Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Email Messages

Thursday, May 28, 2020
2:00 pm

Dear San Jacinto College Employees,

I would like to thank you again for your commitment to San Jacinto College during these recent months. I cannot say it enough: we have a great team of employees who have demonstrated the values and dedication that are the foundation of this institution.

Now that the Spring semester has ended, our immediate focus is on the summer and fall semesters. While we still find ourselves in unprecedented times, your resiliency in the face of this pandemic is what has helped our students get through the Spring semester. Please know that we care about your well-being and that of our entire San Jacinto College community and will continue to keep you updated as the College responds to this ongoing situation.

As you know, the May Mini term, Summer I, and Summer II all academic courses are being offered entirely online and most technical courses are a hybrid model with the hands-on component scheduled in Summer II. Last week in my May 21st update, I announced a phased-in approach to employees beginning to return to campuses Monday, June 1st. This email will cover more information in detail. There is a great deal of information in this communication, so please take the time to read the entire message. Because many of you prefer to print out and read and because this information is very important, we have posted this update as a PDF on the website so you can download and print. We will formulate FAQs and will send them out early next week.

As we resume on-site operations, our top priority is to protect the safety and health of our employees and students. With that goal in mind, we have taken and will continue to take steps to make our campuses safe. We outlined a flexible, multi-phase return to campus plan designed to meet our operational needs while protecting and remaining responsive to the needs of our employees and students.

It is apparent that how we function and operate will be different moving forward. As public health information concerning COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is likely we will need to continue to adjust how we operate. The following is a general framework based on input from San Jacinto College employees, public health officials, and data-based public health protocols regarding the control of infectious diseases.

Phased Return to Campus Operations
San Jacinto College plans to resume in-person campus operations in three phases this summer. In each phase, the College will consider changes in our region and guidance from our governmental agencies. The transition from one phase to another is also dependent on the successful implementation of the prior phase. Therefore, the dates below are tentative.

June 1st (Phase 2 – Scheduled Activity) – The remainder of the students enrolled in Spring 2020 technical courses are scheduled for completion of the hands-on requirements.  We also anticipate students in non-credit and contract courses will be transitioning to on-campus training. Most of the employees needed to support these activities have already been contacted, but we are finalizing the schedule and may reach out, on a limited basis, for others to assist. We are also planning for the remainder of the facilities and maintenance employees to be on site, along with ITS campus support and others in select operational support areas.  Additionally, we anticipate that the North and Central Campus Children’s Centers will begin phasing in their reopening processes.

June 8th (Phase 2 – Expanding Scheduled Activity) – We are planning for select student services employees to return in the records management office, financial aid processing center, testing centers, and welcome desks. Additional employees will be providing advising and financial aid support on site at Generation Park in a temporary building. Other employees will be needed on site to initiate essential functions related to resuming in-person work. These employees will be notified no later than June 1st.

Early July (Phase 3 – Moderate Activity) - We are anticipating moving to Phase 3 – Moderate Activity in early July.  All employees should be prepared to return to on-site operations during this phase. Employees should anticipate at least 50% of their time will be spent working on site, rather than remotely.  Tentative specific dates for expanding on-site operations will be determined based on health and safety guidance. In this phase, we are planning for all instructional, student services, and operational areas to have an in-person presence.  During this phase, employees on site at the same time will be limited based on social distancing protocols. We anticipate staggered shifts and rotating schedules in some areas. As this phase progresses successfully, we anticipate increasing the number of employees on site in order to provide an expanded selection of on-campus services for students.

Leaders will recommend the positions to be included in each phase based upon the College’s student and operational needs. Once identified, the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) will review the recommendations. Positions will be prioritized based solely upon the student and operational needs of the College.

Once the list of positions to return to campus has been approved, leaders will notify those employees directly. Employees asked to work on site who have health concerns and want more information about FMLA, should contact HR Benefits. Please note that leaders will not determine accommodations and will not ask employees about personal health or medical information. All conversations will take place between the specific employee and HR Benefits in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Leaders will have the flexibility in each phase to develop schedules that meet the College’s student and operational needs. Each leader will work with their leadership chain and employees to determine a schedule that recognizes social distancing and addresses the needs of the College. Departments may also consider staggering reporting and departure times by 30 minutes to reduce traffic in common areas.

FFCRA and Underlying Health Conditions:
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides FMLA for employees who have difficulty finding childcare. The FFCRA allows for up to 12 weeks of leave for employees at 2/3 pay when employees cannot return to on-site operations due to the unavailability of childcare. You must provide documentation from your provider and have FMLA time available in order to qualify.

Employees should contact HR Benefits to discuss their concerns if they have an underlying health condition. The attending physician will need to complete documentation to state the employee cannot return to on-site operations due to the current health condition. The employee may be eligible for FMLA and could use available leave time.

An employee who is concerned about returning to work because they provide daily care for a family member will need to contact HR Benefits and provide documentation from the family member’s physician. The employee may take FMLA, if applicable, and use available leave time.

Health and Safety Guidance
When the College returns to on-site operations, employees and students will notice a variety of changes designed to create a safe and healthy environment.

Social Distancing: Maintaining space from others is one of the most effective tools in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Public health officials recommend that individuals always remain at least six feet apart, do not gather in large groups, and avoid mass gatherings. To support this effort, department leadership should work with employees to determine the best possible seating and work arrangements to encourage social distancing. According to our established guidelines and protocols, when an employee is in the same general area as another (employee, student, or visitor), face coverings must be worn. This guidance does not change for cubicle spaces. Employees working in shared cubicles should work with their leaders to develop an alternating schedule that limits overlap. There is also an option that an employee could be moved to another space if one is available.

Enhanced Cleaning Protocols: San Jacinto College facilities staff has been working closely with custodial vendors to conduct enhanced cleaning protocols in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Custodial services will conduct additional cleanings in high traffic areas. In addition to these disinfection procedures, employees should take additional care to wipe down commonly-used surfaces in their personal workspace. Employees will be provided a PPE kit that includes disinfectant and a microfiber cloth to be used for this purpose.

Face Coverings: Employees working on campus will be required to wear a face covering when in the presence of others. Appropriate use of face coverings is essential to minimize risks to others near you, though it is not a substitute for social distancing. I hope that most employees will bring their own face coverings for use during work hours. However, to facilitate the use of face coverings on campus, the College will provide each employee with two cloth face coverings as part of their PPE kit.

Please note the following recommendations for proper use and care of face coverings:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face cover.
  • Ensure the face cover fits over the nose and mouth.
  • Avoid touching the front of the face cover.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face cover and wash your hands immediately after removing.
  • Cloth face coverings should be properly laundered with regular clothing detergent and should be replaced immediately if soiled, damaged, or contaminated.
  • Disposable masks should not be used for more than one day and should be placed in the trash immediately if soiled, damaged, or contaminated.

Hand Sanitizer/Wash Stations: San Jacinto College will install hand sanitizer/wash stations in the common areas and hallways of every campus facility, as well as in close proximity to the entrances to every classroom or lab, for use by employees and students.  Additional bottles of hand sanitizer will be available for employee use throughout the facilities.  

Restrooms: Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least a six-foot distance between individuals. Use a paper towel when touching door handles upon exit of the restroom. Employees and students should wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds to reduce the potential transmission of any viruses and germs. Restrooms will be cleaned as necessary during normal business hours with enhanced spot cleaning in the late morning and mid evening. Detailed cleaning and disinfection activities will occur nightly.

Elevators: Elevator occupancy should be limited to no more than two individuals at once. Where possible, occupants should practice social distancing and use face coverings while in an elevator with others. Employees should avoid touching the elevator buttons with exposed fingers, if possible, and should clean their hands with hand sanitizer upon exiting the elevator.

Travel: To safeguard our campus community, San Jacinto College will continue to limit official travel to that deemed essential by the appropriate SLT member.

Use of Facilities: San Jacinto College will not host events for external organizations this summer. This includes meetings, banquets, luncheons, performances, and other gatherings. The College will not host in-person summer camps, campus tours, or recruiting visits for groups on any of its campuses. However, these recruiting and enrollment activities and services are being provided online virtually through our student services department. We will evaluate these types of events as we get closer to the Fall semester to determine the best course of action for San Jacinto College and our community.

Testing Positive for COVID-19: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the College has processes in place in the event a San Jacinto College employee or student tests positive for the virus. Those testing positive for the COVID-19 virus will be directed to receive the appropriate treatment from a physician and place themselves in self-isolation as dictated by evidence-based public health protocols for the control of infectious disease.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 may return to classes and activities after recovering and their return has been cleared by their health care provider or in accordance with the most recent local public health and medical guidance.

Faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will need to contact HR Benefits. They will take sick leave in accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). These individuals will place themselves in self-isolation as determined by local health officials at the time of testing, returning to the College only after being cleared to return by their health care provider or in accordance with the most recent local public health and medical guidance.

Training: A new training course has been developed titled SJC Your Safe Return to Work. It is a 30-minute required online course that will be accessible from Cornerstone. Employees will receive a notification from Cornerstone when this course is assigned. The content covers a variety of health and safety protocols and prevention strategies in preparation for returning to campus. Employee awareness and compliance with these protocols are integral to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 and are necessary to protect our College community.

Fiscal

As I mentioned in the Watercooler webinars, we are closely monitoring our Summer and Fall enrollment and our budget. The College has done an outstanding job through the years of being fiscally responsible, and we continue to make decisions in a judicious manner that are intended to keep the College financially resilient for years to come.

While uncertain times demonstrate the wisdom of this, I call on each of you to help by approaching every decision with an attitude of fiscal conservatism. The College’s expenditures for the remainder of the summer, and also for the next fiscal year, need to be limited to only those that are absolutely mission critical.

A hiring pause has been in effect for several months and will remain in effect.  We are asking leaders to examine budgets to identify activities, events, and items that can be delayed for at least one year.  This conservative approach will serve the College well and help preserve our future as we navigate through next year which will be a challenging year.

Fall Semester

I know many of you have questions about the Fall semester. As we continue to overcome this challenge together, we may need to adapt our operations to correspond to and align with the circumstances.

In recognition of the Fall semester and the unique challenges ahead, College leadership will implement the following strategies:

Academics
Keeping the safety of employees and students at the forefront in our discussions and decisions, we have made preliminary decisions about Summer and Fall schedules.  Summer I begins June 1st with online courses, as well as instruction to complete the applied technical courses started in the spring term.  Summer II begins July 6th, and we will continue to assess how much applied instruction we will be able to offer.  For general education courses we will continue fully online.

The Fall 2020 semester will begin as scheduled Monday, August 24th. A Learning Enhancement Task Force under the leadership of Dean J.R. Ragaisis and Faculty Senate President Robb Flynn are helping to evaluate and consider a variety of options for Fall 2020 with recommendations provided to the SLT in mid-June. We anticipate that we will increase from Fall 2019 the number of course offerings in online and hybrid delivery. We will also consider how many courses we might offer in 8-week terms, how we might frontload applied technical skills in course sequences, and what other strategies we can employ to create an engaged learning environment for students and keep everyone safe.

We will continue professional development for faculty focused on learning how to develop and manage online and hybrid courses. Areas of focus will be testing/assessment methodologies, technical tools that may assist student learning and facilitate instruction, in-depth use of Blackboard and all its tools, online synchronous and asynchronous course structures, and successful instructional strategies associated with online learning.  Faculty already had at least a minimal presence in Blackboard before the pandemic, which provided us a good starting point when we moved to altered operations in the Spring.  Currently, the Learning Enhancement Task Force is assessing faculty needs in order to make changes that will provide the improved support to faculty and students.

As long as the need for social distancing requirements are in place, we will follow local and state guidelines to ensure that classrooms host no more than one person per 36 square feet of usable space.  We will expand our schedules into the weekends and afternoons to help meet student demand.  Cleaning and sanitization are enhanced for all areas as previously mentioned.

We are trying to make as many decisions as we can with the information and data we have now, knowing that circumstances change.  We want to allow ourselves as many options as possible before making final decisions, but every aspect of the instructional program and student services is being assessed and restructured as needed.  If we need to remain fully online except for applied technical courses, we will be ready.  If we can offer more face-to-face instruction, we will be ready.  The ambiguity we face is one of the most difficult aspects of our work right now, but we want and must continue providing quality instruction and support in an environment that is safe for everyone.

Food Services
San Jacinto College is working through the processes and procedures on how to safely provide food services for our employees and students under CDC guidelines. As these plans become more defined, we will communicate them with the College community.

Athletics
San Jacinto College currently anticipates having athletics for the 2020-2021 season, and we continue to formulate our plans for how these programs will be structured. The NJCAA, the two-year college intercollegiate sports governing body, will announce its plans for Fall sports in mid-June. After that takes place, we will finalize plans regarding our athletic programs.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a very fluid situation. I know you may have many questions because we have never been in a situation like this. Our planning continues to evolve, and as we gather and adapt to new information, I am committed to updating you every step of the way. Our success always has relied on our ability to work as a team. We are in this together and will come out of this even stronger.

Once again, I thank each of you for your hard work and dedication to our College and our students. Your innovation and adaptability over these past few months are to be commended. As we move forward this summer and head into the Fall 2020 semester, it may look very different from previous years, but I know that with the exceptional teams we have in place, we will continue to provide outstanding service to our students and community.

I always appreciate your comments and feedback. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your leader or your SLT member if you have questions or comments as we continue to work through these different times.

Best,

 

BH

Thursday, May 21, 2020
6:00 pm

Dear San Jacinto College employees,  

I hope this email finds all of you healthy and well.  While we are still dealing with the effects of COVID-19, summer seems to have arrived in the Gulf Coast! As we move into this Memorial Day holiday weekend and enjoy the extra time outside, please make sure you are taking the appropriate precautions to stay hydrated, take breaks, and find shade where you can. And please take a few minutes over this holiday weekend to remember and honor the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  We are most grateful to them and their families.    

I want to thank you again for your steadfast commitment to San Jacinto College and our students over these last few months. You have, and continue, to demonstrate the “can do” attitude and dedication that is at the heart of this College. I know the last few months have been unusual, and at times, it has felt like a waiting game. I want to assure you that the Strategic Leadership Team along with several working groups has been developing various scenarios of phased in-person College operational plans.

The operational plans we are working on will build on our prior plans and experiences with bringing students and employees back to campus. For example, on May 4th four technical programs brought students, faculty, and supporting staff on our campuses so students could complete their Spring 2020 coursework.  From this pilot, revisions were made to our processes in order to prepare for the next group of 600 students in 14 technical programs. These students along with support staff and faculty returned to our campuses this week. The training has gone well, and the safety protocols and operational plans have continued to be updated based on what we learned.

As we have developed the various plans, we have been deliberate in being responsible, assessing risks, and addressing safety and health concerns for both employees and students. We know the plans continue to be fluid due to the changing COVID-19 guidance and environment. We are positioning ourselves to plan a step backwards or re-exit strategy if necessary.  You will hear more about the details of the plans, including guidance and protocols, over the next couple of weeks. 

I know many of you are anxious to try to put some dates on your calendars regarding when San Jacinto College will resume in-person college operations and when you will be expected to report back to work at one of our college locations.   I wanted to provide you with information on some tentative dates:

  1. June 1st (Phase 2 – Scheduled Activity) – The remainder of the students enrolled in Spring 2020 technical courses are scheduled for completion of the hands-on requirements.  We also anticipate students in non-credit and contract courses will be transitioning for on-campus training. Most of the employees needed to support these activities have already been contacted, but we are finalizing the schedule and may reach out, on a limited basis, for others to assist. We are also planning for the remainder of the facility and maintenance employees to be on site, along with IT campus support and others in select operational support areas.  Additionally, we anticipate that the North and Central Campus Children’s Centers will begin testing their reopening processes. 
  2. June 8th (Phase 2 – Expanding Scheduled Activity) – We are planning for select student services employees to return in the records management office, financial aid processing center, testing centers, and welcome desk.  Additional employees will be providing advising and financial aid support on site at Generation Park in a temporary building.  Other employees will be needed on site to initiate essential functions related to resuming in-person work These employees will be notified no later than June 1st.
  3. Early July (Phase 3 – Moderate Activity) - We are anticipating moving to Phase 3 – Moderate Activity in early July.  Tentative specific dates for expanding on site operations will be determined once we receive additional guidance regarding the Governor’s latest Executive Order.  This guidance is under development by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). In this phase, we are planning for all instructional, student services, and operational areas to have an in-person presence.  During this phase, employees on site at the same time will be limited based on social distancing protocols.  We anticipate staggered shifts and rotating schedules in some areas. Employees should anticipate at least 50% of their time will be spent working on site, rather than remotely.    As this phase progresses successfully, we anticipate increasing the number of employees on site in order to provide an expanded selection of on-campus services for students.

Next week, you will receive additional information and guidance on these plans. The transition from one phase to another is dependent on the successful implementation of the prior phase.  It is also dependent on changes in our region and additional guidance from governmental agencies.  As I stressed in the Water Cooler Webinars, we will continue to be slow and steady as we move into the next phase of our plan, and we will not be afraid to say that we need to take a step backwards based on what we learn in each phase.

I thank you for your continued support.  I encourage you to keep yourself safe and to enjoy this three-day week-end!  

Best,
BH

Good afternoon San Jacinto College employees,  

This evening, we had planned to have commencement and celebrate the accomplishments of our students.  With the COVID-19 pandemic, our graduates are not able to have the celebratory event they deserve.  With that, we just sent out an email to all our graduates along with the video below.  I want to share this with you.

I hope you all can join us August 7 to celebrate the achievements of our students.  Until then, have a great weekend and please be safe in the weather event that is happening now and also predicted for tomorrow.

Best,
BH

 

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Dear San Jacinto College Spring 2020 Graduates,

As this semester comes to a close and you complete your time here at San Jacinto College, we want to be the first to say congratulations! We know this is not how you envisioned finishing your chapter at San Jac, but we want to say thank you for staying the course and completing your certificate or degree. We are proud to call you a San Jacinto College alumnus!

We frequently hear about how these are unprecedented times, and they are. No one could have imagined that we would have to move an entire semester’s worth of courses online in a week, but we did. And you persevered and completed. We are so proud of you!

We plan to honor and celebrate you and your accomplishments at our commencement ceremony, which has been moved to Friday, August 7, 2020, at 7 p.m., at NRG Stadium. Our commencement ceremony is one of our favorite events at San Jacinto College, because it is all about you – our graduates. We will be following all guidelines set forth by public health authorities to ensure everyone’s safety, but mark your calendars now for this important event!

At San Jacinto College, the success of our students is at the heart of everything we do. We know many of you chose San Jac to complete your basics and move on to the four-year college or university of your choice. We can’t wait to see and hear all about your successes as you continue your higher education journey. We also know that many of you chose San Jac to earn your certificate or associate degree so that you can begin working immediately in essential industries that are critical to our region. We know you will help to make our communities even stronger and the economy along the Texas Gulf Coast more viable.

Graduation is a significant step in your education. On behalf of the San Jacinto College Board of Trustees and our more than 2,500 employees, we congratulate you on this important occasion! Be proud of what achieved and remember those who have supported you to reach this goal. We want to know how you are commemorating this milestone, so share with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #SJCGrad20.

Thank you for trusting in San Jacinto College. We wish you every success as you enter the next exciting stage of your life and career and hope that you will stay connected with San Jacinto College in the years to come.

Best,

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Chair, San Jacinto College Board Of Trustee

 

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Chancellor, San Jacinto College

 

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Good afternoon San Jacinto College employees,  

All of us have been hearing about Teacher Appreciation Week that is being celebrated by our school districts. I bet each one of us parents who are homeschooling right now, have an entirely new appreciation of our school district teachers.  I know I do!  But I would like to change this appreciation week up a bit to cover our San Jacinto College faculty.   THANK YOU to each of our faculty members for your dedication and support of our students!    I appreciate your professionalism under pressure and your commitment to our students as they have persevered through their course work during this crisis!  Congratulations on getting through this semester and, again, THANK YOU!!

Let me highlight some updates that we have provided to our students this week.

CARES Act Funding
San Jacinto College now has emergency financial assistance available for students as a result of the College’s CARES Act funding. The application opened Wednesday, and we encourage you to share this information with your students. 

The San Jac CARES Act Emergency Aid Grant application is available here.

Please note, students must have a FAFSA on file to be eligible for these grants, and they can complete one now if they have not already done so.

We cannot guarantee that students will receive the full amount of their requested expenses. However, if you or your students have any questions, please contact a Financial Aid Advisor at finaid@sjcd.edu or call 281-998-6150.

Food Markets
The food markets on each campus remain available to employees and also to students enrolled in any summer term and to those students who have already registered for the Fall 2020 semester. It is preferred that you make an appointment to visit the food market, but walk-ins are accepted. If you plan to utilize the food markets on campus, you MUST complete the pre-screening questionnaire EACH DAY prior to a food market visit. Please enter campus through the designated campus entry point where you will be required to show that you have a face covering and to let the police officer know you are visiting the food market. 

The hours and locations for the food markets on each campus are as follows:

  • Central Campus (located in C14.218) - Tuesdays 1 - 4 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
  • North Campus (located in N12.211) - Wednesdays 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
  • South Campus (located in S11.111) - Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Thursdays 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 

Food will be distributed as a curbside pick-up. Please keep in mind that we are limited to what food and supplies we receive from our partners at the Houston Food Bank. For this reason, we cannot guarantee the availability of any given item. Additionally, we may limit the quantities of certain high demand items that each employee or student may be allowed to take. Employees and students are able to shop once per week.

Library Materials
Should students need to return any library materials, the library drop boxes at each campus library are available. The libraries remain closed, but students may visit campus to return any library materials.

Finally, this week, students in five programs that require hands-on training came to our campuses.   It has all been going well, and thank you to those faculty and staff who came in to help these students complete their spring semester. Some minor revisions have been made to our safety protocols, and we are preparing to begin additional hands-on training during the week of May 18th.

It is amazing that May is nearly half over, and that we have been in this altered operation mode for nine weeks!  I thank each of our employees for their dedication to San Jacinto College and our students through this situation. Thank you for your continued work and support!  So proud to work with all of you!

Best,

BH

Monday, May 4, 2020
6:20 pm

Good evening San Jacinto College employees,  

I hope you had a nice weekend and were able to do something fun. As we head into finals week, I want to say good luck! This has been a very different and challenging semester, but your dedication and commitment to San Jacinto College has helped us get to this point. Thank you for persevering to complete this term. I know it wasn’t easy, but we are so close!

I want to make you aware of a video I just sent to our students trying to encourage them to finish strong!  I want to encourage all of you to hang in there and finish strong as well! You are amazing and thank you for all you are doing to help our students get through this semester.

Also, today, students in five programs that require hands-on training came to our campuses.  I believe it went well and thank you to those faculty and staff who came in to help these students complete their spring semester.

Thank you again for your continued work. You and your commitment are what make San Jacinto College so amazing!

Best,
BH

Good afternoon San Jacinto College employees,  

We have nearly made it to the end of this Spring semester, and what a semester it has been! I have seen the very innovative ways faculty have encouraged students to press on until the end of this semester.   I have also seen how employees across the College have reached out to support and rally our students to the end. Thank you for all you are doing to get students successfully to the last day of this semester. I, along with the Board of Trustees and the Strategic Leadership Team, are amazed at the work that has been done to get us to this point.

Small Business Development Center:

I want to share with you the work that our Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have been doing to help small business owners in our community during this COVID-19 situation. The San Jacinto College SBDCs have 272 clients, and our SBDC business advisors have reached out to all of them to provide assistance with federal and local loan applications, to answer questions, and to be a resource for these businesses. They have also been advising other businesses, local chambers of commerce, and nonprofits. Herb Hildebrand, the SBDC director, was tapped as the local expert to serve as a panelist on a webinar with Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, explaining Harris County’s loan program. Gary Bucek, one of our business advisors, addressed an audience of 3,000 in a Pearland Chamber Facebook Live program on the COVID-19 federal loan programs.

The work happening out of our SBDCs to help these small businesses is making a difference. While we won't know the complete impact from our SBDC team's efforts for months to come, we do know that clients have gained approximately $5 million in recorded capital to date, with unrecorded capital exceeding an additional $7 million. Hundreds of jobs have been saved, and new jobs have been created. In addition to all we do to help our students succeed in higher education, our assistance in our community is equally important. This work is changing the lives of many small business owners, and I commend and thank the SBDC team for their work during this crisis. If you know someone in our community who owns a small business and needs help, have them contact the San Jacinto College SBDC at https://www.sanjac.edu/about-san-jac/community/small-business-development-center.

Other Information:

  • The San Jacinto College Board of Trustees meeting has moved from May 4 to May 11. You will still be able to access the Board meeting online on May 11, 2020.
  • As stated on the Watercooler Webinars on Wednesday, we know that some of our faculty have asked about gaining access to their offices to retrieve items needed to prepare for the mini or summer sessions.  We are working on a plan for the week of May 11. We will have additional information for you in a future email communication.  Additionally, some faculty have also indicated that they need materials from their offices in order to close out the spring semester which may require access prior to May 11. If this is your situation,  please follow the procedure of requesting access from your leader via the Employee Request for Campus Access.  Again, access to all facilities is restricted, and these requests need to be kept to a minimum in order to maintain the health and safety of all of our employees.
  • For those of you who were able to participate in one of the Watercooler Webinars this week, thank you. I hope the information presented was informative and useful to you. For those who weren’t able to make it, we have recorded the sessions and it’s been posted online.
  • Several employees have asked for a San Jacinto College branded background for Zoom meetings.  We have created images that you can use.  Please note that the image has to be manually added as a virtual background under preferences in Zoom.  To download the backdrops, please visit the Documents Library. If you have trouble, please contact Joshua.Banks@sjcd.edu.

I hope you have a nice weekend and are able to get some rest. Thank you for your continued work. You and your commitment are what make San Jacinto College so amazing!

Best,
BH

Good morning San Jacinto College employees:

I appreciate the time of so many of you yesterday attending one of the four Watercooler Zoom Webinar sessions. I know we couldn’t get to all the questions, but please rest assured that we are working on them.

As promised, here are several updates for today from the webinars yesterday.

Compensation

In my March 18, 2020, employee communication, part-time employees were informed that pay would continue through the spring semester. As we are approaching the end of the spring semester, the following update is provided regarding compensation for part-time employees.

Effective June 1, 2020, the following applies to part-time employee compensation:

PART-TIME FACULTY

Part-time faculty paid by the course – These employees will continue to be paid for current courses being taught. Per normal practices, courses that do not make will not be paid.

Part-time faculty paid via timesheet submission (credit courses) – These employees will submit a timesheet for processing pay as the work is performed.

Part-time faculty paid via timesheet submission (non-credit courses) – These employees will submit a timesheet for processing pay as the work is performed.

PART-TIME STAFF

The following compensation provisions apply to part-time staff, including work study and non-work study students. Effective June 1, 2020, these employees will no longer be paid a minimum of 15 hours per week.

Part-time Work Study – These employees will be paid for actual hours worked as entered in the web time entry system and approved by the leader. All work must be assigned and approved by the leader.

Part-time Staff (including non-work study students) – These employees will be paid for actual hours worked as entered in the web time entry system and approved by the leader. All work must be assigned and approved by the leader.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

As a reminder, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect on April 1, 2020, and will apply through December 31, 2020. Under the FFCRA, part-time faculty and staff are entitled to pay if they are unable to work, including telework, for reasons related to COVID-19.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact hrbenefits@sjcd.edu to review the benefits available to you.

Please click here for specific information regarding part-time pay under the FFCRA.

Summer Hours

Typically, by mid-April, we have announced the dates for summer hours. Based on the current needs of our students, the decision has been made to maintain fall and spring operating hours through the summer. Offices will not be closing at noon on Fridays. The operating schedule may also include the possibility to expand hours, including weekend coverage. No matter how we provide services over the next few weeks, remote or face-to-face, we need to be available to serve our students and our community during this next critical phase.

Return Phasing

I know you have questions about when we will return to the campuses. As stated yesterday, we are taking a slow and deliberate approach to opening up the campuses in phases. As we move through the phases based on local, state, and national orders and looking at our specific College needs, all employees will have ample time to make plans.

For the immediate future, we are working on bringing very limited programs back beginning Monday, May 4. Faculty and students are being contacted, and we will adjust the next phases based on the information we gather. Our first focus is to help students in our technical programs to safely complete the hands-on portion of their spring classes. More information will be coming to the faculty next week.

Through this uncertain time, part-time faculty will remain important members of the College community. We will continue to maintain, develop, and process our part-time faculty pool. Part-time faculty are assigned courses as needed and are paid when courses make, and lab/clinical activities occur.

Many of you asked about the fall semester. Please note that we are forming a workgroup led by Dean J. R. Ragaisis and incoming Faculty Senate President Robert Flynn. They will be asking questions and seeking input from faculty, so please do your best to respond to them when they ask questions. We will decide about the fall semester in July when we have more information about COVID-19.

I want to thank all of you for the amazing work you are doing! In times like this, we often wonder when the ever-changing challenges will end. It is a struggle, but a struggle I’m glad we’re facing together. Our struggles will make us stronger. Thank you for all you are doing!

Best,
BH

Dear San Jacinto College students and employees,

We hope this email finds you well. The health and safety of our entire College community is our top priority, and this has been the case throughout this altered operations period. The situation is dynamic and frequently changing, and today’s announcement from Harris County is no different.

Today, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued an order that requires anyone in Harris County who is out in public to wear a face covering. The order is in effect beginning this Monday, April 27, 2020, and will be in effect for 30 days. This means that all students and employees who come to campus during that time period will be required to verify at the campus entry point that they have a face covering and they will be required to wear it while on campus. This includes wearing a face covering inside all campus buildings and facilities unless sitting alone in an office. Failure to comply will result in the individual being asked by campus police or an employee to leave campus.

The CDC has provided guidance on the use of face coverings. It is important to note that the face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. A face covering could include a homemade mask, bandana, scarf, or handkerchief.

We appreciate your understanding of this new development. We want to be able to return to campus for all of our classes and activities as soon as possible, and this is one more way to make that happen.

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020
4:40 pm

Hello San Jacinto College employees!

We are heading into the last few weeks of the semester, and I hope all remains well with you, your families, and your students. This is always a stressful time as we get closer to final exams, and especially so right now.  Hang in there!  We’ve come this far together, and we will continue to do so by supporting each other and taking care of ourselves and our students.

 I have an update and a reminder for you today:

  •  We made the decision that, in addition to the May Mini term moving online, Summer I and II terms will be moved online as much as possible. There have been many employees involved in re-designing instruction and student support and providing needed professional development and equipment/access for online delivery and remote work.  Each person has been integral to this comprehensive work.  I want to thank Van Wigginton and the Deans Council for leading the effort with faculty and staff to convert face-to-face classes to full online delivery.  I want to thank each of you for your hard work in the face of daily challenges and changes.  I know this has not been easy, but at this time, it is necessary for the health and wellbeing of our students and employees.
  • As a reminder, the San Jacinto College Food Market is now open to employees, as well as our students. The food market has limited quantities of frozen foods, canned goods, and fresh produce. Individuals who utilize this program are eligible to receive approximately 30 pounds of food each week. Please contact the SEA Office at Central.SEA@sjcd.eduNorth.SEA@sjcd.edu, or South.SEA@sjcd.edu if you have any questions and to make an appointment to pick up food. 

I know we hear and use the term “unprecedented times” often these days, but that’s our current situation. We have never been through anything like this. However, we have been through tough times, and we have come out stronger because of it. This pandemic will be no different. The dedication you have for our students and San Jacinto College will help us get through this. Thank you for your continued work to ensure that our students complete this Spring term.

Have a great rest of the week!

Best,

BH

Friday, April 17, 2020
11:10 am

Good Morning San Jac Employees,

As we conclude another week, I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy.  We are moving into our sixth week of altered operations and moving rapidly to the conclusion of this semester.  I know this is a time when tensions are always high, and so much more this year.  I want to encourage you to hang in there and finish strong.  Our students are also feeling the tension and struggling, so please continue your amazing work helping our students complete this semester.  We’ve all come this far, and we can do this together!

I know that our employees and students have many questions. I want you to know that the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) meets regularly to discuss and wrestle with many questions and uncertainties facing us.  Through this uncertainty, remember that San Jacinto College has a solid reputation for being both academically strong and fiscally conservative.  We are also known for our focus on and care for the community including our students, employees, taxpayers, and so many other constituents. Yet, at same time, we are known for being forward-thinking and progressive in our instructional initiatives and our delivery of student services.  As we move forward through the current COVID-19 situation, our phased reopening plan, and plan development for the next fiscal year, our character, our values, and our focus will not change.

We are closely watching the College’s three main revenue streams – student tuition, local property taxes, and state appropriations – and the effects that changes in the state and local economies are having on each of them for the near term and for next fiscal year.  As we move toward reopening the College for instruction, we ask the cooperation of each of you to be cautious with spending.  Expenditures and initiatives that may have once been budgeted for and deemed essential should now be viewed through a more critical lens.  Together we can make smart decisions, keeping our focus on efficiency and effectiveness that will pay off in the long term.  This would be a good year to go ahead and save versus spend your full budgets on items that would be deemed as nice to have versus necessary for operations.

Although the process of developing the budget for fiscal year 2021 is currently paused, it will resume.  Over the coming months, we will refine the budget as we learn more about the future of each revenue stream, ensuring that we can make wise decisions.

Later today and into next week, we will hear from our Governor, our Harris County Judge, and other elected officials and community leaders about next steps in the COVID-19 situation.  As the additional information is unveiled, the SLT will continue to develop scenarios and plans for a phased reopening.  You will hear more about this next week and in the future weeks.

With all this uncertainty, I want to remind you that San Jacinto College will celebrate its 60th Anniversary next year.  This is not the first storm the College has encountered and had to weather.  Our strength is the character of our people, our commitment to high standards, and our determination to persevere through these storms.  We will continue to change our part of the world by providing educational opportunities.  That is what we do and that is who we are.  We are strong and we are steady.  Thank you for all you do to help our students and make this a strong institution.

Best,
BH

Dear San Jacinto College employees,

I hope you are all well and your week is off to a good start! This is the fourth week under altered operations. I hope you have all found your groove as we continue to help our students complete this semester. Thank you for all of the work you are doing to help our students and for your flexibility and cooperation as we continue to monitor and respond to COVID-19.

As a reminder, all College facilities remain closed unless otherwise noted or unless you have requested to have access to campus. No visitors and no students other than those notified by their faculty or San Jacinto College administrator are allowed on campus. If you come to campus, please follow the CDC guidelines for wearing cloth face coverings. You will be expected to follow the CDC’s recommendations for PPE when you are on campus and around others. You can read more about the cloth face covering recommendation on the CDC website.

We are hearing across the country and the world about Zoom security issues. Please make sure that you are using the most recent version of Zoom, whether on a College-issued or personal laptop, for your meetings. College-issued laptops connected to our network are automatically updated. The ITS website has the information you need to upgrade your home computer’s Zoom app so that you don’t get Zoom-bombed, as well as best practices for creating secure Zoom conferences!

We realize many of you are enduring unexpected hardships as a result of this COVID-19 outbreak. In an effort to help support all members of our College community, the San Jacinto College Food Market is now open to employees, as well as our students. The food market has limited quantities of frozen foods, canned goods, and fresh produce. Individuals who utilize this program are eligible to receive approximately 30 pounds of food each week. If you would like to utilize this service, please follow the steps below:

  • No later than 48 hours prior to the desired pickup date, email the SEA Office at the campus from which you intend to pick up food:
  • A representative will respond to your email to set an appointment time, provide you with the forms that must be completed to enroll in the Food Market program, and to provide you with instructions on how to gain access to campus and where to go when you arrive. You may only have one appointment per week, regardless of which campus market you utilize. Once you have a confirmed pick-up appointment, you must submit the Daily Pre-Screening Questionnaire prior to arriving on campus.  This form is to be filled out no earlier than 48 hours before your appointment day.
  • For your protection, and the safety of our Food Market team, strict procedures for maintaining distance and sanitized work spaces are in effect for those packaging foods in the Food Markets. 

The hours of the food market operation on each campus are:

  • Central Campus (C14.218): Tuesdays 1 p.m.-4 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • North Campus (N12.211): Wednesdays 12 p.m.-3 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • South Campus (S11.111): Wednesdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Thursdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Please note that once the disaster orders for COVID-19 are lifted for our area, the on-campus Food Markets will return to only serving currently enrolled students. However, you may still be able to use Houston Food Bank sponsored markets within your local community. If you have any questions, please contact Student Engagement and Activities for the Food Market location you would like to utilize. We know these are trying times, and we are thankful to the Houston Food Bank for opening this program to our employees who may have needs.

Thank you again for all you are doing to help our students. We are all in this together, and together we will get through this!

Best,
BH

Good afternoon,

With the entire globe weathering this COVID-19 storm, we continue to live in uncharted territory. As the Harris County Stay Home - Work Safe order was extended, we also had to extend our timeline for returning to normal work operations. We are continually adjusting to meet the needs of you and our students.

We are all in this together. I believe we can all agree that the safety and security of our employees and students, along with the fiscal sustainability of the College to ensure long-term operations, need to remain our top priorities.

The primary focus is positioning our institution and our employees to facilitate student success. We are proceeding cautiously as we encounter new information. The Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) recently had to make tough decisions including placing most of our current hiring on pause. We are also delaying next year’s fiscal operating budget for review by the Board, moving it to August rather than June, as we had originally planned.

Employees have been asked to be flexible as we continue to make adjustments to the way we work and now to the manner in which vacation leave will be administered over the next few months through the implementation of an interim vacation practice (more on this topic later in this email message). Additionally, we will not complete the performance management process for the remainder of this cycle. These are difficult decisions, discussed below, but we must continue to adapt to meet the needs of our students, constituents, and community.

I also want to take the opportunity to address compensation for the remainder of this fiscal year and the status of faculty contracts.

The following provides a summary of each of these topics:

Compensation

In my March 18, 2020 employee communication, employees were informed that pay would continue through the spring semester. Full-time employees who are available for work will receive their regular pay (monthly salary for exempt or a minimum of 40 hours per week for non-exempt) through August 31, 2020. Full-time employees, when not available for work, will continue to use vacation, personal, or sick leave. Faculty on nine-month contracts, are paid over 12 months, will continue to receive their regular contracted pay through August 31, 2020, as scheduled. Compensation, subsequent to August 31, 2020, will be approved through the 2021 budget process.

As a reminder from the March 18 email, the definition of Available for Work is as follows:

  1. Working onsite – These employees will include select areas such as police, safety/emergency, maintenance, lab support, etc.  These areas will be specifically requested and approved by a Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) member.
  2. Working remotely – Employees must be responsive to calls, texts, and instant messages within one hour of contact; review and respond to emails; work with leader for assignments and project completion and accountability; and available for regular check-ins with leadership.
  3. Availability to respond – Employees must be able to arrive onsite within two hours of being contacted to report. SLT approval is required prior to leadership directing an employee to report onsite.

A communication at the end of April will address pay for part-time faculty and staff beyond the spring semester.

Faculty Contracts

As in prior years, faculty contracts for the next academic year will be submitted to the Board in May for review and approval. After Board approval, faculty contracts will be issued by the end of May.

Performance Management

Performance Management (PM) is a very important process and provides essential feedback to all full-time employees. However, the SLT has made the decision to suspend the PM process for the current cycle for all full-time employees.

We know that faculty have completed their self-evaluation, and leaders have already completed, or are in the process of completing, their portion of the faculty evaluations. The year-end PM process for staff and administrators was to begin April 15. However, given the COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to complete all of the steps that are needed to ensure consistency and transparency, specifically the validation process.

The SLT understands that a great deal of outstanding work was completed by faculty, staff, and administrators prior to COVID-19. Now during this pandemic, employees continue to step up to support our students, ensure student success, and maintain the operations of the College. We applaud your work this year. But right now, circumstances require that we move forward without allocating the time we normally invest in our PM process.

Interim Practice Governing Vacation Leave Between Now and June 14

During the summer months, in order to fully prepare for the fall semester, we must limit the number of vacation hours that employees can take when we transition from altered to normal operations. The interim practice is intended to “spread out” how we take vacation leave during the months between April and August. In order to prepare for this significant period of transition, we are implementing the following interim practice related to vacation leave:

Between now and June 14, employees eligible for vacation leave must reduce their vacation balance by at least half of the amount that their vacation balance exceeds the amount eligible for carryover into the next fiscal year. Leaders will work with their employees over the next few weeks to schedule vacation hours to be taken between now and June 14. Exceptions to this requirement, for specific employees, must be endorsed by the employee’s respective SLT member and approved by the Chancellor.

Example:

  • Employee earns two weeks of vacation per year (80 hours per year)
  • Current vacation balance is: 130 hours
  • Allowable carryover balance: 80 hours
  • Subtract the allowable carryover from the vacation balance (130 hours – 80 hours)
  • Remaining balance: 50 hours
  • Employee must use 25 vacation hours (half of 50) between now and June 14

Employees can refer to examples and instructions for accessing their available leave balances by reviewing the attached guide. The HR team is also providing an additional resource guide for leaders with instructions on how to access employee vacation balances and contact information to have their questions answered. Leaders should look for an additional communication from HR regarding these resources later today.

We recognize that under the current situation of working remotely, an additional layer of stress has been placed on many of our employees. Taking a vacation day is intended for employees to rest, recover, and disconnect from daily work activities. The expectation is that employees will be able to enjoy some very much needed time off. Remember, employees are not expected to check email or perform other work activities during the days that are scheduled as vacation.

This interim practice governs the standard use of vacation leave for non COVID-19 related reasons. Employees who need to take leave for COVID-19 related reasons should contact a member of the HR Benefits team. For employee rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), please visit the Employee Resources web page for more information on this Act.

Summer Operating Hours

The SLT will need to revisit the summer operating schedule which includes the work schedule and summer class offerings. Our focus this summer will be on supporting the needs of our current and future students. We may need to adjust our work schedules to meet these needs. More information will be communicated later as we have more details on the Stay Home - Work Safe Order, review summer and fall applications and enrollment trends, determine preparation needs for the fall semester, and assess the impact on our summer operating hours.

In conclusion, the SLT understands that some of these decisions will be received with mixed emotions. We have spent hours wrestling with operational issues, taking into consideration our employees and our students. Please know that these decisions, though very difficult, were discussed at length. We know that we have to keep moving forward with our summer and fall terms and in doing all that we can to help students through this difficult time as well. The bottom line is that we need you and we ask that we all continue with the can-do attitude that has brought us this far. You are the heart of San Jacinto College, and we ask for your support so that this College can continue serving a diverse student body, thereby helping our community and region to be stronger.

Thank you for your understanding and your support!

Best,
BH

Hello San Jacinto College employees!

We have made it through another week under altered operations and have a three-day weekend before us. I hope you all had a great week and will be able to get some rest and enjoy the Spring holidays at home this weekend. If you go outside, please keep in mind the need to be vigilant in social distancing and do not place yourself or your family in harm’s way.

I continue to say thank you to each one of you for the work you are doing to help our students complete this semester. For all of you who are contacting students as part of the San Jac Cares program, I thank you. I am hearing and have experienced first-hand through my calls that these efforts are being received very positively by our students.  Sometimes it is just the simple act of saying “we care and we are here for you” that our students need to hear. That spirit is what San Jacinto College is all about!

As you are at home this weekend, I encourage you to take a few moments to complete your response to the 2020 Census. The online questionnaire is nine simple questions, and the responses play a big role in determining how federal dollars are distributed to states and communities like ours. Everyone over age 15 is required by law to complete the questionnaire, and your responses are private and confidential. Let’s all do our part to help shape our community’s future!

Finally, as a reminder, our facilities remain closed under our altered operations model. The COVID-19 situation continues to change daily, and the need to be diligent in social distancing and protecting yourself and others from this virus is more important now than ever before. We have implemented tighter controls and access to our campuses and facilities. If you need to access College facilities, you must complete the forms on the website under Forms for Employees and be approved by your leader and SLT member to come onto the campus. You will be required to wear the appropriate PPE while on campus as well, and I encourage you to wear the appropriate face coverings as stated by the CDC should you need to leave your home for essential purposes.

I came across this quote from Dave Hollis, former President of the Theatrical Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios. It says: “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” I know this situation is different for many of you and has caused you to think and act outside of what is familiar and normal for you. But I hope this time at home has also allowed you to connect with your families and presented opportunities for you to make the normal even better.

Enjoy your three-day weekend!

Best,
BH

Dear San Jacinto College employees,

I hope all of you had a nice weekend and are wrapping up your Monday. The message we are receiving from health department authorities at the local, state, and national levels is that we should be prepared to hear about the worst of this terrible virus over the next two weeks. Please be diligent and follow all CDC guidelines.  If ever there was time to “hunker down,” this is it!  I want to remind you that we have many resources available to employees and students on our coronavirus website. I encourage you to use them as needed and to remind our students of the options available to them.

I have a few updates for you today.

  • Due to the changing situation and the need to be diligent in social distancing and protecting yourself and others from this virus, we are moving to much tighter controls on access to our campuses.  Tomorrow, April 7, 2020, will be the last day for employees to pick up laptops from the College.  To request access to College facilities, you must complete the forms on the website under Forms for Employees and be approved by your leader and SLT member to come onto the campus.
  • The CDC has recently made a recommendation advising all persons to wear a face mask when out in public or away from their homes. New data show that persons who are asymptomatic (not outwardly displaying symptoms of the disease) are unknowingly exposing others.  In light of this new information, those employees who may have close contact with others while on campus will need to have face masks. One will be made available to them as part of a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit, which also includes a few pairs of disposable gloves, safety glasses, and a t-shirt.  Kits may be requested using the Resource Request Form.
  • We will continue to make limited Wi-Fi available in the parking lots outside of the ILC buildings on each campus. The Wi-Fi is available for San Jacinto College students and employees only. If you plan to utilize the Wi-Fi on campus, you MUST complete the pre-screening questionnaire for EACH DAY you will be on campus. You will need to enter campus through the designated campus entry point, show your San Jacinto College employee ID, and access the Wi-Fi (signed in to SJC Secure) while in your personal vehicle in the designated area. The Wi-Fi lots will remain available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. To support social distancing and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please do not travel to campus with multiple people in your vehicle.
  • Earlier today, Dr. Laurel Williamson sent an email to faculty related to grading policies.  For consistency, let me quote her email here for you.

“One of the most frequently asked questions during the past two weeks has been about grading procedures.  As you know, some colleges and universities are going to a Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/No Credit Reported (NCR) system.  Most are doing this as a student option.  

The Strategic Leadership Team and the Deans Council have discussed this at length, it has been a discussion at TACC and THECB, and the chancellor has discussed it with the Faculty Senate executive officers.  Some community colleges are choosing this option.  However, we are going to continue our current grading procedures at San Jacinto College.  We trust our faculty to make the decisions about grades that accurately address student learning.  A faculty member’s letter grade is much more meaningful than a generic pass or fail.  

In addition, we are concerned about what this will mean in terms of transferability of our courses.  The universities say they will accept the credit, but they will not assure us that these pass/fail courses will count toward major courses or toward degrees.  We have worked very hard to ensure that our credits transfer and count.  We cannot put our students’ courses at risk in this way.  For a university to use pass/fail will work for their students, but it is the transfer student who will be at risk.  Another concern about the pass/fail system is how it will affect our veteran and financial aid students.  Dallas Community College District, Lone Star Community College, and El Paso Community College are colleges which will not use pass/fail.  Austin Community College plans to use the pass/fail option.  

I believe we all understand that this is a time to be patient and flexible, but San Jacinto College is known for its high standards.  We believe in supporting students in all ways possible, but we also believe in the rigor and integrity of our courses.” 

I know this is a lot of information, but I want to make sure you are kept up-to-date with what is happening at the College. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in our area and provide updates through SJC AlertMe, the College website, and our official social media accounts.  To end with a positive note, please remember that Friday is a holiday for the College, so I hope you are able to enjoy the three-day weekend.

Best,
BH

Dear San Jacinto College employees,

I hope you and your families are healthy and safe, and you’re finding your way in this altered operations period. My continued thanks for helping our students during this transition so that they can complete this semester. I want to remind you that we have many resources available to employees and students on our coronavirus website. I encourage you to use them as needed, and to remind our students of the options available to them.

I have a few updates for you today.

  • We have made the difficult decision to cancel the Service Awards Banquet that was scheduled for May. While there will not be a formal banquet, recipients will still receive their service award and gift packet. More information will be provided to recipients once we return to campus. 
  • The Food Markets on each campus are open and available to students. An appointment is preferred, but walk-ins will be accepted. More information and links to make an appointment are available on the Food Market web page. We are limited to what food and supplies we receive from our partners at the Houston Food Bank, but we want our students to know that this resource is available if they need it.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has published a notice regarding employee rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This Act addresses paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave as it relates to COVID-19. Please visit the Employee Resources web page for more information on this Act.
  • We are working with HCC, Lone Star College and TX/RX labs to produce face shields for the local health care workforce. I want to thank Dr. Christopher Wild (Department Chair, Physical Sciences, South), Professor William Buel (Engineering Design Graphics, South), Professor Scott Vlasek (Construction Managements, North), Mrs. Clarissa Belbas (CPET Director), Mr. Jeff Robison (Lab Supervisor, South), Mr. Tanner Cates (student worker), and Mr. Jose Amieva (student worker) for their work in coordinating these efforts. We will have about 25 3D printers making these face shields to help those on the front lines fighting this disease. You can view a video of the setup on the College’s YouTube channel.
  • We are launching the San Jac Cares initiative to reach out to our students to let them know that we are here for them and that we care about them. I hope you will volunteer some of your time to participate in this program. If you are interested in participating, please let your leader know so they can provide your name to Dr. Allatia Harris and Yessenia Jimenez.

I know this is a lot of information, but I want to make sure you are kept up-to-date with what is happening at the College. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in our area and provide updates through SJC AlertMe, the College website, and our official social media accounts.

Best,
BH

Dear San Jacinto College Employees,

Dr. Williamson just sent a message to all employees related to the extension of the Harris County Stay Home, Work Safe Order extension to April 30, 2020 (below).  Her email primarily addressed faculty and changes we need to make to our planning around our technical programs (copy of her email is below). 

I want to be sure to address any questions you may have as to what this means to all employees.  It means that we will continue in our altered operations status through April 30, 2020.  We will continue to work remotely and instruction will continue online.  The exceptions to the online instruction were addressed in Dr. Williamson’s email.

You may have seen in the news that Congress passed the CARES Act and it was signed into law last Friday by the President.  This stimulus package includes $12.558 billion in funding for all of higher education across the country.  We are digging into the bill and will continue to work through what can apply to San Jacinto College and our students.  We will provide more details on that later.

I want to keep this short today, but I do hope you are all doing well and staying healthy.  As always, for information about our operations, please visit our website at https://www.sanjac.edu/coronavirus.  

Best,

BH


Tuesday, March 31, 2020
4:10 pm

Good afternoon.  I hope that each of you and your family and friends are doing well and that you are taking every precaution possible during the COVID-19 crisis.  As we have said previously, the situation changes daily, and today we heard that the Stay Home – Work Safe order has been extended through 30 April.  We feel, in light of this and our concern over personal interaction even in small groups (10 or fewer), we must change our plans for students and how we deliver instruction.  Even were we able to have the small-group classes, there will be students and employees who will not be able to participate because of risk factors or illness.  We all need to be cautious.

Most of our general education courses will continue online as planned, adhering to our original schedules for all parts of term.  However, it is not possible to begin the applied labs and skills demonstrations that we had planned to begin 6 April through small-group classes.  Not being able to begin at this time means that we must push these courses beyond the original end-of-term dates into May and June.  Thank you to the instructional leaders, the faculty, and the professional development and IT staff who have spent two weeks planning for this roll-out.  These plans will be incredibly valuable as we re-group and think about how we will proceed now, so this has not been time wasted.  Also, for all faculty, I hope that re-thinking your courses has generated creative ideas that you will continue to use beyond the COVID-19 restrictions.  You may have found a better way of teaching and engaging students or designing lab work or testing that you will incorporate into instruction once we return to normal conditions.

Extending courses beyond the scheduled end-of-term date means we must design how this will be done most efficiently and most effectively for students, while still maintaining academic standards and course integrity.  This will need to be done on a program-by-program basis, because some programs may be able to continue online instruction and do competency-based hands-on testing at the end.  Others will not be able to continue online instruction because skills are built sequentially and must be demonstrated before the next learning objective is addressed.  Some programs may need four weeks to complete instruction, while others may need two weeks.  Designing these program extensions will become the work for technical faculty.  The instructional deans and department chairs will lead and coordinate this work.  Van Wigginton, as the chair of the Deans Council, will oversee planning and implementation strategies and timelines.

I understand that we are pioneers, experiencing fundamental changes to our professional and personal environments.  As with all pioneers, we are learning as we go.  This learning will make us stronger and ultimately will benefit our future students.  We will be better thinkers, leaders, teachers, people.  I also know this is very difficult and challenging right now, and I want to thank each of you for the incredible positive attitudes and absolute commitment to our work and to our students that you have evinced from the very beginning of the crisis.  Every gauntlet that has been thrown down, we have picked up and met the challenge.  We will continue to do so, with patience and a collaborative spirit.

More details on the planning and design work will be communicated soon. 

Be well.

Laurel

Dear San Jacinto College employees,

What an unprecedented few weeks!  I know these last several weeks have been crazy for all of us. I hope you are safe and well.  As we start the third week of our altered operations and second week of online instruction, I want to thank you for your patience as we worked through so many details to get this semester back on track.  I am hearing that the online courses and support services are going well, and I know you are the reason for that.

As we continue under altered operations with the Harris County Stay Home, Work Safe Order in place, here are a few updates for you.  As always, for information about our operations, please visit our website at https://www.sanjac.edu/coronavirus.  

  • Provost Search: The posting process for the Provost search closed on Tuesday, March 17. We had 134 candidates apply to this posting, and we are very pleased with the recruitment efforts that yielded this result. The next step in the process is the formation of the selection committee which will be chaired by Dr. Laurel Williamson. Van Wigginton will be serving as co-chair. Prior to the COVID-19 situation and the need to work remotely, there was a plan and hiring timeline that had been previously communicated. Due to the change in circumstances, we will be preparing an alternate plan that encompasses remote screening and interviewing. Once the modified plan is finalized, further updates will be communicated college-wide.
  • Medical Equipment: We were able to help our clinical affiliate Methodist Hospital Baytown Campus by loaning them three respirators from our respiratory care program to assist during this shortage. In addition, we conducted a supply transfer to Harris County Public Health on Saturday, consisting of latex and nitrile gloves, surgical and N-95 masks, safety glasses, disposable wipes, gowns, hand sanitizer, and alcohol prep pads.
  • Student Emergency Funding:  The San Jacinto College Foundation Board has designated $200,000 in funding for student emergencies. Below is an update on the number of students we have been able to help thus far.  We are also working on getting students computers and more information is coming on that.
    • Total Student Requests           180
    • Opportunity Awards                800
    • Committed Awards                 (180)
    • Total Remaining Awards      620

Finally, Martha Robertson and Michelle Cantu-Wilson have been attending various information sessions to hear what other colleges and universities are doing in their transitions to online learning and to find out if there is something we can add to what we already have in place.  They learned that many other colleges have their technology and instructional systems outsourced to different vendors. Having our system contained within Blackboard is proving to be an advantage. In one information session, there was an exasperating and confusing chat with many links to different instructional design resources. This is not something I want for our faculty - for you all to be scrambling to find resources. Our team deserves a great deal of praise for what they do.  So, thank you to Rob Stanicic and Niki Whiteside and the ITS and Instructional Design teams!  And a special thank you to our faculty who have made this unique challenge into a tremendous opportunity.  Thanks to CETL for managing information on resources and professional development. We appreciate that we do not have the additional chaos that other institutions seem to be having. 

During these past couple of weeks, I have been telling myself and others that as we are going through the COVID-19 situation, we are going to learn many things that will make us stronger as a student-centered college. I also know that we will learn a few things that we don’t want to experience again! But as we start this new week in these altered operations, I want to encourage you to continue the good work you are doing!  Thank you again for your continued patience and your amazing “can-do” attitudes. It’s a privilege being a part of San Jacinto College!

Best,
BH

Good afternoon!

Last evening I received a call from Marie Flickinger, the Chair of our College Board of Trustees, requesting to send a note to all of the San Jacinto College employees.  Please see the attached letter.  I think this note says it better than any items that I could cover in an update. 

Have a great week-end and thanks for everything!

Best,
BH
 

Message from the Board of Trustees to employees

Dear San Jacinto College students and employees,

As you are aware, the COVID-19 situation in our region and across the country has been fluid. New details have been emerging daily, and today is no different. Harris County announced this morning that the county will be under a Stay Home - Work Safe Order beginning at 11:59 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, March 24, and will be in place through April 3.

This is what the Harris County Stay Home - Work Safe Order means for San Jacinto College:

  • All College facilities remain closed unless otherwise noted. No visitors and no students other than those notified by their faculty, or other San Jacinto College administrator, are allowed.
  • All on-campus activities will take place as scheduled to allow for the facilitation of online course delivery. This includes equipment and supplies pick-up and document drop-off, as well as food markets. These activities are allowed by appointment only.
  • Online classes for students and remote work for employees will continue as planned under the College’s altered operations plan.
  • At this time, we are looking at April 6 as a possible start date for on-site instruction for labs and technical courses, as well as training offered through the Continuing and Professional Development Division. Students will be notified directly by faculty or an administrator regarding on-site instruction.

If you live in Harris County, or a surrounding county that has issued a similar order, we encourage you to follow the instructions to stay home. We understand that these are challenging times for all of us, but we are working closely with our local elected leaders and health department authorities to make the best decisions for our College community.

Starting Thursday, March 26, at 8 a.m., Student Success Center tutors will become available for online tutoring. Students will be able to schedule an appointment online through TutorTrac. Instructions for scheduling an appointment can be viewed here.

In addition, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the May commencement ceremony that was scheduled for Friday, May 15. We are exploring different options, and when a new date or other arrangements have been made, we will make an announcement and contact graduate candidates.

We know you are receiving a lot of information from many different sources. We have created a website specifically for San Jacinto College students and employees as it relates to this altered operations period during COVID-19. Please take time to review the site as well as the frequently asked questions (FAQs), as we are updating these daily to address your questions. You can bookmark the site, or access it directly from the College website homepage.

Thank you again for your continued patience. We are here for you and we will get through this together!

Good Afternoon San Jacinto College Employees:

I hope you were able to wind down a bit and enjoy the weekend. I know you may feel overwhelmed by emails and updates, but this is a very unusual period for us. I am trying to address questions about our operations as the situation continues to evolve, and it is evolving every day.  We have developed a website with information specific for employees.  Please take time to review the site as well as the frequently asked questions (FAQ) as that is how we are addressing questions.  You can bookmark the site or access it directly from the College website homepage.

We are making every effort to encourage our students to stay enrolled and not give up on this semester.  They are already halfway through the term, so I hope you will also encourage students to stay with us.

As we move into this new scenario, I know it is a very stressful period for all of you. We are all facing concerns about our families and our own personal health. Managing stress and isolation is a reality that needs to be addressed as we practice self-care and obtain support through various services. For employees under the College’s health plans, there are medical and mental health appointments that are available through virtual visits. Additionally, full-time employees and family members within the same household have access to the Employee Assistance Program. For more information regarding these employee resources, visit the San Jacinto College Coronavirus website – Healthcare and Emotional Support.

We made a great deal of progress last week, and I appreciate all employees pitching in and doing what was necessary to get our students back in classes in an online format today.

A few updates for you for today:

  1. As of our last update on Friday afternoon, no student or employee has been confirmed with COVID-19. 
  2. All San Jacinto College facilities are available only to essential employees who have been contacted by their leader to come in.  If you are an essential employee, your leader will let you know what responsibilities you have.  Students may enter only as scheduled using the process described herein, on an extremely limited basis.  Please note that ALL requests for access to any area of the campus by either employees or students MUST go through your Administrative Dean and then be coordinated by Ali Shah, Emergency Management Director. Under no circumstances should you show up on campus without going through these steps.  This is due to the need to follow CDC guidelines for screening and sanitization.
  3. San Jacinto College will remain in this altered operations period until the Federal, State, and Local Authorities change the status of the COVID-19 situation.
  4. The College Bookstores are fulfilling online orders for book requests and shipping books directly to students.  For more information, visit the San Jacinto College Coronavirus website – bookstore update web page.
  5. Students Services are now fully online.  Visit the San Jacinto College Coronavirus website - student resources web page for more information.
  6. Our Libraries have availability online for resources, except for the Paralegal Program.  For more information, visit the San Jacinto College Coronavirus website – library resources web page.
  7. We will continue to pay employees throughout the altered operations period.  Complete information and instructions for payroll can be found on the San Jacinto College Coronavirus website – payroll procedures web page.
  8. I sent out helpful tips for working remotely as that is new to most of us.  We created a complete list of resources and as more resources become available, we will post them. You can get more information on the San Jacinto College Coronavirus website – working remotely web page.

Again, I know this is an unprecedented time for all of us.  I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we continue to think about and analyze all the details.  We will get through this together!

Best,

BH

Good Afternoon San Jacinto College Employees,

As of the end of today, most of you will be moving to working remotely during the College’s altered operations.  We are providing many resources as guides, videos, etc., and I ask that you use these resources and others you identify to assist with getting you accustomed to the unique aspects of working remotely.  We understand that this is a change for many of us, me included, and our comfort levels will vary. I think we will learn some things that we will wish we would have learned earlier, but then there will probably be other things that we don’t want to experience again.

We understand the unique nature of this COVID-19 event, especially as many are juggling additional responsibilities that have shifted to us as parents and caretakers at home.  At San Jacinto College, we are trying to ensure that we are open for business remotely during our standard operating hours, but those working hours vary in so many ways, including by instructional area and support area.   Please recognize that seeking to understand and being open minded are important guiding principles for us during this time of uncertainty, and I hope you see that our actions over this past week have directly aligned with our San Jacinto College Values.

Through this COVID-19 event, we are asking employees to be flexible and to work with their leaders to meet the needs of our students, fellow employees, and our community.  We are in a very fortunate position at San Jacinto College.  We will continue to receive pay plus we can reallocate funds to provide for appropriate additional support for employees and students. And we have resources that will sustain into the future.  Even with these resources, we must continue to be responsible to our taxpayers by performing work commensurate with the pay we are scheduled to receive. 

I want to remind you that we are requesting any San Jacinto College employee (who has not already submitted a form) who traveled on or after March 6, 2020 to a CDC classified Level 2 or 3 country, has traveled on a cruise, or has traveled to an area within the U.S. or outside of the U.S. known to have high concentrations of COVID-19 cases, to complete this form to be sent to Human Resources.  Prior to the employee being cleared to work, a member of the HR Benefits team will contact them for follow up and discussion of next steps. Because the areas both within the United States and throughout the world are changing rapidly, please visit this site to view the latest information. Level 2 and 3 countries are defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additionally, I ask employees to notify us of any new changes in your health conditions affecting your ability to be available for work. Those notifications should be sent by email to HRBenefits@sjcd.edu.

Please know that College administration and the Office of Emergency Management are in frequent contact with health department authorities and will continue to follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We will assess any new information as it becomes available, and make informed decisions based on the facts received from local health department authorities.

As a reminder, WHO and CDC prevention guidelines include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw any used tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough.
  • If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.

Other resources can be found online at:

Best,

BH

Good Afternoon San Jacinto College Employees,

Last evening, the San Jacinto College Board of Trustees held a special and emergency Board meeting in order to receive an update on our COVID-19 preparedness and altered operation efforts. The attached presentation was reviewed with the Board, and the members met with legal counsel to review a resolution providing delegation of authority and accountability expectations during the COVID-19 emergency situation. 

The Board was most complimentary and supportive of the College’s preparedness efforts.  Each Board member wanted our employees and students to know that they are proud of your work, commitment, and focus during this uncertain time.  They wanted me to express their sincere thanks and gratitude!

The Board understands that these are unprecedented times and that San Jacinto College has five strategic objectives:

  1. To protect the health and safety of our students and employees
  2. To be prepared by Monday, March 23, 2020, to begin completing the spring 2020 semester through online, hybrid, and alternate classwork, depending on the type of course, and make up one week of lost instruction time
  3. To keep students on track for completion
  4. To enable the majority of the College employees to work remotely, while continuing to provide necessary services, with the remainder (a small portion) of our employees working on site
  5. To retain full-time and part-time employees, reduce turnover, increase morale, help employees focus on work, and facilitate future return to normal operations

Keeping these objectives as the anchor, I want to explain the College’s plans about payroll and compensation during this period of altered operations.  First, the College is committed to payroll being processed on the regular distribution schedule.  The majority of our payroll is processed electronically directly to employees’ bank accounts, which allows for on-time delivery.  Payroll that is processed using paper checks will have to be mailed to employees after Friday, March 20, 2020, and I am concerned about future delays in receipt due to possible disruptions or delays within the mail service.  I strongly encourage all employees who are not currently having their payroll deposited directly into their bank account to go by the District Payroll Office at 4620 Fairmont Parkway, A-2.111 between now and noon on Friday, March 20, 2020, to complete the appropriate paperwork to transition to direct deposit. 

Second, compensation during this altered operations period is intended to provide employees with their normal base compensation as described below. However, in order for that to occur, employees MUST be Available for Work. 

The definition of Available for Work is as follows:

  1. Working onsite – These employees will include select areas such as police, safety/emergency, maintenance, lab support, etc.  These areas will be specifically requested and approved by a Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) member.
  2. Working remotely – Employees must be responsive to calls, texts, and instant messages within one hour of contact; review and respond to emails; work with leader for assignments and project completion and accountability; and available for regular check-ins with leadership.
  3. Availability to respond – Employees must be able to arrive onsite within two hours of being contacted to report. SLT approval is required prior to leadership directing an employee to report onsite.

Based on the understanding that all employees will meet the requirements of the Available for Work expectation, please note the following details regarding compensation based on employee classification (At this time, all compensation decisions are through the spring 2020 semester only):

FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES

Full-time exempt – Employees will be paid their regular monthly salary if they are available for work. If not available for work, employees must use personal or vacation leave time. Sick leave can be used under the sick leave provisions indicated in the current procedure.

Full-time non-exempt staff – Employees will be paid a minimum of 40 hours if they are available for work. No internet access may make someone “not available for work” unless remote work has been preauthorized by the leader and internet access is not essential. Employees must be responsive to any emails, texts, and assignments.  If not available for work, employees must use personal or vacation leave time. Sick leave can be used under the sick leave provisions indicated in the current procedure.

Overtime will be paid when worked and must be authorized by the leader. Overtime will be restricted to those departments that have an absolute need to work, such as police and ITS. These employees will receive specific direction from their leadership informing them that overtime work is approved.

PART-TIME FACULTY

Part-time faculty paid by the course – These employees will continue to be paid for current courses being taught. Per normal practices, courses that do not make will not be paid.

Part-time faculty paid via timesheet submission (credit courses) – These employees will submit a timesheet for processing pay as the work is performed.

Part-time faculty paid via timesheet (non-credit courses) – These employees will submit a timesheet for processing pay as the work is performed.

PART-TIME STAFF

The following compensation provisions apply to part-time staff, including work study, through this spring semester. 

Part-time staff (non-work study) – These employees will be paid a minimum of 15 hours per week for anyone who was paid for the pay cycle from February 24 through March 8 (pay date March 18) and is available for work. If assigned hours worked exceed 15 hours per week, they will be paid for all hours worked.

Part-time Work Study – These employees will be paid a minimum of 15 hours per week for anyone who was paid for the pay cycle from February 24 through March 8 (pay date March 18) and is available for work.

Part-time staff, including work study, will not receive 15 hours pay for spring break week.

Payroll will be communicating the details for entering time in web-time entry for non-exempt employees and leave reporting for exempt employees. For non-exempt employees, continue to enter normal work hours or appropriate leave time (personal, vacation, or sick) for this week. The instructions Payroll will be sending tomorrow will be effective starting on Monday, March 23, 2020.

We are working towards phasing the rest of the employees to working remotely by the end of the day on Thursday (tomorrow). As employees are identified who can begin working remotely, they will be released to do so after receiving any required equipment such as laptop or personal hot spot. Attached are guides for employees who are new to working remotely and for leaders who will now be leading a remote team. Your leadership will notify you if you are considered essential personnel and are required to remain onsite such as police, facilities, ITS, and Office of Emergency Management.

I know we are all wondering when will we go back to normal?  That is an unknown.  We will continue to reassess daily, but I don’t suspect there will be significant changes in our decisions over the next few weeks.  From an instructional standpoint, we want to complete this spring semester on time, and we should be on track to do that through online, hybrid, and alternate classwork.  Moving forward, I am hopeful that the mini and summer sessions will be back on track with our normal operating plans, but we will continue to evaluate those.  

In closing, I appreciate the Board’s support of this payroll and compensation plan.  That support is a direct reflection of their love for San Jacinto College and their appreciation of and trust in you, our employees.  I am proud of the work that each of you are doing now and what you will continue to do during this COVID-19 altered operation period. We don’t have all of the answers.  We may not be 100% right on our answers, but we are making decisions with compassion and concern for our employees and our students.  We will adjust and change course as the circumstances change.  Please continue to send your questions to COVID-19@sjcd.edu so we can continue to keep our FAQs current.

Stay well!

BH

Printable PDFs - Response To COVID-19 | Leading A Remote Team  |  Working Remotely

Dear San Jacinto College Employees:

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to each of you!

I want to provide you a few updates as of today (Tuesday, March 17, 2020):

  1. The Child Care Centers at North and Central Campuses will continue to operate for faculty and staff clients through the end of the day on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  We understand that this will create a difficulty for some employees who have been using the centers, but we ask that you focus the remainder of today and tomorrow on finalizing your remote working capabilities and assignments.  The employees of the Child Care Centers will focus the rest of the week on preparing the facilities and operations for closure along with finalizing their remote working capabilities.
  2. We are working towards phasing the rest of the employees to working remotely throughout the remainder of this week. As employees are identified who can begin working remotely, they will be released to do so after receiving any required equipment such as laptop or personal hot spot. Attached are guides for employees who are new to working remotely and for leaders who will now be leading a remote team.

    We are still continuing to identify areas that will need continued onsite support such as labs with small groups in technical areas, police, facilities, custodial staff, and Office of Emergency Management.

  3. The remainder of this email is dedicated to addressing technology needs and requirements for employees. Please read the information below which explains how equipment and software will be distributed. Additionally, a technology survey has been sent to students in order to try to address their needs.

Another update will be sent tomorrow regarding employee compensation and other pertinent information.

Thank you again for your support and commitment this week!  I appreciate each of you!

Best, 
BH

Printable PDFs - Leading A Remote Team  |  Working Remotely


TECHNOLOGY NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYEES

Who receives a laptop?

We have compiled a list of laptops required for employees from survey results issued yesterday, as well as tickets received by our helpdesk.

If you have not responded to this survey, please do so ASAP by completing the survey here

Laptops will be distributed to full and part-time faculty and staff that do not have access to a computing device at home or require a laptop to perform essential and secured support and administrative services.

For those with a personal computer at home, we are kindly requesting that you use your computer so that we can provide available laptops to those in need, including students.

How will I be contacted & where do I go?

For those employees in need of a laptop:

  • We will contact each employee individually by email if they are being issued a laptop.
  • We have distribution stations set up at each ILC Open Lab that will be open between 8AM and 10PM tomorrow.
  • Employees will be required to log-in, test, and sign a form acknowledging receipt of the laptop.

What’s included in the remote working software package?

The following software will be provided to support remote working needs:

  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Pulse Secure (VPN) app – provides secure connection back to the College’s network, needed for G, H, & P drive access, Banner, and soft phone use
  • Microsoft Teams app – used for collaboration
  • Zoom app – for video conferencing

Please note: Cell-phone headsets with an audio jack can be used with conferencing software on a computer.

Is the remote working software already installed on my College issued laptop?

  • All new laptops issued this week will have the software installed.
  • All currently issued laptops will have the software automatically downloaded when connected to the College’s network either on premises or via VPN.
  • Personal computers will require software to be installed. All necessary software can be downloaded directly via the links provided here:

Where do I get support?

  • For assistance, please contact Tech Support by

Good Afternoon San Jacinto College Employees:

It has been a whirlwind these past couple of days, but we will get through this situation together.  I want to say thank you to all of the employees who have been working today to address the College’s normal operations and our business and instructional continuity plans.  I keep receiving reports about everyone’s “can do attitudes.”  Thank you for your support in these efforts!  I know we all have a lot of questions, and I encourage you to keep forwarding those questions to your leaders and to COVID-19@sjcd.edu

I apologize that I didn’t make today’s anticipated 3:00 p.m. communication timeline. There are so many moving pieces and parts that I don’t believe that a daily communication at 3:00 p.m. to be workable.  I will try to provide regular updates, but due to late meetings tomorrow, the next communication will not occur until Wednesday.

A focus for today was developing the framework for the instructional continuity plans that need to get us through this semester.  The provosts, department chairs, deans, staff, other administrators, and Faculty Senate Executive Leadership had a very productive day in reaching our goal to be prepared by Monday, March 23, 2020, to begin completing the spring semester through online, hybrid, and alternate classwork, depending on the actual course.

Here are updates from today’s meetings:

  • Instructional planning meetings were held on each campus for instructional deans, instructional department chairs, and support staff.  Discussions began about how to make the conversion to online instruction in order to be ready to move forward Monday, March 23, 2020, with all classes. The meeting included the discussion of ideas for helping faculty and students during the conversion and with implementation, identification of current and needed resources, and alternate instructional methodologies for applied courses and for students with no internet access. Questions were recorded and are being considered. Because this is a unique situation, we do not have immediate answers to some of the questions, but we are working hard to find answers. From reports of the meetings, it is evident that we are committed, as a College, to continue to serve students to the best of our abilities and to make the needed changes to do so. 
  • Tomorrow we had planned for faculty to return to work; however, this morning’s meeting indicated that many faculty can work remotely and continue to prepare. Faculty who are needed as mentors for other faculty or who are involved in some of the alternate options for class instruction which cannot be delivered online will be asked to come into work for limited periods of time.  This will be done, taking all precautions necessary to limit the size groups and to sanitize public areas. We are reviewing our ability to ask students for a self-disclosure statement regarding travel and illness.   Further communications to full-time faculty are going out today.  

Additional updates for today are: 

  • We received a letter from the NJCAA closing out this season’s athletics competitions. I know this is disappointing news for all of you, and especially to our softball and baseball teams. I want to personally thank our coaches and student-athletes for their dedicated work. 
  • I understand that questions related to compensation are extremely important. Compensation is a complex issue that will be addressed over the next few days. We are still working through various components as it relates to pay for all employees, full-time and part-time. I plan to review the recommendations with the Board of Trustees tomorrow.  I will provide an update later this week as the compensation details are reviewed and finalized. 
  • All full and part-time faculty and staff are to complete a survey in the following link by no later than 12 p.m. tomorrow, March 17, 2020.  https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=QP1OUf6OFU-BnzTlas8VYnsLqu9OiPFKjALmz0G2qqRUNkU1M1dSMDFVNUVOUzFRN1dNMzNSMUVJQS4uThe Information Technology Department (IT) is working to ensure that all full and part-time faculty and staff have the tools necessary to support remote instruction and work. The information gathered from this survey is crucial for planning distribution of computers, software, support, and other tools. 
  • We are continuing to ask staff to make themselves available in person this week in order to support the various activities of the College. As part of this week’s efforts, we will also work with staff to determine your remote working requirements and the necessary support.  For many of our employees working remotely is a change, and we want to make sure that you have adequate support.  Please collaborate with your leader on the best transition plan.   
  • For part-time staff, your leaders will contact you for work assignments as they become available.  We appreciate your patience in monitoring the changing status.
  • For part-time faculty, you should be contacted by Wednesday with departmental information and instructions.  

We are requesting that any San Jacinto College employee (who has not already submitted a form) who traveled on or after March 3, 2020to a CDC classified Level 2 or 3 country, has traveled on a cruise, or has traveled to an area within the U.S. or outside of the U.S. known to have high concentrations of COVID-19 cases, to complete this formto be sent to Human Resources. Prior to the employee returning to work, a member of the HR Benefits team will contact them for follow up and discussion of next steps. Because the areas both within the United States and throughout the world are changing rapidly, please visit this site to view the latest information. Level 2 and 3 countries are defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please know that College administration and the Office of Emergency Management are in frequent contact with health department authorities and will continue to follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We will assess any new information as it becomes available, and make informed decisions based on the facts received from local health department authorities.

As a reminder, WHO and CDC prevention guidelines include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw any used tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough.
  • If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.

Other resources can be found online at:

Best,

BH

Good Evening San Jacinto College Employees:

As we continue working through the planning process to deal with this unprecedented situation, I want to make you aware of our goal for this week. It is our goal to be prepared by Monday, March 23, 2020, to begin completing the full semester through online, hybrid, and alternate classwork, depending on the actual course. We also need to keep in mind that we have already lost one instructional week that we need to make up.  

We ask that you please continue to be patient and flexible as we work through all the complex issues surrounding this semester. It is like no other that any of us has experienced! 

Hearing from faculty and staff with concerns related to large group meetings, we agree that we need to limit the size of group meetings and are working toward a plan to make that happen.  

Knowing that this is a constantly changing situation, please see below the plan for the week as we have it at this point:

  • Even though we previously announced that full-time faculty and part-time staff (including student workers) should report to work tomorrow, Monday, March 16, 2020, we have changed those plans to allow for instructional and student services leadership to meet. Full-time faculty must be available via email, text, or phone for questions that arise. 
  • For part-time faculty, your instructional leader will be in touch with you this week (anticipated by Wednesday) to work through your schedules and courses.
  • Faculty will have access to the campuses tomorrow, even though faculty are not required to report to their offices. This allows access to instructional resources and staff, as well as the libraries, for ongoing development, planning, and training for the semester.
  • Provosts, Deans, Department Chairs, and Student Services leadership along with the three Faculty Senate Executive Officers and other selected staffwill meet at 9 a.m. tomorrow, in the Kaleidoscope Room on each campus, to develop the framework and details for the instructional and student services plans required for semester completion.  Communications to full-time faculty will be sent by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2020, with information for full-time faculty to come in this week to work through the details of the instructional and student services plans including addressing support and professional development requirements.  Our faculty have developed outstanding instructional recovery plans before, but this semester is very unusual. We need to make sure that all faculty have the support and resources they need to conduct their instruction remotely which is a key component of the on-campus planning meetings.
  • Full-time staff will report at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 16th (tomorrow) and should come prepared to work with your leader in supporting operational continuity efforts.  As part of your work on Monday and Tuesday, we ask that you assess what normal activities need to be completed, determine what work can be performed remotely, and consider what projects need to be completed throughout the semester. If you and your leader determine working remotely is feasible, then we need to understand if you need equipment and what additional support is required. If working remotely is not feasible for your particular position or job, then we will try to identify work for you in other areas of the College.  It is critical for our staff to be a part of the solution in this unusual situation, so we need you to help us identify the work that needs accomplished and what is required to accomplish that work throughout the College.  
  • Every position and employee at the College is important.  Please be prepared to work on tasks that may be outside your normal job duties.  Additionally, all employees need to assist us in capturing questions that should be addressed as we are crafting FAQs (frequently asked questions).  We plan to use the questions and responses to update the online Chat Bot.  Please send questions you are hearing to COVID-19@sjcd.eduso we can create and update the FAQs and the Chat Bot on the website.
  • For employees with school age children, we understand that schools in the area are closed this week. We are asking staffto make every effort to find alternate care for your children so that you may report to work tomorrow, Monday, March 16, 2020. We are asking facultyto make every effort to find alternate care for your children so that you may report to work on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.  If you are unable to report to work, you should immediately contact your leader. You should not bring your children to work.

As a reminder, any San Jacinto College employee who has traveled or plans to travel either domestically or to CDC classified Level 2 and Level 3 countries, has traveled on or plans to travel on a cruise, or has traveled to an area within the U.S. or outside of the U.S. known to have high concentrations of COVID-19 cases, is asked to complete this form to be sent to Human Resources. At this time, high concentrations of COVID-19 cases are affecting the following domestics states: California, Washington, and New York. Employees who submit forms to the HR Benefits team should not physically return to work until a member of the Benefits team contacts them for follow up or discussion of next steps.

This is an evolving situation.  We will continue to be engaged with the various constituents at the national, state, and local levels.  In a situation like this, all of us need to understand that changes to plans will occur, and sometimes without much notice. We will continue to provide regular communications.   We anticipate future communications will be provided on a daily basis at 3:00 p.m. 

I encourage each of you to continue to follow the prevention guidelines recommended by the CDC and WHO, which include washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, practicing social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.

Thank you for your commitment to San Jacinto College and our students! We will work through this unusual time together.

Other resources can be found online at:

Best,
BH

Dear San Jacinto College employees,

We are facing an unprecedented time as the entire country is feeling the challenges associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Your safety, and that of our students and community, remains our top priority. I am also thankful that there are no reported cases by San Jacinto College employees and students.

On Friday afternoon, we participated in a call with the Governor’s Office, and I want to share a key takeaway from this call:

This is a novel disease, meaning that no one on the planet has immunity. The idea in the U.S. is to prevent the total number of people who will eventually get the disease, and more importantly to slow the spread of the disease - to spread out the people who will eventually get the virus over a long period of time such as 18 months, rather than all at once. This will prevent overwhelming the demand on our health care services, and it will also will keep the workforce working and able to meet the general population’s demands, aiding the economy of our region and state.

I have heard similar messages over the weekend from many of our federal, state, and local leaders. This is a dynamic and changing situation in our country and our community. The Strategic Leadership Team (SLT), Office of Emergency Management, and other leaders throughout the College have been meeting in order to prepare for the next steps and challenges. We continue to monitor and participate in the many avenues of information and resources to help guide our decisions. 

Two new elements to highlight in our preparation include:

Employees with underlying health conditions who need to request working from home on Monday, March 16, 2020, should send an email to HRBenefits@sjcd.edu.

If you believe you have had an exposure to COVID-19, please complete this form to be sent to Human Resources.

Another change that has occurred is that the child care facilities on the Central and North Campuses will be open for faculty and staff clients only. Steps have been taken to make sure the facilities are safe for children, including disinfection, and increased routine cleaning and sanitization of touch points. The same guidelines should apply for child care center children as apply for employees – if the family has traveled or if anyone in the family is sick, then children should not come to the Center. In addition, the Child Care Centers are requesting that if faculty or staff are planning to bring their child in this week to please email the Center.

As a reminder, any San Jacinto College employee who has traveled or plans to travel to either domestically or to CDC classified Level 2 and Level 3 countries, has traveled on or plans to travel on a cruise, or has traveled to an area within the U.S. or outside of the U.S. known to have high concentrations of COVID-19 cases, is asked to complete this form to be sent to Human Resources. At this time, high concentrations of COVID-19 cases are affecting the following domestics states: California, Washington, and New York. Employees who submit forms to the HR Benefits team should not physically return to work until a member of the Benefits team contacts them for follow up or discussion of next steps.

This afternoon, the SLT will meet at the District Administrative Building to work through several items regarding our preparation and next steps.  Following that meeting, another communication will be made to the San Jacinto College employees by 7:30 p.m. tonight.

I know this is a confusing and scary time, but I encourage us not to overreact and be paralyzed by fear. I also encourage each of you to follow the prevention guidelines recommended by the CDC and WHO, which include washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, practicing social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.

Thank you for your commitment to San Jacinto College and our students! We will work through this unusual time together.

Other resources can be found online at:

Best,
BH

Good afternoon San Jacinto College employees,  

Here we are in the middle of our 10th week of altered operations.  Thank you for your dedication and commitment to get us to this point.  We had planned to have commencement Friday evening, but as you know, that has been postponed.  However, we are planning a special communication to students this week and will certainly share that with all of you.  Also, please hold the date of Friday, August 7, 2020, at 7:00 p.m.  We hope to provide the students who want to participate an opportunity for a commencement ceremony.  We will need your support to make that happen.

Phased In Approach for Returning to On-Campus Operations:

I am hearing that there is a rumor going around the College that we will completely reopen on June 1.  I want to let you know that the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) is still discussing a phased-in approach to moving employees from the remote format to being fully back on campus.

As you know, a limited number of employees have been working onsite throughout the altered operations time.  Examples include our Police, Emergency Management, IT employees, the 3-D printing team, and a few others.  Last week, I mentioned that we were going to bring a select group of students to the campus to complete their spring courses and that took place.  Several faculty were joined by additional staff who helped open the lab portion of those classes and deliver instruction. On May 18 and again on June 1, we will be scaling up to offer the additional hands-on learning portion of our Spring 2020 technical classes, so that those students can complete the spring term. Additional employees needed to assist with these efforts will be returning to work onsite.

As mentioned in my April 30 message to employees, we will be gradually increasing our face-to-face presence across our campuses throughout June and July, as we prepare for the Fall term. We are developing a plan to resume face-to-face operations based on services we need to provide for our students and communities. We anticipate additional offices reopening in mid-June and more in early July. By August 1, all offices should be returned to onsite staffing.

Board Meeting Update:

The Board of Trustees met on Monday evening to work through a few items:

  1. We discussed the COVID-19 Pandemic, the College response, the community response, and future plans.
  2. As previously noted, the Board took action on faculty contracts for FT 2020-2021.
  3. The Board heard the report from outgoing Faculty Senate President Lee Benjamins.
  4. The College went through an RFP process and has selected a new auditor for the College and the Foundation.

Summer Camps:

As we thought through all the issues around holding Summer Camps, SLT made the decision not to hold face-to-face Summer Camps this year.  One Summer Camp that uses curriculum from NASA Johnson Space Center will continue, as it was already designed and scheduled as an online Summer Camp.  I want to thank all the faculty and staff who work tirelessly every year to schedule these summer campus. I am aware that you are making a difference in the minds of young students and letting them know College is possible.  We fully intend to come back with a full slate of Summer Campus in 2021, depending on the status of the COVID-19 situation.

Provost Update:

You have been receiving communication related to the progress of the two Provost searches. The committee has identified three final candidates. We are hoping to conduct the Provost Forums either later this week or next week. Human Resources will be sending a communication once the Forums have been scheduled.

I am sure you are all relieved to have completed the spring semester!  I know we still have all of the summer sessions and the fall semester to plan and implement.  I hope you are able to do something that inspires you so you keep up your positive attitudes.  That makes such a difference!  I saw this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that I thought would be very appropriate to close with: “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”

Best,
BH