Spring 2021 Semester
Columbia-Greene Community College, a commuter campus without residence halls, will close for winter break from December 24, 2020 – January 4, 2021. To comport with the 15-week required schedule, applied learning and virtual classes will resume on Monday, January 25, 2021, and end on
Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Summer Term I begins on Monday, May 17, 2021. The steps described below will be taken to ensure, to the extent possible, the health and safety not only of students and employees but also the communities served by the College before and after classes begin.
Continuing the CoGreene Forward: Fall 2020 Operations Plan filed with SUNY in August 2020, the College will require daily screening of all students and employees on campus, and follow strict protocols with respect to staggered work schedules to maintain a 50 percent building density; daily deep cleaning and sanitizing; wearing protective face coverings and other PPE as needed; and maintaining social distancing at all times. The College estimates a maximum number of on-campus employees will be 50. Because many community college students register for classes at the last minute, C-GCC will not know the maximum number of on-campus students until classes begin.
On-campus classes approved by SUNY to begin on January 25, 2021, include automotive technology, human services, medical assisting, and nursing. These courses will comply with the building density requirements and meet in classrooms reconfigured to meet the social distancing protocols. As in fall 2020, students will be informed at the beginning of the semester that these classes will be taught remotely should circumstances require a mandatory pause. The College’s web site provides information regarding the percentage of in-person courses offered.
COVID-19 Testing and Monitoring
Between December 24, 2020, and the reopening of the College on January 4, 2021, on-campus employees must use the College app and daily screen themselves for travel history, COVID-19 history, and COVID-19 symptoms. These employees also will be tested on January 4, 2021, for the virus. On-campus faculty returning to the College either on January 25 or February 1, 2021, must be pre-screened daily for travel history, COVID-19 history, and COVID-19 symptoms for two weeks prior to their return.
The first week in January, the College will send a letter to students enrolled in spring 2021 on-campus classes advising them of the SUNY requirements to complete a seven-day precautionary quarantine prior to January 25 and submit an attestation that they completed the required quarantine. In addition, they must complete the daily COVID-19 screening for 14 days before returning to the campus, pass the screening test administered by campus security before entering any of the buildings, and participate in the on-campus testing scheduled for that week or present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before their classes begin. Students may also present documentation of a positive diagnostic result for COVID-19 from the prior three-month period.
Students in the nursing program who are participating in a clinical experience will not be required to quarantine. In addition, students gainfully employed may apply to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs for an exemption that will enable them to work during the quarantine. These students must document the COVID-19 safety protocols of their employers. Columbia-Greene will keep a record of the number of exemptions approved.
Continuing the guidance outlined in the Fall 2020 Restarting On-campus Operations Plan, all students and employees must inform the campus of any known contacts with COVID-19 positive individuals, any symptoms related to the virus, or of a positive test result.
On-campus employees and students who have traveled to/from restricted states and/or regions as defined by the State of New York must follow the New York Travel Advisory, attest that they have submitted the New York Traveler Health Form, and follow the guidance of the appropriate Department of Health.
As noted above, the College will resume pooled surveillance testing immediately following the winter break and will test all on-campus employees and students every week, beginning on January 4, 2021, and continuing until further notice. As requested, the College submitted its Pooled Testing Schedule to SUNY Upstate Medical, along with the Standing Order for Reflex Testing.
In cases of positive test results and/or possible exposure to the virus on campus, the College will follow guidance from the Columbia and Greene Counties’ Departments of Health along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory, Testing, Screening, and Outbreak Response for Institutions of Higher Education updated in December 2020, with special attention paid to the section, “Tiered Approach and Inclusion Criteria for SARS-CoV-2 Testing of Persons with Possible Exposure in IHE Setting in the Context of an Outbreak”.
Any student or employee testing positive for COVID-19 must isolate and follow the New York State Department of Health Order on isolation and guidance from the Columbia and Greene Counties’ Departments of Health concerning the length of the isolation before the infected individual may return to the campus.
Mode of Instruction: Face-to-Face
As noted earlier in this document, nearly all classes will be virtual, with the exception of the applied learning programs that include automotive technology, building construction technology, cybersecurity / digital forensics, environmental studies, fine arts, human services, medical assisting, and nursing. Classrooms will maintain the same “honeycomb” configuration introduced in fall 2020 to yield the largest number of seats while maintaining the six-foot distancing protocol. Starting and ending times of classes will be staggered to reduce corridor traffic. On-campus students will receive notification before the beginning of the semester that the College will execute a fully virtual learning environment if the campus meets the threshold for a mandatory pause on in-person instruction as outlined in the Supplemental Higher Education Guidance from the New York State Department of Health.
Mode of Instruction: Virtual
Columbia-Greene faculty worked diligently through the summer attending seminars and workshops to hone their skills and techniques for adapting their course materials to the virtual environment.
In addition, several C-GCC faculty who have been teaching via the remote modality long before the onslaught of the pandemic facilitated sessions as well to help their colleagues acclimate to the new learning environment.
Information Technology and the Columbia-Greene Community College Foundation provided assistance to students needing access to technology to ensure their success with remote learning. In addition to the laptops provided by SUNY, the Foundation supplied funding for more than two dozen computers.
With respect to internet connectivity, the President negotiated with a local internet service provider to install “hot-spots” in key locations throughout Columbia and Greene Counties. The Academic Support Center and the Computer Center also provided assistance to students needing help.
The Director of Disability Services collaborated with Information Technology to make certain that the platforms selected for instruction enabled students with disabilities to access lectures and course materials in a way that enables them to continue learning. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) featured her work in, “Making Remote Education Accessible to All”, published in the Community College Daily on October 29, 2020.
Interaction with Students
As in the fall 2020 semester, faculty will monitor closely the student’s academic engagement and progress in the course and will provide enhanced communication with students who appear to be falling behind. Three times during the semester, Advisors and key administrators including the President, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management, Director of the Academic Support Center, and Director of Disability Services personally will contact every student to ascertain any problems that may have arisen and hear feedback about the course content and/or delivery. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services will convene special meetings with faculty and appropriate staff to discuss issues that seem common among various classes. Each course syllabus will provide the link to SUNY’s Resources for Learning Online, and this information also appears on the College’s web site.
At the present time, the College does not enroll any international students.
As noted on page one, Columbia-Greene Community College received permission from the SUNY Provost to begin remote and very limited face-to-face classes on January 25, 2021. This schedule will enable the College to end the spring semester as scheduled originally and begin summer classes on May 17, 2021.
Spring Break and Commencement
As directed by SUNY, Columbia-Greene Community College will offer neither a spring break in March nor an in-person Commencement in May.
On-campus Activities / PPE
All on-campus activities, including athletic practices and games, will be suspended for the spring semester. The Cafeteria/Dining Hall and Bookstore will remain closed.
Anyone on campus must comport with the New York State Department of Health mandatory guidelines for wearing a mask at all times, including in classrooms, conference rooms, and other public spaces, and maintaining the six-foot social distancing requirement. The College encourages students and employees to wear their masks between the time they exit their vehicles and enter one of the College’s buildings. Employees with private offices must wear their mask around their neck and immediately pull it up to cover their nose and mouth should a visitor appear at their door.
Mental Health Supports
The College is partnering with the Columbia County Department of Mental Health to provide a designated counselor who will be available for students virtually. (The availability of this individual will not be determined until mid-January 2021.)
In addition, faculty, Student Services staff, and the web site promote other resources including ReachOut SUNY, Thriving Campus, and Middle Earth, as well as the New York State OMH Crisis Text Line. Dedicated Human Services faculty also make themselves available to provide guidance and emotional support.
The College reports COVID-related statistics on a daily basis to the SUNY COVID-19 Tracker, following the guidelines established by SUNY. In addition, continuing the fall reporting procedures, any adjustments made to the instructional modalities (face-to-face, synchronous/asynchronous, and remote) during the course of the semester will be reported to SUNY Administration.
Communication to Students
The College’s website will feature “What Students Should Know”, an overview of important information including testing requirements; mandatory quarantine and isolation guidelines; uniform compliance; and the percentage of courses that will be offered in person, synchronous/asynchronous, and remote. Links in the document will direct students to more details about specific policies such as the Chancellor’s Uniform Sanctioning in Response to COVID-19 Student Violations to build awareness about the penalties for failing to comply with all COVID-19 testing and safety protocols. The College’s social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) will call attention to “What Students Should Know” before the spring semester beings, and faculty will reference the document on Blackboard and in their class syllabus.
Submitted to SUNY December 10, 2020
Revised December 30, 2020