President Akakpo's Updates | BCTC

President Akakpo's Updates

 

July 9, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

We are well into summer and moving closer and closer to fall each day. I’ve enjoyed seeing more of you on campus serving our students. We continue to increase enrollment and move out of the deficit caused by COVID-19, thanks to the heroic efforts you make every day!

In addition to all you are currently doing, we have two enrollment events coming up. Pathway to Enrollment will take place July 20-23, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., both online and in person at the Newtown Campus. This campaign will be heavily promoted by BCTC and KCTCS. A follow-up enrollment event will take place on Newtown campus August 3-6 and 10-13. This is the typical open enrollment event we have each fall, but due to need for social distancing, we are extending the length of the event.

Whatever your role, I encourage you to support our enrollment efforts. It is important that we keep our numbers moving in the right direction. One fun way to celebrate our enrollment is the BCTC Spirit Video Contest. Students are asked to create a short video sharing why they are excited to start at BCTC this fall. The best video entries will win laptops. Please help us share this opportunity with students.

We are also looking forward to our virtual fall kick-off August 7. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here. If you have not already registered for the kick-off, please do so today!

With all that this pandemic is throwing at us, we must continue to embrace our mission to put Students First. As Gever Tulley said, “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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July 2, 2020

Dear BCTC Family,

I hope your summer is going well. We are gradually seeing more students and employees on campus and are pleased to welcome everyone back. Thank you for your continued commitment to keep our campuses safe and healthy, increase our enrollment, serve each other and put Students First, whether in person or remotely.

We are already looking forward to our fall kick-off, which will give us the chance to set the course for Fall 2020 and the opportunities that lie ahead. You can learn more about the kick-off and sessions offered here. If you have not already registered for the kick-off, do it today!

This week we celebrate the USA, despite the challenges our country still faces. Let’s remember what President Abraham Lincoln once said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We all have a role to play tomorrow, for ourselves and our community.

I hope you have a safe and happy July 4th! As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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June 25, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Summer has officially begun as we complete Summer I and start Summer II next week. We are also entering Stage 3 of our return to campus plan and seeing more folks on campus, socially distanced of course.

Thank you to all who are making our new normal work. I know we have adjustments to make as we follow practices that keep us Healthy at BCTC. Those who are on campus are participating in check-in procedures and wearing masks. You are also seeing physical barriers in high traffic areas, 6’ markers indicating the appropriate social distance, limited use of common areas and shared amenities, and signage posted around campus. This is all to protect and promote our health and safety.

If you have not already read our Welcome Back Plan that describes operations for Summer II and Fall 2020, please do so. In addition, our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, emailed information on contact tracing this week. Please review this information. Our success in welcoming students this fall and keeping everyone healthy and safe on campus will depend on our attentiveness to this plan.

While we are still promoting remote service, we are offering some services to students on campus and encourage anyone who needs in-person service to make an appointment.

I’m so proud we continue to lead our system in fall enrollment. You are doing a great job of getting our new students excited about fall. Yesterday, we welcomed some of those students who had completed all fall enrollment steps with a drive through pizza and t-shirt giveaway. We will also begin a new student BCTC Spirit Video Contest next week. Encourage enrolled students to enter for a chance to win a laptop!

We have much to celebrate in our response to this pandemic. Steve Maraboli best expresses this idea: “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” Thank you for your resilience and determination to put Students First every day!

As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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June 18, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

I cannot say enough how proud I am of the contributions you make every day as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The past three months have not been easy for anyone, and you have risen to meet every challenge and put Students First daily.

Attached you will find our Welcome Back Plan that describes operations for Summer II and Fall 2020.  Kentucky has done a remarkable job of keeping incidents of COVID-19 low, allowing businesses to reopen under specific guidelines. These guidelines, which are reflected in our plan, encourage responsibility for ourselves and for each other.

Personal accountability is paramount to the success of our plan and staying on campus this fall. I expect each of us to follow these protocols and guidelines.

We will enter Stage 3 of our plan the week of June 29. This means we will still have a limited number of students and employees on campus but will begin to offer a few more in-person services. These services will be offered per state guidelines and social distancing practices. While we are still encouraging remote service, students who need in-person service should to make an appointment.

If you have been notified by your supervisor that you will return next week or you are coming to campus to perform certain tasks, remember our check-in procedures that include completing the COVID-19 Reopening Training and your daily health employee health check-in.

Please wear your mask and enter at the designated checkpoint on your campus before going to your work site.

CHECK-IN locations

Leestown Campus - Rear entrance of Building C near the bookstore
Newtown Campus – Lobby of the Classroom Building
Cooper Campus – Loading ramp entrance near the mailroom at the Oswald Building
Regional campuses – Main entrance of each regional campus

In addition, to assist public health officials with contact tracing if you test positive or are exposed to COVID-19, you must keep documentation of work shifts, work locations, meetings and in-person college or visitor contacts. If you have questions about any of these procedures, please contact Beecher McCarty.

For health and safety reasons, the water fountains and vending machines will not be available on campuses. Please plan accordingly for your day. Bottle filler stations will be operational, and there will be bottled water at campus check-in stations.

As we continue to add details to the plan, please know that every decision is made with the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students and community as our highest priority.

I’m sure we are all a bit weary from the uncertainty and stress we have experienced in the past months, and we just want “normal” to come back. This reminds me of a famous quote by Vivian Greene: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” You have all been doing this so well and this dance continues as we look forward to welcoming our students this fall.

As always, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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June 11, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Thank you for your work this week. We are approaching the end of Summer I. Due to your efforts, our students are successfully completing their online classes and our enrollment for summer and fall is growing. We continue to lead the system in enrollment gains. Well done!

As we approach the next phase of returning to campus, our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, his team and our cross-functional leadership taskforce are busy planning and preparing our campuses. My update next week will have the details of our plan for Summer II. For now, we want to share a bit of what our new normal will look like.

We prepared the Healthy at BCTC video for you and our college community. You will see the focus is providing for your safety and the safety of our students as we return to campus. If you have questions about the Healthy at BCTC plan, please email them to beecher.mccarty@kctcs.edu.

Let's consider these words from Joshua J. Marine as we prepare for Summer II and Fall 2020, "Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."

As always, stay healthy and remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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June 4, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

This has been a sad week in the history of our nation. Not only did we reach 100,000 deaths by COVID-19, but we also saw deaths due to police violence and responses to it. There is so much anxiety, pain and confusion in our world today. This makes me more convinced than ever that each of us should try every day to make the world a better place for the people around us.

I pray for unity because as J.K. Rowling stated, "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided."

I have seen unity in your response to these challenging times. It is hard to believe you have already completed week three of Summer I, our second term of operating during the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to commend our faculty who are continuing to provide excellent instruction online and meeting the needs of our students. Also, much gratitude to staff who are working hard to prepare and maintain our buildings within the "new normal," and all other staff who are providing excellent customer service and student engagement remotely. Your efforts were recognized by our board members at the BCTC Board meeting last night. I am #BCTCProud of you all!

This week, you received an email from our Healthy at Work Officer Beecher McCarty who provided additional information on procedures as we return to campus, and many of you are already practicing these procedures. He and his team are working hard to keep us #HealthyAtBCTC. If you have questions for him, please email them to Beecher McCarty. We are setting up a Q&A webpage where Beecher will post the most commonly asked questions and answers.

I'd like to close with a quote from the man we all know as Superman, Christopher Reeve: "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."

As always, stay healthy and remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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June 2, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

I am sickened and saddened by the events that began on May 25 and continue today. My heart goes out to all of those who have been, are, and will be hurting from this terrible situation.  As our country grieves over the unjust death of George Floyd and many others. There is no greater time than now for unity. I encourage all BCTC faculty, staff, and students, to engage in a moment of silence to encourage peace in our nation.

Justice and equality are rights of all citizens of the United States, and a core value of BCTC. Through our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion department, we are reaching out to bring our campus community together to listen and understand the unique qualities each member offers. Our rich and diverse community makes us all better. Commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and human rights are fundamental traits we all should carry.

If you need support, or would like to speak to someone during this time, I want to remind you that counseling services are available to you through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) website or call 888-293-6948.

In addition, Taran McZee, BCTC Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will host BCTC's Conversation on Race in America Thursday, June 4, 1-2:30 p.m. You can join here.

As a college, we will continue to ensure equity and inclusion on all of our campuses for students, employees, and the communities we serve. We will lead with compassion, respect and appreciation for all. This is our responsibility and privilege.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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May 28, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Welcome to summer! I know the calendar doesn't say so, but after Memorial Day and the beginning of Summer I, it certainly feels like summer, even during the pandemic.

Once again, I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to you all for your work this week. Thanks to the efforts of our outstanding faculty and staff, we have been able to move our students who still have work to complete for the spring semester one step closer to completion.

Our faculty prepared labs and lessons, and learned the new protocol to welcome students to the classroom. Our facilities and security personnel made sure everyone was safe and healthy, and it all went well. This is a good trial run for when we are allowed to come back to campus #HealthyAtBCTC.

As I mentioned in my previous communication, a few of us may return on June 1. If you are one of these individuals, your supervisor should have already contacted you. We will go back to campus in phases determined by our state government, CPE and KCTCS. Your safety and the safety of our students is our primary concern when making decisions.

When it is time for you to return to work, your supervisor will let you know and review all of the safety procedures with you. There will be changes, but some things remain the same: Our commitment to serving our community. Our commitment to safety for all and delivery of quality education. And, most importantly, our commitment to put Students First in all we do.

Coretta Scott King said, "The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." We will continue to do all we do with compassion and commitment because we are a great community.

As always if you have questions or concerns, please contact me. Stay healthy and remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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May 21, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

I'm not sure about you, but I am looking forward to the 3-day weekend coming up. I know we have all been working hard to celebrate our graduates, enroll students for summer and fall, and provide orientation to new students. You are doing a great job!

Let me give you a little data to back that up. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all KCTCS colleges are down in enrollment compared to the last year, but we're coming back. As of last week, we are only down 9.9%. Normally, I would not celebrate a decrease, but I will celebrate that the BCTC decrease is the lowest in the system. Well done!

Unfortunately, this is also a sad week because we have to say goodbye to so many amazing employees as they retire. We are so grateful for all they have contributed to the college. Usually, we get to celebrate them in person, but like our graduates, they did not get that special time. So, we decided to celebrate our retirees and recognize years of service virtually with this video. Enjoy celebrating your colleagues!

As I mentioned in last week's email, with Kentucky's economy reopening, BCTC will resume campus operations and bring employees back to on-site work locations in stages, as approved by the CPE and governor. Some of us will return June 1.

When we transition from remote work to on-site work, things will look and feel a little different; we are implementing our #HealthyAtBCTC plan to ensure our campuses are following state guidelines and keeping us all healthy at work. To assist with our #HeathlyAtBCTC return, we have prepared a training video to cover the safety steps you must observe every day while working on-site.

ALL employees returning to on-site work MUST take this mandatory training prior to coming to campus.

The training is available in the Safe Colleges platform.  You can get to the training by going MyPath and clicking the Compliance tile.

In addition, before coming into any college building for any reason, you must complete a daily employee health check. You will find this link on MyPath with a tile that reads BCTC Employee Check-in.

Those working remotely DO NOT have to complete the daily health check or mandatory training until they come on campus.

Attached to this email are detailed instructions for completing each of these requirements and a FAQ to answer student questions that may arise. Please read these so you will be familiar with the procedures. If you have any questions, please contact our Healthy-at-Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, at beecher.mccarty@kctcs.edu, or 859-368-6738.

I want to emphasize that these requirements are ONLY for employees who are working on campus.

Despite these changes and days weeks at work, I try to remember what Bryant McGill said, "The greatest joys in life are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in our quiet hopes and labors for others." The work we do here is labor for others, and you all do it so well. Thank you!

As always if you have questions or concerns, please contact me. Stay healthy and remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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May 14, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Well, you have done it! The spring semester is complete. I can't thank you enough for your heroic efforts to boost our students toward completion and your continued work to serve them. This week, we honor our graduates and look toward summer and fall.

Monday, a communication went out to students eligible for the CARES Act funding for expenses incurred due to COVID-19 this spring. Our financial aid team is working hard to process the requests and get funding to as many students as possible. This is a big job. I thank them for their work.

As you see in the news and around you each day, our communities are looking very different in the shadow of this pandemic. We are figuring out how we can return to the activities and people we love while protecting ourselves. This is the situation we also face on our campuses as we work toward cautiously reopening and keeping our campuses safe and healthy.

To recap the current plans for students, all Summer I classes will be online, with the majority of classes online for Summer II. For fall, the vast majority of classes will be hybrid or completely online.

We are working within Gov. Beshear's guidelines and with utmost caution to complete on-campus classwork with students who received an IP (In Progress) grade for courses this spring. As soon as we get approval, a limited group will be on campus to assist students with completing their course requirements. Only those assisting these students will return to campus prior to June 1.

As you read in Dr. Box's email, we anticipate a June 1 opening of our campuses to a limited number of employees, if postsecondary institutions receive approval from the Governor and CPE to be included in Kentucky's Phase 2 reopening schedule. After June 1, we will continue to gradually reopen and return employees to campuses in stages that are in line with the direction of health officials.

To prepare, we have a task force working on our plans for a safe return to campus. These plans include the appointing of our Healthy at Work Officer, Beecher McCarty, personal protection for each employee, appropriate social distancing and supporting signage, daily self-reported health checks, training for extra sanitizing processes and other recommendations from the governor's office, CDC and CPE. Our campuses will look quite different as we make sure we are Healthy at Work.

In light of the uncertainty and constant change we face in our personal lives and workplaces, this quote by John Wooden is good advice: "Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." If we work as a team to meet the challenges before us, we will succeed, for ourselves and our students.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact me. Stay healthy and remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

Koffi C. Akakpo, Ph.D.
President/CEO

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May 12, 2020

We are changing the fall 2020 schedule to include a robust online component for each course.  This change will allow us to prepare our students better if a quick transition to entirely online is needed.  Also, the change will assist in our efforts to limit the number of students on campus at any one time.  The plan is that most in-person (BP) courses will change to hybrid or online (BW, BL, or HB).

Over the weekend, we modified the mode and day pattern in 900 course sections for fall 2020.  We are sending an email and following up with a phone call to each student whose fall schedule was changed.  If you are working with a student who has questions or concerns about their fall schedule and you cannot answer their questions, please refer them to the advising form below.  After completing the form, an advisor will reach out to the student.

Advising Contact Form: https://legacy.bluegrass.kctcs.edu/forms/contact/index.php?gid=6

Thank you for your dedication and support as we work to continue serving our students while keeping our BCTC community healthy and safe moving forward.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Mayo at karen.mayo@kctcs.edu

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May 7, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Happy Thursday. It is hard to believe, but as of tomorrow, we will complete the spring semester, and what a semester it has been. Each of you has risen to the many challenges thrown our way and performed like champions.

As we look forward to returning to our campuses as Dr. Box mentioned in his email this week, we will face new challenges, but I know we can do it for our students and each other because you have proven it.

To recap the current plans, all Summer I classes will be online with the majority of classes online for Summer II. For fall, the vast majority of our classes will be hybrid or completely online.  In addition, this summer we are hoping we can work within Gov. Beshear's guidelines to complete some on-campus classwork with students who have assignments to complete for spring semester.

As I told you in the last communication, we have a task force working on our plans to return to campus, and we will make sure our campuses safe and healthy for everyone. We will be communicating that plan with you soon.

Sunday was supposed to be graduation day, as I'm sure you're aware. We have some nice surprises planned for our graduates including banners at Newtown and all of our regional campuses, a mailed card and social media campaign. Please reach out to our graduates and congratulate them. Even though we plan to celebrate commencement with them December 12, I'm sure they will be feeling disappointment on Sunday.

Regarding the CARES Act funding, we received word yesterday that the qualification criteria for has been finalized. The current plan is that students who qualify will be notified and information will go up on our website tomorrow.

The final encouragement video went out to students on Tuesday and is up on social media. I want to thank all of you who participated in this project. Our students loved it! Please remember to continue to encourage students through the summer semester and fall. None of this will be "normal," and they will want and need that extra boost from you.

This quote by Doe Zantamata reminds me of all you have accomplished this semester and what we can help instill in our students: "It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed."

Stay healthy and remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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April 30, 2020

I hope this message finds you well and getting more settled in our new normal. Every day brings opportunities to be creative in the way we do our jobs. This can make us feel a bit uncomfortable, but I believe we, and our work, are becoming more innovative due to these changes.

As you know many states, including Kentucky, are working on reopening. I have appointed a cross-division taskforce to develop a plan to return to campus with wellness and safety as a top priority. They are reviewing and developing practices in line with the directives of the Governor's Office and KCTCS. We are even looking at protective facemasks with our logo on them. This is one promotional item for which I never thought I would give approval.  Strange world we live in. I will share our opening plan with you and our students once it is completed and approved by the System Office.

We have also been working on plans for graduation. As you know our May date has been canceled. However, we will not let May pass without celebrating our graduates. We have some nice surprises planned for them including banners at Newtown and all of our regional campuses, a mailed card and social media campaign. And, I am pleased to announce today we finalized our graduation date. We will hold the 2020 BCTC graduation ceremony December 12 at EKU.

We also received word today that the Kentucky Air National Guard will present a two-ship C-130 flyover across the commonwealth of Kentucky on Friday, May 1. The aerial demonstration is part of Operation American Resolve, a nationwide salute to all those supporting COVID-19 response efforts. They will fly over our Newtown Campus at 3:20 p.m. tomorrow.

Regarding when the CARES Act funding will be available to students, unfortunately we don't have an answer yet. There has been much discussion at the federal level about who will qualify and the criteria. We're waiting on their final directions and hoping that will come next week. There is a communication plan in place to make sure students know when to apply.

As you know, next week is final exam week. Thank you to all of you who have been calling our students and encouraging them! I also would like to thank faculty for going the extra mile to completely change your course delivery and help students adjust to a new normal. This has not been easy for anyone. Finally, I encourage all of us who have contact with student this week to encourage then to finish strong. Thanks, too, to those of you who have submitted videos. This will be going out to students today.

What you are doing matters. As Bryant McGill said, "The greatest joys in life are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in our quiet hopes and labors for others."

Stay healthy and remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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April 23, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

Let me begin with thanking you! Every week I see more and more of your determination to not only push through these difficult times, but excel in them.

As many of you know, we have been making calls to students to encourage them as they work through challenges. A few weeks ago, we established a plan to contact all students with an individual phone call. Thank you to all who made those phone calls. In addition to encouraging students, you helped us determine student need and connect them with resources at our college or in the community.

This week, we began a new call campaign to see if students need any help registering for summer or fall classes, and to encourage them to finish strong as they approach finals week. This contact means so much to our students, as expressed in this social media comment from a student:

Just got a call from BCTC volunteer who is reaching out to students to see how they are doing. She wanted to let me know that there is school support and to hang in there. She also wished me well with my finals. I wish I had this kind of support and kindness and my first college 30 years ago. Amazing. Who does this kind of thing? The people at BCTC, that's who!

Well done team! This is who we are. You are fulfilling our mission. Thank you, too, to all who have submitted encouragement videos. This is the video going to students today.

Another opportunity to support students is the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  You may have heard about the funds set aside for student hardship during this pandemic. In case you have not, I wanted to include some information and where we are as a college on this topic in case a student asks you about it.

The CARES Act provides funding to assist students with education related expenses resulting from the coronavirus. Expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare.

We are working with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and the US Department of Education on the process for awarding these funds.  Information will be communicated to students through email, social media, text messages and the website as soon as the process has been finalized.

Another thing you may have been wondering is when we will go back to work? Dr. Box sent an email today stating we would work remotely until at least May 18.

Finally, we are not out of the woods yet. We need to keep working together and helping each other. As an African Proverb says, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Remember, we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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April 16, 2020

Hello BCTC Family,

As I write this email, it occurs to me that it has been almost a month since we began working remotely. Each week brings new challenges and opportunities for us to come together and serve our students, community and each other.

Social distancing, necessitated by the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, forces us to physically separate rather than come together. As we struggle adjusting to our new work life, we are also adjusting to less contact with those who are important to us. Your creativity in connecting with social distance is impressive!

In fact, your efforts have been noticed throughout our college community. I have received emails, phone calls and text messages from students expressing gratitude for all you are doing. I am abundantly grateful, and so are those you serve. I'd like to share a few examples of the work our BCTC family has been doing.

The admissions team has continued to connect with prospective students and introduce them to BCTC through emails, virtual tours, virtual admissions sessions and daily program showcases. To connect with current students, our student engagement and retention team has been providing food, encouragement and virtual student activities to help reduce stress.

To address the need to provide hands-on filming and editing experience in Filmmaking and Cinematic Arts classes, students are recording and editing their favorite film, and creating their own films, using a camera or a cell phone. These student films will be entered in national student quarantine film competitions!

And, our entire college community is connecting through virtual meetings. I see us all getting more proficient in Teams. Well done everyone!

Many of you are encouraging students via video. This is the video going out to students today. If you have not sent one, it's not too late! Send it to megan.taul@kctcs.edu. These go out to students every Thursday.

These are all ways we make those very important social connections while staying safe with physical distance. Fred (Mr.) Rogers once said, "The connections we make in the course of a life - maybe that's what heaven is."

Clearly, we are all experiencing a difficult and unprecedented situation, a time of great stress and uncertainty. This month has not been business as usual. However, please know in this moment in time our connections and our work are most critical. Again, thank you for all you are doing.

Finally, I am overwhelmed and deeply touched by how many of you have reached out to me and my family during this time. Thank you! Please, take care of yourselves and your loved ones. And remember we are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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April 9, 2020

We have almost finished another week of remote instruction and service, and you have been serving our community and students well. You have been creative, patient and putting students first every day. Some staff, faculty and BCTC graduates have made the news:

You make me #BCTCProud! It is my great honor to serve with you.

I have a few updates. The all Summer 1 sessions (4, 6 and 8-week) will be online, and possibly the Summer II session as well. In addition, our orientations will be online through June 14. We have not made a final decision about the new date for graduation, but I will let you know as soon as a decision is made. Change seems to be the new norm. I appreciate how you adapt for the good of our students.

The world we are living in challenges us every day, and some days are harder than others. As I'm figuring out working and staying healthy at home, I sometimes get overwhelmed by the daily news and struggle to stay focused.  I received this blog and worksheet link that may provide some assistance, so I wanted to share it with you.

I encourage you to take time for yourself with activities that nurture your mind and body. We have a great opportunity this weekend to do this, while being mindful of social distancing.

Don't forget that Friday is a half-day which provides an early start to this holiday weekend.

Finally, I want to thank you for sending videos that encourage our students. I was so pleased to get responses from many of you! Due to the number of responses, we have been able to make several messages to our students. The first one will go out in the email I'm sending students today and will be posted on social media Friday.

We wanted to give you a preview of our amazing staff and faculty encouraging students. If you sent one, and don't see it here, it will be published in coming weeks. We hope to send a new video each week to our students.

If you have not sent one, it's not too late! Send it to Megan Taul this week. Robert Ingersoll said, "We rise by lifting others."

We are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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April 2, 2020

As we approach the end of another week in our new reality, I am overwhelmed with gratitude at how, despite your own personal challenges, you continue to serve our students, community and each other.

This week we have seen our college family deliver handmade cards and treats to a nursing home. Some of you have gathered and delivered PPE to our medical partners and created protective face shields in your homes. You have answered phone calls, attended planning meetings online, virtually engaged our students to reduce their stress, and developed innovative ways to serve our students. Thank you!

Since you do this so well, I am confident that we will successfully continue our college business through April 30, as Dr. Box communicated this week.

Despite the fact that we cannot see our students in person, we can stay connected with them virtually, as we do with each other. I would love for each of us to share a message with them from our home workplaces. We will compile these into a video for students that encourages them to stay the course and finish the semester strong.

I hope we get so many submissions that we are able to make multiple videos. Below are instructions for creating and submitting a message:

  • Record a short (15 seconds or less) video on a smartphone, webcam, etc.
  • Film in landscape orientation (turn your phone sideways)
  • Film in a quiet location that isn't too dark
  • Include a brief, encouraging message such as:
    • "You've got this!"
    • "Finish the semester strong!"
    • "Keep pushing forward!"
    • "We believe in you!"
    • "You can do great things!"
  • Try to wear something with the BCTC logo
  • Include your pet or child
  • Email to Megan.Taul@kctcs.edu the file (20MB or less) or a link to One Drive, Dropbox or Google Drive (more than 20MB) by April 5.

I can't wait to see your messages!

Please remember what Randy Pausch said, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

Be safe by following the guidance of the CDC, and state and federal officials. Take care of yourselves and your families in the upcoming week. We are all in this together, will overcome together and will come out of it stronger.

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march 27, 2020

Video Message from Dr. Akakpo

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March 26, 2020

As I'm sure you read in Dr. Box's email yesterday, the decision has been made that all KCTCS colleges will continue to offer instruction online through the end of the semester, and the graduation ceremony has been postponed for now. In addition, we will continue to work remotely through April 17, pending no new developments.

These are certainly unsettling times. I hope this information creates a bit more stability through the end of the semester. I mentioned in my communication last week that we were about to enter a new challenge with all instruction going online. You have certainly risen to that challenge!

I am so impressed with how each and every one of you have found new and creative ways to serve our students and the community. I'm even more impressed with how you have come together to help one another.

You show me every day that we are all in this together! One day soon, we will look back on this time and see that it has made us a better and stronger college community.

Continue to watch the COVID-19 Updates page. We are adding new resources there every day. If you have suggestions for these pages, please let us know.

Remember, we are transforming lives and changing our communities. The work you do is very important. Please keep yourself and your families safe.

Thank you for all you do every day!

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March 22, 2020

I want to sincerely express my deep appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for the patience, resilience and cooperation you have displayed during this unprecedented time. Your commitment to our college and each other is evident.

The crisis at hand is like none we have ever experienced. I appreciate this is not an easy time for any of you. Decisions we have been forced to make have caused difficulties and inconvenience for everyone. However, please keep in mind that our mission of transforming the Bluegrass Region-one student, one employer, and one community at a time has never been more important than it is today.

Although the path before us is unknown, our commitment to delivering quality education to our students is clear and unwavering. I assure you we will continue to lead our esteemed college by doing everything possible to provide the education our students deserve and our communities need. You have my word on this.

As we move into another challenging week, I encourage everyone to seek creative ways to maintain our sense of community, increased collegiality and service to our students.

In addition to experiencing an increased level of anxiety associated with COVID-19 and social isolation, many students are likely to encounter difficulties navigating a new mode of instruction and communicating with us about services. Let's remember their success is our success. Let's earn their trust by doing everything we can to help them adapt to this new reality. We are making a profound social and economic impact in our communities and will continue to do so today and into the future.

If you notice a student is struggling, please share the attached information with them, encourage them to make an appointment with BCTC personal counseling or you can complete this referral form. If a student needs assistance with Blackboard or online learning, please direct them to the online learning resource page we created. You can also refer them to tutoring services and a video on how to access online tutoring.

I am directly communicating with students to provide this information as well. Please remind them to check their college email often. If you become aware of a student who is not receiving this information through their college email, please let me know.

I also want us to help each other. I know in the coming days, many of us will experience a myriad of anxiety and emotions, including being irritated and even a little sad about the whole situation. Let's be there for each other and care for one another as you have been doing. If you or a family member needs professional help coping, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can offer assistance. Call 888-293-6948. Please feel free to contact HR should you have any question or need further assistance with this.

We will continue to update our BCTC COVID-19 webpage with new messages and resources. This site provides links to online learning support, updates from KCTCS leadership and tips to stay healthy.  Also, there are a wide variety of resources that can be found on our website and BCTC Teams sites to assist you in the upcoming weeks. We are working on gathering links to all of those services on a COVID-19 resources webpage.

In addition, please take seriously all health precautions and social distancing recommendations to protect yourself and your family. Please use good judgment and do your part to stop community spread. We are working to not only protect the health and well-being of our college community, but also our loved ones. 

On Monday March 23rd, we will begin a new phase of our unprecedented reality. I strongly advise that most students and employees not return to campus as we all practice social distancing. Our college is NOT closed; we are offering remote services.

For the next two weeks, and until further notice, we will continue to provide services remotely and all classes, except some clinical rotations and related programming for certain programs, will be taught online.

If I could, I would give each and every one of you a HIGH FIVE for the work you have done all year, but especially in the last few days, to put our students first!

I have been amazed how you have come together to plan and implement the required online course work in such a short period of time, developed alternative means of providing your essential services and assisted each other. Clearly, you chose this profession because of your deep commitment to student success.

LET and I want to offer our support as we, together, navigate our mission over the next weeks. YOU are vital to providing student access, success and completion.

As you continue to serve students, please check your email and our COVID-19 webpage frequently and stay in touch with your supervisor. As you are well aware, information and required response change daily.

While you will remain in regular contact with your direct supervisor, please do not hesitate to reach out to HR, IT, LET or me with any questions or concerns in the coming days.  LET and I are here for each of you.

We want to assure you that we are in this together. Because of your commitment, BCTC is uniquely positioned structurally and creatively to weather this storm. We hold a deep confidence that our college community will emerge from this extraordinary challenge stronger and more united than ever.

I believe in you and have never been more proud to lead this college.

Warmest regards,
Dr. Koffi Akakpo
Dr. Greg Feeney
Dr. Palisa Williams Rushin
Lisa Bell
Mark Manuel

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March 19, 2020

Thank you all for your continued patience as we work with local, state and federal leaders to make decisions to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students. I understand this is a challenging time for everyone.

Next week, the majority of BCTC employees will continue working remotely March 23-27. We will provide college services via email, phone, the website and online tools.

In addition, next week we will begin online instruction that will continue through April 4. To assist you with questions you may have, we developed an online resource page that can be found on the COVID-19 Updates webpage.

We are mindful that some students and employees may need technology access to complete work. We are working on a plan to address those needs and will share more details as they become available.

In addition, we are working on a plan to boost our outdoor internet access for use in campus parking lots. We will let you know more details related to campus technology access as we finalize plans.

Clearly, the health and safety of our college community is our first concern. The leadership team and I will continue to monitor the ever-changing developments and response to COVID-19 and follow guidance from local, state and national leaders.

Our plan is to communicate any new information each Thursday, or sooner if necessary. Therefore, you will receive my next communication on March 26 regarding plans for the upcoming week.

As always, thank you for partnering with us as we navigate these unprecedented events.

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March 17, 2020

We appreciate your patience as we have been working with KCTCS leadership, and state and federal officials to gather information on the ever-changing status and response to COVID-19. In partnership with you, we are committed to ensuring a safe and healthy community while supporting each other and our students in these challenging times. This is an unprecedented situation, but we will get through it together.

With the understanding that plans change day-to-day based on the information we receive, we want to share our plan for March 18 - 22.

During the remainder of spring break, March 18 - 22, BCTC will not provide in-person assistance, our employees will continue to work offering services through email, phone calls and online services.

At this time, we are asking that all employees work with their supervisors on a plan to work remotely and minimize person-to-person contact. You can find additional information about how to do so on MyPath.

If you are approved to work from home, the expectation is that you will be fulfilling your job responsibilities as if you were on campus. Our students and community should feel we are accessible. If due to caring for children or illness, you are not able to complete your job functions during the hours you and your supervisor determine, you must take vacation or sick time.

Our goal in this plan is to be as equitable as possible. We will work with those whose job responsibilities require them to be on campus. We are committed to ensuring all will remain employed and paid during this time.

We are continually monitoring and assessing developments and will communicate updates to you in a timely manner. Please make sure you are regularly checking your email, even on the weekends, for these updates from me.

As plans are made, our focus is on our college community, faculty, staff and students, and the families to whom they go home. We will move beyond this difficult time together.

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March 16, 2020

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) includes a centralized System Office located in Versailles and 16 Colleges with campus locations across the Commonwealth.  KCTCS understands the disruption in your everyday lives caused by COVID-19, the coronavirus.  As the leaders of KCTCS, we are united in our goal to provide access to classes and student support even while regular campus activities are restricted.  Of utmost importance are the health and safety concerns of students, faculty, and staff.  To guide us in our decision making, we are carefully monitoring information and directives from the Centers for Disease Control, the Governor's Office, and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education-the state coordinating agency for higher education.

All College faculty and staff are hard at work to quickly ensure that coursework continues remotely. Depending on the course, this could include online, email, video communication, and other means to keep students engaged and successful. While this is new to many students, support is available, including access to limited technical and computer labs on campuses, drive-up wifi availability in some parking lots, full online library resources, and support through the KCTCS Mobile App. Students will use this new way of taking classes in concert with support from their faculty members.

Virtual student services are also available on campuses-see each College's website for information. Students may call the 24-hour KCTCS Call Center at (855) 465-2827 for assistance but should refer to College websites for College-specific information.

Most of our colleges have recently completed spring break.  Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Jefferson Community and Technical College, and West Kentucky Community and Technical College have spring break this week. To keep you better informed about the latest changes to classes, all KCTCS College students, faculty and staff should keep close watch on College email, websites, social media, and other information sites.  Each College president will be sharing information pertinent to their College's offerings, staffing, and location information.

Protecting the health of College employees is also important. Many employees are working remotely while essential staff are keeping College services open and following appropriate social distancing and cleaning guidelines.

We will continue to be flexible and adaptable as the COVID-19 pandemic national and state responses evolve. We believe this continued access to higher education will create better lives for a better Kentucky and we will work with students, faculty and staff to ensure continued support for student success.

  • Dr. Jay Box, President, KCTCS
  • Dr. Larry Ferguson, President of Ashland Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Sherry Zylka, President of Big Sandy Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Koffi Akakpo, President of Bluegrass Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Juston Pate, President of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Fernando Figueroa, President of Gateway Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Jennifer Lindon, President of Hazard Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Jason Warren, President of Henderson Community College
  • Dr. Alissa Young, President of Hopkinsville Community College
  • Dr. Ty Handy, President of Jefferson Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Cynthia Kelley, President of Madisonville Community College
  • Dr. Steve Vacik, President of Maysville Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Scott Williams, President of Owensboro Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Carey Castle, President of Somerset Community College
  • Dr. Phil Neal, President of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Vic Adams, President of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Anton Reece, President of West Kentucky Community and Technical College

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March 15, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) developments in our community are rapid and unprecedented. We understand the anxiety some are feeling.

In that light, we will be flexible and thoughtful making fact-based decisions as we work to meet the needs of our college community, while continuing to stay open to serve our students and community.

Therefore, we are considering ways we may assist with social distancing to minimize spread of the COVID-19 virus. One way we may do this is to allow some employees to work remotely. This option is dependent on the employee's job responsibility in relation to college operation and is temporary.

The guidelines below apply to the approval process:

  • Work at home may be appropriate on a temporary basis for some, not all.
  • Our goal is for college leaders to be flexible with employees while ensuring the health and safety of our college community and that the college work is done.
  • If employees make a request to supervisors, the employee must also submit a temporary remote work request form that they will receive from their supervisor.
  • Supervisors will work with the appropriate vice president to make the approval decision.
  • If temporary remote work is not possible for an employee, supervisors may consider flexible or rotating work schedules that will allow college work to continue.

During spring break, the Lexington campus hours are 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

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March 13, 2020

As you know, the COVID-19 virus situation is very fluid and changing quickly.  The newest developments are the closing of k-12 schools in our state and travel concerns that may impact some of our faculty and staff. Therefore, we are sharing the following:

For BCTC employees traveling:

  • If you are currently traveling out of state or internationally, you are asked to contact Human Resources before returning to work.
  • If you are planning on traveling out of the state or internationally after Friday, March 13th, we will ask you to notify Human Resources and your supervisor of your travel plans.

For BCTC employees with child care responsibilities: 

  • Because the Governor has closed k-12 schools across Kentucky, we understand that some will have childcare issues.  We are working on a process to provide work at home opportunities.

This is an unprecedented time in our state and the country.  We must work together to assist each other and put students first, to the best of our ability. We will continue to communicate regarding any new developments and processes.

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March 11, 2020

Dear College Community,

The leadership team and I are committed to making fact-based decisions and keeping you informed and protected as we consider the information provided by health officials about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Your health, safety and well-being is always our first concern.
After extensive conversations with officials dealing with this virus, we are operating in an abundance of caution by announcing the following:

  1. BCTC students will be on spring break March 15 - 21. After spring break, March 22 - April 4, instruction will take place online. The goal is to resume normal course delivery April 5.
    • We will continue working with faculty, staff and students regarding the specifics of online course delivery. Since we understand there may be challenges for some students in accessing online instruction, our campuses and computer labs will be open normal hours. Course specific labs will be scheduled by each instructor.
    • We will continue to work closely with health officials to evaluate updated information about COVID-19 and communicating with you as we move toward April 5.
  2. Staff operations will continue as normal.
  3. BCTC sponsored or endorsed domestic or international travel is suspended until April 30. After that date, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  4. BCTC sponsored student activities and on-campus BCTC events scheduled during spring break are cancelled, including the PTK regional conference and the Job Fair at the Winchester Campus. After spring break, we will be evaluating other campus events on a case-by-case basis to ensure community health.
  5. Workforce Solutions activities will continue as scheduled until further notice.
  6. The April 3 New Student Orientation will be rescheduled. Those registered will be notified.

During spring break and the online instruction period, we'll continue cleaning our college facilities as recommended by the CDC and offering college services at all campuses. As any change in our plans or procedures arises, we will communicate directly with you.

As always, our goal is to provide a safe and healthy environment for our community.  We encourage you to be mindful of your health and the health of those around you. Thank you for partnering with us.

Dr. Koffi Akakpo
BCTC President

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