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A Message from the President

May 6th, 2020


Dear Members of the Piedmont College Community,

Over the past two months, the Piedmont College family has revealed itself to be resilient, creative, kind, and committed to ensuring that our students have every opportunity to advance toward their degrees despite the current circumstances. Every institution in our country was relatively unprepared to close campuses overnight and move to online instruction for the remainder of the semester. Our faculty, staff and students embraced the challenge wholeheartedly and completed their coursework unabated. I am grateful to all of you for your flexibility as we dealt with this sudden disruption. In particular, I want to thank our academic leaders and the Office of Academic Technology (OAT) for spearheading this effort.

As most of you know, we have postponed Spring Commencement to July 24 and will continue with online summer classes in nearly all areas; the only exception will be for nursing students. For Fall semester 2020, graduate classes will be either traditional format, hybrid or online depending upon the program of study.

Our undergraduate programs will resume on-campus instruction in Fall 2020 unless public health authorities deem otherwise. Thus, we plan to reopen our campuses in Athens and Demorest in August as usual – while realizing that the “new normal” will be somewhat different.

Earlier this semester, we formed a Covid-19 task force to help assess our situation and plan for making intelligent decisions as a learning community. We continue to take seriously threats posed to our campuses as well as to the larger community around us. We will continue to make prudent, conservative decisions as we plan for the new academic year. At the same time, we realize that as an institution, and a society, we must find a way to move forward.

We feel very fortunate to have a nursing and health science faculty at Piedmont College who are well-equipped to advise us as we begin to relax our self-imposed isolation. We have access to the very best medical resources in the Athens and Demorest areas. Our board of trustees have always made decisions based upon the good of our students, staff and faculty. Living in a region that is not densely populated as we do is an advantage – as are our relatively small class sizes. All of these benefits, and many others, will make our task easier.

New policies and procedures will be in place prior to the fall semester which will likely include the following recommendations of our task force:

  • Accommodations for students, staff, and faculty with serious health issues. 
  • Minimizing occupant density in our residence halls, classrooms, and other facilities. 
  • Establishing new cleaning protocols across the campuses. 
  • Identification of residential isolation spaces. 
  • New protocol development for food service. 
  • Possible reconfigurations of large group activities including athletics.
  • Protocol development for testing and tracing of individuals. 

We continue to rely on recommendations of public health officials, local authorities, and best practices being implemented at colleges and universities across the country. There are still many unknowns and variables so that any plans we make must be flexible and rapidly adaptable. We will take every reasonable precaution to ensure our campus is a safe place for those who are a part of our community and for those around us. Any questions or concerns may directed to covid19@piedmont.edu.

As we look to the future with optimism and plan to welcome students back to campus this fall, these past few months serve as a reminder that sometimes it takes the worst thing to happen to bring out the best in all of us.

With all good wishes,

 

 

James F. Mellichamp, Mus. Doc.

President

Contact

Please direct questions and concerns to covid19@piedmont.edu