We hope you are well, and that you and your family are staying safe and healthy in these trying times.
As you most likely know by now, the College has determined that the campus will be closed as of March 17 to all except “essential” personnel. This is the most recent development in the College’s continuity plan to address the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, which also includes the week-long extension of Spring Break and the migration to distance learning for most classes in the week following.
In case you are wondering, here is the definition of “Essential Personnel”–
Individual employees assigned duties or tasks related to securing and maintaining the campus and facilities, ensuring the well-being of individuals unable to be vacated from campus, and/or other services deemed critical to campus operations by the President or their designee. These individuals will be duly approved by the President or their designee.
The Provost has indicated that this definition does not apply to anyone in Academic Affairs, and that employees in Academic Affairs are approved to work remotely.
The WCCFT supports the College’s continuity plan as it demonstrates an abundance of caution in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. We have been communicating with the administration on a regular basis over the past week, with the following results:
- In accordance with advised best practices of social distancing, we have agreed temporarily (and without setting any precedent) to suspend contractual limitations on requiring faculty to teach online;
- We are pleased to see that after our meeting with the Provost and VP Tweedy to express concerns about the health and safety of non-teaching faculty who were still coming to the College last week, the administration has determined that they are no longer required to be on campus;
- We have confirmed that all faculty (both full-time and adjuncts) who are teaching courses WILL continue to be paid as usual;
- We have received assurance that full-time non-teaching faculty (librarians, counselors, and ASC coordinators) are working remotely and being paid as usual, and we await the same assurance for adjunct librarians, adjunct counselors, and adjunct ASC coordinators. We expect to receive such confirmation in the immediate future and will announce when it is forthcoming;
- There has been no indication that the Spring semester calendar will be extended to make up for the extra Spring Break week. Faculty will be expected to make up the missed contact hours in their curriculum, just as they would for a cancellation due to snow or some other emergency;
- We have been making formal requests for structures and protocols to safeguard the health of our membership and the College community as a whole, as well as suggestions on how the conversion to online learning might be best accomplished, and what concerns and issues might need to be addressed.
This is a public health situation that continues to evolve on a daily basis. As we receive information and updates from the administration, we will continue to keep you apprised, and to represent the interests of our membership as the plan for continuity develops.
Meanwhile, WCCFT VP Deidre Verne and I are available to answer any contract-related questions you may have during this transitional period. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Deirdre at email@example.com.
(Course-specific and pedagogical questions should be directed to your Department Chair and/or Dean; technological questions about moving to Blackboard should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Thank you as always for your outstanding service on behalf of our students, especially during this difficult time.
Jim Werner, President
Deirdre Verne, Vice President
Attachment: Forwarded Message from FacultyHelp with helpful information and support for converting classes to online.
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2020 12:53 PM
Subject: Instructional Continuity With Blackboard – Virtual Training/Support
This week’s workshops for learning about Blackboard and on-line learning are as follows. They can be accessed from your home via a personal computer. Register HERE
Register Here To Sign Up for the Sessions
Blackboard Basics 1
Creating Announcements, Uploading Files, Discussion Boards
– Wednesday, March 18: 12:00 to 1:00 pm
– Friday, March 20: 11:00 to 12:00 pm
Blackboard Basics 2
Create, Collect and Grade Assignments
– Wednesday, March 18: 2:30 to 3:30 pm
– Thursday, March 19: 12:00 to 1:00 pm
Web Conferencing and Record Lectures Online <https://www.sunywcc.edu/cms/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Setting-Up-a-Blackboard-Collaborate-Session-Westchester-Community-College.pdf>
– Wednesday, March 18: 4:30 to 5:30 pm
– Thursday, March 19: 4:30 to 5:30 pm
Register Here To Sign Up for the Sessions
To support faculty transitioning to Remote Instruction with Blackboard, we have created an instructional continuity webpage that you may access via this link: <https://www.sunywcc.edu/instructional-continuity>
Also, as an attachment, you will find SUNY support for on-line learning