UPDATE: March 27, 2020, 4:30 p.m.
I hope this finds you and your family and friends safe, healthy and well. We miss you and while we not be able to be together in a physical sense, we will be able to connect using remote means.
As we approach Monday, March 30th and our resumption of classes, I wanted to check-in with you and share our plans for classes, for academic supports and other College operations. I hope you find it helpful.
This past week brought with it both reasons for hope as well as moments of sadness and worry. Both can and often do reside side-by-side in each of us. While I like to think that hope is our default at North Country Community College, we know that hope often needs action to help strengthen it. With our beloved state in the eye of the coronavirus storm, our North Country region and our North Country family have been and will continue to be affected. With a projected peak of new cases several weeks out, our public health officials continue to stress the need for social distancing measures and personal preventive practice. Those are the primary tools in our took-kits that we can and are employing.
Our primary objective is and has been to ensure the safety and health of our students, our faculty and our staff. As good community members and citizens, we have a responsibility to the larger society as well. Out of a continuing commitment to those objectives and based on the guidance of the Governor’s Office, our SUNY partners and our regional public health leaders, we have decided that we will extend our modified schedule through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. In practice, that will mean the following for you:
- Classes will resume in an online format on March 30th, 2020 through the end of the semester,
- All tutoring, library services, registration and advisement will take place online through the end of the semester,
- All College operations (Bursar’s Office, Business Office, Financial Aid Office, Registrar’s Office) will operate remotely through the end of the semester,
- The gym, pool, library and other public venues will remain closed through the end of the semester.
While College operations could be modified depending on changing guidance from the Governor’s Office, our SUNY partners and our regional public health leaders, we are planning to be working remotely until that time.
As an institution that values the deep and abiding relationships we have with our students, there is concern that those relationships could be lost. We believe that just as our values transcend any medium we work through, so too can, and does, the connections we forge and nurture with one another. They will not be lost, only realized using different means of interacting.
To that end, we are planning the following steps to help us retain that sense of community and hope you will join us:
Tuesday, April 7th (tentative)
- Student Town Hall - 12:00-1:00 pm: this will be an online opportunity for us to connect with you, hear your successes and concerns, and answer questions you may have. More details will follow.
We are a resilient lot and together we will find our way through this and emerge as a stronger version of ourselves. Getting there will take the continued good-will and commitment of us all. I trust that we will do so. We are bound together by much more than this crisis. We share a common mission, a common set of values, and a common concern and love for this institution, its people and most especially you, our students. Each of us is an important part of this greater whole that is North Country Community College.
Be well, stay healthy and take good care,
UPDATE: March 26, 2020
I hope this finds you and yours doing well and settling in as best can be. We miss you and look forward to the day when we can be together again.
This week, we are readying ourselves for the switch to fully online instruction, which starts next Monday, March 30th. We want you to be as prepared for the transition as possible. In the event that you have questions or concerns about your technological and online readiness, please reach out to our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wanted to take a moment to update you on some changes for our end-of-the-year celebrations. It is with a heavy heart that I share with you that, given the current guidance on social distancing and restrictions on large gatherings or events with fifty (50) or more participants at any location per Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.3, we have decided to transition our in-person end-of-the-year ceremonies (graduation/commencement, nursing pinning ceremonies, and awards ceremonies) to remote ceremonies this year and find alternative ways to celebrate our students’ achievement(s). Please note, that this does not affect one’s ability to graduate, only the public ceremony celebrating it. Those who have applied for and completed all the requirements for graduation will still receive their diploma.
We know that this will be disappointing for our students and their families, our faculty and staff, and our administration. However, it is the best course of action to protect the safety and health of our campus community. On a more positive note, we are excited about finding alternative ways to celebrate our students’ achievement from a distance. Out of every crisis comes many opportunities and together we can make this a most memorable experience. More details on these remote celebrations will be announced in the coming weeks.
As this is uncharted territory for us all, I hope that you will understand. As always, if you have any questions, concerns or ideas for how best to celebrate remotely, please let me know.
Thank you. Take good care and see you next Monday!
SUNY updates available are here:
The college has assembled a list of Frequently Asked Questions in response to our planning for the transition to online learning as of Mar. 30.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
As you know, SUNY will be moving as many academic programs as possible to distance learning via our online platform, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, email and even traditional mail. We believe that these remote instruction modalities are necessary at this time to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Our SUNY COVID-19 Task Force has been working around the clock with campus leaders and our state government partners to prepare for and respond to the growing pandemic. While the large majority of our campuses have not reported confirmed cases of the virus, we are acting out of an abundance of caution to both protect our SUNY community and the community at large.
We canceled all study abroad programs for the rest of the semester and last week transported our students back to the United States from China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran – all countries where COVID-19 is prevalent. Once the students returned, we arranged for several precautionary quarantine scenarios. Some students voluntarily quarantined at home, while others are undergoing a 14-day precautionary quarantine in specially prepared dorms.
We are now working to bring back all students who are studying abroad, regardless of the country in which they are located – a move I believe is prudent and in keeping with our main goal of limiting COVID-19 exposure to our students, faculty and staff.
Fortunately, we have been working for the last year to upgrade and modernize our online SUNY learning platform. Working with the Governor’s office, we directed each of our campuses to develop comprehensive plans for distance learning with the goal of continuing academic instruction, uninterrupted, in the safest manner possible.
Next week is spring break for most of SUNY’s university centers, comprehensive, technical and community colleges. The Governor’s guidance allows for campuses to extend their spring break by a week, in order to fully prepare for the transition to distance learning and remote instruction. Some campuses are ready to launch and therefore will not require a full week. By March 19, we will have our plans in place and be able to transition as many courses as possible online. Please consult with your individual campus regarding this revised academic schedule.
Campuses will make their distance learning curriculum available to all students. We recognize, as does
the Governor, that some students will need to remain on campus for special circumstances, such as
housing needs, employment responsibilities, and to fulfill coursework that requires hands-on instruction
or laboratory work. We will make sure their learning environment is safe.
Therefore, many campus dormitories, dining halls and other facilities will remain open for the duration
of the semester, until further notice. We will offer students the choice to return to campus. However, if
they either choose not to return or are unable to do so, we will do whatever it takes to ensure they can
fulfill and complete their academic requirements remotely. We are working quickly to resolve the
financial impact remote instruction and distance learning will have on a student’s account.
In a system with 1.2 million students we understand that one size will not fit all. We will work to find
solutions – on a case-by-case basis, if necessary – to ensure that every student can continue their
education and complete their coursework to the extent possible.
This global public health crisis has resulted in dozens of new confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state
daily. We have thus far confirmed cases of students with COVID19 at three campuses and have followed
all local and state guidance to protect these campus communities.
I understand this situation is causing tremendous anxiety among students and their families, as well as
our faculty and staff. Do know that the COVID-19 is a fragile but virulent virus.
However, public health experts have repeatedly stressed that the best way to protect yourself against
this virus is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, avoid touching your face, disinfect surfaces
that may be contaminated and stay home if you are feeling sick.
In order to maintain our calm and to reduce anxiety that has arisen as a result of this outbreak, we will
continue to keep our lines of communication open and to provide accurate information in a responsible
manner. I am committed to keeping you as up to date as possible. I am confident that by working
together we can overcome this ever-changing crisis and emerge stronger with important lessons learned
that we can apply to strengthen our system in the future.
I thank you for your cooperation and willingness to follow the advice provided by public health experts
who are working to keep COVID-19 from spreading. Rest assured that SUNY and our campus leaders will
continue to monitor this situation, keep you apprised of changes and developments as they occur and
answer any questions and concerns you may have.
Kristina M. Johnson, PhD.
Chancellor, State University of New York
Flyer distributed to students, faculty and staff:
Hand hygiene, either with soap and water or with alcohol-based handrub, is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading infections to others. Indeed, hand hygiene is an easy, inexpensive, and effective mean to prevent the spread of germs and keep everyone healthy. Please, follow carefully the steps shown in this training video to know how to handwash with soap and water.
|A message from New York's Health Commissioner on Novel Coronavirus|