College limits personnel, visitors on campus; provides update on continuity plans

Posted on March 17, 2020
Updated: March 18, 2020

President Ramsammy sent the following email to all students and employees on Tuesday, March 17. Please take a moment to review the information and resources below.


Dear members of the college community,

Thank you once again for your patience as we continue to respond to the ever-changing situation surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Today, I’d like to share this update as the college makes progress on implementing plans for the remainder of the Spring semester.

Please note: At this time, we remain fortunate that there are no reports of positive cases of the virus within the Hudson Valley community. Classes remain postponed until the end of the extended Spring Break on Monday, March 30, as announced last week.

Employee Protocols and Guidance

Effective Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday, March 29, the college is instituting enhanced social distancing protocols for employees, as directed by SUNY and state leaders. We are now implementing plans to transition employees to a work-from-home format where possible, while only essential personnel will need to remain in the office or report on occasion. Please follow the guidance issued by your immediate supervisor to determine how this situation will be handled within your specific office or department.

Distance and Online Learning

As you know, under Governor Cuomo’s instructions, college faculty and staff are working hard to finalize innovative solutions to shift classes to a distance or online format. The college’s Vice President for Academic Affairs will communicate expectations with deans, academic department chairs and faculty.

Faculty are communicating directly with students about the changes to individual courses, so students are asked to continue to check their Hudson Valley email regularly. In addition, a revised master schedule will be made available on the college’s Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Information webpage by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23 and will be emailed to all students and employees. The schedule will provide information on changes that have been made to courses in an effort to maximize online and distance learning.

SUNY has advised that at this time, even labs should be taught remotely where possible, and the college is creating plans to do so. Any on-campus labs that resume instruction after the break will be required to maintain social distancing protocols, including limiting class sizes to fewer than 10 people and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between work stations. This may lead to a change in schedule as larger classes are split into smaller groups. Updates will be communicated via Hudson Valley Community College email as we continue to receive guidance from SUNY and New York State.

Students participating in distance or online learning are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Student Remote Access page on the college website. The page includes instructions on how to gain access to college computers and software from home, as well as information on accessing remote courses. Students will also be able to contact the Distance Learning help desk for assistance in accessing their courses.

The college is also offering training for faculty to smooth the transition to online and distance learning where possible. As of today, nearly 350 faculty members have already participated in these trainings or scheduled to do so. Faculty are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the college’s Guide to Continuity of Teaching and review available training classes offered through our Office of Distance Learning.

Please also note that students who do not have reliable internet access at home may consider whether they are eligible for free 60-day internet access from Spectrum, which was announced earlier this week. More information can be found on Charter Communications’ website.

College Access, Events and Activities

Please note that the college is now restricting public access to the campus. Essential services remain available, but walk-in visits are discouraged. If you need to do business with a specific office, please call to receive guidance on how to proceed. Contact information for specific offices can be found in the college directory.

Public gathering spaces, including college fitness rooms and the McDonough Sports Complex field house, are now closed. Campus Visit Days, held by the Admissions office, are now postponed as well. Most events and student activities are suspended temporarily. Please refer to the college’s online events page for updates.

As announced on Friday, the college’s Spring sports season and all athletic-related events and activities are cancelled for the remainder of the semester. This includes all games, competitions, practices, and other athletic activities. More information can be found on the Hudson Valley Athletic Department website.

The Viking Child Care Center remains open in accordance with guidance from state and college officials, though it is not accepting new placements at this time. Parents have been notified of policies and procedures that pertain to their children.

Non-Credit Classes and Instruction; Kids Camps

All in-person Community and Professional Education and Workforce Development non-credit classes and instruction are cancelled through March 29. Online non-credit classes will continue as normally scheduled. A decision on whether the college will be able to host its popular Kids on Campus summer camps will be made in the near future.

Financial Aid/Refunds

We have received many questions regarding student financial aid and refunds. Please know that we are working with SUNY and the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) to determine our next steps, and we will share that information with our students as it becomes available.

Educational Opportunity Center Update

Following new SUNY and state guidance, the Capital District Educational Opportunity Center will cancel classes effective Wednesday, March 18. Classes are now planned to resume on Friday, April 3. During the period when classes are suspended, the EOC will work with Alliance faculty to develop academic continuity plans for each program of the center.

Other Concerns

I realize that many of you have questions and concerns that were not addressed here. Please know that we are continuing to work diligently under the guidance of SUNY, state and local authorities to respond to this rapidly evolving situation as efficiently as possible. As always, our number one goal is to ensure the health and safety of our entire college community, while doing everything we can to help our students finish their academic coursework with as little disruption as possible.

Please continue to check your Hudson Valley Community College email, where relevant updates will be communicated with you directly. The college website will also be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we respond to this unprecedented situation.

Sincerely,

Roger A. Ramsammy, Ph.D.
President
Hudson Valley Community College