Reopening guidance from President Cheng (August 19, 2021)
Dear ACC 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 institution has 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. Take a walk, listen to music, and journal your thoughts. All these activities will aid in relieving stress, which will help you stay healthy.
I will provide you with further updates very soon. Please continue to check your ACC email, ACC social media, and the ACC website for updates.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
- On ground: These courses will be delivered on campus at a specific time, place, and location. The use of Blackboard will occur from the start of the course in case a campus shutdown has to occur.
- Online: Instruction and assessment are delivered asynchronously through Blackboard—often in conjunction with publisher-based content. These courses include discussion boards, assignments, projects, assessments, etc. However, courses designated as “Online with Classroom Component” (OLCR) may require an on-ground orientation and/or proctored assessments, although all instruction must be online/asynchronous.
- LRON (Live/Remote Online Courses): Live sessions are held (synchronous) at specified times using Teams/ Webex and involve the use of Blackboard. Additional work will be completed in Blackboard.
- Hybrid: This type of course delivery includes onsite and online instruction (combination of 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 above) with a focus on scheduling a limited number of class sessions on campus. This course method would occur for courses that have required hands-on components that cannot be accomplished online (i.e., manufacturing and health career programs, and workforce non-credit training where possible.). For example, hybrid scheduling might involve splitting a course into 8-week lecture online / 8-week lab on-ground for programs or courses that require Lab, Practicum, Studio, or Clinical experience.
- Hyflex: This course delivery method would allow students to take a course partially onsite and partially online according to a set rotating schedule to ensure social distancing. For example, 1/2 of the students are synchronous online on Tuesdays while 1/2 are on ground in the classroom. It is then flipped for Thursdays. The other opportunity with this format is to hold the course as LRON and then move it to campus, on ground, when the pandemic conditions allow.
If a currently listed Fall course is changing, we will reach out to the students that are registered within that course section. We will ask the students whether they would like to continue with their registered course in the new delivery method. Our goal is to have all course decisions made and reflected within the mycommnet course search by July 1. Please note, we have everyone’s safety first and foremost in our minds. As this pandemic subsides, we will begin to have more individuals and activities on our campus. All of our campus departments are accessible by email and phone, and students can schedule meetings with our offices through Teams and Webex. We look forward to the time when we see students within the halls of our ACC campus again.
Dear CSCU Community:
Like all other institutions of higher education across the country, we are navigating uncertain times and preparing for an upcoming academic year like no other. Over the past several weeks, campus teams and CSCU steering committees have done great work together to identify opportunities and challenges, and provide recommendations for academic affairs, enrollment management, student life, student support services, logistics, technology, operations, and facilities. We still have a lot of planning to do and more questions need to be addressed in the coming weeks and months.
That said, I am excited to announce that we are planning to return to our campuses in fall 2020 with significant measures in place to make our institutions as safe as possible.
Based on significant guidance from public health experts and in accordance with Governor Lamont’s ReOpen CT Advisory Committee plan, we have determined that the CSCU colleges and universities will reopen their physical campuses to residential and commuter students for fall 2020 with the following protocols in place:
- The four universities can start bringing residential and commuter students to their campuses on Monday, August 24. Classes will follow the common calendar through Thanksgiving, with the balance of the semester and exams online. Arrangements for residential students to move in are still to be determined.
- The 12 community colleges are permitted to offer on ground courses beginning June 1 for those spring semester students who need to complete programs and for new students to enroll in workforce development programs. This summer reopening is allowed under phase 1b of ReOpen CT for Higher Education. Like the universities, community colleges may bring students back for the fall semester on August 24 and courses will follow the common calendar.
- Charter Oak State College will continue to offer its catalog of online classes through summer and fall.
- Plans for the reopening of the campuses for faculty and staff will be developed this summer. Plans for reopening the CSCU system office and Charter Oak State College are being established as well.
- Classes at the colleges and universities will be delivered in a variety of on ground, online, remote, hybrid and flexible course design models.
- The community colleges and universities will be prepared to pivot to offer fully remote courses and services if public health conditions warrant.
Before our physical campuses are opened for the next academic year, each campus must write a plan that meets all standards outlined in the ReOpen CT Higher Education phase three framework as well as incorporating recommendations from the CSCU Steering Committees. The ReOpen framework provides guidance on the planning of repopulating campuses with the re-entry of students; monitoring the health of students, faculty and staff; containment of the virus should an outbreak occur; and preparing to shut down physical campuses and transition as seamlessly as possible back to a remote-only model if it becomes necessary.
As I said at the outset, we have many questions to answer and arrangements to make before we reopen. We will share additional details in the coming weeks as we prepare for the fall. These plans will be communicated to the campus communities and I encourage you to monitor your email over the summer. Updates will also be posted soon on the www.ct.edu website along with other ReOpen CT and CSCU planning documents for your information.
Our priority has been and will continue to be the safety of our students, faculty and staff. That will not change as we move forward in our thoughtful and deliberative planning process to welcome students back to our campuses in August.
Mark E. Ojakian
Dear ACC Students,
We are writing to inform you of our plans to distribute the CARES Act emergency grants. The U.S. Department of Education recently issued guidance about the distribution of these emergency grants to students, which requires 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 (not student workers) and students on dependent waivers
- 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 these funds at https://my.commnet.edu.
I write today in frustration.
You may have heard that Congress recently passed the CARES Act, which includes money intended to help colleges and universities navigate these difficult times. A significant portion of that money – at least half – is supposed to be awarded as emergency grants to students. After the legislation was passed Secretary Betsy DeVos of the US Department of Education, stated unequivocally that colleges and universities would have the flexibility to distribute the funding to students as they saw fit. In keeping with the secretary’s statements, and the flexibility in the CARES Act itself, our colleges and universities had planned to distribute funding widely, sending checks to all eligible students.
However, without warning, and in apparent contradiction with the secretary’s promises, the Department of Education released guidance last week severely restricting which students are eligible to receive CARES Act payments. Specifically, the guidance has the effect of limiting assistance to those who have filed a FAFSA. As you know, there are myriad reasons an eligible student and their family would choose not to complete a FAFSA. The complexity of the process prevents many students from completing the form. Likewise, a large number middle class families – many of whom have experienced the loss of one or more incomes – did not file a FAFSA and will now miss out on these payments. In addition, undocumented students, international students, and many noncredit students, are ineligible under the department’s guidance.
In total, it could disqualify up to 30,000 students across our institutions.
This is unconscionable to me, and I have already reached out to Secretary DeVos to encourage her to reverse this decision. We all hope that she will agree to allow payments to more of our students, and I will keep you updated on any response we receive.
In the meantime, our team is going forward with processing payments for students who remain eligible, so if you haven’t already done so, please sign up for direct deposit in MyCommnet.
We understand the urgency of the situation, so we are working on processing payments as quickly as possible.
Mark E. Ojakian
President, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
P.S. If anyone is interested in sharing their thoughts or concerns about this sudden decision to make up to 30,000 students at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities ineligible for much-needed emergency funding with Secretary DeVos, she can be reached at email@example.com.
Dear ACC Students,
Happy Friday! As you may have seen, the recently enacted federal CARES Act includes a distribution of funds to institutions of higher education, including Asnuntuck Community College. A significant portion of this funding will be reserved to provide students with grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to Covid-19.
***To avoid delays in receiving the grant, please consider immediately enrolling in direct deposit by following the link below or clicking on the “Direct Deposit” box directly on the homepage of MyCommnet. Please also review for the accuracy of your address, phone number, and any direct deposit information already on file.
Please note the following important terms of the grant:
- This grant is to be used as direct assistance for expenses related to the disruption of your studies during the spring 2020 semester, such as: food, housing, materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.
- Even if you have an outstanding balance on your account, your grant will not be reduced
- This funding does not impact your financial aid award.
Eligibility: The U.S. Department of Education has put in place a number of eligibility requirements in order to receive the funding. We are in the process of reviewing the federal requirements and will provide further communication in coming days.
For questions on direct deposit enrollment, please contact the Bursar’s office at AS-Business-Office@acc.commnet.edu.
We are working as quickly as possible to process the funding, and we currently estimate the money will be disbursed in May, but the timing is subject to change. Students on direct deposit can expect the grant to be deposited sooner than those receiving checks – so enroll today.
I will continue to provide you with information as it becomes available. Please check your ACC email, ACC website, and ACC social media for all updates. You may find important ACC email within your junk folder that was sent using our Mail Chimp service.
We miss you at ACC, and we are wishing you the best. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Best wishes and stay safe,
Dear ACC students,
We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented you with a new set of challenges as you pursue your education. Asnuntuck Community College is committed to doing everything in our power to help you succeed. That’s why I am happy to report that, at Connecticut State Colleges and University President Mark Ojakian’s direction we, along with all other Connecticut community colleges, have adopted a pass/fail (credit/no credit) procedure for the spring semester. We sent an initial draft of this policy to you on 3/25/2020, and today’s email is providing you with further information.
That means you now have the option to convert grades that you earn in your spring 2020-semester courses to Pass (Credit) / Fail (No Credit) grading so that the courses do not affect your GPA.
Please go to the Spring 2020 Grade Conversion website for more information and instructions about how to apply for the option. I also encourage you to have discussions with your professors and advisors about your decisions on grades before actions are taken.
I hope this option gives you some peace of mind as you approach the end of the spring term.
At this time, summer classes will be offered online-only until at least August 1 with exceptions for programs that have students almost ready to enter the workforce. Our current summer schedule reflects this, and we will make necessary changes and alterations as we learn more about the state’s plan. As more information comes our way, we will share it with you by email and on the college’s website.
I hope you are all staying safe and well. Please continue to social distance because it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. I am thinking of you all.
Wishing you the best,
Dear ACC students,
We understand that these are difficult and uncertain times for many of our students, but I want to assure you that ACC remains focused on helping you achieve your educational and career goals. There are a number of important steps that 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 continuing to pay student workers.
- If you have issues with existing payment plans, please reach out to the Business office: AS-BusinessOffice@asnuntuck.edu.
- Students with an outstanding balance on their account and who wish to register for Summer or Fall courses should contact: AS-BusinessOffice@asnuntuck.edu. Our staff will work with you on creative repayment and/or financial aid solutions in an effort to resolve your current balance.
- If you need emergency assistance, please reach out to Dean St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACC will soon receive an allocation from the federal government under the CARES act. We will use this money and every other resource we can find to help you succeed in these challenging times. If you or a family member is experiencing COVID-19, please reach out to Dean St. James at email@example.com. Your success is our priority, and we want to aid you through this difficult time.
Continuing students who have questions or concerns with enrolling for next semester should connect with their assigned faculty advisors to ensure they are selecting courses appropriate for their educational goals. Instructions on how you can find your assigned faculty advisor can be found here. Our advising staff in the Center for Advising and Student Achievement (C.A.S.A.) are available to help you, so please visit their website for more information by clicking here.
Dear ACC students,
This message is a follow-up from the several message that you received earlier this week. I would like to provide you with additional details on our transition to becoming a fully online institution for the remainder of the semester. Such a rapid move presents a number of challenges, but after continuous discussions with our faculty, staff, and students, I am confident that we are in a great position to deliver the high quality education you deserve. Our employees have been working diligently on all aspects of your experience as a student. Please carefully read the below information, as it is important for the next phase of our educational conversion.
Regional presidents continue to work with campus leaders, academic deans, and faculty to determine whether courses can continue in an online format. The good news is that the vast majority of classes – a higher number than initially expected – will be able to continue remotely.
Classes that cannot be delivered entirely online.
In the event that one or more of your classes cannot be completed online, we will reach out to you directly.
ACC will not refund tuition and fees because we are converting to an online instruction model for the remainder of the term in order to complete the coursework that our students have begun this semester. In the unlikely event that a class is cancelled by the college, we will provide further information about refunds to impacted students.
Please see the below list of resources that may assist you as we all adjust to the restrictions that COVID-19 presents:
ACC Office and Contact Information:
Student Activities: firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for Students:
Remote Tutoring Services: Students can get information about remote tutoring or request a tutoring session with ACC tutors by emailing us at ASemail@example.com. We continue to offer tutoring in Math, Science, Writing, and Accounting/CSA. Tutoring will be offered via Microsoft Teams, where students can have a live video, chat, or phone session with a tutor. Additionally, Asnuntuck students can also access online tutoring in writing, math, accounting, biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology by going to www.etutoringonline.org and following instructions on the homepage.
Disability Services: Students with documented disabilities should connect with ACC’s Associate of Accessibility/Disability Services, Deborah Kosior, at AS-DisabilityServices@asnuntuck.edu if you have any questions or concerns related to your academic adjustments.
Distance Learning (online class resources): Students can access resources including Blackboard tutorial videos from ACC’s online class information page by clicking on the following link: https://asnuntuck.edu/current-students/distance-learning/
Food Insecurity: While the ACC Pantry is temporarily unavailable, we want to make sure you are aware of other resources to address food insecurity within the community. If you have a child in the Enfield Public School System, you may be eligible to participate in Enfield’s Grab and Go student meal distribution program. Additionally, you can find food bank information at either www.211ct.org or www.foodshare.org
ACC Foundation Scholarship Information: The Asnuntuck Community College Foundation is currently accepting applications for their scholarships for college, high school and continuing educations students. Application information can be found at the following link: https://asnuntuck.edu/about/alumni/scholarships/. The deadline for scholarship applications has been extended to Monday, April 13th.
Internet Services: In light of the current COVID-19 concerns which has required many to work and study remotely, many cable and internet providers are offering free internet and Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Charter to Offer Free Access to Spectrum Broadband and Wi-Fi For 60 Days For New K-12 and College Student Households and More (Charter Communications)
- Internet Essentials (Comcast)
- Cox Coronavirus (COVID-19) response (Cox)
Access Health: Access Health announced a special enrollment period from March 19th-April 2nd for qualified uninsured CT residents. For more information, please click on the following link:
Community Mental Health Resources: Please click on the following link to access a list of community-based agencies that can assist with concerns related to behavioral and mental health: https://asnuntuck.edu/resourcereferrallist/. Additionally, there are a number of online resources available to you as well. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) produced a guide specific to COVID-19, and you can access it by clicking here. Also, the Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential text message service for people in crisis by texting 741741. As always, if you are experiencing an emergency, please contact 9-1-1.
Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence Resources: Please click on the following link to access ACC’s Title IX resource page. Click on the “who to Contact” tab for a list of campus and community resources: https://asnuntuck.edu/student-resources/title-ix-at-acc/
Thank you for reading this and investing in your future. Thinking of you, your family, and your friends. Please stay safe and healthy. Social distancing is so important right now. We are in unpredictable times, and your ACC family can help you continue to succeed in your studies. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.
State of Connecticut Department of Education
UPDATED: 1:00 p.m., MARCH 18, 2020
COVID-19 Community-wide Emergency Meal Program for Children
Any child age 18 years or younger can receive meal(s) at any meal service and distribution sites in these towns/cities. They do not have to be a resident or attend school in these towns. Families should visit websites and social media pages of the school districts and municipalities below on a daily basis for the most current information, as locations and times for meal service and distribution vary with each location and are subject to change.
|East Hartford||New London||Vernon|
|East Windsor||Norwich||West Haven|
3/16/2020 Campus Message:
Dear Campus Community,
Thank you all for your patience and flexibility this week. As you might expect, administration on many campuses are trying to answer questions and figure out appropriate next steps on keeping institutions safe, maintaining critical functions, and supporting student services.
In consultation with Governor Lamont’s office, CSCU President Mark Ojakian has directed campuses to temporarily implement our telework plans. That means, at this time, the campus is closed to the public until further notice. Supervisors will connect with their employees as soon as possible to determine telework plans, critical functions that may require working on campus, and remaining productivity over these next weeks. Discussions are occurring to determine the need for essential personnel in order to meet the needs of our students and our campus following spring break when classes resume in the online format. You should be available during you normal working hours and checking you emails and voice mail regularly regarding telework assignments or a need to return to campus if deemed essential. Continue to perform any work you can remotely in coordination with your supervisor.
Please continue to check your college email as more information will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, please continue to practice vigilance and stay healthy.
As a follow-up to Wednesday’s message, we recognize that a number of faculty and staff members will still need access to campus in order to retrieve necessary items for continuing their courses online or completing their daily functions. These visits must be approved and scheduled in advance. Please reach out to your dean if you need to set up a time to retrieve materials or if you have any campus or equipment access requests related to fulfilling your core functions. We must inform security if you are coming to campus, and security will only allow approved individuals in the building. We apologize if someone is not allowed in the building because they lack prior approval, but we have everyone’s health and safety in mind.
If you come to the campus, you must enter by the door closest to the faculty/staff parking lot. As soon as you enter, you must sign in on the clipboard immediately past the doors and disinfect your hands. At that point, check in with security so you can proceed to your approved location. Almost every area on our campus has had a deep cleaning occur already, so security will have you sign the log sheet on the location’s door (when you enter and leave). We need to know where all individuals are going and for how long. If someone becomes ill, we will be able to disinfect accordingly. We care about all of you, and we want to provide safe conditions.
As a reminder, our default mode will continue to be telework, and any dispensations, which will be rare, must be approved by your dean or me. Please note, discussions are occurring about who is a Level 1 employee. When you communicate with your dean about accessing the campus, they will discuss with you the reasons for your request because we require valid reasons for anyone’s presence on campus. These discussions will help us determine who is a Level 1 employee.
This afternoon, I will forward you the email that is being sent to students, which contains a list of resources. If you have a student that needs assistance, you can provide them with this information and reach out to Tim St. James, Dean of Students as needed. Also, you will receive an update for your out of office message today.
Thank you for all that you are doing. We know there have been challenges, and you have faced them head on. As I said in my email below, please establish a schedule and ensure you have time for your health and wellness. I am wishing you all the best. Stay safe and healthy.
As you are all now aware we have shifted most if not all but Level 1 (formerly known as ‘essential’) employees to temporary telework. We wanted to share some additional administrative guidance as telework is new to most of us. We also wanted to cover some issues regarding sick time and any diagnosis or self-quarantine involving COVID-19.
- All employees now teleworking:
- are expected to be performing their roles to the best for their ability from home.
- are expected to be available online via email or phone during their normally scheduled hours.
- are expected to be actively monitoring email and voicemails sent to email.
- are expected to be available to return to their work site during normal working hours when requested by their manager.
- can direct any questions on work assignments and requirements to their manager.
- Sick or self-quarantined employees:
- Any employee that becomes ill while teleworking and cannot perform their duties must report their illness to their manager and code their time sheet accordingly
- Any employee that is diagnosed with COVID – 19, we ask that you notify the HR department on campus (Cheryl Cyr, firstname.lastname@example.org/ 1-860-253-3045)
- Any employee that is directed to self-quarantine we ask that you notify your HR department on campus (Cheryl Cyr, email@example.com/ 1-860-253-3045)
- What if I think I have COVID-19?
- Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
- Stay home except to get medical care.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Clean your hands often.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
- Monitor your symptoms
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, notify the HR department on campus (Cheryl Cyr, firstname.lastname@example.org/ 1-860-253-3045)
- Full guidance: What To Do If You Are Sick (CDC)
Please watch for a standard, approved out of office message for all email accounts. We appreciate your help with keeping a consistent message to our students and the public. We are in this together.
We will continue to keep you informed as we all work together through these challenging times.
Stay calm, wash your hands, and share a positive word with others,
If you are traveling over the next weeks, please disclose this travel with these travel forms:
Here are some additional helpful links with information about the Coronavirus:
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.