Thursday, July 16, 2020

CASC Releases Fall Reopening Plan

The Executive Cabinet of Carl Albert State College has released the college’s reopening plan for Fall 2020. “This is the most unprecedented, challenging season our leadership has ever walked through,” said President Jay Falkner. “A lot of hours and research went into formulating a plan that will ensure our students, and their parents, feel safe returning to campus, and also ensuring that we as an institution are doing our part to mitigate the spread of this virus.” 

CASC will reopen to the public on Monday, July 20. The campus reopening plan includes returning to regular operations for campus housing, food services, and academic delivery, with modifications. The theme for reopening campus, as well as throughout the year, is “Dedicated.” “We wanted to take campus and student safety a step further this year,” said Falkner. “Our goal was to create a sense of safety and security for our students, faculty, and staff- not only in regard to their health, but in regard to the integrity of our academic delivery as well. Our students’ education will not be compromised due to social distancing and other modifications. That was very important to our team. So, the Dedicated theme will be present all year at Carl Albert.”

Details of the reopening plan are as follows:

Face Coverings: All individuals on campus shall be REQUIRED to wear face coverings. Face shields may be worn in place of masks. If face shields are used without a mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Bandannas, scarves, shirts, socks, etc, shall not be permissible. Instructors will enforce the mask policy during class. Should a student fail to comply, they will be excused from class and sent to the Office of Academic Affairs. The student’s name shall be reported to the Office of Academic Affairs even if they comply with the request. Mask infractions will be cumulative for each student. All CASC Faculty and Staff shall enforce the masking policy among students and visitors. Mask infractions occurring outside of class shall be handled by the Office of Student Affairs. 

a. CASC will provide masks to residential students. Non-residential students should provide their own mask but can request a mask in Student Affairs - Poteau and Bookstore - Sallisaw. Students will also be allowed to wear self-provided masks. Masks shall be available in the Student Affairs Department on the Poteau campus, and in the Bookstore on the Sallisaw campus. 

b. Fabric masks should be washed and dried daily. Each student shall be responsible for cleaning their own mask.

c. Application: Students will not be required to wear masks inside CASC facilities in the following cases: 1) the student is alone in an enclosed room, and 2) the student is engaged in activity during which a mask is not feasible, such as singing, eating, speaking (recording), or drinking. 

d. Residential Housing Application: While students will not be required to wear their mask in their residence hall room, they are encouraged to continue wearing their mask, especially if guests and other visitors are present. The exception shall be activities during which wearing a mask is not feasible, such as eating, drinking, bathing, or sleeping.

e. Guests: Students shall require their guests to wear a mask while visiting the CASC campus. Guests will be expected to provide their own mask. 

f. Student athletes: CASC will require masks or face coverings worn when in the presence of others, however NO masks or face coverings are allowed during physical activity, as it may cause physical harm to student athletes.

Academic Operations: Classes will be offered in the following formats: in-class and hybrid delivery with social distancing practices, as well as online.

- Interim classes meet with modified social distancing: relocation to larger rooms, faculty required to wear facial mask

- Will utilize course syllabi as method of communication for social distancing and healthy protocols

- Will utilize Blackboard or VIKECONNECT portal for health and safety acknowledgments

- Students in the classroom will be assigned a seat to enable tracking if needed

- Course delivery will move totally online following Thanksgiving Break

- Taking accurate attendance is mandatory for contact tracing

- Times when room is in use will be posted outside of classrooms to decrease fogging requirements

- Classroom doors will remain locked when not in use

Traffic Flow- Social Distancing: Large standing pedestal signs will be placed in each high traffic area and at each building entrance, reminding patrons to practice social distancing and good hygiene. Additionally, floor signs and markers will also be utilized for social distancing and directional instructions. OFFICES AND DEPARTMENTS- please ensure social distancing is practiced, utilizing floor markers. Appointments should be held via Zoom whenever possible.

Elevators, Entrances, And Exits: All elevators on campus will be limited to two individuals at one time. Stairwells will be available for use, and will be cleaned routinely as a high-touch surface area. Additionally, only one to two entrances of any building will be open at a time. All campus patrons should plan accordingly.

Meetings, Student Interaction: Faculty and staff will hold office hours, but will not be required to let students into the office if they do not feel safe. Students may be conversed with or advised via ZOOM, or move to a larger space (an empty classroom) where social distancing can occur. If proper social distancing cannot be maintained, meetings will be held via Zoom, or through other methods of communication. Additionally, whenever possible, faculty and staff will conduct student meetings and sessions via Zoom or other electronic methods of communication.

Good hygiene practices will be encouraged: Hand sanitizing stations will be placed at the entrance of all buildings. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors should continue to wash hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds. 

Water Fountains: All water drinking fountains on campus will disabled and unavailable for use. Students, faculty, and staff are advised to make other arrangements for water consumption on campus. Water will be available in Cafe 1507, as well as in the CASC Bookstore (on the Poteau and Sallisaw campuses).

High-touch surface areas: These areas including campus buildings, classrooms, and labs will be cleaned and disinfected frequently. Sanitizing machines will be used on the weekends.

Food Services: At Cafe 1507, in-person dining seating capacity will be limited due to social distancing guidelines. Curbside pickup and to-go options will also be available. Disposable utensils will be utilized for safety purposes. Pre-made salads will be offered in place of our traditional buffet style.

Campus Housing: Residence Halls will reopen for the fall semester. Students and approved guests must complete health screenings by provided medical professionals on site at check-in. Students will move in through a staggered format. Additional training and educational programming related to safety and security will be provided for all residents.

Carl Albert State College-Sponsored Travel: College-sponsored travel is allowed. However, please adhere to masking and high-touch area cleaning protocols when utilizing a college vehicle. Physical plant will provide one can of Lysol and one canister of wipes per vehicle every 2 months, and will use sanitizing foggers in each vehicle every weekend. However, it is the responsibility of the party utilizing said vehicle to wipe down all interior and high-touch areas with said wipes after use.

Vacations and Personal Travel: Students are subject to the CDC’s travel recommendations and any state executive orders related to COVID-19 travel. Students traveling out of state to a location with extreme COVID-19 activity and is exposed to the public there, should report their travel to the Student Affairs Office.

“We are confident that our plan will keep our campus community safe, and also give our students the education and overall experience they deserve,” said Bill Nowlin, Vice President of Enrollment Management. “We are excited to continue with fall enrollment, and serving our students with excellence.”

“Our team of instructors have responded to this pandemic, and the associated challenges, with tenacity and dedication,” said Marc Willis, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “So to utilize the word “Dedicated” for our fall reopening plan is entirely fitting. Our team is ready to welcome our new and returning students this fall.”

The entire Carl Albert reopening plan can be found on the college’s website at

KXMX News Staff

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