Reopening Plan

Here is Rockland Community College’s Reopening Plan that is certified by the State University of New York (SUNY). Please contact Ben Naylor, Chief of Staff, at [email protected] with any questions regarding the plan.

Table of Contents

  1. Restarting On-Campus Operations
    1. Campus Planning Task Force
    2. Academic Program Planning
    3. Restarting On-Campus Operations: Social Distancing, Cleaning, PPE Preparedness
  2. Communication & Outreach Plan
  3. Time Required for Restarting On-Campus Operations
  4. Returning to Remote Operations

1. Restarting On-Campus Operations

  1. Campus Planning Task Force
    Beginning in late April 2020, a campus task force was convened to begin developing recommendations for a reopening plan for Rockland Community College. Those task force members were broken into three groups based on the three guiding principles identified by the senior administration and which are listed below. They then provided their recommendations to the senior administration in late May. Rockland Community College’s full re-opening plan was certified by the State University of New York on July 6, 2020.
    Ensuring the Health, Safety, and Well-being of Our Campus Community:
    Bill Murphy, Executive Director of Operations and Chief Law Enforcement Officer; Susan Lyddon, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the RCC Foundation; Natalie Scott, Director of Human Resources; Bill Hohlfeld, President, Rockland Community College Adjunct Faculty Association; Dr. Jeff McLean, President, Faculty Senate; Domingo Reyes, Vice President, CSEA; Thomas Leonard, Student Trustee

    Minimizing the Financial Impact to Students and Employees: Dr. Dan Dobell, Interim Chief Financial Officer; Dr. Beth Coyle, Vice President of Operations and Strategic Initiatives; Natalie Scott, Director of Human Resources; Jim Robertson, President, Administrative Staff Assembly; Dr. Bob Schultz, Associate Provost of Academic Affairs

    Advancing Our Student Success Agenda and Continuity of Student Learning: Dr. Susan Deer, Provost and Executive Vice President; Dr. Helen Brewer, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs; Robin Conklin, Registrar; Debra Bouabidi, Executive Director of Educational Planning; Elyse Fuller, Interim President, Rockland Community College Federation of Teachers; Ashari James, Director, Academic Support Services; Adessa Butler, Program Director, Science and Green Building Maintenance and Management; Dr. Fabiola Riobe, Interim Associate Provost for Academic Innovation, Online Education, and Global Opportunities; Patty Kobes, Assistant to the Provost; Fraxen Ait Belkacem, President, RCC Student Government Association; Jodilynn Greco, Coordinator of the RCC High School Program; Jon Jon Chua, President, Rockland Community College Federation of Administrators; Maureen Kroning, Program Director, Nursing; Cathy Roche, Professor, Business; Dr. Melanie Rie, Dean, School of STEM; Joe Falco, Executive Director, Student Success; Jillian Decker, Assistant Director, Science

    Bill Murphy, Executive Director of Operations and Chief Law Enforcement Officer, is the point of contact for Rockland Community College with the local Region Control Room, Department of Health, and the hospitals that serve Rockland Community College. Mr. Murphy has been at the College for 37 years and served as the Director of Public Safety for more than 20 years.

  2. Academic Program Planning There are three scenarios related to academic program planning for the fall.
    1. Tele-campus mode. Rockland Community College has been working and delivering instruction in a tele-campus mode since mid-March 2020. This has allowed RCC to reduce the density on campus as only a small number of essential personnel (mostly in Plant Facilities, Grounds, Housekeeping, and Public Safety) are physically on campus, and has allowed for a deep clean on the entire College. In this modality, the vast majority of employees continued to telecommute and all instruction was delivered virtually. Any employee who needed to come into the office for the day was required to notify their Vice President and if that Vice President agreed with the need to be on-campus, the Vice President then sought the permission of the Executive Director of Operations and Chief Law Enforcement Officer.
    2. Modified-campus mode. The Mid-Hudson region officially moved into Stage 4 on July 7, 2020. In accordance with meeting this NY state standard, RCC has now begun the process of moving into a modified-campus mode. The College will begin to move no more than 30% of population on campus at a time. Thereafter, RCC will continue monitoring and modifying density as needed in an effort to promote the health and safety of all while also maintaining optimal campus based staffing levels. In addition, all onsite classes will have a distancing plan in place. The majority of employees and students will continue to telecommute and receive instruction virtually and most meetings will be conducted electronically. For Fall 2020, more than 90% of instruction will remain remote. In-person instruction will be for courses with academic outcomes that cannot be measured or achieved remotely, such as performance, laboratory, and clinical experiences and other select courses.
    3. Full-campus mode. RCC will finally move into a full-campus mode once it has been determined that the community spread of the COVID-19 virus is not expected to return, and there is sufficient community immunity and availability of treatment. At this point, the campus will become fully operational again with full on-site instruction, a relaxation of social distancing rules, and the allowance of large events.
    1. Classroom Population Density RCC’s Executive Director of Operations and his staff have completed a review of all classroom spaces to determine capacity while taking into account social distancing guidance. His team will continue to work with the Provost and Executive Vice President to identify which courses will meet in which classrooms, based on registration figures and identifying those courses to conduct in-person.

      In addition, the Executive Director of Operations and his staff have conducted a review of all other on-campus spaces to identify additional classroom space should it be necessary to close smaller classrooms. This team has identified a number of spaces within our Field House, cafeteria and other locations that will serve as classroom space, if necessary.

    2. Instructional and Research Laboratory Protocols All classrooms have been measured to identify a seating plan that maintains a six-foot distance between everyone in the room. Signage will also be posted on all doors and throughout the campus reiterating the social distancing requirements.
      RCC’s Executive Director of Operations and his staff have performed an analysis of all campus spaces, including gathering spaces. Students will only be permitted on campus for their classes and will be instructed to depart campus immediately after. In addition to the deployment of the campus’ communications plan and posting of signage across campus, all furniture will be removed from gathering spaces to discourage students from remaining on campus following their classes.

      CDC approved face coverings must be worn at all times by everyone on campus when six-foot social distancing cannot be accomplished.

  3. Restarting On-Campus Operations
    1. Residence Halls
      Rockland Community College does not maintain any residential facilities and no faculty, staff or students reside on campus.
    2. Dining Services
      The Rockland Community College cafeteria and Hawk’s Nest will remain closed for dining services until further notice.
    3. Personal Protection Equipment
      Rockland Community College maintains an inventory of PPE on campus, which will be available to faculty, staff and students. Anyone returning to campus will be required to wear a face covering in any situation in which they will come within six feet of others. Each student and employee returning to campus will be provided with two reusable face coverings. However, these students and employees may also use their own if they choose to. Employees will be trained on the proper use of and disposal of their PPE.

      Any student, employee, or visitor to the campus who refuses to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines including social distancing and facial coverings will be instructed to leave the campus and will be subject to disciplinary action.

      In addition to face coverings, the College provides and maintains hand hygiene stations throughout the main campus and its off-site facilities, including handwashing with soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels, as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible. Finally, the College has ultraviolet technology in stock to disinfect items that cannot be touched by wet cleaning materials, Plexiglas screens for numerous locations in which students must interact directly with campus staff, as well as a large supply of disposable gloves.

    4. Screening, Testing and Tracing
      All employees, and visitors who plan to be on campus must self-monitor their health and symptoms every day prior to coming on campus. Rockland Community College will use the CampusClear app to review all data related to the self-monitoring of these individuals. In addition, students will also be required to periodically self-report their symptoms based on whether they plan to be on campus as determined by their class schedule.

      These individuals will electronically file an attestation that includes their name, e-mail address, department (if applicable), and several health-related questions including but not necessarily limited to:

      1. Is your temperature 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher?
      2. Have you knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has had symptoms of COVID-19?
      3. Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
      4. Have you experienced any new or worsening potential symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

      If an employee answers “yes” to any of the above questions, an email will be sent to Human Resources and a message will appear stating that the employee should not report to work, they should immediately inform their supervisor, and they should call their primary health care provider or one of the local health system COVID-19 hotlines.

      If all answers are “no,” the information will be sent to a database for campus records and the employee may report to work on campus.

      Employees may not report to work on campus if they are feeling ill.

      If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms and either tests positive for COVID-19 or did not receive a test, the individual may only return to work after completing at least 10 days of self-quarantine and after symptoms have subsided.

      If an employee does not have COVID-19 symptoms but tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may only return to work after completing at least 10 days of self-quarantine.

      If an employee has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and is experiencing potential symptoms of COVID-19, even if symptoms are deemed not related to COVID-19, the employee must still complete a 10-day quarantine after the contact.

      If an employee has had close contact with a person with COVID-19, even if they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the individual must complete a 10-day self-quarantine.

      RCC is working closely with the Rockland County Health Department, which maintains a robust contact tracer program to ensure that both the College and the County are immediately aware of any positive cases involving any member of the RCC campus community.

      If a positive case is reported, the individual will be sent home immediately, the area in which the employee has spent time will be cordoned off and disinfected according to CDC guidelines and with CDC approved products, and state and local health departments will be immediately notified.

      Employees and students always have access to tele-counseling and County services including mental health, food assistance, etc. through Rockland Community College’s Connection Center, as well as virtual academic support through the Tutoring Center.

      Employees who have specific issues that may affect their ability to return to work on campus (childcare, eldercare, health status, etc.) should communicate with Human Resources. Human Resources will handle each issue on a case by case basis.

      Students who sign up for a course that will be taught on-campus but who are uncomfortable returning to campus due to COVID-19 will be asked to be in touch with their instructor and their Dean to discuss their individual situation. These will also be handled on a case by case basis.

    5. Custodial Services
      Rockland Community College has a dedicated custodial staff who has been working diligently to disinfect all areas of the campus, including classrooms, offices, high-touch surfaces, and common areas. In addition, the custodial staff conducts more frequent cleanings of high risk areas. Each space is publicly logged by a member of the custodial staff following its cleaning so that it is visible when the area was last cleaned.

      The HVAC system has been updated with MERV-13 air filters. It is currently operational on campus and the Plant Facilities team has continually been flushing water, and monitoring the HVAC and electrical systems on campus since the pandemic began.

    6. Student Health Services
      Rockland Community College has enjoyed a long treasured relationship with both Rockland County hospitals. If a medical emergency occurs on the Suffern Campus, the individual would be transported to Good Samaritan Hospital. Any medical emergencies that occur at the Nyack Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center, Orangeburg Automotive Center and Haverstraw campuses would be transported to Nyack Montefiore Hospital. Additionally, the Public Safety departments Automated External Defibrillator program is also under the medical direction of Good Samaritan Hospital. All public safety officers on campus are trained in first aid response and have PPE at their disposal.
    7. Vision for “Town and Gown” interactions
      At the present time, Rockland Community College is not renting space to any entity. The College will continue to make decisions based on state and local guidance with regards to gatherings of large numbers of persons. Any entity seeking to rent space on the RCC campus must have a certificate of insurance, and must submit a safety plan describing what PPE they will deploy and how they plan to ensure physical distancing.

      Prior to the pandemic, each bus line for Transportation of Rockland stopped on the RCC campus. Currently, and going forward until further notice, the bus line has been rerouted to a location across the street from the main campus and visitors are not allowed on campus without permission. Students may continue to utilize public transportation and those who drive to campus are asked to have one person per vehicle. Those who cannot achieve this are asked to wear face coverings in their vehicle.

      During tele-campus mode, Student Involvement has continued to provide extracurricular opportunities for students virtually. That will continue up and until we receive guidance from state and local health officials that large gatherings may commence once again. The College will not hold sporting events in the Fall of 2020.

    8. Students from Travel Advisory Areas and Countries
      Before coming to campus, students traveling internationally or from the areas under a travel advisory ( must adhere to the 10 day quarantine requirements and must complete the online health form as required by New York State which can be found at Students required to complete this online health form before coming to campus must email a screenshot of the last page to [email protected] or [email protected].

2. Communication and Outreach Plan

Rockland Community College has held several virtual town halls with students, faculty, and staff to update them on the current status of campus operations as well as to communicate our reopening plan with them. The College will be in touch with students either via phone, text, social media, e-mail, or a combination thereof regarding their fall schedule and if their classes will be meeting virtually or in person. All employees will also be notified by their supervisors by July 15 regarding their future work schedules and if they will be telecommuting or coming to campus. The College will also be in touch with the County Executive and other local elected officials regarding its reopening status and plans moving forward.

3. Time Required for Restarting On-Campus Operations

Following the announcement of a move into Stage 4, RCC anticipates that it will be ready to move into its modified-campus approach within 2-4 weeks.

4. Returning to Remote Operations

In the event of an increased transmission rate in our region which results in the region moving backwards from Stage 4, the campus will resume the same operations and academic instruction as dictated in its tele-campus mode. The College has already identified which personnel are essential on-campus and which can proceed with remote work. The College’s communications team will proceed with notifying all students, faculty, and staff through e-mail, social media, and text message should there be any change in the campus’ operational and academic modality. Deans and Program Chairs will work with instructors in each individual academic school regarding a return to remote instruction.