By Adam Gentile
Editor in Chief
Last March students left the CCM campus for spring break and haven’t been back since, due to the statewide shutdown orders that came in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Months later, as the Fall 2020 semester was approaching, CCM released its Return to Campus Plan (RCP) which outlines and details the CCM’s plan for the upcoming semester from Course format to student events to providing students with the resources they need to in order to succeed at school during this pandemic.
Dr. Bette Simmon, vice president of student enrolment and management, said that the RCP has been in development since April and has been a collective effort between the college council, the Student Government Association, and the five labor unions at CCM.
“Because we wanted to do our best to ensure that the plan was comprehensive and addressed a multitude of areas of consideration, we did not want to rush through it,” Simmons said. “Rather, we wanted it to be thoughtfully and carefully developed which caused continual discussions and drafts of the plan before we had a final document.”
Dr. James Capozzi, president of the Faculty Association of the County College of Morris (FACCM) and Assistant Professor in the English and Philosophy department, said that there has been a strong collective effort by faculty to help one another and ease the transition process for the upcoming semester.
“A lot about this upcoming semester remains to be known,” Capozzi said.”But what we do know is that there has been a huge collective effort on behalf of faculty. This has been seen when we had to transition instantly last semester, and seen in the preparation for this upcoming semester.
Capozzi mentions that faculty understand that students like faculty are being asked to deal with this situation in ways that may not be preferable to them.
“We [Faculty] have been encouraging each other to be as forthcoming as possible with students,” Capozzi said. “ I think everyone realizes that this is a difficult situation and that students and faculty have been compelled into a difficult scenario. This is not ideal for students at all and I think that faculty understand that we are going to have to struggle through it together to some extent.”
Dee McAree, Secretary of FACCM as well as an Assistant Professor in the English and Philosophy department, mentioned that faculty were working with the college over the course of the summer to help with the reopening plan.
“We had a team to come together to work with the college on the reopening plan, McAree said. “So I would say that we had a lot of input on it and professors were able to choose their own modality [Course format].”
McAree mentioned that the college has been receptive to the needs of the faculty and has provided them with the appropriate training that they have requested.
According to the RCP, “there is an increased number of available laptops, webcams, and microphones available to loan to students and employees if needed.” Any student requiring technology assistance should contact TASC Plus (email@example.com).
The library and on-campus computer labs will be open, but only to members of the CCM community. These areas have been modified in order to follow proper social distancing protocol and health guidelines. These changes resulted in the removal of seating in order to reduce capacity to about 50% and adding silicon coverings on keyboards to allow for easier cleaning.
CCM will be offering classes in three different formats: online, remote, and hybrid learning. In order to learn which format a class is in, a student can check their schedule on Titan’s Direct and select the course and view the meeting information.
An Online format has no strict meeting requirements for students. However, professors may have optional lectures for their students. As with online courses in the past, the student’s main responsibility will be to complete assignments by a specific date as set by the professor. If a class is an online class then it won’t appear in your schedule on Titan’s direct
Remote courses, like online courses will, be exclusively online. However, unlike online courses, there will be a required lecture time for the class
Hybrid courses will have students arriving on campus at pre-scheduled times. Courses that are eligible for hybrid learning use the guidelines provided by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 155. The guidelines outlined in Order 155 are as follows, “may resume in-person instruction of students for curricula that require labs, technical, clinical, or hands-on instruction and therefore cannot be readily taught other than through in-person instruction.”
According to CCM’s RCP, any hybrid format class may be subject to reverting to a remote or online format dependent on directions from the Governor’s office or public health officials. Students will be notified by CCM of any possible format changes to their course. Simmons said that the speed of notification to the students will be dependent on the nature of the State’s mandate.
“This depends upon the mandate from the State of New Jersey and the timeline associated with that mandate,” Simmons said. “ We would hope that we would have some time to adequately inform students and faculty about any adjustments to be made. However, as we have learned since March 13, mandates from the State could cause us to take immediate action with limited notification.”
Student services such as campus life activities, orientations, fairs, workshops, etc. will be done virtually for the Fall 2020 semester. Academic advisement for students will be available on Titan’s Direct.
In-person counseling, advising, and transaction services will remain available for:
- Accessibility Services
- Bursar, Campus Life
- Career Services
- Counseling Services
- Financial Aid
- Records and Registration
- The Testing Center
- Transfer Services
The number of staff working in the offices, along with the number of students in waiting areas and hours of operation for in-person appointments, will all be reduced. The college plans to reduce the amount of in-person appointments by “encouraging the use of online services.” Students that decide to have in-person appointments must make the appointment in advance in order to meet with the staff. According to the RCP, “ Should someone arrive on campus without an appointment, the department will need to document that visit for retroactive contact tracing should that become necessary.”
The Office of Health Services will continue to provide medical care, health and wellness services, and resources in-person, with limited hours. Individuals will be screened carefully upon accessing this department and every effort will be made to distinguish between typical medical care needs and potential COVID-19 cases.
College sports will resume in January 2021 following guidelines set up by the state as well as other sporting institutions such as the National Junior College Association and The Garden State Athletic Conference.
Student-Athletes will be subjected to a four-question screening process every day prior to a workout, practice, or event. The questions that the athletes must answer are as follows:
- In the past 14 days, have you been in close contact (within 6 feet for > 10 minutes) with an individual that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or a person who had COVID-19 symptoms but was not tested?
- Do you currently have and/or have you had within the past 24 hours- fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, or night sweats?
- Do you currently have and/or have you had within the past 24 hours- cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhea, headache, muscle pains, or new loss of taste or smell?
- Within the past 24 hours, have you experienced increased anxiety, inconsistent mood swings, or changes in sleeping or eating habits?
For more information on CCM’s COVID-19 policies please go to https://www.ccm.edu/covid-19-information-center/.