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For Immediate Release
September 1, 2020

Suffolk Welcomes Back Students

Suffolk County Community College will welcome students back for the fall semester on September 2 with a combination of online and in person instruction across its three campuses and two downtown centers, incorporating extensive safety measures to protect the health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. The College    launched a Return to Campus Guidelines website to outline policies and procedures for this fall’s return. Importantly, services including the College’s libraries and child care centers will be available to students.

In preparation for the new semester, Interim College President Louis Petrizzo said, the college empaneled a Safe Start Task Force that prepared and implemented the college’s comprehensive, SUNY-approved reopening plan. The task force reviewed the configuration of every space that students, faculty and staff may occupy or are scheduled for use and marked them for safe, social distancing.  In preparation for the semester the College’s faculty underwent additional training to sharpen their skills for remote instruction. In order to promote equity, the College is distributing more than 540 laptops, 300 Chromebooks and 75 Wi-Fi hotspots for student use this fall. Outdoor wireless access was also expanded to parking lots on all campuses.

The College was able to distribute more than $ 3.5 million in student grants under the CARES Act to students who suffered financial loss due to Covid-19.CARES Act funding made it possible for many students to return for the fall semester. 

Petrizzo said the newly launched Return to Campus Guidelines website is the result of months of work by the College’s Safe Start Task force which devised the plan in consultation with State and County officials to ensure that students, faculty and staff that will come to campuses can do so safely.

The Guidelines include a requirement that all students complete an online daily health screening questionnaire before arriving at a campus. Successful completion of the questionnaire will trigger an email to the student’s email permitting access to campus and must be shown to the Public Safety Officer on duty when arriving on a campus (printed or available to display on a cell phone — e.g. a screenshot). Any student whose responses indicate a risk of COVID-19 exposure will receive an email advising them that they do not have clearance to come on campus that day and should contact a campus dean.

The guidelines further require that students:

  • adhere to social distancing requirements
  • must wear a face covering or mask
  • must monitor their own health
  • not come to campus if they are sick
  • acknowledge and agree to abide by the College’s Guidelines each time they visit a campus
  • not complying with the Guidelines may face suspension.

Students attending classes on a campus will be in smaller groups to reduce density in accordance with physical distancing guidelines.

Instruction for the fall semester will be provided in several modalities:

  • Online—instruction is provided by the professor through Blackboard, the College’s online learning management system. Students interact with faculty and complete assignments working on their own time, while adhering to course deadlines.
  • Real-Time Online—recreates a classroom experience with an instructor and other class members coming together for live virtual instruction at regularly scheduled days and times.
  • Combined Online—50% Online and 50% Real-Time Online meeting times with your instructor.
  • Blended—partly on campus and partly Online or Real-Time Online, used mostly for labs and performance courses.
  • There will also be a limited number of face-to-face classes that require hands-on instructional experiences to meet accreditation requirements.

Importantly, campus libraries will be open and accessible by appointment. Students can reserve two-hour time-blocks by reservation using an online form. In addition, remote library research assistance will be available by phone, email and virtual chat.

In campus libraries:

  • students will be able to schedule an appointment to use a computer.
  • students will be able to use specialized academic software programs that they may not have at home.
  • academic Computing professional assistants will be available to help students with academic software and answer other technology questions.
  • Librarians will be available to assist students with academic research or library resources questions.
  • students can request an appointment for a quiet study space.
  • students can request digital scans of reserve materials using an online form.
  • students may request print books remotely and pick them up at their campus libraries.

“We recognize that high-quality child care is important for students who are attending classes,” said Interim President Petrizzo, “our childcare centers will reopen and be available with new drop off and pick-up procedures in place for health and safety.”

The College also announced the modification or elimination of several fees for the fall 2020 semester:

  • The meal plan fee has been eliminated.
  • The credit card convenience fee has been eliminated.
  • The distance education fee has been modified to be a one-time charge per semester vs. a per class fee.