Coronavirus

Updates and information about OTC’s preparations, actions and response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The safety of OTC students, employees, and guests is the college’s top priority. OTC leadership is in contact with public health officials locally and at the state level and will adjust plans based on their recommendations.

Here are the latest updates on OTC’s response to COVID-19.

OTC summer classes will be online. In-person classes will resume for Fall 2020.

Summer courses begin on June 1, and, with the exception of a few medical courses, will all be online.

Fall classes begin on August 24 and OTC plans to open with a full schedule of in-person classes along with a robust offering of online courses.

Students and prospective students may meet with student services employees in-person this summer.

Beginning June 1, all student services and student account services operations are open for anyone who may need assistance registering for classes, filling out financial aid forms, or paying for college. However, the college asks that individuals make appointments with staff members, if possible, to avoid large gatherings. OTC has stepped up safety precautions with the appropriate personal protective equipment for staff, enhanced cleaning protocols, and plexiglass barriers between staff and the public.

To make an appointment with student services departments (financial aid, registrar, advising), email studentservices@otc.edu, call (417) 447-6900, or visit this website to schedule an appointment online.  

To make an appointment with student account services, email cashhelp@otc.edu or call (417) 447-4827.

Academic services such as tutoring and the writing center remain closed to in-person visitors until the fall semester but are available to students seeking online assistance. The library is open for in-person visitors.

All college events are postponed. Commencement has been re-scheduled for August 19

The graduation ceremony for Spring 2020 graduates, previously scheduled for May 14, has been moved to August 19 at JQH Arena on the Missouri State University campus. The time and event details will be announced at a later date.

All other college events are postponed.

Travel restrictions

While the college asks that employees and students follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and avoid unnecessary travel, there are no restrictions on personal domestic travel for OTC employees or students. However, if a student or employee believes that they have been exposed to COVID-19, the college asks that they use their best judgment to avoid infecting others at the college.

If an OTC student or employee travels internationally, they must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to any OTC location.

For employee questions, please contact human resources at hr@otc.edu.
Students, if you have questions, please contact student services at studentservices@otc.edu.

All non-essential, OTC-sponsored travel (for example, conferences and professional development) is canceled indefinitely.

Additional information

If you are sick, the college asks that you stay home to avoid infecting others at the college. Students, please communicate with your instructors if you miss class due to illness. Employees, contact your supervisor, and human resources if you are ill.

To keep yourself and those around you healthy, please follow the CDC and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services guidelines:

CDC
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Missouri
https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/

Continue to check your OTC email and this website for the latest updates on the college’s response to COVID-19.

HIGHER EDUCATION EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND REPORTING

On May 6, 2020, the Office of Postsecondary Education published requirements for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) reporting. Reporting for HEERF funds distributed to the Ozarks Technical Community College will begin 30 days from the U.S. Department of Education awarded grant documents and each 45 days thereafter. Read More

ARCHIVED COLLEGE UPDATES

2020 – Spring – Archived – General Information Notice #1
2020-05-06: A message from Chancellor Higdon to students regarding OTC’s intent to open for the fall semester
2020-05-01: A message from Chancellor Higdon on employees’ return to work.
2020-04-16: A word of encouragement for students from OTC Provost Dr. Tracy McGrady
2020-4-03: A message to OTC students from Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Tracy M. McGrady, Ed.D.
2020-3-26: A message to OTC students from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Joan Barrett
2020-3-26: A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon to OTC Employees
2020-03-24: A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon regarding OTC’s Response to COVID-19
2020-3-19: A message from OTC Vice Chancellor Joan Barrett to students
2020-03-18 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon regarding OTC’s Response to COVID-19
2020-3-16: A message from Provost Tracy McGrady to faculty Resources and Support for Transitioning to Remote Delivery
2020-03-16 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon to the OTC Community regarding 2019 Novel Corona Virus
2020-03-13 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon to the OTC Community regarding 2019 Novel Corona Virus
2020-03-12 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon to the OTC Community regarding 2019 Novel Corona Virus
2020-03-11 A message to the OTC Students on OTC’s preparations for COVID-19, from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon
2020-3-11: A message from Provost Tracy McGrady to faculty regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus
2020-03-11 A message to the OTC Community on OTC’s preparations for COVID-19, from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon
2020-03-10 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon, regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
2020-03-08 To OTC Employees From the medical staff in the OTC Health and Wellness Clinic
2020-03-02 A COVID-19 Message from Chancellor Hal Higdon
2020 – Spring – Archived – General Information Notice #1

OTC has enacted the following protective measures for students, faculty and staff:

There will be no in-person instruction at any OTC location for the remainder of the spring semester. All OTC instruction will be delivered remotely.

Courses will resume on Monday, March 30 in a remote-learning format. Courses that require an in-person lab component will continue with as much remote instruction as possible, but the in-person, lab portion of the classes is postponed. A date for the resumption of labs is not known at this time. There will be no additional cost to students when this portion of classes restarts.

All OTC locations are closed with noted exceptions  

College locations are closed to the public. Only students who need access to the college’s computer labs or the Springfield campus Testing Center should come to any OTC campus or center.

Beginning March 30, one computer lab will be open at each OTC location from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for students who need computer access. Additionally, on the Springfield campus, the lab will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to accommodate those students who need access to computer labs in the evening. Enhanced physical distancing and frequent cleaning will be conducted in the labs.

Students will still have the opportunity to virtually meet with student services departments, including financial aid, advising and student account services. All tutoring and library services will also be available virtually.

All non-instructional college events are canceled or postponed indefinitely

This includes the postponement of commencement. The college is working on an alternative ceremony for spring 2020 graduates.

More travel restrictions have been implemented for students, faculty and staff

OTC employees or students who travel out of state or internationally should not return to any OTC location for 14 days.

All non-essential OTC-sponsored travel is canceled indefinitely.

Additional information to come

The COVID-19 pandemic is an extremely fluid and rapidly changing situation. College leadership is in frequent contact with public health officials, and the administration is prepared to adjust its response as it receives new information.

To keep yourself and those around you healthy, please follow the CDC’s and Missouri guidelines:

CDC
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Missouri
https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/

Continue to check your OTC email for the latest updates on the college’s response to COVID-19.

2020-05-06: A message from Chancellor Higdon to students regarding OTC’s intent to open for the fall semester

Dear students:

As we near the end of this semester, I would like to congratulate each and every one of you. I am proud of the resolve and strength of our OTC family, especially in the weeks following spring break when we all had to adjust our lives due to COVID-19.

For many of you, the close of this semester will bring about the completion of your degree. Congratulations on this milestone in your academic journey. Whether you are preparing to enter the workforce or transfer and continue your education, I wish you the best as you take these next steps toward achieving your dream.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to adapt, and the skills we have learned this past semester will serve us well going forward. For those of you continuing your education at OTC, I know that we are all looking forward to being together on campus again. It is our intent to reopen this fall under normal operations, including all in-person lectures and labs.

Unlike many colleges and universities, OTC is in a solid position to reopen as we do not have the additional worry of on-campus housing, athletic teams or large-scale dining services. Your safety is our number one priority, and I am grateful to our local leadership for their thoughtful approach to a gradual re-opening of our community. We will follow their lead as we re-open our campuses and centers, and we are mindful that we may need to adjust our plans as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Your resilience this past semester shows that we are capable of weathering many storms and challenges. I am confident we will emerge from this stronger than ever and even more resolute in our commitment to bring you a transformative educational experience.

I look forward to seeing you on campus this fall.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 East Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, Missouri 65802
Office Phone: (417) 447-2602
Email: higdonh@otc.edu

2020-05-01: A message from Chancellor Higdon on employees’ return to work.

Colleagues:

Earlier this week the Governor announced the current Missouri stay-at-home order will expire, as planned, on May 4. The City of Springfield and Greene County have implemented a gradual re-opening plan that includes new restrictions moving forward.

I am grateful to our city and county leadership for their thoughtful approach to a gradual re-opening of our community. We will follow their lead as we re-open our campuses and centers and we are mindful that all of our plans could change at any minute as the COVID-19 situation changes.

College leadership met to discuss bringing employees and students back to campus and our plan is as follows:

  • No change in current operations through May 17.
  • Beginning May 18, employees will begin a gradual return to campus.
    • Supervisors will stagger bringing employees back to campus in shifts, and will utilize physical distancing with regard to work spaces.
  • Monday, June 1, all employees who are able to return to campus will be back to working on site.
  • Employees who cannot return for COVID-related reasons (lack of childcare due to school closures, considered high-risk due to an underlying health concern or caring for sick family member or living with a high-risk individual), will be given the opportunity to work remotely, if possible. If remote work is not possible, the employee should contact human resources and their supervisor to inquire about expanded FMLA under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
    • Employees requesting to work remotely due to COVID reasons should complete a COVID-accommodations form from HR for documentation and tracking. Human resources will send out the form with instructions next week. Remote work requests will be approved by the supervisor, appropriate cabinet member, and the Chancellor.
      • Remote work for child-care related issues can be intermittent if needed. Employees are not required to choose one option or the other exclusively. Depending on the situation and the nature of the work, an employee could work remotely and work on-site throughout the week.
  • Support services for students will continue to be offered through remote delivery for the foreseeable future.
  •  Beginning June 1st, students will have the option to schedule in-person services. Prior to June 1, all student support services will be delivered remotely.

Security will continue controlled access to campus buildings utilizing the entrances indicated in the attached document. We will be screening employees and students as they enter the building and are requiring students and employees to wear masks in common areas. Employees are permitted to remove their masks when they reach their private office. We will adhere to these policies through, at least, June 15.

We will reassess our current plans on a weekly basis to ensure we are still on the right track. The next phase of our reopening will be communicated when those decisions are made.

I appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented time.

Thank you for all you are doing to continue serving our students and for making OTC the best community college in America.

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 East Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, Missouri 65802
Office Phone: (417) 447-2602
Email: higdonh@otc.edu

2020-04-16: A word of encouragement for students from OTC Provost Dr. Tracy McGrady

OTC Students, you are amazing.

Over the last few weeks, I have had a front-row seat to all the hard work you have put in amid a significant disruption to normal life. In my role as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, I oversee all the academic functions of the college. I’m writing today to thank you – thanks for your patience, your support of your instructors, and your commitment to make the best of a bad situation and finish the semester strong. Some of you are first-time participants in remote instruction – and I’m sure those of you who started the semester sitting in a classroom would rather still be there. But you have adapted and continue to meet the challenges of our shared new reality.

I’m hearing a lot from your instructors about how well you have handled this transition. I asked our faculty what they would say to you if they were writing this email. Turns out, they had a lot to say – but the main messages are these:

  • This isn’t going to be anyone’s best semester; it’s okay.
  • We’re in this together, and we are here to help!
  • Keep going! You are stronger than you know.
  • We are proud of you; don’t give up!

Remember that even though we aren’t in the same physical space right now, OTC is still here to support you. What do you need from us? Click here to access all our student support services.

We’re all going to remember 2020 as “the year of COVID-19,” but I hope you also remember it as a year when you met significant challenges head-on and didn’t lose sight of your dreams.

Stay on track. Stay well. Stay strong.

Tracy M. McGrady, Ed.D.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 E. Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, MO 65802
417.447.8152
mcgradyt@otc.edu

2020-4-03: A message to OTC students from Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Tracy M. McGrady, Ed.D.

Dear OTC Student:

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic this semester, OTC is allowing students to choose P (pass) or NP (not pass) grades to satisfy prerequisite, degree, and certificate requirements.

P and NP grades are generally assigned for courses below the 100-level and Continuing Education courses. However, for the Spring 2020 semester, students who have earned a D or higher in a course may opt for their grade to be changed to a P; an F will be an NP.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  •  You must complete the semester and have an final grade assigned. If you do not continue participating in classes this semester, you will be administratively withdrawn and the P/NP option will not be available to you. Keep in close contact with your instructors and actively engage in your courses. Your instructors want to help!
  • Your instructor(s) will assign a final letter grade, and it is up to you to request the change to a P/NP grade.
  • Pass/Not Pass grades do not affect the student’s grade point average. Therefore, if you earn a grade that would have a negative impact on your OTC GPA, changing it to a Pass/Not Pass may be a good option.
  • Students who receive a final grade in a course at the end of the Spring 2020 semester have until May 31, 2020 to request P/NP grades.
  • Students who are issued an Incomplete (I) grade at the end of the Spring 2020 semester have until November 13, 2020 to select the Pass/Not Pass option, but should do so within 2 weeks of a final grade being issued. For example, if you are in a course with a lab that has been suspended for now, you may receive an Incomplete (I) for your final grade. Once the lab portion resumes and the Incomplete grade is replaced with a letter grade, you will have two weeks to request the P/NP option.
  • We strongly encourage you to consult with your academic advisor or program coordinator to determine the impact of choosing the Pass/Not Pass option. There are a variety of situations where a letter grade may still be required for accreditation, licensure, clinical work, etc. You can find your Academic Advisor’s contact information in student planning in myOTC.
  • OTC cannot guarantee that other colleges or universities will accept courses with Pass/Not Pass grading in transfer to meet degree requirements. While many institutions have declared their intent to accept P grades from this semester in transfer, students should check with their transfer institution prior to selecting the P/NP grade change.
  • Contact Financial Aid for help in determining how a P/NP grade could affect your eligibility. Pass/Not Pass grades will still affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid eligibility.
  • Pass/Not Pass grades will not impact a student’s Academic Standing at OTC since it doesn’t impact the GPA.

Please review the website for more details about the P/NP option and to find the form for requesting a P/NP grade change.

A reminder: Even though you may not be physically present on campus, OTC is still here for you! This is an unusual time filled with stress and uncertainty. Reach out to us at https://students.otc.edu/support/. We care about you!

Tracy M. McGrady, Ed.D.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 E. Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, MO 65802
417.447.8152
mcgradyt@otc.edu

2020-3-26: A message to OTC students from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Joan Barrett

Dear Students:

An important reminder and a BIG welcome back to each of you as we return to coursework and the continuation of the spring 2020 semester at OTC. I know you must to have questions regarding your coursework. For those students not already taking classes online, the transition to distance learning is our new reality.

All classes will resume on March 30. For those of you transitioning to online, or other distance format, please check your OTC email and your Canvas site for communication from your instructors. Each instructor has a specific plan for how your class(es) will continue. There are some classes that are postponing the lab/hands-on portion until it is safe to have you return to campus as a class. Please visit this website to see the status of your courses.  Some classes will transition to distance learning exclusively.  Other classes will conduct as much coursework as possible online and then pause the in-person/lab portion of the class until it is safe to resume face-to-face instruction

Each OTC campus or center will have open computer lab available for you to access online coursework if you do not have a computer or reliable internet service beginning Monday, March 30:

OTC Building Access

  • Students may access computer labs between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all locations. Additionally, at the OTC Springfield Campus, students may access the lab until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • The open doors will be designated with an orange sign.
  • The location of the open doors are as follows:

OTC Springfield Campus

Building   Entrance   Adjacent Parking Lot 
Graff Hall Southeast Entrance  Lot B
Lincoln Hall South Entrance Lot A & C
IC Complex    
ICW North entrance by the fitness center Lot A & F
IC North entrance by the atrium Lot A & F
ICE Northeast entrance near vending machines/student lounge
Student entrance for computer lab – ICE 223
Lot A & F
 ITTC  South main entrance Lot I
 NKM Northwest entrance Lot G & C

 

OTC Richwood Valley Campus

Entrance  Adjacent Parking Lot 
North entrance Computer lab – Room 216

 

OTC Table Rock Campus

Entrance Adjacent Parking Lot 
South entrance by Student Service Computer lab – Room 201

OTC Lebanon Center

Building Entrance Adjacent Parking Lot
Casey Hall East double door entrance Computer lab – Room 117

OTC Waynesville Center

Entrance  Adjacent Parking Lot
South entrance on I-44 side Computer lab – Room 117

 

Building Access Guidelines:

  • No congregating or loitering is permitted in the common areas inside the buildings.  Students may access to computer labs and restrooms only.  If you are sick, please do not use the computer labs
  • If someone appears sick or has a significant cough or sneezing they should be asked to leave the building.

In the coming days, there will be OTC staff members reaching out to current students via a telephone call or a text. If you receive a call from an OTC number or an unknown number, it may be the college reaching out.  So, please answer and let us know how you are and how we can help you.

In the meantime, I hope this letter finds you well. Please continue to monitor your OTC email for the college’s latest response to COVID-19. You may also find this information at our COVID-19 website.

We continue to make adjustments in order to protect our community while at the same time assisting you in reaching your educational goals.

Sincerely,

Joan Barrett, Ed.D
OTC Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

2020-3-26: A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon to OTC Employees

OTC Employees,

In my letter to the OTC community earlier this week, I informed you that the City of Springfield and Greene County have issued a 30-day stay-at-home order for all residents. While OTC is considered an essential business operation during this time, and therefore exempt from the order, we are committed to doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and will take every precaution to keep our employees, students and community safe.

When the college resumes operations on Monday March 30th, we will have many of our employees work remotely. There are plans being developed to reach out to all OTC students in the next few weeks and this work will require help from staff who might not usually operate in this capacity. This work will allow us to have more employees work remotely, and will also provide a proactive approach to serving our students. If you haven’t yet, you will hear from your supervisor on how your department will maintain operations while having staff work from home as much as possible.

In the last three weeks, our faculty have responded to the changes in instruction delivery with grace, innovation, and determination, and now it is our turn, as staff, to do the same. I am so grateful to work at this institution alongside all of you.

While we are doing our best to be flexible, we know there may be some of you who are unable to work (physically or remote) due to COVID-19 related circumstances. For this purpose, the Federal government has enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave and a paid expanded family and medical leave up to 12 weeks. Please see the attached document for specific qualifying reasons and provisions under this act. These provisions will supersede the Temporary HR Leave Procedure for COVID-19 announced earlier in an email sent out by the College Director of Human Resources.

Human Resources and IT are working together to put processes in place to implement this law in Colleague and TimeClock Plus, and as more information become available, we will send out a communication to you.

If you feel you are unable to work (physically or remote) beyond two weeks due to a COVID-19 related issue, please contact Kelli Fleck via email (fleckk@otc.edu) to request the paid expanded family and medical leave. As always, please stay in constant communication with your supervisor about any situations that may arise.

As you know, this continues to be a fluid time with changes occurring weekly and even daily. The information contained in this letter and attachment are to the best of our knowledge as of now. We will continue to monitor and implement any changes made by the state and federal governments.

Thank you,

Hal L. Higdon, PhD
Chancellor

2020-03-24: A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon regarding OTC’s Response to COVID-19

To the OTC Community:

The City of Springfield and Greene County, acting on the guidance of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, have issued a 30-day stay-at-home order for all residents beginning Thursday, March 26.

No in-person courses will be taught at any OTC location for the remainder of the spring semester. All instruction will now be delivered remotely. Courses will resume on Monday, March 30 in a distance-learning format.

Instructors teaching courses with an in-person lab component will teach as much of their classes as possible in a remote format, but the in-person lab component of those classes is postponed. A date for the resumption of the in-person, lab portion of those courses is not known.

Students should visit this website to determine if their courses will be completed remotely this semester, or if they will continue remotely for now with the lab portion completed at a later date.

Information for Students

Instructors will reach out to students via OTC email or Canvas with further instructions about the resumption of classes.

OTC leadership is working to offer college services virtually. Keep an eye out for an email later in the week with more information on what these changes mean for the remainder of the semester.

Information for Employees

Those employees who can work from home should plan to do so until otherwise notified. Please be in contact with your supervisor. Look for additional information in a separate email by the end of the week.

I appreciate your flexibility and patience as we adjust to this rapidly changing situation.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor

2020-3-19: A message from OTC Vice Chancellor Joan Barrett to students

Dear students:

I know you have many questions. The college has developed a website with resources to help those of you transitioning to distance learning. The website also contains answers to Frequently Asked Questions that should help provide some clarity for you while the college adapts to COVID-19 precautionary measures.

The college is on an extended Spring Break through March 29. All classes are scheduled to resume on March 30. Many students will transition to a distance learning format for the remainder of the spring semester. Those classes that must be taught in-person will resume on March 30, as well, but with extra precautions to protect our students and faculty. Go to this website to determine which of your courses have transitioned to distance learning or will be taught in-person. Additionally, your instructor will reach out via email or Canvas.

If you are feeling ill, and enrolled in a course that continues to meet in person, please do not come to class and communicate your absence with your instructor.

If you think that you may have COVID-19, CoxHealth is providing free telemedicine visits for anyone. Please use the code “COVID.”

Continue to monitor your OTC email for the college’s latest response to COVID-19 at this website.

Rest assured, OTC is adapting to protect our community.

Sincerely,
Joan Barret, Ed.D.
Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs
Ozarks Technical Community College
barrettj@otc.edu

2020-03-18 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon regarding OTC’s Response to COVID-19

To the OTC community:
Our response to the COVID-19 outbreak is evolving and changing rapidly. As college leadership makes decisions, it is my continued goal to take proactive steps to protect the health of our students and employees. We are doing all we can to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to the OTC community, while helping our students move forward with their education. Additionally, the steps we are taking now will hopefully slow the spread of the disease in the Ozarks.

Here are the latest updates as of Wednesday, March 18.

The college is closed March 20-29

Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, all OTC locations are closed March 20-29. This closure will be treated as if employees are on Winter Break. Only essential employees will report to work.

Additionally, part-time employees will be paid for the week of March 23-27 based on the hours they worked the week of March 9-13. If a part-time employee, for whatever reason, did not work that week, an appropriate week will be used as a substitute.

Since the college will be officially closed the week of March 23-27, the college will pay student workers whose work is funded by the Federal Work Study program. Again, the hours worked the week of March 9-13 will be used to calculate wages. If the student did not work that week, then an appropriate number of hours will be substituted.

During the week of March 23-27, employees may access their offices to retrieve necessary materials between 8 a.m and 5 p.m.  Faculty who wish to work from their offices or classrooms as they transition their courses to alternative delivery modes may do so during those hours. Please call security to gain access to any OTC location.

The Springfield Testing Center will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for previously-scheduled HiSET testing through March 27.  Security officers will provide students access to the testing center to take the HiSET at the northeast entrance of Information Commons East. All other planned tests should be rescheduled. Testing services at other OTC locations will resume on March 30.

Normal business operations are suspended or will be conducted remotely. Computer labs will not be available during this time. The college is closed to the public.

The college will open on Monday, March 30

We still intend to open the college for in-person classes that cannot be taught in an alternative delivery mode on Monday, March 30. The academic divisions are working through the details of how we will ensure social distancing and safety for our students and faculty. Additionally, some students who attend four-year institutions in the region have been sent home and cannot attend in-person classes —instructors are encouraged to work out alternatives for those students.

Normal business operations, including cashier services, student services and computer lab availability, will resume on March 30. Employees who have received permission to work from home may continue to do so.

Travel restrictions

On Monday, we announced that any member of the OTC Community who has traveled outside of the United States and returns to the country on Monday, March 16 or later must not return to any OTC location for a period of 14 days. This has now been extended to anyone who has traveled outside of the state and has returned to Missouri as of today, March 18 or later. The college is also asking that employees not travel to the state’s population centers of St. Louis or Kansas City until further notice.

Health and wellness

If you feel sick with an elevated temperature, please do not come to work. OTC provides generous sick and vacation leave time. Additionally, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, care for someone with COVID-19 or are mandated to self-quarantine due to exposure, the college will advance you up to 15 days of leave time if you do not have enough paid leave accrued. This gives you the opportunity to “pay back” the advanced leave time as you would normally accrue it. We want to encourage our employees to stay home if they are sick and not worry about their income during the pandemic.

For information on how to keep yourself and others healthy, please visit the CDC’s prevention and treatment website for more information.

Again, I appreciate your patience and resilience as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances together.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College

2020-3-16: A message from Provost Tracy McGrady to faculty Resources and Support for Transitioning to Remote Delivery

Good afternoon, OTC Faculty:

I am writing to provide you with additional guidance I know many of you have been waiting for as you transition as much of your teaching as possible to remote delivery. Thank you for your patience as we have worked through the details of this ever-changing public health crisis. Here are some resources available to you and guidance on our instructional plan for the rest of the semester:

RESOURCES:

 ACADEMIC CONTINUITY INSTRUCTIONAL PLAN

The Academic Continuity Instructional Plan webpage should be your go-to resource for support as you shift to teaching remotely. This page will be updated frequently, so check back often. It will feature an FAQ and links to important resources (including one-on-one support).

OTC FACULTY FACEBOOK PAGE

The OTC Faculty Facebook page is a private group for OTC Faculty and support staff. This is a great place for colleagues to get and give support.

OTC ONLINE & CENTER FOR ACADEMIC INNOVATION

  • In an effort to help support faculty, students, and staff more efficiently and promote social distancing, OTC Online and the Center for Academic Innovation is providing expanded virtual support. We encourage you to seek virtual support first, rather than coming directly to the office on the Springfield campus.
  • When seeking assistance, and before coming to the office, please check our virtual resources on the Academic Continuity Instructional Plan webpage.  These resources are available to you 24/7 and provide answers to many frequently asked questions. By reviewing these resources in advance, you (and others) can be assisted more quickly.
  • Route all communication for Canvas-related support for faculty and students to online@otc.edu or (417) 447-8200. If no one answers, please leave a message! Do not hang up and call back, as our staff will be busy assisting others. These messages will then be assigned to our staff and will be answered in the order they are received.

ACADEMIC SERVICES FOR FACULTY AND STUDENTS

All college locations are open, so you and your students will still have access to:

  • Disability Support Services
  • Testing Services
  • Springfield campus: Hamra Library (campus and/or remote library services available)
  • Springfield campus: Speech Communication Center (will be closed the first week of Spring Break)
  • Springfield campus: the Speckman Tutoring and Learning Center (will be closed the first week of Spring Break)
  • Springfield campus: the Carol Jones Writing Center (will be closed the first week of Spring Break)

A reminder that all tutoring and library reference services are available online via Zoom.

ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY FOR FACULTY AND STUDENTS

  • Computer Labs – All college locations are currently open for business. This means that you and your students have access to computer labs and vacant classrooms to work on courses.
  • The college has a limited number of laptops available for employee checkout from Information Technology. Please contact your dean or department chair for help with this. Unfortunately, there is currently an inventory shortage of laptops and tablets, and the college does not have a supply large enough to provide check-out to students.
  • A list of free technology resources for students and faculty will be posted on the  Academic Continuity Instructional Plan page, including Internet providers that are offering their services free or at a discount. This list will also be made available to students.
  • If a student indicates to you that they are dropping the course due to not having access to technology, it is important that they speak to Financial Aid (financialaid@otc.edu). Please direct them there.

SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS TRANSITIONING TO REMOTE LEARNING

A special support page for students who are transitioning to distance learning is being constructed now. Once it is available, it will be shared with students. I will share it with you as well.

COLLEGE POLICIES AND PROTOCOLS:

 PROCTORING REQUIREMENT

The college will continue to adhere to Policy 2.21 – Proctored Events for Online Courses. If a class was originally a seated or hybrid class, there is no proctoring requirement for that section. If a class was originally an online class, the proctoring requirement remains in effect.

FINAL EXAM PERIOD: MAY 7-14, 2020

Instead of a seated final exam that follows the published final exam schedule, offer your final exams online (via Canvas, publisher sites, or other means) during the online final assessment period, May 7-14, 2020.

ADMINISTRATIVE WITHDRAWAL/ATTENDANCE TRACKING PROCEDURES

  • The college will continue to adhere to  Policy 2.64 – Administrative Withdrawal from a Course. After 14 days of non-participation, a student must be withdrawn from a course.
  • Policy 2.61 – Attendance Requirements will be followed as it relates to online attendance: “Attendance in an online course is defined as active participation in an academically-related activity. At least one academically-related activity should be conducted each week.
    • Tracking attendance will involve being able to document that the student “attended” or “participated” in a course-related activity at least once per week. An email from a student can count as an academically-related activity as long as it substantially relates to course content (example: A student emailing an assignment to you). You may demonstrate “attendance” either through your Pinnacle or Canvas gradebook or through whatever means you use to track attendance.
    • You must still be able to produce a last date of attendance (LDA) in the event of a student drop or withdrawal.
    • For the extended Spring Break period attendance is not counted from March 13 through March 29.
    • The extended Spring Break does not re-set the clock for the purposes of administrative withdrawal. For example, if a student was absent from your class for 13 days prior to March 12 (the last date of classes) and does not participate in your class between March 30-April 6, you must administratively withdraw them immediately.

COURSE EVALUATIONS

Course evaluations for the Spring 2020 semester have been permanently suspended. Course evaluations for the A-block were collected, but those will be excluded from semester reports.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE:

 The last few days have been some of the most professionally challenging I have faced; I’m sure you feel that way as well. And I’m not going to lie to you: The worst is likely yet to come.

The next few weeks will be messy, frustrating, and filled with questions. But we are ready. When we said last week, “Move classes online,” you took a deep breath and then got to work. You are modeling flexibility and problem-solving skills for your students. In fact, some of you involved your students in deciding how best to make this transition to remote learning. What a great learning experience!

To get through this, I implore you to be gentle with yourself and your students. You and your students are having to make a sudden and very big adjustment. Your students may have issues with technology. They may be sick; you may be sick. Offer flexibility and creativity. Communicate positivity to them. They need your reassurance that we will get through this. And we will get through this.

Every day, but especially now, I am so deeply thankful for all of you. I am worn out, but at the same time, I am energized, humbled and proud. At OTC, we say, “You have a dream, we have a plan”—and we mean it. Our students have trusted us with their dreams, and there’s no way we are going to renege on our end of the bargain.

As conditions evolve, I will continue to update you. Until then, take care of yourself and those you love, and reach out any time with questions.

Many thanks from a grateful heart.

Tracy M. McGrady, Ed.D.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 E. Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, MO  65802
417.447.8152
mcgradyt@otc.edu

2020-03-16 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon to the OTC Community regarding 2019 Novel Corona Virus

To the OTC community:

I am writing to share important college updates related to the COVID-19 virus. I recognize the difficulties the outbreak has created for everyone, and I appreciate your understanding and support as the college navigates these unprecedented times.

EVENT CANCELATIONS

In an effort to keep the OTC community safe and do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, all non-instructional college events are canceled and/or postponed indefinitely including the job fair, Grad Prep, spring picnics, pinning ceremonies and commencement. College leadership made the difficult decision to cancel these events as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Sunday that no gatherings with 50 people or more be held in the United States for the next eight weeks.

We know that this news, particularly the indefinite postponement of commencement, is very disappointing, and we are looking at ways to celebrate our 2020 graduates in the future.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

The following measure will also be enacted to further protect our students, faculty and staff from COVID-19 exposure: Any member of the OTC community who has traveled out of the country as of March 16 must self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days before returning to any OTC location.

Please inform your instructor and/or supervisor as soon as possible if you need to self-quarantine upon your return.

HEALTH, WELLNESS AND PREVENTION

In the coming weeks, we must all do our part to slow the spread of this disease. I encourage you to follow CDC guidelines to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay away from work or class when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Visit the CDC’s prevention and treatment website for more information.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a quickly evolving situation. I am meeting daily with OTC leadership to discuss and adapt our response as needed. We are also in frequent talks with public health officials to ensure the college is doing everything it can to mitigate and slow the spread of COVID-19.

I appreciate your efforts as we work together to keep members of our community healthy and safe.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College

2020-03-13 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon to the OTC Community regarding 2019 Novel Corona Virus

To the OTC community:

Southwest Missouri now has its first presumptive positive case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The college took the first step to mitigate the spread of the disease by extending Spring Break through March 29 and making the decision to offer all the classes we can in a distance learning format beginning March 30.

As we work through the details of our efforts to increase social distancing, here are some things you need to know. Please keep in mind that all college campuses and centers remain open and fully operational for business.

Employees in a high-risk category: If you are in a high-risk category for COVID-19 as determined by the CDC (older adults or those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes) or care for someone in one of those categories—please discuss with your supervisor, in conjunction with Human Resources, for accommodations.

Part-time and Work Study employees: You may continue to report for work. Given that operations are being altered, please be flexible as your job duties may change to accommodate areas of greatest need.

Supervisors: Begin discussions with your employees to determine if they can work from home.

As announced on Thursday, all non-essential college-sponsored travel has been canceled. If you have questions about whether your scheduled travel is essential, please consult with your supervisor.

I am proud to be a member of the OTC community as we pull together to do what is in the best interest of our students, our colleagues and the greater community. I will continue to communicate frequently during this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College

2020-03-12 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon to the OTC Community regarding 2019 Novel Corona Virus

To the OTC community:

All classes are canceled for Friday, March 13 and Spring Break is extended one week for all seated, hybrid and online courses. In-person courses that can be taught in an online format will resume online beginning Monday, March 30 and will remain online for the remainder of the semester. Those classes that cannot be taught online (for example: labs and technical education) will resume in an in-person format on Monday, March 30. At this time, all OTC locations will remain open and continue business operations.

This decision was made in the best interest of our students, employees and the greater community in the wake of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). Neither OTC nor Southwest Missouri has a confirmed case of COVID-19. However, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority. By having as few students and instructors as possible at our locations, we mitigate risk by increasing social distancing while also maintaining a continuity of instruction.

Students: Please take home any textbooks, course materials and devices before you leave for Spring Break. Locations will be open for you to retrieve these items if you have left something behind. Computer labs will remain open if you need access for completing coursework or for accessing online courses. Your instructors will communicate with you through OTC email or your Canvas course sites about whether or not your classes are moving online.

Faculty: Use the extended Spring Break period to transition your courses to teach in an online format. If you are not sure if you can teach your class online, talk to your department chair or dean. To assist in this effort to move courses online, the staff in OTC Online have prepared an Academic Continuity Instructional Plan with a number of resources to assist faculty who need additional support. They will also be available next week (and beyond) to offer support and have scheduled trainings offered in-person or online. Information about this support is provided on that website under “Training.” This website also includes links to other technological resources that would enable you to continue instruction remotely, such as Zoom.

Staff: Unless otherwise notified, please continue to report for work.

All non-essential college-sponsored travel has been suspended through April 30. Travel related to the business operations of the college will continue. If you have a question as to whether your travel is essential or not, check with your supervisor. Additionally, events at all OTC locations through March 29 are canceled.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a fast-moving and evolving situation. OTC leadership is meeting daily and regularly consulting with public health officials. We will continue to evaluate and adjust the college’s response as we receive new information.

Continue to review your OTC email regularly during Spring Break. College leadership will continue to send updates regarding the college’s response to COVID-19. Updates will also be posted to otc.edu/covid.

I know this decision creates questions that we may not be able to answer, right now. Please know that we are working through those implications and will do our best to provide answers as soon as possible. I appreciate your patience and flexibility during this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College

2020-03-11 A message to the OTC Students on OTC’s preparations for COVID-19, from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon

Dear students:

As you prepare to enjoy some much-deserved time off from classes during spring break, I wanted to update you on the college’s preparations regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of this afternoon, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in southwest Missouri. OTC will continue its normal operations for now. At the same time, the college is making contingency plans should the need arise to deliver instruction remotely. I understand online and remote education has different impacts for you depending on your courses and programs of study. We are doing all we can to preserve your instruction and avoid interruptions to your educational progress.

Since COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation, I encourage you to check your OTC email periodically during the break for updates from the college. OTC will also post updates to otc.edu/covid.

If, over the break, you are traveling to a country with a Level 2 travel health notice or higher from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to COVID-19 (China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan), you should self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days before returning to any OTC location. I encourage you to follow the hygiene recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including frequent hand washing, to protect yourself.

I thank you for your patience and resilience during this time of uncertainty. Please be assured that the college is doing all it can to keep you healthy and safe, while also minimizing disruptions to your education.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College

2020-3-11: A message from Provost Tracy McGrady to faculty regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Good afternoon, OTC Faculty –

There is no doubt that you have been actively monitoring the developments related to the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide and within the United States. Each day, we are hearing of more college and university closures, and this has led to speculation about how OTC is responding to this outbreak. Rest assured that OTC officials are constantly monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with local public health officials throughout our service area. The health of our employees and students, as well as the health of our greater communities, is at the forefront of our minds right now. As many of you get ready to leave your campus or center for Spring Break, I’d like to make you aware of the current discussions about this topic at OTC and ask for your help in preparing for what may be the next phase of operations.

Currently, college operations continue without interruption. With only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Missouri, and none within the OTC service area, we do not have imminent plans to close any campus or center, suspend classes, or move coursework online. However, that may change. This situation is fluid and changes hour-to-hour. Therefore, we are asking that all faculty prepare for the possibility of their courses being moved to online delivery at some point after Spring Break. Courses with labs or clinical components may be impossible to transition completely online, but most general education courses are quite easily adapted for online delivery. Some considerations:

  • Before you leave your campus or center for Spring Break, collect all materials you need to teach remotely and take them with you. In the event the decision is made to move courses online or in the event we experience campus closures, these materials will be important for you to have. This includes textbooks, notes, and any other course materials.
  • Coordinate closely with your department chair regarding the transition to online delivery. Many courses already have online content developed and ready to go. It may be that some of that content can be copied for you, so you can avoid having to build a course from scratch.
  • Make a note of passwords that you need to access course content, since those may not be saved on your home computer.
  • Transitioning a seated course to online can be intimidating for someone who has not taught online previously. To assist in this effort, our staff in OTC Online have prepared an Academic Continuity Instructional Plan with a number of resources to assist faculty who need additional support.  They will also be available next week (and beyond) to offer support and have scheduled trainings offered in-person or online. Information about this support is provided on this website under “Training.”  This website also includes links to other technological resources that would enable you to continue instruction remotely, such as Zoom.
  • If you do not have a computer and/or Internet access at home, please notify your department chair or dean immediately. Our Information Technology department has laptops and hot spots for checkout. Your department chair or dean can help you get one for temporary use.
  • Check your ability to access campus resources from home. Check here for instructions for remote access from home to OTC’s network.
  • Monitor your OTC email over Spring Break. This is where we will send official information regarding decisions about college operations.
  • As long as seated classes remain in session, do not penalize students who do not attend class because they are ill. Do not demand that they produce a doctor’s note. Many medical offices are not seeing patients with mild symptoms, and besides that, many of our students do not have ready access to health care.
  • Continue to practice the hygiene recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Refer to OTC’s Coronavirus Updates websitefor additional information. This site will be updated as new information becomes available. All college communications regarding COVID-19 can be found on this site, including emails sent to students and employees.
  • If you are traveling to a country with a Level 2 travel health notice or higher from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to COVID-19 (China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan), you should self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days before returning to any OTC location.

Some of you have asked if there is any extra cleaning occurring as a result of COVID-19. Besides its regular cleaning schedule during the cold and flu season, our facilities and maintenance teams are doing the following to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Increasing checks and cleaning of restrooms. Classrooms are cleaned as schedules allow. Common areas including touch points like handrails and door knobs are getting closer attention.
  • Monitoring hand sanitizer, soap dispensers, paper products, and other sanitary item levels.
  • Increasing the amount of hand sanitizing stations around campus.
  • All floors are waxed using Microban technology which slows the growth of and kills bacteria and viruses.
  • Adjusting labor schedules as needs arise.
  • Using disinfectant that have been approved to fight the COVID-19 virus.
  • To assist in these efforts, we ask that you keep your desks and areas as tidy as possible to ensure that your areas can be disinfected every morning.

I know this is a time of stress and worry due to the uncertainty of this rapidly-changing public health crisis, but OTC is well-positioned to navigate the challenges it presents. Your work is appreciated every day, but I am especially grateful for your patience and flexibility during this time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.

Thank you.

Tracy M. McGrady, Ed.D.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 E. Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, MO  65802
417.447.8152
mcgradyt@otc.edu

2020-03-11 A message to the OTC Community on OTC’s preparations for COVID-19, from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon

To the OTC community:

I wanted to give you an update on OTC’s preparations regarding COVID-19.

The health and safety of OTC’s students and employees is the college’s top priority.

COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid situation, and college leadership is in regular contact with local public health officials, medical professionals and colleagues at the region’s other educational institutions.

I encourage you to follow the hygiene recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including frequent hand washing, to protect yourself. If you are traveling to a country with a Level 2 travel health notice or higher from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to COVID-19 (China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan), you should self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days before returning to any OTC location.

Besides its regular cleaning schedule during the cold and flu season, the facilities and maintenance team is doing the following to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Increasing checks and cleaning of restrooms. Classrooms are cleaned as schedules allow. Common areas including touch points like handrails and door knobs are getting closer attention.
  • Monitoring hand sanitizer, soap dispensers, paper products, and other sanitary item levels.
  • Increasing the amount of hand sanitizing stations around campus.
  • All floors are waxed using Microban technology which slows the growth of and kills bacteria and viruses.
  • Adjusting labor schedules as needs arise.
  • Using disinfectant that has been approved to fight the COVID-19 virus.

We ask that you keep your desks and areas as tidy as possible to ensure that your areas can be disinfected every morning.

I appreciate your patience and dedication during this time of uncertainty.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College

2020-03-10 A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon, regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A message from OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

To the OTC community:

In response to Missouri’s first confirmed case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the St. Louis-area, I wanted to give you an update on OTC’s preparations and precautions regarding COVID-19, particularly with Spring Break coming up.

If you are traveling to any country deemed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a Level 2 risk or higher (as of March 10: China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan), upon returning to the United States you should self-isolate in a U.S. location for a minimum of 14 days before returning to any OTC location.

The threat-level of COVID-19 is a fluid situation, both domestically and internationally, and OTC is reviewing all college-sponsored travel. However, there are no plans to cancel any trips at this time.

The college administration is in contact with local health departments and will follow their guidance on best practices for mitigating risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.

While some colleges have postponed in-person, seated classes for the time being and moved all classes online, no colleges in our region have taken this step. OTC has no immediate plans to move classes online. However, preparations are being made if that need should arise.

Whether you travel over Spring Break or are staying close to home, please follow the CDC guidelines to protect yourself from COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay away from work or class when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Visit the CDC’s prevention and treatment website for more information.

Thank you for your efforts to keep yourself and members of our community healthy and safe. I will continue to update you as necessary.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College

2020-03-08 To OTC Employees From the medical staff in the OTC Health and Wellness Clinic

From the medical staff in the OTC Health and Wellness Clinic

OTC Employees,

We have been monitoring the rapidly changing 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak over the last many weeks. As the number of cases globally and domestically continues to increase, we wanted to reach out to provide a number of resources for reliable information on this topic that may answer a number of questions you may have. Due to the dynamic nature of this outbreak, new information is available almost hourly so we hope the links to the resources below will be a good foundation on information regarding the nature of COVID-19 as well as some information on preparation tips in the event of any disruption to daily life (school closure, working from home, etc).

There are a few things we do know at this point. The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is just a variation of the common cold. Most people affected (>80%) will experience anything from nothing to a mild cold. However, older individuals and those with multiple chronic health conditions may have more severe symptoms. The virus spreads from person to person, most likely from respiratory droplets (sneezing, coughing, air droplets from breathing).

There are still a number of things we do not know. We are not exactly sure what the death rate (case fatality rate) is from COVID-19. Estimates place this around 2-3 percent (whereas flu is <1 percent) but this number could go down as we get a better idea of how many people overall are infected with COVID-19. We are not sure when or if we will have a successful vaccine to treat COVID-19.

Importantly, there are a number of things we all can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These happen to be the same basic recommendations to help prevent the spread of colds and the flu. These include staying at home if you’re sick. WASH YOUR HANDS A LOT!!! Please keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth, nose, face in general. Avoid contact with those who are sick if you can. If you find yourself coughing, please cough into the bend in your elbow. Masks are not necessary for those who are healthy and are likely not of much benefit anyway. Please save these resources for those who are sick and for healthcare workers.

And a note on office visits— If you develop symptoms of an upper respiratory illness (cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, etc.), please call the clinic prior to coming in for a visit. We will be screening everyone over the phone to see if an in-person clinic visit is needed or if it seems Okay to take care of yourself at home with a clinic evaluation if you worsen (increasing shortness of breath, recurrent fever). Again, please keep in mind that most people will have only cold symptoms. Colds typically last around 7-10 days with the worst symptoms being the first 2-4 days of illness. The cough may linger another 2-3 weeks. Please don’t be offended if we recommend home care rather than an in-person visit as our goal is to keep our staff, patients and local public safe by keeping the potential spread of any contagious disease contained.

Lastly, here are a number of resources you will find helpful in monitoring the COVID-19 situation:

1) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website on COVID-19 is a reliable source of up-to-date information and fact sheets—> https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

2) The Springfield Greene County Health Department also has a web page set up which may address local issues. There is a video now online with the Director of the SGCHD discussing COVID-19—>https://www.springfieldmo.gov/5068/Coronavirus

3) The American Academy of Family Physician has prepared a reasonable list of Home Preparedness Tips here—>https://www.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/patient_care/public_health/COVID19_home_prep-tips.pdf

4) For those of you who like to stay on the leading edge of the latest updates, The New York Times now has a daily email newsletter covering all things COVID-19. You can sign up to receive this daily newsletter here—>https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/coronavirus-briefing?te=1&nl=coronavirus-briefing&emc=edit_cb_20200304

We hope this information helps out and answers many questions you may have. Thanks again for entrusting your healthcare with the team at Equality Healthcare.

Best regards,

OTC Health and Wellness Center

Equality Healthcare Physicians

2020-03-02 A COVID-19 Message from Chancellor Hal Higdon

Good morning:

I have been in contact with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and other medical officials in the Ozarks, and there are no confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Missouri. However, the college does have an interruption of business plan should it ever be necessary. The institution would move most of our classes online and staff would be asked to work from home as much as possible. We understand not every position is able to work from home and we would work through this should the need arise.

We are fortunate in that all of our instructors are asked to use Canvas to deliver instruction even when teaching a seated class. This positions us well to respond to this type of situation. For technical and allied health classes, or any courses that are more hands-on, we would do our best to teach online until we could return to the classroom or lab setting.

Unlike many colleges and universities, OTC has few international students, limited college-sponsored international travel, and no college housing. Because of this, OTC is at a lower risk in these types of situations.

The Centers for Disease Control has some basic guidelines to follow, and these also ring true when combatting influenza, which has been significant this year. It is a good reminder for all of us to follow their recommendations for avoiding illness:

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with the college community when necessary.

Sincerely,

Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D.
Chancellor
Ozarks Technical Community College

CONTACT US

Do you have any questions? Please send them to communications@otc.edu

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