By Alexandria Zine
Image provided by Meghan Dundon
The spring semester of 2020-2021 is still a fusion of hybrid/remote courses, especially through Massachusetts’ capricious augmentations since CCCC’s initial implementation of the COVID-19 protocols on campus. The fervency behind the astute frequency in handling these guidelines radiates from the integral courses in the Mathematics and English Language and Literature departments to the Aviation program, the Nursing program, and courses in embalming. Not many of the COVID-19 campus protocols’ facets— temperature checks, the exigency that’s wrapped in cloth shields for one’s face, the reliance of indomitable disinfectants at every moment of the day, and social distancing— have been jostled, nor have any of them vanished only to fuse with other components.
“The original plan we created to help navigate COVID was done internally based upon CDC Guidance and Governor’s Guidance,” said Christopher Clark, Vice President of Finance and Operations. “The Governor did create more specific Guidance for Higher Education through a Certification process. During my time we have had two rewrites based upon updated Guidance. Overall the Plan relative to Cohorts, Cleaning, masking etc. has not changed significantly as the guidance has been updated so has the plan.”
It is critical that these balusters of collective health are used throughout every hour of every day, especially now that students and faculty have had to jet into the third semester where academics and precautions against the pandemic are dishearteningly inextricable.
“At the end of the first semester of remote learning,” said Arlene Rodriguez, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, “we surveyed students and a majority felt they did well, better than what they thought they would do. We have found that students and faculty comply with the regulations. We’re all about keeping everyone safe while continuing their education.”
Rodriguez also implores faculty and students to request sanitation and other subordinate supplies that construct our blockade against COVID-19. These incumbent instruments of health are typically available in every room on campus, particularly the laboratories [for scientific endeavors], the hangar [for students who are gliding into the plane of aviation], the simulation laboratories where prospective nurses learn the art of convalescence, and the funeral homes in the vicinity for students who are invested in embalming. For those who find having a presence on campus to be unnerving, CCCC does offer at-home lab kits for such scenarios, which are quite ubiquitous.
“Since then,” said Rodriguez, “we feel that we’ve settled into this new remote world and are progressing well. We still offer weekly training sessions for faculty and staff. We realize that it might take some time to return to full face-to-face classes on campus, so we plan to keep live streaming classes and expand the number of online courses available. Even when we return to whatever normal we return to, we know that not everyone will be able to travel to campus, so we plan to keep live streaming. It’s a feature that will help those students stay home because of a sick child or car troubles. We’ll be able to teach courses remotely because we want to serve our students, not because of an emergency.”
If this imposed academic format is crashing upon one’s life, financially and mentally, blinding one with its onslaught of disorienting foam, then the Student Wellness Center is a sensible source to revitalize one’s former traction in life. Rodriguez also said that students can unequivocally resort to CALM [Crisis and Life Management] as well as emergency funds that encapsulate food, utilities, and more. The primary contact for CALM, Active Minds Club, and more is Dr. Maura Weir, who pilots such invaluable resources. Regarding academic assistance, the Wilkens Library is still available for two-hour appointments that are usually made in advance.
“If a student is not comfortable with using Zoom,” said Rodriguez, “we urge them to talk to their professors. We want to make sure all our students have the opportunity to succeed, so if there is a problem, let us know. To support students, we have a laptop loan program. We also loan students and faculty web cameras, if their home computer does not have one. Students can make an appointment to live stream from the library; wifi is also available in parking lot 11.”
During the present, incredibly abrasive and universal anguish, it is vital to share any concerns with your advisors, peers, and other vessels of guidance.
Regarding admittance to on campus spots, COVID-19 Symptom Monitors evaluate incoming students’ symptoms with a checklist of those concerning indicators and a temperature reader.
“The COVID Symptom Monitors are supervised overall by myself,” said Clark, with Chief Maria Padilla and Sgt. David McGraw coordinating schedules. “I often stop and talk with them at the beginning of the day and at the end. I think we have recruited some very good people that have been strongly encouraged to be friendly.”
The fulfillment of this position is bound to possess much fluctuation, as much as every other aspect of this pandemic’s nature and repercussions, but Clark said that 4C’s monitors seek to answer every query with as many accessible facts as possible.
Since the position of campus monitor encounters the formation of brief gaps that are hastily secured with substitution, 4Cs has posted this position on platforms such as Indeed.com to make the recruitment process highly expedient.
“Surprisingly,” said Clark, “the positions have not been that hard to recruit. The limited hours, temporary nature and outdoors work is not always appealing. Our history has been that the Monitors that we have hired that have left have either obtained new full-time work or increased the hours at the primary job. We are recruiting again to increase the number back up to a more optimal level to achieve better coverage.”
Paul Alexander, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, concurs with the status of such employment. Despite the endurance of such acetic arrangements, it seems that the 4Cs campus is off to a copacetic beat this year.