In-person student services resume as threat of Delta variant looms

As of July 15, the risk level of the metropolitan health district signals a slight status but signals a worsening of conditions while the cases of Covid-19, propelled by the Delta variant, are increasing locally and nationally. Courtesy

The district could change its risk level to combat the Delta variant, the administrator said.

By Sergio Medina

smedina104@student.alamo.edu

Director of Enrollment Chaye Peña wants students to know that in-person enrollment, financial aid, counseling and advocacy services have resumed at this college.

“I think it’s our next charge, to let the students know we’re back,” Peña said in a July 14 telephone interview. “These services are open to students who come to campus.”

Three weeks ago, the weekly average of Covid-19 cases in Bexar County was around 850, as reported by the Metropolitan Health District.

However, cases rose steadily during the first weeks of July, with weekly cases exceeding 1,100.

However, student services have been open since July 6 and are available as follows:

The Visitor Center’s summer schedule, which assists with registration, student resources and financial aid, is 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday in room 207 of the Moody Learning Center.

Peña said no appointment is necessary to use these services.

Students can find more information, including an enrollment checklist, contact details and virtual assistance, on the centre’s website at www.alamo.edu/sac/admissions-aid/welcome- center /.

Virtual assistance, offered through Zoom, is available from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Zoom meeting ID is 2274653965.

The advocacy center, which provides counseling, food and clothing assistance, has also resumed in-person services. Its opening hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday. The center is west of the Chance Academic Center.

Email the center to sac-studentadvocacyctr@alamo.edu.

“So basically we’re back to how we were before Covid,” Peña said.

In-person student services for the district ceased in March 2020 when the district closed its facilities and moved all classes and resources to remote environments.

Academic resources are also open for in-person visits.

The Student Learning Support Center, or SLAC Lab, is open to students requiring a computer or tutoring from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday in room 707 at Moody.

Tutoring is available for English, Spanish, Math, and Writing. To make an appointment or for more information, call 210-486-0165 or email sac-tutoring@alamo.edu.

Likewise, the mega student lab, which provides computer use and technical support, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and in Moody’s room 502.

Moody’s second floor library is open to students from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and still offers curbside services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For more information on library services, email ask@sac.libanswers.com or log on to www.alamo.edu/sac/about-sac/college-offices/library/.

In addition, the bookstore is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information call 210-733-5960 or email sac@bkstr.com.

These hours will be in effect until July 29, when the district reverts to a five-day week.

For more information on student services and their availability, call the student helpline at 210-486-1111.

The resumption of student services comes as the district went from a limit of 5% of the campus population in the spring to 50% on July 6, alongside a downward trend in Covid-19 cases.

Administrators expect the campus population to grow to 75% by the fall.

Analyzes from Metro Health report that Bexar County had a weekly average of around 1,500 new Covid-19 cases in May, at the end of the spring semester, compared to an average of 10,000 cases per week at the end of January.

Kristi Wyatt, vice chancellor of communications and engagement, said in a telephone interview on July 15 that cases were declining, “although Covid is still there.”

Although Wyatt’s comments do not reflect the number of cases which, until early July, have stopped declining but are now increasing again.

The national and local downward trend may not continue, especially among the unvaccinated, as the Delta variant of Covid-19 now accounts for half of all reported cases in the United States, The New York Times reported on July 14. .

The Times reports the national weekly average of Covid-19 cases in June at around 11,000. As of July 14, that average had more than doubled to 25,500 cases.

Wyatt said the district is ready to quickly change its level of risk and adapt its ecosystem remotely to combat future peaks in Covid-19 cases.

She said students are urged and encouraged to take all measures that prevent the spread of the virus, including hand washing, mask wear, social distancing and vaccinations.

As of July 14, Metro Health reported that 61.9% of people in San Antonio were fully immunized, with 74.7% having received at least one dose.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration released a statement on July 8 saying, “Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster just yet.”

However, the World Health Organization has said that single-dose vaccinations are not enough to stop outbreaks caused by emerging variants, a July 1 AP News report read.

With Governor Greg Abbott’s May 18 ban on the use of masks in public institutions in Texas, the district is off a major strategy against the spread of Covid-19.

Wyatt also said the district had no conversations about requiring students to be vaccinated before attending, unlike a mandatory meningitis vaccine before enrollment intended for residential universities.

Wyatt said students who visit colleges or district support operations in person must have Covid-19 screening, which is provided on-site.

Wyatt said these screenings will help the district assess the risk situation as a new wave of Covid-19 cases looms.

For more information on the district risk level and accompanying conditions, log on to www.alamo.edu/returntocampus/.