state and city representatives have lifted the “Stay Home” order for some businesses and have announced for more industries to open over the next few weeks.

RETURNING TO HANDS-ON

After working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), I am happy to announce and confirm that beginning on Monday, May 18, 2020 we will begin to phase in the hands-on portion of many of Western Tech’s programs. This implementation will be done gradually and monitored closely. We will uphold the Governor’s mandate of no more than 25% of the building capacity during the first weeks and will therefore implement a scheduled rotation in order to best meet recommended health protocols as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as The Governor’s Report to Open Texas. We would also encourage students to consider, when offered, taking advantage of the hands-on lab during the afternoons. We feel that utilizing all hours of the day will help to best accomplish social distancing guidelines and the recommended health protocols while giving all students a chance to progress at a normal pace.

The following are the approved programs to return/remain for the hands-on portion of their training during this initial phase beginning on Monday, May 18, 2020:

• Bachelor of Science in Nursing

• AAS Information Systems and Security

• AAS Electronics Engineering Technology

• AAS Physical Therapist Assistant

• AOS Automotive Technology

• AOS Diesel Mechanics

• AOS Refrigeration and HVAC Technology

• Certificate of Completion in Advanced Welding Technology

• Certificate of Completion in Medical/Clinical Assistant

• Certificate of Completion in Diesel Advanced Technology Education (DATE)

• Certificate of Completion in Commercial Driver Training

Your Program Director will be assigning set schedules and providing scheduling information to you all, on or before Monday, May 11, 2020. All theory/classroom-based learning for the programs listed above will continue to be offered online through your program’s current method.

The Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Certificate of Completion in Medical Billing and Coding, and Certificate of Completion in Massage Therapy will all continue fully online until further notice. Some modifications may be required with certain cohorts in these programs. If that is the case, your Program Director will reach out to you with additional details.

We will continue to keep you updated and work on getting the other programs approved to resume at their respective campus.

SAFETY REMAINS OUR TOP PRIORITY

While it is essential that we adopt new ways of interacting to protect the health of everyone in the building, doing so can bring moments of unease and isolation. Please know, that we are taking several precautions to ensure your safety and meet the recommended health protocols. As you return, our goal is to create a new learning environment where you feel safe and at ease, so that you can continue to work towards completing your educational goals.

• Training in cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette training’s will be required for all faculty, staff, and students.
• We will require that all students wear a face covering while on premise. Anti-viral and anti-microbial masks have been ordered and one (1) mask will be provided to each student. These are reusable and wash instructions will be provided.
• Daily screenings will occur as students, employees, and visitors are entering the facilities. To prevent possible spread, anyone presenting new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19 will not be allowed entry.
• Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers have been placed throughout the building, in common areas, every classroom, lab, and office. Personal-sized hand sanitizer bottles will be available to students.
• Signage has been placed throughout the building and bathrooms to serve as a reminder of the safety Covid-19 guidelines.
• Sneeze Guards were installed in certain key areas.
• Seats in the student break areas have been marked with precaution tape and floor markers have been installed to designate 6ft.
• Both campuses continue to be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly throughout the day and evening.
• We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and gather data from primary sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local public health offices.

More detailed communication regarding the sanitation of equipment, tools, and other areas will be provided by your Campus President and Program Director.

We would like to add that we also care for your mental health and well-being. So we remind you that if you are experiencing some type of emotional hardship or distress, that counseling services are available to you through Emergence Health Network. Please contact student services if you have any questions.

At a time when “business as usual” is not an option, we are 100% focused on ensuring we help each other stay safe and healthy. No doubt that the pandemic has presented some new challenges. However, with your help and support, I am confident that we will continue to adapt and work through this together.

STAFF AVAILABILITY

Our faculty and staff were provided with the right tools and technology they needed to continue to stay as productive and connected as possible while working from home. As we work through this, we understand the importance of your needs and want to be able to provide you with the services of our departments while practicing social distancing and safety. As our phase in begins on Monday, May 18, 2020, limited administrative staff will be available at each campus. The majority of the administrative staff will continue to work from home so as to decrease the number of individuals present in each campus. However, the staff remain open to helping you remotely as they have for the past few weeks during normal business hours Monday- Friday.

CARES ACT

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Western Technical College received relief funds to distribute as emergency financial aid grants to eligible students who were active as of March 31, 2020 and have remained active and progressing from that date. Under the law, these grant funds may only be used by eligible students for expenses they have incurred as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

We will be sending out additional details regarding distribution methodology and eligibility requirements soon. Please monitor your email for upcoming communication from our Financial Aid Department regarding these emergency financial aid grants.

ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

I still want to encourage everyone to follow local guidelines to protect yourselves and those around you. There is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this, and I know this causes stress for everyone. We will continue to work through the situation, together.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones,

Brad Kuykendall

Chief Executive Officer