POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - The public is now welcome on the Black River Technical College campus.
The college moved into Stage 2 of its COVID-19 reopening plan on Monday, July 20.
All campuses, including the one in Pocahontas, are now open to the public.
But, according to a news release, visitors must follow screening procedures and safety criteria.
Screening forms will be available at check-in stations on each campus or on the BRTC Campus Health webpage. The clearly-marked stations are located at the Student Accounts Payment window in the Administration Building at BRTC Pocahontas and the Paragould Bookstore window at BRTC Paragould.
BRTC employees, students, and visitors much adhere to the following safety guidelines.
- Practice social distancing of 6 feet or more from others, inside and outside.
- When social distancing is not possible, wear a mask.
- Practice frequent handwashing following the CDC’s guidelines of washing with water and soap for 20 seconds.
- If individuals are still concerned even when a 6-foot distance can be maintained, they are encouraged to wear a mask at all times.
- Adhere to any other guidelines issued by the CDC or the Arkansas Gov.
Students are required to attend classes as scheduled, the release stated, and must adhere to the approved guidelines and screening procedures.
BRTC will require masks when social distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained.
Vice President of Institutional Advancement Karen Liebhaber acknowledges the rise in new COVID cases, but she says now is the time to open to phase two.
“This gives us a little bit of time to kind of ease into having students on-campus,” Liebhaber said. “Some of the cases are going up in the state, [but] our area - Northeast Arkansas - is still pretty low... Since it’s not changed that much, we felt like now is probably is a good time.”
Liebhaber says President Martin Eggensperger and his council have been meeting consistently throughout the past few months to figure out the best moves to take for the school. She says the school is in a unique situation due to the majority of their students also doubling as parents.
“Our students, most of them have children, so we really have to pay attention to the schools and see what they’re doing,” Liebhaber said. “Our parents have to be there for their own kids.”
BRTC has other measures that are already being followed, including spacing out classrooms that are currently being used for summer classes, while closing off ones that aren’t.
The school has at least three different contingency plans for classes that will be released soon.