With guidance from state and local health officials to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, there are no in-person services available and the campus has been closed. We have resources available to assist you, our valued employees, in providing the high levels of service our students and community have come to expect. Resources are available for faculty and staff/administrators. Please do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com if you have any questions or need additional information. Remember, we are here for you.
- Human Resources FAQ
Q. Will I be paid?A: Westchester Community College is following SUNY’s recommendations. Under the FLSA, employers generally only have to pay employees for the hours they actually work, whether at home or at the employer’s office. Hourly employees who cannot work remotely will not be paid and salaried employees who cannot work remotely are required to use their entitlements.
Q: When am I expected to return to my office?A: The college has closed the campus to all non-essential employees until further notice. Only essential employees will have access to campus as needed or required. Your Vice President will notify you if your departmental Pandemic Preparedness Plan determines you are an essential employee.
Q: How can I request time off?A: You can still enter your request into PeopleSoft as usual. Your supervisor will have to approve your time.
Health Related Q&A's
1. Will we be notified when and where a COVID-19 case occurs on campus?
- Anyone who has been identified as meeting the criteria of a “contact” of an infected person (exposed during the infectious period) will be immediately notified by contact tracers or trained Westchester Community Employees designated by the Westchester County Department of Health (WCDH) to do so. If the WCDH recommends that a general announcement be circulated regarding a COVID exposure on campus, WCC will communicate that message.
2. How do we protect our high-risk population? How do we know who are high-risk students and how to protect them?
- All employees, students and visitors requesting access to our campuses during sub level one, two and three of our Recovery Plan, will be required to complete a Health Screening Questionnaire. If such individuals answer yes to the question below, access to our campus(es) will be denied:
“Is there any reason why you feel you are at a higher risk of contracting COVID19 or experiencing complications from COVID19 by entering this facility?”
3. Does wearing a face mask reduce oxygen and increase CO2 levels?
- As per Patrick Barrette Dept./Curriculum Chair of WCC’s Respiratory Care Program, wearing a surgical mask will not reduce oxygen and increase CO2. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is extremely minimal, therefore a mask would not contribute to hypoxia or high CO2 levels.
However, people with chronic respiratory or other medical conditions that make breathing difficult should check with their healthcare providers before using an N95 respirator mask which is used in healthcare settings (not recommended for use on campus).
Facilities Related Q&A's
1. What is meant by “deep cleaning?” What is the planning to disinfect computer and lab equipment in the labs and studios?
- Deep cleaning comprises sanitizing spray and wiping of all hard services (desks, tables, chairs, door knobs, light switches, handrails, elevator buttons as well as entire restrooms). Computer equipment and lab equipment are sanitized using bacterial wipes.
2. Prior to leaving campus, cleaning of offices (door handles, desks, etc.), was being done primarily by wiping down those areas. Has there been consideration regarding using other methods, such as UV, etc.?
- CDC recommendations for cleaning are being followed. Timely and targeted cleaning operations will be in effect based upon space utilization.
3. What kind of protections do you have against spread by people who do not have symptoms but are infected with COVID-19?
- In accordance with the College’s recovery planning, at the onset of people returning to campus, temperatures will be taken. Throughout the recovery period, the health screening questionnaire will be required upon entrance to the College. Also in all phases of the College’s recovery plan, masks/face coverings are required for all persons while on campus property. Hands-free sanitizers will be placed at entrances of buildings, all restrooms will be equipped with soap and paper towel dispensers and sanitizing wipes will be available in every classroom. Plexiglass barriers are being installed in customer service and high traffic areas, especially where strict social distancing may not be feasible.
4. Will class sizes be reduced to allow for social distancing?
- The College has created social distancing room capacity charts for rooms on all campuses. The State recommends 113 square feet together with equipment and furniture placement for maximum occupancy.
5. What if documents we need are locked in the cabinets?
- Campus access requests must be approved by a College Vice President. When leaving areas utilized, all persons must report those areas to Physical Plant in order to allow targeting and timely cleaning.
6. Will there be floor markers where desks should be in class to support social distancing?
- Signage will be placed throughout campus regarding occupancy maximum limits, guidelines and safety protocols, however, every member of the campus community holds the responsibility to maintain social distancing at all possible times.
7. Can we use physical education building to store boxes or furniture and allow trucks to come into campus to deliver furniture there?
- Trucks are permitted on Campus for deliveries to Receiving. During Recovery Sub-Level 1, all mail, packages and Reproduction work can be picked up a the Reproduction Center counter, Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 4 pm. As the College recovery level progresses, deliveries will be made to the Administration Building, Hartford Hall and all building mailrooms.
8. Are custodians safe in their work?
- Custodians have been trained on cleaning protocols as well as provided with Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) for their safety.
9. Does cleaning staff get temperature checks EVERY day? Can floors be asked to be cleaned and polished via work order for someone’s office this summer?
- At the point in which the College campus enters recovery for increased access, all persons entering the campus will have a temperature check and/or health questionnaire verification before being granted access.
Semi-annual cleaning and waxing are being performed during the summer months.
10. Do you use HEPA filters to clean air?
- See below the Enhanced HVAC Maintenance being performed. The CDC recommends and the College is using MERV 11 filters.
11. Is the air ventilation going to be upgraded? Will air purifiers be purchased for offices?
|HVAC Maintenance for COVID19|
|General Maintenance||Regular Maintenance||Enhanced Maintenance during COVID19|
|Filtration Rating||4" MERV 8 Rating Filters used||New 4" MERV 11 Rating Filters Used|
|Replace Filters||4 times per year||5 times per year|
|Outdoor Ventilation||Minimum required||Maximize where possible|
|Humidity||Minimum required||Increase to 40-60% where possible|
|Air Flow||Minimum required to meet Temperature Requirements||Disable automated system to maximize Cubic Feet per Minute airflow|
|Restroom Exhaust Fans||Minimum flow required||Exhaust Fans run at 100%, disable automation to run in unoccupied mode|
|Continual Water flow||Regular Water Use||Water systems are flushed to prevent stagnant water|
|Unoccupied Times||10pm-7am||Can be changed in buildings schedule up to 24hrs|
|BMS Workstation||Early morning check||Early morning and afternoon checks|
12. Will plexiglass be installed between computer workstations?
- Plexiglass barriers are being installed in customer service and high traffic areas, especially where strict social distancing may not be feasible.
Faculty Related Q&A's
1. As an adjunct, do I need any special training or certification to teach any or all of the modalities for the fall courses, whether for credit or non-credit courses? If so, how do I access that training to be eligible to teach in the fall?
- For credit bearing courses, you will be required to obtain remote teaching certification through our On-line Learning office. Information will be sent to you via e-mail about how to complete the training. If you do not receive information, please reach out to your Department Chair or Dean.
2. With remote/online teaching, will there be a stronger collaboration with Student Services for "at risk" students for retention?
- Yes, we have already taken some significant steps during the spring semester to use the Viking Success Network (VSN) to gather feedback from faculty about struggling students. We are also able to get data through VSN on student blackboard usage. We will continue to develop this system of feedback and outreach to help our students to succeed in the remote environment.
3. For Fall 2020, should we be planning for face-to-face classes, totally online classes, classes that meet online during scheduled class times, or what?
- You should be preparing for synchronous on-line teaching in most cases. If you are already teaching on-line, then you may be teaching asynchronously. All courses not identified as on-line will have a synchronous component. Unless you are teaching on-line, please plan to meet with your students during the specified class time.
4. Will adjuncts have access to equipment and supplies?
- Yes, we are working on making loaner laptops available to adjuncts. If you need additional equipment and/or supplies, please reach out to your Department Chair or School Dean. We will work on these requests as they are received.
Summer/Fall Related Q&A's
1. Will we continue with Collaborate?
- No, we anticipate moving to Zoom in mid-July. The College was able to take advantage of free video conferencing using Collaborate from March to June. This was a great opportunity to quickly make video conferencing available in Blackboard, however it had some shortcomings. Once we sought out a contract for the 2020-21 academic year, we decided to go with Zoom.
2. Can Fall 2020 Blackboard shells be made available immediately to instructors?
- They will be available around July 20.
3. Have we been approved for remote learning for Fall 2020?
- Yes, on May 15, 2020, the United States Department of Education (USDE), Office of Postsecondary Education, extended the temporary waiver for the use of distance education as an alternate delivery method through December 31, 2020.
4. Is there a timeline for departments to decide method of delivery for individual courses so students can be informed?
- Yes, this has been specified in an Memorandum of Agreement with the WCCFT.
5. Will we be able to designate our course as one of these types in MyWCC ASAP? Will students be able to see whether specific classes are categorized as asynchronous, synchronous, or hybrid?
- Yes, this is in the works, and we anticipate having the schedule completely updated by July 10.
6. Can we provide a training video for students as to how to use Collaborate and access taped lectures that we could embed in our class?
- Blackboard has lots of training videos. Our Office of On-line learning, under the leadership of Associate Dean Hector Graciano can show you have to put the links into your Blackboard shell.
7. Will classrooms be equipped to stream classes live to ensure students are able to interact with classmates and faculty no matter where they choose to learn?
- Most teaching will be conducted remotely, using Zoom from home. We are working on arrangements to that faculty can conduct class from an office or campus location if needed, however we do not anticipate a scenario in which students are concurrently in the classroom and viewing from home.
HR Related Q&A's
1. Will we be allowed to carry over all of our vacation time? If not, will we lose it?
- Without approval, an employee may carry over into each subsequent year a maximum of ten (10) days of unused vacation.
You must use your vacation leave. As per policy, vacation leave carryover time is limited to a max of 10 days and additional time is only by approval from the VP of Finance and Administration
2. What happens if an employee or family member is in a high risk category? Will they be required to work on the physical campus or given the option to work from home?
- At this phase WCC is still working remotely and will continue to act in concert with the Department of Health recommendations and the local and state mandates.
3. How do we take that training for contact tracing?
- Here is the link to a free course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/covid-19-contact-tracing?edocomorp=covid-19-contact-tracing
On Campus Activity Related Q&A's
1. How many months in advance will we be given for planning classes and events on campus for 2021? Meaning, the college’s decision about Fall 2020 classes was made about four months in advance. This allowed time for preparing and planning. How far in advance will decisions be made for Spring 2021?
- We anticipate deciding about Spring 2021 during October. Registration for Spring 2021 begins on Monday, October 26. Hopefully we can make a decision early enough so that spring courses will reflect any changes.
2. EMS is an essential service and we need to get these people trained appropriately and certified so they can join the frontline workforce. Are there any plans to allow the EMT and paramedic skills test to continue?
- Yes, EMS is part of the first sublevel of re-opening the campus. We will allow faculty and students to return as soon as possible, given safety considerations.
3. What would happen if by September we are back on campus and the second wave hits?
- The need to maintain social distancing and cleaning measures on campus this fall makes it impossible to conduct classes as normal. The College's recovery plan accommodates synchronous and asynchronous remote learning, and a limited number of classes, such as labs in Nursing, Respiratory Care, Radiologic Technology and Engineering, will be offered on-site, because they require access to specialized labs and equipment. Those classes will be conducted with social distancing protocols, following room capacity charts for all rooms.
Security Related Q&A's
1. Are we prepared to address the political component of wearing masks in a diverse political community?
- With the safety of our community as our #1 priority, in mandating face coverings to be worn during the pandemic we are following the guidance of health experts and best practices adopted almost universally around higher education in and among the SUNY system and our area’s colleges.
2. Are we anticipating the way in which political groups may use college policies as a springboard for political gaslighting once we return? Ie, I was born free and don't need to wear a mask etc.
- This is not anticipated. If it does occur, persons who do not want to wear a face covering are free to choose to not enter College property during the pandemic and the existence of the College policy that requires wearing a face covering for all persons while on College property.
3. Do essential workers who come to campus on occasion have to report what buildings they have been in?
- Yes, the current protocol is for workers to notify the Director of Security and the Director of the Physical Plant, via email, where they have been on campus to allow for timely and targeted cleaning and sanitizing of accessed spaces.
4. What will happen if someone tests positive once staff returns?
- The Westchester County Health Department will be notified and the College will abide by any official directives of that Department and also assist and cooperate with any and all contact tracing efforts of that Department.
5. Will testing be required before we are allowed on campus? Are we going to do testing for COVID-19?
- No, testing is not required for entry onto a College campus. However, the administration of a health screening questionnaire and temperature checks are mandatory as part of the first sub-level of the College’s recovery plans.
6. What if people lie or hide their symptoms?
- To the extent that someone knowingly makes a false representation in response to the health screening questionnaire, employee and student discipline processes may be indicated to hold the person responsible for such conduct.
7. How will protective measures described in the draft plan (social distancing, limits on non-instructional group activities, etc.) be monitored, enforced, and reported? What do we do if students or fellow colleagues do not want to wear masks in classrooms or in our work spaces?
- The entire College Community must take individual and collective responsibility to protect themselves and each other from behavior that violates current policy. Reports made to Security of violations of current policy will be documented, investigated as necessary, and referred to the appropriate College authority for review and determination of appropriate disciplinary proceedings. If someone refuses to wear face covering while on a College Campus, the person will be escorted from the Campus, a report generated, and the information referred for employee and/or student discipline.
8. Are we expected to wear masks within individual offices on return?
- Face coverings are required at all times in communal spaces and at any time when social distancing between or among persons cannot be achieved.
9. How do we protect students, faculty, and staff when our governmental designation is one thing, but the reality of our campus community is mixed with Mid-Hudson region and the Bronx?
- The College’s recovery plans have been designed to achieve and implement numerous protective measures and protocols for the safety of the entire College Community.
10. How does the campus return affect events held off-site?
- Our objective remains to support, engage, and ultimately retain our students by offering the same high quality student life programs and services. As such, we are attempting to move all Student Life programs that are ordinarily held off-site into virtual environments wherever possible until we reach a point where students can safely travel or engage in other off-campus student life experiences.