NCCC finalizes plan for off-campus learning

File photoNCCC’s spring break will be extended for one week and will now run from Monday through March 27 as school staff prepare for remote learning methods the rest of the semester.

Administrators at Niagara County Community College say they have a plan in place as the state sends SUNY and CUNY campuses to online instruction. NCCC’s spring break will be extended for one week and will now run from Monday through March 27. For the most part, though, the plan will have many classes switch to online learning upon the students return.

“Classes will resume on March 30 but most will be taught via alternative methods, such as online and other modalities (remote video, phone conferencing, etc.). This additional week of spring break will allow NCCC faculty to prepare classes for alternative delivery and the administration will prepare contingency plans to reduce the population density at the College or in the event, the College must close. Housing students may request to stay in residence halls if it provides a safer environment.”

One question that has been on the minds of many is how some specialized classes will operate. The plan says, “Nursing and Allied Health clinicals, labs, science labs, and unique software-enhanced courses such as CADD will be held on campus as long as they are held in smaller groups. These students are able to attend on campus. Exceptions to the general rule of teaching online or other modalities MUST be vetted through the Office of Academic Affairs.”

On Wednesday, a statement was released by the SUNY Student Assembly that supported Gov. Cuomo’s decision.

“Guaranteeing the health and safety of the State University of New York’s students, faculty and staff is rightfully Governor Cuomo’s priority. We appreciate the Governor’s announcement that SUNY campuses will move to a distance learning model for the remainder of the spring semester.”

For NCCC, student services such as dining halls, the library, the wellness center, and computer labs will remain open during the remainder of the semester. However, all campus meetings and events with over 50 people are being examined on a case-by-case basis, though some have already been canceled.

During the last several weeks, NCCC’s Coronavirus/Pandemic Response Planning Ad Hoc Committee, which is comprised of members representing all areas of the NCCC. Throughout this time, the team has been in contact with Niagara County Health Department officials, local emergency response personnel, as well as SUNY to ensure the plan would keep all members of the NCCC community safe. In an address Dr. William Murabito, President of NCCC, gave on Mar. 6 he talked about some of the precautionary measures being taken by the college to keep students from catching coronavirus.

“For our part, the college has purchased additional disinfectant products to be used on all touch surfaces (e.g., tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures), and custodians have been instructed to focus on these areas while cleaning to help provide a germ free environment,” Dr. Murabito said. “In addition, new freestanding dispensers of hand sanitizers have been ordered and will be allocated to various locations across campus.”

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