President Akakpo's Updates | BCTC

COVID-19 Updates

President Akakpo's Updates

 

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.

march 27, 2020

Video Message from Dr. Akakpo

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!

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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