A-B Tech President John D. Gossett announced today that the college will lift its mask requirement on June 1, following the lead of federal, state and county governments. He also said A-B Tech plans to resume normal operations when its Fall Semester begins in August if COVID-19 impacts remain low.
“We continue to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the state of North Carolina, and Buncombe and Madison counties, which have all recommended lifting mask mandates for vaccinated individuals,” Gossett said. “I’m also pleased to announce that, thanks to vaccinations and the continued decline of COVID-19 impacts, we are planning to return to normal operations when our fall classes begin in August.”
A-B Tech operated during the 2020-21 academic year with more than 75 percent of its classes online and enforced strict COVID-19 protocols for in-person classes, including requirements for masks, symptom checks, and six-feet of distance indoors and on campuses. The return to normal operations includes academic, workforce training, continuing education, and Small Business Center classes.
Students and employees who are on campus for the Summer Semester may remove their masks beginning June 1 if vaccinated, but anyone who is unvaccinated is encouraged to continue wearing masks. Social distancing requirements will remain in place for in-person summer classes.
Gossett made the announcement via a video message to employees and students. “We know our students are ready to return to campus and in-person instruction,” he said. “The conservative, cautious approach we took this year paid off and we are hopeful that most people are now vaccinated. We’ll continue to put the safety of students and employees first, but it’s time for us to return to campus.”
Gossett said A-B Tech will continue the deep cleaning and disinfection protocols put in place during the pandemic, evaluate where social distancing requirements may still be needed, and continue monitoring COVID-19 symptoms, exposures, and cases. “We also strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” he said. “And it’s okay for anyone to continue wearing a mask. We want our students and employees to feel safe under any circumstances.”
Citing a positive outcome of the pandemic, Gossett said A-B Tech will offer more online and hybrid options this year for people who may want to continue online learning. Last spring, the college converted more than 95 percent of its academic classes to online instruction for spring and summer classes, trained all faculty in best practices for online instruction, and offered more than 75 percent of classes online during the 2020-21 academic year. Approximately 25 percent of academic courses and most continuing education and workforce training classes had to be taught in person to accommodate clinical, hands-on and laboratory training requirements.
Registration for A-B Tech’s summer and fall semesters is now open. Late-start summer academic classes begin June 4 and the Fall Semester begins August 23. Continuing education and workforce training classes are always available. For more information, visit abtech.edu or call 828.398.7900.