College Continues Community Outreach and Assistance

April 3, 2020

As classes resumed online and remotely this week following an extended spring break, the college found new ways to assist its students and the greater Capital Region community in response to the COVID 19 outbreak.

COVID-19 Emergency Fund Update

The COVID-19 Emergency Fund was established last month through a $7,500 gift from the members of the college Foundation Board. In establishing the emergency fund, the board hoped college donors, alumni and friends could match their gift so the Foundation can help students, faculty and staff continue to take classes and work remotely.

Knowing many students and staff do not have the technical equipment to support learning and working remotely, the fund will help purchase equipment to loan. Already, the funds have been used to purchase 18 laptops that are being loaned to those students who need them. Distribution is taking place through the college’s Information Technology Services (ITS) office.

The Faculty Student Association also took up the challenge with a gift of $7,500 and the executive committee of the Student Senate voted to reallocate $10,000 in funds that were set aside for last year’s class gift toward the emergency fund.

The Student Activities office has used the remainder of its 2020 budget to purchase nine laptops that with be distributed to students via the ITS department. Also, the Educational Opportunity Program received approval from SUNY Central to reallocate $4,500 in grant funding to purchase 18 laptops for EOP students.

Devices for loan still remain for those current students who may need them to complete the semester’s online coursework. For more information contact the ITS office.

Phi Theta Kappa Students Step Up to Offer Help

Student board members of the academic honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) have been in contact with the college’s Distance Learning office and working out a way to assist their peers with getting comfortable in the online learning environment. The high achieving students in the honor society will undergo training through the Distance and Online Learning office and hopefully be able to assist their peers with any issues related to online learning as the semester progresses.

College Loans Respiratory Device to Local Company Working on Ventilator Prototype

Cohoes-based manufacturing company PVA is designing a simple ventilator prototype which could be used to help COVID-19 patients, but to move forward the company needed access to what’s called a Michigan Lung Simulator. The college’s Respiratory Care program was able to loan one of its simulators to the company this week so they could continue their prototyping work and also apply for FDA approval.

Faculty Sourcing Supplies for Face Shield Production on Campus

Last week, we noted that faculty members in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology program were designing a prototype protective face shield that they hoped to put into production and eventually deliver to local hospitals. It seems that many other companies, colleges and universities with access to 3D printing technology had the same idea, and the raw materials to create the mask frames are now unavailable.

“Every company that stocks the plastic we need is sold out for at least two weeks,” said Instructor Dean Odell, who initially thought of the idea.

Odell said he will continue to work on the prototype and be ready for production if the need persists and materials become available.

Ongoing Equipment Donations

The college’s LaPan Services Building continues to serve as a county-wide point of distribution for the county’s law enforcement and emergency services personnel. This week, the college’s Print Shop was able to add 24 boxes of nitrile examination gloves to the supplies being stockpiled in the college’s Point of Distribution for Rensselaer County.

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