Dear Herkimer College Students,
The spring 2020 semester took a turn none of us were expecting, and I’d like to thank you for your perseverance. With only 17 days to convert all courses to alternative modes of delivery, I applaud our faculty for an amazing job rising to the occasion. I also salute our support staff for their amazing efforts to provide academic support and other services remotely.
But it is you – our students -- whom I am most proud of. Many of you were forced to complete your courses remotely with very little, if any, distance learning experience, and many of you did this while facing significant personal hardships. You have shown yourselves to be resilient, resourceful, adaptable, and committed--all traits that are important throughout life.
To recap, in response to COVID-19, Herkimer College has:
- issued refunds and credits for housing and meal plan fees to eligible residential students;
- acquired extra equipment and developed a laptop loaner program to help students overcome technological challenges;
- shipped essential belongings, like medications and textbooks, left behind in campus housing to students at their home addresses;
- transitioned all student support services, including academic support, advisement, and counseling services, to remote access;
- mailed graduation regalia, honors stoles and cords to eligible students, and planned a live virtual commencement ceremony;
- converted all bedrooms in on-campus housing to single bedrooms for 2020-2021 to ensure social distancing;
- announced the “HCCF Assists” grant program to provide financial assistance to Herkimer College students in need (developed and funded by the Herkimer County College Foundation); and
- developed a plan regarding distribution of the Federal CARES Act funds for Herkimer College students (and are currently awaiting word from SUNY to begin distributing funds).
As you look toward the fall, I know you have many questions. I want to reassure you that we are prepared for all possibilities that may come about. We have developed a response to four possible scenarios, outlined below:
- The campus remains restricted to essential employees only. All courses and student services continue to be offered through alternative modes of delivery.
- The campus re-opens as normal. Classes and services can freely resume in person.
- The campus runs on a hybrid model, with students on campus following social distancing guidelines.
- The campus opens as normal, and is forced to transition to distance learning at a later point in time.
Decisions regarding these scenarios will depend largely on the directives of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State University of New York. We will continue to communicate with you throughout the next few months as decisions are made. In addition to checking your college emails regularly, we recommend you check our dedicated coronavirus information webpage for updates (www.herkimer.edu/coronavirus).
I am confident that Herkimer College is positioned well to provide you with an exceptional student experience this fall, regardless of the mode of delivery. With more than 20 years of experience offering full degrees and support services online, we are ready for any of the scenarios identified above.
I understand the delivery of your courses may not be the only thing on your mind as you consider what’s to come this fall. This pandemic has impacted students and their families in many ways, and we are sensitive to the economic and health concerns this has created. We are dedicated to keeping you safe and supported as we head into a “new normal.”
As has been our mantra since the beginning of this wild ride, Herkimer College cares. We care about our students, and we care about your success. We are here for you.
Thank you all again for your amazing show of courage, bravery, and determination in the face of this global crisis. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Cathleen C. McColgin, Ph.D.