Coronavirus

COVID-19 Prevention & Response

Latest News – April 2, 2020

MECC Students,

I hope this message finds you healthy and comfortable. Your health and safety during this pandemic continues to be our main focus. We are experiencing unprecedented times, and I encourage you to stay positive, do what you can to minimize the risk of exposure to yourself and others, and find things (like your coursework) to keep your mind and body occupied. Your physical and mental health are important to us! If you have basic needs that are not being met, course connectivity, or other coursework issues, please reach out to your advisor, your instructor, or contact Kari Paschetto or Lelia Bradshaw in student services.

A special ‘thank you’ goes out to all of our students working as EMT’s, health care, grocery store, utility, transportation, food service and other front-line workers and volunteers. Your service is greatly appreciated and crucially needed. Without you, our nation would truly be unable to function. MECC faculty members, advisors, and staff continue to provide online and telephone options to keep you connected to coursework and services. Don’t forget, summer enrollment begins tomorrow, April 3, 2020.

Please take good care of yourselves. We look forward to seeing you back on campus again soon!
Best wishes,

Kristen Westover, Ed.D.

President

Mountain Empire Community College

MECC Community,

MECC is aware of two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our service region. All of us at Mountain Empire Community College are committed to the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff as well as the communities we serve. Beginning Thursday, March 26 at 8 a.m., all MECC offices both on campus and at the Center for Workforce and Innovation of Appalachia (CWIA) will be available via virtual presence only (telephone and email). All MECC services will continue to be provided via online and telephone access during regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling 276.523.2400.   Students and the public are encouraged to reach out to the College by phone before visiting the campus.  MECC’s campus/parking areas will remain open to the public for students to access free Wi-Fi.  Those requiring assistance with enrollment, advising, financial aid, or other needs are also encouraged to visit our Student Resource page for direct contact information.

Best wishes and stay safe,

Dr. Westover

BEGINNINGMONDAY, MARCH 23, ALL CLASSES WILL MOVE TO ALTERNATIVE DELIVERYMETHODS.   

Students should check their MECC email for messages fromtheir instructors which will provide information and directions specific to each oftheircourses.If studentshaveconcerns about courses, they should communicate directly with the instructor to discuss course options.  StudentsMECC is committed to helping you successfully complete yourcourses.  

MyMECC isstill available to students 24/7 to accessapplications such as Canvas, Library Services, Gmail, andstudent account information.  At this time, library services, tutoring, advising, financial aid, and technical supportremain available on campusin a limited capacity; however,students are encouraged to utilize remote options such as telephone, email and onlineresourcesfor each of these support services

Academic and Student Services

The following remoteservicesare available:

Please refer to theFAQ sectionforadditionalresources andhelpfulinformation.  

MECC Community,

I want to begin by letting you know first and foremost, that your health and safety is the most important thing to the leadership of this college. We are all in a challenging situation, with changes coming constantly, but I do not believe it is insurmountable. The challenge – to slow the spread of a virus that we recognize has the potential to harm ones we love and care for. We accomplish this through social distancing, which is going to create challenges for us all. If there is one thing I have learned in the last three years, it is that MECC, like no other, rises to a challenge.

This particular challenge causes fear and insecurity about the health and safety of our loved ones. The events of the past few days have created cause for all of us to contemplate what is truly important in our lives. I want to encourage you that, as hard as this may be to get our heads around today, these challenging days will pass and things are going to get better. We will resume our normal lives again.  In the meantime, keeping and finding things that help you continue normal aspects of your lives – the lives we had before coronavirus became the entire focus  – will help you get through this time.  MECC can be one of the things in your life to help keep you grounded.

In light of recent guidance from the VCCS, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, and the CDC, MECC is remaining open and will be preparing this week to shift to remote & hybrid learning beginning the week of March 23rd. Campus services continue while faculty and staff members use this week to prepare. More guidance will be forthcoming concerning remote opportunities for campus services  such as advising, enrollment services, testing, and library services.  Students will receive further information about specific delivery of their courses as faculty and administration work through details. Students should check their email, MECC’s website, and social media outlets for further updates. MECC is evaluating student work study positions. Students who are in work study positions will receive further guidance from their supervisors soon. Please stay connected to your email and the college website for more details.

May Commencement and other Ceremonies Cancelled

Regarding upcoming events on campus: For the next 8 weeks, MECC will cancel or re-schedule all public events on campus. Unfortunately, this includes MECC Graduation, the VATNP Nursing Pinning Ceremony, and MECC’s Celebration of People.

Chancellor DuBois of the VCCS has stated, “Sadly, we will add another round of events to that list: our May college commencement ceremonies. The most recent CDC guidance calls for avoiding gatherings of 50 or more people over the next eight weeks, meaning our commencement ceremony season. I’ve consulted with our college presidents and please know that we do not take this step lightly.”

What’s difficult is that the very things that make these ceremonies meaningful also make them dangerous in this pandemic. While it’s a celebration of individual achievements, it’s a community celebration. Many of the same family members who travel far and wide to attend are at particularly high risk with this virus. And the hugs and high-fives that come naturally to so many of us in that moment fly in the face of the social distancing practices we are asked to observe.

The colleges will honor the achievements of their Class of 2020 graduates later, at a time and in a manner that is safer for all concerned.

For the full message from the Chancellor, see:

https://www.vccs.edu/vccsblog_post/chancellors-note-on-covid-19-and-virginias-community-colleges/

Your health and safety are the most important considerations in MECC decisions. Please take good care and stay well.

DrW

College Board is canceling the May 2, 2020, SAT® administration.

In response to the rapidly evolving situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19) and guidance from public health organizations, the College Board is canceling the May 2, 2020, SAT® administration. Makeup exams for the March 14 administration (scheduled March 28) are also canceled. We will provide refunds to all students who are registered for May, whose March test centers were closed, or who do not receive March scores due to an irregularity.

Sign up for text alerts at:  https://www.mecc.edu/textalerts/text-alert-signup/

In light of the Governor’s declaration of an emergency situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), Mountain Empire Community College is extending spring break for students by an additional week. The college is currently on a one-week break, and classes were originally scheduled to resume Monday, March 16.

College offices will remain open next week. Computer labs, testing, library services, enrollment and other college services will continue to operate from 8:00 – 4:30. Faculty and staff will use that time to make preparations for possible additional measures such as shifting all instruction to online, implementing a hybrid approach or taking other actions for which a need may be determined. College officials will continue to monitor the situation in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and other public health agencies. The College will post updated announcements as the situation changes.

Students should stay in contact with their instructors by email for detailed instructions related to their specific coursework. Students in health science programs containing clinical and laboratory requirements may receive additional guidance from the Dean of Health Sciences and faculty members about continuation of clinical rotations.

A number of upcoming events at MECC originally expected to attract crowds are being canceled. The following events are now cancelled:

  • The After Life program scheduled for Sunday, March 15, sponsored by Life Campus Ministries
  • All intramural activities
  • MECC’s Scholars Recognition Night scheduled Tuesday, March 24
  • MECC’s Hall of Honor Gala scheduled for Saturday, April 18

Administration and the Emergency Management Team are monitoring the situation closely and will keep you informed via email, campus alertsour website, and social media outlets with additional information related to MECC operations. Up-to-date details on event plans as well as academic scheduling will be posted on the college’s website https://www.mecc.edu/coronavirus/

Sign up for text alerts at:  https://www.mecc.edu/textalerts/text-alert-signup/

Dear Mountain Empire College Community,

I want to be sure to keep you abreast of the latest news and decisions regarding COVID-19 and the potential spread of the virus. As of March 11, 2020 at 5:00 PM, there were 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Virginia. The Virginia Governor’s Office confirmed this morning that all 9 of those cases can be traced to a source such as foreign travel, and those infected did not contract the virus through sustained community transmission. At this time, the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management have both reported that there are no cases of sustained community transmission of COVID-19 in Virginia. The Governor has not declared an emergency. Tennessee saw its first reported case of COVID-19 on March 6th, and has less than 10 confirmed cases at this time. Kentucky also has at least 8 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

This afternoon, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, The University of Virginia, and UVA- Wise made the difficult decisions to either suspend coursework and/or move coursework online. This is an option MECC may need to exercise in the future, and we are preparing our services and campus for this possibility. Our campus demographics do not mirror these institutions.  We are not in Northern Virginia; we do not have dorms, nor do we have a significant population of international students. We plan to continue to be hyper-vigilant in promoting COVID-19 protocols, monitor the situation and continue to plan for a disruption in courses and services with the Emergency Management Team.

While this news is not cause for panic, we must continue to be diligent in preparing for a possible regional outbreak. Please continue to prevent the spread of infectious disease through adherence to CDC infection control protocols such as handwashing, hygiene and household sanitation. This is a rapidly evolving issue. Facts about the status of the virus, what we know about it, CDC guidance on best practices and the number of people impacted are all changing hour to hour. MECC’s Administration and Emergency Management Team are monitoring the situation closely and will keep you informed via email, campus alerts, our website and social media outlets if there is a decision to change MECC operations.

Stay Healthy!

Kristen Westover, Ed.D.

President

Mountain Empire Community College