Message from Dr. Copenhaver (July 23, 2020)

I have several updates, so as an advanced warning, this is a rather lengthy message. 

If you have been following the Governor’s press conferences, he has mentioned higher education a couple of times in the past few days.  On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Justice met with all higher education presidents.  The Chancellor selected six institutions to present briefings about fall plans to the Governor.  New River CTC was selected as a presenter along with WVU, Marshall, Glenville State, Appalachian Bible College, and Blue Ridge CTC.  The Governor has been reviewing colleges’ plans for the fall because he is concerned about bringing students back and keeping them safe.  He is leaning toward institutions going only online with the exception of certain programs that require a hands-on component.  As far as the Chancellor, knows our plan of online, web-enhanced face-to-face, and in-person only for technical, allied health, nursing, and EMS will meet the Governor’s criteria.  The Governor took lots of notes during the presentations, and I imagine it will be next week before he makes any decisions about higher education.  He is discussing having all students tested for the Coronavirus before coming onto campus, and all the universities were implementing this strategy as part of their fall plans.  The community colleges are not, at this time, testing students; without dorms, international students, and students from other parts of the United States, large scale testing isn’t warranted.  Unless otherwise indicated by the Governor and/or by the infection level in our service area, New River CTC is not going to test students. 

As we move closer to the start of the fall semester, it is vitally important that all programs with an in-person component comply with the safety processes and procedures that have been put in place.  Additionally, the Governor has issued an Executive Order for wearing a mask, especially if social distancing is not possible, and as a state agency, we must comply with this directive.  I cannot stress enough that wearing a mask when working with students or your colleagues is an expected practice for everyone.  Human Resources will be sending out a procedure that covers the requirements and what to do if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Dean Patriquin and Interim Dean Sampson have been working on faculty schedules as we transition to our new teaching modalities.  To date, all programs with lab components have created plans for when those students will be in their labs on campus, as well as protocols for how students will move through campus buildings.  Additionally, a schedule is being prepared for faculty who need to come to campus to teach from either their office or a classroom.  As soon as the schedule is finalized, it will be posted.

Starting on Monday, July 27, 2020 selected Student Affairs offices and the Business Office cashiers will begin a rotation of staff on campus to accommodate work flow and to ensure our students are registered.  The schedule for each office/campus is below, and all other offices are continuing to work remotely. 

  • Admissions:

Student Program Advisors will be on campus all day every Thursday to work with files (no student appointments).

Records Assistant Brooke Shrewsbury will be at RCC all day every Tuesday to work with files (no student appointments).

  • Student Success:

GVC – Rachel Kelly on-campus Wednesdays to proctor Accuplacer by appointment.

MCC – Marie Rhodes on-campus Tuesdays to proctor Accuplacer by appointment.

NCC – Sherry Shaffer on-campus Tuesdays for general work (no student appointments), and Wednesdays to proctor Accuplacer by appointment.

RCC – Alberto Razo on-campus Mondays and Tuesdays to proctor Pearson tests.

Lorraine Young on-campus Wednesdays to proctor Accuplacer by appointment.

  • Business Office to accommodate credit card payments and other related tasks:

NCC — Brigette Neil–Mondays: 8-3:30  

ATC — Lisa Matherly–Tuesdays: 8-3:30

RCC — Shamil Walton–Wednesdays: 8-3:30  

GVC — Coy Borders–Thursdays: 8-3:30

Even though there will be additional people on campus starting on Monday, our buildings are still closed to the general public and any staff not on the schedule for that day.  Should you find that you need to come to campus for any reason, talk to your supervisor who will then bring the request to me.  All requests must go through this process.  This process is in place to preserve the cleaning supplies and as a check to ensure that once a space is cleaned that no one enters the space.  Furthermore, no one except maintenance staff is allowed on campus on Fridays so that deep cleaning can be performed.  Please do not come to campus over the weekend.  If Friday or weekend access is needed in order to accommodate students, please talk to your supervisor who will bring the request forward to me. 

I thank you, in advance, for complying with these rules, and I hope that you and your families are continuing to stay safe and well.

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (July 16, 2020)

Because of an upward trend in COVID 19 cases, the Governor has reduced activities that generate crowds to a maximum of 25 instead of 100.  He has additionally ordered all festivals and other public celebrations be cancelled.  New River CTC will abide by the Governor’s orders by not participating in any festival or other similar activity that will generate large crowds. 

The Governor is also concerned about higher education and the start-up of the fall semester; he is most concerned about classes that are scheduled in a traditional format—in-person classes.  The Chancellor has a copy of our fall plans, and I have spoken to her about our plan for classes to be delivered online or web enhanced face to face and reserving hands-on/in-person only for labs in technical, nursing, allied health, and EMS programs.  The Chancellor was pleased with our plan, and at this time believes that the Governor would approve of our plan.  The Chancellor has called a Presidents’ meeting this afternoon to discuss the fall opening, and should something change or there is additional information, I will pass it along.

We are holding some parking lot admission/advising events at our campuses to help students register for the fall semester.  These events will be in keeping with the new orders set forth by the Governor so that employees, students, and other guests will be kept safe. 

Warm regards,

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (June 11, 2020)

Governor Justice, in his COVID-19 update this afternoon, addressed state employees returning to work.  He stressed his belief that state employees have continued to work and to be responsive in their daily activities in spite of the pandemic.  Over the next week, the state facilities will be cleaned and the various Cabinet Secretaries will receive guidelines about how to safely return to work and serve the public.  He also said that employees, working with their supervisor and their respective Cabinet Secretary, may continue teleworking and/or maintaining a flexible work schedule.  There is no timeline for each Cabinet Secretary to bring people back, and there is no requirement that all employees have to come back into their physical offices to work.

Chancellor Tucker let the presidents know that reopening our institutions is a local decision, and we are free to tailor opening plans to our needs and the needs of our students.  As you know, we have spring students on campus working on their lab activities, and we will learn from that experience.  The Fall 2020 Task Force has submitted a draft of their proposals for reopening.  Next week Cabinet will take up that plan for discussion, and that plan will be distributed college-wide for broader feedback.  Please watch for that email because the turnaround time for comments will be relatively short.  After the plan is finalized, it will be distributed to both employees as well as to the community, and implementation will begin shortly thereafter.

Finally, the Governor is reducing his press updates beginning next week to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  He also announced that the West Virginia State Fair will continue as planned.

Warm regards,

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (May 15, 2020)

In order for spring students in technical programs to complete their coursework, identified faculty will come to campus starting on or around June 1 and the students will come to campus beginning June 8, 2020.  All outstanding spring coursework will be completed by June 29, 2020.  There are currently authorized staff who are working at our different campuses, and they will continue to work as authorized. 

There are still details to be worked out regarding safety measures such as precautions to support social distancing, face coverings, cleaning protocols, etc.  Maintenance staff and Academic Affairs are working through the details and making preparations.

No decision has been made about other employees returning to work in June, so please continue working from home until further notice.  Additionally, we normally switch to a four day week in the summer, but for right now we are not going to make this change.  As a reminder, if you need something from your office, please notify your supervisor who will route the request through the appropriate Vice President and then to me.  We still must keep our buildings securely maintained so that cleaning can be kept to a minimum.

The SREB Regional Task Force on Higher Education and COVID was sent to the colleges today, and it sums up some of the legal and procedural requirements around COVID-19.  I am sure that this will be the first of many documents that will be coming to us from the HEPC, and they will be shared as they become available.

Have a wonderful weekend, keep wearing your face coverings and washing your hands, and let me know if you have any questions.

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (May 7, 2020)

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (May 1, 2020)

Yesterday, Governor Justice announced a lifting of his Stay at Home Executive Order which will be replaced with a Safer at Home Executive Order.  This new order is set to start on May 4th at 12:01 a.m.  The attached graphic explains the new order.

This new order does not mean that New River CTC will change its status from closed.  If you regularly watch the Governor’s press conferences, you know he stresses learning to live with this virus and that we have to be smart in how we approach returning to work and activities knowing that the virus is still alive.  Additionally, we will hear on Monday, May 4th  which businesses can start transitioning back with a start date of May 11th

The Executive Team, with input from the Cabinet , Faculty Senate, and Staff Council, is working on plans for how New River CTC will re-open when we are allowed.  We cannot come back to work all at once because more than likely we will need to be mindful of social distance and will need to wear masks.  Our priority must be getting our students through their spring semester labs while keeping everyone safe and healthy.  We also cannot open or bring anyone to campus until I am comfortable knowing that we have enough cleaning supplied and protective gear that we can operate safely. 

Enjoy your weekend, and I hope everyone is continuing to be safe and healthy.

Warm regards,

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (April 27,2020)

The Governor’s press conference today unveiled his plan, West Virginia Strong: The Comeback, to reopen the state.  Governor Justice is taking a conservative, informed, and measured approach to reopening the state.  He did not and has not lifted the Executive Stay Home Order, and he is not prepared to do this now.

The baseline metric to start moving ahead with the plan is three (3) consecutive days below 3% in the statewide cumulative percent of positive test results.  Today is day #1.

After three days below 3% is achieved, each week will give another sector the opportunity come online.

  • Week 1—starts this week
    • Healthcare—elective surgery, dentist, physical/occupational therapy, etc.
    • Daycare
  • Week 2
    • Small businesses with less than 10 employees
    • Hair/Nail/Dog Grooming/etc.—PPE required for staff/appointment only/waiting in cars until called/clients to wear face coverings
    • Outdoor dining in restaurants
    • Church and Funerals—seating in every other pew/wearing face coverings
  • Week 3-6
    • Government Offices
    • Specialty retail
    • Parks
    • Gyms
    • Dine-in restaurants
    • Hotels
    • Spas
    • Casinos

Each new sector will be announced one week in advance.

There is no timeline for resuming nursing home visitation, opening movie theatres, or holding concerts and sporting events.  Groups must be smaller than 25.  Slides from the Governor’s press conference are attached, and information is always updated and available at www.governor.wv.gov or www.coronavirus.wv.gov.

Should the State see the percentage rise again or see a significant outbreak in a community, the State will “slow, stop, or reverse” the West Virginia Strong: The Comeback plan for a region, county, or the whole state as needed.

So, what does this mean for New River CTC?

  • It means that we will not be returning to campus on May 1; at a minimum we are 3 weeks away from a possible opening.
  • With that consideration, I am extending our closure until May 29, 2020
  • If I am able to bring us back sooner I certainly will do so.  If I am able to at least bring students back sooner, I certainly will do so.  We have to thoughtful and careful in our approach to bring people back on campus, and it is more than just being able to say, “yes.”  It is very probable that we will still need to follow social distance requirements and I want to ensure that we have ample supplies for cleaning and personal protection.

I know this was not the message we were hoping for, but it is where we are and we have to make the best of this situation. I am hearing wonderful stories about how you are connecting with our students, and those truly make me happy because right now, we all need to have connections with others.

Warm regards,

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (April 24, 2020)

Good Afternoon.

I have information to pass along regarding the student emergency grants that were provided under the CARES Act.  I have attached two documents to explain this funding.  The document entitled “FAQs Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund April 21, 2020” was released by the federal Department of Education as a tool to guide institutions as they prepared to make grants to students.  These grants are to be used by students who were inconvenienced by the Coronavirus pandemic and are to assist the students with housing/living costs, childcare costs, or other expenses incurred by the student as a result of having to move to a fully online college experience.

The second attachment, “CARES Act Student Grants Explanation” addresses how New River CTC will disburse the grants to students.  This document outlines the College’s formal position.  The document will be reworked into a more “student-friendly” version prior to distribution to our students and the general public.  Please review this document carefully and make sure you understand the content to help address student questions that you may receive. 

Some key highlights are as follows:

  • Students must be eligible for federal financial aid in order to receive this grant.
  • The grant amount for each student will be different depending on the number of hours attempted and the type of courses the student was taking prior to the pandemic.
  • The grants will be awarded to any student who was registered on March 27, 2020.
  • Student performance and attendance are not a consideration for eligibility to receive a grant.
  • The College will not deduct any money that the student owes us from the student’s grant prior to sending the grant money to the student.
  • Other details about this grant are outlines in the attachment. 

The College has made application to receive our funds, and we are waiting for the transfer to our account.  We have things to do before we are ready to begin distributing the money.  For example, the Student Success Center staff will get training to take questions; the list of students and their grant award amount is being calculated and triple checked for accuracy; emails to individual students outlining the award calculation will be prepared; the business office must be ready with its process to award the grants; financial aid must be ready to help those who need to complete a FAFSA.  This is a large scale process with lots of moving parts, and I do not want us to be rushed which is why we set a date of May 15th to begin releasing the money.  If we are fully prepared and the money has arrived sooner than that date, we will start distributing money sooner. 

I especially want to thank the Cabinet plus Patricia Harmon for their assistance in getting us to this point.  This has not been an easy project to implement, and the guidelines for this money did not become solidified until this week.  While our grants may not be as large as what other institutions are able to give, I do hope that each grant will make the student’s life a little bit easier during this difficult time. 

I hope you and those you hold dear are continuing to be safe and healthy and have a lovely weekend.

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (April 6, 2020)

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (April 6, 2020)

Good Morning to All.

I hope you and your families and friends are well.  These days are long and trying for all of us, and I know we are all looking forward to the time when we can come back together and work, play, and socialize normally once more.

I must remind everyone that our buildings are closed except for those that are authorized to be there.  Please do not come on campus for any reason—including over the weekends.  If you need something from your office, please notify your supervisor and Mr. Runion. Mr. Runion and his staff are glad to work with you to retrieve anything that you need and bring it outside or they can escort you into the building for you to get what you need.  His staff must disinfect every area where there has been human contact, and if anyone comes into a building unannounced then they do not know what to clean.  I realize this is an inconvenience but it how we are keeping those who are in the buildings safe.

Warm regards,

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (April 3, 2020)

In keeping with new federal recommendations, New River CTC will continue its closed status/teleworking through April 30, 2020.  Please continue to work with your supervisors on your daily activities.  Faculty—please let your dean know about issues that your students are having with completing course work—especially the issues that are out of your control.  The only way we can know if we can find solutions is if we know that the issues are. 

Additionally, our May graduation ceremony will not take place.  The graduation committee is surveying students to see if they would prefer to have a ceremony in September, October, or to walk in May 2021. 

Next week, I will share information about the federal money that the College will be receiving.  There are still questions to be answered about the money but I will at least be able to provide an overview. 

As information unfolds, I will keep everyone informed, and please do not hesitate to ask questions. 

Warm regards,

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Pagan (March 28, 2020)

Greetings New River CTC Student,

We hope you are doing well and staying healthy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, we resume classes Monday, March 30th, using online platforms, like Zoom and Blackboard Learn. Please know that the College remains open, even though the physical campuses are closed. I want to share with you what we, as your College, are doing to ensure the remainder of the spring semester is a successful one for you, even as it will be a most memorable one. We, just as you are, are continuing to navigate the coronavirus pandemic. No one has experienced going through something like this, and each day we learn more, and adjust and adapt as needed to minimize any threat this virus may have at New River CTC’s campuses. Our goal is to ensure that you are able to complete your courses, and we are here to assist you with that effort.

As I mentioned earlier, the College has become a virtual college. This means that along with distance classes, we are conducting college business and services remotely, and all of the College’s departments are still open on their regular schedule. The academic and student affairs teams are here to help and support you.  Whether you need tutoring, registration, advising, financial aid, the business office, educational counseling, or have any other question, please know that we can be reached.

How can you reach us?
Our staff in Academic and Student Affairs can be reached by email, Zoom or telephone. If you need to make an appointment, please know that we can meet with you by Zoom or by telephone. I encourage you to reach out to your faculty advisor or campus Student Success Center to schedule an advising appointment, as we are now open for registration for current students. Your Student Success Center can connect you with live tutoring by Zoom for math, physics, or chemistry, as well as online resources for other subjects.  You can still schedule appointments with the Financial Aid Office and the Student Success center, as well as for tutoring.

What if I am having technology issues such as logging on to MyNewRiver portal?

Our fantastic team in IT is on top of making sure that technology provided through the College is working across our entire service region where we have campus locations. If you experience problems, please contact our IT department at (itsupport@newriver.edu) or submit a help-desk ticket. The IT team will do their best to provide assistance within 24-hours of being contacted.

What about mental health counseling?

We hope to continue to offer counseling services once we have determined how we can do so without compromising client privacy. When we have that resolved, which we hope will be soon, we will be able to offer that service through the remainder of the semester.

What about my courses that have hands-on or experiential learning labs that we cannot complete because of the restrictions in place?
Our Deans and faculty are working on how to resolve this issue with minimal impact to you the student. For technical and career programs a schedule is being worked out that we can implement once you are allowed to return to campus to complete the hands-on portion of the courses you may be enrolled in. More to come on that. It is our goal to ensure you complete your courses successfully despite this pandemic.

How can I register for spring and fall classes while the College is physically closed?

As I mentioned earlier, we are open. Our Student Success Center and Enrollment Services teams are ready and willing to help you with advising and registration.  If you are enrolled in a health or technical program, please contact your advisor, preferably by email, to set up an appointment to meet with them so that you can register for classes. Instructions for online registration can be found on the College’s website (https://www.newriver.edu/).

What resources are available for us through the remainder of the semester?

All online and virtual resources are available, in most cases 24/7. Please avail yourselves to these resources. Also, work with your faculty to ensure your success. Faculty are working remotely and will be delivering their courses using distance delivery platforms. This week they have been preparing to deliver normally in-seat and hybrid courses online, through Zoom, Blackboard Learn, or the Big Blue Button. Please know that your faculty have your best interest in mind and will work with you if you experience issues with class assignments, using Blackboard, or other education related concerns you may have. Our Student Success Centers and IT staff are also here to help. 

Our Wi-Fi service extends outside most of our campus buildings, so you may be able to pick up service in the various parking lots. You would need to park as close as possible to the buildings, as the Wi-Fi service has limited range.

Lastly, what can you do as a New River CTC student?

I ask that you remain calm and patient, but most importantly, please stay connected. Pull up the College website often, at least once per day, to stay current on what is going on with the COVID-19 virus and what we are doing as a College to keep you safe and not disrupt your education. Check your emails, and by this I am referring to your College email account. Vital information is being shared across email as well as through social media outlets. Stay in contact with your faculty and work with them. I cannot overemphasize that as you and I go through this pandemic we must remain flexible.

Thank you for being a New River CTC student. We appreciate you and want the remainder of your spring semester to be a success. If you need something, please let us know.  Stay with us – we will get through this!

Most Sincerely,

Richard Pagan, Ed. D.
Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs

Message 2 from Dr. Copenhaver (March 23, 2020)

At his 11:00 press conference, Governor Justice issued a “stay at home order” for the state of West Virginia effective tomorrow, March 24, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.   The actual Executive Order will be posted on the Governor’s website, and as soon as a copy becomes available, I will send it out.  Judging by what other states have done, higher education institutions are included as “essential services” when they are delivering course work online. 

In order to keep those vital employees safe who are on campus, all buildings will be locked and working hours will be 8:00-4:00.  A schedule outlining who is working on campus at each location will be given to the facilities personnel.  If you need to stop by any location to pick up or drop off an item, you must notify your supervisor for approval and a time will be arranged to meet you.  If you do have building keys, I ask that you abide by these rules and do not come to campus after hours. 

I am painfully aware that this closure will be a severe hardship on our students because we are not allowing them access to campus resources, but this is where we find ourselves at the moment and we all have to pull together to get through this storm. 

Message 1 from Dr. Copenhaver (March 23, 2020)

Effective tomorrow, March 24, 2020, all locations of New River Community and Technical College will be closed to the public.  The College will continue all operations with staff teleworking and faculty using Zoom and/or Blackboard for instruction.  Each campus will have between three and four (3 and 4) people on site for security purposes and for minor work related tasks that cannot be accomplished via telework. 

This closure will remain in effect until at least April 10, 2020.   The situation will continue to be monitored, and the duration of the closure of the facilities may be shortened or lengthened as appropriate.

The decision to close the facilities was not made lightly.  I originally wanted to preserve access to academic and computer labs for our students; however, the need to keep students and employees safe during this time is more important.

Even though the facilities are closing and mandatory teleworking is in place, all employees will continue to be paid.  Your supervisor will work with you to find a suitable project that can be completed from home such as work on a special project, professional development, file organization, etc. if needed.  It is my expectation that all major College functions will continue in a timely manner. As each Vice President finalizes plans for the major units of the College, specific operating details will be shared so that you will be able to answer questions that our students will have about College functions.

It will be critical that when students return next week that we are able to handle their questions and keep them focused on completing the remainder of the semester.  I have no doubt that we will work together to accomplish this.

Warm regards,

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (March 18, 2020)

Before I begin with new information, I want to clear up a couple of items from previous communications. 

  1. Employee pay should the institution close—full-time, part-time, extra help, and adjuncts—all groups receive regular work-time pay.  Unfortunately, however, only full-time have leave hours that can be used to cover absences for any illness or childcare.  

  2. The form that HR sent out is primarily for medical quarantines that are necessary as a result of a potential Coronavirus exposure.   Medical quarantine is a separate issue from teleworking for childcare reasons, and what is discussed below should help further clarify teleworking.

The following is new information and goes into effect today, March 18, 2020.

  1. During the Governor’s statewide address last night, he announced that West Virginia had its first documented Coronavirus case in the eastern panhandle.  He mandated that all restaurants, bars, and casinos be closed immediately, and he authorized restaurants to continue with carryout services.  Governor Justice also called on the citizens of West Virginia to be very diligent in our personal hygiene and social distancing.  In order to support both the Governor and the US President and their social distancing requests, New River CTC is proactively implementing a voluntary and optional telework option.

  2. To be very clear—the College is not shutting down or discontinuing any of our services. All of our normal work will continue to the best of our ability.

  3. The overarching goals are to continue our operations while thinning out the number of people on campus as much as possible Additionally, in order to be able to have computer labs and other academic spaces open for students to come in and use the equipment, we need to make sure we can easily accommodate small groups at all our locations.  Ensuring that our students can finish this semester is a priority.

  4. Teleworking Information and Guidelines for Staff:
    1. If you are interested in teleworking, contact your supervisor.
    2. Understand that not all positions can convert to a telework situation, and some positions will be required to continue working on campus. President’s Cabinet members are required to be in the office and working.
    3. If you prefer to come into the office to work, you may continue to do so.
    4. Your supervisor has the discretion to approve teleworking and will consider each position on a case by case basis. The supervisor must take into consideration the overall operations of the unit when making these decisions.
    5. When teleworking, you must work your regular hours, remain in contact with your supervisor, and attend any required meetings via phone or Zoom.
    6. Your supervisor will provide direction to you about work assignments and continuity of operations.
    7. If your job cannot be performed away from campus, your supervisor may choose to assign you a project to complete in lieu of your regular duties.
    8. You and your supervisor need a written weekly list of activities to document the work that is to be done. This documentation can be in the form of an email. 
    9. Before beginning a telework arrangement, complete the attached form and return the form to Human Resources.
    10. The College will make every effort to provide you with materials you need to work from home—for example, VPN access, a disposable cell phone for calling students, etc. Unfortunately, we do not have many available laptops but the IT department will do the best that it can to meet your needs.
    11. If you need to take home files that are of a sensitive nature, make sure that you discuss this with your supervisor so that all confidentiality rules are preserved. Your supervisor must create a log that documents the check out and return of all files that you take home.  
    12. If you are teleworking and become ill, you must take sick leave.
    13. If you are teleworking and do not put in a full day’s work, you must take annual leave.
  1. Faculty are free to teach their Zoom and/or Blackboard courses either from home or a campus location as previously outlined by Dr. Pagan.

The voluntary teleworking plans need to be in place by Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will continue until further notice.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns, suggestions, or rumor verification.

Warm regards,

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (March 17, 2020)

  1. In an effort to be responsive to the ever changing nature if COVID-19 (the Coronavirus), New River CTC is extending spring break through March 27th.  This applies to all students, online, hybrid, and in-person, at any location that offers New River CTC classes.  During the second week of spring break, faculty are to prepare adjustments to their delivery methods by incorporating Zoom and/or Blackboard.  Some technical education courses, general education courses with labs, and courses with clinical components, may still need to have some in-person meetings to fulfill lab requirements.  Faculty should prepare to use these adjustments for the rest of the semester.  The academic calendar will not be adjusted for the additional week of spring break so content will need to be adjusted accordingly.  Dr. Pagan will be communicating specifics about this transition in other communications.  I am counting on faculty to communicate over and above what might be deemed as necessary with students so that students feel comfortable when they return to school; all students need to know you are there to help them be successful as we make this shift in the final few weeks of the semester.  They will be looking to you to help them connect with resources that will help them learn to use any new technology that you will be introducing. 

  2. New River CTC Procedure 15  addresses influenza and pandemic outbreaks.  Our procedure dictates that we are to follow the guidelines outlined by the Center for the Disease Control (CDC).  Our handwashing, social distancing, and additional cleaning measures are all in keeping with the CDC.  The recently released guideline is to cancel all gatherings of 50 or more people for eight (8) weeks.  Should the CDC keep this guideline in place, the Tech Expos, a pinning ceremony, the PTK Induction, the graduation ceremony, and a few other activities will be impacted.  These events will be cancelled or postponed.  A decision about each activity will be made within the next two to three weeks depending on the date of the event in question and the guidelines from the CDC.  While I do not anticipate the CDC to decrease the time span of their directive, I did not want to cancel or postpone prematurely some very important milestone events for our students. 

  3. The April meeting of the New River CTC Board of Governors, scheduled for April 2, 2020, will take place over Zoom.  A link for the meeting will be widely distributed for attendance.  Per statue requirement, the physical location for the meeting will remain RCC in room 201and I will be in that location. 

  4. Gov. Justice declared a state of emergency in West Virginia (https://www.wtrf.com/top-news/gov-jim-justice-declares-state-of-emergency-for-55-counties-in-wv/).  The Board of Governors Policy No. 18—Employee Leave—has a section that addresses leave in emergency situations. Section 13.2 says that “Work time lost by any employee during a declared emergency will be considered regular work time for pay purposes and will not require that the time be charged to annual leave nor will there be a requirement that the time be made up.”  In short, if New River CTC has to close for any length of time, all employee pay will continue as normal as this pandemic is considered as emergency. This policy only applies if the College must close as a result of the pandemic.

  5. We are limiting campus access to all individuals except those who have college business, such as current students, vendors, deliveries, or potential students.  Students may need access to campus computer labs in order to complete the rest of the semester because they may have limited or no internet and/or computer access at home, but allowing public access, for example, to use our WIFI at this time isn’t a prudent course of action.

  6. Should you have to self-quarantine, Human Resources and your supervisor will work with you on teleworking as appropriate.  Not all positions are able to take advantage of teleworking because of the nature of the position, and you and your supervisor can discuss whether teleworking is an option for you.  The quarantine time can be covered by sick leave and/or annual leave, and employees can request to use the sick leave bank if needed.  Human Resources will be sending out some additional information along with a simple form to complete.  Additionally, after this crisis is over the College will create a teleworking policy and procedure that is beneficial to the employee while balancing the needs of the College.  However, if you are sick with any illness, taking time to rest and recover is the fastest way to get well, and you are not required to work while you are sick.  If you are sick with any illness, do not come to work.

  7. During this pandemic, please do not bring your children to work with you.  I know that for some this is challenging at best and a hardship at worst, but it is for everyone’s safety and wellbeing.  If you are facing childcare issues at this time, teleworking and annual leave may be a good solution for you.  Unfortunately, sick leave, by law, cannot be used for childcare absences even in this extraordinary situation.  Like with the teleworking, after the crisis is over, the College will craft a policy that governs when it is appropriate to have children on campus and how we handle children on campus going forward.

  8. This situation is very stressful for all of us.  When our students return they will be counting on us to be the faces of calm to help them get through these end of the semester.  The last few weeks, under a normal situation, are stressful enough without adding this unusual situation on top of it.  The following resources may help you manage your stress around this situation.
  1. It is not fun nor simple to make these changes nor is it easy to consider canceling something as special as our graduation ceremony, but right now it is not business as usual.  We must all be flexible, understanding, and open to meeting these challenges head on and in the most professional way possible.  We must be kind with each other in the process and remember our students are just as anxious and worried as we are.  I have every confidence that this organization will come through this and will be a better and stronger institution for it.  As always, if there are questions, concerns, or rumors, please do not hesitate to ask.

Bonny Ball Copenhaver, Ed. D.
President
New River Community and Technical College

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (March 13, 2020)

Governor Justice has closed the public/K-12 schools until further notice:  https://www.wvnstv.com/community/health/coronavirus/gov-jim-justice-closes-all-wv-schools-amid-coronavirus-concerns/?fbclid=IwAR2vdVyoJUYAJs2FJiouZ5mhAeuy0OXuQZsK4NRvZ57e-Sq4avsallXCnLc

Obviously, this will impact employees and students with children. More details will be available later about how we will address this new challenge.

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (March 13, 2020)

First—Here is the Governor’s stated position, “During the event, the Governor announced that he has issued a State employee travel ban on both out-of-state and international travel for State business. He also asked all West Virginians to reconsider non-essential out-of-state travel for personal business” (https://governor.wv.gov/News/press-releases/2020/Pages/COVID-UPDATE-Gov.-Justice-announces-State-employee-travel-ban,-basketball-tournament-cancellation-among-latest-precautions.aspx).

Second—my statement “I would advise you not to engage in work related travel through the end of March” was aimed at travel to conferences and the like or travel that is not a part of your normal activities.  Travel between campuses that is part of your normal routine (teaching, recruiting, etc.)  should continue as usual.  I apologize for not being more specific, and I hope this clarification helps.

Message from Dr. Copenhaver (March 12, 2020)

The corona virus is presenting all of us with unprecedented issues, and these issues are personal and professional.  I want to pass along some information about what the College’s plans are in addressing this issue.  Before I get into specifics, there are two caveats—1) these plans could change quickly; and 2) we all need to remain as calm as we can. 

  1. I know that you have seen the universities making alternate plans for classes and changing general operating hours of the college facilities.  One thing to keep in mind is that these institutions have a footprint that reaches far beyond West Virginia.  As students travel home to a variety of states where there are documented cases of the virus, they run the risk of exposure and then bringing the virus back to other students in the dorms.  We do not have this issue.  Our students are local and we do not have a dorm.  West Virginia, to my current knowledge, still has no identified case of the virus and the actions of the universities are designed to prevent bringing the virus to the state.

  2. At this time, I am not requiring in-person classes to be switched to online or Zoom, but over the next two weeks, the executive team and I will be monitoring the situation very closely.  If you would like to leverage the distance learning tools that we have or start considering options that would work for you and your students, both Blackboard Learn and Zoom are available to you as you consider flexible options for delivering instruction to our students. More information for faculty will be forthcoming soon regarding recommendations and technical assistance.

  3. During the next couple of weeks, Dr. Pagan, the Deans, Campus Directors, and Department Chairs/Program Directors will be working on strategies and plans for programs/classes with a clinical component or a heavily hands-on emphasis if it is determined that we need to alter our teaching methods.

  4. I would advise you not to engage in work related travel through the end of March.  A decision about any April travel will be made at a later date.

  5. At this time, access to campus by the public will not be restricted, but please make sure you are following handwashing protocols, personal distance protocols, and surface cleaning measures.  Our maintenance staff have been doing additional cleaning and are working to provide additional supplies, such as antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes, as needed and as they become available.  Supplies like these are in a limited supply but we have been purchasing all that we can and distributing what we have on hand.  See attached email for additional information about this topic.

  6. It is too soon to make any decisions about canceling planned activities like graduation or any other student-related celebration that is planned for April or May.

  7. Should we see the virus come to our communities, we will treat students and employees who become ill with flexibility and empathy.  Do not come to work ill—with any illness—and do not allow students to attend class if they are ill.

  8. The Chancellor and I did speak yesterday afternoon, and she is aware of these plans.  Her office is sending out information, and I have been forwarding it to the Communication department for distribution, and I will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks.  She did send out these links to some additional information:

This is an extraordinary time, and we are trying to deal with something that is scary and unpredictable.  We will get through this together.  Please feel free to pass along any information that my team and I need to be aware of as we are monitoring the situation.  I am sure that rumors are flying, and please ask if you hear something that sounds suspect or is counter to anything discussed here.