Statements from Dr. Conston
JUNE 17, 2020
Dear TCC student:
I hope you are safe and well during this difficult time. Special thanks go to students who are on the front lines, providing health care, delivering packages, preparing meals, restocking store shelves and more. We cannot repay your kindness and courage.
TCC will resume a full schedule of classes this fall, with some face-to-face instruction in compliance with state and federal health guidelines. Here are the most important things you should know:
- The Fall 2020 Semester will begin on Aug. 24 and follow the established academic calendar.
- The revised Fall 2020 class schedule offering online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes will be published by July 13. If you have already registered and there are changes to your class schedule, you will receive official communication informing you of the change from the Pathway Dean.
- Priority for face-to-face instruction will be given to performance-based classes and labs that cannot be delivered online.
- All face-to-face instruction will comply with CDC guidelines for physical distancing, hygiene and safety. Face coverings will be strongly recommended.
- All courses will be active in CANVAS, and instruction and support for successful online learning will be provided.
- Virtual student services will continue to be available.
- Libraries and selected computer labs will be available for the fall semester.
- Wi-Fi for students will continue to be available in designated parking spaces on all campuses.
The experts do not know what path this virus will take moving forward. Therefore, the college will remain ready to modify its plan as needed. While no one can guarantee safety, our priority remains your health and safety, and that of our faculty and staff. We are taking all of the precautions we can to make TCC as safe as possible
Between now and July 13, I encourage you to
- File your FAFSA for financial aid for the 2020-21 academic year;
- Speak with an advisor;
- Make sure your financial aid is in place; and
- Finalize your plan for paying tuition.
Help is available through our virtual services. By completing these steps, you will be ready for a successful fall semester.
Stay safe and well.
Dr. Marcia Conston
June 10, 2020
Hello TCC Community –
As promised, this communication follows today’s virtual Town Hall meeting regarding the reopening of our campuses and offices on Thursday, June 11. As mentioned, the President’s Cabinet addressed concerns and questions raised by members of the Classified Staff Association, as well as provided additional information relative to COVID 19.
TCC is transitioning back to opening as safely and effectively as possible under guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While telework will remain in place for most, we have a plan for the first wave of employees to return on June 11. Those employees, approximately 180 across all of our campuses and locations, have been identified and have communicated with their respective supervisors. Their workspaces have been cleaned and sanitized.
If necessary, their work schedules will be staggered to ensure that appropriate social distancing measures are maintained. If you need to report to your workstation and you are not among the first wave of employees returning, please talk with your supervisor for direction.
No plans are underway to require that employees be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus. However, if you do not feel well or are exhibiting symptoms similar to COVID-19, please stay home. We also ask any employee known to have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 to remain home and report that information to their supervisor.
TCC will not be taking temperature checks on campus, we encourage you to take your own temperature at home. Do not report to work if you have a temperature of 100.4 or higher.
As a courtesy to one another, we strongly encourage employees to wear face coverings inside building common areas. We want to protect you and your colleagues. We recognize some employees might take exception to this, and we will consider special accommodations moving forward.
In the event of employee exposure to COVID-19, TCC follows the guidelines of every state agency. Proper precautions will be followed to keep everyone as safe as possible.
All buildings will remain locked with only one available entrance, typically the main door. Use your access card to gain entry. As you enter each building, you will be greeted by a sanitizing station. Stop there, sanitize your hands and proceed to your workspace wearing your face mask.
You will notice floor placards, which are reminders of the 6-foot CDC social distancing guidelines. We have posted signage as a reminder to practice social distancing at all times.
If you require entrance to a building that does not have card access, please call security at 757-822-7777.
Our buildings are as clean as they have ever been thanks to the outstanding efforts of our housekeeping and facilities staffs. For those employees who work in more open settings, we have installed plexiglass sneeze shields.
Our housekeeping staff will remain vigilant about cleaning throughout the workday. In addition to offices, all touchpoints, bathrooms and break rooms will be consistently wiped down. Please leave the entrance to your suite open whenever possible to reduce touchpoints.
TCC has created a personal protective equipment (PPE) task force that will distribute PPE kits to the campuses weekly. Inside each kit, you will find two washable cotton cloth masks, 10 sanitizing wipes and a 2-ounce bottle of sanitizer. These kits are expected to become available on July 15. In the meantime, we will provide masks and sanitizing wipes but ask that you bring your own if possible.
IT Help Desk support is available. You may either call 2-2457 or email email@example.com.
In your return to campus, you will see spaces in our parking lots designated for student access to wi-fi. The digital divide is very real for many of our students who do not benefit from access to wi-fi inside their homes. Please leave the designated spots available for our students to use.
We expect to have expanded VPN access points very soon for employees who are continuing to telework. Longer term, we plan to start replacing desktops in offices where appropriate with laptop computers and docking stations. This will ensure better mobile flexibility moving forward.
TCC continues to aggressively make plans that will impact our fall schedule. We have established a workgroup consisting of Kerry Ragno, Jenefer Snyder, Peter Agbakpe, and Joe Fairchild, Pathway Deans; Curt Aasen, Vice President for Information Systems and Institutional Effectiveness; Bert Thompson, Director of Facilities; and Sarah DiCalogero, Chair of the Faculty Senate. All Faculty Senators will also be engaged in this process. Mike Summers, Provost of the Virginia Beach Campus; and Kellie Sorey, AVP for Academic Affairs, will be liaisons to the group that will focus on logistics and strategies to launch a successful fall schedule.
Fall classes will begin August 24, and all courses will include an active Canvas online presence. Our workgroup will focus on implementing hands-on instructions for our specialty programs — health care, trucking, automotive, welding, and others — that require faculty and staff to be on campus. The workgroup will follow a robust timeline. Stay tuned for future updates.
Our libraries remain closed at this time. When the libraries reopen, they will be sanitized daily and only be open to students and staff. They will not open to the general public until the public libraries resume regular hours.
We have established a collegewide team that will monitor activities, identify additional issues and concerns related to COVID-19, and report them to President’s Cabinet. We will continue to address your issues and respond with a solution.
My sincere thanks to the members of the President’s Cabinet; Nancy Jones, co-chair of the Classified Association; and our housekeeping and facilities staffs for their dedication and continued efforts. Thank you for what you are doing to make the college safe. While no one’s safety can be guaranteed, we are doing all we can to keep our TCC community safe and well so that we can continue to serve our students and the community.
APRIL 1, 2020
To Our TCC Family,
First, I want you to know that your health and safety, and the health and well-being of our students, remain paramount. Also, thank you for your hard work and dedication during this difficult time in our history. This is truly unprecedented.
I could not be more proud to work with a faculty who responded to remote teaching, quickly reconfiguring courses while mastering innovation and new instructional technology.
Staff are working remotely to support students efficiently to ensure that registration and other services remain operational and accessible.
As I have shared previously, remote learning will continue through the end of the Spring Semester; we are discussing and will continue to assess summer course offerings.
Per the Governor’s executive order on Monday, telework will continue until June 10, unless we are otherwise notified. You are encouraged to follow important updates on the TCC website.
While the physical campuses are closed to students and the general public, the College remains open. However, the number of people attempting to visit the campuses must be reduced. We are maintaining a stringent on-campus presence, which consists of essential personnel only.
The scope and scale of this pandemic are almost inconceivable. I am confident that we will meet this challenge together as a family.
To each of you, thanks for your good work, caring, innovation, understanding, and patience.
Please stay home; stay safe; and stay encouraged.
Dr. Marcia Conston
MARCH 23, 2020
As we continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19, I assure you that your health and safety remain a top priority. This public health emergency is growing rapidly in scope and impact, with hundreds of new cases being diagnosed daily. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution and concern, the President’s Cabinet this morning made the following decisions:
Remote learning will continue through the end of the semester. Our faculty members, with the support of Distance Learning and OIS staff, have worked tirelessly to prepare their courses for remote delivery, which started this morning. We are committed to helping our students successfully complete their programs and courses. Some of our students have expressed trepidation about remote learning. I know all of our faculty members are interested first and foremost in their students’ success and will help them get through this.
The College remains open. However, we will implement telework for all staff as of close of business today through April 4. No students or members of the public will be permitted in our buildings. I have directed each member of the President’s Cabinet to evaluate their operations and determine how essential functions, including, but not limited to, recruitment, admissions, advising, financial aid, tutoring, technical support, and web operations, will be carried out via telework. You should hear from your immediate supervisor regarding your work schedule and services to our students. Our goal is to maintain productivity.
As required by the Virginia Department of Human Resources Management (DHRM), any staff member designated for telework, including wage employees, must have a signed telework agreement on file in Human Resources. The agreement is found on the Human Resources page of Inside TCC. Supervisors should send signed agreements to Clayton Ives. Questions about telework should be directed to Beth or Jill Adams.
Some essential functions
, such as housekeeping, facilities management and network operations ,cannot be performed remotely. These employees will be required to follow the CDC guidelines for hygiene and social distancing. Supervisors will be in communication with them.
All staff will be expected to report to work as usual on Monday, April 6, unless notified otherwise. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we ask you to frequently check your college email and the coronavirus web page for updated FAQs and instructions.
I have every confidence in you and in this institution that we will continue to meet new challenges as they arise. Please stay safe.
March 20, 2020
Dear TCC Faculty and Staff,
I write today to thank you. Your diligence and hard work are inspiring, and, though we are in difficult times now, I anticipate a bright and promising future for TCC.
Because of your efforts, we have kept TCC open and operating. While everyone deserves recognition for their hard work during the past two weeks, I offer particular thanks to a few of our colleagues.
Faculty have worked tirelessly and collaboratively to prepare their courses for remote delivery starting Monday. Please accept my sincere thanks for all you are doing to support our students. A special recognition is extended to John Morea, associate vice president for Distance Learning, and his staff, who are helping faculty and students prepare and adapt to remote instruction.
Information Technology Professor Gary Noah and the Computers for Student Success program are bridging the digital divide by ensuring more students have computers. Gary and his team of students and staff are making computers available during this critical time, which will be delivered to each campus for distribution.
The Student Services staffs continue to be phenomenal. A few current and prospective students still are visiting our campuses for personal assistance, and I anticipate an increase in online requests for help. Your patience and dedication are appreciated as we continue through this uncharted territory.
I have heard from many of you about teleworking. The updated policy and procedures are posted on the HR Inside TCC site. Please review and speak with your supervisor regarding telework eligibility, and feel free to consult Beth Lunde for additional guidance on individual situations.
Finally, I acknowledge the housekeeping staff, which is working extra hard to keep our buildings clean, paying particular attention to touchpoints and public spaces. The staff worked tirelessly throughout last weekend. Be sure to thank them.
All VCCS spring commencements have been canceled. Our Commencement Committee will present recommendations for an alternative celebration, which we will communicate to you promptly.
As issues surrounding COVID-19 continue to change, we will keep you informed. Have a safe weekend.
March 17, 2020
Dear TCC Faculty, Staff and Students,
I write to share the news that Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, has decided that all 23 schools will cancel their May 2020 commencements because of the pandemic.
The CDC is now recommending that gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled for the next 8 weeks. His decision is in line with that guidance, as well as that of Governor Ralph Northam.
TCC’s Commencement Committee will be working to provide alternate opportunities for us to honor our graduates and celebrate their achievements.
March 16, 2020
Dear TCC Faculty and Staff:
I write to provide you the latest updates on TCC operations as they are impacted by COVID-19.
I have decided to extend the class cancellation through this week. This will provide additional time for faculty to continue preparing their courses for remote delivery. Classes will resume Monday, March 23, using a variety of remote delivery methods. Thanks to everyone for your diligence during this critical time, and my sincere thanks to all in the Academics division who are implementing creative remote learning approaches to make classes available to our students.
As a result of this change, remote instruction will now continue through Saturday, April 4. A decision will be made by Wednesday, April 1, whether to switch back to face-to-face or continue with remote instruction.
With this schedule, the start of second 8-week classes will be delayed one week. Any changes in the academic calendar to accommodate this delay will be promptly communicated.
All TCC campuses and locations remain open. Faculty and staff are expected to report for work. Until we are directed otherwise, we are here to serve our students.
We will continue to adapt to this fluid situation as conditions change. President’s Cabinet will examine their divisions and determine how to maintain college operations in the event we are ordered to close.
Many questions are being raised about teleworking in order to promote social distancing. This morning, PC approved an updated telework and alternate schedule policy. You will hear more about telework procedures in the coming days.
Please continue to use the dedicated COVID-19 page on TCC.edu, which has been expanded to include employee-specific information and FAQs. It will be updated daily. There is also a form for submitting questions.
This situation continues to evolve moment by moment. As I receive additional information or guidance from VCCS, it will be promptly communicated college-wide.
As I mentioned earlier, I assure you that I am taking your comments and concerns seriously and I will continue to keep you informed.
March 13, 2020
Dear TCC Faculty and Staff:
As concerns regarding COVID-19 continue to unfold and activities in our community are changing, I want to inform you of TCC’s current status regarding class cancellations. Governor Ralph Northam on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Virginia and today announced the closure of K-12 schools for two weeks. Because the situation is so fluid, decisions we make today may need to be revisited tomorrow.
This is a stressful time for everyone. Our faculty and staff are our strength. I appreciate the resilience you have demonstrated during this critical time.
Below is a reiteration of the message I sent to you on Wednesday, March 11, as well as the latest updates from the President’s Cabinet. You can expect to see additional communications from the provosts about campus operations and the Office of Academic Affairs regarding classes.
- All TCC campuses and locations are open. Faculty and staff are expected to report for work, unless otherwise notified. Until we are directed otherwise, we are here to serve our students.
- In the interest of promoting social distancing, students are asked to not return to campus after Spring Break. They are encouraged to use online and virtual resources so that we may limit the number of people on our campuses. However, if students come on campus seeking assistance, they should be served.
- TCC classes are still canceled Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, including online classes. We will monitor the progress of our remote delivery and adjust as needed while ensuring compliance with any federal, state and accreditation regulations.
- March 16 and 17 will be used to provide opportunities for academic leadership and faculty to prepare TCC classes for remote delivery. Our faculty and deans are making great progress in preparing as many classes as possible for remote delivery.
- Beginning Wednesday, March 18, TCC classes will resume using remote instructional methods. Remote delivery will continue at least through Wednesday, April 1.
- I have assurances from the Facilities staff that offices and common areas will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected over the weekend. If you see something that needs attention, email Matt Baumgarten and Tim Fobbs.
We must all continue to follow good health practices, such as washing our hands. Social distancing has emerged as a recommended strategy for slowing the spread of COVID-19. I urge you to do your best to avoid large groups and stay at least six feet away from others.
Continue to send me your questions and concerns. I assure you that I take them into consideration as we travel through this uncharted territory.
March 11, 2020
Dear TCC Faculty and Staff:
I promised on Tuesday that I would keep you informed regarding TCC’s response to COVID-19. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been consistent in recommending “social distancing” as a strategy to help stem the spread of coronavirus. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for our TCC family, we are taking the following steps:
- Students are asked not to return to campus following Spring Break.
- Classes are canceled on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17.
- TCC, its campuses, and all locations will remain open on both days. Faculty and staff are expected to report to work as scheduled unless otherwise instructed.
- March 16 and 17 will be used to provide opportunities for academic leadership and faculty to prepare TCC classes for remote delivery.
- Beginning Wednesday, March 18, TCC classes will resume using remote delivery. They will remain in remote delivery at least through Wednesday, April 1.
- Students will be advised by their faculty about the specific remote delivery method for their courses. This information will be sent to students via their TCC email. Students are expected to check their college email accounts regularly, and the College will communicate with students using multiple channels, including the website and social media.
- Students seeking services (such as advising or library) should use online options or call 757-822-1122 for assistance through April 1.
- If there is a decision to continue with remote learning beyond April 1, TCC will advise faculty, staff and students by March 27.
- Campus gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people. Our community partners will be notified that their events will be suspended.
The College’s goal is to maintain continuity in instruction for students while doing our best to limit the spread of COVID-19. By limiting the number of people on our campuses, we provide an opportunity for students and employees to practice social distancing, ideally staying 6 feet away from others, according to experts.
Our dedicated webpage will be updated with new FAQs as information becomes available. We also continue to focus on enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of our facilities.
The extent of this outbreak is unprecedented in our time. As conditions change, decisions often have to change as well. We will continue to take actions in accordance with federal and state health guidelines and VCCS and TCC policies.
This is a stressful time for all of us. We are suddenly aware of how close we are standing to colleagues and how many times a day we touch our faces. CDC is advising, “Stay calm, be careful and wash your hands!” Thank you for your comments and notes of advice, and please know that we share your concerns. I assure you that I am taking your comments and concerns seriously, and I will continue to keep you informed.
March 10, 2020
Dear TCC Family –
I write to assure you that the President’s Cabinet (PC) continues to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19. We are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) to ensure that we take expedient and appropriate actions as necessary.
In preparation for any potential interruptions in College operations, PC reviewed policies and procedures relative to academic and employee responses, along with our communication plan. Additionally, the College’s Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan is being updated. At this time, there has been no change in any TCC operational, academic or extracurricular schedules.
The College’s academic and student services leadership is meeting to develop a contingency plan in compliance with appropriate policies, and to address any issues not covered by current policies. The U.S. Department of Education and SACSCOC have provided colleges with additional latitude in moving classes online. We recognize that there are instances in which online learning is not appropriate, i.e. clinicals and hands-on class activities. The College’s academic leadership will work to identify alternate processes to teach outside a face-to-face environment. Please note that any changes to our academic processes will be communicated promptly through appropriate channels.
As the coronavirus landscape evolves, our dedicated webpage will be continuously updated. If our operating schedule is disrupted, emergency communication protocols will be activated, including TCC Alerts, Informacast, TCC.edu, and social media.
As you are aware, international, national, and local decisions regarding the virus are constantly changing. I assure you that we will continue to keep you informed as we learn more. In the meanwhile, follow these best practices to help keep virus from spreading.
The health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is our topmost priority. In preparation for students returning from Spring Break, I will send a correspondence toward the end of the week reminding them to maintain healthy practices, along with any additional information they may need.
March 3, 2020
Dear TCC Family —
I write to assure you that the President’s Cabinet and the Office of Safety and Security are monitoring the coronavirus situation closely and following guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health.
As of now, there have been no confirmed cases in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health. There are no restrictions on academic, operational or extracurricular activities at TCC at this time. You are encouraged to continue safety practices as recommended by public health professionals:
- Stay home if you are sick
- Cover your cough/sneeze with your elbow or a tissue
- Wash hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth
- Avoid close contact (touching or shaking hands) with people who are sick
TCC has established a webpage to provide current COVID-19 information as it affects our community. Extra steps will be taken to increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high traffic areas at all campuses.
For more CDC information about the coronavirus, click here. The Virginia Department of Health also has a dedicated coronavirus webpage. Furthermore, if you have questions, you can find contact information for your local Health Department here.
The College stands ready to respond to any changes regarding the coronavirus, and we will communicate accordingly. Please take care of yourselves and help protect the health of our TCC Community.