Regional Updates

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 (

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.


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: .  
If you have any questions or concerns about this request,  please contact: William Gammell, Director of CSCU Research, 860-723-0054 or,  .
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.  ( )

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

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,


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.


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,

Achieving the Dream
Aspen Award
JED Campus