Update concerning College Operations
Dear Essex County College Family:
As you are aware, Governor Phil Murphy has announced several new Executive Orders over the past few days. In addition, Mayor Ras Baraka has announced enhanced restrictions for residents of three areas within Newark. With these announcements, Essex County College continues to operate. Classes resume via remote instruction on Monday, March 23rd. However, the Governor’s and Mayor’s directives require the following changes to the College’s operations:
- All libraries and computer laboratories at all campuses of Essex County College are closed until further notice.
- All employees whose work can be performed remotely will be accommodated to work remotely.
- All employees whose work cannot be performed remotely continue to report to work on campus. However, the College will adjust schedules where possible to ensure the minimum number of staff is on campus to permit essential functions to continue. Examples of employees who need to be physically present at the College include, but are not limited to: law enforcement officers, security officers, repair workers, information technology maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff and certain administrative staff. Please refer to your supervisor if you have any questions as to whether you are required to report to work.
- All employees, with the exception of adjunct faculty, will be expected to complete an online employee attendance form by the end of the day on Saturday each week. Submission of the completed online attendance form is required to receive pay. More information about online attendance reporting can be found here.
The College is guided by Paragraphs 2, 9, 10, 11 and 13 of the Governor’s Executive Order 107 (announced Saturday). Further, Mayor Baraka’s directive allows employees in shelter-in-place areas to leave home “if they are an essential employee.”
As always, no one should leave home if they are sick. Follow CDC Guidelines for Coronavirus. Please be sure to regularly check the College’s website and your College email for further updates.
An Important Update from Essex County College President Dr. Anthony E. Munroe
Dear Essex County College Family,
As your President, my highest priorities in charting a response to the fast-evolving coronavirus threat are to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff while maintaining academic continuity and safeguarding students’ ability to finish their semester and protect their financial aid. I know that you are concerned for your own health, the health of your loved ones, and that of our communities. I also share these concerns and know they weigh heavily on all of us. In order to fulfill our mission and ensure the health and safety of our college community we are announcing the following steps:
For those who participate in classes on Campus:
Spring I Term
- Essex will begin a recess effective Friday, March 13, 2020 through Sunday, March 22nd. No scheduled courses will run on these days, except those of fully online programs and courses. This will allow Essex to prepare faculty, students, and staff to operate in a manner to appropriately enhance social distancing. Plans will be made to make up for the extra week of missed classes later in the term.
- Nursing and Health Sciences courses will continue as scheduled.
- Students should expect to receive email in their Essex County College accounts from the respective faculty with assignments and plans for remote instruction by the end of the day Thursday, March 19th.
- Starting on Monday, March 23rd, instruction will resume (i.e. face to face, online, hybrid etc.)
Spring II Term
- Spring II term will now begin on Monday, March 23rd 2020.
- The following classes will still be held on our campuses without interruption:
- Classes for students in Nursing and Health Sciences;
- Classes in laboratory or studio environments.
- The following student service operations will remain open:
- Library/Information Commons;
- Computer Labs will be open with limited availability to allow for social distancing;
- Tutoring and Advising Services;
- Student Services including;
- Enrollment Services: Registrar, Financial Aid, Testing, Recruitment, Advisement
- Student Wellness Center and Food Pantry
- The following are discontinued:
- Study Abroad Experiences in China and Cuba
- Non-essential travel
- Gym/Fitness Center
- Further direction will be provided to non-credit by the director of the respective program you were attending and during the recess, assignments may be provided to you via on-line or textbook to keep you on track. If you are working on a certification, continue studying for your exams, and staff will keep you appraised of any new deadlines.
- Reentry students will follow protocols set by their halfway house and special schedule arrangements will be handled by Mr. Bert Shockley for students needing to access on-line instruction.
- High School students in dual enrollment courses will complete assignments via Moodle and can communicate with their respective instructors via their Essex email.
- Special arrangements have been made for Newark Technology High School students attending tutoring on campus. Please see your high school counselor or contact Mr. Corbitt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty with specific questions will receive guidance from The Vice President of Academic Affairs, Deans, and/or Chairs. Faculty will be asked to participate in workshops during the week of March 16th. After the recess, faculty must report for scheduled office hours. Faculty are asked to accommodate and be flexible with students and not penalize those who cannot participate in class due to illness.
During the recess, staff should report to work as usual. Essex County College will hold all full-time employees and part-time staff harmless, meaning those who are sick, or need to care for family members, or take care of children due to school closings can do so without penalty or impact towards paid-time off accruals. Such needs should be fully communicated with supervisors in advance and appropriate documentation may be requested. Despite this transition, all full time employees and part time staff, including work-study students will continue to receive their salary. All employees who are not receiving direct deposit are strongly encouraged to enroll in direct deposit to ensure their pay in the event of any disruption to business services. Any employee who require a reasonable accommodation to their job responsibilities because they are at a high risk of infection and complication due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 may apply for such accommodation with Human Resources.
- Non-essential gatherings and community events will be suspended until further notice. All Region XIX athletic competition for spring sports have been cancelled for the remainder of the academic year.
- Beginning Friday, March 13th, access to the College will be limited to Essex County College students, faculty and staff with valid Essex County College Identification and approved visitors. Everyone on the Main Campus will be required to enter through one of four designated entrances to the Megastructure. All other entrances will be closed.
- West Essex Campus will be required to enter through the parking lot entrance.
- The Dasher Student Center will be closed.
- The Child Development Center will remain open.
- All persons who have travelled or plan to travel countries with a Level 2 or Level 3 Health Notices (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City. See https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices) are required to observe a fourteen (14) day period of self-quarantine and monitoring upon their return and report such travel to their supervisor or instructor. All persons who are feeling sick should stay home and follow up with their medical provider to determine when it is appropriate to return to campus.
- These measures are challenging and may be disruptive of our regular routines, however, I urge everyone to be patient as we navigate these challenging times. I suggest that you take precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of yourself and those around you by following the CDC guidance at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- As all plans may be subject to change, please follow the College for updates at: https://www.essex.edu/coronavirusalert/ and sign up for text alerts at: http://myecc.essex.edu
Dr. Anthony E. Munroe
This is a time, if none other, to stay focused, come together, plan, and prepare. Essex County College has been in the planning and preparation mode in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have in place, the Essex County College Coronavirus Emergency Task Force. With representation from across the College community, we have been meeting and communicating regularly to prepare for, and respond to matters concerning the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
As recently reported in the news media, New Jersey has now confirmed several cases of the COVID-19 virus. There are more ‘presumptive positive’ and ‘positive’ cases being reported each day as a function of increased testing and the presumed community spread of the virus. I want to assure everyone that the Essex County College Coronavirus Emergency Task Force is working diligently to support the health, wellbeing and safety of our College community in response to the evolving situation. We are reminded though, that there are individual measures that must be taken to help prevent the spread of the virus. So, please educate yourselves on what you can do to help prevent dispersing misinformation and the COVID-19 virus.
We will continue to cooperate with our local, state, and federal health and public safety officials to prepare for and deal with any and all challenges as they arise. I want everyone to know that our top priority is to work together to ensure our students continue to receive a high quality education at Essex County College (ECC) in a healthy environment. Additionally, we will be utilizing our Learning Management System, “Moodle,” to keep students on track toward the completion of their academic year.
As of today, here are some of the tasks we have initiated and / or completed:
- Formed a multi-disciplinary Emergency Task Force focused on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation;
- Increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces;
- Facilities Management staff are ensuring all hand sanitizer dispensers are filled;
- Posted hand washing signs in all bathrooms;
- Established regular communication to the College community in regard to COVID-19;
- Release to the College community Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisories, preventative methods & guidelines;
- Charged Academic Affairs with the task of moving all instruction to an online delivery format, should that become necessary;
- Conducted a comprehensive review of ECC’s pandemic preparedness using CDC guidelines for Colleges and Universities;
- Updated the ECC Emergency Preparedness Plan;
- Posters & flyers listing:
- healthy habits which include steps to prevent the spread of the flu, and the common cold. These steps also help prevent Coronavirus;
- CDC information; and,
- the NJ local Coronavirus phone number;
- Handwashing videos on campus via TV Monitors and emails;
- Posted on ECC website Coronavirus updates/alerts info page;
- Increased orders of necessary cleaning / disinfectant supplies.
We will not be sending students, staff or faculty to the Study Abroad program in China. We are currently evaluating other study abroad programs we have in place.
We are asking students, as well as faculty and staff, who choose to travel to countries with a high risk of Coronavirus to observe the CDC travel advisory found on the CDC website (link: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices).
For those that have traveled to countries and regions identified by CDC as “high risk level 3 or 2” to review, and adhere to, the CDC guidelines set forth in the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html
I urge everyone to cooperate to mitigate the impact of the virus and to practice good personal hygiene. Please closely follow the current CDC guidelines which are as follows:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
For more information call the NJ Coronavirus Call Center at (800) 222-1222 or visit our info page at www.essex.edu/coronavirusalert
Thank you in advance for helping all of us stay safe and well.
Statement from the Essex County College Coronavirus Emergency Task Force
The Essex County College (ECC) administration has assembled a College-wide inter-disciplinary team, the Coronavirus Task Force, to identify and plan for a range of scenarios and potential near- and longer-term impacts from the respiratory illness caused by the virus. As our team continues to monitor developments and prepare, we will communicate with you on a regular basis.
This illness, now called COVID-19, was first identified in December in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, with cases now identified throughout the world, including the United States and now Fort Lee, New Jersey. While no cases have been reported in the ECC community, we are following the guidance of our local and state resources to ensure we have current and accurate information to safeguard the health of our students, employees, and visitors.
Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. Severe cases can lead to pneumonia and other complications. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should visit a doctor immediately.
The New Jersey State Department of Health website provides steps you can follow. You can also use these steps to prevent spread of flu and the common cold, which also help prevent coronavirus.
Community Mitigation Guidance for COVID-19 Response in the United States: Nonpharmaceutical Interventions for Community Preparedness and Outbreak Response
Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are public health actions that can slow the spread of emerging respiratory diseases like COVID-19 for which vaccines and drug treatments are not yet available.1 They include personal protective measures implemented by individuals and community measures implemented by affected communities.1 NPIs are used to build community preparedness in communities without known COVID-19 disease and to support outbreak responses in communities where local cases or cluster of diseases have occurred.
NPIS for Community Preparedness
CDC recommends individuals and families follow everyday preventive measures:
- Voluntary Home Isolation: Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to COVID-19-related virus.
- Respiratory Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.
- Hand Hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
- Environmental Health Action: Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects
Routine use of these measures by individuals and their families will increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak.
NPIs for COVID-19 Outbreaks in Communities
- Personal Protective Measures. During an outbreak in your community, CDC recommends the everyday preventive measures listed above—especially staying home when sick—and taking these additional measures:
- Keeping away from others who are sick.
- Limiting face-to-face contact with others as much as possible
- Consulting with your healthcare provider if you or your household members are at high risk for COVID-19 complications
- Wearing a facemask if advised to do so by your healthcare provider or by a public health official
- Staying home when a household member is sick with respiratory disease symptoms, if instructed to do so by public health officials or a health care provider (Voluntary Home Quarantine)
- Community Measures. If COVID-19 disease is occurring in your community, state and local public health authorities may decide to implement:
- Temporary closures or dismissals of childcare facilities and schools
- Other social distancing measures that increase the physical space between people, including:
- Workplace social distancing measures, such as replacing in-person meetings with teleworking
- Modifying, postponing, or cancelling mass gatherings.
Decisions about the implementation of community measures will be made by local and state officials, in consultation with federal officials as appropriate, and based on the scope of the outbreak and the severity of illness. Implementation will require extensive community engagement and ongoing and transparent public health communications.
1Additional information about the evidence base for each NPI and considerations for their implementation is available in: Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza — United States, 2017.