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March 19, 2020 - The Stages of a Pandemic

Dear QCC Family,

We are all very aware of the public health challenge posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its effects on the lives of everyone. We are in a rapidly changing environment, with new developments emerging constantly. At this difficult time, I want to reach out personally to let you all know that we are in this together. Personally, I have chosen to be on campus to guide our decisions, keep up on the ever-evolving situation at hand, and to offer moral support to the few who are working onsite.

I served for many years as a volunteer in disaster services, both as the head of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team in Dallas and as a volunteer officer for Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Management. During those years, leading disaster team operations I responded to many disasters, including gas explosions, massive fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. Each disaster presented unique challenges, most were manageable and none were like the COVID-19 epidemic that we are facing now, with its global scale and with so many unknowns. One thing I learned from those experiences is how remarkable the human spirit is – our resiliency, compassion, and ability to adapt is our greatest strength.

I also learned that during a disaster people go through different stages, similar to those of grief. It is normal to be exhausted, anxious and disoriented when facing a crisis. Anxieties are high and fear of the unknown is real and can be overwhelming. I ask you to take care of yourselves and others. Use patience when dealing with everyone because you do not know how they are handling this crisis. Be kind to those around you. Give someone a call who might be alone for a long period.

Moving to remote operations is challenging intellectually and technically and you are already completing the task. Your willingness to step up and do what needs to be done to support our students is remarkable. Thank you!

Our top priority is the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students as well as our community. At this time we are transitioning instruction to remote modalities. Currently we are not providing in-person services to the public or to our current students. On March 30, all instruction and services such as Financial Aid, Admissions, Advising, etc. will be delivered remotely until the end of the semester. We are looking for alternatives for those aspects of instruction which are not easily moved to remote modalities such as extension of the semester or other accommodations for after the crisis passes. College leadership will continue to evaluate and finalize these decisions in April. With this in mind, most people will be working remotely. A few will continue to work in the office for the time being, some on a rotating basis, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. The one-person rule is now in place – 1 person in an office at a time. All meetings shall be held via conference call or the web.

We are a strong QCC Family and can weather this storm. Rest assured that we are working on strategies to equitably address the needs of all of our students, faculty, and staff to the best of our ability. Leadership of the College will be assessing options for moving forward, including adjusting rotating schedules, reallocating critical resources, and maximizing remote work. Individual departments will follow up with specific information as it pertains to each department.

Lastly, I ask that you be careful about what news you take in during this unprecedented public health issue. Please obtain facts from the QCC Coronavirus/COVID-19 or the CDC website to be sure that you are obtaining facts from reputable sources. There are plenty of resources there about social-distancing and how to keep yourself and loved ones healthy. Since this is a fluid and rapidly changing situation, we find ourselves needing to make frequent adjustments to our plans. We are taking this one step at a time and will keep you informed as things evolve and we finalize specific courses of action.

Focus on what you can do, how you can help, and together we will overcome. Remember, this too will pass.  Again, be well, stay strong and be kind.