COVID-19 Update: All in-person and hybrid classes suspended through Sunday, April 5, 2020

Published Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 7:22pm

Good Evening Colleagues,

Given the rapidly changing conditions, and out of an abundance of caution, our District has been taking a number of actions related to the growing spread of the Novel Coronavirus in Arizona. I apologize in advance for the lengthy communication but there is a lot to share.

Working with College leadership input, I have made two decisions regarding District and College operations through Sunday, April 5, 2020: (1) all in-person/ hybrid classes will be temporarily suspended and (2) College and District operations will be shifted to allow for the majority of employees to work remotely. This decision is meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, reduce the potential of people being infected, and protect those who are most vulnerable to severe illness.

All in-person and hybrid classes are suspended through Sunday, April 5, 2020. All current online classes will continue to be held as scheduled. Faculty are currently working on moving existing in-person and hybrid classes to alternative or online learning environments when appropriate for the remainder of the spring semester. We recognize that there are courses and learning experiences that cannot be delivered in an alternative learning format. We are currently identifying solutions, and unless further orders by local health authorities or other government officials mandate a different policy, we plan to implement those solutions beginning the week of April 6, 2020. We will keep you posted if circumstances or conditions change.

During this extended period, Maricopa faculty, staff, and administration are expected to work to prepare for academic continuity in an online environment. My expectation is that all employees will use the next two weeks to do this important work, which may involve new resources and additional training to increase our capacity to move to and support an online teaching environment.

Additionally, the Colleges and District Office is shifting the majority of operations to a remote-services model that maintains instructional and operational continuity while limiting the number of students, staff, and faculty who are on our sites. By Monday or sooner where possible, faculty and staff will be asked to continue their professional work through telecommuting, in consultation with their supervisor. Limited personnel will continue to provide critical in-person services on campus. College Presidents are identifying essential in-person personnel who will be needed at each campus. Visit https://district.maricopa.edu/information-technology/anywhere-computing to find support to help you work in a remote capacity. Unless further orders by local health authorities or other government officials mandate a different policy, we intend to end remote work on April 5, 2020.

In consultation with their supervisors or managers, employees will need to start the transition to working remotely. Although it is our hope that everyone will be able to return to campus on April 6th, please plan for the following:

  • Identify a plan with your supervisor to forward office phones to a cell phone or computer as appropriate.

  • Plan to have limited or no office access for a few weeks or until further notice. Materials needed to conduct remote work should be decided in consultation with your supervisor or manager.

  • Direct any questions you have that are related to this email to your supervisor, college leadership or human resources department.

Support for Transitioning from In-person and Hybrid Classes over the Next Two Weeks

If you teach a standard face-to-face class or hybrid class, please connect with your students to let them know how this two-week suspension will impact assignments, mid-terms, etc.

Support for Transition to Teaching Online

We recognize that faculty have a wide range of experience teaching online. We are working with the Office of the Provost, local college Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and with faculty that have strong experience in online teaching to curate resources and provide mentoring and support.

Learning Support for Students

As we transition to online learning, colleges will continue to provide student support services through remote models. The district office and colleges have identified some resources to support students in transitioning online, such as a list of internet/Wifi resources and extensive tutorial guides provided on the Canvas student homepage. We will continue to identify resources to share as we move forward.

Colleges will also provide faculty and staff with guidance in meeting ADA compliance requirements as instruction and services are moved online. Please connect with the Disability Resources and Services Center at your college if you have any questions.

Upcoming Events

Our colleges have canceled all student activities, including athletic games and practices, and have postponed college events during this time period. Future events, including convocations and graduations, will remain on the calendar for now. If you have an upcoming event within the next few weeks, particularly an event that would include people gathering in close proximity, please postpone until further notice.

Thank you for your continued support for our students, colleagues, and community. These are challenging times, and we are all working to balance two important priorities — (1) Protecting the health and well-being of our community, and (2) Continuing to provide high-quality learning experiences to our students so that they can make on-time progress toward their degrees and credentials and be prepared with the knowledge, skills, and understandings needed for their future academic and career pathways.

Please know that you are not in this alone! I recognize that this is a time of heightened anxiety for many in our community. If you, your students, and/or your colleagues need support, please let us know. We’re working every day to make sure we can address your needs. Please send an email to covid19@domail.maricopa.edu, so we can best answer your questions.

I am grateful for the professionalism, dedication, and compassion that our Maricopa community has demonstrated as we work through these challenges together. Please continue to check https://www.maricopa.edu/coronavirus-covid-19 for the most up-to-date information and advisories. You can expect follow-up communication to this message by tomorrow, and please know that a communication to Maricopa students will follow soon as well.

Thank you.

Steven

Office of the Interim Chancellor