Administrators Respond to COVID-19

Written by Joe Fisk

Administrative positions at FRCC have had to work quickly in response to the pandemic, organizing events around health and safety protocol and tracking COVID-19 cases through FRCC COVID-19 Reporting

Stacey Hogan, FRCC’s associate vice president of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness works with the pages, where any member of the FRCC community can report a case.

“Somebody can report for themselves,” said Hogan, “Or for a classmate, or if a faculty, or instructor had a student come to them and say they are symptomatic, been exposed, or have tested positive, they can submit it on behalf of a student. It can really be anybody about themselves or another member of the FRCC community. ”

Cathy Pellish, vice president of the FRCC Westminster campus and Dean of Instruction, Mathematics, English and Communication has seen and experienced administrative positions work fast in response to the pandemic.

“The biggest impact on employees in general, but more specifically those who are leading some of the administrative positions is the amount of work and then the pace at which we have to work.” said Pellish.

The increased workload and pace has been in response to legal, health and Department of Higher Education requirements. 

“We have to work so much more quickly because everything was changing rapidly in the spring,” said Pellish, “How do we respond to public health requirements? How do we respond to the Governor’s requirements? How do we respond to the Colorado Department of Higher Ed. Departments? So there is a lot of change there.” 

Many FRCC employees are now working remotely. Pellish has seen productivity despite the changes.

“I think what I’ve seen is incredible flexibility and creativity coming from employees,” said Pellish. “I have also seen and been very encouraged by how well everyone is able to work efficiently and productively from remote. Those are really good lessons in how we can continue business moving forward.”

Others in administrative positions, such as Darrick Silversmith, FRCC Westminster’s Student Involvement Coordinator have been challenged by other COVID-19 related changes. The decrease of on-campus traffic has changed Student Life’s process of hosting events.

“It’s been hard in the sense that our entire programming was affected,” said Silversmith. “Because generally, students were on campus, and we had face-to-face interaction with them. Now we’re in a situation where there’s not a lot of students on campus so we have to get the word out about our events either through virtual avenues like the Online Student Union or Instagram or text message.” 

Although some events have gone virtual due to the pandemic, Student Life has still been able to do some events on campus. The events have been outdoors and follow health and safety protocols with contact tracing.

“During Welcome Week, we actually got approval to do Welcome Waffles,” said Silversmith. “Which was a food truck event that lasted for two days. Then the following week, we did a grab-and-go situation where we purchased breakfast burritos and then brought them to campus and gave them out to students outside. A lot of our programming on campus has been outdoors with six-feet social distancing protocols and masks. We’ve also had to keep a list of who were serving for contact tracing. ” 

With rapid changes over the spring, summer and now fall semesters due to COVID-19, the FRCC community has been adapting and continuing education.

“Our faculty, staff and college leadership have done an incredible job with planning and having a scenario B, C, D, E and F,” said Hogan. “And really just doing their best to make this not only safe, but also academically productive and valuable time for our students. And I want to commend students, I have not been on campus a lot, but I’ve been talking with some folks that have. For the most part, we have folks following our guidelines related to wearing masks and social distancing.”

With registration for spring semester classes opening in November, FRCC will offer more on campus classes. However, the increase of on campus classes will be gradual, and real-time remote classes will still be offered.

“We’ll approach it a lot like fall, meaning that many of our classes will be what we call real-time remote,” said Pellish. “But we are going to increase the amount of classes held on campus. So it will be a real gradual increase in on-campus traffic. We will offer more in person face-to-face opportunities in the spring than we did the fall, but it won’t be fully back to normal. We just can’t commit to that right now.”

Information and updates on COVID-19, case reporting and guidelines can be found on the FRCC COVID-19 Updates Page.

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