To say COVID-19 took us all by surprise would be a tremendous understatement.
In the middle of the spring semester, we were compelled by an insidious and unseen enemy to adjust, re-evaluate, reconfigure, and reassess everything that we do. Fortunately or unfortunately, we were not alone. Not only were all other institutions impacted, but our entire nation and world were impacted as well.
We quickly had to pivot and retrain faculty and staff to be able not only to teach remotely, but to provide counseling, tutoring, and all the other wrap-around services remotely. Special thanks to Jeff Peters and all the faculty and staff who adjusted so quickly.
I continued to emphasize to our employees that this is the time that our students, employees, and community needed us most. In all of the decisions made, the overriding concern for me has been very simple: putting the safety and well-being of our students, employees, and community first. One of the questions I continue to ask myself is, would I do anything differently as a leader? Have I made any mistakes?
My answer is a resounding and unequivocal no!
We have done the right things and made all the right moves by limiting access to our campus, requiring masks, enforcing social distancing, and paying our employees to work from home.
We are a family, and that is what we do – we look out for each other.
COVID-19 is like nothing that any of us have ever faced.
We continue to constantly clean our buildings, we are allowing individuals on campus now with strict guidance based on the Governor’s directives.
As COVID-19 began devastating our entire state, MCCC stepped to the forefront and provided personal protective equipment. Our Health Sciences Division provided masks, gloves, goggles, and even ventilators to hospitals and other facilities where they were in dire need.
Our Maintenance Department provided goggles, gloves, and masks to many needy organizations, and our Applied Science Engineering, and Technology Division’s Maker Space produced hundreds of PPE, including face shields for numerous organizations regionally.
As racial unrest erupted in our nation after the killing of George Floyd, we at MCCC have led a series of “honest conversations about race” and have been at the forefront of the formation of the community Coalition for Racial Equality Equity and Diversity (CREED).
Special thanks to Trustee Florence Buchanan, my executive assistant, Penny Dorcey, and Cajie D’Cunha for their efforts in this area.
There have been four CREED conversations so far. I have also mandated implicit bias training for all MCCC employees. As educators who exercise influence and impact students’ minds, it is important for us to recognize and acknowledge our biases as we attempt to shape and mold young minds in an ever-changing diverse world.
I have been sending a daily email to our employees. My emails provide updates on the pandemic situation and campus updates as well as encouraging words.
I have also sent a few emails to students assuring them that we continue to put their safety first in all that we do. As long as we keep these safeguards in place, we expect that all who come on campus in the fall will be safe.
We will continue to keep safety as a priority as we move forward. I encourage all students to stay healthy, practice good hygiene, social distance, and wear a mask.
If we do that, we are likely to survive this pandemic, and this too shall pass.