COVID-19 Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

 

UPDATED June 17th 2020

HCC has now finalized our class schedule for the fall semester, in conjunction with social distancing requirements and Dept. Public Health and CSCU recommendations.  The schedule is published Here!

We will have a variety of class options for students, with most classes being offered online either synchronously or asynchronously.  Workforce programs requiring hands-on labs will be offered on-campus with appropriate safety measures in place.

Connecticut’s FREE community college program, known as PACT will be available but students MUST; This is the perfect time to save money and kickstart your future at HCC!

Updates from the Regional President

 

CSCU COVID-19 Updates

     

Gradual Return to Campus Phases

 

Updates from the Campus CEO

     

Corona Virus FAQs

 

Course Modalities Explained 

 


CDC GuidelinesCOVID-19 Student Guidelines


Please review prior to your arrival to campus.

 

 


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Disclaimer 


CDC Information:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses a three-level approach to indicate the health risks associated with a specific country. The three levels are as follows:

Level 1: (Green) Watch: Practice Usual Precautions – This is the lowest level of risk. Travelers to these countries should stay informed of any recommended practices(ex. required vaccination) prior to departure. It is recommended that travelers continue to monitor the health risk designation for the country.

Level 2: (Yellow) Alert: Practice Enhanced Precautions – This Travel Health Notice describes additional precautions added or defines a specific at-risk population.

Level 3: (Red) Avoid all non-essential travel to this destination – The outbreak is of high risk to travelers and no precautions are available to protect against the identified increased risk.

The CDC’s complete list of travel warnings is available by clicking here.

Basic Health Precautions:

  • If you feel sick, please stay home!
  • If someone in your household is in self-quarantine based on CDC recommendations, YOU must also self-quarantine.
  • Contact your medical provider or local emergency department for advice.
  • Individuals with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation until the risk of transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to terminate home isolation should be made in consultation with your doctor.

Precautions to take:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use an alcohol-based hand 
  • sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available)
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Coronavirus Symptoms:

The symptoms can range from mild to severe:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Frequently Asked Questions

This page will be a continually updated source of common questions students, staff, and faculty will have during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please check back here on occasion as answers may change or be added as the situation changes.

What is the current status of the campus?

HCC has now finalized our class schedule for the fall semester, in conjunction with social distancing requirements and Dept. Public Health and CSCU recommendations.  The schedule is published Here!

We will have a variety of class options for students, with most classes being offered online either synchronously or asynchronously. Workforce programs requiring hands-on labs will be offered on-campus with appropriate safety measures in place.

Connecticut’s FREE community college program, known as PACT will be available but students MUST register by July 15th.  This is the perfect time to save money and kickstart your future at HCC!

What does online-only format mean for me?

Faculty and students will utilize available online resources from off-campus locations to continue classwork. These include common tools such as Email, Blackboard, myCommNet, WebEx, and Office 365. Refer to the Course Continuity Resources page for detailed information regarding these services.

What about staff and non-teaching faculty during this time?

HCC campuses will be closed to the public through the remainder of the semester. All faculty and staff except those designated by their individual institution as Level 1 – and that number will be extremely limited – will continue to work from home.. Questions regarding payroll, timesheets, student workers, EA positions can be directed to the Human Resources and payroll departments.

What if I have off-campus clinics, internships, or other experiential activities?

Students who engage in off-campus clinics, internships, and similar experiential activities, may check with their site supervisor or instructor.

Where do I find my instructor or other faculty’s contact information?

Please refer to our online directory for all faculty and staff contact information.

What online resources are available to me during this time?

Faculty and students, please refer to our course continuity resources page to find more details regarding the online services available to you during this time.

What if I need support for these online resources?

Please visit our 24/7 CSCU Support Site for phone, chat, and knowledge base support.

I will be traveling, is there anything I need to do?

ALL HCC-sponsored travel outside of the state of Connecticut is suspended until further notice.

Faculty, staff and students are discouraged from traveling during Spring Break, however, if you must travel, we ask that you keep HCC administration updated on your travel plans by completing our Report Travel Plans.

What about previously scheduled campus events?

All campus events scheduled for the rest of the spring semester have been canceled, including those sponsored by external clients.

What about previously scheduled individual meetings/assistance/advising?

At this point, individual meetings are still allowed, but but done remotely. This also includes students with individual assistance in labs or scheduled meetings with faculty advisors.

What about scheduled on-campus placement tests?

All placement tests are canceled. Please check back with our testing center for any other details. 203.332.5217

What about scheduled on-campus placement tests?

All placement tests are canceled. Please check back with our testing center for any other details. 203.332.5217

Continuing Education Specific Questions

Will Continuing Education classes be held during spring break as scheduled?

No, as per previous communications, all classes (credit and non-credit) are canceled thru spring break. Continuing Education faculty and staff will be communicating with students during spring break regarding class makeups.

Will Continuing Education classes be held on line after spring break?

During Spring Break, Continuing Education staff will be in touch with faculty to identify how to reschedule and make up classes and communicate with students. Students should check their email on a regular basis for additional information specific to your class/program

If a Continuing Education class is rescheduled and I can’t participate who should I contact?

Please contact the Continuing Education office at 203.332.5057 or email at

I still have additional questions.

Starting Tuesday, March 10 through the remainder of the spring semester – The campus will be closed to faculty, staff, and students to allow for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms and offices.

From Monday, March 23 – through the end of the spring semester – The campus will remain closed and all classes will resume in an online-only format.

Students: Please contact our Dean of Students Office.

Faculty: Please contact our Dean of Academic Affairs.

Staff: Please contact our Human Resources department.


Regional President Updates


Campus Reopening Update - Monday, July 6, 2020

Important Campus Update

Message from Dr. Thomas G. Coley, Regional President, CSCU Shoreline-West

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to inform you that Housatonic Community College has been approved for limited reopening effective July 6, 2020, when selected staff will begin the gradual return to campus.

In keeping with CDC guidelines for safety around COVID 19, and the state's reopening phases, we are adhering to the phasing-in of services and classes as outlined by President Ojakian (https://www.ct.edu/covid19).

Based on continuing concerns related to COVID, the campus opening will be gradual and we have intentionally limited the hours.

Beginning July 6, campus hours of operation will be Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and closed on Fridays. Campus entry points will be restricted to Lafayette L2 and the Manufacturing and Beacon Hall entrances.

Campus offices have prepared detailed plans of operation that ensure compliance with State of CT Phase 2 requirements, and office staff will be limited. A guideline has been established that requires that no more than 50% of the employees be present in an office at any time. I expect that we will be well below this threshold especially during July and early August. Supervisors will communicate directly with staff to develop a schedule that combines on campus and telework based on the needs of the office, while meeting contractual hours (FT/PT).

Reopening protocols require that individuals entering the buildings must wear a mask and maintain CDC social distancing guidelines. Elevator capacity is limited and location markings are noted in each unit. Signs have been placed at each elevator bay noting this protocol. Additional COVID 19 signage and floor markings have been displayed throughout campus and plexiglass shields are being installed in select locations where warranted.

Members of the HCC staff with questions about being assigned to return to campus should contact their supervisor and their dean for clarification of the schedule, expectations and safety protocols related to their return to campus. Faculty or staff members requiring an ADA of FMLA accommodation related to COVID 19, should contact Marlene Cordero at  for guidance.

Beginning July 28, students may come to campus to conduct college business. In-person services will be by appointment only. While we will continue to promote virtual appointments and online transactions as the preferred method during this period, students will have access to drop off capability for select forms, documents, and transactions.

Restrictions to campus access by the general public will continue, and public access to the building will be by appointment only.

I would like to thank those who have been working so diligently these past few weeks to bring the campus up to safety standards that allow us to reopen.

Updates will be forthcoming as each phase unfolds. I invite you to send me questions that you have at this time.

Thank you,

Thomas G. Coley, Ph.D.
Regional President, CSCU Shoreline-West

An Important Message from President Thomas Coley, Ph.D. - Monday, June 15, 2020

An Important Message from President Thomas Coley, Ph.D.

LAST CHANCE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Semester Student Survey

Your feedback is important!

Deadline TODAY 6/15/20.

 

Dear Students:
 
I hope you and those close to you are doing well during these trying times.

As we plan for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year, we are heavily focused on creating a safe learning environment that is comfortable for students, faculty, and staff. We realize the importance of having feedback from our students, and as that you please participate in an important, anonymous survey to help inform future decision-making. 
 
Below is a link to an  anonymous and confidential  questionnaire will take approximately 3 minutes to complete.  Please answer all questions as honestly as possible and submit the completed questionnaire no later than  June 15, 2020 .
 
Participation in this survey is strictly voluntary and you may refuse to participate at any time. However, your participation will provided valuable data that will help the colleges to make decisions that best serve our college communities.  
 
After the survey is complete we will provide a report that will be available to you at the following website:  http://www.ct.edu/orse .  
 
If you have any questions or concerns about this request,  please contact: William Gammell, Director of CSCU Research, 860-723-0054 or,  .
 
TO BEGIN SURVEY CLICK HERE:
 
Thank you, in advance, for your consideration in this matter.
Be well,
 
Thomas G. Coley, Ph.D.
Regional  President, CSCU Shoreline-West

An important message from President Coley - Friday, June 5, 2020

An important message from President Coley

Dear Students:
There is no doubt that the past few months have been a grueling test of our fortitude and patience. We are challenged, like never before, to stay the course as we proceed on an ever-changing path back to a sense of normalcy.
The anxiety and safety concerns of the Covid-19 global pandemic have already taken their toll, and now a bright spotlight shines on our communities of color where for generations, our citizens have lived with constant safety concerns and anxiety due to circumstances that are rooted in racism and injustice. Current events are overwhelming. The images of death and violence are unbearable, and our hearts are broken.  
It may seem that we are powerless to bring about change, but nothing is further from the truth.  I encourage all members of our college community to commit to a future that assures justice, equity and security for all. This can only be accomplished if we work together in solidarity to break down the barriers that divide us by race, socio-economic status, political affiliation and ethnicity.
Through peaceful and diligent insistence and civic engagement we can create a "new normal" where equity in opportunity, access to resources and security are available to all. 
We have the power to protect one another from the threat of illness, and we also have the power to rebuild trust and respect as we work toward rectifying the misguided perceptions and policies that have brought us to this moment.  Together we can make a positive impact on the future.
For those members of the college community who are hurting, please know that you are not alone. The college stands in unity and solidarity with you, and our community, as we grieve with all who have suffered loss and indignity. 
We are committed to maintaining a safe and non-judgmental environment, and will offer the services of our Advising & Student Success Centers Center to all students who are in need of a confidential environment for support.  
To schedule an appointment please fill out our form here . Office hours are M - F, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., however, counselors are flexible to meet the needs of our students.
I wish you a peaceful summer.
Be well,
Thomas G. Coley, Ph.D.
Regional  President, CSCU Shoreline-West

Update: Distribution of federal CARES Act grants - Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Update: Distribution of federal CARES Act grants

Dear Students,

We are writing to inform you of our plans to distribute CARES Act emergency grants.  The U.S. Department of Education recently issued guidance on distribution of these emergency grants to students, requiring that all recipients be Title IV eligible. 

This means that students must have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2019-20 academic year.  ( www.fafsa.gov )

To satisfy the Department of Education's guidance, we will only be issuing grants to students who have met the Title IV eligibility requirements by completing a FAFSA and have satisfied all outstanding requirements related to completing a FAFSA.

Completing a FAFSA does not mean a student has to be in receipt of financial aid.  A completed FAFSA is one that fully determines a student's eligibility for a Pell Grant, including the federal Expected Family Contribution calculation.

In addition, the following students will not be eligible for the CARES Act emergency grants:

  • Students exclusively enrolled in non-credit courses
  • CSCU employees attending classes for free and students on dependent waivers. (Student workers remain eligible
  • Second Chance Pell students
  • High School Partnership/Dual Enrollment students
  • Undocumented, DACA, International students


We plan to begin issuing payments to eligible students next week.  If you have not already done so, please sign up for Direct Deposit to expedite distribution of funds at https://my.commnet.edu

Distribution of federal CARES Act grants - Friday, April 24, 2020

Distribution of federal CARES Act grants

Dear Students,

You may have heard about the recently enacted Federal CARES Act, which promises funds to higher education institutions, including Housatonic Community College.
A significant portion of these funds are reserved to proved grants for enrolled students to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operation due to Covid-19.

Please pay close attention to the following information:

  • To avoid delays in receiving the grant funds to which you may be entitled, please consider immediately enrolling in Direct Deposit by going to this link: Enroll in direct deposit (MyCommnet)
  1. Make sure your address and all direct deposit information is accurate if you already have direct deposit activated
  2. For questions about enrolling in Direct Deposit, please contact the Bursar's office, which can be found at Student Accounts (Bursar)
  • Please review and make note of the following terms of the CARES Act grant.
  • This grant is to be used as direct assistance for expenses related to the disruption of your studies during the spring 2020 semester for things like food, housing, materials, technology, health care or childcare expenses.
  • Your grant will not be reduced if you have an outstanding balance on your college account.
  • This grant does not impact your financial aid award.
  • Eligibility
  • The U.S. Department of Education has put a number of eligibility requirements in place in order to receive the CARE Act grant.  We are in the process of reviewing the federal requirements and will provide further communication on this topic in the coming days.

We are working as quickly as possible to process these funds. We are currently expecting that disbursements will take place in May, however the timing is subject to change.

Students who have arranged for direct deposit can expect the grant to be deposited directly into their accounts sooner than those who choose to receive checks in the mail.   Again,
I strongly encourage you to enroll in direct deposit if at all possible; Email for more information.

I will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available.
Be well,

Thomas Coley, Ph.D
Acting President, Housatonic Community College
Regional President, CSCU Shoreline West

Pass/Fail, Credit/No-credit Option - Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Pass/Fail, Credit/No-credit Option

Dear Students,

I know that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented a new set of challenges in the pursuit of your education and want you to know that we are doing everything in our power to help you succeed.

I am pleased to report that, under the direction of the President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, Mark Ojakian, all Connecticut Community Colleges have adopted a new pass/fail (credit/no-credit) procedure for the spring semester.

This means that students will have the option to convert any of their spring 2020 semester grades from a letter grade to a Pass (credit for the course) or Fail (no credit for the course) grade so that the courses do not affect your GPA (grade point average).

For details on how this works, and more information please visit the
Spring 2020 Grade Conversion website.

I hope that the availability of the option gives you some peace of mind as you approach the end of the spring semester.

Be well,

Thomas Coley, Ph.D
Acting President, Housatonic Community College
Regional President, CSCU Shoreline West

Message to HCC Students - Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Message to HCC Students

Dear College Community,

Dear HCC students,

We understand that these are difficult and uncertain times for many of our students, but I want to assure you that Housatonic Community College remains focused on helping you to reach your educational and career goals. There are a number of important steps we have taken to be more accommodating and flexible as you enroll for the summer and fall semesters.

All campuses within the CSCU system are maintaining pay for student workers.

We are offering opportunities to extend and defer existing payment plans.

We are allowing students to enroll for a future semester even with an outstanding balance from the spring semester. For assistance please contact the Bursar's office at

The HCC Foundation has made emergency funds available. For information about this and other assistance options by clicking here.

Housatonic Community College will soon receive an allocation from the federal government under the CARES Act that will be used for emergency financial assistance to students. These funds and every other resource we can find will be used to help you succeed during these challenging times.

If you have questions or concerns about enrolling for the next semester, please reach out to the Registrar's Office at for assistance.

We want you to succeed and complete your course of study at Housatonic Community College. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to make that happen. I will continue to provide you with further updates very soon.

Take care and be well,

Sincerely,

Thomas Coley, Ph.D.
Regional President, CSCU Shoreline-West
Acting President, Housatonic Community College

Update: Pass/Fail option - Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Update: Pass/Fail option

Dear College Community,

I am writing today to inform you that, because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the transition to online education, all Connecticut community college students will have the option to convert any and all of the letter grades earned during the spring 2020 semester to credit/no credit grading - also known as pass/fail.

Students will have until June 1, 2020 to make this decision. Opting for pass/fail will not impact a student's GPA, and credits earned will be eligible for transfer to the state universities through the Transfer and Articulation Policy.

You can find the full procedures the college will use for the pass/fail system , as well as the form students should use to opt-in on our website here. Scroll down to Student Online Services and please take a moment to read it over.

Note that students who choose to pursue the pass/fail option will need to fill out the form, obtain the electronic signature of their course instructor, and submit the form to the registrar's office .More information can be found here.

I know that transition to online-only education presents a number of challenges, and the credit/no credit option is an important step to give our students and employees some peace of mind during these turbulent times.

Sincerely,

Thomas Coley, Ph.D.
Regional President, CSCU Shoreline-West
Acting President, Housatonic Community College

COVID-19 Campus Update - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Campus Update

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for a solid beginning to our new online format. I am grateful to everyone for their hard work and dedication to providing our students with the best possible learning experience under unprecedented circumstances. 

I am writing to inform you that a HCC student has self-reported positive for the COVID-19 virus. The student attended one class on campus and those who were in close proximity to the student have been notified. 

At this time, there are two days left in the original quarantine period for anyone impacted by the first precautionary email sent on March 12.  Since that email, there have been no reports of positive testing from any other students, or HCC faculty or staff.  

Yesterday, we were made aware of one student who self-reported COVID -19 positive. That student was on campus once during the week of March 9. 

Those who were in proximity of that student will receive a second communication informing them to self-quarantine, watch for symptoms and take their temperatures twice a day.

The Department of Health is responsible for notifying anyone that may be at risk for having had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Please continue to follow CDC guidelines for safety.

Be well, 

Thomas Coley, Ph.D.
Acting President, Housatonic Community College

Regional Update from President Coley - Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Regional Update from President Coley

Dear Campus Community:

As we work to become a virtual college for the remainder of the spring semester, I recognize that many of you have questions about what this will look like and how it will work. While teaching and learning online - and teleworking - is a novel concept to many of us, our institutions have been actively preparing for such a move and is in a good position to continue providing quality educational opportunities while allowing our students, faculty, and staff to practice social distancing as recommended by state experts working to "flatten the curve" of the virus.

As President Ojakian mentioned in his note to the community yesterday, I will be providing you with additional details before the end of the week on several important areas, including:

  • Classes that cannot be delivered entirely online.
  • How to receive critical supports such as academic support, advising, and disability services.
  • How to access food pantries with campus closed.
  • How to contact tech support to continue your studies online.
  • Information on free internet offers for those who don't have access during the outbreak.
  • Resources to assist with the transition.

This is an incredibly stressful time for everyone, and I want to remind you to take a deep breath and prioritize the health and safety of yourself and your family. Even while practicing social distancing, a number of free services are available online to help you manage the stress of this pandemic, including exercise, yoga, and meditation classes.

I will provide you with further updates very soon.

Take care and be well,


Campus CEO Updates

A message from CEO, Dwayne Smith, Ph.D. - Thursday, August 20, 2020

A message from CEO, Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Office of the Chief Executive Officer
Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues:

It's a great day to be at Housatonic! As we embark on a new academic year, I want to thank everyone who worked throughout the summer to ensure a safe environment for those who are returning to campus.

As stated in my previous email about the Phase 3 safeguards, our campus has been prepared to support all safety measures according to CDC, State of Connecticut and CSCU guidelines. However, the physical preparation is only a part of what is required to ensure everyone's continued well-being. The rest is up to each and every one of us.

The single most important factor in preventing Covid-19 from spreading is personal responsibility. Therefore, I urge every member of the college community who must be on campus to remain vigilant in taking all of the safety guidelines seriously by getting into the habit of:

  1. Monitoring your own health* for
    1. fevers
    2. chills with or without shaking
    3. muscle pain
    4. headache
    5. sore throat
    6. loss of taste or smell
      *If you have any of the above symptoms, you must refrain from coming to campus.
  2. Wearing a mask:
    1. CSCU policy states that all individuals on campus must wear a mask
    2. cover both your mouth and nose
  3. Maintaining social distancing of at least 6' from others
  4. Washing hands frequently
  5. Sanitizing (wiping down) work stations and surfaces before and after use
  6. Being aware of others with whom you come in contact, and limiting in-person
  7. communications to less than 15 minutes

As per System Office HR, "Employees MAY NOT come to work if they are experiencing these symptoms. All employees should contact the COVID Coordinator immediately to report their conditions and seek medical attention. Employees must also follow their campus policy and practice for reporting their absence from work if they are scheduled to work on campus. Those who intentionally report to work with symptoms or who have been in contact with those who have tested positive will be subject to discipline."

I would also like to clarify that the Phase 3 guidelines are clear about our goal of having only as many people on campus as is absolutely necessary to serve our students. If you are currently teleworking, please do not come to campus unless instructed to do so by your supervisor.

I am confident that, by remaining diligent in following the personal safety practices, we will have done everything in our power to assure the safety of our college community.

I appreciate everyone's efforts in making our campus safe as well as making our campus serve as a model for other campuses.

Please be well. Looking forward to seeing everyone next week.

Cordially,

Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

A message from CEO, Dwayne Smith, Ph.D. - Wednesday, August 5 2020

A message from CEO, Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Office of the Chief Executive Officer
Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues and Partners:

I am writing to inform the Housatonic college community that HCC's Phase 3 re-opening plans were approved and successfully filed with the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

The Phase 3 re-opening plan covers the fall semester and highlights the institutional plans and protocols to:

  • Gradually re-populate the campus
  • Monitor the health of students, faculty and staff
  • Plan for containing cases that may develop; and
  • Shutdown the campus if it becomes necessary

Our Phase 3 plan allows the campus to remain open, with limited staffing, while following strict guidelines from the Department of Public Health, State of Connecticut, and other local health authorities.

As a result, HCC can continue to offer limited on-site appointments for student services, courses with varying delivery methods, and thus allow a very limited number of credit and non-credit students to take classes on campus.

We will work together to minimize the risk posed by COVID-19.

  • The college will remain closed to the general public, and the total number of entrances and exits on campus are limited.
  • All employees, students, and visitors must sign-in and sign out each time they come to campus.
  • Wearing face masks and social distancing are required of all employees and students while they are on campus.
  • Classrooms have been re-organized and offices that serve students have been updated with Plexiglass barriers to support social distancing.
It is important to note that our re-opening plan framework was developed and written in collaboration with public health experts, including the Department of Public Health, as part of the Governor's Re-opening plans for the state of Connecticut.

Additionally, state administrators, CSCU System Office, and the Department of Public Health continue to send regular communications, as needed, on the state's health conditions and they provide updated guidance for re-opening public higher education.

Please be aware that these plans may change as we receive new guidance from the state. HCC will continue to work closely with local public health authorities to maintain a safe and healthy campus.

I encourage you to continue asking questions and sharing concerns so that they can be addressed whenever possible, and I will continue to keep you informed.

Cordially,

Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

A message from CEO, Dwayne Smith, Ph.D. - Monday, July 27, 2020

A message from CEO, Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Office of the Chief Executive Officer
Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues:

It's a great day to be at Housatonic! I am looking forward to welcoming some of our colleagues back as we begin to prepare the campus for Phase 3 of the gradual return to on-site operations. With your commitment, dedication, and hard work, we will get our scholars enrolled.

This is critical since Housatonic is their lifeline to a better future. I am gratified that the HCC community is working as a team to serve these scholars to increase enrollment. I want to express my deepest appreciation to Both Dean McGinnis and Dean Avant and their teams in providing the leadership in this area.

I also want to thank everyone for their patience as we worked through the process of making the campus safe and compliant to CDC and State guidelines. You will notice several enhancements, including:

  • Plexiglas barriers at service desks
  • social distancing
  • safety signage
  • the availability of hand sanitizers
  • the availability of masks -- which must be worn at all times while on campus.

Special thanks to Terry Oravetz and the facilities team for leading the charge to get it all done in time. I appreciate all of the work that went into keeping our campus safe and thank everyone who contributed to the effort.

At this time, I would like to clarify that we are adhering to the System Office guidelines. The campus remains closed to the public, except by appointment.

Employees who are directed to return to campus will be notified of their on-site schedule by their supervisors. Any initial questions on this topic should be directed to your supervisor.

Social distancing must be observed in all offices and no more than 50% of the staff may be present in an office at one time.

To celebrate this return to campus, a variety of snacks will be available of snacks will be available throughout the day in the Atrium of Lafayette Hall. Please stop by to pick up a snack-compliments of the CEO's Office!

Cordially,

Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

A message from CEO, Dwayne Smith, Ph.D. - Thursday, July 16, 2020

A message from CEO, Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Office of the Chief Executive Officer
Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni:

Greetings! I am humbled to have been appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Housatonic Community College by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. It is a privilege to serve the HCC community, and I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who participated in the search process.

I am deeply honored to lead this fine institution during an unprecedented time in history. My vision for higher education is focused on access and opportunity, and I believe that HCC is the ideal institution to realize this vision.

I have already come to appreciate my wonderful interactions with members of the HCC community and I look forward to becoming better acquainted with my new HCC family.

During my 35 years in higher education leadership and teaching I served in a variety of institutions where I was consistently focused on providing access and opportunity for students to realize their greatest ambitions. Having started my journey from humble beginnings, and working my way through college, I came to appreciate the value and importance of higher education as a life-changing benefit that enhances one's employability, income and standard of living.

It is my own personal and professional experience that informs my mission and impassions me to work hard and advocate on behalf of others who look to education for a brighter future. Simply, I am unapologetic in my belief that all deserve, and can achieve, a post-secondary credential with the right support systems in place.

It is clear that HCC is already at the forefront of this important mission-driven work, and I am greatly impressed with the many accomplishments achieved by HCC faculty and staff.

Housatonic Community College is an institution of firsts; the state's first Achieving the Dream Leader institution, the first Jed Campus partner, and the first Carnegie STEM Excellence Training site, and the only college to house a fully curated art museum, to name a few.

Add to that the distinction of being a twice-named Aspen Top 150 community college, a Bellwether program finalist in multiple years, and a Family Economic Security Program host, and it becomes clear why I am excited to be a part of this dedicated and vibrant community.

Indeed, we have much of which to be proud!

There is no doubt that we will be facing some significant challenges ahead, in the face of an ongoing pandemic and a national refocus on the demand for social justice and equity. We are also in the midst of a redesign of our higher education system, which requires us to focus on the fundamental reason why we do this critical work in higher education--to transform lives and to serve as partners in advancing the trajectory of our scholars.

I am optimistic and encouraged that we will navigate our challenges together as we continue to remain at the forefront of higher education as a mission-driven institution of firsts in our state.

I look forward to learning more about each of you and the rich history, culture, programs and initiatives that make up our illustrious Housatonic Community College.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to serve.

Cordially,

Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

HCC Updates

March 23, 2020

Important Health and Safety Update

Message from the BOR president Mark E. Ojakian

Dear CSCU Community,

This morning, I received a briefing from our academic team, and I am happy to report that, thanks to the incredible work of our faculty at the colleges and universities, the transition to online-only learning has been going smoothly overall. It took a herculean effort to upend our educational delivery system in just a few days, but our dedicated faculty have stepped up to the challenge. Though our students are resilient, they will need a great deal of support, both personally and academically, during this time and I want to thank the staff who are working hard to get their advising, counseling, library and other resources available remotely for students. I'd like to thank our union leaders who have met with us daily to identify both challenges and solutions as we've moved to telework and the system office staff for continuing to provide – through telework – many of the essential services that keep our colleges and universities running. And lastly, I greatly appreciate the college and university leaders and administrators who have been working around the clock to make this crisis as manageable as possible for all.

Over the past week, we at CSCU have taken several important steps to keep our students, faculty, and staff as safe and healthy as possible while playing a central role in the state’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities.

  • Paying employees. We have made the determination that while the campuses and system office remain shuttered, employees are directed to telework and will receive their pay as normal. Student workers will also continue to be paid through the end of the semester.
  • University housing. We have been working closely with the state’s emergency response team and have received specific requests to use residence halls at Southern and Western. The institutions are currently in the process of clearing those spaces and expect them to be available by the end of the week. Central and Eastern are also preparing for similar requests in coming days and will make residence halls available to meet the state’s emergency needs.
  • Moving to pass/fail. This morning, we made the decision to allow all community college students the option to convert any or all of the letter grades they earn during the spring 2020 semester to credit/no credit grading. This change will potentially ease anxiety about the quick move to online learning while not impacting the student’s GPA. The state universities are working individually to ensure similar options are offered to students.
  • Donating personal protective equipment and ventilators. Governor Lamont and state officials have requested donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and gowns to meet the needs of frontline health care workers combatting the virus. Our colleges and universities have stepped up in a big way. As just one example, Central donated 6,000 nitrile gloves, 250 procedure masks, 180 N95 masks, and other equipment to the Hospital of Central Connecticut. Across the system, we have also donated several ventilators to local hospitals and health care facilities as well as PPE from our allied health programs.
  • Donating unused food. Our campus food pantries and dining services have donated hundreds of pounds of perishable food to local foodbanks to help fight food insecurity during this difficult economic time.
  • Implementing technology solutions. Thanks to the hard work of IT staff at the CSCU system office and the IT staff on our campuses, both hardware and software is being prepped for faculty, staff and students so they can work and learn remotely. Thanks to the campus foundations who have helped to get more equipment into the hands of students as well! We still need more equipment to meet the needs and ongoing software training and support but these IT staff have worked tirelessly to help us all do our work in new ways.

This will continue to be a challenging time, and I ask you to follow the advice of state and local public health professionals. In order to stop the spread to the best of our ability, we must stay home as much as possible, and stay safe. There are great, free opportunities online to practice self-care through exercise, meditation and yoga classes, museum exhibits, and much more. Please take care of yourself and be in touch if I can be of assistance.

Thanks again for all of your work on behalf of our students.

Mark E. Okakian

March 17, 2020

Important Health and Safety Update

CSCU
Region Three, Shoreline-West

Dear CSCU Community,

Over the past several days, my team and I have been in constant discussion with college and university leaders, and the Board of Regents. In consultation with them, I have made the difficult but necessary decision to continue our move to all-online education for the remainder of the semester at all 17 CSCU institutions. I understand that this is a new direction for faculty and students alike, but it has become clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect our state well beyond April 5. We must do everything in our power not just to keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe, but also to slow the spread of the virus.

To that end, all physical campuses will be closed to the public through at least the remainder of the semester. All faculty and staff except those designated by their individual institution as Level 1 – and that number will be extremely limited – will continue to work from home.

Unfortunately, this also means that all in-person spring commencement activities will be canceled. I know how hard students and faculty have worked to get to this point, and we are looking at all options to ensure they receive the recognition they deserve in addition to the diploma they have earned.

By the end of the week, the president or CEO of your institution will reach out with information and details on the move to distance learning and which courses can be moved fully online, the logistics of the transition to telework, and the orderly coordination of safely helping students collect their belongings from residence halls. We recognize that a number of our university students may not have a place to go if forced to vacate their lodging, and our university leaders will of course ensure they have necessary accommodations. Finally, our university leaders will communicate with resident students to outline a process and timeline for issuing refunds for room and board payments.

I understand this is a stressful time for all of us, and as I indicated yesterday, self-care remains essential. Social distancing is critically important to the state’s public health efforts to slow the spread of the virus, but it does not mean shutting our lives down – so remember to check in (virtually) on your friends and family, look for online yoga or exercise classes, and take a minute to relax and breathe deeply.

Sincerely,

Mark E. Ojakian

March 11, 2020

Important Health and Safety Update

CSCU
Region Three, Shoreline-West


Dear Colleagues:

As you have no doubt heard, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is spreading globally and has now been designated as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. I want to emphasize that there are no known cases associated with [campus] faculty, staff, or students. We are working closely with the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities President Mark Ojakian to keep our University community as safe and healthy as possible and continue to take every precaution to mitigate potential impact on campus. Today, we are announcing the following new precautionary measures:

  • Following Spring Break, all classes will be moved to an online-only format until at least Sunday, April 5.
  • The campuses will remain open for day-to-day functions, and all non-teaching faculty and staff are expected to continue to report to work as scheduled.
  • For students who don’t have access to the internet, we will designate a space to remain open for use. Additional cleaning protocols are being implemented for your safety.
  • Students who engage in off-campus clinics, internships, and similar experiential activities, may continue to attend them if their respective facility remains open. Please check with your supervisor, if necessary. All faculty, please take every opportunity this week and next to learn WebEx, MS Teams, Blackboard, and other tools to assist your online teaching, scheduling and hosting of online meetings.
  • All campus events scheduled between March 14 and April 5 are canceled (no matter the size), including those sponsored by external clients.

As one might expect, the situation and conditions are changing by the day—sometimes by the hour. Be assured that we continue to work closely with President Ojakian, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and the Governor’s Office to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for all members of our campus community.

I thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding as we work through all necessary adjustments. I urge you to continue to follow CDC guidelines for staying healthy.

You should expect to see more campus specific details as they develop.

Sincerely,

Thomas G. Coley, Ph.D.
Acting President, Gateway Community College & CSCU Regional President, Shoreline West Region

March 10 Update

Important Health and Safety Update

CSCU
Region Three, Shoreline-West


Dear Student,
As of today, there are two confirmed cases of corona-virus in Connecticut.
We are committed to your safety. Campus administrators are carefully monitoring developments and will send out updates as needed. 

At this time all college-sponsored travel and events that involve 100 people or more are postponed until further notice.  Anyone planning travel out of state during spring break, or the rest of the semester, should report their travel plans at the following link.

To minimize the spread and impact of all flu viruses, we are taking every precaution to keep the campus clean by adding extra measures including sanitizing door handles, computer keyboards and other surfaces around campus. 

We rely on you to do your part by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Thoroughly and frequently wash your hands
  • Refrain from touching your face
  • If you cough or sneeze do so into a tissue or into your elbow
  • Stay at home if you have flu symptoms
  • Seek medical attention if you develop a fever

Please refrain from shaming or ostracizing others if they should cough or sneeze. This is also allergy season and minor colds are also frequent this time of year.

Should you become ill and develop a fever, please contact your professors immediately and refrain from attending classes on campus until you are recovered.  Your professors will work with you to manage any coursework you might miss due to illness. Thank you.


A message from CSCU President, Mark Ojakian


March 10, 2020

Dear CSCU Community,
Over the weekend we saw the first diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Connecticut.  As the disease spreads around the world and in the United States, we have long expected it to land in Connecticut and have taken all necessary steps to mitigate the effects of the disease on our campuses.

Previously, we issued guidance that included a suspension of institutionally-sponsored travel to any Level 2 or 3 country (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan), and a requirement that those who have traveled to those countries not return to campus and self-quarantine for 14 days.

Today, in coordination with Governor Lamont's office, we are taking the following additional steps to keep our colleges and universities as safe and healthy as possible.

  • An immediate freeze on all institutionally-sponsored travel outside of Connecticut until further notice.  Any requested exceptions must be approved by the chief executive of your institution in consultation with CSCU Chief of Staff.

 

  • All students, faculty, and staff are strongly discouraged from personal travel outside of the state of Connecticut, particularly during spring break. If you do decide to travel, you may be required to not return to campus and directed to self-quarantine for 14 days. Your institution has provided, or will soon provide, communications that include a process to self-report your planned travel before spring break starts. For the safety of all on your campus, please follow that process. This does not apply to faculty, staff and students who commute to campus for work or classes.

 

  • Any employees planning in-person meetings with out-of-state individuals should evaluate whether these activities can proceed remotely though teleconference or online collaboration for the time being and, if possible, should take that approach.

 

  • Students, faculty, and staff are directed to postpone, cancel, or adjust all campus events and meetings, other than classes, that are expected to have 100 or more participants through at least April 30. This could include using technology to allow remote participation. Any requested exceptions must be approved by the chief executive of your institution in consultation with CSCU Chief of Staff.
  • For events or meetings with people within arm's length of each other, encourage those who are higher risk due to age (70 or older), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems not to attend or dial in.
  • For employees who have CSCU or institutionally-issued laptops, get in the habit of bringing your device home each night to ensure maximum flexibility.
  • Property management firms and cleaning contractors have been directed to utilize disinfectants to clean state buildings and to increase the frequency of disinfectant cleaning including common touch points.

We will remain in close contact with state and local officials, and will work with your campus leaders to clarify questions and address requests for exceptions to these procedures as they arise.  Working together, the CSCU system office and your campus leader will continue to keep you updated as this situation unfolds.

As a reminder, everyone should continue to follow basic steps to keep themselves and others healthy:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoid shaking hands as a greeting.
  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • 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.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the health and safety of our campuses, our employees, and our students.

Stay healthy,
Mark E. Ojakian

March 10, 2020

Dear Colleagues:
In his recent update on how we are managing the outbreak of the coronavirus in Connecticut,  President Ojakian stated that "all students, faculty, and staff are strongly discouraged from personal travel outside of the state of Connecticut", particularly during spring break, adding that "If you do decide to travel, you may be required to not return to campus and directed to self-quarantine for 14 days."

In  the interest of campus safety, everyone is urged to self-report any planned travel before spring break begins.  To that end, we have set up a simple online travel reporting form at
www.housatonic.edu/traveling

Please note that there is an immediate freeze on all institutionally-sponsored travel outside of Connecticut until further notice, and all events, conferences and other activity with an anticipated attendance of 100 or more should be canceled or postponed until further notice.

Any requested exceptions must be approved by President Coley in consultation with CSCU Chief of Staff.

Thank you for your cooperation in this important matter.
Be well.

Evie

Evelyn Gard, MA, Ed.
Associate Dean, Communications & Marketing
Gateway Community College, New Haven
Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport

March 9, 2020

A message from BOR President Mark E. Ojakian:

Dear CSCU Community,

Over the weekend we saw the first diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Connecticut.  As the disease spreads around the world and in the United States, we have long expected it to land in Connecticut and have taken all necessary steps to mitigate the effects of the disease on our campuses.

Previously, we issued guidance that included a suspension of institutionally-sponsored travel to any Level 2 or 3 country (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan), and a requirement that those who have traveled to those countries not return to campus and self-quarantine for 14 days.

Today, in coordination with Governor Lamont's office, we are taking the following additional steps to keep our colleges and universities as safe and healthy as possible.

An immediate freeze on all institutionally-sponsored travel outside of Connecticut until further notice.  Any requested exceptions must be approved by the chief executive of your institution in consultation with CSCU Chief of Staff.

All students, faculty, and staff are strongly discouraged from personal travel outside of the state of Connecticut, particularly during spring break. If you do decide to travel, you may be required to not return to campus and directed to self-quarantine for 14 days. Your institution has provided, or will soon provide, communications that include a process to self-report your planned travel before spring break starts. For the safety of all on your campus, please follow that process. This does not apply to faculty, staff and students who commute to campus for work or classes.

Any employees planning in-person meetings with out-of-state individuals should evaluate whether these activities can proceed remotely though teleconference or online collaboration for the time being and, if possible, should take that approach.

Students, faculty, and staff are directed to postpone, cancel, or adjust all campus events and meetings, other than classes, that are expected to have 100 or more participants through at least April 30. This could include using technology to allow remote participation. Any requested exceptions must be approved by the chief executive of your institution in consultation with CSCU Chief of Staff.

For events or meetings with people within arm’s length of each other, encourage those who are higher risk due to age (70 or older), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems not to attend or dial in.

For employees who have CSCU or institutionally-issued laptops, get in the habit of bringing your device home each night to ensure maximum flexibility.

Property management firms and cleaning contractors have been directed to utilize disinfectants to clean state buildings and to increase the frequency of disinfectant cleaning including common touch points.

We will remain in close contact with state and local officials, and will work with your campus leaders to clarify questions and address requests for exceptions to these procedures as they arise.  Working together, the CSCU system office and your campus leader will continue to keep you updated as this situation unfolds.

As a reminder, everyone should continue to follow basic steps to keep themselves and others healthy:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer.

  • Avoid shaking hands as a greeting.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • 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.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the health and safety of our campuses, our employees, and our students.

Stay healthy,
Mark E. Ojakian

March 3, 2020

Message from Thomas G. Coley, Ph.D.

Regional President, CSCU Shoreline-West


Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to intensify, we are taking every precaution to mitigate any potential impact on campus.

Last week, we suspended institutionally sponsored travel to countries designated Level 2 or Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That list of countries now includes China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and Japan, but that list is likely to grow in coming days and weeks. Regardless of whether they are showing symptoms, students, faculty, and staff returning from Level 2 or 3 nations will be required not to return to campus for a period of 14 days from when they arrive in the United States.

During those 14 days, we are asking those returning to self-quarantine and seek medical attention if symptoms develop.

All students, faculty, and staff can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases by regularly washing hands for at least 20 seconds. To learn more about proper handwashing, visit the CDC's website.

Finally, anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms is required to remain at home, and those who become sick during the day must go home. Students are encouraged to email their professors and make them aware of the situation.


Sincerely,
Thomas G. Coley, Ph.D.
CSCU Regional President of Shoreline-West
 

February 27, 2020

Dear CSCU Community,

As fear over the global COVID-19 outbreak continue to grow, we must do everything in our power to keep our students, faculty, staff, and administrators as safe as possible. In January, CSCU updated our Influenza Pandemic Continuity of Operations Plan to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, President Ojakian issued guidance to all colleges and universities in the following areas as Connecticut works to prepare for potential impacts.

 

Institutional Travel

Out of an abundance of caution, all colleges and universities must immediately suspend or cancel institutionally-sponsored travel to countries designated Level 3 (warning) and Level 2 (watch) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Any students currently traveling in the those countries should return as soon as possible. The listed countries currently include China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Japan, but that list is likely to grow in coming weeks and months. Institutions should continue to monitor the CDC website and cancel all planned travel when countries are designated Level 2 and above.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel (CDC)

Remote Learning/Telecommuting

While Connecticut does not yet have a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, the CDC warns that we should prepare for “community spread” of the disease. College and university leaders are working with CSCU staff to develop individualized plans to prepare for the possible necessity of canceling all in-person classes on our campuses. In the interim, schools will need to determine what courses would be good candidates for rapid conversion to a fully online format; faculty, classes, and students who would easily transition to this delivery mode; how to train non-LMS faculty; how to manage access to the online learning environment for those that are not currently signed up; how to handle rapid scheduling of new online courses and how to handle the additional volume; and as a whole, if rapid deployment of e-learning courses is a viable option. That planning process will also involve ensuring we are prepared for employees to telecommute in the event of campus closures.

On-Campus Housing

Institutions that offer on-campus housing must be prepared take additional precautions to keep students and staff safe. At the moment, we must continue to practice commonsense measures, such as staying away from other people when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands often. Our planning process will also include preparations to take systemic preventive measures to deter the spread of illness. As a precaution, President Ojakian has asked the leaders at the four CSUs to work together with the central office team to come up with a plan in the event that dormitories must be temporarily shuttered.

CSCU is working closely with the Lamont administration on coordinating the statewide response to the coronavirus outbreak, and we will continue to share updates when they become available.

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