Fall Planning Update

COVID Planning Update

Dear Colleagues,

Last Friday, August 7, we submitted our Fall 2020 ‘re-opening’ plan to the University (‘re-opening plan’ represents the title of the document and is not intended to suggest that there will be a significant presence on campus this fall). As has been communicated previously, the majority of instruction, student support and administrative services will continue to operate from a distance this fall. Our plan must now be approved by CUNY and by New York State. Since this is an entirely new process, we do not know what revisions may be required before we are able to broadly circulate and implement our plan. In the meantime, we want to provide the following information from our plan.

As previously communicated by Interim President Lynch, Queensborough formally established a reopening committee and held the first meeting of the Committee on July 14, 2020. (The Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening were released by the University on July 16, 2020.) The reopening committee was established by augmenting Queensborough’s standing Emergency Management Team with an Emergency Management Advisory Group (EMAG)—a representative body that has been activated at different times in the past to address emergency management issues. The full EMAG includes the directors/heads of Environmental Health and Safety, Health Services, Public Safety, Buildings, Grounds and Facilities, Information Technology, Human Resources; the elected PSC and DC37 representatives, the designated head of the academic Department Chairs, the Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, the Chair of the Academic Senate and the President of the Student Government Association. The President, Chief Operating Officer, Provost, Vice President for Finance and Administration/Coronavirus Campus Coordinator, Vice President for Student Affairs and the Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communication Officer/Coronavirus Campus Liaisons also serve on the EMAG/reopening committee. Thus far the EMAG has held six meetings and weekly meetings are planned for the foreseeable future.

The EMAG began its work by endorsing an approach whereby Queensborough would provide on-campus, in-person instruction and services for Fall 2020 on an exception basis only. With this approach, all classes would be fully online and all non-essential services and work would be conducted via telecommuting, unless a plan for a class, instructional activity or a support/administrative service was advanced for review to the EMAG. Each Vice President was responsible for soliciting proposals, and each proposal identified to receive full consideration was vetted, reviewed and revised as needed to address the requirements mandated by the CUNY Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening.

Vice President for Finance & Administration, William Faulkner, has been designated as the Coronavirus Coordinator and will be responsible for fulfilling the requirements of that role as set forth in the CUNY Guidelines.

Once Queensborough’s ‘reopening’ plan is approved, the EMAG will monitor the status of reopening activities in relation to the reopening plan, continuously monitor local health conditions and modify the reopening plan, in consultation with the Chancellery, as needed, including overseeing the shutdown of in-person campus operations, should that become necessary.

Instruction

Queensborough faculty have understandably expressed concerns regarding online instruction, but have generally agreed that most classes can be presented adequately online as an emergency measure. Among the proposals considered, pursuant to the exception-based process described above, by the EMAG for in-person instruction, two were considered by the President to sufficiently mitigate the risk associated with offering a portion of the course to students on campus during the Fall semester. A revision is being prepared to a third proposal. We await the official approval of these plans before announcing the outcomes and related details. The faculty and staff needed on campus to support these in-person courses were consulted in the development of the proposals. Due consideration and study was given to the plans developed, all of which addressed the myriad of requirements set forth in the Guidelines, including space requirements, PPE and the ability to social distance.

There are no plans to return to in-person instruction for the Fall 2020 semester. Even if conditions improve dramatically, students who are taking a course online should not reasonably be expected to alter their personal and work plans to suddenly be advised that instruction will change to in-person mid-semester. However, our plan would permit the flexibility to operate at 25% of normal capacity, so there is considerable flexibility to consider further access requests in support of the instructional program as the semester transpires.

Support Services and Administrative Operations

Pursuant to the definitions and guidance set forth by the University, Queensborough determined that most support and administrative services can be delivered remotely throughout the Fall 20 semester, and that such operations would not exceed 25% of normal operating capacity in the fall semester. What this means is that support and administrative services will have limited staff on campus, and, for other than essential employees, staff presence will only be on an as needed basis; and no students will be serviced on campus, with the exception of the QCC Food Pantry. (The provision of support services to students on campus could change, but would not exceed the 25% operating level in the Fall and would be strictly subject to all applicable safety requirements.) Where an employee or employees of a particular department must come on campus to perform the limited work that cannot be accomplished remotely, or to facilitate the remote operations of the department, access to the campus will be on a pre-approved, appointment only basis.

Requesting Campus Access

A campus access request electronic form has been developed. Employees will log in using their Queensborough single sign on to complete the request. Only employees who have completed the required COVID19 training on Blackboard will be permitted to access the form to make an appointment. All requests must be approved by the applicable Vice President and the Coronavirus Coordinator. The Coronavirus Coordinator will evaluate the visit and determine any conditions attached to the visit. PPE, social distancing and any safety plan necessary will be determined and communicated to the employee(s) and the applicable Vice President/Department Chair/Supervisor. Areas for such visits have been designated for each building and floor, delineating ingress and egress routes, including elevator/stairs to the space and the designated restroom facilities for the area. Each approved employee must complete electronic Health Screening not earlier than 12 hours prior to their presence on campus. Employees will present to Public Safety for their appointment, and must show their ID. Public Safety will verify that they have an approved appointment and have passed screening requirements. Public safety will be provided any applicable safety plan in advance of the visit.

Faculty have (and are expected to continue to) requested access to the campus to prepare for Fall instruction. Every effort will be made to accommodate these requests, which must abide by the protocol described above for campus access. Requests have also been received from faculty to access campus classrooms and facilities synchronous to the days and times their online classes will meet. Because of the risk of safely facilitating many such requests, and since each faculty member must be prepared to teach their class remotely as conditions change, these are unlikely to be approved absent unforeseen or exceptional circumstances, including improved safety conditions. Implementation of this formal process awaits approval of our reopening plan.

Resources

The following resources are available and are updated frequently on our website. Please direct any questions you may have to COVID19Coordinator@qcc.cuny.edu and we will respond as soon as we possibly can.

General Information

Services and Support

These are stressful and difficult times and we will make every effort to communicate and collaborate, and to be kind and empathetic to the needs and concerns of our entire community. Our foremost concern is the health and safety of all.

Thank you,

William V. Faulkner
Vice President for Finance & Administration
Queensborough Community College
222-05 56th Ave, Bayside, NY 11364
718-631-6244

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