An Important Update from the TECHniques Center About our Spring 2021 Services
Dear TECHniques Center Spring 2021 students and their families,
We know that the changes to your college and educational experience have been challenging this year given the impact of COVID-19. What began as a "normal" high school senior year or regular semester as a Tech student quickly and unexpectedly changed, and as a result, you had to change with it. We also had to change the way we provide our services, and we continue to work on creating the safest environment and still provide the best services during this temporary situation.
The TECHniques Center, along with Student Disability Services and Texas Tech University, is committed to ensuring your health and safety as best as we are able, and we want to give you full discloser and some important updates about what to expect from us regarding your Spring 2021 participation in our program.
The following are guidelines and changes to our program that we are implementing as a result of CDC recommendations and the requirements, restrictions, and expectations communicated to us by the University, the State of Texas, and the city of Lubbock.
Please understand that these changes are a temporary solution to what we hope is a temporary situation and may be fluid as we are given more guidelines and information in the coming months.
These are some of the things you can expect this spring:
- First, to ensure a reduced number of students and tutors utilize our space at any
given time and to better provide social-distancing for our limited capacity, the TECHniques
Center (like many classes and buildings on campus) is continuing with a hybrid-tutoring model for the Spring 2021 semester. What is hybrid tutoring? Hybrid tutoring means part
of your services will be in-person, and part will be virtual. This may look like the
- Students who receive the Standard tier of tutoring (5 hours) will have 2-3 hours of in-person tutoring per week and 2-3 hours of virtual tutoring per week.
- Students who receive the Expanded tier of tutoring will have 4 hours of in-person tutoring per week and 4 hours of virtual tutoring per week.
- Students who receive the Limited tier of tutoring will have 1 hours of in-person tutoring per week and 1 hour of virtual tutoring per week.
- All first-time sessions (to set your schedule with your tutor(s) and get to know them) will preferably be in person, although we can certainly work with students who would rather meet virtually for the first time.
- Staff will work with students to best decide which tutoring session(s) to schedule in person and online, and students and tutors will continue to use the *free* technology and our previously developed tutoring platform to ensure the best virtual tutoring sessions possible.
- Students may also request more of their tutoring be virtual than the above guidelines. We will work with them on that, as the goal is flexibility with the student's comfort level.
- We have developed guidelines and training for our tutors on how to make the most of a hybrid-tutoring experience, and we will guide students on how to use this technology, as well!
- Second, students will work with their Academic Counselors to decide how they would
like to structure their weekly Academic Counseling sessions to best fit their needs
and comfort levels. For example,
- Students and their Academic Counselor can still meet in-person for weekly appointments if this is their preference. Social distancing and disinfecting guidelines will be in place for these meetings, as some offices are small, but we understand the value of having face-to-face conversations and receiving in-person support.
- Students and their Academic Counselor can also choose to meet one week in person and the next week virtually to reduce person-to-person contact and provide more convenience and comfort for student scheduling.
- Students and their Academic Counselor can also choose to have all weekly meetings in a virtual format.
- As with tutoring, our goal is to be flexible and available to meet students' needs and comfort levels during this time. Virtual meetings also allow us greater opportunities to accommodate if a student is feeling unwell, has to quarantine, and can't attend in-person meetings.
- Third, the TECHniques Center will continue to schedule and host our New Student Orientations
for *new* Spring 2021 students as virtual orientation sessions.
- New students are currently being contacted to set up their virtual orientations. Please keep checking your TTU email for an update from your assigned Academic Counselor.
- Parents may attend the virtual orientation with their students. Please reach out to your assigned Academic Counselor for more information.
- Parents and guardians are welcome to reach out and ask general questions about the program at any time by calling us at (806) 742-1822 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org! We will be happy to set up a one-on-one phone or virtual appointment to answer all your questions.
- Fourth, according to the expectation communicated by the University, "Face masks or appropriate face coverings will be required in campus buildings by all
students, faculty, and staff" (https://www.ttu.edu/commitment/students/health/).
- Face masks or coverings will be required upon entering Weeks Hall and will be required while in the TECHniques Center for all appointments. This is an expectation set forth both by the University, as well as the city of Lubbock and the State of Texas.
- We encourage students to bring with them a face mask or covering they feel comfortable wearing during their meetings. Many are available for private purchase. If students do not have a face mask with them, we will provide them with a temporary one.
- Students who do not wear a face mask in the TECHniques Center will be asked to leave and we will work with those students to provide that day's tutoring session or meeting virtually.
- We all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, as well as others, and given the size of the TECHniques Center, this is especially important.
- Lastly, the TECHniques Center, which is now located on the first floor of Weeks Hall,
is following University guidelines to accommodate social distancing and health recommendations:
- Our lobby will now be closed to large groups of students and tutors waiting for appointments or hanging out.
- Signage will be placed around the TECHniques Center to remind students about proper handwashing, wellness recommendations, social distancing, and other policies.
- A hand sanitizing station will be available at the entrance to our space for all students and tutors to use.
- Each morning, wellness checks will be performed on full-time staff and tutors, but students are encouraged to stay home if they are running a temperature, exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, or are feeling unwell.
- Bathrooms and high-use areas will be cleaned by custodial services and staff, and tutors and students will also have access to cleaning supplies to help keep surfaces wiped down between sessions. We encourage all students and tutors to wipe down their spaces both before and after sessions to help keep surfaces clean.
Ultimately, our focus with all of these guidelines is to provide the safest, most convenient, most positive experience we can for our students this fall while also ensuring that we can continue to provide in-person services.
Along with these guidelines, we ask that you be flexible with us, as well. These guidelines may change and evolve as the COVID-19 evolves and impacts our community and campus this spring. As always, we will work with students to learn how to navigate difficult situations, become their own self-advocates, and make decisions that best fit their needs and health. Although we all wish things were back to "normal," this is our "new normal" for a while, and we will do our best to navigate through this new time as a team!
That being said, we want to remind you about some important deadlines in case your decision to use the TECHniques Center this Spring 2021 semester changes:
- Billing for Spring 2021 services will open after January 1, 2021. Per the Statement of Understanding (contract) you signed, once the fee for our services is billed to your Student Business Services account, you are responsible for a portion – if not all – of the fee, even if you choose to withdraw voluntarily or involuntarily.
- Please visit our refund page to learn about important refund deadlines and the Statement of Student Financial Responsibility you agreed to when enrolling in our program: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/techniques/fees.php.
- If you decide the TECHniques Center is no longer for you due to these guidelines, students must email us (from their official TTU email address) or give us a call at (806) 742-1822 to withdraw by the following deadlines to receive a credit. We still have students on our waiting list who wish to use our services, and we have an obligation to enroll these students in time for the Spring 2021 semester:
- You can read more about that non-refundable $200 portion of your fee (regardless of what refund amount you are provided) here: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/techniques/fees.php
On a final note, if you didn't see this in our recent newsletter, we want to share with you some of the positive experience and comments we've had from our students and tutors given the virtual tutoring we have already had this year. Click here and scroll down to read these positive comments!
We truly believe that this time is a learning opportunity that will help us provide better and more comprehensive services to our students moving forward, as well as help students learn how to be more adaptable and confident in their college experience, no matter what happens in the world.
If you have any questions at all, please email us at email@example.com or give us a call at (806) 742-1822 to discuss your concerns.
Larry K. Phillippe, Ed.D. P.A.
Brandi Willis Schreiber, M.A.
TECHniques Center Program Director