(Note: The following is an email sent out by Ogeechee Technical College President Lori Durden earlier this week to the college’s community.)
The last several weeks have been some of the most challenging in the history of our college. They have also been some of the most transformational. We have just finished our second week of college-wide online instruction, and I am so proud of our faculty, staff and students for the way in which they have adapted to this new reality, charging forward with vigor and creativity.
With support from the Technical College System of Georgia, we were able to extend our spring break for an additional week, allowing our faculty and administration to adequately adapt their curriculum to an online format. In the last two weeks, we have transitioned 314 on-campus courses to online delivery to combine with the 110 courses that were already offered completely online. It has been a pleasure to see faculty and students engaging each other in new and exciting ways – innovations that will remain long after this pandemic is over.
In the midst of our transition, OTC faculty, staff and students are finding ways to support the needs of both our state and local communities. Our campus safety officers recently delivered 11,000 medical-grade gloves to Atlanta to support health care workers across the state. Students in our Paramedicine and Emergency Medical Services programs, who already work in health care, continue to serve on the front lines in their jobs. And faculty of those same programs continue to work as first responders in our region.
Also, I have witnessed our alumni, parents and friends actively responding to and serving our community during these unprecedented times. Many of our graduates are working tirelessly in the health care system to combat the virus. Some are expanding their businesses to provide services to families in need and many are volunteering their time and resources to meet other critical needs across the state.
Though the pandemic may have postponed our plans for this year’s iGot campaign, we are continuing to see the community support our Foundation’s mission of meeting our students’ needs. We are so very grateful to those who have proactively gifted to the Student Emergency Fund. Those funds are critical to so many of our students.
I am so proud of each and every person in our college community. You have not wavered in supporting our mission to contribute to the educational and personal growth of those that we serve, and you have remained committed to helping us provide the best technical education that we possibly can, regardless of circumstance.
I would like to thank our alumni, friends and community for your continued support. We will be going forward without one of our staunchest allies, Senator Jack Hill. We are very saddened by his sudden and unexpected passing. He was a true friend of the college, and supported OTC in every way that he possibly could.
Stay safe, we will make it through this together. We are OTC.
Lori Durden is a former member of the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia and has been president of Ogeechee Technical College since 2016.