Austin Community College extends emergency declaration, updates district on COVID-19 actions

Austin Community College board of trustees met May 4 for the first time since early March. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Community College board of trustees met May 4 for the first time since early March. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin Community College board of trustees met May 4 for the first time since early March. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

At its first official meeting since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Central Texas, Austin Community College board of trustees extended its emergency declaration related to the pandemic through Sept. 14.

"This has been an incredibly challenging time that not one of us had anticipated, but our faculty our staff and our administrators stepped up,” ACC President and CEO Richard Rhodes said at the district’s May 4 meeting. “ The entire ACC family pitched in to ensure that students and employees have what they need to learn, teach and work remotely. We put health and safety first and remained focused on student success.”

According to the resolution, Rhodes will continue to have the authority to apply for waivers, declare a catastrophe and take actions to execute contracts for goods and services related the coronavirus pandemic.

Rhodes said that since the emergency declaration was initially approved in March, he has only used the purchasing power in the resolution to purchase iPads and laptops needed by the district for the transition to online learning. Based on his suggestion, the resolution was extended through the summer to make sure the district could take care of any unforeseen needs during the summer semester.

Rhodes also updated the board on the district’s overall response to the pandemic, which required the district to switch to online classes for the second half of the spring semester as well as the upcoming summer semester.


In the spring, district enrollment has increased, while the number of students withdrawing from classes has decreased by 30% compared to last year’s spring semester, Rhodes said. Additionally, the district has distributed hundreds of iPads and laptops, and has temporarily switched to a pass, no pass grading system.

An estimated 60% of ACC students have seen a financial burden during the pandemic through lost jobs or cut hours, Rhodes said. As a result, after receiving $13.9 million through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the community college district has set up the ACC CARES Act Student Aid program. More information about the program can be found here.

Effects from the coronavirus also delayed the start of registration for the coming summer semester until May 4. More than 11,000 students enrolled in the first 5 hours of the registration period, Rhodes said.

"We're going to make sure students who choose ACC this summer have what they need to stay on track and complete their goals,” he said.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


MOST RECENT

Early voting for the May 1 election runs April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Hays County reports 500 votes in first day of early voting

Education-related election items in Hays County include $443.5 million in bonds as well as city council positions, school board seats and municipal utility district directors.

Early voting for Travis County's May 1 local elections opened April 19. In this file photo, voters line up ahead of the 2020 primary elections at Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than 8,000 Travis County voters cast ballots on first day of early voting

Early voting for the county's May 1 election began April 19 and will run through April 27.

The Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin is one of the locations where residents can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. (Jack Flalger/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin vaccine updates: Demand slows as state begins marketing push

Appointments are beginning to go unfilled, and local health officials say demand has caught up to supply. All adults in the U.S. are now eligible to be vaccinated.

Blue Corn Harvest Leander is located at 11840 Hero Way W., Bldg. A, Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Blue Corn Harvest opens in Leander; park, pizzeria launches social club and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Photo of two performers on an outdoor SXSW stage
South by Southwest sells ownership stake in company to Rolling Stone owner Penske Media Corp.

SXSW leadership called the sale a "lifeline" for the conference and festivals.

The Southwest Austin median home price topped $500,000 for the first time in March. (Nicholas Cicale/Community impact Newspaper)
SW Austin median home price reaches $530,000 in March, up 32.8% from last year

The median home price topped $500,000 for the first time in March.

Photo of people receiving vaccines in a gym
Austin Public Health lengthens windows for vaccine appointment signups

Residents age 18 and up can now sign up for appointments with APH any time from Saturday to Tuesday morning.

Austin Anthem watch party
Crowds of fans converge on North Austin to watch inaugural Austin FC game

Breweries around Q2 Stadium in North Austin brought in large outdoor screens and new employees to host fans of Austin FC for the team's historic first match.

Early voting for the May 1 election opens April 19 at a 7 a.m. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Early voting in Austin opens April 19: See what’s on the ballot, where to vote

City residents will be making decisions on eight propositions ranging from whether to adopt a strong mayor government system to whether to reinstate public camping bans.

Austin transportation officials said April 15 the range of corridor construction program projects initiated through the city's 2016 Mobility Bond remain on track for completion by late 2024. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Several Austin corridor mobility projects moving forward in 2021, program on track for 2024 completion

Transportation officials said some corridor program improvements previously planned along Guadalupe Street and East Riverside Drive are being reduced ahead of Project Connect expansions.

Jack Allen's Kitchen will be at 1345 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park. (Rendering courtesy Jack Allen's Kitchen)
7 restaurants coming to Cedar Park, Leander; new murals to go up in Georgetown and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the Central Texas area from the past week.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.