The CARES ACT is federal legislation that was passed by the United States Congress in March 2020. It provides financial support to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Mountain Empire Community College will receive $1,394,924 from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT). MECC has signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education. MECC will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES ACT to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. For more information on CARES ACT funding for students, follow the link below.

Latest News- 8/4/21

Big Stone Gap — Mountain Empire Community College will issue an indoor mask mandate for all students, staff, and visitors on campus beginning Thursday, August 5, following CDC guidance and a mandate by the Virginia Community College System.   

 “MECC is committed to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff in making safety-related decisions based on the best guidance of healthcare professionals. With portions of our service region reporting high COVID transmission rates, and with the rise of the virus’s easily transmitted Delta variant, the community college system and MECC have implemented provisions to do what is necessary to protect the populations we serve,” said MECC President Kristen Westover.   

 To that end, recent CDC guidance calls for: (1) layered prevention strategies at America’s colleges and universities to combat COVID-19, and (2) for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. As of Wednesday, August 4, the entire MECC service region is currently within the CDC’s substantial or high transmission area. 

 The indoor mask mandate is for public indoor spaces at all Virginia community colleges. A portion of MECC courses will be offered online during the fall of 2021, with some in-person classes offered in technical and general education areas. Instructors will be permitted to remove masks when instructing students from a safe distance or from behind a plexiglass barrier.   

 The college will continue to monitor the regional public health trends, as well as state and federal guidelines, regarding the pandemic response.   

  For more information, please visit or contact the MECC Office of Community Relations at 276-523-7480.

MECC is now open for all in-person services. Please visit M-F. 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you need any information about admissions, financial aid or advising, visit