Special care is necessary to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading in a population as large as that of Arizona Western College, which has introduced multiple care methods in campus spaces and departments.
Silvia Kempton, a specialist in admissions testing, is one AWC employee who has had to adapt during the pandemic. Kempton said that the cleaning and disinfection of their work areas, such as desks, tables and computers have always been routine activities, but nowadays they are constantly expected during the day.
“We sanitize our test areas,” she said. “However, in the wake of COVID-19, we have implemented a mask use and testing protocol by appointment only.”
Kempton said that, in addition to having an appointment for the examination sector, students are required to have a preliminary appointment in any area or service offered at the College.
“We’ve stopped checking and walk-ins for placement, except for special services such as CNA, EMT, firefighters and police academies,” she said.
There also have been dramatic changes to the work schedule because of the pandemic.
“We have implemented a tradeoff between campus- and home-based work schedules,” Kempton said. “We alternate every two weeks.”
In this arrangement, testing-services staff work two weeks from home and the next two weeks from campus. That way, not all the department workers are on campus at the same time, supporting the COVID-19 protocol that no more than 10 people should be gathered in the same area.
Kempton said that every employee is kept up to date with changes to the virus. Presidential notifications are sent every day, and open contact is always available in the work department.
AWC student and campus resident Samaria Ponce talks about the changes she has had to adapt to during this pandemic.
“I attend two face-to-face classes, and only the teacher and nine students can be present,” she said. “We must wear a mask at all times, and we cannot use equipment and instruments from the classrooms such as computers.”
Ponce said that the most salient changes at the College with this pandemic are that dormitory rooms are only for one person instead of the usual two, and visitors are no longer allowed.
“The services departments at AWC are working by appointment,” said Ponce, “only if there is no other person in the service area you are in, they can assist you.”
Ponce added that, besides the masks, service areas have protective sheets of plastics between people. She also said that, although the AWC Eatery produces less food than usual, it is still available for AWC residents with all the security measures and care for COVID-19.