August 26, 2020

Medgar Evers College Reopening Plan: Fall 2020

As the 2020–21 academic year begins, Medgar Evers College has published its Reopening Plan. The plan protects the health and safety of our campus community members and ensures that the College complies with all federal, state, and local regulations. You may read the plan in its entirety here.

Key safety measures from the plan include:

  • All academic courses will be offered online, with the exception of nursing clinical labs;
  • Most online classes will meet in an asynchronous format. Math courses, as well as certain science labs, will meet in a synchronous format;
  • Campus buildings will be open only to essential employees, researchers, and students attending in-person labs;
  • Signage and markings throughout campus buildings will indicate appropriate social distance as well as reminders for mask use, hand hygiene, and symptoms of the coronavirus; and
  • Facilities will be regularly cleaned and disinfected according to stringent protocols;
  • Anyone who arrives on campus will be required to undergo a temperature check, wear a mask or face covering, maintain social distance, and practice regular hand hygiene.

Self-Screening

Faculty, students, and staff members who plan to come to any CUNY campus or office for any reason or length of time are required to download the Everbridge Health Screening mobile app. Prior to entering a campus or building, s/he must use the app to take the Wellness Check Survey, which asks five short questions.

This Symptom Checker can be accessed from your mobile telephone each day before you visit a CUNY building. After a brief, one-time setup of the Everbridge app, the daily Symptom Checker takes less than two minutes to complete. It is an important reminder to consider whether you have symptoms of – or have been exposed to someone with – COVID-19 before you enter a CUNY facility. The Symptom Checker results in either a green token (approved to come in) or a red token (not approved to come in), and you will be required to show your results to the screener at your CUNY location upon entry. Those not cleared to enter will be given additional guidance on what they should do next.

Please use this guide for accessing and using the app. Please also review these FAQs if you have a question. You may also email Human Resources at ohr@mec.cuny.edu for assistance.

Online Training

Per the directive issued by New York State, all faculty and staff members are required to complete the New York State COVID- 19 Response: Return to Work Training before returning to campus. The 12-minute training video, which is housed on Blackboard, provides valuable information about mandatory safety protocols. To access the course log into Blackboard using your CUNYfirst credentials. (Enter Medgar Evers College in the Organization Search field.)

This is required of all employees returning to work according to the Reopening Plan as well as employees deemed essential already working onsite. It must be completed before an employee is cleared work onsite. Note that completion of this training does not grant permission to enter campus buildings or facilities.

One-Time Access to Campus

All faculty and staff members are required to request one-time access to campus. (This applies to faculty and staff members who do not already have regular, onsite work schedules that have been approved by their supervisors.)

Please email your department head or chairperson/provost with your request. Be sure to include the following information:

  • Name;
  • Department;
  • Title/Role;
  • Entry date and time;
  • Departure time;
  • Campus Building entrance and location;
  • Reason for access.

You must receive written approval from Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Jacqueline Clark before you can enter any campus building, leased space, or facility.

August 7, 2020 Medgar Evers College Reopening Plan: Fall 2020 The following re-opening plan is based on CUNY’s phased approach and protects the health and safety of the Medgar Evers College community. Moreover, it ensures that the College complies with all federal, state, and local regulations regarding re-opening. The plan limits the risk of infection, encourages social distancing, restricts building access, necessitates staggered work schedules, and requires PPE, as well as cleaning and disinfecting protocols. MEC requires mandatory disclosures of COVID-19-related health issues for all individuals arriving on campus. New York City has not yet lifted its quarantine order for the workplace. For this reason, no one is allowed on campus except essential personnel or those whose supervisor has obtained prior approval from the senior vice president of finance and administration. If permission has not been granted, access will be denied. Reporting to Work in an Office Setting The Centers for Disease Control and New York State’s Department of Health stipulate that faculty, staff, and researchers should not report to work until a mandatory quarantine or recommended self-isolation period has expired and they are free of all COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours. All departments should provide adequate space for employees to distance and provide them with the following guidelines:
  • Employees should maintain a social distance of six feet apart from others at all times;
  • Staggered or alternate work schedules (two days in person, three days remote work); vulnerable employees should continue working remotely;
  • Rearrange workstations to maintain physical distance to eliminate contact with others, e.g., handshakes, embraces;
  • Employees should avoid touching surfaces touched by others to the extent feasible;
  • Employees should avoid being in proximity to anyone who appears to be ill or who is coughing or sneezing. If an employee exhibits any such symptoms, he or she should refrain from coming back to work. See more below, under “Health Self-Screening.”
Health Self-Screening All faculty, staff, students, and visitors must complete a health self-screening questionnaire daily before entering the building. Only those who pass the daily screening will be admitted into the building. Employees must not report to any of the buildings or leased space on campus if any of the following conditions occur:
  • Individuals are experiencing (even mild) symptoms of a respiratory infection or other COVID-19-related symptoms;
  • Employees who experience these symptoms should immediately contact their physicians and use their allotted sick leave to self-quarantine;
  • Individuals must not return to campus until they are symptom-free for at least 72 hours;
  • Individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days;
  • Individuals have had known contact with any person(s) suspected of having, under investigation for, or who has a confirmed active case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
 In addition:
  • Only approved and scheduled individuals will be allowed to access the buildings. All researchers working in labs with chemicals must hold a valid C-14 certification while building occupancy is limited;
  • Non-touch forehead thermometers will be available on campus to check an individual’s temperature;
  • Entry into Academic Building 1 (AB1) must be through the Bedford Avenue (East Entrance) and not the Parking Lot (West Entrance). Individuals must show the public safety officer confirmation of the daily health screening questionnaire on their telephones or complete the screening on-site;
  • Individuals will be required to provide details of any significant contact with others while on campus daily;
  • Should anyone develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, test positive, or come in contact with someone suspected of having or confirmed with COVID-19, he or she should email Mohamed Bangura at mbangura@mec.cuny.edu.
  • The College will contact state and local health officials regarding any positive case.
New York City has not yet lifted its quarantine order for the workplace. For this reason, no one is allowed on campus except essential personnel or those whose supervisor has obtained prior approval from the senior vice president of finance and administration. If permission has not been granted, access will be denied. If you are allowed on campus, you MUST meet these requirements:
  • Complete the health self-screening questionnaire beforehand on your telephone or when you arrive on campus. This questionnaire must be completed every time you arrive on campus. If you answer “yes” to any question, you will not be allowed on campus and sent home. If this occurs, notify Human Resources and your supervisor immediately.
  • You must take the mandatory Return to Work Training on Blackboard. Completing this training does not allow you to come to work. You must have the permission of your supervisor and the senior vice president of finance and administration.
  • Wear a mask or face covering for entry into all buildings.
  • Your temperature will be taken before entering any building. If your temperature is equal to or higher than 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit, you will not be allowed on campus and sent home. If this occurs, notify Human Resources and your supervisor immediately.
Physical Distance
  • Social distance of six feet from each other will be required at all times, unless essential for laboratory safety and only with the use of additional personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • The College will put in place other protective measures, including physical barriers such as clear glass dividers (sneeze guards) between high traffic areas;
  • Occupancy limits have been established by phase at the building level to comply with state guidelines. Restrictions include all personnel, contractors, and visitors. During phase 2, occupancy will be limited to 20%, and this will increase after two weeks of steady or improving health metrics to 50% for phase 3. CUNY and New York State will determine the timing of further occupancy above 50% for phases 4 and 5;
  • Occupancy limits have also been defined for specific types of locations in each building, such as open-plan, shared lab, and office spaces; enclosed lab and office spaces; and common areas (e.g., elevators, restrooms, conference rooms). Signs are posted throughout the buildings as a reminder of these limits and detail appropriate traffic patterns in corridors and stairwells to further limit interactions;
  • Principal Investigators/Faculty Researchers (PIs/FRs) have established flexible and staggered work schedules for their students and staff to limit foot traffic on campus and potential exposure;
  • Supervisors should limit individuals on campus by requiring only one person to be on-site if he or she can accomplish a task;
  • While there are occupancy limits, remote working should continue unless on-site work is necessary;
  • Meetings and events will be conducted virtually until further notice.
 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Personnel must review the proper way to put on, take off, clean, and discard required PPE (masks or face coverings). More information can be found here;
  • Masks or face coverings must be worn inside all buildings at all times, except in closed-door private offices and for as little time as possible while eating, drinking, or changing masks;
  • Suitable mask types include cloth, dust, and surgical unless work requires more extensive PPE (e.g., N95, face shield);
  • Face shields are not considered an alternative to masks or face coverings, but may provide additional protection if work requires individuals to be within six feet of each other for any period. Masks and face coverings must be worn in addition to a face shield;
  • Disposable masks will be provided if an individual needs one while on campus;
  • Disposable masks worn inside laboratory spaces should be disposed of at the end of the day. Cloth masks should be washed daily;
  • Disposable gloves are available throughout the buildings.
 Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfecting
  • Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is strongly encouraged to reduce contact transmission, that is, before and after touching shared objects unless clean gloves are worn;
  • Hand sanitizer will continue to be available throughout the buildings and in conference rooms. This will be available in addition to handwashing stations in each restroom;
  • Personnel is required to clean surfaces, workstations, and personal devices several times throughout the day or shift, and at a minimum at the beginning and end of the day or shift;
  • High-touch surfaces, such as elevator buttons and door handles, common areas, and restrooms, will be cleaned regularly by MEC custodial staff, according to requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Health;
  • No sharing of food or beverages is allowed;
  • In the case of a confirmed COVID-19 case of an individual who has been in a MEC building, Facilities Management will coordinate cleaning and disinfecting, including the areas accessed by the individual and high traffic, common areas.
All employees with underlying medical conditions that may increase their risk exposure should self-isolate and not come to campus. If an employee requests an accommodation or leave, he or she must contact and communicate all restrictions and health concerns to his or her supervisor and the Office of Human Resources. Temperature Screening Non-touch forehead thermometers will be available throughout the building should anyone wish to check his or her temperature. If an individual has a fever, he or she must notify his or her supervisor and then leave MEC’s campus as soon as possible. If required, MEC can coordinate transportation and/or provide a mask or face covering. Conclusion Though this comprehensive re-opening plan serves the College’s needs, its final implementation is contingent on CUNY’s acceptance and approval. The College may need to make adjustments that CUNY deems necessary and so that it may fulfill its mission and teaching objectives. As the situation evolves and more information becomes available, the College will update the campus community accordingly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2020

On July 9, 2020, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution recognizing that by “(i) reducing the density of individuals on the University campuses and (ii) offering classes and support services in a primarily online and remote format, the University can better ensure the continued health, safety, and welfare of its students, faculty, and staff and further ensure continuity of educational curricula and better outcomes for our students, and preserve the availability of its physical spaces for those academic programs and support services that require them.”

Consistent with this resolution, a Task Force convened by the President worked diligently on a re-opening plan to ensure that Medgar Evers College creates a safe and healthy environment for its students, faculty, staff, and the immediate community. For the Fall 2020 semester, most courses will be offered through distance education. The Task Force was charged with developing a plan to address topics such as our modes of instruction, classroom occupancy, distance learning, staff returning to campus, and virus testing. Within this reopening plan, the three most important factors are:

  • Protecting faculty, staff, and students, and surrounding community health and safety;
  • Maximize the success of the students with their education and the faculty in their research and creative activities; and
  • Fully meet the expectations of New York State and CUNY.

The report of the taskforce places utmost priority on the safety and health of the students, faculty, and staff, while we maintain the integrity of the academic enterprise. The plan includes health and safety measures to sustain the operation while recognizing that the most effective way to minimize the spread of COVID-19 is to reduce drastically the number of people on campus.

As a result, the College has chosen to re-open in Fall 2020 with at least 80% - 90% of its courses offered in the online format. For classes that may run in person, the College will ensure that structures are in place to allow for the decrease in seating. A standard classroom designed for 30 students will be reduced to meet the recommended social distancing standard. In alignment with the Board’s resolution, most courses that will run in person are those that are considered highly experiential, such as labs or clinical studies, and support services such as food pantries.

These are particularly challenging times and we will continue to ensure our campus community remains safe.

Sincerely,
Augustine Okereke, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President & Provost

Updated 3/19/2020 at 11:30am

CUNY Cloud Systems Feature Guide for Faculty

CUNY Cloud Systems such as Blackboard, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox, and WebEx are all tools and platforms available to the CUNY community to conduct meetings, lectures, group messaging, and file sharing, etc., online. With this guide, users can then select the tool/platform which suit their need.

Updated 3/18/2020

As we move to distance learning, please review the CUNY Blackboard User Guide for Faculty to help you get started. Blackboard Collaborate for Students and Faculty gives detailed instructions on how to get the most out of the online environment for learning.

Visit the faculty online resource center at www.mec.cuny.edu/faculty. There you can log into Blackboard and read information about the Center for Teaching and Excellence (CTLE), review the current administrative calendar, access CUNYfirst, log into your MEC email, receive Help Desk support, and much more.

For CTLE Help Desk and support, email Elaine Farrady-Plourd at efarrally-plourde@mec.cuny.edu.

Updated 3/17/2020 at 10:25am
Reminder: Final faculty Blackboard training session will only take place today, Tuesday, March 17:

Tuesday, March 17, 1:00–3:30pm: Library Lab A

As Medgar Evers College examines its academic continuity policies for unscheduled campus closures, like severe weather events, unsafe conditions on campus, and public health emergencies, the College must consider the continuation of instruction for its students. In the event of a closure for an extended period, faculty, and staff have available to them various tools and resources for remote instruction to preserve academic continuity. In preparation for such an event, here are the instructional tools, resources, and guidance for your use, below.

In the event of closure:

Establish a plan to communicate with students. Share those plans in class, via email and Blackboard.

Communicate your plans to hold sessions online, if this is your instructional mode of choice.

Important note: During a campus closure, students should not be asked or required to participate in other campus activities (rehearsals, practice, etc.).

Tools to Support Instructional Continuity

Blackboard
Blackboard is a Medgar Evers College Learning Management System (LMS) tool that allows faculty to add resources for students to access online and facilitate synchronous (through Blackboard Collaborate) and asynchronous communications. This portion of the Blackboard training shows how to add learning materials and associated content in your Blackboard course.

Self-train now!
Add Files, Images, Video, and Audio

Echo360 Universal Capture
Echo360 Universal Capture is a lecture capture and active learning platform solution that helps instructors capture classroom lectures, screencasts from any device on campus at home, or anywhere, anytime. The video of the captured content can be shared via internet login in your Echo360 classroom, weblink, or via email.

Self-train now!
Complete the form at the link below to register your course in Echo360.

STEP 1. Register your course!

Once completed, you will receive a registration email.  (See “Register Your Account and Log In”)

STEP 2. Register Your Account and Log In

STEP 3. Accessing Classes and Entering a Classroom

STEP 4. How to create a capture using Echo360

Additional Resources
Echo360 Contingency Plan Affirmation
Welcome to Echo360

CUNY DropBox
CUNY DropBox is available to all active CUNY students, faculty, and administrative staff. DropBox can be used to store and access files from different devices, share files, and collaborate on content. CUNY Dropbox Home Page

Self-train now!
Get Started with DropBox

Camscanner
Camscanner is a mobile scanning tool that allows users to scan, save, archive, and upload of instructional materials, anytime, anywhere. It is a free download for iPhone and Android. It provides the instructors with a means of reproducing leaning materials, e.g., textbook content, to a digital format at their leisure.  Materials that are scanned with Camscanner can be imported to Echo360 to be used as instructional content. It can also be saved in your Dropbox account for future use and accessed anytime, anywhere. Download Camscanner!

For more information, email TeachOnline@mec.cuny.edu or call 718-270-6401.

A malicious website is pretending to be the live map for Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by John Hopkins University and is directing users to visit a malware website. Visiting this website infects the user’s computer or mobile device with the AZORult trojan, an information-stealing program which can exfiltrate a variety of sensitive data from the user’s computer. It is likely being spread via infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, and social engineering. Anyone searching the internet for a coronavirus map could unwittingly navigate to this malicious website and have their data compromised.

Please be extra vigilant while accessing your email and browsing the internet.