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ECC assists students impacted by hurricane

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Jimmie Williams, a member of the ECC maintenance staff, replaces saturated ceiling tiles in the Cosmetic Arts Building on the Tarboro campus following Hurricane Florence. Storm damage to the college’s physical plant was minimal.

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From Contributed Reports

Monday, September 24, 2018

Before Hurricane Florence had completed her thrashing of Eastern North Carolina, Edgecombe Community College reached out to students hit by the storm.

College leaders relied on lessons learned during previous storms, Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“This time we have a more organized, efficient process in place for students to reach out to us,” said Michael Jordan, vice president of student services.

On Sept. 16, the college established a special email account for students experiencing challenges returning to classes because of hurricane-related issues.

“Our students' well-being is our primary concern,” ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod said. “We are committed to provide as much support as we can.”

Emails to assistance@edgecombe.edu were routed to Jordan and other Student Services administration.

“From the moment we set up and announced the address, we started receiving emails.” Jordan said. “I have personally responded to each one.”

Edgecombe Community College enrolls students from every county in Eastern North Carolina, including those hit hardest by Hurricane Florence, from Pender and Lenoir to Craven and Onslow. As of Sept. 21, about 30 students had requested assistance from the college.

“We continue to receive emails, and instructors are informing us of student situations as well,” Jordan said. “We had one student who had to evacuate Vanceboro. She went to Grifton and was evacuated there, too. Another student lost his truck to the floodwaters.”

For students who lost homes and other property from flooding, College staff have provided FEMA, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army information and helped them navigate the process to request assistance.

Other students remain without power and are unable to complete their hybrid and online course work.

“All of our deans, instructors, and counselors are being flexible and are providing tremendous support and understanding to students,” Jordan said.

Several students who live on the coast are enrolled in the Health Information Technology online program. Nacole Everette, HIT program chair, began reaching out to her students before the storm came ashore.

“When we closed campus on (Sept. 12) at noon, I had already sent everyone an email,” Everette said. “I wanted them to know that we will be here to support them however we can, from extending assignments to making up clinicals. Whatever we need to do, we will make it work.”

Fortunately, the Tarboro and Rocky Mount campuses were minimally affected by Hurricane Florence.

“We experienced a lot of tree-related debris on the ground and minor roof leaks in a number of buildings and rooms,” McLeod said. “But these are very minor inconveniences compared to the devastating losses experienced by so many.”

Fayetteville Tech, Robeson and Sampson community colleges were closed throughout last week. ECC, along with many of the state’s other community colleges, have reached out to them to offer aid.

“Considering the significant impact that several of our sister colleges experienced and are still experiencing, we have offered to help them in their recovery as much as we can,” McLeod said.“Edgecombe Community College is standing by prepared.”

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