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Gadsden State returns to ‘normal access’

Gadsden, Ala. – Dr. Kathy Murphy, president of Gadsden State Community College, announced to employees and students via email that the College is returning to normal access, effective immediately.

“As we transition to summer semester, I have re-evaluated our COVID-19 protocol,” she said. “It was our plan to begin summer semester with adjusted-normal access. However, based on the decline of serious COVID-19 cases and the increased number of individuals who have been vaccinated, we will transition immediate to normal status.”

Masks are no longer mandatory in any of Gadsden State’s buildings on any of its five campuses; however, Murphy said masks may be worn as a matter of personal preference.

“I fully respect your right to continue wearing a mask without requiring others to do so,” she said. “We all have a personal responsibility for our health and well-being, and I encourage you to continue to find ways to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19.”

Murphy encouraged employees and students to maintain appropriate distance and consider getting the vaccination if they have not already. Gadsden State has had two vaccination clinics for employees and one clinic for employees, students and the public.

“Dealing with the pandemic has not been easy for any of us,” she said. “In a career that spans three-plus decades, COVID has been the single biggest challenge of my career. I pray COVID is quickly moving into the rearview mirror.”

Gadsden State’s COVID Response

The Alabama Community College System closed all campuses and went to virtual instruction and teleworking on March 17, 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following a 76-day closure, Gadsden State students and visitors were allowed to return to campus on June 1, 2020, for official College business only.

On Aug. 19, the fall semester began with modified access. In-person, on-campus instruction was allowed for courses and programs that require hands-on assessment of skills and technical competencies, clinicals and work-based learning experiences. The majority of general education courses as well as theory-based courses in career technical and health sciences programs were offered completely online.

On Nov. 30, following the Thanksgiving holidays, all classes were moved online in anticipation of the predicted wave of COVID cases. Hybrid classes were not allowed to resume until Jan. 11.

The College operated under the modified access designation until March 4 when it moved to an ‘adjusted-normal access, which allowed on-campus classes to resume with required social distancing and mandatory face coverings. Gadsden State also discontinued waivers, sign-in sheets, designated entrances and exits and mandatory temperature checks.