March 20, 2020, Texarkana, TX– In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent declarations of emergency announced by national, state and local authorities, Texarkana College Trustees met via a virtual meeting today to adopt a resolution giving the college president authority to make decisions on behalf of the Trustees outside of normal methods of operations. Board president Kyle Davis said the Trustees saw the need to act quickly in response to the emergency situation.
“We are aware that during this time of change and uncertainty resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic, it is paramount that we facilitate the efficient and effective utilization of resources available to the College to maintain operations in an altered manner,” said Davis. “The resolution allows for the college president to act for the Board of Trustees during this time of emergency in various areas, including scheduling of work and payments to employees, alteration to 2019-2020 calendar, ability to seek waivers from various agencies, and ability to procure needed items above the president’s normal threshold.”
College President Dr. Jason Smith said he is grateful to the Trustees for their swift response to allow administration to move forward during the next several weeks with decisions that will positively impact student success and the continuation of college operations.
“The College’s top priority is the safety of our students and employees,” said Smith. “The administration’s goal is to facilitate the continuance of operations in an altered operational format, allowing students to remain on track to meet their learning objectives and complete their studies. Retention of full-time and part-time employees, reduction in turnover, maintaining morale, and facilitating the future return to normal operations is also a top strategic objective.”
Smith said the College is facing unprecedented and critical decisions every day.
“This is an ever-changing emergency for our nation, state and community and TC will remain nimble in response to our new way of instruction and conducting business,” said Smith. “As of now, our decision is to move all instruction to an online format through April 10, 2020. Student support services including enrollment, financial aid assistance, tutoring, and student support services will also be conducted online through a virtual meeting format. Our information technology staff members have worked tirelessly over the last weeks to prepare an online environment with easy navigation by students, faculty, staff and prospective new students. Enhanced technology training for employees will take place next week and faculty and staff will begin engaging online with students within the next several days. We anticipate the transition to go smoothly although we know questions will arise as we work through all the details. We will have IT help desk team members on stand-by via a phone call or email to assist students with technology accessibility questions. TC’s faculty and staff are very resilient and are prepared to respond to changing needs and circumstances.”
Smith said TC formed a special task force with representatives from campus administration, faculty, staff and police to monitor the emerging COVID-19 outbreak.
“We have pulled together resources from across campus who remain in continuous contact with local and state officials as well as medical advisors who provide us with accurate and timely information regarding the pandemic,” said Smith. “We will continue to daily assess the needs of our students, faculty and staff and be ready to respond with appropriate support and actions.”
Smith said the TC switchboard will remain open for incoming calls although the campus will be closed for in-person meetings.
“Students can contact academic advisors and financial aid specialists during this time of campus closure,” said Smith. “This is a good time for students to start thinking about enrolling in the summer or fall terms and completing financial aid applications. During the time the campus is closed, staff will also be working remotely, and it will be necessary for students to call and leave a voice message and a contact number for a return call. We will do our very best to remain accessible and responsive to every student need.”