COVID-19 News

This is a collection of news from around the regions that will be updated weekly.

This page will serve as a resource for all community college news related to the COVID-19 pandemic. ACCT staff will update this page weekly as new information is published, so be sure to check back regularly. If you have any news from your institution that you think would be beneficial to the general membership, please send it to Jacob Bray at 


ACCT | ACCT’s Pandemic Response & Commitment to Our Members

Over the past week, along with the rest of the world, ACCT has made some adjustments to the way we work. We have been in touch with many members who have been affected in myriad ways, and we want to assure you that ACCT continues to be available to meet member needs through this unprecedented global event. At this time, we anticipate that most member services will remain unaffected and uninterrupted. LINK 

MarketWatch | Ocelot Launches Free COVID-19 AI Chatbot for Colleges and Universities

Ocelot, the nation's largest Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider of multilingual AI chatbots and videos to higher education, announced today that it has created a free customizable COVID-19 response chatbot for colleges. Over the past few weeks, numerous colleges and universities across the United States have taken drastic steps to counter COVID-19, including closing campus, moving coursework online, and cancelling activities and events. "Schools are facing great challenges and disruptions from COVID-19," said Ocelot Founder and CEO Damon Vangelis. "Our tool is very easy for schools to deploy to communicate about COVID-19. We are providing this resource for no charge. Schools can deploy it remotely and use it as long as they need." LINK


IA | The Courier | Hawkeye Community College adds to COVID-19 response plans

All Hawkeye locations and buildings closed at the end of business on Thursday. The college will be closed today as part of the scheduled spring break. College staff will begin the transition to working remotely on Monday. Student support services will be available by phone, email, or Zoom video conferencing. Services include admissions, financial aid, academic advising, records and registration, business services, and tutoring. Laptops are available for student checkout from the Hawkeye Library from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. Use the north entrance. Students must be enrolled in the spring 2020 semester and present a valid Hawkeye ID. Hawkeye’s Student Health Clinic and mental health counseling will remain open in the Health Education Services Center on Main Campus. It is recommended that students schedule an appointment. Counseling services are also available online 24/7 through Employee & Family Resources. LINK


CA | EdSource | California community colleges begin to move classes online in response to coronavirus

Community colleges in California on Wednesday were officially given the green light to suspend in-person classes, and several of them have already joined other higher education institutions across the state and country in moving to online instruction in response to the growing threat of coronavirus. In a webinar on Wednesday involving the presidents of individual campuses, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the system’s statewide chancellor, told them they can skip the standard approval process, which involves getting permission from Oakley’s office, and move classes online as soon as they deem necessary. LINK

CA | EdSource | Some California college students find refuge on campus during a pandemic

California’s public universities and colleges have moved most courses online to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Still, dorms remain open for some like homeless, foster, out-of-state, international students or those who have nowhere else to turn. Although many of the services that make up daily life on campus like recreation centers and libraries have ceased operating, dining halls and health and counseling services remain open. California’s most vulnerable college students often rely on those services especially if they don’t have a car or family nearby that could help them. LINK

OR | Register Guard | How Lane County colleges are preparing for COVID-19

LCC has activated its own incident response team in response to the COVID-19 spread, and — by being part of the same resilience university network as UO — has been in contact with other higher education institutions. Last week, the community college also announced it is restricting travel to areas significantly affected by the disease. This includes countries that have a Level 3 “do not travel” advisory set by the U.S. Department of State: China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. It also includes the three U.S. states with the highest number of cases: Washington, California and New York. LINK


MA | The Enterprise | Massasoit Community College closes campus in response to possible coronavirus cases

In response, buildings at all three Massasoit locations in Brockton, Canton and Middleboro were closed starting at 12 p.m. Thursday until Tuesday, March 17 so an outside vendor brought in can “deep clean,” Glickman noted in the email. With the campus shut down, classes scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday were cancelled, though classes scheduled for offsite locations and online classes will continue as scheduled, Glickman said. Business offices at the college will resume activity on Tuesday, March 17, though spring break scheduled from March 15 to 22 will take place as planned, according to a follow-up email sent out to students. Classes will resume on March 23 as previously scheduled, though students will be notified via email if anything changes during the course of spring break. Other area colleges have already taken steps in response to the coronavirus, including cancelling classes or moving them online as well as deep-cleaning campus. LINK

NJ | | Robust coronavirus testing site at New Jersey community college to open Friday with FEMA help

New Jersey’s first government-run drive-thru coronavirus testing center is set to open Friday in Bergen County as the outbreak continues to spread across the state. And a second, similar site is likely to be open next week in Monmouth County, officials said, as the state works to expand testing amid concerns over the number of tests available. The first center — a joint effort between local, state, and federal officials — will be located at Bergen Community College in Paramus. LINK


NE | KTIC | Northeast Community College outlines measures to deal with Coronavirus outbreak

At a news conference at the City of Norfolk offices featuring representatives of several agencies and organizations on Monday, Leah Barrett, president, said Northeast has extended winter break for students only through Sunday, March 22. Students and faculty were on winter break last week. Also, all activities and events in all Northeast facilities at all locations have been cancelled through March 22. “Northeast Community College has moved from a monitoring posture to one of planning for how the College may respond to minimize exposure to our students, faculty, and staff if such actions become warranted,” she said. “We have developed a COVID-19 Strike Force Team with multiple planning levels that has been meeting to develop plans for continuing instructional and operational activities.” LINK

NE | Norfolk Daily News | Community college builds face shields for Omaha hospital

An Omaha hospital system concerned about protecting medical staff who treat those infected with a highly contagious new coronavirus has turned to a local community college for help. The Metropolitan Community College's prototype design lab is now producing plastic face shields for Nebraska Medicine amid a supply shortage of personal protective equipment for health care workers. Volunteers from the lab and other areas of the college are helping by assembling the masks from supplies lab coordinator Ken Heinze has collected from Omaha-area stores. LINK

TX | KVUE | Austin Community College prepares personal protective equipment kits for healthcare workers

Austin Community College (ACC) is doing its part to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to local health care workers and first responders in need amid the coronavirus pandemic. "We have hundreds of gloves, masks, shoe covers, hair covers and gowns in storage rooms. Our students and faculty won’t be able to use those this semester, but our healthcare workers can – and they need them. We’re in a unique position to help," said. Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president and CEO. LINK


SC | The Item | FTC offering free internet to new customers, college students during virus outbreak

FTC is offering 60 days of free internet service and free installation to homes that have children in need of internet to continue their learning online while school is out during the coronavirus pandemic. To be eligible, homes must be the primary home of a student in kindergarten through high school, technical school, college or graduate school; a new customer that has not been an internet customer with FTC for the past 90 days; and a primary home located in FTC’s service area. LINK

NC | Goldsboro Daily News | WCC Moves to Online Instruction, Sets Up Alternative Service Options

Formal guidance from the North Carolina Community College System provides for a few exceptions to seated-class ban “to accommodate the critical need for public safety and public health services in response to this crisis.” WCC is working on how to provide for those exceptions, which include “law enforcement training, fire training, emergency medical and rescue training, nursing, or other training specifically requested by public safety and public health response agencies, including the military.” LINK

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