• MHCC Update and Plans – March 13, 2020

  • Hello everyone,

    As promised yesterday, we would like to update you on MHCC’s plans to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

    First of all, we would like to reiterate that we still do not have plans to close. However, we also realize it is essential to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and do everything in our power to keep these same groups healthy and try to prevent our health systems from becoming overwhelmed. For this reason, we will be implementing as many social distancing measures as possible to reduce the number of people on campus at any given time. We will also be taking measures to increase the distance between persons who are on campus as much as possible, and to every feasible extent.

    The following steps will now be implemented in order to achieve these goals:

    • Community Education Classes will be cancelled effective immediately. Please share any communications you plan to distribute about this with District Communications, or if you need assistance guidance drafting this message, please contact District Communications at districtcommunications@mhcc.edu and we will be happy to help you.
    • Finals will still be held next week, but all faculty/instructors are encouraged to opt for a format that allows for social distancing. As a result, many faculty may opt to cancel finals or find online alternatives. Students will be contacted soon by their instructors regarding each of their final exams.
    • Spring Break will be extended by one week for students to allow faculty to move all spring term portions of their courses that can be taught online to that platform.
      • As a result of this delayed start, the following will also be delayed by one week:
        • Financial Aid disbursement
        • Add/Drop deadline after the start of the term
        • Student refund deadline
      • Some classes cannot feasibly be moved to an online platform. For these classes, enrollment will be limited to a lower number and classrooms will be arranged to allow as much space as possible between students as, and where, possible.
      • Students will hear directly from the faculty/instructor of each class with more information over Spring Break detailing if their classes will be taught online or in smaller sections on campus.
      • If a class is taught online, we aim to keep our computer labs open so that students without Internet or computers in their home will still be able to come to campus and participate in those classes.
      • Deans and Instructional Leadership are working with faculty now to guide and offer support with the implementation of this measure
        • If you are a student and have questions about this, please speak with your faculty/instructors directly
        • If you are a faculty member and have questions, please discuss and plan your approach with your Deans at this time.
    • All employees and staff should begin working remotely or with staggered schedules and limiting meetings to teleconferencing or Zoom as much as possible, effective immediately.
      • Please work with your manager/supervisor to determine how this will work specifically for your area.
      • The usual guidelines and forms for working from home have been relaxed. Please see the attached for the updated guidelines
      • We also ask that employees who do not already work from home in some capacity fill out the attached form and return to their supervisors once their work plan is finalized. We’re requesting this form so that we:  
        • Have everyone’s home contact information
        • Have record of who is working from home for workman’s compensation compliance
      • IT is working to grant access to the VPN to those employees who need it, but we remind you that this is likely not necessary for most employees. As a reminder:

    The following services/products can be accessed remotely and require no special access/setup:

    • Portal
    • Email – Utilize webmail
    • Office 365 / One Drive – Individual collaboration tool
      • If you are already using Office 365, we recommend you utilize this for individual collaboration with those you interact with. 
      • If you only have a few documents from your M: drive or G: drive you’d like to share with others and are familiar with and already using Office 365, we recommend moving those documents to Office 365. 
      • If you or your team members require access to a large number M: drive or G: drive files, please see VPN information below. 
    • Blackboard
    • Faxing

    VPN (Virtual Private Network) – This provides access to other college systems and shared drives such as:

    • CX
    • Feith
    • Testing Services
    • Mapped Drives:  M: drive; G: drive
    • Local MHCC Printers
    • Other department specific or specialized college applications. 

    Steps managers will need to take to request temporary VPN access for their team members:

    • Submit a request through the service desk and a form will be sent to the manager to collect the info we need and then the access will be setup. 
    • OR, if you have a number of team members who will only need VPN in the event the situation escalates, but want to be prepared, you can email me your list and we will be prepared to add the access in the event you need it.  
      • In this situation, just list your team members with a brief description of what the primary need for VPN is.  It can be short like:  Financial Aid CX functions, etc. 
    • It is extremely important that you stay home if you are feeling unwell, or believe you have been exposed to the virus (please be mindful that we know the virus has a 2-14 day incubation period when you will be a carrier, but will not feel unwell)
      • We have adjusted our leave usage and advanced leave policies for employees in order to support the decision to take leave when leave is needed. Please again see the attached guidelines for this updated policy.

    We understand there will still be many questions and updates surrounding this. Please work directly with your Instructors, Deans, or Supervisors (as applicable) to determine the best next steps. We will also be updating our MHCC website homepage with links to a page that will house updates on our response as well as numerous resources available for students, faculty, staff and community members both on our campus and the community at large. We are working to build this now.

    Finally, and most importantly, our earlier messages remain in place:

    • Practice good judgment and personal hygiene (Wash your hands and stay home if you are sick!)
    • Work with your instructors and/or supervisors if you feel you need to stay home. They are all committed to being flexible and supporting you at this time.

    I want to thank you in advance for taking all actions necessary to help us preserve the health of our community. Please keep in mind that things have been changing quickly and these plans are subject to change given the rapid development of the situation and guidance from official channels, including but not limited to Multnomah County, OHA, Governor Kate Brown, and the HECC.


    Lisa Skari, EdD
    Pronouns: she/her/hers
    Mt. Hood Community College