Dear College Community,
I am pleased to share with you an overview of Pittsburgh Technical College’s COVID-19 Return to Campus Plan in effect for our quarter beginning on July 23, 2020. Members of each campus department contributed, overseen by Ms. Terri Barbour, MSN, RN, PTC’s COVID-19 Administrator and Dean of Nursing and Healthcare Professions with 30+ years in healthcare.
When evacuation was enforced in March, PTC had an established COVID-19 Taskforce already meeting daily and planning for our campus community. Since then, our faculty and staff have shown a commitment to virtual excellence through inventive in-class instruction, developing a Virtual Student Union, delivering equipment for applied learning, providing personal hotspots, and reallocating staff to regularly check on our students’ well-being and ensure access to virtual counseling. Additionally, we’ve sought increased legislative and foundational support and community engagement to counter financial challenges in higher education and assist with our role in rebuilding the Commonwealth post-COVID-19.
In the past months, our COVID-19 Taskforce has expanded to focus on all aspects of bringing students, faculty, staff, and visitors back on campus. PTC’s Return to Campus Plan includes four main components:
- Repopulation: details steps for phased re-entry; education for those on campus about the virus, its spread, and safety; campus building preparations including new signage; and updated policies
- Monitoring and Surveillance: includes daily health and temperature screenings and contact tracing
- Containment: examines isolation and quarantine steps for both commuters and residents
- Shutdown Contingency: describes conditions requiring shutdown based on virus outbreaks in the local community and/or PTC’s campus
All employees and students returning to campus must complete online education modules and sign a Personal Responsibility Statement acknowledging steps for protecting self, peers, and the community.
With the July 23 class start, we are limiting campus access to approximately 400 students requiring in-person, competency-based lab instruction. All theory courses will continue to be taught virtually. Less than half of these students require housing and will reside in our on-campus apartment complex with only two students per apartment and individual, private bedroom and bathroom accommodations. We have taken great care to appropriately partner roommates by program and according to risk factors.
I thank all of you for your flexibility as we prepared the launch of this comprehensive plan designed to protect the well-being of our campus community. Your commitment to the guidelines presented in this document are greatly appreciated—and will no doubt be the foundation of our successful reopening.
Alicia B. Harvey-Smith, PhD.
Pittsburgh Technical College