July 22, 2020|Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News
POCAHONTAS, Ark- Black River Technical College has officially entered phase two of their re-opening plan.
The college will now allow students and visitors on their campus, as they see what the fall semester could look like.
“We’ve really talked about this for months,” says Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Karen Liebhaber. “We’ve been watching the cases we’ve been watching them every day. While cases have been rising across the state, Northeast Arkansas is still pretty low. So, we’re trying to make sure we at least had some practice in having people come on. What we have in place is actually going to work. It gives us an idea of what we’ll do with students.”
Liebhaber says they’ve had meetings almost every day including on weekends for months on how to return to campus. Students and visitors were officially welcomed back yesterday.
She says it was successful with students following COVID guidelines.
Liebhaber says they do have a screening process at their Paragould and Pocahontas campuses and are limiting entrances to one door.
Each person will wear a sticker to indicate they’re cleared, with masks required.
“Pretty much right when they walk in there’s a table right there at the door,” says Liebhaber. “All they have to do is there is a thermometer and they just take their own temperature and we have a form for them to fill out and we’re entering that form and we’re keeping up with those.”
The college plans to start back in person classes in the fall with social distancing guidelines but has three contingency plans if they need to adjust.
Liebhaber says they are monitoring what other two- and four-year colleges around the area are doing, but also primary and secondary schools.
As many BRTC students are parents themselves.
“We want to make sure we’re not only supporting our local communities but also taking care of our students and letting them take care of their kids,” says Liebhaber. “If there is a big situation going on in our local schools, we have to be very cognitive of that and make sure that we respond. So, trying to make sure we have things in place to take care of our students, their children and their parents.”
We will continue to update you on BRTC’s re-opening of the college, as well when they announce moving into phase three.