The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Staff raises concern with protocol during pandemic

BY Dang Le/campus editor

South Campus Jenkins Garrett library is devoid of any students or staff as all campuses close
completely March 24. Online resources are still available to students through Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian

Some students and staff members have expressed frustration with both TCC’s decisions and the way the college has communicated them in the wake of the coronavirus.

TR student Diane Wanger said she tried to look for information about her classes on the morning of Friday, March 13, yet there was nothing on Blackboard.

“I asked myself, ‘Why is there no push notification of this to the students, and further, why is nothing regarding this on Blackboard?’” Wanger said.

Wanger called both the chancellor’s office and the NE Campus president to leave messages of concern and frustration that day.

Associate vice chancellor David Ximenez returned her call Monday, and she told him the college should communicate daily with the students. “He said that he would pass that message on, but by the tone of his voice, it did not seem as though he thought that there was any chance that daily emails would be forthcoming,” she said.

Wanger’s prediction turned out to be true, as TCC did not communicate daily to students. The college made two official responses ever since the coronavirus, and they were exactly a week apart on March 13 and 20.

In contrast, The University of Texas at Arlington posts daily updates on its social media accounts regarding the situations. It, along with Baylor University and many other colleges have announced since Tuesday that they would move to online instruction for the remainder of the semester.

TCC, though, allowed individual instructors to choose the method of course delivery, according to an email sent March 20.

“Faculty have chosen the appropriate mode of instruction for their respective classes and should have emailed details to each student’s myTCC email address,” according to the site.

This decision came after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced in an executive order March 19 that social gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 people and to close all schools until April 3.

TCC posted on its website and social media accounts March 13 that spring break would be extended a week.

Yet faculty heard they would resume normal operations to their respective campuses on March 16 and hold campuswide meetings to discuss how to move forward. This, too, ignored recommendations of social distancing.

It was not until the evening of Sunday, March 15 that faculty got
the official word that they were not to report in person March 16 but would hear from their department chairs and divisional deans about what to do next.

The Collegian reached out Friday to vice-chancellor of communication and external affairs Reginald Gates but did not receive an immediate response.

While Baylor University offered online classes until April 3 in its first Instagram post on March 11, TCC students were still hanging.
It also took a lot of students bombarding TCC’s previous posts across all social media handles and even creating an online petition to move classes online before the college responded March 13.

Before college officials updated students Friday, the international admissions office sent out an email March 18, allowing international students to take more online courses. Previously, only one three-hour course was allowed for international students.

Staff members also shared frustration that they had to report to their offices while faculty could work from home and students were out. NE Campus support services coordinator Aaron Carrillo was supposed to report to work in person Monday. While his job is to support staff and faculty members’ IT and media needs, he believes things can be addressed via WebEx, a software that allows meeting online. “It doesn’t make sense to me that we would encourage students and faculty to come to campus,” he said.

Carrillo currently works from home and attends WebEx meetings as needed as he traveled to Colorado, a high-risk state. While TCC did not ask him to quarantine, he didn’t feel comfortable being around fellow staff members, but he didn’t see it as a requirement.

“I don’t see TCC requiring people to quarantine if they visit high-risk areas,” he said. NE general maintenance staffer Jeremy Greene expressed similar concerns. Greene is a single parent of two and a full-time employee.

With most schools close to maximizing social distancing, he said he needed to stay at home with his children. He is using his sick leave and vacation time to take time off work.

Greene will have a week before the sick and vacation leave runs out, and it will affect his pay, which is detrimental for a single parent.

“I think TCC is doing what it can to protect the student body and the community the best they can,” he said. “I just don’t think they’ve taken into consideration employees, their families or an employee’s particular situations.”

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