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Statement from Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne Pollard on Fall Schedule and New “Resilient MC” Web Pages

As we near the end of the spring semester, I want to share the plans that have been made regarding classes for the summer and fall sessions. As you know, the spread of COVID-19 has required some significant adaptations as we work to limit infections and keep our community healthy. For that reason, Summer Session I  classes begin June 8 and will be offered as distance learning with both live and self-paced sessions. Summer Session II will be offered in either distance learning or structured remote teaching format. Fall 2020 class sessions will begin online and in structured remote teaching format, with the addition of face-to-face teaching/learning if conditions improve. Across these three sessions, academic support programs and student services will continue to provide their traditional services in remote format. The College remains committed to academic excellence in this uncertain time and will continue to adjust to meet our students’ needs.

As we continue to encourage students to register for the fall semester, we understand that much could change in the next three months, expanding the possibilities for face-to-face classes or more remote instruction. The College’s planning operations have been designed to respond to either of these scenarios and many in between. I know many of you are eager to understand how the College is making such decisions, so I am sharing the guiding principles that have informed these processes. I will also be hosting a video conversation on May 21 to answer more specific questions. My senior vice presidents will join me to provide more detail about their operations plans. Future communications will describe how to pose questions and participate.

Throughout the pandemic I have sought to provide transparent and timely communication. We’re adding another tool today with the launch of the Resilient MC webpages. There you will find information regarding MC’s strategic approach to health and safety, our decision-making processes, and explanations of alternative class structures. The website is a work in progress so please note the dates by which you can expect detailed additions. Such plans may change as we respond to evolving conditions and receive direction and guidance from state and local authorities.

Our local stakeholders are also integrated with the College’s planning. I have been meeting individually with local leaders to better understand the community’s urgent needs for workforce development in the face of rising unemployment. Their input will inform the possible expansion of academic and workforce development areas at the College as we help to strengthen local businesses strained by the pandemic. As more residents are affected by economic hardships brought on by COVID-19, MC’s responsibility to serve their needs will be greater.

The College’s longstanding commitment to radical inclusion will continue, but with a new face: those impacted by COVID-19. Whether at work or in their homes, many of our neighbors, students, and employees are struggling. Planning to serve those increased needs with College programming requires deliberate, informed planning to maintain healthy classrooms and worksites, and to protect visitors. To that end, I am adding several people to the Coronavirus Advisory Team, to contribute their expertise to the operational matters at the College. These additions will bring perspectives from academics, student affairs, operations, students, employees, and human resources. To continue our educational mission while safeguarding the health and safety of everyone at the College, we will continue to incorporate timely feedback to inform changes to protocols or policies. The guidance of our original CAT members will continue to be critical as we implement rules that protect our students, employees, and visitors. The Resilient MC webpages will help in communicating these efforts. Additionally, this fall I will ask the Student Council and the Employee Services Council to serve in a direct advisory role to me to ensure the deliberate consideration and response to student and employee experiences, questions, and concerns.

Let me end by sharing this with you: the Montgomery College community is awe-inspiring; you make manifest our glorious mission—and I am so grateful for each and every one of you. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the extensive planning efforts that are taking place at the College. To our faculty and staff, your commitment to students has never been more profound as we unite in protecting our mission of service to student and the community. Please continue to enact health practices to limit the spread of coronavirus and observe the stay-at-home order still in place. Thank you.