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,

Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this past month as we assess plans for the safe return to our Colleges and campus locations. With the rise of COVID-19 across our state and country, we realize many of us are worried about maintaining physical distancing, testing, face coverings, childcare, and many other anxieties and challenges the pandemic has caused. Our highest priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.

Throughout the pandemic, we have deployed necessary services to maintain College campuses and District facilities, including Public Safety, Facilities, and IT. In a very controlled approach, our District initiated a “Phase I” return that included a limited number of Spring 2020 courses with an in-person component. These courses (primarily Career and Technical Education) could not be completed in an online setting and resumed in-person classes on College campuses for an eight-week period that began June 15, 2020. Other than the few faculty and staff participating in this Phase I, all faculty and staff have continued to work remotely.

We have been closely monitoring local and national COVID-19 data and continue to reassess our phased approach as needed. Each College has significantly limited the number of in-person courses that will be offered in the Fall semester to ensure all of our safety standards are met, and the District is developing a contingency plan in the event that we are again required to move all operations to a fully remote environment. The Chancellor’s Executive Committee (CEC) has also created a workgroup to review Colleges’ Fall course schedules and develop standard guidelines for the types of courses that can be offered in-person or via hybrid format in the Fall semester, to ensure consistency across the System. The CEC will review this workgroup’s recommendation on July 22, 2020. This may mean that Colleges will revise schedules and offer fewer courses on campus in the Fall.

Currently, our Colleges are identifying limited, in-person student enrollment and support services that are necessary to support the success of our most vulnerable students for Fall 2020. Each college may also identify a limited number of faculty and staff who provide academic support services in controlled, on-campus learning spaces. This limited number of employees may be scheduled to return to campus as early as Monday, August 3, or later, as the Fall semester begins. All of our safety guidelines will be maintained for these limited, in-person necessary services and Colleges will implement strategies to minimize potential individual exposure while prioritizing online services. Please know that each College has developed a Return-to-Campus Plan that addresses safety issues for members of the community as they also begin to return to campus. Return-to-Campus Plans will be communicated at the College level as soon as they are available.

The return-to-campus target date for all other faculty and staff is postponed to Monday, October 5, 2020, at the earliest, in alignment with the timeline in preparation for Spring registration. Colleges will notify faculty and staff at least three weeks in advance of the date they will be expected to return.

We will continuously monitor pandemic conditions locally and nationally, using CDC and state guidelines. Faculty and staff needing to return to their workspaces to access materials or supplies should continue to follow each College’s existing procedures.

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

Sincerely,
Steven

Dear Colleagues,

The past three months have been challenging, and I am grateful for the willingness and effort you’ve all made to shift to remote operations and your ability to adapt to unprecedented change. The challenges brought about by COVID-19 have disrupted our lives in unimaginable ways, but Maricopa stood tall in the face of those disruptions and will be stronger moving forward as a result.

Today, I write to inform you of our plan to begin returning to our offices on July 6, 2020. Our approach will be flexible as there are numerous variables to consider from a system perspective as well as individual employee perspectives. We understand many of you have personal circumstances, including childcare, eldercare, and other challenges, that will make returning more challenging. We ask supervisors to work closely with those employees and ensure their concerns are considered as teams return to working onsite.

We will phase in the return of our workforce with a focus on the health and safety of our community. Decisions about who returns to campus or the District office, and when, will be managed at the College level, and supervisors will be contacting employees about work arrangements in the coming weeks. We will work with employees to balance individual needs with those of the College, District, unit, or department.

In determining when to transition back to working onsite, protecting the health and safety of our entire Maricopa community and limiting the spread of COVID-19 was our guiding principle. To that end, Human Resources createdhealth and safety guidelines for returning to school/work. As our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve and more information becomes available, we will update our policies and plans as needed.

College leadership will communicate detailed information and plans regarding each College’s specific plans for returning to campus once they are determined.

I know there is a lot on your minds, and we will do everything possible to provide answers to the many questions you may have over the next few weeks. During this time, we must prepare for some inconveniences and adjust to the standards and behaviors that will help ensure a safe return to work. Thanks for your commitment to this important responsibility in helping us build our community together.

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

Stay safe and healthy,
Steven

Dear Colleagues,

In our ongoing effort to protect our students and employees against the spread of the Coronavirus, I am extending the suspension of all nonessential business travel by MCCCD employees, students and Governing Board members through August 17, 2020.

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 emails for more details on our Summer and Fall planning efforts and visit maricopa.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information and advisories.

Stay safe and healthy,
Steven

Dear Colleagues,

You have demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability over the past two months, as the Maricopa Community Colleges have made momentous changes to the way we operate and deliver higher education. Although our new normal is sure to be different, there are signs that our on-campus operations may begin to reopen in the not too distant future.

On Monday, May 11, Governor Doug Ducey announced new guidelines toward managing the COVID-19 pandemic: “Today, our hospitals have the capacity to provide care to those who need it; our businesses are implementing and adapting to new physical distancing measures, and data shows Arizona is headed in the right direction. It is time to move forward with the next steps of Arizona’s economic recovery - while continuing to make health and safety our number one priority.”

Our guiding principle during this pandemic has been protecting the safety, health, and wellbeing of our employees and our students, and this principle will continue to guide us as we look to reopen our on-campus operations. As such, we will be implementing a phased approach that includes target dates to return to in-person operations and allows for safe instruction and academic continuity. We will provide a return-to-work guide as well as safety protocol training to help with the transition back. The following provides District guidelines for our phased approach. In addition, College Presidents will work with local teams to determine the specific dates departments and employees will return to their College locations.

PHASE I - Target Date: June 15, 2020

(Dependent upon the availability of PPE and supplies)

  • Only select CTE classes extended from Spring 2020 may return to campus for instruction. All students and employees must follow the classroom-to-car method, ensuring minimal physical proximity for student, faculty, and staff safety. Students, faculty, and staff will have limited access to predetermined areas on campus in order to complete required coursework.
  • All predetermined areas on campus will have heightened cleaning procedures before and after room use.
  • All other services will continue to support students remotely, including:
    • food services
    • student life and clubs that meet on campus
    • Student advising and services
  • Colleges will continue to communicate to students that they are providing services in a remote setting.
  • Any employee returning during Phase I must complete our safety protocol training before returning to work on campus. All employees will be required to follow safety protocols if on-campus or at District Offices.

PHASE II - Target Date: July 6, 2020

(Dependent upon the availability of PPE and supplies)

  • Any employee returning during Phase II must complete safety protocol training before returning to work on campus. All employees will be required to follow safety protocols if on-campus or at District Offices.
  • Employees will be brought back to campus slowly as PPE and sanitation supplies at each college permits. Employees may be scheduled in on-campus/remote rotations and remote work will still be encouraged where essential functions of a department can still be met remotely.
  • While employees will return to campus, Colleges will continue to primarily serve students through remote and online modalities. In very limited circumstances, Colleges may reopen limited areas on campus where safety protocols can be maintained.
  • Colleges will implement safety protocols in all spaces accessed by faculty, staff, and students, including 6-foot distance markings prevalent throughout all facilities, guidelines for common spaces, and guidelines for workplace temperature taking.

PHASE III - Target Date: August 3, 2020

(Dependent upon the availability of PPE and supplies)

  • All employees returning during Phase III must complete safety protocol training before returning to work on campus. All employees will be required to follow safety protocols if on-campus or at District Offices.
  • All employees will return to campus, though Colleges will have the discretion to determine if some tasks or positions may remain remote. Colleges may also continue to schedule employees in on-campus/remote rotations as needed.
  • Colleges will phase in on-campus services, prioritizing face-to-face services for students that directly support student enrollment and success. Some services may remain closed or continue to operate in a remote/online setting, including food services and the bookstore.
  • Colleges will maintain safety protocols in all spaces accessed by faculty, staff, and students, including 6-foot distance markings prevalent throughout all facilities, guidelines for common spaces, and guidelines for workplace temperature taking.

A select number of employees, due to working in essential service areas, will remain on-call as we transition through the summer. These individuals have been identified and will be notified by their direct supervisor if they need to physically report to a College or District Office to fulfill critical tasks.

There are still many unknowns linked to the future of the pandemic, and these target dates may shift as needed. Again, our progress in returning to on-campus operations will be led by our guiding principle focused on faculty, staff, and student safety. I am continually impressed with the strength and empathy our employees and students have shown to one another as we navigate changes to the way we live, work, and study. We have been able to adapt to the times and evolve into something I am genuinely proud of, and for that, I thank you.

Sincerely,
Steven

Dear Colleagues,

On April 3, 2020, I sent a message extending our System’s plans for employees to work remotely until May 11. Unfortunately, I am writing today to announce that we will not return to work onsite on May 11 as we had hoped.

As we determine when to transition from working remotely back to working onsite, protecting the health and safety of our entire Maricopa community and limiting the spread of COVID-19 will remain our guiding principle. We will continue to look to guidance from state, county, and federal agencies for when we will be able to safely return to work, though we must acknowledge there is still great uncertainty amongst these agencies on what that timeline may be. This means that, at this time, we are unable to set a concrete date for return. Instead, our approach must be flexible as more information and guidance emerges over the coming weeks.

We understand many of you have personal circumstances, including childcare, eldercare and other challenges, that require advanced notification and planning in considering a return to working onsite. Because of this, we commit to providing employees with a three-week advance notice of the date we intend to return to work. This means the soonest we would return to working onsite at this time would be May 18.

I would like to note that this approach is consistent with our decision to deliver our summer session in an online-only capacity. Both decisions prioritize student and employee safety and build upon guidance from state, county, and federal agencies. In order to minimize disruptions in instruction that we experienced this semester, it was also most prudent to decide in advance to deliver the online-only schedule and provide that advance notice to our students.

In the coming weeks, the Chancellor’s Executive Committee (CEC) will guide the work to develop plans for transitioning back onsite, and these plans will include enhanced health and safety protocols. Our overriding objective is to protect the health of our employees, students, and members of the community.

Thank you for your cooperation and the continued flexibility you have all demonstrated during these uncertain times.

Please continue to check your emails for more details on our Summer and Fall planning efforts and visitmaricopa.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information and advisories.

Stay safe and healthy,
Steven

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you are staying healthy and safe. The District has been taking many preventative measures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Because we cannot predict when current restrictions for our communities will ease, I want to announce that all Summer 2020 courses will be online/alternative delivery only.

College leadership will be sending further information with procedures concerning transitioning courses to an online format to help faculty and staff at each college.

Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our community and we will continue to follow public health guidelines in all decisions we make. At the same time, we will continue to adapt as necessary so that our students can stay on track and maintain their academic momentum.

All in-person programs and services, such as summer camps, will be contingent upon adherence to current CDC/Arizona Department of Health social distancing guidelines.

As a reminder, please visit our website https://www.maricopa.edu/coronavirus for current information, resources and FAQs.

Stay safe and healthy,
Steven

Dear Colleagues:

Like colleges and universities across the country, including most in Arizona, MCCCD is temporarily adjusting our grading policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic response.

With the exception of courses or programs with accreditation or other externally-imposed grading standards that require letter grades, all Spring courses continuing after April 9, 2020 will be converted to “P/Z” (credit/no credit). Unless students choose to receive a letter grade according to their course syllabus grading scale, students in good standing (“C” or better) will receive a “P” (credit); students not in good standing (“D” or “F”) will receive a “Z” (no credit). Whether “P/Z” or letter grade, students must complete the semester in their classes to receive a grade and credit for the course.

Important notes:

  • “P/Z” Grades will not be calculated in the student’s Maricopa GPA.
  • AZTransfer has revised transfer policies for courses taken during pandemic response. For these courses, credits earned with a grade of "P" may be counted toward graduation, toward the AGEC (Arizona General Education Curriculum), and will transfer for program credit at our State universities, GCU, University of Phoenix, and others.
  • “P” grades will not satisfy course or program requirements where the requirement is a grade of “B” or higher.

Students who prefer to receive a letter grade must communicate that preference to their faculty members through Maricopa email or Canvas messaging no later than one calendar week prior to the end of each course. Faculty will use their original letter grade policy for students who choose to opt-in to a letter grade.

Even with the availability of “P/Z” grades, students may still wish to withdraw. UnderSection 7, COVID-19 Pandemic Policies, students may be eligible for a Student Tuition Account Credit. Students should speak to their instructors regarding their desire to withdraw from classes. Faculty should direct the student to the applicable policy and to an advisor to discuss potential impacts on their academic plans.

Important notes:

  • Withdrawing from class can adversely affect students who receive special funding and eligibility circumstances, such as athletes, Veterans, and students receiving federal student aid, scholarships, grants, loans, or accessing employer education reimbursement plans.
  • Students who withdraw from a course will receive a grade of “W” (withdrawn, passing) or “Y” (withdrawn, failing) on their transcripts and will have to repeat the course in its entirety to receive credit for it.

A document with FAQs about “P/Z” Grading will be posted shortly. If you have additional questions for the “P/Z” Grading FAQs or theStudent Tuition Account Credit FAQs, please let us know via this onlineform so we can update the information for everyone.

Thank you for your patience as we work through the complexities of serving our students during this challenging time.

Be well,

Karla Fisher, Ph.D.
Provost

Dear Colleagues:

COVID-19 has challenged us to be flexible and responsive, to maintain the health and safety of our communities while supporting the continued academic momentum of our students. The dedicated members of our Developmental Education Project Team and Foundational Instructional Councils (English, math, and reading) have stepped up to the challenge. Many thanks to all of them and to the staff and administrators supporting them in this important work!

Be well,

Karla Fisher, Ph.D.
Provost

_____________________________________________________

Hello everyone,

We hope this email finds you all distanced and well. As you know our Foundational Instructional Councils (English, math, and reading) have been working to develop placement modifications in response to the impact of COVID-19 on our ability to provide ACCUPLACER and WritePlacer to our students. Bettina Celis, Sheryl Begaye, and their teams have also been working diligently to help complete the technology updates necessary for automating these modifications and allowing for student self-enrollment into English, math, and reading courses. Attached to this email is the newest version of our Placement Modifications in Response to COVID-19. A few key updates include:

  • The District Placement Chart (also attached to this email) has been updated to include the COVID-19 modifications. The link to this chart on the District Placement website will be updated by Friday, April 10th.
  • The dynamic forms, found here on the DistrictAssessment and Placement website and on theMy.Maricopa Placement page, are now updated to accept self-reported high school GPAs, ACT, SAT, and GED scores.
  • Four new Placement Assessments have been created on the District EdReady website that can be used for placement by any students who traditionally would have required an ACCUPLACER or WritePLACER exam for placement.
  • The EdReady Placement Assessments also provide students the opportunity to work through lessons and practice activities to improve their initial placement scores.
  • A student-facing instruction guide is being created to walk students through the use of EdReady for placement. This guide will also be added to the District Placement website by Friday, April 10th.
  • A process for pulling placement scores from the District EdReady site and inputting them into SIS is being developed. The plan is to have this process in place by April 17th.
  • The course requisites for English, math, and reading courses are being updated to allow for student self-enrollment based on the Placement Modifications. These updates should be completed by April 17th.

The Developmental Education Project Team (DEPT) will continue to provide updates as they are available. Please share this information widely. If you have any questions or other feedback, please do not hesitate to contact the DEPT leads.

Thank you for your patience and continued focus on student success during this time.

Stay well,
The Developmental Education Project Team Leads

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to provide more detailed information regarding MCCCD’s plan to work remotely for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Unless otherwise directed by local and state public health officials, we will return to work on May 11, 2020.

The Spring semester has been extended to May 23, 2020. As a result, the start of the 4-day work week will begin May 25, 2020, with the first Friday off being May 29, 2020.

Thank you for your cooperation and flexibility as we have transitioned to working in different environments. The pace of change and adjustment to dynamic circumstances have been both challenging and unprecedented. I ask that you remain flexible and work with your supervisors to address your specific concerns and needs.

As we adapt to the statewide Stay-at-Home Executive Order issued by Governor Ducey on Monday, March 30, the District is actively working to lessen the spread of COVID-19 by restricting all visits to our Colleges. Our primary responsibility is to safeguard the health of our employees, students, and community during this public health emergency.

College presidents and District leadership are gathering your feedback and concerns regarding our new working environment, and will identify best practices to overcome and help you and our students succeed during this time. Many of the concerns raised were with specific functions at the Colleges and District Offices. These concerns can and should be addressed by working with your supervisor and local Human Resources representatives. I am asking our leaders to remain engaged with all staff and to ensure they have the resources and direction they need to accomplish their work.

As you continue to work remotely through May 8, 2020, many of the policies and procedures set in place for the short-term response have been extended to encompass the entire remote work period. These policies and procedures are outlined below:

Emergency Operations

An Emergency Operations during COVID-19 Pandemic Policy was established to enable leadership to take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our students, employees, and community.

Remote Work Assignments

Remote work will be required of employees in the following positions: Residential and Adjunct Faculty, Classified and Non-Classified staff, active Temporary and Part-time employees, and active Student Workers (Non-Federal Work Study). Consultants, vendors, and temp agency employees may also work remotely if supported by the individual College/District Office.

A select number of employees, due to working in essential service areas, will need to physically report to a College or District Office location to fulfill critical tasks. These individuals have been identified and notified if they are so designated. Employees who have not been notified to physically report to a College location/District Office are expected to continue to work remotely and remain ready to provide additional support as needed.

Telecommuting

Given these circumstances, each College and the District Office have been authorized to establish a Telecommuting Process based on theTelecommuting Guidelines set forth by the District. Also, employees have been provided with the Telecommuting Acknowledgement Form within the Employee Learn Center for completion. Please contact your Supervisor or Local Human Resources Office for more information. We recognize that not all positions are suitable for working remotely and that during this period some employees may not be able to accomplish all of their usual job duties in a remote setting. Employees may be asked to take on other tasks or may be assigned other work that is not part of their usual job duties. In these remarkably unusual circumstances, we ask our employees to be flexible, patient, and understanding — and work with their supervisors to do their best to work remotely.

Employees should work with their supervisor to address any concerns regarding their schedule or working remotely.

Access to Work Location

Employees, unless directed by their supervisor, should not go to their College or District Office during this period unless they are designated to work in essential service areas. Employees not on the list of approved to work in essential areas for the College/District Office should follow the procedure defined at their work location.

Leave Plans and Provisions

During this period of remote and altered operations, if you cannot work due to sickness, caring for someone else who is sick, caring for children or other personal reasons, please contact your supervisor and follow the standard time and attendance and leave reporting procedures. Employees with leave balances will be able to submit leave requests per policy and procedures. However, if you are unable to work due to COVID-19, Emergency Leave options will be available.

If you have any questions, please contact your local HR office.

Timesheets and Payroll

Employees should report their time based on their regularly scheduled hours of work. For part-time/temporary staff, please work with your local College HR regarding the computing of standard work hours for this remote work period. The exception is Federal Work-Study Students for whom time must be submitted using the code: 00 C19 - COVID-19 Closure Work Study.

Please submit your time electronically through HCM. Supervisors must review and approve each employee’s time and absences per the current process. Non-exempt staff must obtain prior approval for overtime from their supervisor.

If you have any questions, please contact your local HR office.

Vacancies and Recruitment

New employees with a scheduled hire date will start as planned provided that the new employee can work remotely as determined by their supervisor. Employee Eligibility Verification will be conducted remotely by Human Resources. New Employee Orientation will be conducted remotely. Supervisors should be prepared for these employees to begin work remotely.

College and District Office HR Recruiters will contact hiring managers, if they have not already done so, regarding the status and plan for positions which are currently open.

During this period of remote and altered operations, any non-critical temporary staff hiring will be restricted based on operational needs and taking into account safety and compliance requirements.

Human Resources is operational with staff working remotely.

Resources and Support for Employees

Information and resources to assist employees and their families in dealing with circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak are available on the District’s COVID-19 website. Frequently Asked Questions are listed on the FAQ webpage. Employees may submit a question through the form on the bottom of the site or via email to covid19@domail.maricopa.edu.

Reporting a COVID-19 case or exposure

Members of the Maricopa Community Colleges may notify Risk Management if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they believe they have been exposed to COVID-19. Information about reporting COVID-19 is available on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Reporting webpage.

Students or employees can report Potential Exposure to COVID-19 throughthis form.

Students or employees can report a Confirmed Case of COVID-19 throughthis form.

Information Technology

For employee information about anywhere computing or temporary telecommuting and remote work please click here.

Human Resources

HR questions should be directed to your Local HR Office or sent to the appropriate HR group listed below:

Employees may also submit questions through the Ask HR Form. If you are unable to access the form, please email askhr@domail.maricopa.edu .

It is important to reiterate that this decision does not change anything for our faculty and students who have already moved existing in-person and hybrid classes to alternative or online learning environments for the remainder of the Spring semester.

Please continue to check maricopa.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information and advisories. Thank you for your patience and professionalism during this transition.

Stay safe and healthy,
Steven

Dear Colleagues,

I have an important update to share with all of you. Due to the public health threat posed by COVID-19, The Maricopa Community Colleges and District Office will continue to practice social distancing to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff and community. MCCCD employees will continue to work remotely for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. My hope is to have remote work end on May 8, 2020, unless otherwise directed by local and state public health officials.

This is a significant decision with many implications, and we will be communicating by the end of this week more details around this decision and how Colleges and the District will work through the challenges this might present. We wanted to inform you as soon as possible of the decision so you can plan accordingly for your families. With the Governor’s decision today to implement enhanced social distancing guidelines and close all K-12 schools for the remainder of the school year, we understand many of you have concerns with child care and other matters.

College presidents and District leadership have been asked to gather information so that we can address the issues this decision may raise and identify best practices to overcome and help our students succeed during this time. Please work with your direct supervisors to identify and share specific areas of concern for us to address.

Faculty have already moved existing in-person and hybrid classes to alternative or online learning environments for the remainder of the Spring semester. This decision does not change those modifications for our faculty.

I recognize that this is a time of heightened anxiety for many in our community. We are working every day to provide guidance about how our Colleges, students, faculty and staff can best protect themselves from potential exposure while advancing academic continuity. Please share your concerns with your supervisor or send any of your concerns, feedback or questions to covid19@domail.maricopa.edu, so we can best address your needs.

I continue to be proud of our collective efforts and I am grateful for your dedication and compassion as we work through the challenges currently presented by COVID-19.

Please continue to check www.maricopa.edu/coronavirus-covid-19 for the most up-to-date information and advisories. Thank you for your patience and professionalism during this transition.

Steven