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Important College and Coronavirus Information ››

 
THANKSGIVING BREAK

The college is closed WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25 through SUNDAY, Nov. 29, 2020. Happy Thanksgiving!  More...

 
HCC Main Campus
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia MD, 21044
Laurel College Center
312 Marshall Avenue, Suite 205
Laurel, MD 20707
Gateway Business Training Center
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia MD, 21046
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Coronavirus Updates

Most Recent Coronavirus Updates

  • Current Update for Students

    Updated: October 8, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    With the fall semester well underway, it is now time to provide the college’s plan for the upcoming winter/spring terms. We want you to have information as early as possible to plan for your continued education.

    Operations for Winter and Spring

    Howard Community College will maintain its blended learning environment for the winter and spring terms for both credit and noncredit courses. By continuing what is already underway for this fall, there will be in-person instruction for hands-on experiences or in-person labs, while also providing virtual courses that fit student learning styles and schedule.

    The college will continue to offer these three formats for winter and spring:

    1. Hybrid (learn both in person and online). There will continue to be a limited number of hybrid courses that offer some amount of face-to-face instruction on campus, but the college is expanding its offerings to encourage labs and other hands-on opportunities for students. In the schedule of classes, hybrid courses have a C designator (i.e., DHYG-111-C301) and the location is being listed as Main Campus.
    2. Scheduled Remote (meet remotely at designated times in a virtual classroom). These classes will meet virtually in real time. Students will attend these courses at the times listed in the schedule. The location for these courses will be listed based on the program that professors are using, so if a professor were using Zoom, the location would be listed as Scheduled Zoom.
    3. Online (study on your own time). These course lectures are posted for you to watch on your own time, but there still will be due dates. These classes will have an N designator (i.e., ACCT-230-N090), and be listed as Online.

    Registration opens for all students for both the winter and spring terms on November 10, 2020. The schedule for both terms will be available for viewing online and in Student Planning on October 20, 2020. Please mark this important date on your calendar.

    Be sure to register early for the best choice of classes. As a reminder, the winter session runs January 4–28, 2021, with the spring semester beginning January 30, 2021.

    Safe Operations

    Based on the college’s recovery and reopening plan, the college remains in phase two of operations, which means most services will continue to be offered remotely. There will be select services open to students and the community by appointment only. More information about the college’s operations are available on the website.

    With hybrid classes providing some face-to-face instruction, I remind you to always maintain a safe and healthy environment when on campus. Everyone should wear face coverings (masks), social distance with a minimum of six feet separation, and practice good hygiene. Additionally, before arriving on campus, everyone must complete the college’s COVID-19 health screening form, and students must enter through designated building locations for a security check. More information about these practices are available at the college’s coronavirus site at howardcc.edu/coronavirus.

    If you have any concerns or questions about the health and safety practices on campus, please reach out to the college’s emergency operations email at eop@howardcc.edu. A college staff member will follow up to assist you.

    Free WiFi Access on Campus

    As the coronavirus continues to impact our lives, there may be multiple people trying to study in the same household, or perhaps home internet access is not always reliable. To help, the college now offers WiFi access available on the second floor of the East Garage expansion (the newest section of the garage) for any student who wants to study from their vehicle. The WiFi will be available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    To reach the second floor, take Faculty Drive off of Little Patuxent Parkway. Once in the garage, turn right up the first ramp. Go to the second floor, and park in any spaces available. WiFi works only on the second floor. For a campus map, visit here.

    The WiFi is only available for current students, as you will need to log in using your student credentials to access the internet. Additionally, there will be no building access. And an important reminder, please follow all health and safety guidelines while on campus. Wear a face covering if you exit your vehicle, practice social distancing, and continue to follow good hygiene practices.

    Support Available

    I know you are dealing with a lot as a student nowadays, please know that you are not alone, and services are available to support you. Reach out to the college if you are facing tuition payment challenges, food insecurity, or technology and other issues. Email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu for assistance.

    HCC personal counseling is available for all students. Call 443-518-1340 to schedule an appointment for telecounseling. If you need immediate help for a crisis, call Grassroots Crisis Center at 410-531-6677.

    Additionally, consider using the Howard County online food distribution map to learn about locations that provide produce, groceries, and meals for residents in need. Visit the map here.

    Commencement

    As there continue to be restrictions regarding large, in-person events, the college has decided that it cannot hold an in-person commencement ceremony in December for the graduates who would have participated in the May 2020 ceremony. Too many health and safety concerns remain. I recognize that this is a disappointment, and it was not a decision that was taken lightly.

    To give these graduates their well-deserved celebration, the college will instead hold a virtual ceremony that will go live on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. The college has contracted with Marching Order, which has done numerous virtual commencements. There will also be an opportunity for graduates to customize their own message for family and friends. The college will be in contact with all May 2020 graduates about the ceremony, and please know that we will be working to make it as special as can be. This year’s commencement speaker will be Kurt Schmoke, president of the University of Baltimore and former mayor of Baltimore. More details will follow, including the time that the ceremony will be launched and how to access the ceremony. I look forward to finally celebrating our graduates on December 16.

    Remember to Vote

    This week, the Office of Student Life is participating in National Voter Education Week, a wonderful initiative focusing on helping voters find tools and information needed to cast their ballots on Election Day. I encourage you to follow the Office of Student Life on their social media accounts to learn more: Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

    To begin, you will need to be registered to vote to participate in the General Election. The deadline to register is October 13, 2020. While you can register onsite on Election Day, you must bring required documentation, and you will receive a provisional ballot. Unsure if you are registered? Visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website to confirm that you are registered to vote and your information is accurate.

    You have the option to vote via mail or in person. By Mail: If you are going to vote by mail, request your mail in ballot before October 20, 2020, by visiting the Maryland State Board of Elections website, or Howard County residents can contact the Howard County Board of Elections at 410-313-5820. In Person: In-person voting starts early, from October 26 – November 2, 2020. Select locations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find locations in Howard County on the Howard County website. Or, vote in person on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Howard County designated voting centers are listed on the Howard County website.

    Once you have voted, there is a way to ensure your vote is counted. Visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website or call 1-800-222-8683.

    Thank You

    This continues to be an extraordinary time for Howard Community College, our county, and our country. I know that all Howard Community College faculty and staff join me in expressing their gratitude for your perseverance with your classes, your ingenuity in overcoming challenges, and your dedication to pursuing your education. We believe in you and in supporting you throughout your journey. Best wishes for continued success this fall.

  • Current Update for Faculty and Staff

    Updated: October 8, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues,

    With the fall semester well underway, I greatly appreciate your efforts to support students inside and outside their classes. It is also that time where you are undoubtedly getting questions or have your own about what the college will be doing for winter and spring terms. I wanted to get this announcement out now so that you and students can plan ahead.

    Operations for Winter and Spring

    Howard Community College will maintain its blended learning environment – hybrid, scheduled remote, and flexible online – for the winter and spring terms. One change is that the hybrid offerings, while still limited, will be expanded. Thanks to the collaboration of academic affairs, public safety, and facilities, there will be more opportunities for in-person instruction for necessary hands-on experiences and labs, while continuing virtual courses that fit student learning styles and schedules.

    As a reminder, registration for all students opens on November 10, 2020 (cohort student group registration opens earlier on November 3, 2020). Be sure to talk to students now about winter and spring, and encourage them to register early for the best choice of classes. The schedule for both terms will be available on October 20, 2020. As we learned for this fall, enrollment requires the support and assistance of the entire college community for success.

    Free WiFi Access on Campus

    As the coronavirus continues to impact our lives, I recognize students may be struggling at home with internet access or even finding a quiet place to study or work. To help, the college now offers WiFi access on the second floor of the East Garage expansion (the newest section of the garage) for any student who wants to study from their vehicle. The WiFi on the second floor is only open to current students and employees, since login credentials are required.

    The hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. During this time, students will be allowed in the garage, but they will not have access to the buildings. And an important reminder, students in the garage are expected to follow all health and safety guidelines: wear a face covering if exiting the vehicle, practice social distancing, and continue to follow good hygiene practices.

    Commencement

    While there have been changes to Maryland’s coronavirus guidelines, the college will always prioritize the health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students when making any decisions regarding in-person events. After much consideration, the college has decided that it cannot hold a December in-person commencement ceremony for the graduates who would have participated in the May 2020 commencement ceremony. I recognize that this may be a disappointment, but it is the best decision for our current environment.

    However, to give these graduates their well-deserved celebration, the college will hold a virtual ceremony that will go live on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. The college has contracted with http://info.marchingorder.com/, which has done numerous virtual commencements. The college will be in contact with all May 2020 graduates about the ceremony, and please know that we will be working to make it as special as can be. This year’s commencement speaker will be Kurt Schmoke, president of the University of Baltimore and former mayor of Baltimore. More details will follow, including the time that the ceremony will be launched and how to access the ceremony. I look forward to finally celebrating our graduates on December 16.

    My Continued Thanks

    This continues to be an extraordinary time for Howard Community College, our county, and our country. We face incredible challenges at home and even at work, and it is a balancing act to try to manage it all. I am truly blessed to work with such talented and creative professionals. Please know that the trustees and my president’s team colleagues join me in expressing their deepest gratitude for your dedication to and hard work for this college and for your ongoing efforts to support our students and one another. Thank you.


All College Communications about Coronavirus Response

  • Student Update: October 8

    Updated: October 8, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    With the fall semester well underway, it is now time to provide the college’s plan for the upcoming winter/spring terms. We want you to have information as early as possible to plan for your continued education.

    Operations for Winter and Spring

    Howard Community College will maintain its blended learning environment for the winter and spring terms for both credit and noncredit courses. By continuing what is already underway for this fall, there will be in-person instruction for hands-on experiences or in-person labs, while also providing virtual courses that fit student learning styles and schedule.

    The college will continue to offer these three formats for winter and spring:

    1. Hybrid (learn both in person and online). There will continue to be a limited number of hybrid courses that offer some amount of face-to-face instruction on campus, but the college is expanding its offerings to encourage labs and other hands-on opportunities for students. In the schedule of classes, hybrid courses have a C designator (i.e., DHYG-111-C301) and the location is being listed as Main Campus.
    2. Scheduled Remote (meet remotely at designated times in a virtual classroom). These classes will meet virtually in real time. Students will attend these courses at the times listed in the schedule. The location for these courses will be listed based on the program that professors are using, so if a professor were using Zoom, the location would be listed as Scheduled Zoom.
    3. Online (study on your own time). These course lectures are posted for you to watch on your own time, but there still will be due dates. These classes will have an N designator (i.e., ACCT-230-N090), and be listed as Online.

    Registration opens for all students for both the winter and spring terms on November 10, 2020. The schedule for both terms will be available for viewing online and in Student Planning on October 20, 2020. Please mark this important date on your calendar.

    Be sure to register early for the best choice of classes. As a reminder, the winter session runs January 4–28, 2021, with the spring semester beginning January 30, 2021.

    Safe Operations

    Based on the college’s recovery and reopening plan, the college remains in phase two of operations, which means most services will continue to be offered remotely. There will be select services open to students and the community by appointment only. More information about the college’s operations are available on the website.

    With hybrid classes providing some face-to-face instruction, I remind you to always maintain a safe and healthy environment when on campus. Everyone should wear face coverings (masks), social distance with a minimum of six feet separation, and practice good hygiene. Additionally, before arriving on campus, everyone must complete the college’s COVID-19 health screening form, and students must enter through designated building locations for a security check. More information about these practices are available at the college’s coronavirus site at howardcc.edu/coronavirus.

    If you have any concerns or questions about the health and safety practices on campus, please reach out to the college’s emergency operations email at eop@howardcc.edu. A college staff member will follow up to assist you.

    Free WiFi Access on Campus

    As the coronavirus continues to impact our lives, there may be multiple people trying to study in the same household, or perhaps home internet access is not always reliable. To help, the college now offers WiFi access available on the second floor of the East Garage expansion (the newest section of the garage) for any student who wants to study from their vehicle. The WiFi will be available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    To reach the second floor, take Faculty Drive off of Little Patuxent Parkway. Once in the garage, turn right up the first ramp. Go to the second floor, and park in any spaces available. WiFi works only on the second floor. For a campus map, visit here.

    The WiFi is only available for current students, as you will need to log in using your student credentials to access the internet. Additionally, there will be no building access. And an important reminder, please follow all health and safety guidelines while on campus. Wear a face covering if you exit your vehicle, practice social distancing, and continue to follow good hygiene practices.

    Support Available

    I know you are dealing with a lot as a student nowadays, please know that you are not alone, and services are available to support you. Reach out to the college if you are facing tuition payment challenges, food insecurity, or technology and other issues. Email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu for assistance.

    HCC personal counseling is available for all students. Call 443-518-1340 to schedule an appointment for telecounseling. If you need immediate help for a crisis, call Grassroots Crisis Center at 410-531-6677.

    Additionally, consider using the Howard County online food distribution map to learn about locations that provide produce, groceries, and meals for residents in need. Visit the map here.

    Commencement

    As there continue to be restrictions regarding large, in-person events, the college has decided that it cannot hold an in-person commencement ceremony in December for the graduates who would have participated in the May 2020 ceremony. Too many health and safety concerns remain. I recognize that this is a disappointment, and it was not a decision that was taken lightly.

    To give these graduates their well-deserved celebration, the college will instead hold a virtual ceremony that will go live on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. The college has contracted with Marching Order, which has done numerous virtual commencements. There will also be an opportunity for graduates to customize their own message for family and friends. The college will be in contact with all May 2020 graduates about the ceremony, and please know that we will be working to make it as special as can be. This year’s commencement speaker will be Kurt Schmoke, president of the University of Baltimore and former mayor of Baltimore. More details will follow, including the time that the ceremony will be launched and how to access the ceremony. I look forward to finally celebrating our graduates on December 16.

    Remember to Vote

    This week, the Office of Student Life is participating in National Voter Education Week, a wonderful initiative focusing on helping voters find tools and information needed to cast their ballots on Election Day. I encourage you to follow the Office of Student Life on their social media accounts to learn more: Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

    To begin, you will need to be registered to vote to participate in the General Election. The deadline to register is October 13, 2020. While you can register onsite on Election Day, you must bring required documentation, and you will receive a provisional ballot. Unsure if you are registered? Visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website to confirm that you are registered to vote and your information is accurate.

    You have the option to vote via mail or in person. By Mail: If you are going to vote by mail, request your mail in ballot before October 20, 2020, by visiting the Maryland State Board of Elections website, or Howard County residents can contact the Howard County Board of Elections at 410-313-5820. In Person: In-person voting starts early, from October 26 – November 2, 2020. Select locations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find locations in Howard County on the Howard County website. Or, vote in person on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Howard County designated voting centers are listed on the Howard County website.

    Once you have voted, there is a way to ensure your vote is counted. Visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website or call 1-800-222-8683.

    Thank You

    This continues to be an extraordinary time for Howard Community College, our county, and our country. I know that all Howard Community College faculty and staff join me in expressing their gratitude for your perseverance with your classes, your ingenuity in overcoming challenges, and your dedication to pursuing your education. We believe in you and in supporting you throughout your journey. Best wishes for continued success this fall.

  • Employee Update: October 8

    Updated: October 8, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues,

    With the fall semester well underway, I greatly appreciate your efforts to support students inside and outside their classes. It is also that time where you are undoubtedly getting questions or have your own about what the college will be doing for winter and spring terms. I wanted to get this announcement out now so that you and students can plan ahead.

    Operations for Winter and Spring

    Howard Community College will maintain its blended learning environment – hybrid, scheduled remote, and flexible online – for the winter and spring terms. One change is that the hybrid offerings, while still limited, will be expanded. Thanks to the collaboration of academic affairs, public safety, and facilities, there will be more opportunities for in-person instruction for necessary hands-on experiences and labs, while continuing virtual courses that fit student learning styles and schedules.

    As a reminder, registration for all students opens on November 10, 2020 (cohort student group registration opens earlier on November 3, 2020). Be sure to talk to students now about winter and spring, and encourage them to register early for the best choice of classes. The schedule for both terms will be available on October 20, 2020. As we learned for this fall, enrollment requires the support and assistance of the entire college community for success.

    Free WiFi Access on Campus

    As the coronavirus continues to impact our lives, I recognize students may be struggling at home with internet access or even finding a quiet place to study or work. To help, the college now offers WiFi access on the second floor of the East Garage expansion (the newest section of the garage) for any student who wants to study from their vehicle. The WiFi on the second floor is only open to current students and employees, since login credentials are required.

    The hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. During this time, students will be allowed in the garage, but they will not have access to the buildings. And an important reminder, students in the garage are expected to follow all health and safety guidelines: wear a face covering if exiting the vehicle, practice social distancing, and continue to follow good hygiene practices.

    Commencement

    While there have been changes to Maryland’s coronavirus guidelines, the college will always prioritize the health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students when making any decisions regarding in-person events. After much consideration, the college has decided that it cannot hold a December in-person commencement ceremony for the graduates who would have participated in the May 2020 commencement ceremony. I recognize that this may be a disappointment, but it is the best decision for our current environment.

    However, to give these graduates their well-deserved celebration, the college will hold a virtual ceremony that will go live on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. The college has contracted with http://info.marchingorder.com/, which has done numerous virtual commencements. The college will be in contact with all May 2020 graduates about the ceremony, and please know that we will be working to make it as special as can be. This year’s commencement speaker will be Kurt Schmoke, president of the University of Baltimore and former mayor of Baltimore. More details will follow, including the time that the ceremony will be launched and how to access the ceremony. I look forward to finally celebrating our graduates on December 16.

    My Continued Thanks

    This continues to be an extraordinary time for Howard Community College, our county, and our country. We face incredible challenges at home and even at work, and it is a balancing act to try to manage it all. I am truly blessed to work with such talented and creative professionals. Please know that the trustees and my president’s team colleagues join me in expressing their deepest gratitude for your dedication to and hard work for this college and for your ongoing efforts to support our students and one another. Thank you.

  • Employee Update: September 17

    Updated: September 17, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues,

    The semester is already well underway, but I wanted to reach out to thank you for the tremendous work you did to prepare for and launch this fall. I appreciate everything you have done to support students and help one another weather the unprecedented challenges we have faced. You continue to make a difference in the lives of our students.

    Enrollment Numbers

    Census for fall credit enrollment took place last Friday, September 11, and the numbers have improved dramatically. We nearly reached level enrollment, with total headcount up 3.1% over last year’s census, and full-time equivalent students down by 1.9% compared to this time last year. At Laurel College Center, we experienced great success, with total headcount at 31.4% above last year and a 14.1% increase in full-time equivalent students.

    I cannot thank you enough for all the outreach and behind-the-scenes work to ensure students had everything they needed to apply, register, and remain enrolled. There were so many people and offices that helped the college bounce back from the double-digit declines that we faced earlier this summer. Staff in enrollment services worked countless hours, including some of the staff who continued to work up to midnight on the final night of census to get students counted; public relations and marketing brought prospective students to our doors; information technology equipped faculty, staff, and students with the technology to succeed; student services counseled students, worked with cohort groups, administered assessment, and advised students virtually and in-person, providing much-needed support; academic affairs showcased their creativity and flexibility by being responsive to class demands; facilities and public safety ensured work spaces and the campus remained safe and ready to serve students; and finance, financial aid, and the foundation all collaborated to help students find ways to afford college during this challenging time. Finally, I want to thank the members of my leadership team who have worked countless hours, conferred with me on numerous decisions, and continue to stay focused on serving our students and employees. Each of you deserves a round of applause.

    Budget Update

    Even with the tremendous effort to increase enrollment, we did not reach our enrollment goals for the fall semester. The college’s revenue is still trending under budget, so the college is not yet out of the woods with operating budget challenges.

    At this point, we do not yet know what will happen this fiscal year with state and county funding. If their revenues are down, they may look to make mid-year cuts that would take effect this fiscal year. As you recall, the college already absorbed a $3.3 million cut made this fiscal year by the state. And, with the pandemic continuing to impact the economy, the probability of more cuts is very real.

    By the end of this month, we anticipate an update from the state on its budget projections. It will help inform our own approach to budget planning this fall. I fully expect that I will be looking to offices and departments to reallocate funding, rather than requesting new funding. Please know that as I learn more, I will keep you updated.

    Other Reminders

    I wanted to remind you of important notes from my last communications, as they remain just as relevant today.

    • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides professional mental health support at no cost to full- and part-time budgeted employees. More information is available by visiting myHCC or calling on 1-800-765-3277.
    • For students, the college offers telecounseling appointments that can be scheduled by calling 443-518-1340. If your student is experiencing a crisis, ask them to call Grassroots Crisis Center at 410-531-6677 for immediate help.
    • If you or someone you know needs food assistance, please visit the Howard County Government map here for locations that have food pantries, meals, and other services.

    Thank You

    It has been an honor to lead you during this unprecedented time in our 50-year history. While there is no playbook to guide us through what lies ahead, I remain optimistic that – working together – we will ensure that Howard Community College continues to move forward in serving our students. We will get through this challenge, emerging stronger and more resilient than ever before. We are learning so much about new ways of delivering teaching and services to our students, and I know that our creative and innovative collective spirit will help shape our future. Thank you for your incredible work.

  • Student Update: August 6

    Updated: August 6, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    The fall semester is just around the corner, and I wanted to provide you with important information to help you succeed.

    Reminder: Fall Credit Classes Start Aug. 22

    As a reminder, Howard Community College will offer a blended learning environment this fall, with three different formats for classes:

    1. Hybrid - learn both in person and online; these courses will offer some amount of face-to-face instruction on campus.
    2. Scheduled Remote – meet at designated times in an online classroom; these courses will meet in real time, at the times listed in the class schedule.
    3. (Flexible) Online - study on your own time; recorded lectures are available for students to watch on their own time. These courses still have due dates.

    To search available classes, check Student Planning or the online course search.

    If you need assistance with selecting classes, academic advisors are available to provide customized guidance. Email adm-adv@howardcc.edu with any questions or to schedule a phone call or Zoom appointment.

    Remember, classes start August 22, so do not wait to register. Get started today in Student Planning.

    Limited On-Campus Appointments
    If you need help with applying for admission, taking placement tests, deciding what courses to take, registering for classes, using veterans benefits or paying for classes, we have a limited number of appointments to assist you. Appointments are reserved for students who have tried to complete these steps on their own but have had difficulty due to lack of technology or needing accommodations.

    For appointments regarding admission to the college, application status, academic advising, and college readiness and exemption from placement testing, contact admissions@howardcc.edu, advising@howardcc.edu, or call 443-518-1200.

    To schedule an appointment for a placement test, nursing entrance exam or other proctored test, contact testcenter@howardcc.edu, tcnursing@howardcc.edu or 443-518-1280.

    Financial Aid Available

    The last few months have been challenging with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. If you need assistance, federal financial aid, scholarships, state aid, and other funding is available for students who qualify. To get started, just fill out the application or contact the financial aid office at finaid@howardcc.edu for more information.

    Loaner Laptops

    The college is continuing to loan laptops and WiFi hotspots to students who need technology support. Please regularly check your HCC email for more information. After you register for classes, you will be invited to complete a survey and arrange for a technology pickup appointment. Remember, laptops and WiFi hotspots are limited. Students who register before the August 22 start of classes have the best chance of receiving technology.

    Counseling Support

    As statewide restrictions continue into their fifth month, they can negatively affect your mental health and emotional well-being. Please know that you are not alone, and services are available to support you. HCC personal counseling is available for all students. Call 443-518-1340 to schedule an appointment for telecounseling. If you need immediate help for a crisis, call Grassroots Crisis Center at 410-531-6677 for immediate help.

    Food Resources
    Earlier today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a new online map that showcases locations in the county that provide produce, groceries, and meals for county residents in need. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please visit the map here.

    Campus Bookstore
    The HCC Bookstore continues to remain closed to foot traffic on campus at this time. However, you can purchase your textbooks and other course needs at www.howardcc.bncollege.com and will receive free shipping on all orders of $49 or more. If you have any questions, you can contact bookstore staff by phone (443-518-1400) or email (sm8178@bncollege.com).

    Volunteer for the Elections

    Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Howard County and the State of Maryland are experiencing a shortage of election judges to staff the polls. Election judges are critical to the democratic process and serve during early voting (October 22 – 29) and/or Election Day (November 3, 2020). They also help ensure that Marylanders have access to polling stations and are afforded the opportunity to vote. If you are interested, please visit the State Board of Elections website. With the election fast approaching, please sign up as soon as possible. Questions can be submitted to info.SBE@maryland.gov or to 410-269-2840.

    Best Wishes

    Thank you for choosing HCC. In my opinion, attending a community college is the best investment that students can make for their future success. I know this firsthand, as I am a proud graduate of a community college. I hope that HCC will provide you with same inspiration on your own educational journey. Best wishes this fall semester!

  • Employee Update: August 6

    Dear Colleagues:

    As the fall semester nears, I wanted to thank you for your hard work this summer. It resulted in enrollment growth and the successful delivery of remote classes and services. No matter the challenges, you have continued to provide students with the best education possible.

    Enrollment Numbers

    Fall enrollment continues to lag with only 16 days until the start of classes for the fall semester. As of this morning, the latest report shows enrollment is down 17.6% in full-time equivalent students when compared to this time last year.

    Please know that one office or one department cannot own enrollment for the whole institution. HCC is committed to enrollment management, which means that all faculty and staff must do their part to help. It is absolutely critical to our operations and our budget. Please do whatever you can to assist your colleagues in helping the college achieve its goal.

    After hearing recent reports from the state, I know that the financial challenges the college faces will continue throughout this fiscal year and into the future. The state already cut our budget once, but if state tax revenues do not improve, Maryland community colleges have been told that another cut may happen this year. I will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated as more information becomes available.

    Children’s Learning Center

    It was incredibly difficult to announce last week that the college decided to permanently close the Children’s Learning Center (CLC). I remember the day we opened the CLC, and I regret that the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure for financial and enrollment reasons.

     

    Since the announcement, CLC leadership has been communicating with families and offering resources to assist during this challenging transition. Thank you to the families who entrusted their children to the care of the staff at the center. The children and their families will be missed.

     

    And to the CLC staff, my deepest gratitude for your service to the college and to our youngest students. Families chose the CLC for the care and attention you provided. Your support made such a difference in countless children’s lives. Thank you.

     

    Over these next few weeks, many of the CLC staff will be working in the enrollment services area of the college to assist students in enrolling for the fall semester. The human resources office continues to provide assistance to the CLC staff, along with support from a professional out-placement firm.


    Counseling Support
    As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it can take a toll on our emotional well-being and mental health. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides professional assistance at no cost to full and part-time budgeted employees. This service is provided through bhs at 1-800-765-3277. More information is available in MyHCC.

    Just as you must be mindful of your own well-being, I ask that you remind students that the college offers counseling support. Students can call 443-518-1340 to schedule an appointment. If your student is experiencing a crisis, ask them to call Grassroots Crisis Center at 410-531-6677 for immediate help.

    Food Resources
    Earlier today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a new online map that showcases locations in the county that provide produce, groceries, and meals for county residents in need. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please visit the map here.

    Volunteer for the Elections

    Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Howard County and the State of Maryland are experiencing a shortage of election judges to staff the polls. Election judges are critical to the democratic process and serve during early voting (October 22 – 29) and/or on Election Day (November 3, 2020). They also help ensure that Marylanders have access to polling stations and are afforded the opportunity to vote. If you are interested, please visit the State Board of Elections website. With the election fast approaching, please sign up as soon as possible. Questions can be submitted to info.SBE@maryland.gov or to 410-269-2840.

    Thank You

    This is an incredibly challenging time for everyone and for the college. Many of you are working harder than ever before, or you have been assigned new duties, or perhaps your responsibilities have shifted. I promise you that we will overcome this seemingly insurmountable obstacle. We will continue to provide pathways to success, and we will emerge stronger and more resilient. Thank you for everything you are doing to support our students and one another.

  • Student Update: July 9

    Updated: July 9, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    [Update: On July 14, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded the policy that would have required international students to take at least some classes in person to remain in the United States. This change in direction was in direct response to a lawsuit filed by two U.S. universities and supported by other institutions and higher education associations. As a result, international students can have a fully online or remote schedule for the fall. This also means that HCC will continue with its plan for fall classes. International students will not need to take in-person classes, and the English Institute will not offer in-person classes.]

    Dear Students:

    I want to thank you for choosing to be a student at Howard Community College (HCC) during this unprecedented time in our 50-year history. It means so much to our faculty and staff that you continue to be flexible and patient in this new world in which we live. With the fall semester starting next month, I wanted to update you on important news about college operations.

    Plan Now for Fall

    As a reminder, Howard Community College will offer a blended learning environment this fall, with three different formats for classes:

    1. Hybrid (learn both in person and online).
    2. Scheduled remote (meet at designated times in an online classroom).
    3. Flexible online (study on your own time).

    These classes have special designators or descriptions in the fall schedule, which is available on Student Planning and the online course search.

    If you need assistance with selecting classes, academic advisors are available to provide customized guidance. Email adm-adv@howardcc.edu with any questions or to schedule a phone call or Zoom appointment. Remember to register early to get the classes in the format that works best for you.

    Challenges for International Students

    [This information has been updated. See above.]

    On Monday, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program announced that international students here on an F1 visa can no longer take only online or remote classes and remain in the United States. This is an abrupt and sudden change from the guidance that all colleges and universities have been following since the spring semester.

    Since the college announced it will offer hybrid classes this fall, F1 students can remain at HCC as long as they do not take a fully online or remote schedule. To assist our international students, the international admissions team is working with academic affairs to identify additional hybrid classes we can offer this fall to support our international student population.

    For the college’s noncredit English Institute, the US government guidelines are different, and no online and no hybrid classes are allowed. In response, the English Institute will offer in-person classes for its F1 students. A plan is being finalized for the English Institute that will outline how to provide instruction and maintain the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.

    Since this announcement, I have contacted our U.S. senators and congresspersons representing Howard Community College to express my frustration and disappointment in this sudden and capricious move that is creating obstacles for students. This announcement is seeking to close the doors of opportunity to thousands of students from around the world.

    If you need assistance at this time, please reach out to Lori Hartley at intlstudent@howardcc.edu. Lori and the international admissions team will work with students one-on-one to provide assistance. 

    If you are worried and anxious about the future, remember that HCC personal counseling is available to help. Call 443-518-1340 to schedule an appointment for teletherapy. If you need immediate help for a crisis, call Grassroots Crisis Center at 410-531-6006. 

    Financial Aid and Technology Support

    The last few months have been challenging with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. If your personal circumstances have changed, please consider applying for financial aid. HCC is available to assist for students who qualify. Just fill out the application or contact the financial aid services office at finaid@howardcc.edu for more information. If you have questions and want to know more, consider attending a financial aid session. The schedule for July is online.

    The college is continuing to loan laptops and WiFi hotspots to students who need technology support. Once you register for classes, you will be invited to complete a survey and arrange for a technology pickup appointment. Please check your HCC email for more information.

     

    Thank You

    Thank you for staying safe and strong during these last few months. It means so much to me that you have chosen HCC for your educational journey. I look forward to HCC providing you with pathways to success this fall.

  • Employee Update: July 9

    Updated: July 9, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    [Update: On July 14, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded the policy that would have required international students to take at least some classes in person to remain in the United States. This change in direction was in direct response to a lawsuit filed by two U.S. universities and supported by other institutions and higher education associations. As a result, international students can have a fully online or remote schedule for the fall. This also means that HCC will continue with its plan for fall classes. International students will not need to take in-person classes, and the English Institute will not offer in-person classes.]

    Dear Colleagues,

    As we are now in the college’s fourth month of remote classes and services, it is important for you to have the latest information about the college’s budget. I want you to know where we stand and the considerations underway as we look to fall.

    State Funding and Enrollment

    The Maryland Board of Works (BPW) voted last week to cut $36.2 million from the state’s community colleges, bringing funding back to this past fiscal year’s levels. For Howard Community College (HCC), this amounts to a $3.3 million cut to the college’s fiscal year 2021 operating budget. It also represents a 14% reduction in total state operating funds, and yet the college has no assurances that the budget will not be cut further. As I have shared before, the state can reduce its funding of the college by 25%, and so I remain hopeful that the state’s revenues will improve enough for BPW to forgo additional cuts.

    While the college saw a double-digit increase in enrollment for summer, fall enrollment has not yet followed suit. As of this morning, enrollment is down 28.6% compared to this time last year. This represents close to 1,500 fewer students. We have made much progress from where we were earlier this summer, so my thanks to everyone who has worked diligently to bring our numbers up. With only 45 days remaining until the start of fall, I know there is still a long road ahead.

    The fiscal year 2020 budget close out is currently underway, and in a few weeks, I will have more information about the fiscal health of the college. Depending how we fare, there may be difficult decisions ahead, so I am closely monitoring the situation and discussing budgetary impact with the president’s team and the board of trustees. I am committed to keeping you informed and updated as more information becomes available.

    Challenges for International Students

    [This information has been updated. See above.]

    On Monday, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program announced that international students here on an F1 visa can no longer take only online or remote classes and remain in the United States. This is an abrupt and sudden change from the guidance that all colleges and universities have been following since the spring semester. As a result, there is an undue burden being placed on our international students, who now must quickly make changes to their schedules to stay in the country.

    Since the college announced it will offer hybrid classes this fall, F1 students can remain at HCC as long as they do not take a fully online or remote schedule. To assist our international students, the international admissions team is working with academic affairs to identify additional hybrid classes the college can offer this fall to support our international student population.

    For the college’s noncredit English Institute, the US government guidelines are different, and no online and no hybrid classes are allowed. In-person classes are mandatory. In response, the English Institute will offer in-person classes for its F1 students. A plan that outlines how to deliver instruction in the English Institute while protecting the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is being finalized.

    Since this recent announcement from the Department of Homeland Security, I have contacted our U.S. senators and congresspersons representing Howard Community College to express my frustration and disappointment in this sudden and capricious move that is creating obstacles for students who only want to study in this country. This announcement is seeking to close the doors of opportunity to thousands of students from around the world.

    If you know any international students who need assistance at this time, please encourage them to reach out to Lori Hartley at intlstudent@howardcc.edu. Lori and the international admissions team will work with students one-on-one to provide assistance.

    If students are worried and anxious about the future, remind them that counseling help is available by calling 443-518-1340 to schedule an appointment for teletherapy. If your student is experiencing a crisis, ask them to call Grassroots Crisis Center at 410-531-6006 for immediate help.

    Thank You

    I recognize that the news about the budget and our international students is difficult right now. It only adds to the ongoing challenges we face personally and professionally as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Please know that I remain encouraged by all the good work you are doing. Not a day goes by when I don’t receive a positive note about the difference you make in the lives of our students.

    We will get through this. While there will continue to be obstacles ahead, our mission will remain our guide as we continue to provide pathways to success today and tomorrow. Thank you for everything you continue to do to support students.

  • Student Update: June 19

    Updated: June 19, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the college has prioritized the health, safety, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. This decision required a change to services, instruction, and day-to-day operations. While there have certainly been challenges, I have also been encouraged and impressed by your flexibility and patience as the college began planning for the future. Today, I am pleased to share how the college will operate for fall.

    Operations This Fall

    Howard Community College will offer a blended learning environment this fall, with three different formats for classes:

    1. Hybrid (learn both in person and online). These classes will have some amount of face-to-face interaction on campus. Hybrid classes will have a C designator (i.e., DHYG-111-C301) and main campus as the location.
    2. Scheduled remote (meet at designated times in an online classroom). These classes will meet via Zoom, in real time, at the times listed in the class schedule. There will be no designators on these classes, but the location will be listed as scheduled Zoom.
    3. Flexible online (study on your own time). These classes may or may not use Zoom. Recorded lectures are posted for you to watch on your own time, but there will still be due dates. These classes will have an N designator (i.e., ACCT-230-N090), with online as the location.

    Our approach for the fall semester allows for some in-person instruction for hands-on experiences or in-person labs, while also providing classes that fit your learning style, educational goals, and schedule. The revised fall schedule is now available for viewing on Student Planning and the online course search. Students who have already registered for fall will be automatically switched over to the revised classes. Enrollment services staff will be in touch with any issues. If you have not yet registered, academic advisors are available to provide customized guidance. Email adm-adv@howardcc.edu with any questions or to schedule a phone call or Zoom appointment. Remember to register early to get the classes in the format that works best for you.

    In the coming months, there will be select services that will reopen to students and the community by appointment only. Our focus is on providing services that are vital to helping students enroll for classes or complete their education. For instance, the health sciences division is bringing some students back this July and August to finish incomplete coursework, and enrollment services will work toward appointments for advising and financial aid.

    College Recovery and Reopening Plan

    The decision for fall has been guided by the Howard Community College recovery and reopening plan, which is available on the myHCC portal or website. Developed by a cross-section of faculty and staff from across the college, the plan aligns with both the State of Maryland, Howard County, and guidance from the Centers for Disease and Prevention. It is a high-level plan, so departments and offices are in the process of creating more detailed plans.

    The college is currently in phase two. As I stated above, this means most services will continue to be offered remotely, but efforts are underway to offer appointments for students to come to campus to access select services in person. More information about when this will be available over the summer will be communicated at a later date.

    During this phase, all faculty, staff, and students will be expected to maintain a safe and healthy environment when on campus. Everyone should wear face coverings (masks), social distance with a minimum of six feet separation, and practice good hygiene. Additionally, before arriving on campus, everyone must complete the college’s COVID-19 health screening form.

    Based on the recovery and reopening plan, the college will return to full campus operations once the state and the county both move to phase three of their plans. No matter when this might occur, fall classes will continue in the format currently designated – hybrid, scheduled remote, and flexible online – in an effort to minimize disruption and ensure continuity in learning. Again, all shifts to operations will be communicated to students before the change occurs.

    Commencement

    With continued restrictions and uncertainty regarding in-person, large indoor events, it is still too soon to host a commencement ceremony in August. I recognize that graduates want to be able to celebrate with friends and family, and that is why it is important for the college to identify a solution that allows our graduates to receive the celebration they deserve. As a result, the college has decided to move commencement to December 20, 2020, at the UMBC Event Center with the hope that we will be able to gather and celebrate our 2020 graduates in person at that time.

    Financial Aid and Technology Support

    Even as the county reopens, the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact many students and their families. If your personal circumstances have changed, please consider applying for financial aid. HCC is available to assist for students who qualify. Just fill out the application or contact the financial aid office at finaid@howardcc.edu for more information.

    The college will continue to loan laptops and WiFi hotspots to students who need technology support. Once you register for classes, you will be invited to complete a survey and arrange for a technology pickup appointment. 

    Thank You

    Howard Community College is a truly special institution, and I know faculty and staff join me in their appreciation for your perseverance over these last three months. I look forward to you continuing your education at HCC this fall.

  • Employee Update: June 15

    Updated: June 15, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the college has prioritized the health, safety, and well-being of faculty, staff, and students. This decision required a change to services, instruction, and day-to-day operations. While there have certainly been challenges, I have been extremely encouraged and impressed by your ingenuity, adaptability, and collaboration as we plan for the future. This week, the college will share more details of its plans for the fall semester.

    College Recovery Plan

    I greatly appreciated the feedback that nearly 100 faculty and staff members shared on the recovery plan. Every comment was reviewed, and revisions are currently in progress. While the plan is a high-level document, there will be additional detail provided in the final plan that will be released on Friday to students, faculty, staff, and the broader community.

    According to the recovery plan, the college is in phase two, which means that most faculty and staff will continue to telework. There will be, however, some additional faculty and staff returning to campus, as well as select services offered, in phase two. For instance, the health sciences division is bringing some students back this July and August to finish incomplete coursework from the spring, and enrollment services will allow some staff members to return to their offices, with the goal of opening a few services to students on an appointment-only basis. Environmental services staff will also return to campus in shifts to prepare these two buildings – health sciences and The Rouse Company Foundation Student Services Hall (RCF) – and continue to keep them clean. With these offices, they have developed a plan that continues to emphasize teleworking, except in those circumstances when on-campus staffing or services are vital to completion or enrollment.

    For the fall, the president’s team recognizes that some offices will need to shift to limited in-person, appointment-only meetings with students. Therefore, the president’s team is asking each of its offices to develop plans that cover faculty and staff in their areas, following the guidance from the college recovery plan.

    In terms of instruction for the fall, the college will offer a blended learning environment with a revised fall schedule available to students this Friday. Courses will be offered in three different formats:

    1. Hybrid (learn both in person and online; these are courses that have been approved for some amount of face-to-face interaction on campus.)
    2. Scheduled remote (meet at designated times in an online classroom; these courses will meet via Zoom, in real time, and at the times listed in the class schedule.)
    3. Flexible online (study on your own time; these courses may or may not use Zoom, and recorded lectures are posted for students to watch on their own time. These courses still have due dates.)

    This approach allows for some in-person instruction for courses that benefit from hands-on experiences or in-person labs, while also offering students different formats to fit their needs and schedules. Starting Friday, students will be able to see their revised class format.

    College Budget

    While summer continues to show great enrollment growth, there continues to be fiscal uncertainty for the college’s next fiscal year, starting July 1. Fall enrollment numbers today remain down by 35.7% in full-time equivalent students when compared to last year. Additionally, the state could still reduce the college’s operating budget by up to 25%, and there is no word yet on when or if that would occur.

    In light of this budget situation, the letters of employment, which will be issued electronically prior to July 1, have been revised to include language that reflects the possible actions the college could take if conditions do not improve. The language reads: “the college reserves the right to reduce hours and/or compensation or to conduct furloughs or layoffs pursuant to the action of the board of trustees of Howard Community College.” Please know that these actions are only various possibilities that could occur with ongoing financial challenges. I certainly do hope that they are steps that will not happen, but it is also my responsibility to prepare you for the possibility.

    I recognize that everyone is facing personal and professional challenges right now, and the economy is only adding to that strain. Even in this time of uncertainty for the college, I remain hopeful that enrollment will improve substantially for the fall semester and that the state will continue its support of community colleges.

    Thank You

    As we near three months in this remote reality, I remain thankful for you. Howard Community College is a truly special institution, and it is your work – through the good times and the difficult ones – that ensures we live our mission and support students and one another. Thank you for all that you do.

  • Employee Update: May 28

    Updated: May 28, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues,

    As summer starts, I am incredibly thankful for everything you have done to conclude the spring semester and transition students to summer classes. Results from the college’s annual student survey, the Yearly Evaluation of Services Survey (YESS), have proven that your work made a tremendous difference in students’ lives. A strong majority of students surveyed – 74 percent – were positive or highly positive about the college’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. As I have said before, it is the faculty and staff at Howard Community College who make this institution such a special place for students.

    There is even more positive news when you look at summer enrollment. The first summer session, which is currently underway, is showing an increase of 9.5 percent in full-time equivalent student enrollment over last year. The second summer session is looking equally strong. These numbers are clear indicators that everyone pitched in to help encourage enrollment for this summer. Fall enrollment still needs work, as numbers remain down by 38.2 percent, but I am cautiously optimistic that it will improve closer to the start of classes.

    Recovery and Reopening Plan

    Today, I am pleased to present a draft of the college’s recovery and reopening plan. The health, safety, and well-being of faculty, staff, and students was paramount in the development of the plan. This plan is really just the first step in what will be an ongoing process for the college to recover and reopen campus operations. As you will notice, the plan is a high-level document, taking the 40,000-foot view of the college’s response.

    The key takeaway is that the college will continue offering credit and noncredit courses remotely in the fall, with the exception of those courses that benefit from hands-on experiences or in-person labs. Academic affairs is prioritizing which courses will have an in-person component this fall.

    At this point in the planning process, I would like to invite your input on the plan. Planning, research, and organizational development (PROD) has developed a survey instrument through Survey Monkey. Please review the plan and provide your feedback by Monday, June 1, 2020, by 5 p.m. The survey is available at: Feedback on Recovery and Reopening Plan.

    As you recall, the committee that developed the plan represented a cross-section of the college community, with representatives from all the president’s and vice presidents’ areas. Let me thank the chair, Shelly Bilello, auxiliary and capital program administrator, for her leadership and the entire committee membership for their efforts to draft the plan. Those members are recognized by name in the plan.

    Next Steps

    Once your feedback is received on Monday, the president’s team will revise the plan for final distribution to the college community and the broader public. The coronavirus pandemic has encouraged everyone to be nimble and pivot quickly, and yet work is at its best when there is a plan for the future. I look forward to your input and to finalizing what will be a collaborative plan for recovery and reopening.

  • Student Update: May 18

    Updated: May 18, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    With finals ending this week, I want to thank you for your unbelievable effort in bringing this spring semester to a close. It has been a herculean task to learn remotely. Even during this time of unprecedented challenges, you persevered and continued on your pathway to success.

    Plan for Future Operations

    As I mentioned in my previous message, a cross-functional committee, with representatives from the college president’s and vice presidents’ areas, is meeting to determine when and how the college could return to in-person operations. This committee is expected to develop a detailed plan that will examine what operations could be in person with safety and health protocols in place, and what could continue remotely. Please know that the committee is looking at personal protective equipment, social distancing measures, classroom capacity, and much more. The committee is expected to deliver its first draft at the end of this week. Further information about fall will be coming by no later than June.

    Laptop Loan Program

    The college started loaning laptops today to students who are registered for summer and fall classes and do not have the necessary technology at home. All students registered for summer were sent a short survey to complete, in which they indicated their technology needs. Once completed, students select a time to come to campus for a contact-less pickup. The student drives to the designated meeting location, and then staff from information technology place the laptop in the trunk. If you are registered for summer, please check your college email for more information about the laptop loan program.

    Emails are also going out to students who currently have loaned laptops. Anyone who will not be taking classes this summer or fall must return the laptop so that it can be redeployed to other students who need the technology.

    Summer Registration Underway

    Remember, summer and fall class registration is currently underway. You do not need to wait to receive your grades to register. Register online through Self-Service, or find information on the registration webpage.

    You and your family may also want to explore the noncredit career and enrichment classes available through the college’s continuing education and workforce development division. Class descriptions and details are available on the continuing education webpage.

    Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funding

    The college just completed disbursing nearly $1 million of federal CARES Act funding to assist students whose lives were disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The financial aid services office reached out directly to those students who meet the federal government criteria, such as students who receive the Pell Grant. Additional CARES Act funding will be disbursed to eligible students enrolled in the summer and fall semesters.

    Financial Aid

    With the coronavirus pandemic having a financial impact on students and families throughout the county, please know that financial aid services at HCC may be able to help you continue your education. If your personal circumstances have changed, consider applying for financial aid. Just fill out the application or to contact the financial aid services office at finaid@howardcc.edu for more information.

    Food Assistance

    Due to the campus closure, the HCC Food Pantry is not open currently. However, the Howard County Food Bank prepares premade bags of food available for pickup every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for Howard County residents. If you know a Howard County resident who needs assistance with food, please direct them to the Howard County Food Bank for details. Non-Howard County residents should visit the Maryland Food Bank website for support.

    Continued Appreciation

    I want to express my appreciation for everything you have been doing to continue learning in this remote environment. Congratulations on wrapping up this semester… you did it!

  • Employee Update: May 18

    Updated: May 18, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    With finals ending this week, I want to thank you for your unbelievable effort in bringing this spring semester to a close. It has been a herculean task to pivot operations and maintain momentum while teaching and working remotely. Even during this time of unprecedented challenges, you continued to provide students with pathways to success.

    Operating Budget Update

    As you know, the college’s budget for fiscal year 2021 remains uncertain. While I remain cautiously optimistic that the Howard County Council will support the Howard County Executive’s recommendations for a two percent increase over last year’s funding, the final decision will not be known for at least another week. Until the budget is finalized, there is always the chance that the councilmembers could vote to decrease the college’s funding.

    To make the college’s case, the vice presidents, facilities leadership team, and I met with the Howard County Council last Monday for the work session on the college’s capital and operating budgets. I spoke about how faculty and staff have been supporting students in this remote environment and how the college has been providing assistance to the county.

    This past week, I also reached out to Maryland state leaders to remind them about how critical community colleges will be during the state’s economic recovery. Community colleges can educate and train workers at all levels, offer families an affordable, quality college education, and provide career counseling during the job search process. This message is urgent as state leaders decide where to make cuts to balance the budget. As of now, the Maryland Association of Community Colleges has not heard whether any cuts are coming, but all community colleges across the state are planning for such an impact.

    Plan for Future Operations

    As I mentioned in my previous message, a cross-functional committee, with representatives from the president’s and vice presidents’ areas, is meeting to determine when and how the college could return to in-person operations. This committee is expected to develop a detailed plan that will examine what operations could be in person with safety and health protocols in place, and what could continue remotely. Please know that the committee is looking at personal protective equipment, social distancing measures, classroom capacity, and much more.

    Shelly Bilello, auxiliary and capital programs administrator, is leading the committee. Her expertise as the college’s liaison to the Howard County COVID-19 Task Force has been of great value. Additional members include:

    Academic Affairs:

    • Jeremy Bomberg
    • Georgene Butler
    • Laura Cripps
    • Kismet Flagg
    • Mari Wepprecht
    • Minah Woo

    Administration and Finance:

    • Lynn Coleman
    • Dewey Grim
    • Chris Heston
    • Travis Hopkins
    • Aja Lee
    • Bob Marietta
    • Chuck Nightingale
    • Joseph Pettiford

    Information Technology:

    • Mike Heinmuller
    • Tabitha Herry
    • Sung Lee
    • Linda Wu

    President’s Area:

    • Elizabeth Homan
    • Katie Turner

    Student Services:

    • Geoffrey Colbert
    • Cheryl Cudzilo
    • Lorianna Mapps

    The committee is expected to deliver its first draft at the end of this week. After review by the president’s team and discussion with the board of trustees, I will reach out to you for input, as it will be essential in refining the plan before implementation.

    Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funding

    The college just completed disbursing nearly $1 million of federal CARES Act funding to assist students whose lives were disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The financial aid services office reached out directly to students who meet the federal government criteria, such as students who receive the Pell Grant. Additional CARES Act funding will be disbursed to eligible students enrolled in the summer and fall semesters.

    Laptop Loan Program

    The college started loaning laptops today to students who are registered for summer and fall classes and do not have the necessary technology at home. All students registered for summer were sent a short survey to complete, in which they indicated their technology needs. Once completed, students select a time to come to campus for a contact-less pickup. The student drives to the designated meeting location, and then staff from information technology place the laptop in the trunk. Please remind your students who are registered for summer to check their college emails for more information about the laptop loan programs.

    Emails are also going out to faculty, staff, and students with loaned laptops from spring. We are asking anyone who will not be working or learning this summer to turn in the laptop so that it can be redeployed to other faculty, staff, and students who need the technology this summer.

    Food Assistance

    Due to the campus closure, the HCC Food Pantry is not open currently. However, the Howard County Food Bank prepares premade bags of food available for pickup every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for Howard County residents. If you know a Howard County resident who needs assistance with food, please direct them to the Howard County Food Bank for details. Non-Howard County residents should visit the Maryland Food Bank website for support.

    Event Cancellation Extended

    In-person events planned to be held on campus through August 9, 2020, will not take place. President’s team continues to monitor state, county, and CDC guidelines for social distancing and large gatherings, and will make a decision in the weeks ahead on large, in-person events planned to take place on campus after August 9, 2020.

    Continued Appreciation

    I want to express my appreciation for everything you have been doing to ensure that classes and services have continued in our remote environment. This “new normal” has made me recognize just how much I miss seeing and connecting with you in person. For instance, at this time of year, I would normally be preparing for commencement and convocation. While these events will not happen this May, I still wanted to take a moment to say congratulations on a job well done. By working together, we did the seemingly impossible. Thank you for living the HCC mission online.

  • Employee Update: May 7

    Updated: May 7, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    As we near the end of the semester, I want to thank you for your hard work and dedication this spring. It has been an unprecedented time, and you have made an incredible effort to ensure the student experience is just as rewarding online as it is in person. I recognize that it has been challenging for you, as you balance working remotely, staying safe at home, and managing family obligations. Thank you for prioritizing our students and for continuing to support one another.

    The following message has important news and updates, as well as reminders of benefit to students.

    Letter to the Editor

    With the continuing impact to colleges and universities across the country, Howard County families have difficult decisions ahead with their graduating high school seniors. I truly hope that families will consider Howard Community College (HCC) as their best option this fall. For that reason, I have sent letters to the parents of all high school seniors, and wrote a letter to the editor that appeared in the Baltimore Sun and in the American Association of Community Colleges’ Community College Daily. The admissions and advising team stands ready to help families with applying and enrolling at HCC.

    Financial aid services also may be able to assist students who have difficulty paying their tuition and fees. Aid is available to students who qualify. Ask students to find more information online or email finaid@howardcc.edu.

    Enrollment and Summer Registration

    The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, combined with the complexities of remote operations, has resulted in double-digit drops to summer and fall enrollment when compared to last year. If these numbers do not improve, it will have a major impact on our budget. Enrollment is a college-wide effort; it is not the sole responsibility of one or two offices. Therefore, I ask each of you to work with your students, and remind them to register now for summer and fall.

    Looking Ahead to Fall Semester

    The college continues to evaluate how and when it will return to in-person operations. While no decisions have been made, I want to emphasize that the health, safety, and well-being of faculty, staff, and students is the highest priority. Still, the college must think ahead for when reopening may be possible and what operations would look like.

    I have asked Shelly Bilello to lead a cross-functional committee, representing all vice presidents’ and the president’s areas, to plan for the eventual return to campus. The members are:

    Academic Affairs

    Jeremy Bomberg
    Georgene Butler
    Laura Cripps
    Kismet Flagg
    Mari Wepprecht
    Minah Woo

    Administration and Finance

    Lynn Coleman
    Dewey Grim
    Chris Heston
    Travis Hopkins
    Aja Lee
    Bob Marietta
    Chuck Nightingale
    Joseph Pettiford

    Information Technology

    Mike Heinmuller
    Tabitha Herry
    Sung Lee
    Linda Wu

    President’s Area

    Elizabeth Homan
    Katie Turner

    Student Services

    Geoffrey Colbert
    Cheryl Cudzilo
    Lorianna Mapps

    As the committee develops the HCC recovery plan, I will share it with you. I value your input, as it will be essential in refining the plan and preparing for that moment when we can start in-person operations again. As always, Howard Community College is best when its diverse community of faculty and staff collaborate.

    Supporting Students

    Financial Aid

    The pandemic is impacting so many of our students and their families. Please remind your students to consider applying for financial aid, even if they have never done it before. Encourage your students to fill out the application or to contact the financial aid office at finaid@howardcc.edu.

    Laptop Loan Program

    The college will reach out to students who currently have a laptop to determine if they will be taking classes over the summer and/or fall, as well as faculty and staff who are not scheduled to work over the summer. We are trying to recover and reuse laptops for summer students. Emails will also go out to students who do not currently have a laptop to see if they need one or additional technology support for use in summer or fall classes. Please encourage your students to check their college emails for more information.

    Celebrating Students

    I wanted to share my appreciation for the efforts you are making to recognize students at year-end activities. There will be virtual ceremonies or events to recognize student leaders, honors students, student athletes, and students in Ambiciones, Career Links, Howard P.R.I.D.E., Student Support Services, and Disability Support Services. Planning is also in progress to send graduation poster packages to graduating students so that they can publicly celebrate their achievement with family.

    Important Reminders

    Withdraw Deadline – May 12

    This deadline is coming up soon. As a reminder, the withdraw deadline has been extended to May 12, the last day of classes. Students may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning.

    Website Resources

    Visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus for all my email messages to faculty, staff, and students, as well as up-to-date information and resources for faculty, staff, and students.

    We’re All in This Together

    I recently joined my fellow Maryland community college presidents in recording a special video message to offer words of encouragement during this challenging time. While Maryland’s 16 community colleges are very different, each one is steadfast in its commitment to students. We are all in this together.

    Best wishes during these final weeks of the semester.

  • Student Update: May 7

    Updated: May 7, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    As we near the end of the semester, I want to thank you for your hard work this spring. It has been an unprecedented time, and you have made an incredible effort to keep moving forward in your classes. I recognize that it has been challenging to balance working remotely, staying safe, and managing family obligations. Thank you for making your Howard Community College (HCC) education an important part of your life.

    The following message has important news and updates, as well as reminders of benefit to students.

    Summer Registration Underway

    Summer registration is currently underway, so don’t wait to sign up for the courses you need. Register online through Self-Service before you finish finals. More information is at the registration webpage.

    You may also want to explore the wide range of noncredit career and enrichment classes available through the college’s continuing education and workforce development division. Class descriptions and details are available on the continuing education webpage.

    Looking Ahead to Fall

    The college continues to evaluate how and when it will return to in-person operations. While no decisions have been made, I want to emphasize that the health, safety, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff is the highest priority. Still, the college must think ahead for when reopening may be possible and what operations would look like.

    I have launched a committee comprised of faculty and staff representing key areas of the college, which will plan for the eventual return to campus. Any decision about fall classes, whether they will continue remotely or take place on campus, will be made in the coming weeks. I ask for your patience as we determine what decision is best for HCC.

    Supporting Students

    Financial Aid

    The pandemic is impacting so many of students and their families. Financial aid may be able to provide assistance with your classes and other funding needs. If your personal circumstances have changed, please apply for financial aid. Just fill out the application or contact the financial aid office at finaid@howardcc.edu for more information.

    Laptop Loan Program

    The college will reach out to students who are currently borrowing an HCC laptop to determine if they will be taking courses during the summer session and/or fall semester. If you are taking courses for summer and/or fall, you can continue to borrow a laptop. Emails will also go out to students who do not currently have a laptop to see if they need one or additional technology support for use in summer or fall classes. Please check your college email account for more information.

    Important Reminders

    Withdraw Deadline – May 12

    This deadline is coming up soon. As a reminder, the withdraw deadline has been extended to May 12, 2020, the last day of classes for the spring semester. Students may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning.

    Support Still Available

    We recognize that the coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on you and your family. Reach out to the college if you are facing tuition payment challenges, food insecurity, or technology and other issues. Email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu for assistance.

    Website Resources

    Visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus for all my email messages, as well as up-to-date information and resources available.

    We’re All in This Together

    I recently joined my fellow Maryland community college presidents in recording a special video message for students to offer words of encouragement during this challenging time. While Maryland’s 16 community colleges are very different, each one is steadfast in its commitment to you – our students. Please take a moment to watch on YouTube.

    Remember, we are here to support you. We’re all in this together. Best wishes in your last week of classes and on finals.

  • Student Update: April 27

    Updated: April 27, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    As each day passes, I am touched by your creativity and dedication as you strive to succeed in your classes. This is such a difficult time, and I am so proud that you have chosen to continue to learn at Howard Community College.

    There remain many unknowns in this pandemic, and my leadership team and I strive to be as transparent as possible. I will continue to email you when decisions are made that impact you.

    Commencement

    The college has identified two possibilities for the rescheduled 2020 commencement ceremony – August 21 and December 20, 2020 – at UMBC’s Event Center. The nursing and allied health recognition ceremonies would also take place at this time. The decision about which date will be chosen will be made this summer, once more is known about holding public events.

    Summer Session

    As I have shared before, remote classes and services will continue this summer. Both credit and noncredit will now be offered remotely throughout the summer session. Please note that any decision to ease restrictions to campus access will only occur when the college is confident that the health, safety, and well-being of faculty, staff, and students can be maintained.

    Summer registration is currently underway, so please don’t hesitate. Register online through Self-Service before you finish your spring semester. More information is at the registration webpage.

    For students who have already registered for noncredit classes, program staff will reach out directly to you regarding the class status for summer.

    College Operating Budget and Tuition

    As March began, the college had already taken steps to reduce spending as a result of decreased enrollment numbers in the fall and spring semesters. The coronavirus pandemic is straining the current fiscal year (FY) 2020 operating budget and causing the college to make difficult decisions about the FY2021 operating budget.

    While the college will receive funding from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act, half of the allocation will be disbursed to students, with the remaining going to the college. Guidance on how to use the funding is still being reviewed.

    Too much uncertainty exists around federal, state, and county funding, as well as summer and fall enrollment numbers. In order to adapt, the college board of trustees approved a very lean FY2021 operating budget on April 23, 2020. The following actions will help the college remain financially stable during these challenging times:

    • Tuition and Fees:
      • There will be a $2 per credit hour tuition increase for in-county students. For out-of-county students, the increase will be $5 per credit hour, and $8 for out-of-state students.
      • The consolidated fee will change from 18.82 to 19.96% of the in-county rate per credit hour. This change is occurring because the college originally had only online students paying fees for the learning management system (Canvas). In actuality, the system is used by all students now, so the online/internet student fees will be eliminated.

    Important Reminders

    Withdraw Deadline Extension

    The withdraw deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for the spring semester, May 12, 2020. You may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning. Further details are in my April 13 message at howardcc.edu/coronavirus.

    Student Support

    We recognize that the coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on you and your family. Reach out to the college if you are facing tuition payment challenges, food insecurity, or other issues. Email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu for assistance.

    Helpful Resources

    Visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus for all my communications, as well as up-to-date lists of resources.

    Thank You

    We are living through an incredibly challenging time, and yet I remain confident that Howard Community College will persevere. Together, we will get through this and emerge a stronger, more resilient community college. Thank you for choosing Howard Community College.

  • Employee Update: April 27

    Updated: April 27, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    As each day passes, I am touched by the extraordinary efforts of faculty and staff to ensure our students have the best educational experience possible. Your thoughtful compassion makes such a difference during this unprecedented time. Thank you for your patience as my leadership team and I have deliberated decisions about what is next for the college during the pandemic. We strive to be as transparent as possible, communicating decisions as they are made.

    Commencement

    The college has identified two possibilities for the rescheduled 2020 commencement ceremony – August 21 and December 20, 2020 – at UMBC’s Events Center. The nursing and allied health recognition ceremonies would also take place at this time. The decision about which date will be chosen will be made this summer, once more is known about holding public events.

    Summer Session

    As I have shared before, remote classes and services will continue this summer. All operations outside of classroom instruction are considered services. Unless the current pandemic state of emergency guidelines change dramatically, I expect that faculty and staff will continue to telework over the summer months. Please note that any decision to ease restrictions to campus access will only occur when the college is confident that the health, safety, and well-being of faculty, staff, and students can be maintained.

    As an important new update, both noncredit and credit classes will be offered remotely throughout the summer session. The noncredit online offerings will include Kids on Campus. Summer registration is currently underway, and there is a brand-new online tool that allows our community to search for credit classes. Additionally, the credit and noncredit marketing teams collaborated on our first integrated summer campaign, encouraging prospective students to keep learning online this summer.

    Budget Challenges and Changes

    As March began, the college had already taken steps to reduce spending as a result of decreased enrollment numbers in the fall and spring semesters. The coronavirus pandemic is straining the current fiscal year (FY) 2020 operating budget and causing the college to make difficult decisions about the FY2021 operating budget.

    While the college will receive funding from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act, half of the allocation will be disbursed to students, with the remaining going to the college. Guidance on how to disburse the funding is still under review.

    Too much uncertainty exists around federal, state, and county funding, as well as summer and fall enrollment numbers. Compared to this time last year, the current summer I enrollment is down 31%, summer II is down 45%, and fall is down 45% for full-time equivalent (FTE) student enrollment. If this trend continues into the fall, revenues would drop dramatically.

    County and State Funding

    For its FY 2021 operating budget, the college requested a funding increase of $3,225,870, or 9% over this current fiscal year. When the Howard County Executive released his proposed operating budget last Monday, he recommended an increase of $716,860, which amounts to a 2% increase. In light of the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the economy, the college remains appreciative of this proposed increase from the county.

    It should be noted that the budget still must be approved by the Howard County Council. While the Council cannot increase the college’s budget, it can vote for a decrease and instead allocate a portion to the Howard County Public School System. A final decision will not occur until mid to late-May 2020.

    At the state level, the General Assembly voted to restore full Cade funding to the community colleges, which is based on prior years’ enrollment levels and amounts to a 16.6% increase and $3,301,048 over last fiscal year. It should be noted that the Governor can cut the community college funding by 25 percent if there is a shortfall in state revenues. If this were to occur, Howard Community College’s FY2021 state funding could be cut by as much as $5,200,199.

    FY2021 Budget Adopted by Board of Trustees

    In order to adapt to the changes noted above, the college board of trustees approved a very lean FY2021 operating budget on April 23, 2020. These actions will help ensure the college remains financially stable:

    • Tuition and Fees:
      • There will be a $2 per credit hour tuition increase for in-county students. For out-of-county students, the increase will be $5 per credit hour, and $8 for out-of-state students.
      • The consolidated fee will change from 18.82 to 19.96% of the in-county rate per credit hour. This change is occurring because the college originally had only online students paying fees for the learning management system (Canvas). In actuality, the system is used by all students now, so the online/internet student fees will be eliminated.
    • Employee Benefits:
      • After much consideration and deliberation, the college will not institute a merit increase in FY2021 because of the potential negative revenue impact from decreased enrollment. If this trend continues, revenues would drop significantly. If fall and spring enrollments improve and if county and state funding does not decrease, I will ask the board to consider a mid-year salary increase or bonus.
      • Similar to merit, there will be no adjunct rate increase. If fall and spring enrollments improve and if county and state funding does not decrease, I will ask the board to consider a mid-year rate increase or bonus.
      • The recommendation of the salary and benefits committee to increase tuition reimbursement for classes at other colleges will not be implemented.
      • Two positions will be funded: (1) staff member to support the social sciences and teacher education division, which is funded primarily through the office’s own budget reallocation, and (2) associate director of financial aid, which is currently a temporary with benefits position and will be instrumental to assisting with the disbursement of federal stimulus funding for students.

    Reminders

    Withdraw Deadline Extension

    The withdraw deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for the spring semester, May 12, 2020. Students may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning.

    Event Cancellations

    All college events are canceled through the end of June. This decision includes partner events held on the campus.

    Student Support

    Encourage students facing tuition payment challenges, food insecurity, or other issues to email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu.

    Website Resources

    Visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus for all my email messages to faculty, staff, and students, as well as up-to-date information and resources for faculty, staff, and students.

    Thank You

    We are living through an incredibly challenging time both professional and personally, and yet I remain confident that Howard Community College will persevere. This institution is special because of the caring, innovative, and supportive community of faculty and staff who believe in our mission. Together, we will get through this and emerge a stronger, more resilient community college.

  • Student Update: April 16

    Updated: April 16, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    Let me express my sincere appreciation for your decision to continue your education at Howard Community College. It is challenging to learn in a remote environment, and so I am impressed by your progress. Please keep up your good work, and read the following for the latest updates and reminders about college operations.

    Event Cancellations

    After much consideration, my leadership team and I have decided to cancel or postpone all college events through the end of June 2020. As a reminder, campus access is restricted, and only authorized employees are allowed.

    Important Reminders

    Summer Session

    Remote classes and services will continue for the summer session. Credit classes and programs will be remote throughout the summer. Noncredit classes will operate with greater flexibility, if the governor’s state of emergency is lifted. Continue to register, and if any changes are necessary, you will be notified.

    Withdraw Deadline Extension

    The withdraw deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for the spring semester, May 12, 2020, to allow students to adjust to remote learning and make informed decisions about their coursework. Students may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning. Further details about the withdraw grade and process are in my April 13 message at howardcc.edu/coronavirus.

    Commencement

    Last month, the college made the difficult decision to postpone the May 2020 commencement ceremony. Graduating students deserve the best commencement possible, and postponing to a later date will allow students to safely celebrate with friends and family. More information about a future date will be communicated out once details are finalized.

    Student Support

    Remember to reach out to the college if you are facing tuition payment challenges, food insecurity, or other issues. We recognize that the coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on students and their families. Email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu for assistance.

    Helpful Resources

    Visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus for all my communications to students, as well as up-to-date lists of resources. You will find information about such services as counseling, career services, financial aid, testing, tutoring, and wellness. While the college food pantry is now closed, the Howard County Food Bank continues to operate. The address and hours are available on the food bank website.

    Stay Strong

    Please continue to check your student email as I will continue to communicate regularly with updates on colleges operations and resources. While this is a challenging time, I am confident that we will get through this together. Thank you, and stay strong.

  • Employee Update: April 16

    Updated: April 16, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    Since we cannot connect in person, I wanted to reach out today with a short video message to express my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for everything you are doing to support our students and one another. Teaching and working remotely is challenging, and it is impressive to see your progress in keeping students on track and focused on completion.

    Below, please find the latest operational updates and reminders.

    Event Cancellations

    After much consideration, we have chosen to cancel or postpone all college events through the end of June 2020. This decision includes partner events held on the campus.

    Capital Budget Hearing Tonight

    Board of Trustees Chair Feli Solà-Carter and I will advocate on behalf of the college’s fiscal year 2021 capital budget at tonight’s Howard County Council virtual public hearing. We will ask the councilmembers to support County Executive Calvin Ball’s recommendations of $5.4 million for the design and start of construction of the Mathematics and Athletics Complex, as well as $2 million for systemic renovations.

    To watch the April 16, 2020, 6:30 p.m. hearing, visit the Howard County Council’s website. I expect to be the first speaker, and the board chair will be third.

    Reminders

    Summer Session

    Remote classes and services will continue this summer. Credit classes and programs will be remote for the entire session. Noncredit classes will operate with greater flexibility, if the state of emergency is lifted. Registration is ongoing, and students who have already registered will receive notification if changes are necessary.

    Withdraw Deadline Extension

    The withdraw deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for the spring semester, May 12, 2020. Students may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning. Further details about the withdraw grade and process are in my April 13, 2020, message.

    Commencement

    As a reminder, the 2020 commencement has been postponed. While a difficult decision, it was made to help keep our college community safe and healthy, as well as to allow graduating students to fully participate in the celebration with friends and family. The full announcement of this decision is in my March 20, 2020, message.

    Student Support

    Remember to encourage students facing tuition payment challenges, food insecurity, or other issues to email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu.

    Website Resources

    Visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus for all my email messages to faculty, staff, and students, as well as up-to-date information and resources. For students, this includes remote services in counseling, career services, disability support services, testing, tutoring, and more.

    Stay Strong

    While there remains uncertainty about when we will return to campus, I will continue to be transparent about the decisions that the president’s team and I make to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the college community. I am confident that we will get through this…together. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you, and stay strong.

  • Student Update: April 13

    Updated: April 13, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    As we begin our third week of remote classes and services, I would like to extend my continued thanks for your dedication and commitment to continuing your education at Howard Community College. I know the global pandemic has had a tremendous impact on your life, and I am grateful for your willingness to stay strong. Please read the following for updates and reminders about college operations.

    Summer Session

    My leadership team and I have always made decisions with the health, safety, and well-being of faculty, staff, and students as the highest priorities. With this in mind, we are going to provide remote classes and services this summer. Credit classes and programs will be remote all summer long; there will be no in-person instruction. Noncredit classes will operate with greater flexibility, in the event the governor’s state of emergency is lifted.

    Registration for summer classes is ongoing. We realize there may be some adjustments to the classes and sections offered. If you have already registered, you will receive notification if changes need to be made to your existing schedule.

    Reminders

    Student Withdraw Deadline Extension

    The withdraw deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for the spring semester, May 12, 2020, to allow you to adjust to remote learning and make informed decisions about your coursework. Choosing to withdraw from a course will result in a grade of W on student transcripts; students will not be provided with a refund of tuition or fees. Please note that withdrawing may impact student academic standing, financial aid, tuition assistance, veterans’ benefits, and F1 visa status, and may result in a balance due to the college. Students should consult with the appropriate office(s) before dropping or withdrawing; email register@howardcc.edu for assistance on the appropriate office to contact. Students using veterans’ benefits should contact veteransaffairs@howardcc.edu before withdrawing. Students who want to withdraw should use Self-Service: Student Planning.

    Student Support

    The college recognizes that you may be facing job loss, food insecurity, and other challenges as each day passes. While all requests for laptops have been processed, we are continuing to assist students with other needs or questions. Send an email to enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu, and a team from student services will follow up with a response.

    Health Insurance

    If you need health insurance, there are two more days to enroll through Maryland Health Connection. Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free Enroll MHC mobile app by Wednesday, April 15. Request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.”

    Thank You

    Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility. Even remotely, we are working hard to serve you and provide pathways to success. I wish you success this week and for the remainder of your spring semester.

  • Employee Update: April 13

    Updated: April 13, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    As we begin Howard Community College’s (HCC) third week of remote classes and services, thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to our students and one another. The global pandemic has impacted each and every member of the HCC community, and your willingness to stay strong and stay connected is to be commended. I am so very grateful for your support.

    Summer Session

    The president’s team and I continue to meet daily and strive to make decisions with the health, safety, and well-being of faculty, staff, and students as the highest priorities. With this in mind, we have decided to continue remote classes and services this summer. Credit classes and programs will be remote for the entire summer semester. Noncredit classes will operate with greater flexibility, in the event that the governor’s state of emergency is lifted.

    Registration is ongoing for the summer; our goal is that the continuation of remote classes be as smooth as possible for students. We recognize that remote learning in the summer may result in some adjustments to the classes and sections offered. Students who have already registered will receive notification if their schedule must change.

    Reminders

    Student Withdraw Deadline Extension

    The withdraw deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for the spring semester, May 12, 2020, to allow students to adjust to remote learning and make informed decisions about their coursework. Students may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning. Choosing to withdraw will result in a grade of W on student transcripts; students will not be provided with a refund of tuition or fees. Withdrawing may impact student academic standing, financial aid, tuition assistance, veterans’ benefits, and F1 visa status, and may result in a balance due to the college. Students should consult with the appropriate office(s) before dropping or withdrawing; email register@howardcc.edu for assistance on the appropriate office to contact. Students with veterans’ benefits should contact veteransaffairs@howardcc.edu before withdrawing.

    Student Support

    The college recognizes that students are facing job loss, food insecurity, and other challenges as each day passes. Please know that all requests for laptops have already been processed. If students have other needs or questions, encourage them to email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu. A team from student services triages each request that is received.

    Website Resources

    The college continues to update its coronavirus webpage to make it easier for employees and students to find help and resources. Simply visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus and click the Faculty/Staff Resources link. New content includes recommendations for improving your security settings for Zoom.

    Thank You

    Thank you for making Howard Community College a stronger, more resilient institution. Even remotely, we are serving our students and providing them with pathways to success. I continue to look forward to the day when we can be together again. Best wishes for this week.

  • Student Update: April 3

    Updated: April 3
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    Thank you for your continued commitment to the college as we work to provide you with remote learning and services. I am heartened by your efforts to stay connected and keep focused on your courses. To assist you, please find important updates and reminders below.

    Student Withdraw Deadline Extension

    The withdraw deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for the spring semester, May 12, 2020. Extending the withdraw deadline will allow students to adjust to remote learning and make an informed decision about continuing with their coursework. Students may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning.

    Choosing to withdraw from a course will result in a grade of W on student transcripts; students will not be provided with a refund of tuition or fees. Please note that withdrawing may impact student academic standing, financial aid, tuition assistance, veterans’ benefits, and F1 visa status, and may result in a balance due to the college. Students should consult with the appropriate office(s) before dropping or withdrawing; email register@howardcc.edu for assistance on the appropriate office to contact. Students using veterans’ benefits should contact veteransaffairs@howardcc.edu before withdrawing.

    Website Changes

    The college updated its coronavirus webpage to make it easier for you to find resources. Simply visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus and click the Student Resources link.

    Reminders

    Continued Support

    We continue to assist students with technology, food, and other support through enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu. If you need help, please email your name, HCC email address, and your specific concern. We will follow up with you.

    Census

    Howard County is leading the state with its participation in Census 2020, and yet there are still so many people that remain uncounted. Please don’t wait to complete your census online, by phone, or through the mail. The census determines Congressional representation and federal funding, plus it helps the county and state plan for the future. Learn more in this short video. Get started today to make sure Howard County counts.

    Health Insurance

    In response to the coronavirus, the Maryland Health Connection has opened a special enrollment period for all Marylanders who need health insurance. Enroll now through Wednesday, April 15, 2020, and coverage selected during this time will begin April 1, 2020, regardless of when you enroll. Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free Enroll MHC mobile app. Request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.”

    Heartfelt Appreciation

    Thank you for continuing to stay engaged remotely. While I do not know when the pandemic will end, I remain heartened that we will overcome this challenge together. I wish you the best this week and for the remainder of the spring semester.

  • Employee Update: April 3

    Updated: April 3, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    Thank you for your continued support and commitment to our students. I have received such wonderful updates on your efforts to ensure students have the resources necessary to succeed. This caring culture crosses all offices and departments. I am deeply touched by your kindness to students and also one another.

    Student Withdraw Deadline Extension

    The withdraw deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for the spring semester, May 12, 2020. Extending the withdraw deadline will allow students to adjust to remote learning and make an informed decision about continuing with their coursework. Students may withdraw using Self-Service: Student Planning.

    Choosing to withdraw from a course will result in a grade of W on student transcripts; students will not be provided with a refund of tuition or fees. Please note that withdrawing may impact student academic standing, financial aid, tuition assistance, veterans’ benefits, and F1 visa status, and may result in a balance due to the college. Students should consult with the appropriate office(s) before dropping or withdrawing; email register@howardcc.edu for assistance on the appropriate office to contact. Students using veterans’ benefits should contact veteransaffairs@howardcc.edu before withdrawing.

    Website Resources

    The college updated its coronavirus webpage to make it easier for employees and students to find help and resources. Simply visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus and click the Faculty/Staff Resources link. There is also a link to Student Resources.

    Please always direct students to howardcc.edu/coronavirus for resources for remote services and learning. This is designed as a central repository for information. If there is any content needed to make these resources better for our students, email prmarketing@howardcc.edu.

    Reminders

    Census

    Howard County is leading the state with its participation in Census 2020, and yet there are still so many people that remain uncounted. Please don’t wait to complete your census online, by phone, or through the mail. The census determines Congressional representation and federal funding, plus it helps the county and state plan for the future. Learn more in this short video. Get started today to make sure Howard County counts.

    Health Insurance

    In response to the coronavirus, the Maryland Health Connection has opened a special enrollment period for all Marylanders who need health insurance. Enroll now through Wednesday, April 15, 2020, and coverage will begin April 1, 2020, regardless of when you enroll. Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free Enroll MHC mobile app. Request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.”

    Heartfelt Appreciation

    Thank you for continuing to support one another and serve students remotely. While the end of this pandemic is uncertain, I remain heartened that we will overcome this challenge together.

  • Student Update: March 31

    Updated: March 31, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    As we near the end of day two of remote classes, I wanted to share my sincere appreciation for your flexibility and adaptability to this new learning environment. The governor’s decision to implement a stay-at-home directive is recognition that the college made the best decision possible in shifting to remote operation to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. I encourage you to read the governor’s directive to ensure you are informed about how it impacts you and your family.

    Continued Support

    While the college is no longer distributing laptops on campus, we have continued to assist students through enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu. All requests for support, including food assistance or other basic needs, are being reviewed. If you need help, please have email your name, HCC email address, and your specific concern. We will follow up with you.

    Health Insurance

    These unprecedented times are impacting families within our college community, and I want to be sure you are informed about an opportunity for health insurance.

    The Maryland Health Connection has opened a special enrollment period available to all Marylanders in need of health insurance. This effort is part of Maryland’s overall response to the coronavirus. Marylanders can enroll now through Wednesday, April 15. Coverage selected during this time will begin April 1, 2020, regardless of when you enroll. To enroll, consumers can visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free Enroll MHC mobile app. When enrolling, Marylanders should request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.”

    Census

    With much of our attention on the coronavirus, I urge you to remember the US 2020 Census. You should have already received an invitation to participate, but don’t wait. Complete your census online, by phone, or through the mail. The census determines the federal funding Howard County receives for schools, parks, and much more. Everyone should be counted; it’s important, easy, and safe. Help make sure Howard County counts.

    Information Updates

    My updates, as well as frequently asked questions and other resources, are available on the special coronavirus webpage at howardcc.edu/coronavirus. Continue to check often for up-to-date information.

    Thank you

    I continue to be thankful for your dedication and commitment to this institution. Your collaborative spirit reassures me that we will overcome this challenge together. Best wishes for continued success with your remote learning.

  • Employee Update: March 31

    Updated: March 31, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:  

    As we conclude day two of remote classes and services, I wanted to share my sincere appreciation for the herculean work you are doing to ensure our students succeed. The governor’s decision to implement a stay-at-home directive is recognition that the college made the best decision possible in shifting to remote operations. I recognize this effort has been challenging, so thank you for pivoting so quickly to this new environment. I encourage you to read the governor’s directive to ensure you are informed.

    Continued Support for Students

    While the college is no longer distributing laptops and other technology to students on campus, we have continued to assist students through enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu. All requests for support, including food assistance or other basic needs, are being reviewed. Using this inbox allows for each student’s individual needs to be addressed.

    If you have a student in need, please have the student email with their name, HCC email address, and their specific concern. We will follow up with support.

    Health Insurance

    These unprecedented times are impacting families within our college community, and I want to be sure you are informed about opportunities to stay healthy.

    • If you have a life event that impacts your healthcare coverage or that of a family dependent, regardless of household arrangements, immediately contact Natasha Gray, benefits manager, at ngray@howardcc.edu for guidance.
    • The Maryland Health Connection has opened a special enrollment period available to all Marylanders in need of health insurance. This effort is part of Maryland’s overall response to the coronavirus. Marylanders can enroll now through Wednesday, April 15. Coverage selected during this time will begin April 1, 2020, regardless of when you enroll. To enroll, consumers can visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free Enroll MHC mobile app. When enrolling, Marylanders should request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.”

    Census

    With much of our attention on the coronavirus, I urge you to remember the US 2020 Census. You should have already received an invitation to participate, but don’t wait. Complete your census online, by phone, or through the mail. The census determines the federal funding Howard County receives for schools, parks, and much more. Everyone should be counted; it’s important, easy, and safe. Help make sure Howard County counts.

    Information Updates

    My updates, as well as frequently asked questions and other resources, are available on the special coronavirus webpage at howardcc.edu/coronavirus.

    Thank You

    I continue to be thankful for your dedication and commitment to this institution and, most importantly, to our students. Your collaborative and supportive spirit reassures me that we will overcome this challenge. I look forward to expressing my personal gratitude in person once we can be together again.

  • Student Update: March 26

    Updated: March 26, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    Thank you for your continued patience as the college transitions to remote instruction and services. Faculty and staff are working at a rapid pace to ensure you will have what you need to succeed.  

    Student Technology Support 

    We distributed laptops and other resources yesterday and have continued to distribute them today to students who completed the online survey or submitted information to the enrollment support email. It is vitally important work, and the college is following health department guidance and best practices. At the same time, these interactions must be reduced and brought to conclusion for the health and safety of everyone.  

    All requests for student technology must be submitted to enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu  by 5 p.m. today, March 26, 2020. This deadline ensures that enrollment services and information technology (IT) have the time to process all requests and prepare technology for Friday, March 27, 2020, distribution.  

    IT Help Desk 

    With remote learning, I know that you may be taking classes or studying at a very different schedule than previously. Please understand that IT is only available to help during their Help Desk operating hours. The hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–11 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1–10 p.m. The Help Desk is not 24 hours a day.  

    Thank You 

    Thank you for your cooperation. As I have said before, we are in uncharted territory, and we must be adaptable and flexible during this time. I appreciate everything you are doing to prepare for remote learning.  

  • Employee Update: March 26

    Updated: March 26, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:  

    Thank you for your continued efforts to ensure students have the technology and resources they need to succeed. Moving to remote instruction and services has required everyone to work at a rapid pace, and yet it is making a tremendous difference in the lives of our students.  

    Student Technology Support 

    We distributed laptops and other resources to students yesterday and have continued to distribute them today to students who have completed the online survey or submitted their information to the enrollment support email.

    It is vitally important work, and the college is following health department guidance and best practices. At the same time, I recognize that these interactions must be reduced and brought to conclusion for the health and safety of everyone.  

    After careful consideration, all requests for student technology must be submitted to enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu  by 5 p.m. today, March 26, 2020. This deadline ensures that enrollment services and information technology (IT) have the time to process all requests and prepare technology for Friday, March 27, 2020, distribution. 

    IT Help Desk 

    With remote teaching and working, I know that many of us will be working flexible schedules. Please understand that IT is only available to help during their Help Desk operating hours. The hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–11 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1–10 p.m. The Help Desk is not 24 hours a day.  

    A listing of the resources available to assist you while you work remotely is now available on the college’s main coronavirus webpage. To reach that information directly, visit here.  

    Mailroom 

    The mailroom will not deliver mail during this period because mail cannot be left outside locked office doors. Several areas have arranged to obtain their mail.  Other office areas that expect mail can pick up mail by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To make an appointment, call the mailroom at extension 1910. 

    Thank You 

    Thank you for your cooperation. As I have said before, we are in uncharted territory, and we must be adaptable and flexible during this time. I appreciate everything you continue to do to support students and one another. 

  • Student Update: March 25

    Updated: March 25, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    I remain heartened by your continued flexibility and patience as the college navigates what is an unprecedented time. I recognize you are facing challenges transitioning to this new learning environment. I remain grateful to the faculty and staff who are assisting you as the college transitions to remote learning and services effective Monday, March 30, 2020. Thank you for your patience during this challenging period in our history.

    Student Support

    Over the weekend, the college asked students via an online survey what they needed to be successful in a remote learning environment. Based on responses, the Office of Information Technology started to distribute technology today to students who did not have access to computers.

    I recognize that some of you were not able to respond to the survey by the deadline. If you do not have a computer or have other pressing concerns, such as the needing emergency assistance or food, email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu. Please share the following:

    • Full name AND official HCC email address,
    • Computer or technology needs, and
    • Any other needs not being met with remote services.

    College Operations

    As a reminder, the howardcc.edu/coronavirus webpage has an inventory of every email that I have sent out, including today’s message. It also has valuable resources, such as information about learning remotely and how to access remote services. The information is being updated daily.

    I appreciate your flexibility and patience. I recognize every day brings new information and changes. I am so honored to serve as your president, and I look forward to the college continuing to providing you with pathways to success.

  • Employee Update: March 25

    Updated: March 25, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    I remain heartened by the care you continue to show to our students and each other as we navigate what is an unprecedented time for the college. I recognize you are facing challenges personally and professionally working in this new environment. Please know that I am grateful for all of your efforts to adapt and maintain the health, safety, and well-being of the college community.

    Student Support

    Over the weekend, the college asked students via an online survey what they needed to be successful in a remote learning environment. In response, information technology (IT) started to distribute laptops and hotspots today to students who indicated they did not have the technology available. Nearly 600 laptops and 100 hotspots are being loaned out to students this week. This has been a collaborative effort for many areas of the college, and I want to particularly thank the information technology staff and enrollment services staff for working together to assist our students.

    We recognize that some students were not able to respond to the survey by the deadline. Students who still need technology or students who have other pressing concerns, such as emergency assistance, should email enrollmentsupport@howardcc.edu. Please have students share the following:

    • Full name AND official HCC email address,
    • Their laptop or technology needs, and
    • Any other needs not being met with remote services.

    As a reminder, the howardcc.edu/coronavirus webpage has an inventory of every email that I have sent to students, including today’s message. It also has valuable resources for students, including information about learning remotely and how to access remote services. Please continue to direct students there because these are being updated daily.

    Email and Voicemail

    As a reminder now that we have returned from spring break, please replace messages on your email or voicemail indicating the college is closed. The college is open and available to provide assistance in a remote capacity. If you want to have a message on your email or voicemail, please indicate that the college is providing instruction and services remotely effective Monday, March 30, 2020, and access to campus is restricted to authorized employees only.

    We recognize you have more questions than we can answer today. Our immediate focus has been on readying students and faculty for remote instruction. For your immediate questions, please ask your supervisor for assistance. If there are questions that still remain unanswered, please email prmarketing@howardcc.edu. We will use these questions to build a better, more informative FAQ for the main coronavirus website.

    I appreciate your flexibility and patience. I recognize every day brings new information and changes. By working together, we will succeed in delivering remote instruction and services to our students. I am so honored to serve as your president, and thank you for continuing to live our mission.

  • Employee Update: March 23

    Updated: March 23, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Colleagues:

    I greatly appreciate the extra effort you are making to prepare for delivering classes and services remotely. There has been such a generous spirit in our community; everyone is pitching in to help. It is evident that all of us are keeping the health, safety, and well-being of employees and students as our highest priorities.

    Campus Access Tomorrow, March 24

    The governor ordered non-essential businesses to close after 5 p.m. today, March 23. After deliberations, the college is able to allow employees on campus tomorrow, March 24, for the purpose of performing essential functions or related to remote learning and teleworking. Please see the following guidance for tomorrow:

    • Only faculty and staff who are over 60 years old or with underlying conditions may visit their offices from 8 – 9 a.m.
    • All other employees should visit from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. to collect necessary supplies and resources.

    Starting Wednesday, March 25, only authorized employees who have critical functions will be allowed on campus.

    IT Assistance Tomorrow

    As a reminder, the IT Department will be conducting basic Zoom training for staff in CL 123 from 9 a.m.– noon, and 1–4 p.m. These sessions will be 30-minutes long and no more than nine people will be permitted in the room at one time.

    If you have requested a laptop and have been approved by the president or vice president, IT will contact you with additional details on pickup.

    Supporting Students

    The college is making every effort to support students during this transition to remote instruction and services. Over the weekend, more than 1,000 students responded to a survey designed to determine what each student needs to be successful during the spring semester. Feel free to share the survey with your students. The deadline is tomorrow at 10 p.m.

    Recognizing the hardships faced by some of our students, the Howard Community College Educational Foundation (HCCEF) is allocating funding to help students with supplies, technology, food, or emergencies. HCCEF is also accepting donations to provide further assistance to students during this time.

    Information Updates

    Please visit howardcc.edu/coronavirus for updated information and resources. The webpage changes daily. If there is additional content that should be included to assist students, please contact prmarketing@howardcc.edu.

    Thank you for your commitment to helping our students and each other. I realize everyone is facing unprecedented challenges and the situation regarding COVID-19 changes almost daily. I appreciate your patience during this difficult time. I am confident that once things return to a more normal state, we will be a stronger college and community. Thanks for all that you do.

  • Student Update: March 20

    Updated: March 20, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Dear Students:

    Let me begin by saying thank you for your unwavering support of Howard Community College during this unbelievably challenging time. Time and time again, I am touched by the kindness you continue to show one another.

    Over this week, there have been many critical decisions to make, and there will be more ahead. However, let me assure you that your health, safety, and well-being always are paramount and remain my guide.

    Instruction and Student Services Moving Online

    From March 23–29, classes are canceled to continue to prepare for the delivery of remote (online) instruction and services, and access to campus is restricted only to employees.

    To help you transition to remote instruction, the college has a special student resources page on the college website. The college also just developed a webpage about how to access remote student services.

    Commencement

    Commencement is the culmination of years of work for the class of 2020 and the most joyous celebration at the college. There continues to be too much uncertainty about how long the Maryland state of emergency will last. As a result, the college made the difficult decision to postpone commencement. Graduates deserve the best commencement possible, and with travel and events impacted by the coronavirus, we have decided to reschedule the event to allow everyone to fully celebrate with friends and family. More details about dates will come later.

    College Events

    In keeping with the college’s decision to move to remote instruction and services, all college-sponsored and partner events on and off campus will be canceled until May 31.

    Technology Support

    With classes and services moving online, we recognize it will take time to adjust. Starting again this Monday, the IT Help Desk will continue to answer your calls and emails. The hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–11 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1–10 p.m.

    Continue to check howardcc.edu/coronavirus for updated information and resources. We are in unchartered territory at the college and in our own lives, so I appreciate your flexibility and understanding as the college moves to a remote environment. Working together, I am confident that Howard Community College will continue to provide you with pathways to success.

  • Employee Update: March 20

    Updated: March 20, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Let me begin by saying thank you for your unwavering support of Howard Community College during this unbelievably challenging time. Time and time again, I am touched by the kindness you continue to show one another and our students. This culture of caring is what makes this college so special.

    Over this week, there have been many critical decisions to make, and there will be more ahead. However, let me assure you that your health, safety, and well-being always are paramount and remain my guide.

    Campus Access Monday and Tuesday

    If you need supplies and resources for teaching or working remotely, the college will be open to faculty and staff Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Recognizing that people over the age of 60 or with underlying health conditions are at greater risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), the college will open its doors one hour earlier – at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 – for faculty and staff from only these groups who wish to take additional precautions to protect their health.

    Commencement

    Commencement is the culmination of years of work by our students and the most joyous celebration at the college. There remains too much uncertainty today, and we cannot know how much longer this will last. As a result, we made the difficult decision to postpone commencement. The students of the class of 2020 deserve the best commencement possible, and with travel and events impacted by the coronavirus, a rescheduled date will allow everyone to fully celebrate with friends and family. More details will come later.

    College Events

    In keeping with the college’s decision to move to remote instruction and services, all college-sponsored and partner events on and off campus will be canceled until May 31.

    Technology Support

    Teaching and working remotely at this level is new for the college, and we recognize it will take time to adjust. Starting again this Monday, the IT Help Desk will continue to answer your calls and emails. The hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–11 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1–10 p.m.

    Continue to check howardcc.edu/coronavirus for updated information and resources. We are in uncharted territory at this college and in our own lives, so I appreciate all you are doing to ensure we can continue offering classes and services in a remote environment. Working together, we will continue to live our mission of providing pathways to success.

  • Student Update: March 18

    Updated: March 18, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    The health, safety, and well-being of all faculty, staff, and students continue to be the highest priorities as the college makes critical decisions in this unprecedented time. Thank you for your patience over the past few days as the next steps were developed.

    I have taken several immediate actions to protect our community and slow the spread of the disease. These actions are as follows:

    • During March 23 - 29, 2020, classes are canceled. Access to campus is restricted to employees only to allow them time to prepare for remote (online) delivery of instruction and services.
    • Effective March 30, 2020, the college will move to remote (online) delivery of instruction and services for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

    This global pandemic truly is changing life as we know it in Howard County. I recognize there continue to be unknowns as to what this new environment will mean for Howard Community College, and I am committed to keeping you updated and informed. Take care of yourself and your own physical and emotional well-being. Continue to check the college’s coronavirus webpage updated information about services and technology for online instruction.

    Thank you so much for your cooperation and understanding during this time. I am confident that the college will overcome this challenge and emerge stronger. Please know that Howard Community College remains committed to providing you with pathways to success.

  • Employee Update: March 18

    Updated: March 18, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    The Howard Community College Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting this morning to address continuity of operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. For board members and the college’s leadership team, the health, safety, and well-being of all faculty, staff, and students continue to be the highest priorities as we make critical decisions in this unprecedented time. Thank you for your patience over the past few days as we worked out next steps for the college.

    At the meeting, the board members authorized Felícita Solá-Carter, chair, to act on the board’s behalf until the next regular meeting of the board. In addition, the board granted me with special emergency authorization to act on matters impacting the safety of faculty, staff, and students and to maintain continuity of operations.

    I am taking several immediate actions to protect our college community and slow the spread of the disease. These actions are as follows:

    • Effective March 30, 2020, the college will move to remote (online) delivery of instruction and services for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.
    • At this time, all employees will continue to be paid based on their regular schedules, including hourly employees. Additional details will be sent to your supervisor.
    • As you can imagine, the situation evolves on a daily basis. The college will continue to examine its operations and its financial situation as we move forward. We will keep you updated on the latest information.
    • During March 23 - 29, 2020, the expectation is that faculty will continue to prepare for remote teaching. In addition, staff will continue to prepare to offer services remotely.
      • If it is essential to return to campus to pick up supplies and resources for teleworking, the campus will be open to faculty and staff Monday, March 23 - Tuesday, March 24, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      • Remember social distancing.
      • There will be no access to conference spaces and classrooms during this time.
      • No food service will be available.
      • Starting Wednesday, March 25, 2020, only authorized faculty and staff will be allowed on campus. Authorization is granted by the president and vice presidents.
      • As a reminder, classes are canceled March 23 - March 29, 2020.

    This global pandemic truly is changing life as we know it in Howard County. I recognize there continue to be unknowns as to what this new environment will mean for Howard Community College, and I am committed to keeping you updated and informed. Please take care of yourself and your own physical and emotional health and well-being.

    The college’s coronavirus webpage will provide additional information on resources and services. Continue to visit this page for the latest updates, and remember to sign up for mobile alerts for the latest text messages on operations.

    Thank you so much for your cooperation and understanding. As you support one another and our students, I am reminded each day why we are a great college to work for. We are resilient and will emerge from this challenge even stronger.

  • Update: March 16

    Updated: March 16, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Over spring break, your health and safety continue to be the highest priorities as the college works to respond to rapidly changing events related to coronavirus (COVID-19). I understand that it is a stressful time as you and your family’s daily routines have been upended by actions taken by the college, Howard County, and the state of Maryland. Please know that I am doing everything possible to keep you updated and informed as plans develop.

    During this week, only authorized faculty and staff are on campus to prepare the resources necessary for remote instruction and service delivery. Facilities staff are concentrating on cleaning and disinfecting public areas, with emphasis on hard surfaces and high-touch areas.

    As a reminder, these are the college’s operations this week and next:

    • March 15–22 – The college is closed for spring break. Only authorized faculty and staff are allowed access to campus. This action enables facilities to clean and keep traffic out traffic out of those areas.
    • March 23–29 – All credit and noncredit classes are canceled. There remains much discussion about what services will be available during this week. I recognize this may create uncertainty, but be assured that additional details will be shared later this week.

    Remember to sign up for mobile alerts for the latest text message updates on operations. Please continue to check our coronavirus webpage for up-to-date information on college operations.

    Thank you for your continued flexibility and understanding during this time of unprecedented change. By working together, I remain confident that we will do the best for each other and our college

  • Employee Update: March 13

    March 13, 2020
    Message from Joseph Pettiford, Associate Vice President for Human Resources


    Dear Colleagues:

    The purpose of this communication is to supplement the recent announcement from Dr. Hetherington regarding the college’s preparations for addressing the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in our community and to provide further guidance to faculty and staff.

    The college has continued to work diligently to support flexible work arrangements, such as telework, for employees who are in authorized positions for this work arrangement. These are important considerations as we address the needs of the college and employees and college’s response.

    If you have concerns about possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus or questions about travel, leave, and/or telework, please use the following guidance:

    Symptoms and unusual circumstances

    1) If you are personally ill, you should stay at home and contact your health care provider for guidance regarding returning to work.

    2) If you are an employee that is at higher risk for serious illness because of age or a serious long-term health issue and are concerned about your safety, please contact Andrea Black (ablack@howardcc.edu) or jpettiford@howardcc.edu) for guidance.

    Travel

    3) If you have been traveling and are concerned about exposure, please alert HCC’s emergency operations planning (EOP) team via email at eop@howardcc.edu. Please provide your name, recent travel information, and symptoms. Also inform your supervisor. This will help us track possible cases, if they arise. You may be asked to self-quarantine before returning to work.

    Exhausted leave balances

    4) If you are sick or need to care for a sick family member (as defined by the Sick and Disability Leave or Absence Procedure 63.08.14) and have exhausted all forms of earned leave (sick, vacation, personal), the college will consider advancing up to 14 days of sick leave. This leave must be repaid when you return to work, over a period of time. If you leave employment prior to repayment, your last paycheck will be adjusted accordingly.

    For approval of advanced sick leave, submit the Leave Request form to Andrea Black – ablack@howardcc.edu. Immediate supervisors may submit an email to Andrea with the request form attached, authorizing such.

    Telework

    5) If an employee begins teleworking due to circumstances resulting from COVID-19, and does not have a current, approved telework application on file, the employee can submit a telework application to their immediate supervisor clearly denoting “COVID-19” as the justification. The form will need to be electronically approved before an employee can begin teleworking. If an employee has already submitted an approved telework application and will be temporarily adjusting their telework schedule, a new application is not needed.

    Change in spring break

    6) If you had plans for the originally scheduled spring break April 6–12, and intend to continue with those plans, you are required to obtain permission from your supervisor to take leave.

    If you need further clarification on issues relating to personnel policies as they relate to COVID-19, please feel free to reach out to Joseph Pettiford (jpettiford@howardcc.edu).

  • Update: March 13

    Updated: March 13, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    As you head out for spring break, I want to thank you for your continued cooperation and flexibility with the rapidly evolving situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Every day brings new information, and I appreciate your patience with these changes.

    The following are reminders and updates since my last communication:

    SCHEDULE

    • The college will be open on Saturday, March 14, and classes will be taking place.
    • The college will be closed for spring break Sunday, March 15—Sunday, March 22. This includes Laurel College Center.
    • Classes are canceled March 23–29, and information for faculty, staff, and students about services and operations will be announced next week.

    OPERATIONS

    • An email will go out later this evening from Joseph Pettiford, associate vice president of human resources, with additional guidance for employees.
    • During spring break, the campus will undergo thorough cleaning of all public areas.
    • As a reminder, spring break access to campus will be limited only to authorized employees who have been designated by the vice presidents or president.

    EVENTS AND ATHLETICS

    • All college-sponsored and community partner events on campus are canceled for the next 45 days. This decision aligns with Howard County’s new policy and will be reassessed at 45 days or as appropriate if new developments arise.
    • The Howard Community College Dragons have canceled all spring sports activities.

    While the college will be closed for spring break, I will continue to provide information as it becomes available. The college is operating in uncharted territory, and this global pandemic continues to require the support and understanding of every member of this college community. Your health and safety has always been my top priority, and I believe that by working together we will do our part to slow the spread of this disease. Please continue to check your college email and our web page for updates.

  • Update: March 12

    Updated: March 12, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Howard Community College has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), now classified as a global pandemic. The health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students is paramount.

    Today, Governor Larry Hogan and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced new guidelines. As a result, the college has made the following decisions.

    • Spring break will no longer be held April 6–12. Spring break is now March 15–22, during which time the college will be closed, with campus access only for authorized employees. Classes are in session on Saturday, March 14.
    • For March 23–29, credit and noncredit classes will be canceled. More details about this week for students, faculty, and staff will be forthcoming.

    I recognize that these actions will impact you and your family. However, I believe these difficult decisions are necessary for the health and safety of the college community. The hope is that by acting now, the college will do its part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

    ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE

    • All continuing education classes for senior adults (60+ courses) will be canceled for 45 days, based on guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Howard County government.
    • On Friday, March 13, additional guidance will be provided about future public events planned at the college.

    The college will continue to provide guidance on operations in the coming days. There are a number of options to consider, so please exercise patience during this time. Continue to check your email and the college website at Howardcc.edu/healthupdates for the latest information.

    Your cooperation, flexibility, and understanding are greatly appreciated.

  • Update: March 11

    Updated: March 11, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    The college is actively monitoring situation in Maryland with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). While there are no confirmed cases associated with Howard Community College (HCC), the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff continue to be of utmost importance. The following update reflects the college’s efforts to take precautionary measures to protect community well-being and prevent exposure.

    The college continues to follow guidance from the Howard County Health DepartmentMaryland Department of Health, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in making its decisions. Additionally, the college is monitoring what is taking place at the public schools and area colleges and universities.

    OPERATIONS

    • As a reminder, classes are canceled for Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13 to allow faculty to prepare for the possibility of teaching remotely. The college is open, and services will remain available.
    • For students taking HCC courses at the Laurel College Center, those classes will also be canceled Thursday and Friday to ensure all faculty can participate in training.
    • For nursing and health sciences students, most clinicals will take place. However, if there are changes made by the clinical site, students will be notified directly by the program chair with updated information.
    • Classes will resume as scheduled on campus Saturday, March 14.
    • Faculty have received a schedule for training from Dr. Jean Svacina, vice president for academic affairs.

    COLLEGE TRAVEL

    • All summer study abroad travel has been canceled. These trips to France, Ireland, and Bermuda are in addition to the previously canceled trip over spring break to Ghana. An alternative spring break trip within the U.S. also was canceled.
    • All athletic team out-of-state travel is suspended until further notice.
    • All other college-sponsored travel to out-of-state and international locations is suspended until further notice.
    • Personal travel is at your own discretion, but please disclose any out-of-state or international travel plans to eop@howardcc.edu.
    • The college advises against travel to any countries with level 2 and level 3 travel advisories. If you or a member of your household visit these locations, you must self-quarantine for two weeks before returning to the college.
    • If you have traveled anywhere with a possible exposure to COVID-19 and want to self-quarantine as a precaution, notify eop@howardcc.edu, and the appropriate people at the college will be notified. Employees should also notify their supervisor.

    SUPPORT

    • Be understanding and supportive of one another during this time of uncertainty and rapid change.
    • If you need support as a student, please contact HCC counseling for assistance. For employees, contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).​
    • The HCC food pantry will remain open with details following from the student life office.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    • The situation is evolving rapidly, so continue to check howardcc.edu/healthupdates and your college email for information.
    • Changes to operations will be communicated through mobile alerts, so be sure to register.

    Thank you for your continued support and continued efforts to ensure the health and safety of the HCC community.

  • Student Update: March 10

    Updated: March 10, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    As the situation with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) evolves, the health and safety of faculty, staff, and students is always of utmost concern. While there are no confirmed cases associated with Howard Community College, the situation in Maryland and this region has been rapidly changing.

    Important Operational Update

    The college will cancel classes on Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13, to prepare the college for the possibility of moving classes online. The college will remain open, with all operations and services available.

    During these two days, faculty will prepare for moving classes online, if needed. Student guidance for learning remotely is available online.

    The college continues to follow guidance from the Howard County Health DepartmentMaryland Department of Health, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in making its decisions. Additionally, the college is monitoring what is taking place at the public schools and area colleges and universities.

    Preventative Care

    The college is asking the entire college community to support one another during this time of uncertainty. Faculty have been encouraged to support students who may need alternate means of accessing course content and completing assessments. The college is advising anyone who is sick to stay home.

    If any student is alerted to a possible exposure of COVID-19, they must contact eop@howardcc.edu.

    The college urges faculty, staff, and students to practice preventive health measures on campus. Most importantly, wash hands often with soap and water.


    Travel Guidance

    Anticipate frequent updates, and reach out to eop@howardcc.edu with any questions about travel. The college requests your cooperation with the following guidelines:

    • Disclose any out-of-state and international travel plans through the end of the spring semester to the college administration by emailing eop@howardcc.edu.
    • If you or a member of your household has traveled to any of the areas under a level 2 or 3 travel advisory, the college is asking you to self-quarantine for 14 days. However, if you have traveled anywhere where there is a possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and want to self-quarantine for 14 days, students must notify eop@howardcc.edu, and staff will notify deans.

    Keep Informed

    To keep the college community informed, regular updates and important resources will be posted at howardcc.edu/healthupdates. Any immediate changes to the college’s operating status will shared immediately through mobile alerts, which delivers urgent notifications through text message. Please continue to check your HCC email regularly, even in the event of a closure.

    For questions related to the disease or your health, call the county hotline at 410-313-6284. With questions related to travel or college operations, contact eop@howardcc.edu with any questions related to travel or operations.

    Thank you for your support and for your efforts to keep safe and healthy.

  • Staff and Faculty Update: March 10

    Updated: March 10, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    As the situation with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) evolves, the health and safety of faculty, staff, and students is always of utmost concern. While there are no confirmed cases associated with Howard Community College, the situation in Maryland and this region has been rapidly changing.

    Important Operational Update

    The college will cancel classes on Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13, to prepare the college for the possibility of moving classes online. The college will remain openwith all operations and services available.

    During these two days, all full-time and adjunct faculty will participate in training to prepare for moving classes online, if the need arises.  Further details on these training days will be sent in a separate email from the office of the vice president of academic affairs. Those adjunct faculty who are not available to attend training on Thursday and Friday must contact the faculty development office at IMFacultyLab@howardcc.edu for remote or alternate face-to-face training.

    Guidance for teaching remotely is available on the college website. Please share with students the college’s information for learning remotely

    The college continues to follow guidance from the Howard County Health DepartmentMaryland Department of Health, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in making its decisions. Additionally, the college is monitoring what is taking place at the public schools and area colleges and universities.

    Preventative Care

    The college is asking the entire college community to support one another during this time of uncertainty. For faculty, practice flexibility with student attendance. Students who cannot attend class should be provided alternate means of accessing course content and completing assessments. The college is advising anyone who is sick to stay home.

    If any faculty or staff member is alerted to a possible exposure of COVID-19, they must contact eop@howardcc.edu.

    The college urges faculty, staff, and students to practice preventive health measures on campus. Most importantly, wash hands often with soap and water.

    Travel Guidance

    Anticipate frequent updates, and reach out to eop@howardcc.edu with any questions about travel. The college requests your cooperation with the following guidelines:

    • Disclose any out-of-state and international travel plans through the end of May to the college administration by emailing eop@howardcc.edu.
    • If you or a member of your household has traveled to any of the areas under a level 2 or 3 travel advisory, the college is asking you to self-quarantine for 14 days. However, if you have traveled anywhere where there is a possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and want to self-quarantine for 14 days, you have that option to telework or teach remotely.
    • In the cases of self-quarantine, faculty and staff must notify their supervisor and contact eop@howardcc.edu, which will notify the Human Resources office.

    Keep Informed

    To keep the college community informed, regular updates and important resources will be posted at howardcc.edu/healthupdates. Any immediate changes to the college’s operating status will shared immediately through mobile alerts, which delivers urgent notifications through text message. Please continue to check your HCC email regularly, even in the event of a closure.

    For questions related to the disease or your health, call the county hotline at 410-313-6284. With questions related to travel or college operations, contact eop@howardcc.edu with any questions related to travel or operations.

    Thank you for your support and for your efforts to keep safe and healthy.

  • Student Update: March 6

    Updated: March 6, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Subject: Important Update about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Maryland

    Governor Larry Hogan announced last evening that three people from Montgomery County have tested positive with the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). According to the Governor, all three contracted the virus after international travel and are in quarantine. As the state investigates who may have been in contact with these individuals, it is operating under a state of emergency to allow health and emergency services agencies rapid access to necessary resources.  
     
    At this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 at or associated with HCC. The college is operating as scheduled. As the situation evolves in Maryland, the health and safety of all faculty, staff, students, and visitors are of utmost concern. 
     
    Activation HCC Emergency Operations Center – Level 1

    With the latest news in the state, HCC is activating its National Incident Management System Incident Command System (ICS), which is consistent with the actions Howard County Government is taking.

    In the ICS, the President’s Team is serving as the incident commander. Shelly Bilello is the assigned liaison officer to the county’s COVID-19 taskforce. The first meeting with the county emergency operations center took place earlier today, involving all county agencies, department, and partners. 

    Additionally, Bob Marietta will serve as safety officer, and Elizabeth Homan will be the public information officer. At Level 1, the college will continue its remote monitoring of the evolving situation, maintain logs of action taken, and prepare to activate key areas within the ICS, as needed. 

    Update on College-Sponsored Travel

    HCC has decided to cancel its spring break study abroad trip to Ghana and also its alternative spring break program out of an abundance of caution. The college will directly contact those students, faculty, and staff registered for the trip regarding pertinent details. 
    At this time, HCC has not yet made a determination about its study abroad programs for summer 2020. The college will continue to be in contact with all participants as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. 

    Recommendations on Personal Travel

    If you are planning travel, stay informed and follow travel advisories from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Department of State. Remember that your reentry to the United States may be impacted by this evolving situation. If you continue with your plans, the college suggests you following these steps:  

    • Register international travel through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration allows you to be easily located by embassy personnel in the event of an emergency; 
    • Upon returning from any locations with Level 2 or Level 3 travel advisories, self-quarantine for 14 days. Please contact your faculty if this situation arises.    

    Plan for Remote Access, If Necessary
     
    If the college would need to close, your faculty will be in touch to provide information about temporary remote access to your courses. 
       
    Practice Healthy Habits
     
    The college encourages all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to proactively manage their health. HCC public safety and environmental services staff will post a flier from the Howard County Health Department around campus in all public areas and restrooms. For your reference, the county has also created a frequently asked questions.
     
    What you can do to protect your health:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (door handles, faucets, railings), at least once a day. 
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
    • Stay home if you are sick. Please see the Howard County Health Department guidelines.  

     
    Support Each Other 

    As concerns increase about health, the college asks that everyone be thoughtful and supportive of each other. Fears about COVID-19 may create situations where individuals feel harassed or bullied. HCC always strives to be welcoming and supportive to all faculty, staff, and students. Discrimination, harassment, or hatred in any form will not be tolerated. Together, we must ensure HCC is healthy and safe for everyone. 

    The college will continue to monitor the evolving situation and provide updates on COVID-19 through email and the college website. Thank you for your support as the situation continues to change. 

  • Staff and Faculty Update: March 6

    Updated: March 6, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Subject: Important Update about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Maryland

    Governor Larry Hogan announced last evening that three people from Montgomery County have tested positive with the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). According to the Governor, all three contracted the virus after international travel and are in quarantine. As the state investigates who may have been in contact with these individuals, it is operating under a state of emergency to allow health and emergency services agencies rapid access to necessary resources.  
     
    At this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 at or associated with HCC. The college is operating as scheduled. As the situation evolves in Maryland, the health and safety of all faculty, staff, students, and visitors are of utmost concern. 
     
    Activation HCC Emergency Operations Center – Level 1

    With the latest news in the state, HCC is activating its National Incident Management System Incident Command System (ICS), which is consistent with the actions Howard County Government is taking.

    In the ICS, the President’s Team is serving as the incident commander. Shelly Bilello is the assigned liaison officer to the county’s COVID-19 taskforce. The first meeting with the county emergency operations center took place earlier today, involving all county agencies, department, and partners. 

    Additionally, Bob Marietta will serve as safety officer, and Elizabeth Homan will be the public information officer. At Level 1, the college will continue its remote monitoring of the evolving situation, maintain logs of action taken, and prepare to activate key areas within the ICS, as needed. 

    Update on College-Sponsored Travel

    HCC has decided to cancel its spring break study abroad trip to Ghana and also its alternative spring break program out of an abundance of caution. The college will directly contact those students, faculty, and staff registered for the trip regarding pertinent details. 
    At this time, HCC has not yet made a determination about its study abroad programs for summer 2020. The college will continue to be in contact with all participants as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. 

    Recommendations on Professional and Personal Travel

    If you are planning travel, stay informed and follow travel advisories from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Department of State. Remember that your reentry to the United States may be impacted by this evolving situation. If you continue with your plans, the college suggests you following these steps:  

    • Disclose out-of-state travel plans to college administration by sending the information to EOP@howardcc.edu
    • Register international travel through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration allows you to be easily located by embassy personnel in the event of an emergency; 
    • Upon returning from any locations with Level 2 or Level 3 travel advisories, self-quarantine for 14 days. The college will be flexible and make arrangements to telework for academic and business continuity.  

    Plan for Continuity of Operations
     
    The college continues to monitor what is happening at both the state and local levels. While the college’s continuity of operations (COOP) plans were updated in December, all offices are asked to review their plans and send any updates or questions to eop@howardcc.edu
     
    To complement COOP planning, the college has developed resources to assist faculty in providing instruction in the event of a closure. Existing online infrastructure will allow for temporary remote course delivery. To prepare and plan ahead, faculty are asked to review this page and prepare students for how courses will continue if a closure is necessary.  

    All faculty and staff are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit. In the event of closure, payment by paper checks will not be available until the college reopens for business. The form for direct deposit is available on myHCC. 
       
    Practice Healthy Habits
     
    The college encourages all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to proactively manage their health. HCC public safety and environmental services staff will post a flier from the Howard County Health Department around campus in all public areas and restrooms. For your reference, the county has also created a frequently asked questions.
     
    What you can do to protect your health:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (door handles, faucets, railings), at least once a day. 
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
    • Stay home if you are sick. Please see the Howard County Health Department guidelines.  

     
    Support Each Other 

    As concerns increase about health, the college asks that everyone be thoughtful and supportive of each other. Fears about COVID-19 may create situations where individuals feel harassed or bullied. HCC always strives to be welcoming and supportive to all faculty, staff, and students. Discrimination, harassment, or hatred in any form will not be tolerated. Together, we must ensure HCC is healthy and safe for everyone. 

    The college will continue to monitor the evolving situation and provide updates on COVID-19 through email and the college website. Thank you for your support as the situation continues to change. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions to EOP@howardcc.edu. 

  • Update: February 28

    Updated: February 28, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    As the news continues about coronavirus (COVID-19), the college is closely monitoring the situation and will take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students and employees. The college’s Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans were updated in December 2019 and are in place in the event they need to be implemented. It is also important to provide you with the latest information concerning the virus and the proactive steps the college is taking to ensure the health and safety of the college community. There remain no reported cases associated with Howard Community College.  

    College-Sponsored Travel 

    The worldwide travel situation is being monitored closely. HCC has already prohibited college-sponsored travel to China. The travel advisory warning for South Korea is now Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The travel advisory for Italy, Japan, and Iran is at Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions). 

    At this time, no COVID-19 warnings or restrictions have been issued for countries where HCC will operate study abroad programs in 2020. Accordingly, all study programs will operate as planned. The college will continue to maintain direct contact with all study abroad participants as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. 

    International Travel Recommendations 

    If you are planning personal international travel during spring break or another time, faculty, staff, and students are urged to stay informed and follow U.S. government guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Department of State. Remember that your reentry to the United States may be impacted by the evolving situation. If you continue with your plans, the college suggests you following these steps:  

    1. Register travel through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration allows you to be easily located by embassy personnel in the event of an emergency; 
    2. Disclose international travel plans to college administration by sending the information to EOP@howardcc.edu
    3. Upon returning from any Level 2 or Level 3 country, self-quarantine for 14 days. The college will be flexible and make arrangements for telework and academic continuity.  

    Health Precautions 

    At all times, it is best to practice good hygiene to mitigate the spread of infectious disease. We are following the protocols as prescribed by the Howard County Health Department. The college is taking additional precautions to keep facilities clean, but everyone can do their part to help: 

    Practice frequent handwashing with soap and water 

    1. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (washing with soap and water is always preferred) 
    2. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth 
    3. Cough/sneeze into elbow or use tissue  
    4. Clean and disinfect frequently used objects 
    5. Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick  

    Attendance Practices 

    In an effort to keep the college community healthy, faculty, staff, and students are asked to stay home if sick, practicing self-isolation to keep from spreading any germs. Faculty and staff are expected to be supportive and understanding of student absences when illness keeps them out of the classroom. Additionally, it is important for all faculty to make their course materials available online through Canvas. This will enable students to access and complete assignments remotely. 

    Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions to EOP@howardcc.edu. We will continue to monitor the situation and update the campus community as needed with any changes. 

  • Update: February 6

    Updated: February 6, 2020
    Message from Dr. Kate Hetherington, HCC President

    Howard Community College (HCC) is monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by Novel Coronavirus, known as “2019-nCoV”, that was first identified in the Hubei Province of Wuhan, China. While the virus has been detected in numerous countries including the United States, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at HCC or in the State of Maryland.

    The college spoke with officials from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Howard County Health Department (HCHD) to receive updates and guidance related to the coronavirus. At this time, there is no mandatory quarantine for travelers returning from China nor a recommendation for travelers who are not experiencing symptoms. However, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) raised the level of its travel advisory to include all of China, recommending no nonessential travel to China at this time.

    Therefore based on the information received at this time, the college is putting the following precautionary measures into place:

    • no college travel to China will be authorized;
    • travelers returning from China who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms are asked to remain home, contact their primary care provider, and contact HCHD;
    • additional cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and restrooms will be performed throughout the campus; and
    • additional communication about precautionary steps individuals can take will be promoted around campus to help decrease the spread of illness.

    The college continues to be in regular communication with the county and state health officials and will share updated information as it becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns specific to the coronavirus, please feel free to email EOP@howardcc.edu. We are committed to providing information and support during this evolving situation.

 

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