Southwest Tennessee Community College announces reopening of two campuses July 8, revamped academic calendar and new laptop rental program

Diana Fedinec, Director Public Relations and Media
901-333-4247/2939
dfedinec@southwest.tn.edu

June 16, 2020 - Southwest Tennessee Community College’s COVID-19 Task Force announced the College’s reopening and a shift to year-long learning during the College’s Back to Campus Plan – Phase I at an interactive Virtual Town Hall Meeting June 15.

Phase I of the Back to Campus Plan begins July 8 with the reopening of the Macon Cove and Union Avenue campuses for career and technical education classes. All other Southwest locations will remain closed until further notice.

The comprehensive Back to Campus plan details the safety precautions and mandatory health monitoring implemented by the College in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, White House Opening Up America Again Plan and Shelby County Health Department guidelines. Only students, faculty, essential employees and vendors will be allowed on the campuses until further notice.  During Phase I, all wrap-around student support services such as advising, counseling and tutoring will remain online.

Students with courses that require laboratory and skills-based learning will have class sessions that conform to social distancing guidelines, and everyone will be required to wear personal protective equipment.  The on-campus classes will be polysynchronous or hybrid to encompass both online and on-campus learning. Lectures will take place online and the laboratory and skills-based sessions will take place on campus.  

The College also unveiled a new academic calendar that features accelerated mini-sessions in the winter and spring and a shorter semester for those students taking classes on campus. Southwest President Dr. Tracy D. Hall says a year-round academic calendar will allow students greater flexibility and the opportunity to plan ahead for childcare, transportation, and work schedules.  “People don’t live semester to semester and our schedules should reflect that as well.”

President Hall added the College also will continue its work to Redesign, Reinvent, and Reset Southwest. “We have made great changes to our processes and procedures that have led to remarkable gains in our student Redesign, Reinvent and Reset work that began in 2016,” Hall said. “However, we have only touched the surface. Retention and completion are not optimal and our campuses are not filled to capacity. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we can make monumental changes like never before. And we must. Our community needs us to be better and to do more.”

College leaders are reimagining Southwest to:

  • Increase social and economic mobility;
  • Actively close the digital divide impacting our students;
  • Blur the lines between the College and business and industry to better prepare our students for the workforce;
  • Remove institutional and policy barriers that prevent students from reaching their goals;
  • Participate in courageously uncomfortable conversations about social justice issues impacting our world; and,
  • Become more efficient, effective, innovative and entrepreneurial in the College’s work.

The work already has begun with the purchase of over 3,500 laptops for a brand new laptop rental program for students who do not have devices.  The program launches this fall. The College also launched the Faculty Industry Externship Program last week with an information session about how industry can get involved with placing Southwest faculty in their workplaces to help them reach their goals. In turn, faculty will learn first-hand the innovations local businesses are implementing in response to COVID-19 so they can take this invaluable knowledge back to the classroom to help students prepare for the world of work that awaits them.

The College will continue to monitor the pandemic and proceed with the Back to Campus Plan in phases and in alignment with local, state and national government agencies and organizations. More information and updates are available online on the College’s website at www.southwest.tn.edu.

Southwest Tennessee Community College’s COVID-19 Task Force:

Dr. Tracy D. Hall, President
Dr. Kendricks Hooker, Vice President for Academic Affairs
Jacqueline Faulkner, Vice President for Student Affairs
Cynthia Graham, Vice President for External Relations
Michael Neal, Vice President for Financial and Administrative Affairs
Associate Vice President for Human Resources Gregory Eller.
Michael Boyd, Chief Information Officer
Cynthia Abadie, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Sherman Greer, Executive Director Government Relations
Daphne J. Thomas, Executive Director for Communications, Marketing and Community Relations
Medical Advisor and Nursing Program Chair Dr. Shelia Bouie