On Thursday, Interim President Edward Bethea addressed faculty and staff about Florence-Darlington Technical College's efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dear faculty and staff,
These are interesting times in our country and in higher education. Even without COVID-19, higher education has – in recent years – been dealing with stresses that were forcing difficult decisions and rapid change. In fact, in my more than 30 years in higher education, I have never experienced a challenge like what we are now facing. I am heartened, however, by the heroic response of Florence-Darlington Technical College’s (FDTC’s) employees to this crisis. In fact, I would like to thank FDTC’s faculty and staff for rising to the occasion. I hope that each of you can rest assured that your efforts are making a huge difference in the lives of our students and colleagues.
I am convinced that although we are in uncharted territory and have closed the college’s doors to on-campus instruction for the first time in our 56-year history, we – as a collective – are equal to any challenge facing us. I am also sure that this virus will not defeat us or cause us to lose our humanity.
I would like to make note that the college will remain closed at least until March 31; however, we will begin online instruction for all classes by March 23. FDTC has been a leader in online instruction for many years, and our experience is serving us well now.
Even before COVID-19 disrupted our lives, FDTC was exploring many innovative technologies to deliver and support instruction. We are now seeing many of those technologies deployed on a much wider basis than ever before. It is our goal to offer a robust online solution to help students successfully complete the current semester. We are even now implementing a plan to turn our parking lots into Wi-Fi hotspots for students without access to Wi-Fi. Students should remember to access the internet from their cars and practice social distancing.
By state government mandate we are now operating with a skeletal crew on campus. Having fewer people on campus has its difficulties, but social distancing is vital in slowing or even stopping the spread of COVID-19. The faster this disease runs its course, the sooner that we can all return to a normal working environment and a normal life.
I would like to ask that all of you continue to support and encourage each other as we implement our new way of doing business. While this is a time of uncertainties, I am sure that we can learn from the challenge and build a foundation for future success.
Again, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you for your valuable contributions to the enterprise. Please remember that we are all in this together and that we can only be successful with all of us pulling the wagon in the same direction.
Interim President Edward Bethea