Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 Guidance for MC Students and Employees

Last Updated April 6, 2020, 11:22 a.m.

The College is providing instruction, advising, counseling and other support services remotely. See the full adjusted operations schedule (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) .

On March 23, Montgomery College reported (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) that its first two members of our community, a student and an employee, had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The College will not announce future positive cases of COVID-19 among students and employees.

Please visit this coronavirus webpage often for updates.

Student Emergency Assistance

We are receiving many requests for assistance from our students, a clear reflection of the struggles millions of Americans are enduring, but these are our students in our community and it brings the whole crisis to our doorstep. Please consider supporting our emergency fund—to keep our students on track for the future they still believe in and are working hard to attain. View stories of emergency support already provided to MC students.

The College and Foundation have now made 640 awards to students and $267,619 in total. The vast majority of this is for laptops and food assistance. View stories of emergency support already provided to MC students.

 To request financial assistance, click the button below and complete the form.  

Student Request Form

To donate, click the button below and select “Student Emergency Assistance” as the Area of Support.

Give Now  

 

MC Communications

Guidance 

For Students 

Information on classes, student services, emergency financial assistance, and bookstore operations.

General
  • Access to MC buildings on all campuses is restricted until further notice.

  • All classes and student services will be delivered remotely until further notice. Students are expected to engage in emergency remote learning during this time. Faculty and staff will interact with students via email and telephone to fulfill requests for service. Offices will be closed on the weekends. Services will be offered between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or during each office's regular operating hours. Although walk-in services are temporarily suspended, we will endeavor to respond to student inquiries as quickly as possible.

  • We realize that some of our students may have difficulty with access to technology as they transition to online classes. Please continue to check this web page for announcements and student guidance, as well as the library webpagenew window for updated information on access to campus libraries. Visit the Virtual Tutoring webpage to learn about getting academic support from home. Please make your faculty aware if you cannot access the technology to participate online. We will provide updates to faculty on resources as the information becomes available.
  • This reference table (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) will help you find out how to access what you need at Montgomery College. If you don’t see a service listed, please call Raptor Central at 240-567-5000 or email raptorcentral@montgomerycollege.edu to check on the status. 

  • Because Montgomery College faculty maintain a set of academic regulations that clearly define the grading policy for credit courses, Pass/Fail (P/F) grades are not an option as potential outcomes for students. While some schools have adopted this, at Montgomery College the disadvantages of such an approach far outweigh the benefits, even in this unique moment. P/F grades do not serve MC students well as they have the potential to negatively impact transfer to upper-division colleges and universities, acceptance into competitive admissions programs of study, qualification for competitive scholarships, and evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid eligibility. Moreover, while some transfer institutions have expressed willingness to accept P/F grades, there is no consensus on this. See the Grading at Montgomery College memo (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) for more information.
  • Dual Enrollment students should follow the standard College policy. If the class is being held at an MCPS facility, they would also follow MCPS guidance on closure and communicate directly with their professor regarding remote instruction. 

  • Student workers will still be able to work. They should be in touch with their supervisor about altered duties.

  • The Federal Communication Commission’s Keep Americans Connected programnew window may offer options for free or discounted internet access. See a list of internet service providersnew window offering free or discounted internet access during the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • RedShelfnew window is offering free e-textbooks to students during the coronavirus pandemic. MC Library has compiled a list of free e-textbooks required for MC spring 2020 courses (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)  that are available on RedShelf.
Financial Assistance

To request financial assistance, students can complete the online request form.

Given the hardships being experienced by our students in need, the College and the Montgomery College Foundation are allocating over $550,000 to student assistance during the pandemic. The College has reallocated funds from the cancellation of college-sponsored events, including commencement, to a scholarship and grants account within the College’s operating budget to assist students in need with tuition, fees, books, supplies and/or technology. The Montgomery College Foundation is also allocating restricted and unrestricted funds to provide assistance to students in need with food, technology, tuition, fees, books, supplies, and/or other needs during the pandemic.

Read the entire memo from March 19, 2020 for more information (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) .

What kind of assistance can Montgomery College and the Montgomery College Foundation provide me?

Laptops

If a student:

  • does not have a laptop for on-line school work,
  • cannot afford one on his/her own,
  • has verification from a college advocate,
  • shares information about specific need,

we are providing vouchers for a laptop purchase.  There is a limited amount of funding for this and the demand is extremely high. We will do all we can to assist, but we ask that students use discretion in asking for these funds unless it is absolutely necessary.

Grocery Gift Cards

We have a few donors who have given funds for food assistance. We are typically giving a one-time $50 grocery gift card to those with verified need, along with information about community resources.

Tuition & Scholarships

As always, students may complete a scholarship application and will be reviewed for tuition support.

Rent assistance and some monetary aid

In rare cases, we are also able to assist students with other forms of emergency funding, but this always depends on demonstrated need and the availability of donor funds.

How do I apply for assistance?

The student should complete the online request form.

What supporting documentation do I need?

In order to receive assistance, each student should have an advocate (e.g. faculty, staff, administrator, college partner representative) – someone who knows you and your situation and can advocate for you. It is helpful if you have a FAFSA on file.  If not, the student must provide a more detailed explanation of the situation and the need.

What kind of information does the Advocate need to provide and who should I send it to? 

Upon completion of the form, your Advocate will receive an automatic email with further instructions. Your Advocate then submits the request in writing, with a copy to the appropriate Dean for consideration. The faculty, staff and counselors have all received instructions on what needs to be included.

What will the decision be based on?

Each case is taken on its own merits and a judgment call is made by Montgomery College Foundation with careful input from the Scholarship Office professionals.

If the student has a FAFSA on file, that helps us; however, we are finding many students in this situation were previously paying as they went, but they are now suddenly without income and no FAFSA on file.  If the student was not eligible for aid through FAFSA or does not have one on file, this is not a deal breaker.  Again, we are reviewing the entire case: the student’s statement, the advocate’s support, the need assessment if available, along with our best judgment.

How long does it take for the decision to be made?

The foundation will try to make the decision as soon as possible. We are literally getting hundreds of requests and are processing as quickly as possible. 

How do I obtain a laptop to use for remote learning?

If approved for technology assistance (e.g., laptops/smart devices) the College and the Foundation will provide vouchers through the Follett bookstores. Students will need to provide their M number which is given to Follett and the voucher is credited to the student so that they can order the technology online with that credit and have the technology shipped directly to the student.

If the needed technology is not available through Follett or available quick enough through Follett for use in the course, the approved request is routed instead through the Foundation based on availability of funds. The Foundation then goes with a secondary option where it will purchase the technology from a local store to get the student the technology more quickly.

I understand that I will receive a voucher to use for the purchase of a laptop. If the laptop is very expensive or more than what the voucher amount is, can I order anything that is not a computer?

If approved, the voucher you will receive is a one-time voucher for the use to purchase technology from our Bookstore vendor. It is your discretion what technology you choose to purchase for your remote learning. Note some items such as web cam appear to backordered.

Am I able to access internet through the College or will you help me pay for internet service?

In response to COVID-19 developments, some internet providers are offering free servicesnew window to low-income families and households with students. 

How do I obtain food assistance?

Approved food assistance requests will be provided through grocery store gift cards through the Montgomery College Foundation. Students will be given instructions on how to acquire the gift cards by the Foundation staff. 

Will I have to pay the funds back or return the laptop once we are able to return to classes on campus?

These are not loaner laptops or loans of money. If you qualify, you will not need to pay this back.  However, as always, we hope you will “pay it forward” and help others in need when you are able. 

ATPA

Achieving the Promise Academy:  Embedded Coaches and one-on-one coaches are available with Blackboard access to continue supporting classes and individual students. Coaches will work with host faculty to help students access Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom for scheduled study sessions.

Bookstore

FAQ from Follett Bookstore:new window Learn more about free shipping, extensions on rentals, and how to download a return shipping label to return rental items without entering a store

The MC campus stores will operate as follows:

  • Stores on all campuses are closed to guests.
  • Follett can remotely retrieve technology voucher requests submitted by the Foundation for approved student support (re-allocation of commencement funds).
  • Stores on all campuses will be entered by Follett employees only on an exception basis when an order does not process correctly. Follett will limit this access to one employee and may need access to all three campuses due to limitations on Follett software.
  • Follett will not be able to retrieve phone messages remotely and will put an outgoing message on their phones providing the caller with an email address for follow up.
  • Follett will stop receiving incoming shipments on Montgomery College campuses. All orders will have to be delivered to the requester's address.
  • Follett will not be able to continue the laptop loaner program as that would require a person to person exchange involving a student and a Follett employee.
  • Future requests for loaners should be advocated by an MC employee to the Foundation for their review and approval for a technology voucher.

 

For Faculty

All classes and student services will be delivered remotely until further notice.

For Employees

Nearly all MC employees are expected to work remotely until further notice.

Work Assignments

Nearly all MC employees are expected to work remotely until further notice. This includes casual temporary employees, student assistant and Federal Work Study students. A select number of employees, due to their job duties, will need to physically report to a College location (e.g., campus, office) to fulfill critical tasks. Senior vice presidents, in consultation with the administrators in their areas, will identify these critical positions and the conditions in which employees are expected to physically report (e.g., frequency, days, times). These individuals will be notified in writing if they are so designated. Employees who have not been notified that they are expected to physically report to a College location are expected to work remotely.

Given these circumstances, the College is temporarily suspending the eligibility and the application and approval process outlined in the College’s Flexible Work Arrangements procedure (3200CP).  We recognize that not all positions are suitable for telecommuting and that during this period some employees may not be able to accomplish all of their usual job duties in a remote setting. Employees may be asked to take on other tasks or may be assigned other work that is not part of their usual job duties. In these remarkably unusual circumstances, we ask our employees to be flexible, patient, and understanding—and work with their supervisors to do their best to work remotely.

The College is actively working to limit the spread of COVID-19 and unnecessary visits to campus undermine these efforts. Our primary responsibility is to safeguard the health of our employees, students, and community during this public health emergency. Thank you for your cooperation.

Access to Work Location

Employees not on the list of approved on-site work schedules must make arrangements with their supervisors about visiting campuses. 

Leave Reporting and Leave Provisions

March 14 through April 3, 2020: 

We recognize that due to school and day care closures, illnesses, and so forth, some employees may be unable to work a full-day or even work at all during this period of remote and altered operations.  Therefore, the reporting of sick, annual, recess days, and/or personal leave on timesheets or through internal department processes is suspended until April 3, 2020. This includes leave requests submitted by employees, including full-time and part-time faculty, for the dates of Saturday, March 14 through Friday, April 3, 2020.

The purpose of the College’s departure from leave reporting is to minimize employee burdens and disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Leave situations that were already in place and not impacted by the COVID-19 response will be processed as usual, such as sabbatical and professional development leave, voluntary leave of absence/leave without pay, and short-term disability leave.

Effective April 3, 2020: 

For non-COVID-related circumstances, the College’s leave policy and procedures will resume as usual, effective April 3. College employees will accrue and be able to use the various types of leave afforded to them for the usual reasons via the usual approval process. See Policy and Procedure 35003 (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) for regular use of leave. For COVID-related leave, the next time sheet and leave guidance memo for the next pay period (04/03/20 to 04/17/20) will provide details under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Employees or supervisors who have questions regarding this should email: LeaveRequest@montgomerycollege.edu for guidance and assistance.

Time Sheet Guidance

We encourage employees and supervisors to complete, submit, and approve time sheets as early as possible. 

For the period of March 14 through April 3, 2020, regular full and part-time staff, casual temporary staff, student aides/assistants, and Federal Work Study students who are normally required to report and submit their work hours bi-weekly via web time-entry (time sheets) should report work hours as they were scheduled for this period—regardless of their presence at the worksite and/or the number of hours worked remotely.  

Only employees who are designated as “essential” in accordance with the AFSCME collective bargaining agreement (Section 7.11) and College procedures (58005CP) and (35001CP) are eligible to receive essential/emergency personnel pay.  These individuals should report any hours that they were required to physically report to work at a College location (e.g., campus, office) on their time sheet as “essential personnel pay” (AFSCME) or “emergency personnel pay” (non-bargaining). Employees or supervisors who have questions regarding this should email: employeerelations@montgomerycollege.edu.

Supervisors must review and approve each employee time sheet and should not, under any circumstances, use the “approve all” function.

Any time sheet corrections must be made on an electronic form and submitted by the supervisor via the supervisor’s MC email to payroll@montgomerycollege.edu. Time sheets not submitted by the scheduled deadline will be processed the following pay cycle. Additionally, incomplete time sheet corrections may result in a delay.

Essential Personnel

Employees designated as “Essential” who are required to physically report to a College location (e.g., campus, office) will be compensated in accordance with the AFSCME collective bargaining agreement and College procedure (58005CP).

Only employees who are designated as “essential” in accordance with the AFSCME collective bargaining agreement (Section 7.11) and College procedures (58005CP) and (35001CP) are eligible to receive essential/emergency personnel pay. These individuals should report any hours that they were required to physically report to work at a College location (e.g., campus, office) on their time sheet as “essential personnel pay” (AFSCME) or “emergency personnel pay” (non-bargaining). Employees or supervisors who have questions regarding this should email: employeerelations@montgomerycollege.edu.

Beginning with the pay period of April 4 through April 17, 2020, the College will issue essential personnel pay only to employees who are scheduled and required to physically report to a campus to fulfill their primary job duties and are unable to perform any of their work remotely during the College’s remote operations.

Under the prior March 17 time guidance memorandum, the College granted essential personnel pay to employees who had to physically report to a campus location. Under the AFSCME Collective Bargaining Agreement (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) and Policy and Procedure 58005 (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) , essential personnel pay is only required for College closures. Even though the College did not close in this instance, the College made an exception and provided essential personnel pay under the March 17 time guidance in recognition of the extraordinary and unprecedented effort to transition to remote operations. Given the need to extend remote operations well beyond the original April 3, 2020, deadline, the College will limit the prior exception made for essential personnel pay to those individuals who are not working remotely in any capacity and are scheduled and required to physically work onsites. Essential personnel pay does not apply to employees who are working remotely with periodic, brief visits to College locations to perform certain tasks. 

Casual/Temporary Staff, Student Assistants/Aides, and Federal Work Study Students

As communicated in the March 17 time guidance memorandum, casual temporary staff, student
aides/assistants, and Federal Work Study students will continue to be compensated during the
College’s remote operations for the remaining term of the work assignment (i.e., end of the academic or fiscal year). Therefore, casual temporary and student workers who are normally required to report and submit their work hours bi-weekly via web time-entry (time sheets) should report work hours as they were scheduled for the pay period.

Vacancies and Recruitment

New employees with a scheduled hire date will start as planned.  New Employee Orientation will be rescheduled to a later date. Supervisors should be prepared for these employees to begin work remotely.

Recruiters will contact hiring managers regarding the status and plan for currently active recruitments.

During this period of remote and altered operations, any casual temporary staff hiring will be restricted to operational needs with safety and compliance requirements.

Benefits Services

Information and resources to assist employees and their families in dealing with circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak are available on the Employee Assistance page.

Questions regarding employee benefits coverage should be sent to the HRBenefits@montgomerycollege.edu email, which will be monitored daily.

Resources and Support for Employees

The Office of Human Resources and Strategic Talent Management (HRSTM) will be operational with supervisors and staff working remotely.  The central phone line (240-567-5353) will be monitored Monday through Friday during normal office hours (8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.).  Additionally, the central HRSTM email (HRSTM@montgomerycollege.edu) will be closely monitored. During regular business hours employees should expect to receive an acknowledgement within one hour and a response within one business day of receipt of the email.

Please visit the HRSTM Points of Contact page on the HRSTM website for a list of HRSTM staff contacts by topic.

  • Tools for teleworking with documents are available, including Zoom, OneDrive, and VPN. See OIT's Work from Home page for usage information and support.  

  • Employees do not need to put an “Out of Office” message on their email. If not on leave and working remotely, employees should respond to email as they would normally.

  • While working remotely, employees should ensure that voice messages are being forwarded to their College email account. This is preferred to forwarding the office phone to a cell phone.

  • Staff Enrichment Day is postponed. The new date is Thursday, June 4, 2020. 

  • While working remotely, employees should default to their office’s regular working hours schedule unless they are ill or caring for someone who is (in which case they should alert their supervisors to changes in schedule).

  • Student workers will still be able to work. They should be in touch with their supervisor about altered duties.
 
Events

In-Person College events are cancelled until further notice.

Based on federal, state and county guidelines on social distancing, the College is postponing all in-person events until further notice. 

As we adjust to remote learning and working, the College is also discouraging remote events (that is, those via an online meeting service) that are not directly related to academic instruction, advising, counseling, mentoring, and student services support at this time. This is to ensure that we remain focused on remote learning and that the capacity of our online systems is prioritized for this.

Although events are cancelled, annual student and employee honors and recognitions will be announced later in the semester. Efforts that are underway to identify recipients of these awards should continue. The awards will be given, but there will not be any in-person events around them.

We will continue to keep the College community posted as things change.

Travel

All College-sponsored travel is suspended through April 30.

On March 11 we communicated to the College community the temporary suspension of College sponsored travel because of the spreading of the COVID-19 virus. This decision was made in alignment with decisions and guidance from Montgomery County and Maryland State Departments of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The suspension of College sponsored travel will remain in effect until April 30, as originally communicated. In addition to the original restriction, the restriction is expanded to suspend all College-sponsored travel. This restriction will be re-evaluated on April 15, when the remote working and teaching plans are re-evaluated.

Support

Resources and support. 

Leadership

The College’s Coronavirus Advisory Team, which has experts from faculty and staff in biology, public health, and public safety, is monitoring updates and providing guidance. The College continues to maintain regular contact with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Monique Davis, PhD, Instructional Dean, Health Sciences, Health, Physical Education, and Nursing
  • Adam Reid, Public Safety Assistant Director
  • Carlo Sanchez, Interim Assistant Director of Public Safety, Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus
  • Melissa Sprague, Interim Chair, Health Sciences Programs
  • K. Rebecca Thomas, PhD, Department Chair and Professor, Biology

General Information

In February 2020, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency due to the outbreak of respiratory illness COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus, and on March 11 declared it a pandemic. 

See the Maryland Department of Health's website for information on the status of testing and cases in Montgomery County and Marylandnew window. For data on U.S. and global cases, go to the CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 Situation Summarynew window.

Steps you can take to prevent the spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent COVID-19:
  • Stay away from people who are sick. If you are sick, stay home from work and school.
  • Do not travel if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to prevent the spread of this virus and many other illnesses.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

If you have traveled in the last 14 daysnew window, or been in contact with people who have traveled in the past 14 days, and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing:

  • See your primary care provider right away. Call ahead and tell them about your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel if you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

For more information, visit the CDC's Novel Coronavirus websitenew window.

Is it coronavirus or the flu? See Johns Hopkins Medicine's Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flunew window to learn more about the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of the two illnesses. 

Additional Resources

From Montgomery County
From Governor Larry Hogan and the State of Maryland
From the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
From the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
From the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 
  • Coronavirus Scamsnew window: Learn what the FTC is doing and get tips to help you avoid scams. 
From the World Health Organization
Parenting Resources
Other Resources
©