Communications to Employees

COVID-19 Employee Newsletters

May 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020  |  Thursday, May 21, 2020  |  Thursday, May 14, 2020  |  Wednesday, May 6, 2020

April 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020  |  Friday, April 24, 2020  |  Tuesday, April 21, 2020  |  Friday, April 17, 2020  |  Tuesday, April 14, 2020  |  Friday, Apr. 10, 2020  |  Tuesday, Apr. 7, 2020  |  Friday, Apr. 3, 2020

March 2020

Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2020  |  Friday, Mar. 27, 2020  |  Monday, Mar. 23, 2020


COVID-19 Emails to Employees

See below for the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) communications from Maricopa Community Colleges to faculty and staff. Please continue to check back regularly for the most recent updates and advisories.

Dear Colleagues,

On January 15th, I announced that in our ongoing effort to protect our students and employees against the continued spread of the Coronavirus, all nonessential business travel by MCCCD employees, students, and Governing Board members was suspended through the end of the 2021 Spring Semester.

In the coming weeks, District and College leadership teams will begin to develop protocols that will allow for MCCCD nonessential business travel on a case-by-case basis. These discussions will also include the need for possible exceptions before the ban is lifted. Once these protocols are fully developed, we intend to lift the moratorium on travel for our Maricopa community. This decision may be overturned or adjusted at any time based on guidance and directives from local or state agencies.

Our students, faculty, staff, and community's well-being and health remain our highest priority. We take every concern very seriously, and we will continue to adjust our decisions to maintain our community’s safety during this time. As we monitor the fluidity of COVID-19, we will provide further communications as necessary.

Stay safe and healthy, 

Steven

Dear Colleagues,

As vaccines are being distributed and we begin to see a light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities are unfortunately still reeling from hate-fueled rhetoric associated with the coronavirus. The tragedy in Atlanta and similar attacks against Asian-Americans have been horrific. These injustices strain our communities and have no place in a civil society. We condemn hate-filled acts in all forms.

Our District firmly believes in embracing all of our differences, and we see our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core strength of our System. As an institution of higher learning, we believe in modeling our values through kindness, compassion, and care for all members of our community.

I implore each of you to demonstrate empathy and support for your colleagues who are experiencing the pains of these social injustices. As a System, we must lift each other up and endeavor for a safer environment for all.  

To the members of our community who have been impacted by this challenging time: if you need someone to talk to, we have confidential resources available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). To access EAP resources, you can find more information through the Maricopa Community Colleges Employee Portal here.

Sincerely,

Steven

Dear Colleagues,

This has undoubtedly been a busy and stressful week for all of us. Quite a bit has happened and we are all working long hours to get our system back online and preparing for the return of our students on Monday. Thank you for everything you’re doing.

I have received many questions regarding Governor Doug Ducey’s Executive Order that was issued on Thursday, March 25, 2021, which states that the Arizona mask mandate related to COVID-19 has been lifted.

The Maricopa Community Colleges have safely delivered our teaching and learning environments this year due to the protocols we put in place - including requiring wearing a mask on our College campuses. For that reason, we will continue to require that all individuals, faculty, staff, and students wear masks and facial coverings on the Maricopa Community College campuses and satellite locations. I understand that this year has been especially challenging for all of us. Thank you for your adaptability and resilience. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions locally and nationally using CDC guidelines, including proper use of a face mask, social distancing, and hand hygiene, to help our communities protect themselves and others. Please visit our employee website for useful resources and information related to COVID-19 to help you during this time.

Next, we are pleased to announce that our information technology teams continue to make great strides in their efforts to restore the Maricopa Community College’s systems safely. Office 365 (including Sharepoint and the Employee portal), Google Suite, Webex, Canvas, Maricopa Help Desk, Find A Class, Tableau, IDME, Azure Active Directory, RioLearn, the Financial Management, Human Capital Management and Student Information System(s), and QLess are back online and working correctly. Eight of our colleges are also back on the network. Starting immediately, employees will need to reset their passwords to gain access to these systems. You can find detailed instructions on our System Status website here and under employee communications that can be found here.

Lastly, I want to thank our teams and departments who have been working around the clock to ensure we will be able to return to business as usual by Monday, March 29, 2021. Our IT departments have been incredibly successful in their efforts to quickly and effectively manage our network and systems to continue to deliver on our mission of helping our community succeed. If you need help in resetting your password, please use our live help desk chat feature that can be found at https://idme.maricopa.edu. Chat support will be available throughout the weekend and can also assist you with questions regarding multi-factor authentication.

Please understand, the chat support teams are working tirelessly to resolve each and every issue and get us all back online. Please continue to be patient if you are waiting for your turn with a chat agent.

I am in awe of the work we have been able to accomplish when we come together as a system.

Let us end the Spring semester strong!

Sincerely,

Steven

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce that Chandler-Gilbert Community College has transitioned to an Arizona State Department of Health Services (AZDHS) run COVID-19 vaccination site. Through our partnerships with the state of Arizona and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, our CGCC site allows for all postsecondary faculty and staff to register for and receive a vaccination.

This is one more state-run site where you, as an employee of the Maricopa County Community College District, are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

I invite you to watch and understand more about our partnerships with the state of Arizona and our Chandler-Gilbert vaccination site, here.

Who is eligible: All MCCCD faculty staff and employees

Location: Chandler-Gilbert Community College, 2626 E Pecos Rd. Chandler, AZ 85225

Hours of operation: Sunday-Saturday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

How to register: Pre-registration is required for all sites at the following link: https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov/. If you need assistance with registration, you can contact the Arizona Department of Health Services at 602-542-1000, Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., or via email at azvaccinesupport@azdhs.gov.

There are additional vaccination locations throughout Maricopa County, such as pharmacies and healthcare clinics, but eligibility groups may vary from site to site. If you fall under the Phase 1a or 1b prioritized groups, you may schedule an appointment at one of these locations. An interactive map of vaccination sites can be found at: Find Vaccines.

We are working on opportunities for more of our college campuses to serve as AZDHS COVID-19 vaccination sites.  We heard from Dr. Christ during the official opening event yesterday that access to vaccinations for everyone 16 years and older should occur by end of May of this year.  Thank you for your patience during this process, and thank you for being an important part of our Maricopa community.

Sincerely,

Steven

Dear Colleagues,

I want to provide an update on our decision regarding MCCCD athletic programs. In my most recent communication on Nov. 25, I supported the recommendation that would have allowed MCCCD athletic teams to hold practices and NJCAA competitions beginning January 4, 2021.

Leaders from across the system including college presidents, athletic directors, the athletics ad hoc committee, and other stakeholders have re-evaluated and analyzed the most recent COVID data from local, state, and national health authorities. The spike in positive cases the county and state are experiencing following the Thanksgiving break is substantial and public health experts are expecting the trend to continue following the upcoming holiday break.  In consultation with the Executive Director of Public Health for Maricopa County, Dr. Marcy Flanagan, the presidents and a consensus of the ad hoc committee have come back to me with an updated recommendation.

Based on the overwhelming number of new cases and the metrics below, I support the recommendation to cancel all indoor sports for Spring 2021. In addition, we will delay the start of outdoor sports to February 1, 2021. It is important to note that this decision may be overturned or adjusted at any time based on guidance and directives from the city, county, state agencies, or the NJCAA. Athletic Directors and coaches will work together to find engagement opportunities for our indoor athletes if they are able to do so safely and the metrics move in the right direction.

This recommendation is based on consultation with the Maricopa County Department of Health, MCCCD College Presidents, the District Athletic Council, and other District stakeholders. 

​Maricopa Community College District COVID 19 Metrics​

Benchmarks ​-

Two Week Span

Minimal

(<5/per 100,000)

Moderate

(5-100/ 100,000)

Substantial​

(>100/100,000)

Cases

 

 

399-WK 11/22 & 579-WK 11/29tt

​Benchmarks

Minimal  (<5%)

Moderate (5-10%)

Substantial (>10%)

% Positive Cases

 

 

13.8-WK  11/22 & 

16.8-WK 11/29

​​Benchmarks

​Minimal (<5%)

Moderate (5-10%)

Substantial (>10%)

​Hospital Visits for COVID like Illness

 

​9.6-WK 11/22

10.7-WK 11/29

​​Benchmarks

​Minimal (<.90)

​Moderate (.91-1.39)

​Substantial (>1.40)

​Infection Rate

 

1.17-WK 11/29 &

1.15-WK ​12/6

 

Our students, faculty, staff, and community's well-being and health remain our highest priority. We take every concern very seriously and we will continue to adjust our decisions to maintain our community’s safety during this time. As we monitor the fluidity of COVID-19, we will continue to communicate should further modifications be necessary.  Please visit our webpage dedicated to athletics here:  www.maricopa.edu/athletics.

 

Sincerely,

Steven

Dear Colleagues,

In July of 2020, the Maricopa County Community Colleges District decided to move Fall sports seasons (except cross-country) to January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early September I tasked an ad hoc committee composed of three college presidents, two vice presidents, two athletic directors, and two athletic trainers, to provide a recommendation to me by November 25 as to the possibility of returning to play for all athletic teams in January 2021.  This committee also consulted with the Executive Director of Public Health for Maricopa County, Dr. Marcy Flanagan, and MCCCD Legal and Risk Management.

The ad hoc committee has evaluated the COVID-19 impact and analyzed COVID data from local and national health authorities as well as the National Junior College Athletic Association’s guidelines. The committee also met with others in the District, the county, and nationally, to review safety measures and precautions and ultimately drafted Return to Play guidelines.

Based on their extensive research and conversations with stakeholders, I support the committee’s recommendation that allows MCCCD athletic teams to hold practices and NJCAA competitions beginning January 4, 2021. As we move forward with our athletic programs, a Return to Play (RTP) document has been created by the ad hoc committee in consultation with MCCCD Athletics Trainers, Athletic Directors, Risk Management, Maricopa County Public Health Officials, District Legal. This document will guide our actions and contains strategies for prevention, education, symptom screening, risk mitigation, travel, practice/competition guidelines, and other resources and tools available to all athletic employees and students. The RTP is not all-encompassing and will be fluid as we move through any new developments and findings with the pandemic. The RTP is not optional. All faculty, staff, and students involved with our athletic programs must adhere to the protocols and strictly follow the RTP.

This decision may be overturned or adjusted at any time based on guidance and directives from the city, county, state agencies, or the NJCAA.

Our students, faculty, staff, and community's well-being and health remain our highest priority. We take every concern very seriously and we will continue to adjust our decisions to maintain our community’s safety during this time. As we monitor the fluidity of COVID-19, we will continue to communicate should further modifications be necessary.  Please visit our newly developed webpage dedicated to athletics here:  www.maricopa.edu/athletics.

Thank you for all that you do, and please continue to stay healthy and safe.

Sincerely,

Steven

Dear Maricopa Family,

As we head into the Thanksgiving break, Nov. 26 - 29, I want to take a moment to recognize how challenging this year has been and express my gratitude for your efforts in making our System stronger, and progressing our community and Arizona forward. Maricopa is a System of truly remarkable people, and your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I am grateful for the hard work you continue to provide to meet our core mission -- our students' success.

I am deeply grateful for the willingness and effort you’ve all made to shift to remote operations and your ability to adapt to unprecedented change. Our county, state, and nation are once again facing a surge in coronavirus cases, and I would like to provide information regarding our plans to return to in-person learning and operations.

In determining when to transition back to working onsite, protecting our entire Maricopa community's health and safety and limiting the spread of COVID-19 remains our guiding principle. To that end, MCCCD Risk Management adopted objective metrics in concert with the Arizona Department of Health to establish when it is safest for all of us to return. The Maricopa County COVID Metrics Matrix can be found in the employee portal here. These benchmarks will inform our Colleges in the decision-making process for returning students, faculty, and staff to learning, working, and community activities. As our knowledge of COVID-19 continues to evolve and more information becomes available, we will update our policies and plans as needed.

Each College will have the autonomy to determine the degree to which working and learning environments can transition back to in-person given the unique characteristics of each College, including physical spaces, number of employees, number of ongoing face-to-face classes, number of students, city mandates, and other variables unique to our various locations.  The same autonomy will be afforded to our 5 District Office department leaders. It is important to remember that the options will likely vary by College, campus, and department.

Our approach will be flexible as there are numerous variables to consider from a System perspective as well as individual employee perspectives. We understand that some of you have personal circumstances, including childcare, eldercare, and other challenges to be addressed before you could return to working on site. We ask supervisors to work closely with those employees and ensure their concerns are considered before returning.

College leadership will do everything possible to provide you with timely information related to returning to campus and the look ahead to 2021.

Please take time to reflect and take a pause for yourselves during the Thanksgiving break. Whether you plan to visit with those who are important to you virtually or spend time together in-person, remember there is much to be thankful for. In the past several months, our System came together in a huge effort to help our students, faculty, and staff stay connected and build our community together. I appreciate all that you do and thank you for continuing to lift our community's spirit in especially trying times.

As always, please visit our website for current information, resources, and FAQs.

Sincerely,

Steven

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you again for your patience and flexibility as we continue to assess plans for the safe return to our District Offices, Colleges, and campus locations. As I have stated before, our highest priority remains our students, faculty, and staff’s health, safety, and well-being. I want to again thank our essential on-site employees who have been on our campuses since the pandemic began and for those who have recently returned to support our students.

COVID-19 continues to evolve, and I want to provide an update regarding our return to campus plans for the Fall 2020 semester. We had identified October 5 as the start of our next phase in transitioning back to fully in-person services and operations. While more employees will return at that time, we are continuing to adjust our timeline as it relates to a full return for all faculty and staff given the current safety conditions and following CDC and local health official guidelines.

We continue to closely monitor local and national COVID-19 data and continue to reassess our phased approach as needed. We are seeing better numbers, and that is heartening. That said, we will be intentional about our return.

Currently, each College has a limited number of in-person courses that are being offered this semester. All Fall 2020 courses will continue in their current scheduled modality throughout the remainder of the Fall semester.

As conditions continue to improve in Maricopa County and the State, Colleges will begin as early as October 5 to cautiously expand the onsite services offered throughout the remainder of the semester.

Each College is unique and offers different programs of study to communities with specific needs. As such, the timing for specific individuals or services to return may not be uniform across the District.

Each College will publish and apply its developed Return-to-Campus Plan.

District Office employees will work with their respective department leadership to determine when they will return to the office.

The bottom line is this:

We hope to have our community fully back on campus and in-person as soon as possible. Our decisions will depend upon the pandemic's course and its impact on our community, but we remain cautiously optimistic and as prepared as conditions allow. Your supervisors will remain in close communication with you as we are able to determine a specific date when it is safe for you and your team to transition back from virtual operations. For some employees that date will remain October 5, and for others, it may be further postponed as late as the Spring semester. There may be variation across our District, and we thank you for your patience as each College Leadership Team evaluates the need for individuals in specific areas to return to campus.

We will continuously monitor pandemic conditions locally and nationally, and implement CDC and state guidelines to successfully plan for our return. Faculty and staff will be notified at least three weeks in advance of the date they will be expected to return. If individual circumstances impact your return to campus, please work with your HR department to reconcile those specific situations.

The fall semester is off to a good start. Thank you for all that you do, and please continue to stay healthy and safe.

Sincerely,

Steven

Dear Colleagues:

First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe.

As I welcome you back to the start of a new academic year, I recognize that this semester will be unlike anything we have ever experienced. I am confident, however, that we will see this as a new challenge that, together, we will rise to meet and make this a semester to remember, not for the disappointments and fear, but from the innovations, advancements, and new opportunities we are sure to realize. For most of us, serving students isn’t a job, it’s a calling. We are driven by the passion to witness our students’ successes, we share their disappointments, and we celebrate their victories. What makes our System special is not our size, it is not our buildings and facilities, but it is the people, it is every one of you.

A lot has gone on over the past several months at the Maricopa Community Colleges, within our community, and across the world. Through deliberate collaboration between colleges and the district office, we made many, many critical decisions involving operational continuity of our system with great success reflected largely today by the presence of a system-wide strong and healthy workforce, a robust fall class schedule, and steadfast student support across the district. When I accepted this role as Interim Chancellor in January 2020, I said on my first day that my goal was to treat this position as a permanent one and operate on the beliefs that anyone can lead from any place in the organization. Many of you have accepted this belief and helped to move us beyond the status quo to address the many uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and a new future for Maricopa. This indeed has been a time of learning, planning, and action as it is clear to me that you understand that we all have a role in the recruitment and retention of our students, and most importantly, the desire to meet students where they are.

I am tremendously proud of our staff, who have been working on-site to keep our operations running and to ensure the safety of those present, and of those who have been working remotely. I am astounded at the heavy lift taken on by our faculty to quickly shift instructional modalities under a sudden new reality. I am appreciative of college and district-wide leadership who were tasked to lead during unprecedented circumstances in our system. Our collaborative approach provided our best solutions and confidence in our decisions.

Learning - What I know to be true is that learning is endless. No single book addresses everything we need to understand. Learning is a constant journey, and your feedback, comments, and questions have helped our System learn from this pandemic and significantly improve how our Colleges deliver higher education. As we learn, we push the boundaries of teaching and transform our students' lives and the future of our community. I am grateful for your dedication to our System and the effort you bring to work each day.

Planning - We have planned and continue to plan for every possible scenario to welcome students back with confidence that their educational journey will not be interrupted. We are offering a variety of effective and engaging learning options, with flexible class delivery in mind. Our courses have been designed in five ways: face-to-face, live online, hybrid, hybrid/virtual, and online. By providing multiple options, students' safety will be ensured should COVID-19 conditions change. Faculty and staff have spent countless hours since our move to remote work to prepare for these methods of instructional delivery and student support. Several resources are available below and through the employee portal to help faculty and staff to continue to adapt to the variety of learning solutions and student support that help manage a challenging public health care environment.

Action - We will continue to share immediate and long-term action items for the Maricopa Community Colleges to address racial, gender, and socioeconomic inequalities. Our actions must reveal that we support our community as we continue to find ways to build and strengthen our diverse culture. That means we must continue to be kind to one another, to those we work with, and to those we may not know. We all have different experiences and learn from different perspectives. Most importantly, because most of us have been working remotely for many months, when we return to in-person working environments, we should appreciate the opportunities we have to connect and be in community with others.

System Highlights - Even though this semester will be different, there is a lot of exciting work to look forward to.

  • In collaboration with Intel and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), we’ve created Arizona’s first Artificial Intelligence certificate and degree program. This program will train our students for a competitive workforce, strengthen Arizona’s economy as well as help close the opportunity gap we see across the state, and be a model for Educational Institutions across the nation.
  • We’ve also collaborated with ACA, U.S. VETS, and Microsoft to provide military veterans opportunities to earn fast-track certifications to launch careers in information technology. We welcomed our first cohort this past July.
  • Additionally, we’ve teamed up with the National Governors Association and the American Association of Community Colleges to help launch a new initiative that identifies and arms workers with skills needed to succeed in a workforce reshaped by the pandemic. This new initiative, the Reskilling and Recovery Network, is designed to join state and community college leaders and provide programs and resources to reenter the workforce. You can read more about it here.
  • Our District has been named a 2020 Healthy Arizona Worksites Program recipient. MCCCD has made strides in advocating and promoting employees' mental health and physical well-being. Please take a moment and visit the Employee Wellness website aimed to support organization and individual well-being across our System.

Return to Work - I’m certain that the question on everyone’s mind is when the rest of us will be back to work. We are currently in the process of adopting objective metrics in concert with the Arizona Department of Health, for example, as we consider when it’s safest for all of us to return. Those will be shared broadly as soon as they are solidified. As previously provided, employee resources for returning to the workplace can be found in the employee portal here. Additional information is available to employees through the COVID-19 website on the Employee Portal. The website includes Policies, Procedures, and Forms, Employee Resources, and Return to Workplace FAQs.

As we start a new academic year, we should recognize that this is a pivotal moment in history for both employees and students. Let us continue to strive to meet students where they are, and open our doors (mostly in a virtual sense) and do what we do best, teach, mentor, advocate and push our community forward. Our staff and faculty came together in a huge effort to help our community stay connected. I thank everyone for your creativity, boldness, and resilience, and I do not doubt that we will come out of this stronger.

Please continue to be kind to one another, and let us make a difference in the lives of others.

Sincerely,
Steven

Dear Colleagues,

In our ongoing effort to protect our students and employees against the continued spread of the Coronavirus, I am extending the suspension of all nonessential business travel by MCCCD employees, students and Governing Board members through January 15, 2021.

Per the Travel Administrative Regulation, if travel arrangements need to be cancelled outside of the traveler’s control (i.e., cancellation of conference or event, etc.), the traveler must first seek refunds for any costs paid and MCCCD will cover the transactions that cannot be refunded. If a traveler decides to cancel scheduled travel activities due to status changes of COVID-19, refunds must first be sought and MCCCD will cover the cost of items that cannot be refunded. Please work with your Fiscal Office as needed.

Please continue to check your email and visit maricopa.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date COVID-19 related information and advisories.

Stay safe and healthy,
Steven