INFORMATION ALERT: Stay informed about coronavirus – COVID-19. Face-to-face courses will be suspended through the remainder of the Spring semester and are moving to remote instruction. The College is open, but the on-campus student services are being offered remotely, or by appointment. We ask you to call or email if you plan to visit the campus. Please use the Resources for Students page for updated info.

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Message from the President on COVID-19

This page was updated on April 6, 2020.

Berkshire Community College is open, but face-to-face courses will be suspended through the remainder of the semester. Instruction and student support will be available remotely. 

Good morning,

As we begin the second week of remote education, I wanted to check in to see how you are adapting to this new way of learning and living.  Just as you are learning to learn in different ways, faculty are learning to teach in different ways. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your dedicated faculty or any of our caring and concerned staff to help support your efforts to make this semester a success.

I wanted to make sure you are aware of resources we have put in place.

This is a link to our COVID 19 Student Resources page on our website. In addition to describing the technical resources and providing tutorials for software you may be using, you will also find information on tutorial services, career services, personal counseling and disability services to name but a few.  You may be very familiar with these and many other services available to you, or you may find yourself exploring these options to support you right now.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Recently and going forward, many of us are making phone calls to students to check in to see if you might need any assistance.  The calls are coming from our homes and may look like a blocked number. Many students have found these calls useful to raise questions or concerns. These calls have also been a gift to all of us, allowing us to hear your voices and know you are okay and committed to finding a way to make this work.

 

I am writing to you on behalf of the campus. Our focus as we began this journey was to ensure the safety and protection of everyone on our campus and to ensure our students have every opportunity to achieve each course’s learning outcomes and completes a successful semester.  We all care about you and we want you to achieve the educational goals you have set for yourself.  Let us help you. 

You can reach me personally by responding to this email, or calling 413-236-1001.  

Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 7) at 5:00  and on Friday, April 10 at noon, I will be hosting ZOOM STUDENT Town Halls.  The ZOOM connection is below.  We record these town halls and put them in the MYBCC Portal on our website.  The calls last as long as there are student questions.  If we can’t answer them during the call, we post the questions and responses on the portal.

Please also reach out to Beth Wallace, Dean of Students (413-236-1601) COVID19@BerskshireCC.edu with any questions, suggestions or concerns.

On our website, near the bottom of our home page in the blue band, you will find a link to MAKE A SUGGESTION. You can include your contact information (and I will respond) or submit anonymously. This is another way to ask a question, raise an issue or make a suggestion.

We have used what you have shared with us to improve our response and address gaps in our support structure. 

We know these are complicated times, and it is quite likely there are many demands on your time, responsibilities beyond your college education, and uneven access to technology and the internet.  We want to help you think through solutions to the issues you are facing.

We embrace as our mantra in these uncertain times “Assume good intentions” #assumegoodintentions.  Assume that your faculty member is doing their best to help you learn, grow and achieve.  Assume that those who have outward roles of support will return your call or email as quickly as possible.  When things don’t go quite according to plan, assume everyone involved wants a better outcome and is doing their best. If you don’t hear right back, please try again.  We are all learning to do things in very different ways.  Just like you, we are learning new technologies, new ways of communicating and working and new ways of connecting. 

We hope the coming weeks are productive and provide you with a sense of control over at least one aspect of your life as you settle in to a different way of learning.

With kind regards, and complete belief in our collective ability to make this semester a success,

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Ellen

  • A message from Dean of Students, Beth Wallace, April 3, 2020

    In this time of change and adaptability, communication is one of the keys to your success.  What I mean by that is if you need something, I encourage you to ask your professor, ask a staff person that you might be connected to, or check out the Student Resource Page on our website.  https://www.berkshirecc.edu/news-events/2020/covid19resources.php.  We can only help you if we know what you need help with. 

    • Our Student Town Halls have been very successful, therefore the President will continue to do them throughout the semester.  Our next Town Hall will be Tuesday, April 7th at 5 pm.  This platform is not just for questions; we welcome your comments, we want to know what is working for you, tips about what it’s like to learning from home, really whatever you want to share.

     A message from our Digital Commons

    • If you need a hand with Moodle, Word, or some other technology that's annoying you?  All it takes is 15 minutes to get most problems solved!  Click here to Schedule an appointment
    • Need help RIGHT NOW? Click here BCC Knowledge Base to check out the Knowledge Base for how-to's and articles answering many common questions.

    Community Update: 

    • The Census work is still continuing despite the challenges they are facing with the outbreak of COVID19.  The national response rate is currently 36.2%, the Massachusetts response rate is 38.3%, and the county response rate is 33.9%, so they are a bit behind.  Due to the suspension of field work, the rural communities are not having forms dropped off at homes. However, postcards did go out to PO Boxes.  If you haven’t already done so, I would strongly urge you to go to https://www.census.gov/ and complete the census online, you don’t have to wait for your postcard.
    • The BRTA is working hard to keep their routes going, they have made some changes that will go into effect Monday, April 6.  Here is the link to their website https://www.berkshirerta.com/publicannouncements.php

    Update from Spectrum: How to secure free internet service from Spectrum using the COVID-19 Remote Education Credit

    • During this time of uncertainty due to COVID-19, Spectrum is offering special discounts to households affected by this virus. Beginning Monday, March 16, they offer free access to internet and WiFi for 60-days for new Pre-K to 12, college student and teacher households who don't currently have internet or WiFi service. This discount will be applied as a credit for your first two months of internet services. They’ll waive any installation or pre-payment fees to help get you started.
    • You can qualify for this offer if you: Have a student of qualifying age at your service address with remote education needs, have not subscribed to Spectrum internet services within the past 30 days:
    • How to sign up: Call (855) 243-8892 to sign up for this offer:
    • MAKE SURE YOU MENTION YOU ARE CALLING ABOUT THE COVID-19 (NEW CORONAVIRUS) OFFER FOR FREE SERVICE. Please note: wait times on the call may be long.  You may be offered a chance to have a call back instead of waiting on hold.  If you have a past due balance with Spectrum, you must clear that before you can receive the free service for two months. You will receive internet speed of 100Mbps (Megabits per second) for free for 2 months.  After 2 months, your account will roll over to an ongoing account with promotional pricing of $54.99 per month. AFTER THE TWO MONTHS, YOU MUST CALL (855) 243-8892 TO CANCEL YOUR SERVICE IF DESIRED.  If you don’t call to cancel, your service will automatically roll over and you will be billed for the ongoing usage after the two months have expired.

    If we fail to address a problem or challenge you are experiencing, please reach out to me.  

    Have a great weekend, you have earned it!

    Beth Wallace
    Dean of Students
    Berkshire Community College

  • A message from the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment, March 25, 2020

    Good morning,

    I hope you are continuing to positively transition to your new remote school environment. I know that making this change is challenging for many of you and I want to ensure you our team is prepared to help you in any way that you need. Please continue to check your BCC email as we’ll be sending important information here.

    Due to the changes to your spring 2020 classes we have decided that registration will open on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 for currently enrolled students. This should give you time to adjust, and find time to connect with your advisor. We also have a wonderful Advising Center team who will work to ensure that every student is well-served. You can contact them at 413-236-1620.

    If you have a Faculty advisor, you should plan on working directly with them. Here is a link to our faculty and staff directory.

    Please reach out with any questions, by responding to this email, emailing covid19@berkshirecc.edu , or by calling 413-236-1601.

    Thank you. Wishing good health to you and yours.

    Adam Klepetar

    Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

  • Message from the VP of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, March 24, 2020

    Good Afternoon, 

    I wanted to reach out to remind you that face to face classes are suspended this week and will resume remotely the week of Monday, March 30th.  Your faculty will be in touch with you directly about your individual courses.

    We realize that this has been a very challenging few weeks for all of you as you navigate the changes that are happening in your own lives, here in our community, and all around the world. The effects of this pandemic are no doubt weighing on your minds and altering every aspect of how you live, work, and learn. Here at BCC, we want you to know that we’re thinking about you and miss the energy and liveliness you, our students, bring to our campus. We are committed to your academic success and your personal health and safety.  

    On behalf of our BCC faculty and staff, I want to thank all of you for your continued patience and flexibility as we adjust and strive to find a “new normal.” We are focused on helping you finish the academic year given these extraordinary circumstances while also keeping you and our community safe. You are our number one priority, and your ability to thrive in this new environment is our number one goal. To better serve your needs and answer your questions, we have created a COVID hotline at 413-236-1601. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.  

     Additionally, here are some communication channels and resources that you will want to access:

    BCC Email 

    We will be communicating with you often and ask that you please remember to check your College email frequently. Your student email is the primary way we will be in touch with you during this time. Please use your BCC email to communicate with your faculty members, or to reach out to our College support services. BCC’s face-to-face courses will be suspended through the remainder of the spring semester and we are moving to remote instruction. While the College is open, we ask you to call or email if you plan to visit the campus. We want to expedite your time on-campus and assist you in the best way that we can. 

    Moodle 

    If they have not done so already, your faculty members will be in touch soon about remote learning plans for your courses. In most cases, courses will utilize Moodle, BCC’s learning management system. Many of you are already familiar with Moodle. 

    While Moodle can be accessed through mobile devices (through a browser or the Moodle app), some features will not function in a mobile environment. BCC Academic Technology staff strongly recommend using a computer to access Moodle. Students who need support from BCC to access computers and/or an internet connection should get in touch with us right away. We will work with you on any number of options.  

    Online Resources 

    To communicate your technology needs, please email onlinehelp@berkshirecc.edu. We will continue to compile a list of resources available to you.  

    There is an enormous amount of information coming at all of us including information about the changes to your learning method for the remainder of the semester. I’m happy to let you know that our student support service professionals are ready and available to provide you with the resources you need this semester. 

    If you have any questions, please reach out us at covid19@berkshirecc.edu. We will continue to provide timely updates on our website 

    Adam Klepetar

    Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Berkshire Community College

  • Message from the VP of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, March 18, 2020

    Good morning,

    We recognize that this is a stressful time in your lives and you are likely balancing a great deal of emotions and challenges. The crisis we are facing a local and national level is unprecedented.

    In the interest of keeping our community as safe as possible, BCC courses will be delivered remotely beginning on March 30 and will continue in this manner through the spring semester. Our primary goal is to make sure that your coursework can continue and that any disruption does not present disadvantages to your academic or career progress.

    While the operations of the BCC will continue, our goal is to try to minimize the number of people coming on campus to reduce contact between individuals. That said, this is your College and we want you to engage with us by phone, electronically or in-person. We ask that if you do need to come to campus that you practice appropriate social distancing.

    We recognize that each student has varying degrees of comfort with learning at a distance and with change. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to your well-being, and are committed to providing you the supports you need to be successful in your courses. Our faculty members will be working on transitioning to remote learning and will be in touch with you.

    Adam Klepetar

    Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Berkshire Community College

  • Message from the President, March 13, 2020

    Good day to the BCC community,

    I am writing to update you on additional preemptive measures that Berkshire Community College is taking in response to COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of our campus community.  In order for the College to limit potential future exposure, we have made the decision to implement policies and practices that promote social distancing including:

    • Face-to-face courses, the face-to-face component of hybrid courses, and labs will be suspended during the week of March 23-27 (the week after spring break). We will provide updates via your BCC student email about these courses, and your faculty will also be reaching out to you regarding any further changes to their courses.  Please continue to watch your BCC email for further updates.
    • If you’re in a face-to-face class that may temporarily utilize remote instruction, it will not begin until March 30th
    • Online courses and the online portions of hybrid courses will continue as scheduled on March 23rd without interruption.
    • If you are registered for an eight-week course that is scheduled to begin on March 23rd you will hear directly from your instructor.
    • At this time, the schedule for finals will remain the same.

    All BCC offices and buildings will remain open and student support services will continue to be available.  BCC’s Library, Digital Commons, Tutoring Center, Testing Center, Paterson Field House, Food Services, Campus Cupboard, Student Support Center (personal counseling and disability resources), TRIO, the Bookstore, Student Engagement, Enrollment, Student Financial Services, and Academic Advising Transfer and Career Offices will be open as scheduled.

    If you have specific questions, below is a list of resources:

    • Computer, internet, or other technology access needs – onlinehelp@berkshirecc.edu or 413-236-3004 during normal business hours – 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM weekdays.
    • This is a good time to update your Emergency Notification Contacts.
    • We recognize that the news regarding the coronavirus will create stress and anxiety for many people, and, as always, our counseling services team is available for students who want assistance coping with the situation. They can be reached at berkshirecc.edu/personalcounseling.
    • Work-study students should contact their supervisors about their work schedules.
    • Students who are in clinicals, field work, independent studies, or service learning should contact their faculty member.
    • We recognize that some students may be facing life challenges such as food insecurity and homelessness.  If you are in this situation, please reach out to Beth Wallace, Dean of Students, who can be reached at bwallace@berkshirecc.edu so that we may be able to provide you resources.
    • Faculty and staff are available by phone or email.
    • For questions related to BCC’s response to COVID-19, please contact covid19@berkshirecc.edu or visit BCC’s website.

    BCC is focused on providing a safe environment while also maintaining instruction, and is acting on the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Massachusetts Department of Health, and other government and health authorities to reduce the number of people coming into close physical contact.

    We appreciate your continued individual attention to preventive measures to minimize risk of contracting or spreading the virus: washing hands carefully and avoiding gatherings of significant numbers of people are two primary ways to help lessen the impact of the virus on the community. To that end, we ask that if you come to campus, do not bring guests or family members with you as this only increases the risk of exposure.  Remember: if you are feeling sick, do not come to campus.

    Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we all work together to keep our community safe.

    signature

    Ellen Kennedy
    President, Berkshire Community College

  • Message from the Dean of Students, March 12, 2020.

    Good afternoon, 

    BCC continues to work with our state and local public health partners around the evolving COVID-19 situation. At this time, classes will proceed as scheduled.  

    We have canceled some events that draw large numbers of people. Barring a change in response at the state or national level on the decision to suspend the use of our facilities to outside groups, any events after April 10 are still scheduled to take place. Understanding the fluidity of this situation, we know that this could change in a matter of days or weeks. 

    A Continuation of Operations Planning (COOP) group made up of Academic, Enrollment, Student Affairs, Human Resource, Security, Facilities, Finance, and Communications are meeting daily to prepare and plan for any eventuality and are monitoring this ever-changing situation closely.  

    The CDC advises us all to continue to practice social distancing and thorough hand washing.  

    BCC has established an email address dedicated to questions related to COVID-19 for those who would like to share specific concerns – covid19@berkshirecc.edu.   

  • Known Cancellations

    At this time, we are canceling (and in some instances, trying to reschedule):

    • The Talk Saves Lives training scheduled for March 12;
    • The OLLI Williamstown Theatre Festival Community Works event on March 14;
    • The ECE Conference that was scheduled for March 16;
    • The Nursing Info-session on March 21 and March 25;
    • The 40 Under Forty event on March 26;
    • The Live Out Loud Community event on March 28;
    • The OLLI University Day on April 6;
    • Experience BCC on April 22;
    • Wellness Day on April 25.

    There are potentially more cancelations expected, so please check back for those announcements or follow us on Facebook.

  • Message from the President - March 11, 2020

    Good day BCC community members,

    This is an update on facilities use at Berkshire Community College.  Late yesterday, Governor Baker declared a state-of-emergency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts based on the spreading COVID 19 virus.  One of the mandates is related to the use of state-owned facilities:

    Conferences, seminars and other discretionary gatherings, scheduled and hosted by the College involving external parties, are to be held virtually or cancelled. 

     

    We are suspending use of our facilities to outside groups through April 10th. We are in contact with appropriate state agencies and will keep you apprised of this evolving situation. This measure will be revisited in 30 days or sooner as circumstances dictate by the Commonwealth.

    Our primary focus is to continue to provide a safe learning and working environment for our students and employees.  We recognize that the decisions being made at the state level are intended to support these efforts. 

    At this time, classes will proceed as scheduled.

    We regret the inconvenience this outcome will cause you.  We will work with you to reschedule.   Please be in touch with any questions, issues or concerns, or if you need additional clarification.

    I am sorry,
    Ellen

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    Ellen Kennedy
    President, Berkshire Community College

  • Message from the President - March 8, 2020:

    Good day BCC community members:

    As many of you already know, there is a presumptive positive diagnosis of Covid 19 (also known as the Coronavirus) at Berkshire Medical Center. We are in close contact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) concerning this matter to ensure that we are taking all the necessary steps and precautions associated with COVID-19.  In all cases of potential concern, we will follow the protocols and recommendations as set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    According to the CDC, “Those at greatest risk of infection are persons who have had prolonged, unprotected close contact with a patient with symptomatic, confirmed COVID-19 and those who live in or have recently been to areas with sustained transmission.”  The CDC also shares that groups at highest risk include older people and those with severe underlying health conditions—like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example.

    As a reminder, please know that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and our local Community Boards of Public Health are following their protocols for keeping all of us informed about COVID 19. 

    The CDC recommends the following everyday precautions:

    Avoid close contact with people who are sick

    Take everyday preventive actions:

    • Clean your hands often
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
    • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
    • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
    • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
    • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
    • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

    While we do not currently anticipate an extended campus closure, it is important that we all consider how operations will continue in the event that we do need to temporarily close:

    Faculty:  Last week, Jennifer and Lauren sent out communication around resources to ensure the continuity of instruction in the event of a campus closure.   Please don't wait to schedule training or consultation with staff from the Division of Teaching and Learning Innovation. For Moodle training and questions, email moodlehelp@berkshirecc.edu; for anything else teaching-related, contact Lauren Goodman (lgoodman@berkshirecc.edu) or Stacy Evans (sevans@berkshirecc.edu).

    Staff:  If you need additional training or have questions about how to complete necessary tasks remotely, please contact your supervisor, who will work with IT and other campus support staff to help you find these solutions.

    You may have noticed an increased presence of maintainers working on keeping surfaces such as door handles, railings, and restrooms clean.  We plan to continue this vigilance and we know the whole community joins us in our appreciation of these efforts.

    Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) 

    Please be in touch with any questions, concerns or issues. Our website also contains important links and information. 

    Remaining calm and using common sense approaches to protecting ourselves, our students, colleagues and community is our greatest defense against Covid 19. 

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    Ellen Kennedy
    President
    Berkshire Community College
    1350 West Street
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
    413-236-1003
    ekennedy@berkshirecc.edu