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June 2020


Clash of the clichés: Trying to plan during a pandemic
Kevin McCoy


  The pandemic has led to a rise in overused words and phrases like "fluid" and "unprecedented."

We are living in unprecedented times. The situation is fluid. We will monitor conditions on the ground.

We are all tired of hearing these clichés, but the clichés highlight how difficult it is to plan during a pandemic.

We know that faculty and students are also tired of spending hours in front of their computer monitors and attending endless Zoom sessions. However, epidemiologists have found that Covid-19 is spread when people spend significant time indoors and in close contact with other people, and many faculty are concerned that they will risk their health if they come back on campus.

As the college tries to navigate through these tough decisions, it is critical that faculty voices are heard. To that end, during our April meeting, the Executive Council unanimously voted to reestablish the FA’s health and safety committee. This committee has recommended that the college should be closed to students and that faculty should continue to teach and provide services remotely at least until September 1. The full text of our resolution is below. Our committee’s resolution was passed by the FA Executive Council on May 14 and fortunately—despite initially moving in the opposite direction—the college concurred with our decision.

Faculty voices are also being represented on the college administration’s safe start task force as we work to develop a plan to reopen our campuses. I am the FA representative on the safe start task force, and each of the three governance chairs serve on the task force as well.

The SCCC safe start task force met several times the past month to develop SCCC’s draft reopen plan to send to SUNY. Here are some of the highlights:

  • There will be no students on campus during the summer, and counselors, librarians and PAs will continue to provide services to students remotely.

  • When campuses reopen to faculty and staff, no more than 50% of employees will be allowed in a work area. 

  • Under the current plan, the college will be offering classes in the following formats this fall:
    • Traditional online sections: Content is delivered fully online with no scheduled (same time or same place) meetings.

    • Remote learning sections: Classes will be conducted remotely, i.e., online, and can include a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities.

    • Hybrid/blended classes: These will be primarily lab or performance classes. Much of the content will be online, but students will come on campus for some for specific labs or activities. Classroom occupancy will be limited to 50%.

    • Face-to-face classes: Small, in-person classes for courses that require hands-on experiences or have accreditation requirements (e.g. culinary, baking, HVAC, manufacturing, automotive tech, nursing, veterinary tech) will be scheduled in appropriate rooms and spaces that will meet social distancing requirements.

Since we are living in unprecedented times and the situation is fluid, we must monitor the conditions on the ground. In other words, the task force’s plans are subject to change depending on what happens over the next couple of months.

Both the FA health & safety committee and the college’s safe start task force will continue meeting via MS Teams throughout the summer. The health & safety committee will provide valuable input and make recommendations to college administration.

The FA would like to get your input to help guide our decisions too. We will be sending a survey out to membership for your input. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Please monitor your email for the survey link and other important FA information and—most importantly—stay safe out there!

FA Health and Safety Committee
Resolution for Keeping Suffolk County Community College Campuses

Closed to Students and the Public until September 1, 2020

Approved by the FA Executive Council
May 14, 2020

WHEREAS on May 1, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced all K-12 schools and college facilities statewide will remain closed for the rest of the academic year; and

WHEREAS the Long Island region has only met 5 of the 7 metrics to begin Phase I of the New York State reopening plan; and

WHEREAS communities in Suffolk County have some of the highest COVID-19 rates in the country; and

WHEREAS COVID-19 tests are not readily available and there are no FDA-approved treatments for COVID-19; and

WHEREAS recent research has demonstrated that the highest incidence of COVID-19 transmission is through extended contact with an infected individual in a confined space; and

WHEREAS epidemiologists have strong scientific evidence that supports transmissibility of COVID-19 through heating, ventilation, and cooling systems; and

WHEREAS opening Suffolk County Community College campuses to students and the public would endanger the lives of students, faculty, and staff; and

WHEREAS Suffolk County Community College administration has made the decision to only offer online classes during the summer; and

WHEREAS Suffolk County Community College academic and student support faculty have been providing excellent services to students remotely for the last two months; 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Association of Suffolk Community College’s Executive Council urges Suffolk County Community College administration to prohibit students and the public from entering the campuses until September 1, 2020, and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that any plans to reopen campuses to students and to offer on-campus classes will be done in consultation with the Faculty Association and the three campus governance bodies.