Covid 19 Response and Fall Semester Plan  Read More

COVID-19 response

 

 

 

As you prepare to enroll for the fall term, I wanted to provide additional information about our transition to the fall 2020 semester. The following protocols will begin Monday, August 3rd. Once classes begin on August 24th, enrolled students will report to individual classrooms. All other individuals, prospective students, etc. will continue to follow the below protocols:

  • We will decommission the checkpoint located on 18th Street at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, July 31st.

  • Beginning Monday, August 3rd, the main gate on Hazel Street will reopen. The entrances on Rike Street will remain closed. We will no longer scan body temperatures of those entering campus, or ask the related checklist questions. Instead, each building will have large, prominent signs placed on, or near, the entry doors asking the same questions of visitors and students. I have attached a copy of the signage for your perusal. 

  • Appropriate signage will be placed at the entrance on Hazel Street, as well as near the Welcome Center. The signage will indicate for all current students, prospective students, community members, etc. to check-in at the Welcome Center.

  • Welcome Center personnel will determine how we can best help you. Once your individual need has been determined, the appropriate action will be taken:

    • Applications for Admission – To be performed in the Welcome Center.  Four computer stations currently exist so you can complete fall 2020 applications. 

    • The scheduling of appointments for other offices, e.g. Advising, Financial Aid, Registrar, etc. will occur in the Welcome Center. We will continue to use Waitlist for the scheduling of these appointments.

    • As we have been doing, you will be directed to wait in your vehicle until called to the appropriate office.

    • The Concierge Desk will remain functional in Business/Student Services to assist students in reaching their destination. Once you have been summoned, you will present the text to the Concierge and will be admitted to the appropriate office.

During the week of August 3rd, our hours of operation will remain 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to noon on Friday. Beginning, Monday, August 10th, we will return to a schedule of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to noon on Friday.

I am committed to taking every possible step in maintaining your safety while providing the customer service you need to finalize enrollment in the fall.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us at questions@seark.edu. Or, you can respond to my e-mail directly and I’ll get you connected with the appropriate area on campus.

I am looking forward to seeing you soon and thank you for choosing SEARK College!

Best regards and stay safe!

President Bloomberg

 

COVID-19 FAQ

Face Mask Guidelines

Southeast Arkansas College is committed to fostering as safe an environment as possible for its students, faculty and staff in these challenging times.  To achieve this, we are working on policies and procedures necessary to insure this.

On July 16, 2020, Governor Asa Hutchinson issued an executive order requiring face coverings in all public buildings where social distancing is not possible.

Effective Monday, July 27, 2020, Southeast Arkansas College will require all students, faculty, staff and guests  to our campus to wear appropriate face coverings while inside any campus building or facility where proper social distancing may not always be possible.  Wearing a face covering is in addition to proper six-foot social distancing, not a substitute.  Anyone not using an accepted face covering when required, or using it improperly, will be asked to wear one or leave the area.  Repeated refusal to comply with these requirements may result in discipline through appropriate channels.

Exceptions to the face mask requirement will be made on a case-by-case basis.  If the exception is requested due to medical concerns, physician documentation will be required.  For students, this should be presented to Disability Services, and faculty/staff should forward to Human Resources. In cases where an exception is granted, the use of a face shield will be substituted for a face mask.

The appearance of the face mask is subject to Faculty/Staff Handbook (Section 1.8.1) for all faculty and staff.  Issues with the appearance of student face masks or coverings will be reported to the VP for Student Affairs for review under the Student Code of Conduct.
 

SEARK Plans for Instruction for Fall 2020

SEARK Plans for Instruction for Fall 2020

At Southeast Arkansas College, we are excited about your return to our beautiful campus in time to safely resume in-person classes for the fall semester. We will deliver the Shark experience – where students and faculty are partners in learning from day one – while following a few new health and safety protocols to protect our entire campus community. In order to reach our goal of providing a safe and healthy learning environment, I am reaching out to share the following updates from the College:
 
Class Formats:
Many classes are being offered in variety of formats to give students several options and to mitigate the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Most instruction will be conducted via a “Hyflex” model. Hyflex combines opportunities for face-to-face instruction, and for remote learning for those who do not feel safe, or who are unable to attend in person. Students may attend classes in person or remotely via ZOOM. Face-to-face classes will be in smaller groups and social distancing guidelines will be in place in the classrooms. Finally, SEARK has many completely online courses available for those unable to be with us in person for the entire semester. Please meet with your advisor to discuss which class options are right for you.
 
Thanksgiving Break:
To further protect our campus community during the typical flu season, when health officials also anticipate a second wave of COVID-19, SEARK will conclude face-to-face instruction on November 20. After the Thanksgiving break, all remaining instruction, as well as final projects and exams, will be completed online. More details will be shared as the fall semester continues to be planned.

SEARK Face Mask/Shield Policy:
All students, faculty, staff and visitors - including contractors and vendors - must wear face coverings over their mouths and noses while on SEARK campuses, in all hallways, public spaces, classrooms and other common areas of campus buildings, and when in offices or other work spaces or outdoor settings when 6-feet social distancing cannot be maintained, including inside offices or outdoors on campus.
 
Employees and students who show symptoms of illness MUST remain off-campus until the symptoms subside for at least a 24-hour period. Any employee or student with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis - even if asymptomatic - must remain off-campus and quarantined for at least a 14-day period after receiving the test results. 
 
Individuals who need reasonable accommodations related to the use of face coverings may contact Scott Kuttenkuler (for students) at skuttenkuler@seark.edu or Rebecca Monk (for employees) at rmonk@seark.edu.
Students, Faculty, staff and visitors are requested to provide their own face coverings (e.g. cloth or disposable face mask). However, if individuals are not able to provide their own face coverings, the college will provide them. Disposable masks will be provided to students and employees who forget to bring their masks to campuses.
 
Signage will be posted on building entrances prohibiting anyone from entering SEARK who is feeling ill, running a fever, or has recently been in contact with someone with COVID-19.
 
All students, faculty, staff and visitors are expected to adhere to this policy. Failure to comply with face covering requirements may result in denial of access to designated areas or participation in programs or activities, and/or discipline in accordance with applicable college policies. In classrooms, faculty have the right to deny a student entry into the room if the student is not wearing a face mask/covering. Violations of this policy by faculty, staff or visitors, including contractors and vendors, should be reported to Human Resources; violations by students should be reported to Student Affairs. Additional information regarding policy enforcement will be provided in the coming weeks.

Conclusion:
The work of SEARK is grounded in our enduring mission: empowering all of our students and changing lives through the education and services we provide. And we will do that by being true to our enduring core values including ensuring the safety of our entire campus community. More information will be shared regularly as we get closer to the fall semester. Should you have any questions, please feel free to email questions@seark.edu. 
 
I look forward to welcoming you all back to campus soon.

If a person takes a test as a precaution (no known exposure or symptoms) should they remain at home pending the receipt of results? 

Yes. The CDC recommends isolation until results are received. Isolation is not the same as quarantine. The CDC states that anyone not in close contact with an individual should monitor themselves for symptoms and should be allowed to continue to work as long as they do not have symptoms.
Isolation separates sick people from people who are not sick.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a COVID-19 to see if they become sick. These individuals may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

If a person who has been exposed, taken a test, it’s negative, and 14 days have passed (with no symptoms) can the employee return to work?

Yes, If the person does not develop symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the end of the self-quarantine period, they will be free to resume normal activities, including school or work. 

I have a positive COVID-19 test. When can I return to work?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance states that the employee may return to work if at least 72 hours have passed since recovery (defined as no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND improvement in respiratory symptoms) AND at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Some, who test positive, may not have symptoms. Self-quarantine for 14 days is advised to prevent the spread of the virus.

What happens if I have a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees when I come through the checkpoint at SEARK College?

If an individual has a temperature of 100.4 or greater after two readings with the non-touch thermometer, an under-the-tongue digital temperature will be uses to confirm or negate. If confirmed positive, entry to campus will be denied and an informational sheet with recommendation for next steps will be provided.  

What should I do if someone with known or suspected COVID-19 has recently been on SEARK’s campus or has tested positive?

    The key to workplace exposure is whether there has been “Close Contact” or not. OSHA defines close contact as:

  • Any individual who has been in close face-to-face or touching contact, generally 30 minutes or more.
  • Anyone talking with or being coughed on for any length of time while the individual was symptomatic.
  • Anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids. 
  • Close friendship groups or workgroups. 

•    The Arkansas Department of Health is now encouraging testing for individuals who believe they have had contact with or been exposed to a positive case, so testing may be advisable even if the employee does not have symptoms. Contact a local COVID-19 screening center. The employee should self-isolate at home until test results are available.
•    Anyone not in close contact should monitor themselves for symptoms and should be allowed to continue to work as long as they do not have symptoms.

How is COVID-19 spread

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Why is it important to wear a mask/face covering while on SEARK’s campus? 

A mask/face covering may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Wearing a mask/face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants). Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth face coverings are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing,  and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Do I have to wear a mask/face covering all the times on SEARK’s Campus?

Yes. A mask/face covering should be worn at all times while on SEARK’s campus except when  in a private office or designated area where only one person is involved. A mask/face covering must be worn at all time in meetings, hallways, conferencing, interviews, advising sessions, or areas where other individuals migrate. DO NOT enter or allow others to enter your workspace without wearing a mask/face covering that covers the entire nose and mouth.  

Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be spread through food, including restaurant take out, refrigerated or frozen packaged foods? 

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day use a tissue to cover your coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.

What precautions can students/faculty/staff take to remain safe when sharing workspace?

Refer to the website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html

Will SEARK College require an employee and/or student diagnosed with COVID-19, or who was possibly exposed to COVID-19 and directed to remain quarantined, provide a clearance certification statement before returning to work? 

Yes. A certification letter or certificate from a public health department clearing an individual to return to work or class if they contracted or was exposed to COVID-19, or has been placed in quarantine, will be required. 

Institutional Directive on Grading Spring 2020

Attached is the Spring 2020 Institutional Directive for Incomplete Crisis (IC) or Withdraw-Crisis (WC) course resolutions.

This policy only applies to courses in the Spring 2020.  Limitations do apply.

These options are designed to help students and to provide a path that both completes the course as well as recognizes the challenges of this semester.

Applicable forms will be made available on the College’s website.

This information will be disseminated through all channels.  

If you have any questions feel free to email me or send your question to questions@seark.edu or text (501) 291 0415.
 

A quick video goes through the different options, as well as, provides items to consider when choosing the path that best fits you.;

Spring 2020 Commencement Postponed

It is with a great sense of reluctance, and an even greater sense of loss for you, our students, I am announcing the postponement of the spring 2020 commencement exercises. This was a situation I hoped we would not find ourselves faced with; however, due to the continuing spread of the COVID 19 virus, we must honor and value the health of our campus community over the celebration of commencement.

Following the conclusion of the spring 2020 semester, we will mail degrees and certificates for all students who met those requirements. 

We plan to hold a combined spring/fall 2020 commencement ceremony in December 2020. This will allow an opportunity to hold an extraordinary event celebrating your accomplishments and achievements. 

Students who were eligible to participate in the spring 2020 commencement will receive additional information regarding the rescheduled commencement exercise.

Best wishes and stay safe.

President Bloomberg
 

Campus Community (With Special Emphasis to Students enrolled in 2nd 8-week Courses)

Our original date for the start for the 2nd 8-week classes was Wednesday, March 18th.  Due to the Convid-19, we have pushed that start date to Monday, March 30th.  This delayed start has caused justified concern that the 2nd 8 Week refund disbursement would be delayed beyond the original schedule April 15th date.   We are planning to meet that deadline and we plan to have 2nd 8-week refunds complete.

But we need your help …

As part of the expectations of dispersing a Federal Financial Aid Student Loan/Grant, the institution must first verify that the student is participating in the class --- Typically this is done by the scheduled census date, however, we are going to compress that schedule to ensure that the disbursement can be completed on time.

For students taking 2nd 8-week courses (those who the disbursement will impact), you must log in to your Moodle account and check the attendance verification located in the upper right-hand side of the class main page (see image below).  You must click this button for each 2nd 8-week class you are enrolled in.  This must be completed by noon on Wednesday, April 1st. 

If you do not complete this step by the deadline the disbursement of your aid will be delayed.  

The ability to verify your attendance is already in place and can be completed right now.  Please don’t delay

If you need assistance:

                Logging into Moodle – Email Moodle@seark.edu

                Information about Financial Aid – Email  finaid@seark.edu

                Any other questions – email questions@seark.edu

All SEARK Classes Going Online for the remainder of the Spring Term 

Campus Community,

On March 11th we closed campus responding to the announcement of Arkansas’s first reported case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was in Pine Bluff.  At that time, we planned to re-open campus on March 30 depending how the pandemic developed. 

We have maintained strong communication with local and state officials and monitored how the virus has spread over the last week.  At this time, we believe it in the best interest of the campus community to move all classes online for the remainder of the semester. 

All online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes are paused until March 30 with no instruction and no assignments due during this period.

Effective March 30, and through May 11th, all face-to-face classes, and in-person components of hybrid courses will be delivered virtually. 

Between now and March 30th, SEARK College will be releasing a series of resources to assist in this transition. Topics will include: accessing and navigating Moodle, accessing WiFi, online learning resources, and a host of additional subjects.  These resources will be available on the seark.edu home page under the Coronavirus Operating Information link.

On a more personal note - We (all of us students, faculty and staff) are launching into uncharted waters.  This will not be easy for anyone and will require a full commitment and patience of every member of the SEARK Community.  Together we must work to successfully complete this term.  Together WE can do this! 

If you have questions – ask

If you need help – ask

If there is something unclear – ask

To ask – you can email questions@seark.edu or text/call 1(501) 291-0415

One final thought …. This quote embodies everything that we are having to do…

A school superintendent said something profound in his address cancelling school.  He said:

In the end, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it will be QUITE apparent if we under reacted or did too little.

Graduation

At the present time, there is no change to the scheduled graduation ceremony in May.  Please know we recognize that this is one of the greatest days in the lives of our students and their families (and in ours too!) and we will do everything we can to make that day happen.   With that said, please understand that as the circumstances involving the coronavirus evolve this could change.  We will certainly share that information the moment a decision to change is made.

 

Regardless, if you are completing the requirements for your major/program during the 2020 Spring or 2020 Summer term, there is still time to apply for graduation.  Even if you do not want to participate in the graduation ceremony, you need to complete a graduation application to have the information noted on your transcript.  The deadline to apply for graduation has been extended to Monday, March 30, 2020.

 

 Email the completed application (attached) from your SEARK Email to Registrar's Office at registrar@seark.edu 

 

If you have any questions please send an email to questions@seark.edu and we will get you that answer as soon as possible.

Graduation Application

2nd, eight-week classes

Greetings Students:  Here is information regarding the upcoming start of the 2nd, eight-week classes:

 

Start Date: The 2nd, eight-week semester is scheduled to begin Monday, March 30, 2020.  This is a change from the original start date of March 18th.
 

Online Only: All 2nd, eight-week classes will be online only.  Courses will open March 18th but assignments/lectures/activities will not begin until March 30.
 

Lab/Clinical Course Components:  2nd, eight-week courses that have lab and/or clinical components will be completed when normal operations resume. It is possible clinicals may be scheduled after the conclusion of the course. 

As an example, the CNA clinical requirements (usually the last two weeks of the program) will be conducted once normal operations resume even if that time occurs after the scheduled end of the term.

 

 

President Bloomberg

Attendance Verification:  Census verification is April 2nd.  Each course will have some form of task establishing you as a participating member of the course.  You must login and complete the assigned task.  Verification is required for disbursement of Federal Financial Aid.
 

Communication:  Communication with your instructor is critical.  Please make contact as soon as possible and constantly throughout the term
 

Questions:  If you have questions please email questions@seark.edu or text (501) 291-0415
 

Best regards,

 

Textbooks:  We recommend reaching out to the Academic Dean to determine the best options for textbooks. Textbook needs may be addressed differently than previously planned and/or from course-to-course. 
Deans include:

Nursing and Allied Health – Dean Scott jscott@seark.edu Technical Studies – Dean Seymore lseymore@seark.edu General Studies – Dean Harrell tharrell@seark.edu
 
Spring Break Travel

Greetings Students: SEARK College continues to closely monitor reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the COVID 19 Virus as well as working with local and state health officials to keep everyone on campus safe and informed.

Please exercise caution with your choices to travel during Spring Break. Even if you are not traveling to a location currently experiencing a high number of cases, you still have an opportunity to be exposed.

The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel. 

We also recommend everyone follow preventive practices such as:

Avoiding close contact with people who are sick. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

 

Be well!

 

President Bloomberg

  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning product.
  • We will continue to monitor and plan for any new developments and remain committed to our students’ well-being and safety.
Update 3/15/2020

Students,

As we do our best to adjust to this “new normal”, I wanted to remind you campus is closed until March 30th. This action was taken in an abundance of caution with your health and well-being at the forefront.

While we are planning to resume regular operations on March 30th, there is a chance we will continue to operate virtually beyond that point. We are in regular contact with local and state health officials and will communicate information as soon as we are made aware.  

In the week ahead, and through the week of spring break, we must work together to plan for the “What If”. Currently, faculty are building out the Moodle Framework for each class and are reaching out to you to determine the best course of action.  Together we can do this! 

Here is what I need from you—If you have trouble with any of the items below, email questions@seark.edu or text/call 1(501)-291-0415 and our team will help you through the process:

 

Check your SEARK email daily:  Make sure you have access to your SEARK student email. This is the official means of communication for the college.

Sign up for SEARKAlert:  If you are not currently receiving text messages from SEARKAlert, please send an email to questions@seark.edu and include your name, ID number, SEARK email address, and phone number. Once added, you will receive a confirmation via text. 

 

If you have questions email questions@seark.edu or text or call 1(501)-291-0415 

  • Login and check Moodle:  Each of your classes will have a Moodle page with information added daily. Please login daily and check your account.
     
  • Make contact with your professor: Stay in contact with your professor and work together to make your courses as successful as possible. 
     
  • Complete the survey:  Within each of your Moodle Course pages (in the upper right-hand corner) is a brief survey asking you about different components of taking classes virtually. The information collected from the survey is critical as we evaluate different options and develop resources to help you.  
     
  • Ask questions: I know you may still have questions about how the coming days and weeks will unfold. Know we are here for you and please ask if you need help.
Update:  3/12/2020

SEARK Students,

Following the CDC and State Health Department Guidelines, Southeast Arkansas College’s campus will remain closed to students until at least Monday, March 30, 2020. Midterms and first 8-week final exams will be made available online through Moodle for those that need to complete them. Students should login to Moodle immediately and complete a short survey to ensure they have access to all materials needed.

Anyone with questions or concerns should text or call (501) 291-0415 or send an email to: questions@seark.edu.

The campus closure will affect the beginning of second 8-week courses, the second 8-week semester is scheduled to begin online Monday, March 30, 2020. Be advised, that ALL Second 8-week semester courses are being moved to online instruction only. This only applies to the second 8-week courses. Spring 2020 16-week classes will meet back on campus once campus re-opens.

The safety of our students is our top priority and we want to assure you all these steps continue to be done out of an abundance of caution, and not due to a direct threat or concern. Our faculty and staff continue to stand ready to assist students with the completion of their classes. We continue to ask everyone to practice good hygiene, including handwashing and sanitizing. The CDC guidelines can be found on our website at: https://www.seark.edu/covid-19-response.

The coronavirus situation continues to change constantly. Therefore, SEARK officials are meeting daily to follow developments and to coordinate the response according to the College’s Emergency Response Plan. Please continue to check your email and the seark.edu website to stay up to date on the response and to receive any important messages in a timely manner.

Update 5:00 p.m. 3/11/2020

Southeast Arkansas College will remain closed through Sunday, March 15, 2020 so the college can complete a deep cleaning of the campus in compliance with guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following the possible exposure by three students to the COVID-19 virus. The college plans to resume normal operations at 8:00 a.m. Monday, March 16. While classes will be cancelled, and offices will be closed, employees who need to pick up their paychecks may do so in the Business Services Office between 8:00 am – 6:00 pm Thursday, and 8:00 am – noon on Friday.

Be advised the campus closure is only a precautionary measure as no students, staff or faculty have been confirmed to have contracted the COVID-19 virus, nor showing any symptoms of the virus. The college is working closely with the Arkansas Department of Health who confirm the campus risk of exposure to COVID-19 is extremely low.

As a result of the campus closure, midterm exams for 16-week courses, and final exams for 8-week courses have been extended through Wednesday, March 18. Faculty members are advised to contact students directly for the new testing schedule.

The campus closure will also delay the start of late 8-week courses. The second 8-week semester will now begin Monday, March 30, 2020.

The safety of our students and staff is our top priority and we want to assure you all these steps are being done out of an abundance of caution, and not due to a direct threat or concern. We continue to ask everyone to practice good hygiene, including handwashing and sanitizing. The CDC guidelines can be found on our website at: https://www.seark.edu/covid-19-response. We also ask anyone experiencing symptoms of illness, especially a fever to refrain from coming to campus.

The coronavirus situation is fluid. Therefore, SEARK administrators are meeting daily to follow developments and to coordinate the response according to the College’s Emergency Response Plan. Please continue to check your email and the seark.edu website to stay up to date on the response and to receive any important messages in a timely manner.

March 11, 2020

Southeast Arkansas College Students exposed to Presumptive COVID-19 patient.

Pine Bluff, AR – The safety of SEARK students, faculty, staff and visitors is our top priority and the College is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and following protocols as set forth in our emergency response plan.

The Arkansas governor announced today the first presumptive patient in the state with the coronavirus. Earlier today, three students in the SEARK Respiratory Therapy Program were advised that they were exposed to the patient while performing their clinical rotation at the Jefferson County Medical Center. The students have been instructed to quarantine for 14 days after their initial exposure to the infected patient, which would be March 30, 2020.

Unfortunately, these three students were unaware of their exposure and attended classes in the McGeorge Building on campus Wednesday, March 11, 2020. While the risk of the spread of infection to other students as a result of this is low, out of the abundance of caution, SEARK is closing campus to provide our custodial services staff an opportunity to perform a deep cleaning of the building, paying particular attention to the Allied Health classrooms and equipment. The cleaning will comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and the college is working in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Health.

SEARK continues to vigilantly monitor and respond to any information regarding COVID-19, particularly the presumptive case in Pine Bluff. Our priority is the health and safety of the Southeast Arkansas College community. Regular updates are being provided to all students and employees and the college has launched a Covid-19 website at www.seark.edu that will be the source of information during this time.

About Southeast Arkansas College

Established in 1991 by Act 1244 of the 78th General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, Southeast Arkansas College provides a comprehensive community college education and services, with an emphasis on technical education and workforce development, for the citizens of Jefferson, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Grant and Lincoln counties. These educational programs and services include:  technical career education, workforce development, university transfer education, general education, adult education, continuing education, and community services.

About COVID-19

The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus — now being referred to as COVID-19 — was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China, and has spread to other international locations, including the United States.

Public health officials are working to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats.

Coronaviruses that infect people can cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold; however, some can cause severe illness, like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The complete clinical picture of 2019-nCoV is still not fully clear, with reported illnesses having ranged from infected people with little-to-no symptoms, to people becoming severely ill and dying.

Transmission

The exact way the virus is spread is not fully known. And, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably 2019-nCoV is spreading between people.

With similar coronaviruses, person-to-person spread is thought to have happened mainly by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes — similar to how influenza and other viruses cause respiratory illness to spread.

Transmission may also occur when a person touches a surface or object that has virus on it and then touches his or her own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Because this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, new information about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing.

More information from the CDC is here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html

Prevention

Although a very serious public health threat, the CDC believes the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general U.S. public is considered low.

There is currently no vaccine to protect against 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Public health officials recommend everyone follow basic prevention guidelines to avoid spreading and contracting respiratory illnesses:

Try to get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods. Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently with soap and water. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it when you cannot wash your hands. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve. When you use a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately. Do not use a handkerchief.

 

The U.S. government has also imposed travel restrictions and screening and quarantine requirements for U.S. Citizens, as well as suspending entry for foreign-born persons who have been in China within the past 14 days.

Follow the CDC’s travel health notices or the U.S. State Department Travel Advisories.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Do not share cups, straws, or anything else you put in your mouth (especially vaping devices).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect surfaces that can be contaminated such as desks, phones, doorknobs, keyboards, etc.
  • In response to the growing public health threat, airlines have suspended flights to China for the time being.
What to do if you feel sick

Practice good hygiene.

Avoid contact with others. Do not travel while sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the tissue. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

 

Stay home from school and work until at least 72 hours after your fever ends, without the use of fever-reducing medications. If you must go out of the house or be around others, wear a mask and avoid close contact. Be especially careful around people who have compromised immune systems, underlying health conditions and/or are age 60 and older.

Take care of yourself. Rest as much as possible. Drink lots of fluids.

Take caution if you have traveled to areas known to have higher rates of infection! See more information at the CDC website: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel

  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Monitor your symptoms closely. Take your temperature daily.
Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Arkansas Department of Health

Other

 

A guide to being a student at Southeast Arkansas College