By HARRIET RAMOS
Dallas College will return to full in-person operations April 5.
This will be the first time all staff and administrators have been together on campus since the college closed down for the pandemic March 13, 2020.
Gov. Greg Abbott ended the state mask mandate and opened business at full capacity March 2, but Chief Critical Response Officer Sharon Davis said Dallas College would continue to require all employees to wear masks and social distance on campus.
“We are going to continue to do what’s safe for Dallas College, our employees and our students,” Davis said at the March 23 employee Town Hall.
On March 29, the COVID-19 vaccine became available to all Texas adults.
Davis said even though employees may be concerned about whether their fellow employees have had the vaccine, that is considered personal information and doesn’t have to be shared.
Alex Lyda, senior director of communications, said there is a link on eConnect where college employees can self-report if they’ve been vaccinated. He said the process is voluntary.
[Read More: Eastfield’s Subway plans to open for fall semester]
Eastfield has been a vaccination site since Jan. 8. Davis said even though Dallas College does not provide the vaccine to employees, they partner with Parkland Hospital and other area clinics who let them know when vaccines become available for college employees.
“We had a clinic contact us and say “Hey we have some vaccines for health care workers. Do you have any health care employees?” Davis said. “And so we sent the notification specifically to that population.”
Before spring break, Dallas College was able to offer its 65 and older employees vaccinations through Parkland.
On March 22 Dallas College dual credit faculty could be vaccinated, and on March 23 the vaccine was made available to employees 50 through 64. Both groups received their vaccines through Parkland.
Now that the vaccine is available to a younger population, Davis said if one of their partners indicates there are vaccines for college students, they would let them know.
Rutgers University officials announced last week that they would require all incoming students this fall to be vaccinated.
Davis said that has not been discussed yet at Dallas College.
“I don’t know of any other colleges and universities that have done that,” Davis said. “I think that it’s probably too early for most to make that decision, just because [vaccine] availability is just now becoming widespread, so I think we’ll see more as it relates to that type of decision in the future. But right now, no, that discussion has not happened.”
As to whether or not COVID-19 protocols can be reduced by fall, Davis said it is just too soon to know.
“Right now we don’t feel is the time to lessen our protocols,” Davis said. “Now we will continue to monitor this throughout the summer and the coming months, and we may end up lessening the protocols by fall. I don’t know for certain. We’ll just have to see how Dallas County is doing in terms of the vaccines.”