President’s Report to the College Community
August 31, 2021
Dear College Community,
I hope this email meets you in good health and spirits. We have a few more days until the start of the semester. The return of staff to the campus has certainly brought me immense joy and I now eagerly look forward to the return of faculty and students in the coming days.
University-wide, enrollment continues to be a challenge, especially for the community college sector, but we continue to aggressively market the college and conduct outreach to students.
As you know, the CUNY Comeback Program will eliminate outstanding debt for students who experienced hardships during COVID 19. In the coming week, students who did not meet the criteria to be selected for debt relief as part of the Comeback program, will have the opportunity to file a Hardship Application to request their balances be paid off as well. We hope that the elimination of financial constraints will provide a clear pathway for students to progress toward achieving their academic goals.
This semester, our students have chosen to pursue their goals by taking online, hybrid and on-campus classes. Currently, the University requires students who take hybrid or fully on-campus classes as well as students who have to come to campus for any reason, to be vaccinated. Students have until September 27th to upload proof of vaccination. After that time, if they are not vaccinated they will be administratively withdrawn from their courses.
We have been diligent in our efforts to get this and other critical information to students. In addition to emails from the Chancellor, I send follow up emails to students, we share pertinent information on social media, we also routinely update our webpages (https://www.kbcc.cuny.edu/campusentry/index.html) with information as it is received. We recently hosted a Student Town Hall meeting with another one scheduled in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, students do not check their email regularly. To address this, last week, we launched the KCC AdvisorGram, a list-serve that includes student-facing staff (counselors, advisors etc.). The AdvisorGram highlights information that that has been shared with students and that students need to know. Since they have the most contact with students, members of the AdvisorGram list-serve are an important conduit of information. If you wish to be a part of the KCC AdvisorGram list-serve, please let Tasheka Sutton-Young know. We are working to maintain issues of all Advisorgrams in InsideKCC.
Colleagues, it is important that we all adhere to our Reopening Plan, and the mandates and protocols set forth by the University and implemented by the College to protect the health and safety of all members of our campus community.
I encourage you to get vaccinated to protect yourself as well as your loved ones. Note that September 2, is the deadline to get the first shot of Pfizer vaccine; and September 23 is the deadline to get a single shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine). If you have not yet done so, please upload your vaccination information to CUNYFirst and allow 24 hours (M-Th) and 48 hours on the weekend for the results to come back. If you have not been vaccinated or if you do not upload your vaccination information, you will be required to get a COVID test at a CUNY testing site. Test results will be available within 24 hours. You will receive a QR code from Cleared4 which you will present at the front gate. Please be reminded, the test results expire every 7 days. Therefore, you must retest in order to regain access to the campus. Only COVID test results from a testing center at a CUNY campus will be accepted.
Once you have uploaded your vaccination information into CUNYFirst, download your VaxPass to enter the campus. If you are driving in, you will need to show your VaxPass or your Cleared4 QR code. If you are walking in, you can show your VaxPass or Cleared4 QR code and we have a Tap and Go system linked to your KCC ID that will indicate to the Public Safety Officer whether or not you are cleared to enter, or if you are required to be tested.
It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, that we could simply drive on to campus or walk onto campus and show our ID. As we make our way back to campus after 18 months, we know that a lot has changed. I understand feelings of frustration that have accompanied these changes and all that we are now required to do in order to outpace with the rise in COVID cases and ensure the health and safety of all members of our college community. Know that your health and safety are our priority. Our Public Safety Officers, the first members of our college community you encounter at the gates are doing their best to ensure we all adhere to the protocols. As I have said many times, we have never been at this place before. Our protocols and the systems we are using are new to all of us. Invariably there may be glitches. Rest assured we will address them as they are brought to our attention. In the interim, I ask that you be patient and refrain from taking your frustration out on any member of our community.
Our campus based Local Vaccination Authorities- (LVAs) (Mickie Driscoll, Dorothy Gale and Karen St. Hilaire, (Karen also serves as the KCC COVID Liaison ) are available to resolve issues. If you have difficulty uploading your information to CUNYFirst, or downloading your VaxPass, or with Cleared4, please reach out to Karen.
Once on campus, please be reminded that there is a Temporary Mask Mandate in place. Everyone regardless of vaccination status, must:
Wear a facemaskinside all CUNY campuses and office buildings. This includes while working in a non-enclosed space such as a cubicle or other open seating, regardless of physical distance from others.
Wear amask outdoors on campus when unable to maintain physical distance from others.
The only exceptions to wearing a mask inside are:
If a fully vaccinated person is alone in an enclosed space such as an office, conference room, or dorm room.
In a classroom, if a vaccinated professor is teaching a class and is able to keep social distance from everyone else in the class, he or she may choose not to wear a
Briefly while eating or drinking, provided social distancing is maintained.
It bears repeating that if you feel sick, or think that you may have been in contact with someone who is sick, or someone who is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and contact your doctor and your immediate supervisor. You can also contact Karen St. Hilaire. An email describing the college’s protocol for reporting suspected or actual COVID-19 cases will be shared with the college community.
On Thursday September 2, we will gather virtually and in-person for the first time. At 9:30 am, we will hold a Memorial for members of our college community and the loved ones we have lost to COVID. Both the Memorial and Fall Convocation which will start at 10am will be held in U219/20. The room will be set up for 50 attendees. To reserve a seat for the Memorial and/or Convocation, please register using the link that will be provided on the flyer which will also be sent college-wide. Convocation will feature reports from each of the Vice Presidents. Convocation will be followed by a ‘Thank You’ Barbeque in honor of all the members of our college community: Buildings and Grounds, Physical Plant Services, Information Technology, Custodial Staff, Public Safety, the Forward Committee, Health Services, PSC Chapter and DC37 representatives, and all those who have worked so hard to ensure our safe return to campus. There will be socially-distanced seating in the cafeteria and the hall of flags, or you may choose to take your lunch back to your office.
I look forward to seeing you once again and ushering a new academic year with you. Until then, be well and stay safe.