Coronavirus COVID-19 Advisory, Updates and Resources
Update from President Patricia A. Gentile, March 11, 2020
Greetings NSCC Students and Employees,
This week’s Wednesday Coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory comes on the day that the World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic, and a day after Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of a state of emergency in Massachusetts. As a result of these decisions, and our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of NSCC students, faculty, and staff, this morning Professor Norene Gachignard, MCCC (faculty union) president and the College President, Dr. Gentile, came to an agreement, as required in the MCCC contract, to modify the spring semester academic calendar by extending NSCC spring break to include next week.
This means that students are not expected to return to campus and to their courses until Monday, March 23. This impacts the last day of classes as it will move the last day from May 4 to May 11, 2020.
For those enrolled in a 7-week course that was scheduled to start on March 16, your new start date is March 23.
With his declaration, the Governor noted requirements for Executive Branch employees. Although higher education institutions are not part of this branch, we are following the Governor’s emergency criteria. This morning, the college Emergency Response Team (ERT) met again and adopted the following strategies suggested by Governor Baker:
- Prohibit all college sponsored work-related travel - domestic and foreign. All NSCC student and employee college sponsored travel through April 30 is canceled. In April we will revisit this prohibition for travel scheduled for May 1 and beyond.
- Strongly discourage personal international travel. We are asking employees and students to report whether they have traveled to a Level II or Level III country in the past 14 days. Please use this link to complete the voluntary personal travel form: Travel Reporting Form
- Keep regular business and operations ongoing, utilizing technology resources as much as possible. Mitigate spread by canceling participation in external conferences and utilizing online and remote access for larger group meetings. We are complying with this request – our campuses remain open and we are expanding our usage of technology for business and operational purposes.
- Prohibit all large gatherings on campus. All March and April 2020 large scheduled events will be rescheduled or canceled on our campuses. No new external requests for use of campus space will be granted during this time. Our Website has a calendar of events that will be updated to reflect these changes.
- Prohibit external work-related conferences, seminars and events. Encourage virtual meetings and conferences.
- Discourage sick employees or students from coming to the college campus. If you are not feeling well and displaying signs of sickness, please stay home. Faculty understand that attendance requirements are flexible and students should work with their faculty members to ensure completed course work. Employees will receive more information regarding leave.
- Explore work from home options as appropriate. We are identifying potential remote opportunities for key job positions. We certainly understand that many of our students may not have access to the internet or appropriate equipment in their home. Our open labs and services will remain available to students with enhanced sanitizing and spacing requirements.
The extended spring break will provide us the opportunity to explore alternative instruction modalities. Our academic team will be reaching out to faculty to engage them in a recommended conversation and input session on what instructional options make the most sense for their students and their content discipline. Not all courses may be able to make that transition but we believe that a reduced student population on campus will provide additional space to practice social distancing for health reasons. The extra week of spring break will allow us to collect faculty and student input on what resources and supports are needed to ensure a successful completion of the spring semester.
We will want to hear from our students on what issues they might have with any changes to our instructional model. You can be assured that our overarching goal throughout this is how to help our students stay on a successful track to complete their coursework. Before we end the extended spring break, students will be made aware of where and how course completion strategies will be implemented on a course by course basis. We remain as flexible as ever in meeting your academic needs and committed to helping you through this situation.
The complex and fast-evolving challenges posed by this virus require proactive measures, and we must do our part in mitigating the spread of the virus here in Massachusetts. We regret the disruption that these changes will cause, but hope all will agree that the health and safety of our NSCC community must come first. Without question, this is a public-health moment the likes of which few of us have seen. Our hope is that the very significant steps being taken all around us will result in the virus being brought under control with as little impact as possible.
COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. For continued information and the most up to date details please refer to Massachusetts.edu/COVID19 of the college’s website www.northshore.edu/corona. We will continue to issue advisories throughout the extended spring break to this email chain. Employees will be receiving more information as those arrangements are developed. Remember that email is the NSCC official means of communication.