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October 23, 2020

Campus colleagues:

In previous communications, I have reaffirmed Central Ohio Technical College’s (COTC) commitment to combat racism, inequity and hatred in all forms. Many of you have undoubtedly read Ohio State Newark Dean/Director Dr. William MacDonald’s open letter to our local community recently published by the Newark Advocate’s Editorial Board. Sadly, Dr. MacDonald noted that in one week this September he received reports of three separate incidents of overt, racial discrimination or harassment against Ohio State students enrolled at the Newark campus we share. All three incidents occurred in our local community. In his letter, Dr. MacDonald asked all area organizations, including government agencies and businesses, to join him in the goals of dismantling racism, inequity and injustice. My friends, this struggle is real, and it affects our students, friends, neighbors and colleagues. In light of this appalling news, I am compelled to again affirm COTC’s ongoing pledge to combat racism and to ask you to join me in standing with our campus partner, Ohio State, to end racism. This calls to mind the magnitude of our institutional value “helpful and inclusive, driven by a compassion and the desire to care about others.” I thank you for your commitment to living this value through your good work every day.

Drive-up commencement

While the weather was a bit drizzly and cold, spirits were still high as spring and summer graduates participated in our drive-up commencement on Thursday, October 15. Those graduates attending were very grateful for the opportunity. Almost all arrived in academic regalia, and many were accompanied by full vans of cheering family. Thank you to all who helped plan this event to honor our graduates and to those who braved the elements to make this moment that much more meaningful. The commencement committee is currently discussing details for what form a December commencement ceremony could take, and more information regarding those plans will be shared soon.

Spring semester academic plan
Throughout the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff have remained our highest priorities. Thus, as I previously noted, COTC will continue in largely remote instructional formats while also utilizing limited hybrid modes for the spring semester. The academic calendar will not be altered, and spring break and all holiday breaks will be followed as scheduled. Registration is currently underway, and information regarding our spring semester plan was shared with local media.

United Way annual campaign

Today is the final day of our annual United Way workplace campaign. This year the need in our local community is greater than ever. Thank you to all who have already supported this important local cause. Check your recent email for instructions on contributing. You may also make credit/debit card contributions at https://igfn.us/f/2zml/n.

As I close this week, unfortunately, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising across the state. And as you are probably aware, Franklin and Licking counties have risen again to Level 3 (red) public emergency designations. This means that exposure and spread of the virus are both very high.

Please continue being diligent in practicing the health and safety protocols wherever you may be. Also, public health officials are urging everyone to get a flu shot soon. This is another important step that you can take to be proactive for your health, especially in this uncertain year. The past months have brought about many new challenges related to the widespread effects of COVID-19. The CDC offers helpful ideas and resources to cope with job stress and build resilience during the pandemic. Please take some time this weekend to recharge and refresh.

Continue taking good care of yourself.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

October 9, 2020

Campus colleagues:

Last week, Dr. MacDonald and I shared with you a reaffirmation that COTC and Ohio State Newark are safe spaces that do not tolerate racism or intolerance in any form. Further, we called for all members of our campus community to not remain silent and to not stand by when witnessing acts of injustice. Further, we pledge to continue working with area organizations, including government agencies and businesses, to join us in the goals of dismantling racism, inequity and injustice.

Our campus is already working on several cost-shared initiatives to move us toward these goals.

Public Safety Advisory Committee

We are currently drafting by-laws for a re-envisioned committee to replace the campus’s current Public Safety Committee, which has no constitutional document. The new committee will include members from COTC and Ohio State Newark.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Further, to enhance employees’ sense of belonging and connectedness, we are drafting guidelines for employee resource groups (ERGs) and intend to establish funding to support these groups. ERGs will be open to all campus employees – both COTC and Ohio State. An ERG will be able to apply for $500 in funding annually.

Other initiatives will continue to be refined and vetted with multiple employee groups. We must commit to this important work even as we deal with the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Spring Semester Academic Plan
This week the COTC President’s Cabinet approved a spring semester 2021 academic engagement plan as brought forth by Provost Heiser. Given the uncertainty surrounding the continuing effects of the pandemic, COTC will continue in largely remote instructional formats while also utilizing limited hybrid modes. The spring 2021 academic calendar will not be altered, and spring break and all holiday breaks will be followed as scheduled. Additional details regarding the plan and upcoming registration will be shared soon.

Courses will be delivered in four primary modalities:

  • Remote synchronous (scheduled time/day)
  • Remote asynchronous (no scheduled sessions, lectures recorded, weekly live office hours)
  • Hybrid (mix of on-campus and remote/online learning)
  • Online

 

Autumn Enrollment
I’m very pleased to report that our autumn enrollment figures have continued to climb since my last report. Remember that due to the pandemic, some area school districts announced delayed openings, which also led to delays in College Credit Plus (CCP) registration for autumn. As of yesterday, COTC’s enrollment was 3274. This number reflects CCP late enrollment. Please note that our final autumn enrollment number will likely change as second-term and additional CCP registrations are completed and any registration corrections are entered during the next few weeks. Nonetheless, we are very excited to see this number and congratulate everyone for your hard work in the past months.

 

Strategic Planning Council
COTC’s Strategic Planning Council met virtually on October 1 to examine internal and external forces and trends affecting the college and discuss major goals to support student success and institutional growth. In the coming months, we’ll share information about major initiatives such as furthering digital accessibility, plans to increase completion rates, and revisions in academic programming to directly support job growth in specific communities we serve. While we will still face challenges in the coming year, I am also confident that there are many opportunities to be embraced that will move COTC forward into a sustainable and strong future.

As I conclude this week, please continue to take good care of yourself and to stay especially in tune with students who may be falling behind or struggling in any way. Thank you for your continued good work on behalf of COTC.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

 John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

September 25, 2020

 

September 18, 2020

Campus colleagues:

I hope that your semester is continuing to proceed smoothly; your health and safety continue as our highest priorities. To check in with colleagues serving students in person I recently conducted another walking tour of our Newark campus. I was so pleased to see all members of our campus community – faculty, staff and students – adhering to our coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols. I understand the inconvenience and difficulty of operating/instructing in this mode, and I thank you for your continued diligence.

Honoring Spring and Summer Graduates
The date for a drive-up commencement ceremony to honor our spring and summer graduates has been set for Thursday, October 15, 4-7 p.m., in front of Founders Hall. Given the continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we felt that it was important to celebrate our graduates by giving each the opportunity to participate in a modified in-person ceremony now. Those who choose to participate are invited to wear academic regalia and will receive their diploma cover in person from myself and Provost Heiser in front of their families. A professional photographer will also be present to capture photos of each graduate. The event will take place during COTC’s autumn break, and while The Ohio State University at Newark will hold classes that day we believe this will present no significant intrusion. Invitations will be mailed to graduates in the immediate future. The event will also be promoted on the college’s social media channels.

Spring Semester
Planning for spring semester is in process with meetings for college stakeholders currently happening to determine the best path forward. I will note that COTC is not planning to follow Ohio State’s recently announced spring semester schedule, which includes the elimination of spring break. We’re continuing to gather feedback but expect to have some finality to the spring schedule within the next several weeks.

Thomas J. Evans Hall
This week the college announced that the Thomas J. Evans Foundation has arranged a charitable lease for COTC to use the former JBA building at 1000 Sharon Valley Road, Newark, as the future home for the Institute for Public Safety. While we are just in the beginning stages of planning long-term renovations to utilize the building, the use of this space so near our Newark campus will offer many new possibilities to expand the Institute’s educational offerings. Our profound thanks to the Evans Foundation for their ongoing support of local higher education.

Quickmail

You received an update from the OCIO earlier this week on continued issues with the Quickmail function in Moodle. While these complications are indeed unfortunate, I thank you for taking the time to ensure that our students are receiving all communications. I also urge you to not hesitate to reach out to the help desk should you need any further assistance.

  • Call for immediate assistance 24/7: 740.366.9244 or 614.688.4357 (HELP) and press option 3 for MITS
  • Get online support 24/7:  Self Service
  • Email: helpdesk@cotc.edu 

Event Postponements
Regretfully, due to the ongoing pandemic several COTC annual events traditionally held during autumn semester are postponed. Our annual Legacy and Leadership Dinner, during which we recognize honorees of the COTC Legends of Loyalty Award, is postponed to September 2021. Additionally, our annual events to honor friends of the COTC Knox and Coshocton campuses will be rescheduled to spring 2021. These are important opportunities for COTC to show appreciation to friends, donors, community members, faculty and staff for their ongoing support of the college. We will miss these occasions for engagement and look forward to the time we can celebrate COTC together.

Community Intercultural Relations Conference

Lastly, there’s just a few days left to register for the annual Community Intercultural Relations Conference, which will be held virtually on Friday, September 25. Register by September 21 here.

“…and all at once, summer collapsed into fall,” wrote the incomparable Irish poet and dramatist Oscar Wilde. And as the calendar officially turns from summer to autumn, please take some time to refresh and enjoy the brilliant weather. Thank you for all that you do in support of our students and mission.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

September 11, 2020

Campus colleagues:

As we finish the third week of autumn semester, I hope that you are continuing to stay well. As our students navigate the semester and adapt to new routines, I want to remind everyone of the importance of monitoring students’ progress and of proactively reaching out should you experience missing assignments, nonparticipation or any signs of stressors during this exceptional time. We know that many students are still struggling with additional challenges due to the pandemic, and I ask you to be extra vigilant on their behalf.

Due to the pandemic, some area school districts announced delayed openings, which also led to delays in College Credit Plus (CCP) registration for autumn. As of yesterday, COTC’s total enrollment stands at 3,077 (down 11% from autumn 2019); degree-seeking enrollment is 1,976 (down 4%) and non-degree seeking enrollment is 1,101 (down 23%). The Gateway is continuing to enroll CCP students, which will continue to increase our non-degree seeking number.

Honoring Spring and Summer Graduates
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic, especially with regard to continued limitations on large gatherings and the need to maintain physical distancing, the college is planning a limited outdoor commencement ceremony to individually honor our spring and summer graduates in person. My thanks to Provost Heiser for volunteering to lead a committee to explore options and plan a ceremony, which will take place in mid-October. We will share details with our graduates and the rest of the college community as soon as they are confirmed. Any final decision regarding autumn commencement is yet to be determined.

Alford Center and Pataskala Campus Update
For those who have not been to the Newark campus recently, the John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology is beginning to display its future character and is still on schedule to open in spring 2021. This 60,000-square-foot facility will allow us to expand academic programming and enhance student success. You can watch the progress on our live feed here. Also, renovations at the Pataskala campus have reached the interior wall framing stage, and our official construction sign will be in place soon. It’s gratifying to see the continued progress in our critical infrastructure and ongoing investment in our students, especially amidst the ongoing pandemic.

 New COTC Website Nearing Completion
Although not a part of our campus’s physical infrastructure, the COTC website is also an essential element to college operations. A cross-divisional team has been working with the national web development company Digital Deployment for the past six months and is in the closing stages of preparing a new college website for launch later this autumn. The team is currently migrating content to the new site and curating pages prior to the public launch.

COTC Impact Report
While we experienced many challenges as a COTC community during the past year, it’s important to remember that we also achieved many triumphs. The 2020 COTC Impact Report is a reflection of many of those triumphs – and a testament to how we worked together to overcome our challenges. I encourage you to take a few moments with this latest edition to look back on an extraordinary year in the life of COTC.

As I close, on this anniversary of one of our country’s most tragic events, we pause to remember those who lost their lives on that terrible day. And as we progress through the current pandemic, I hope that you will always continue to move forward and look ahead with hope and purpose. Take good care of yourself and others.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

September 4, 2020

Campus colleagues:

As we conclude our second week of classes, I hope that this unusual autumn semester is proceeding smoothly and that you are continuing to stay well.

As our nation, state and communities continue to grapple with the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the recent tragic examples of social injustice are also constantly in our minds and hearts. I want to remind all members of our campus community that we are tasked with a deep responsibility to be a positive force locally for understanding, learning and healing during this time.

One long-standing example of our commitment to this responsibility is the annual Community Intercultural Relations Conference, which has been rescheduled to be held virtually on Friday, September 25. Attendees at this year’s event will learn important techniques for inclusion and active listening that are practical and easy to apply in everyday situations, and I encourage all who have not registered to consider attending. It will be an important and valuable day. Register by September 21 here.

Advancing social justice locally in another way, I’m pleased to share that COTC alumna and former Gateway staff member Bryanna Stigger has been named president of the newly reactivated Licking County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). We congratulate Bryanna for taking on this important work. I’m very proud whenever I see a COTC graduate making a difference, but I’m even more proud to say that Bryanna is only one of countless examples of COTC alumni working selflessly to better their communities. It is a positive reminder of COTC’s broad and deep impact.

With the arrival of autumn semester also comes the political season, and as campaigning begins to intensify I want to remind each of you of the guidelines regarding political activity. Please remember that while political activity and speech are guaranteed by the First Amendment, both federal and Ohio law establish limitations on political speech that could suggest the college has endorsed a particular candidate. No member of the college community may speak or act on behalf of the institution in a political campaign. Although the guidelines linked above are shared from The Ohio State University website, they apply to both COTC and Ohio State employees, as they reflect both federal and state guidelines.

Finally, as the semester continues and we adapt to our new routines, my weekly communications will shift to a lesser frequency. As the month progresses, we’ll continue to follow closely any changes in the COVID-19 protocols and determine a new, appropriate communication schedule. I’ll continue my weekly updates through the end of September. Of course, I reiterate my commitment to timeliness and transparency regarding all college-specific initiatives, especially should any urgent matters arise.

The college will be closed for the Labor Day Holiday on Monday, September 7, so enjoy your long weekend! Be aware that while the public health advisories in Franklin and Licking counties have been lowered to level 2, this level still demands a high degree of caution. Knox and Coshocton counties are also still regarded to have active exposure and spread, so please continue to do your part – mask up, physically distance and wash your hands frequently, and continue to take good care of yourself and others.

Get some rest and enjoy the sunshine – you very much deserve it.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

August 28, 2020

Campus colleagues:

Congratulations on a great opening week! I took some time to walk around the Newark campus on the first day of this uncommon semester, as I wanted to personally view the state of campus and check in with colleagues delivering in-person services. I’m pleased to report that operations were proceeding smoothly throughout, and accounts from area managers indicated that operations continued that way throughout the week.

My friends, this is no small feat. Your continued hard work during the past months made this week’s success possible. I am incredibly proud of our college and each of you. COTC has more than risen to the challenges created by the coronavirus (COVID-19), and I thank you for everything you have accomplished in support of our students and mission.

I’m especially grateful to our Offices of Academic Affairs, the Gateway and Student Financial Services. They worked diligently to manage late-breaking needs for extra class sections, ongoing registrations, and to ensure that all students were ready to start classes. Further, due to the pandemic, some area school districts have announced delayed openings, which has led to a delay in College Credit Plus (CCP) registration. The Gateway will continue to register CCP students over the next several weeks, which will allow our final autumn headcount to continue to climb. As of this morning, COTC’s headcount is 2,850, which is 81% to our goal of 3,501. We will continue to report enrollment figures as they are available.

As the semester continues, I ask that you stay alert to any challenges, and to alert your supervisor so that we can quickly address inefficiencies or other issues. Also, as during the summer semester, please be especially sensitive to any student issues and proactively reach out to students you suspect may need help in any way.

Continue taking good care of yourselves and following protocols. Our campus partner, The Ohio State University, has already noted an increase in the identification of positive COVID-19 cases during its first week of reporting these figures. The virus is still active in our communities, and we must each do our part to prevent further spread.

As I conclude this week’s message, I want to once again convey my deep thanks. Thank you for your creativity, for your diligence and dedication, and most especially for your resilience. We are in this together, as the hashtag says, and for that I am grateful. You represent the best of COTC.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

August 25, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and The Ohio State University at Newark faculty and staff:

The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) are committed to a culture of caring and wellness for all members of the campus community. Wearing a mask is part of the larger picture of safe and healthy measures, including physical distancing, good hygiene and staying away from others when ill.

FACE SHIELDS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR FACE MASKS

Many have inquired about using face shields rather than face masks on campus. Following the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health, the university and college will not permit face shields to be substituted for face masks.

As the semester begins, below is a reminder of our on-campus protocols, daily health-check procedures and symptom-reporting protocols.

ON-CAMPUS PROTOCOLS

  • All employees are expected to follow safe campus requirements to include but not limited to wearing masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing (maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others in any public space), wellness checks/health symptom monitoring, and must participate in contact tracing, quarantine and isolation as may be required by public health authorities.
  • Face masks must be worn in indoor settings.
  • Masks must be put on before entering enclosed or indoor spaces including, but not limited to, classrooms, common areas, conference rooms, shared office spaces, hallways and shared vehicles.
  • Employees are always required to wear face masks except when alone in a private office or while eating food in the cafeteria.
  • Masks must also be worn in outdoor spaces even when individuals can maintain appropriate physical distancing. There is an exception for staff working outdoors for long periods of time who are able to maintain appropriate physical distancing and have a mask available if needed.

DAILY HEALTH CHECK AND SYMPTOM REPORTING

All faculty and staff must perform a daily health check each day they intend to be physically on any COTC or Ohio State campus:

Supervisors of COTC-paid employees: Keep a record that employees reporting to the campus confirmed their temperature each day. Do not ask for or record the actual temperature, just record that they checked before the start of their shift or otherwise entered campus with authorization.

All employees: If you cannot confirm all aspects of your daily health check, then:

  • Do not enter campus.
  • Do follow usual call-off procedures.
  • Contact your primary care provider, or
  • COTC-paid employees: call the Licking County Health Department at 740.349.6535 for guidance.
  • Ohio State-paid employees: call the Wexner Medical Center’s COVID-19 call center at 614.293.4000 for guidance.

Supervisors: If you receive a report, confirmed or unconfirmed, that a member of your team has been exposed to or has contracted coronavirus/COVID-19 contact John Ralston, 740.366.9360 or ralston.87@mail.cotc.edu.

Faculty and staff: If you learn of a possible case, do not share the person’s health information with colleagues. This is a violation of their privacy, and this information is protected by HIPAA and other laws. We must rely on regional public health officials to continue to investigate cases and trace potential contacts.

We thank you for your co-operation in helping maintain a safe and healthy environment for all. Please remember that these plans are provisional and are subject to change at any time. For the most recent information regarding campus protocols as well as health and hygiene links visit the COTC COVID-19 Website and the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the missions of COTC and Ohio State.

Stay safe,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean and Director
The Ohio State University at Newark

 

August 21, 2020

 

August 14, 2020

All official communication regarding the college’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak will be communicated from the Office of the President. Find all communications as well as health and hygiene links on the COTC COVID-19 Website.

Campus colleagues:

With the start of autumn semester just a little over one week away, I know that many of you are busy readying for the resumption of both remote and in-person instruction and also preparing for the new ways we will serve our students who need in-person services on campus. For those participating in our annual faculty development days, I hope that you gain both insight and inspiration, especially as you continue to manage the challenges of our unusual circumstances. For staff members preparing to return to campus, thank you for your adaptability and resourcefulness in serving our students during this crisis. The health and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff have always been our foremost priorities, and I thank all staff and faculty members for your continued patience, resilience and dedication to the college’s mission.

Semester Health and Safety Protocols
This week, in conjunction with our Newark-campus partner, The Ohio State University, Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) expanded our face mask guidelines to require that face masks be worn in outdoor spaces on campus, even when individuals can maintain appropriate physical distancing. This is an update from previously stated guidelines.

Also, as many of you return to campus in the coming weeks, remember that COTC requires a wellness check each day you will be on any COTC campus. For your reference, an updated one-page guide highlighting key elements of the campus re-engagement plan (mandatory daily wellness checks, personal on-campus protocols and on-campus groups and meeting protocols) is attached.

Please be aware that due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that all plans can be subject to change. Details of campus re-engagement protocols and an archive of all previous communications from the Office of the President regarding COVID-19 protocols can always be found at the COTC COVID-19 website, which is the best source for official information regarding COTC’s response.

COTC Zoom Available for Faculty and Staff
As part of the college’s continuing efforts to facilitate virtual learning and collaboration, this week you received information that COTC Zoom Pro accounts are now available for all COTC faculty and staff. COTC Zoom is replacing CarmenZoom as COTC’s official academic web conferencing solution, and if you had been using CarmenZoom to host meetings and webinars you can transition to COTC Zoom immediately. Visit the Getting Started Guide in the COTC Teaching Resource Center for an overview of the tool. For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Digital Learning Team:

Financial Future
In my campus communication of July 31, you will recall that I shared information regarding COTC’s financial future. Due to highly fluid financial factors surrounding COVID-19, we modified our traditional budgetary approach this spring and in May presented the COTC Board of Trustees with a balanced foundational FY21 operating budget, which they approved.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, COTC was already experiencing a revenue shortfall of $800,000 due to low enrollment and losses in investment income. In early July, the state of Ohio cut State Share of Instruction (SSI) funding by 4.38%. While this was not as much as we initially feared, it is still significant to our budget and combined with our previous shortfalls has created the need for budgetary adjustments. To address these shortfalls and cuts, we have developed a budget correction plan which will be presented to the COTC Board of Trustees at their August 18 meeting. It is important to note that due to the volatility with state funding further cuts to SSI could be implemented throughout the year.

I will provide a full report regarding details of the budget correction plan after the board meeting next week.

Moving Forward Together

My friends, we have journeyed far together during this crisis, and as I close this week’s communication I want to remind each of you of the important role you play in contributing to the health and safety of our campus and local communities. As we begin a new semester, please remain vigilant in your adherence to physical distancing, mask wearing and other important health and safety guidelines. Our unified efforts can make a difference.

Please take good care of yourselves and each other. I look forward to an exciting, productive and engaging semester.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

Additional Resources:
Steps to Prevent Illness
CDC and Health Departments

 

August 7, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and The Ohio State University at Newark faculty and staff:

The safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority, and today we are sharing additional information regarding on-campus protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). With the start of autumn semester quickly approaching, we hope that this information will help you understand not only the general hygiene and safety measures put in place on campus but also your role in ensuring a safe campus environment. Brief updates from the OCIO and campus bookstore regarding autumn semester procedures are also included. Please remember that these plans are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

 

CAMPUS READINESS

Campus Cleaning Protocols
In addition to the usual daily housekeeping activities (cleaning restrooms, trash collection, sweeping, etc.) the facilities department has established enhanced daily housekeeping operations that meet or exceed the cleaning and disinfecting standards for campus readiness defined by The Ohio State University during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional cleaning protocols include:

  • Daily cleaning of door handles, tables, ATMs and other high-touch surfaces.
  • Daily disinfecting of the two open computer labs on the Newark campus (Founders Hall 180 and Reese Center 206) and the computer labs at the COTC extended campuses (Coshocton campus: Montgomery Hall room 265 (PC lab) and room 345 (Mac lab), Knox campus: Ariel Hall room 10, Pataskala Campus Annex: room 2F).
  • Use of sanitizing misters throughout campus spaces each evening. The disinfecting/sanitizing products are Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved for killing COVID-19.
  • Disinfectant wipes supplied to each classroom and lab used during autumn semester.
  • Disinfectant wipes or spray and paper towels supplied to high-volume areas on campus.
  • Required use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all custodians.

First shift housekeeping operations have been ongoing, and cleaning and sanitizing processes were employed in classrooms and labs during the summer semester. Second shift housekeeping operations will resume on August 17.

Campus Signage

  • COVID-related signage referencing CDC guidance for hand washing, mandatory face coverings and social distancing requirements, as well as floor and seat stickers to ensure that safe distances are maintained, have been installed throughout all campus buildings.

Hand Sanitizer

  • The number of public hand-sanitizing stations throughout campus has been more than doubled through a combination of wall-mounted and cardboard dispensing units.
  • Personal bottles of hand sanitizer are being distributed to all faculty and staff offices.

Digital Touchless Thermometers

  • Touchless, wall-mounted thermometers will be installed outside the Office of Public Safety in the Warner Center and at each of the COTC extended campuses.

Disposable Masks

  • A plastic bag containing 10-12 disposable masks will be placed at the instructor’s podium in all classrooms and labs that will be in use during autumn semester as well as in student-facing administrative offices. Custodial staff will check this supply as part of their daily rounds.

Furniture Reconfigurations and Plexiglas Screens

  • The furniture in all public spaces has been moved and/or relocated to promote social distancing.
  • The tables and chairs in all classrooms and labs being utilized this autumn have been arranged to follow Ohio State’s spacing guidelines.
  • Plexiglas screens have been fabricated and installed in various student/public-serving areas.
  • The exercise equipment in the Adena Recreation Center has been rearranged and/or moved into the gymnasium to promote social distancing.

Air Filters

  • New, high-density air filters will be installed in all campus buildings.

Building Hours

  • Signs detailing autumn semester building hours will be posted at each building entrance.

 

DAILY HEALTH CHECK AND SYMPTOM REPORTING
  • All faculty and staff must perform a daily health check each day they intend to be physically on any COTC or Ohio State campus:
    • COTC-paid employees will report to their supervisors using the criteria outlined on the COTC COVID site.
    • Ohio State-paid employees can visit the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes daily health check site for instructions on recording their daily health check in the Ohio State mobile app or compass.osu.edu.
  • Supervisors of COTC-paid employees: Keep a record that employees reporting to the campus confirmed their temperature each day. Do not ask for or record the actual temperature, just record that they checked before the start of their shift or otherwise entered campus with authorization.
  • All employees: If you cannot confirm all aspects of your daily health check, then:
    • Do not enter campus.
    • Do follow usual call-off procedures.
    • Contact your primary care provider, or
      COTC-paid employees: call the Licking County Health Department at 740.349.6535 for guidance.
    • Ohio State-paid employees: call the Wexner Medical Center’s COVID-19 call center at 614.293.4000 for guidance.
  • Supervisors: If you receive a report, confirmed or unconfirmed, that a member of your team has been exposed to or has contracted coronavirus/COVID-19 contact John Ralston, 740.366.9360 or ralston.87@mail.cotc.edu.
  • Faculty and staff: If you learn of a possible case, do not share the person’s health information with colleagues. This is a violation of their privacy, and this information is protected by HIPAA and other laws. We must rely on regional public health officials to continue to investigate cases and trace potential contacts.

 

ON-CAMPUS EXPECTATIONS
  • All employees are expected to follow safe campus requirements to include but not limited to wearing masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing (maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others in any public space), wellness checks/health symptom monitoring, and must participate in contact tracing, quarantine and isolation as may be required by public health authorities.
  • Face masks must be worn in indoor settings.
  • Masks must be put on before entering enclosed or indoor spaces including, but not limited to, classrooms, common areas, conference rooms, shared office spaces, hallways and shared vehicles.
  • Employees are always required to wear face masks except when alone in a private office or while eating food in the cafeteria.
  • Masks must also be worn in outdoor spaces where individuals cannot maintain appropriate physical distancing.

 

OCIO OPERATIONS 

To support the health and safety of faculty, staff, and students, drop-in IT support is currently unavailable. Please contact the IT Service Desk for assistance.

  • Faculty and Staff: We encourage you to reach out for remote assistance via phone, email or Self Service. If in-person support is required, a technician will be dispatched or an in-person appointment will be scheduled in alignment with the safe and healthy guidelines. When in-person support is necessary, it will be performed via curbside pickup, at the customer’s desk or in Founders Hall Room 175 following physical distancing recommendations.

 

CAMPUS BOOKSTORE
  • The bookstore will be staffed during regular hours but operating with significantly reduced capacity due to physical distancing requirements.
  • Orders can be placed online and shipped to home rather than for in-store pickup. Any order over $50.00 will receive free shipping and one-day transit time in Ohio.

 

We understand that the details surrounding campus re-engagement are numerous, and we thank you again for your patience and resilience. The health and safety of our campus community remain our highest priorities. Please understand that due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic that all plans can be subject to change.

The virus is still prevalent in our communities, and we urge all to continue practicing social distancing, hand washing and other health and safety protocols. Keep abreast of accurate information and developments of the virus by visiting the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health websites.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the missions of COTC and Ohio State.

Stay safe,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean and Director
The Ohio State University at Newark

July 31, 2020

Campus colleagues:

It hardly seems possible that another semester has concluded while we are yet still in the midst of employing pandemic protocols in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19). I know that this has not been an easy journey, and my thanks go out to each of you for your resilience and resolve. You inspire me daily with your dedication to our mission and our students. Congratulations – and thank you on a job well done.

The health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priorities, and, as you know, the summer semester will begin on August 25 in remote, in-person and hybrid formats. COTC will follow this academic plan for the entire autumn semester regardless of any positive developments around the pandemic. Should there be a resurgence in the virus or governmental restrictions are again imposed, however, COTC could return to completely remote formats for all instruction and student services. I thank you for your understanding and patience. The future holds much uncertainty regarding COVID-19, and I promise continued updates as more information is available.

Financial Future
I also want to share further information regarding COTC’s financial future. You will recall that due to highly fluid financial factors surrounding COVID-19, we modified our traditional budgetary approach this spring. As we approached budget planning for FY21, there were several key dynamics to consider. In May, we presented the COTC Board of Trustees with a balanced foundational FY21 operating budget, which they approved. From this baseline budget, we immediately began developing contingency targets and plans for anticipated reductions in State Share of Instruction (SSI) and enrollment. Now, with additional information at hand, David Brillhart, vice president for business and finance, is nearing finalization of a comprehensive budget plan that will balance our FY21 operating budget. This plan will be presented to the COTC board at their next scheduled meeting on August 18.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, COTC was already experiencing a revenue shortfall of $800,000 due to low enrollment and losses in investment income. In early July, the state of Ohio cut SSI funding by 4.38%. While this was not as much as we initially feared, it is still significant to our budget and combined with our previous shortfalls has created the need for budgetary adjustments. It is important to note that due to the volatility with state funding, further cuts to SSI could be implemented throughout the year.

Enrollment for autumn semester is currently at 12% less than last year at this time. In speaking with my presidential counterparts at other Ohio Association of Community College institutions across the state, I can confirm that we are certainly not alone in an enrollment deficit at this point in the summer. Nor are we experiencing the worst deficit – most institutions are currently reporting autumn enrollment deficits between 10-20%. Our colleagues in the Gateway are continuing to conduct outreach via email, text and phone calls to close this deficit as much as possible.

As reported previously, COTC initially received $1,660,000.00 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. Half was already distributed as emergency grant funding directly to students impacted by COVID-19. The other 50% will be used to assist in expenses related to the pandemic directly improving our financial situation. We are also pleased that additional CARES Act funding of $436,000 has been received through the state of Ohio’s allocation and an additional $81,000 of CARES Act funding is being requested through the Federal Department of Education. These funds are carefully monitored with specific criteria and will be carefully considered in covering current and future costs of the pandemic.

As we continue to assess this evolving situation and confront the fact of falling revenue, it is imperative that we address long-term operational efficiency and program sustainability. In the coming weeks, as the budgetary plan is finalized, I will share additional critical information regarding the college’s plans. Supporting COTC’s mission and commitment to educational access will be the driving factors in all budget considerations, as is our commitment to financial sustainability in honoring our role as stewards of the public trust through efficient and effective use of our resources.

My colleagues, we still face difficult times ahead. As always, I thank you for your continued hard work and dedication to COTC.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

 John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

July 24, 2020

 

July 17, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and Ohio State Newark faculty and staff:

Last week (July 8) we communicated information regarding our phased re-engagement with campus for autumn semester (read the archived message at COTC and Ohio State Newark). Today we share additional details about campus re-engagement. We understand that this is an extraordinary time, and we hope that these further details will help you better understand expectations and plans for any on-campus activities. As always, the safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority, and we ask that you please adhere to all outlined regulations to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic, please remember that these plans are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Campus Re-Engagement Autumn 2020

Campus buildings

To facilitate faculty and staff preparations for autumn semester, the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center will be unlocked and open for faculty/staff access on August 3, 2020, and most other campus buildings will be unlocked on August 17.

Beginning on August 19, 2020, the Adena Hall Recreation Center will open for use with full regular hours, including Saturdays, to coincide with residence hall move in. In addition to all available federal, state, local and university guidelines, the Office of Student Life will also follow the guidance of national sports governing bodies to ensure that physical distancing practices and other safety protocols are in place for any recreational sports activities.

Student access

Students will have access to all internal campus spaces during autumn semester, following physical distancing (six feet) and face-covering protocols. The Warner Center and other gathering areas such as the Hopewell Hall mall area, Founders Hall entry lounge, John Gilbert Reese Center lobby and the Jones Event Center in Jane C. and William T. McConnell Hall will be available to students with modifications to ensure physical distancing (i.e., spacing/rearranging of furniture).

Spaces should be managed by departmental staff to ensure physical distancing is maintained. At this point, we are not placing limits on the number of people within a space, since most classes will be offered in a remote format, limiting the number of students needing to come to campus. However, should this become an issue, we can revisit and adjust our plans as appropriate. We do, however, still anticipate having a regular contingent of students on campus. Students who are taking a class in person, who then have an online class shortly thereafter, may choose to stay on campus to take their online class. Students who do not have their own transportation will be dropped off and may remain on campus for extended periods of time. We will also have our resident students who may also choose to utilize available campus space.

We anticipate that not all students will have a strong enough home Internet connection to support a live Zoom class, and we expect some students will use campus space for those classes. The Reese Center computer lab will continue to be open for students, and we are adding a second computer lab in Founders Hall (room 180). The computer labs on each of COTC’s extended campuses will continue to be open. Access to the Newark campus Wi-Fi will remain available in the Adena Hall parking lot.

On-campus safety protocols and daily cleaning

Face coverings and physical distancing are required for all individuals in all COTC and Ohio State buildings. Employees are required to wear face masks at all times except when alone in a private office or while eating food in the cafeteria. Masks must be worn in indoor settings, including, but not limited to: classrooms, common areas, conference rooms, shared office spaces, hallways and shared vehicles on all campuses. Masks must also be worn in outdoor spaces where individuals cannot maintain appropriate physical distancing.

Daily cleaning protocols are in place and will be fully implemented by mid-August. With these protocols in place, we should not need to close offices or buildings should the campus have a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Residence Hall Dining Services, Table of Contents and the Bean Counter

August 19 and 20: dining services will open in the Warner Center, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (limited menu).

August 21: open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. (limited menu) so food service will be available to students moving into the residence halls.

Beginning August 24: Table of Contents (TOC) and the Bean Counter hours of operation:

  • Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Friday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday, noon-6 p.m.

All TOC orders will be conducted through Grubhub during autumn semester. Read more about those changes and about installing the Grubhub app for ordering at the TOC here. Snacks that are offered at the Reese Center Cyber Café can be ordered on the Grubhub app and picked up at the TOC.

On-campus groups and meeting protocols
Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Therefore, during time on-campus, employees are encouraged to communicate with colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology, rather than face-to-face. Employees can also use a range of available collaboration tools (e.g., Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, conference calls, etc.)

Departmental meetings should be conducted by virtual means (such as Zoom) whenever possible. If the meeting must be conducted in person, the participants will be limited to 10 or fewer and all must maintain appropriate physical distancing requirements and wear a face covering.

In an office setting, no more than one person should be in the room unless the required six feet of distancing can be consistently maintained.

Check Safe and Healthy Buckeyes (Ohio State) and Stay Connected (COTC) sites for the latest updates.

Additional Zoom security measures coming July 30
In an effort to increase security and privacy for the campus community, all Zoom meetings will require a passcode beginning July 30, and the change will prevent users from turning off the passcode going forward. Passcodes will be applied to previously scheduled meetings and Personal Meeting ID links. If you have any upcoming meetings without a passcode, you will need to edit those meetings, as well as your Personal Meeting ID. Updating your Zoom meetings before July 30 will create a smoother experience for your attendees.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to develop and communicate these many new procedures for on-campus engagement. We understand that there is much information to consume, and as we continue to approach the start of autumn semester we will share additional documents outlining this information.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the missions of Ohio State and COTC.

Stay safe,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean and Director
The Ohio State University at Newark

 

July 10, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) faculty and staff:

I hope that your semester is progressing well. While we will each experience different emotions and events during this pandemic – uncertainty, frustration, loneliness, income loss – I want to re-emphasize the importance of supporting each other as a COTC family. Challenges will undoubtedly remain as the coronavirus (COVID-19) circulates in our communities. Therefore, in today’s message, I reminded our students of COTC’s We’re Here for our Students Promise – that COTC pledges to do everything in our power to ensure that their educational paths are not adversely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. I urge you to remain vigilant in monitoring student progress as well as continuing to take good care of yourself and others. Your health and welfare, and the academic success of our students, remain our highest concerns.

COTC Travel Restrictions

Essential news I want to share this week is that COTC is implementing a domestic travel-related campuses access restriction effective immediately and until further notice. This restriction applies to COTC-paid employees who are direct service providers/have face-to-face interaction with students.

Employees in this category who travel to any states identified as “hot spots” must not enter the Newark campus or any of the COTC extended campuses for fourteen days after their return to Ohio. For this purpose, “hot spot” states are defined as those states that the CDC reports having the highest number of cases in the last seven days on the CDC data tracker (those states in the far right category). While restricted from campus, employees may utilize their accrued sick leave or vacation time, or work from home with their supervisor’s approval. Employees who cannot work from home and have no available paid leave must utilize leave without pay.

Governor DeWine Announces Higher Education Funding and Guidelines
On Thursday, Gov. DeWine announced important news on Ohio’s higher education reopening guidelines. Key elements of these guidelines align directly with the Ohio Association of Community College’s recommendations as well as with COTC’s current re-engagement plan, which I shared earlier this week. Any campus re-engagement will be introduced in thoughtful and strategic phases with adherence to CDC and ODH guidelines for lessening the spread of the virus.

Notably, Gov. DeWine also announced his intention to request $200 million for higher education COVID-19 relief from the Ohio Controlling Board. This funding will come from the federal CARES Act to help defray the additional costs colleges and universities will incur due to COVID-19, and institutions will have flexibility on how to best spend these dollars at the institutional level. This funding is in addition to the CARES Act support COTC has already received, and we are extremely thankful to Gov. DeWine for his leadership.

Nursing Students Help with Contact Tracing
Some additional positive news I want to share this week is that COTC healthcare students are conducting contact tracing for the Licking County Health Department. We’re very proud to report this important collaboration; it’s wonderful to see COTC help lead this effort in our community. Thanks to all who are participating in this critical strategy for defeating COVID-19.

Stay Safe
As you are probably aware, COVID-19 cases are increasing across the state, and wearing face masks is now required in several counties, including Franklin and Fairfield. Please help everyone stay safe by continuing to follow CDC and Ohio Department of Health guidelines. It is uncertain how long the virus will continue impacting our communities, but if we all take action to lessen spread of COVID-19 we can together have a positive impact to lessen spread in our communities.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

July 8, 2020

To Ohio State Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) faculty and staff:

The safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and we write to offer several updates related to our phased return to campus. As we move closer to the opening of autumn semester, we hope that this information will help you understand the next steps in our staged process for campus re-engagement. Please remember that these plans are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Phased Return to Campus

Update: nonessential employee campus visits
Nonessential employee visits to campus to retrieve items from your office or from research and instructional labs that are necessary for you to continue working remotely will continue to be available through the month of July. So that proper cleaning can be conducted, please continue to schedule these trips to campus with the Office of Public Safety or the respective campus’s facilities supervisor for COTC’s extended campuses. Find contact info for scheduling visits at myCOTC and myNewark.

Checking in at Public Safety or the facilities offices before going to your office for nonessential visits is no longer necessary.
However, prior to coming to campus, all employees must complete and record a daily wellness check. Ohio State-paid employees can visit the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes daily health check site for instructions on recording their daily health check in the Ohio State mobile app or compass.osu.edu. COTC-paid employees will continue reporting to their supervisors using the criteria and procedures already in place. Masks are required in all public spaces and social distancing protocols must be followed.

During the month of July, we are working to ready the campus from an environmental standpoint for re-engagement including signage, cleaning regime, hand sanitizing stations, etc. Therefore, beginning August 1, 2020, all COTC and Ohio State Newark employees will have access to the campus without making appointments through Public Safety/facilities. However, please be advised that employees should only come to campus for work that cannot be completed remotely. Those employees who are able to telework must continue to do so. Daily wellness checks will continue to be required for all faculty/staff prior to coming to campus.

Autumn semester staffing

Offices that are primarily student facing are expected to have a minimal on-campus presence during the autumn semester. We do expect these offices to be staffed during regular working hours with at least one staff member to provide assistance to those students with needs requiring in-person services. Those employees may return to campus the week of August 17. All other offices will continue to work remotely throughout the autumn semester. Coming back to campus because you want to is an unacceptable reason to return to campus if you can do your work from home.

Library staffing
Library staff will return to the library in a limited capacity starting July 27; this will allow them to manage the return of OhioLINK materials and set up a quarantine area for all returns. Beginning on August 3, the library will be staffed 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and the book drop in the Warner Center will be open. Contact-free materials pickups by appointment will also start within open hours.

Ohio State: Resumption of research and creative expression activities
Ohio State faculty who are resuming activities under the Staged Reopening of Research and Creative Expression should follow the dates assigned in that plan.

In-person meetings
Face-to-face internal meetings on campus will only be permitted on an exception basis, with our approval. We feel that most spaces will be used for academic purposes and that there will be limited availability for other internal uses. We also don’t anticipate many people working on campus to be meeting and are encouraging virtual meetings.

Thank you again for your patience as we worked through the many details of any campus re-engagement. The health and safety of our campus community remain our highest priorities. Please understand that due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic that all plans can be subject to change.

Please continue taking good care of yourselves, and we urge you to continue practicing social distancing, hand washing and other health and safety protocols. Keep abreast of accurate information and developments of the virus by visiting the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health websites.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the missions of Ohio State and COTC.

Stay safe,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean and Director
The Ohio State University at Newark

 

July 6, 2020

To all COTC faculty and staff,

Effective immediately and until further notice, prior to entering any Ohio State or COTC campus, all faculty and staff must perform a daily wellness check.

Employees are to check their temperature at home prior to entering campus.
Employees unable to check their temperatures at home should contact John Ralston at 740-366-9360 or Ralston.87.

Ohio State (Newark)-paid employees visit the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes daily health check site for instructions on recording their daily health check in the Ohio State mobile app or compass.osu.edu.

You may come to campus only if you can confirm:

  • No fever of 100°F/38°C or higher,
  • No cough or shortness of breath, and
  • No known exposure to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

If:

  • Your temperature is 100°F/38°C or higher, OR
  • You have a cough or shortness of breath, OR
  • You have known exposure, for example:
    • a family member at home with a confirmed COVID-19 positive test, or
    • you have knowingly been exposed to anyone with a confirmed COVID-19 positive test,

Then:

  • Do not enter campus,
  • Do follow usual call-off procedures, and
  • Contact your primary care provider, or
    Ohio State-paid employees: call the Wexner Medical Center’s COVID-19 call center at 614-293-4000 for guidance, or
    COTC-paid employees: call the Licking County Health Department at 740-349-6535 for guidance.

Supervisors:

  • Confirm each day that employees checked their temperature before they entered campus, and
  • For COTC-paid employees, keep a record that employees reporting to the campus confirmed they checked their temperature each day. Do not ask for or record the actual temperature, just record that they checked before the start of their shift or otherwise entered campus with authorization.

Remember:

  • If you learn of a possible case, do not share the person’s health information with colleagues. This is a violation of their privacy, and this information is protected by HIPAA and other laws. We must rely on regional public health officials to continue to investigate cases and trace potential contacts.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald

Dean/Director

The Ohio State University at Newark

 

July 2, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) faculty and staff:

 Your health and welfare remain our highest priorities, and I hope that you are continuing to take good care of yourself and others. In my communication today to students, I reminded them that every department at COTC stands ready to help them succeed and achieve their goals. I thank you all for the many ways you help our students every day. As the semester continues, please continue to proactively reach out to students who may be struggling in any way. Together, we will help our students successfully reach their goals.

Autumn Semester – Registration Underway
As announced previously, COTC will conduct a combination of remote, in-person and hybrid classes during autumn semester. Key elements of the plan are the continuation of remote delivery for lecture-only classes and the resumption of full face-to-face instruction for classes that require a student’s physical presence in a laboratory. Registration is already underway for autumn and will continue until August 25, the first day of classes.

Autumn semester enrollment is currently trending 17% behind enrollment for the same time last year. However, the Gateway did see a significant increase immediately following our announcement of autumn semester plans, and we are hopeful for a continued upward trend. Healthcare programs are registering in the next few days, which will boost this number. The Gateway will work to identify specific areas that may be trending behind to determine additional outreach. On a positive note, applications continue to trend up. My thanks to the Gateway staff and all student service offices who are working very hard remotely to help students finalize their autumn semester plans.

Justice for Racial Equality
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is wrapping up its summer virtual series for students, Justice for Racial Equality, and is also planning virtual sessions for faculty and staff. I am incredibly proud of COTC’s diverse community, and we remain dedicated to providing an inclusive, welcoming environment grounded in respect for human dignity and each other. We must stand up daily to maintain these principles, and I encourage you to engage in these important conversations.

COTC closed July 3
The college will be closed on July 3 to celebrate Independence Day, and with COVID-19 cases increasing across the state, please help everyone stay safe by continuing to follow CDC guidelines during any gatherings. July 3 would normally find me preparing for the annual Independence Day concert and fireworks hosted by the Newark campus, as I am sure many of you would be, too. But, as we all find different and creative ways to safely spend the holiday this year, I hope that yours still includes some hallmarks of the celebration – good food, good fellowship and enjoying the outdoors.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

June 26, 2020

 

June 19, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) students, faculty and staff:

This week, the COTC President’s Cabinet approved a plan for autumn semester 2020 academic operations at all COTC campuses. The health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff remained our top priorities during this planning, as did our commitment to continue offering exceptional academic experiences for our students. Any level of campus re-engagement during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will follow CDC guidelines to lessen the spread of COVID-19. This includes classroom readiness, physical distancing, safety signage and the use of personal protective equipment.

Autumn semester course delivery overview
COTC will use a hybrid delivery strategy incorporating fully in-person classes/labs, remote instruction, and hybrid classes/labs offering a mix of both in-person and remote instruction. Key aspects of this plan are the continuation of remote delivery for lecture-only classes and the resumption of full face-to-face instruction for all classes that require a student’s physical presence in a laboratory. This primarily, although not exclusively, refers to healthcare program labs. When labs can be accomplished effectively remotely, faculty will be encouraged to choose this option.

COTC will begin classes on August 25 as planned and will follow the normal semester schedule, including breaks. However, the majority of academic programs will cease any physical contact with students before Thanksgiving break. While classes will not end at that time, labs and clinicals that require physical presence and are able to finish by that time will be encouraged to do so. Those classes with cumulative final exams that require a student presence after Thanksgiving will be allowed to do so, pending approval by the appropriate dean. Clinicals and internships will function normally. Should a change in state guidance regarding clinicals and internships occur, students will be informed by their respective faculty.

COTC will follow this academic operations plan for the autumn semester regardless of any positive developments around the pandemic. Further, should there be a resurgence in the virus and/or governmental restrictions are again imposed, COTC could return to completely remote formats for all instruction and student services.

We understand that you will have additional questions regarding the full scope of COTC’s plan for autumn semester. We encourage students to reach out to their academic advisor with any questions.

To read the entire academic operations plan, please click here.

Tutoring and Testing Centers
All tutoring and testing center services will continue virtually at this time. Further announcements regarding the potential addition of in-person services in these areas will be forthcoming.

Enrollment Management
Advising
appointments will continue to be held virtually. In-person appointments will be approved on a case-by-case basis and must be scheduled ahead of time. Walk-in appointments will be unavailable during the autumn semester. The advising staff will create guidelines for physical distancing and for following other CDC recommended guidelines.

College Credit Plus (CCP) courses will continue. CCP students will still be able to enroll in courses taught at their high school by approved high school teachers (Option A) or enroll in courses offered through one of COTC’s four campus locations or online (Option C). COTC will not send college faculty to teach in area high schools (Option B).

Recruitment events including individual appointments, info sessions and visit days will continue to be exclusively held virtually during autumn semester. No in-person events will be scheduled.

These are challenging times for all, and I want to thank you for your continued patience and perseverance during this time of such uncertainty. COTC will strive to keep the student experience as normal as possible while also working to ensure the continued safety of our communities.

I want to thank our Offices of Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management and the many faculty members who contributed their insight and expertise during the creation of this plan. We believe that our hybrid approach will help ensure the safety of our college community while also offering a breadth of engaged academic experiences.

It is uncertain how long the virus will continue impacting our communities, and we ask for your continued flexibility as the autumn semester unfolds. I am grateful for your continued resilience and strength, and I look forward to celebrating your accomplishments in December as our autumn semester concludes.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

June 16, 2020

To Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and Ohio State Newark faculty and staff:

The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority, and we write to offer several updates related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. While there is still much work to do, we hope that this update will help you understand what COTC and Ohio State Newark are doing now to plan for any re-engagement with campus.

 As you know, both Ohio State Newark and COTC have operated almost exclusively in remote formats since mid-March to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Our initial onsite presence was limited to essential employees deemed necessary to maintain business continuity, including public safety and security, facilities staff and some COTC administrative staff. In late May, as the state moved toward strategically reopening some businesses and services, we were able to begin offering limited, prescheduled campus visits for nonessential employees. As we plan for campus re-engagement for autumn semester, we will continue to implement a phased approach focused on safety, including: classroom readiness, physical distancing, safety signage and personal protective equipment.

Continuation of Teleworking
Until further notice, all nonessential employees are to continue teleworking and to remain off campus. Exceptions are limited to nonessential employees who wish to briefly visit their office or the Services Center and to those faculty who have approval to conduct research in their labs. To schedule a visit to a campus building, please follow these guidelines posted at myCOTC and myNewark.

Resumption of Research and Creative Expression Activities

Ohio State’s Office of Research has approved the first three stages of our five-stage plan for resuming research and creative expression activities. Resumption of those activities will begin on June 22, and the appropriate faculty and staff have been contacted. All returning employees returning under that plan must complete a training program and submit an attestation form before returning, and have plans in place to maintain distancing, masks and cleaning protocols for their spaces. Density must not exceed 25% at any given time within spaces, within buildings, and across campus.

Facilities Protocols to Promote Compliance with COVID-19 Guidelines
Brian Boehmer, Jackie Parrill and Suzanne Bressoud are leading our effort to ready our facilities protocols to facilitate social distancing. They will work with others (including Katie Blocksidge, Lazaro Fuentes, Desiree Fuerst, Lori Garrabrant, Holly Mason and Joe McCartney) to prepare to investigate, create, and/or acquire signage, plexiglass barriers, ribbon dividers, hand-sanitizing stations, cleaning supplies and other equipment necessary to promote all campus constituents’ compliance with state, COTC and Ohio State COVID-19 policies. Brian, Jackie and Suzanne will work with unit managers to identify offices/areas in which we need to install equipment.

Brian and his team have already done a lot of work to get us started. They have developed a prototype plexiglass barrier and are currently looking into obtaining the supplies needed to make additional barriers. Our facilities office has also ordered bottles of personal hand sanitizer and pump sprayers.

 Classroom and Instructional Lab Occupancy Limits and Scheduling
Ohio State Newark Associate Dean Stephanie Brown and COTC Provost Eric Heiser, with assistance from Brian Boehmer, are taking the lead on defining new occupancy limits for classrooms and instructional labs and on assessing the possible need to adjusting the course schedule for autumn semester if new occupancy limits force us to reduce class sizes and add new course sections. Brian has already developed estimates of new occupancy limits and is looking at ways of arranging or marking furniture to facilitate social distancing.

 Preparing Employees to Return to Campus

John Ralston and Jackie Parrill are readying us to communicate with faculty and staff about resuming activities on campus.

 Preparing Students to Come to Campus

Holly Mason and Justin Kohl are preparing us to communicate with students about returning to campus this fall.

 Preparing Visitors to Resume Visiting Campus Buildings
Suzanne Bressoud and David Brillhart will take the lead on preparing us to communicate with external constituencies about visiting campus buildings and reserving spaces for events.

We thank you for your patience as we work through the details of any campus re-engagement. The health and safety of our campus community remain our highest priorities. We will do our best to avoid confusion, but the COVID-19 crisis is full of uncertainty. Please understand that all plans can be subject to change.

Please continue taking good care of yourselves as the state of Ohio continues to open more businesses and venues. We urge you to continue practicing social distancing, hand washing and other health and safety protocols, and to keep abreast of accurate information and developments of the virus by visiting the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health websites.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the missions of Ohio State and COTC.

Stay safe,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean and Director
The Ohio State University at Newark 

 

June 12, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) students, faculty and staff:

As we end another week during this extraordinary time, I hope that you continue to be well. As you read in my communication from earlier today, COTC confirmed our first case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) this week. While safety measures and protocols were followed on campus by the individuals directly involved, this is a clear reminder that COVID-19 is still present in our communities. Your health and wellbeing continue as our highest priority, and as I stressed earlier, I urge everyone to continue social distancing and following the CDC guidelines to lessen transmission of the virus.

Conversations with Allies & Advocates
Spurred by the recent tragic examples of inequality in our society, COTC and The Ohio State University at Newark this week held a virtual forum, Conversations with Allies & Advocates, as the first in a newly planned series to engage campus voices to become positive forces for healing. Additional virtual conversations for all students, faculty and staff are currently being planned. We have posted several helpful resources for education about racism, white privilege and systemic bias on our website.

Autumn Semester Planning
As we complete our plan for autumn semester instruction amidst the continuing threat of COVID-19, please know that health and safety have been at the forefront of our discussions and strategy. I expect to make an announcement regarding autumn semester next week. I thank you for your patience and understanding as we worked through the many details involved in this planning.

COTC Pataskala Campus Renovation Beginning

In some very exciting news for the college, I want to remind everyone that the renovation of our COTC Pataskala campus facility at 8660 E. Broad St. is beginning. As of Monday, June 15, all classes, advising, scheduling and other operations that would be held at the campus once face-to-face operations resume will be temporarily relocated to the COTC Pataskala Annex in the Pataskala City Administration building at 621 W. Broad St., Pataskala, 4.3 miles east on State Rt. 16/E. Broad St. Please note that the limited access student-use computer lab at the E. Broad St. Pataskala campus is closed. Students will have access to a computer lab at the COTC Pataskala Annex, room 2F. Details of days and hours of computer lab availability with be forthcoming very shortly. Keep up to date with the project on the COTC website.

I hope that you find time for rest and reflection this weekend. Enjoy the sunshine, but please take good care of yourselves and others. I applaud your perseverance during these trying times, and I thank you again for being a part of our COTC family.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

All official communication regarding the college’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak will be communicated from the Office of the President. Find all communications as well as health and hygiene links on the COTC COVID-19 Website.

Additional Resources:
Steps to Prevent Illness
CDC and Health Departments

 

June 12, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) students, faculty and staff:

 First and foremost, the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority. And as you know, COTC has continued to operate almost exclusively in remote formats since mid-March to lessen the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Licking County Health Department has confirmed that a COTC student has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This is COTC’s first confirmed case of the virus. All safety measures and protocols were followed in this matter. The student only came into direct contact with one college employee. The public health system will conduct contact tracing and notify individuals who had close contact with the student. All individuals were wearing facemasks, social distancing was followed, and the room was cleaned and disinfected after the meeting and before any subsequent use.

As this pandemic continues to evolve, it is important that information is shared appropriately to protect the health and wellbeing of our community while working to stop the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, we must respect everyone’s medical privacy and ensure the accuracy of information. As a result, the college is not able to publicly confirm and share details of individual COVID-19 cases. Please remember: If you learn of a possible case, do not share the person’s health information with colleagues. This is a violation of their privacy, and this information is protected by HIPAA and other laws. In the face of this unprecedented pandemic, we must rely on regional public health officials to continue to investigate cases and trace potential contacts.

This development reminds us all of the importance of following hygiene protocols and that COVID-19 is still very much present in our communities. I urge each of you to continue strictly following the CDC guidelines to lessen transmission of the virus.

How to protect yourself and others
Social distancing is scientifically proven to be one of the most effective methods to slow the transmission of communicable disease, such as COVID-19. The CDC recommends to:

  • Keep a distance of at least six feet away from another person
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Refrain from touching your face
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Cover coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands)
  • Regularly clean high-touch surfaces and refrain from shaking hands

Also, please continue to follow the college’s established procedures for on-campus activity. These are limited to essential employees, pre-scheduled non-essential employee campus visits, and a very limited number of face-to-face instructional activities for students and faculty. Students should reach out to their faculty members with any procedural questions or concerns. Faculty and staff should contact their supervisor or John Ralston, COTC director of human resources, 740.366.9360.

If you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with COVID-19, have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with the virus, you should contact your primary care physician. If you are unable to reach your primary care physician you should contact the Ohio Department of Health coronavirus hotline at 833.427.5634.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters together. Your safety and welfare are our highest concern. While many businesses and activities continue to open, it is still critically important that we all remain diligent in our efforts to lessen the spread of COVID-19.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

All official communication regarding the college’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak will be communicated from the Office of the President. Find all communications as well as health and hygiene links on the COTC COVID-19 Website.

Additional Resources:
Steps to Prevent Illness
CDC and Health Departments

 

June 5, 2020

To all COTC faculty, staff and students:

Earlier in the week, Dr. MacDonald and I shared with you an important call to action in response to the latest string of tragic examples of injustice in our society. We are tasked with a deep responsibility to be a positive force to help our campus and larger communities listen, learn, understand and heal during this time. We are calling on all faculty, staff, students and alumni to reaffirm their personal commitment to accepting social responsibility, to fostering peace and nonviolence, striving for equality and leading toward meaningful change through collaborative service.

To this end, we will work with our Office of Student Life, COTC’s Division of Academic Affairs, Ohio State Newark’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and several student organizations to coordinate a Courageous Conversation initiative. We are not perfect, but our campus community has exhibited a strong and stable commitment to citizenship for a just world, something the broader world desperately needs right now. And on the strength of our commitment to that virtue, we must lead.

My friends and colleagues, these are indeed grave and extraordinary times.

Amidst the anguish of widespread protests over the past week, our state and communities continue to slowly re-engage in business and social activities curtailed by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Responsible Restart Ohio
I participated in a phone call with Gov. DeWine, the chancellor of higher education and the 22 other Ohio community college presidents on Saturday, May 30. While no formal announcement was made, I am confident that the state’s recommendations for autumn semester will closely follow the plan previously submitted to the governor by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), which included a continuation of remote lectures with in-person lab and practicum experiences allowed under strict health protocols. While we await the governor’s recommendations, our Newark campus co-located partner, The Ohio State University, announced its plans for autumn semester this week. Those largely mirror the OACC plan, including utilizing a combination of in-person and distance instructional methods, social distancing, hand hygiene and limited density in indoor spaces. We will, or course, work closely with our Ohio State partner as we complete our own re-engagement plan, which I anticipate announcing in the coming weeks.

Capital Projects
Pataskala Campus
– Perhaps the most positive news I can share this week is that the state controlling board approved the release of previously secured capital appropriations for the COTC Pataskala campus renovation project. As you may recall, the Pataskala campus at 8660 E. Broad St. will undergo a complete renovation during 2020-21. When we return to on-campus engagement, all classes, advising, scheduling and other operations that would be held at the campus will be temporarily relocated to the COTC Pataskala Annex in the Pataskala City Administration building at 621 W. Broad St., 4.3 miles east on State Rt. 16/E. Broad St. We anticipate that the move out of the current building will be complete on or before June 26, and that the renovation project will be well underway this summer. The campus re-opening is anticipated for summer 2021.

Alford Center – Other good news to share is that during our long sojourn away from campus work on the John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology on the Newark campus has continued. Approximately 35% of the project is complete overall and the project is still on schedule for substantial completion in March 2021. Click the live stream below and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the progress achieved in the past weeks.

As this week draws to a close, and with the resonance of our country shaken, I hope that you can each find hope as we recommit to work together in the spirit of justice and community.

Thank you for all that you do. Please know that your safety and welfare, in both body and spirit,  continue as our highest concern.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

 John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 29, 2020

Campus colleagues:

The health and wellbeing of faculty, staff and students remains our highest priority, and as you know, COTC is continuing operations almost exclusively in remote formats. The updates I have received from departments across the college indicate that the semester is progressing smoothly, and I again want to thank you for your dedication and perseverance.

Restart Ohio
I understand, of course, that you are eager for news regarding any return to additional on-campus operations. I will participate in a phone call with Gov. DeWine and the 22 other Ohio community college presidents on Saturday, May 30. The purpose of this call is to discuss the Restart Ohio plan for higher education. I will continue to share information as it becomes available about any campus re-engagement, and I am pleased to see the statewide conversation moving this topic forward. Look for more on this in the following weeks.

CARES Act Funding
Some very positive news I want to share this week regards COTC’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. To date, COTC has already disbursed $632,109 of the college’s $833,625 allocation with 557 applications submitted and 365 students awarded funding. This demonstrates the urgent need for relief felt by our students, and I am so incredibly proud of how swiftly COTC has been able to implement these new procedures and direct relief funds to students who need support the most. Thank you to the staff in Student Financial Services for a job well done!

Student Support Services

We understand, also, that many students are still experiencing multiple unique challenges due to the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus. Thus, I urge you to remain vigilant in looking for signs of stress – be it academic, emotional, financial, technological – or some other stressor – please let our students know that COTC is always here to help. Students can find helpful links to COTC support services as well as community services on COTC’s COVID-19 Stay Connected web page.

Non-essential employee campus visits
I also want to remind you that this week we were able to introduce limited campus visits for non-essential employees to retrieve work items. Several staff and faculty members have already taken advantage of this opportunity. Please remember that these visits must be scheduled in advance to restrict the number of people simultaneously in any building. You can find the complete guidelines and scheduling information here.

Finally, I thank each of you again. Your work has great meaning and impact which reaches far beyond the scope of our campuses. I hope that each of you can take some time this weekend to get outside in the beautiful weather to refresh both body and spirit.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 22, 2020

To all Ohio State Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) faculty and staff:

We hope that you are continuing to stay well. First and foremost, the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority. As you know, both Ohio State and COTC are continuing operations almost exclusively in remote formats. However, as the state continues to move toward strategically reopening, we are now able to begin offering limited campus access to staff and faculty. We thank you for your understanding that these new procedures will need to be conducted under specific and controlled safety protocols informed by the latest guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health, local health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Non-essential employee campus visits

Beginning on Tuesday, May 26, all non-essential employees may submit requests to visit campus to retrieve items from your office or from research and instructional labs that are necessary for you to continue working remotely. Requests for access to campus spaces other than these areas, including the Newark campus Services Center, should be referred to the Ohio State Newark dean/director or the COTC president’s office for approval. This update pertains specifically to faculty and staff who had not previously been deemed essential employees during the COVID-19 work-from-home directive. Further information regarding essential employees is embedded below.

Non-essential visit guidelines

To limit the number of faculty/staff simultaneously present in any building, we ask that all campus visits be scheduled in advance.

  • Newark campus visits:
    • schedule by contacting the Ohio State Newark/COTC Department of Public Safety
    • 740.366.9237 or email to safety@newark.osu.edu
  • COTC extended campuses visits:
  • All campus visits should be conducted between 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Faculty/staff must log in upon arrival and log out upon departure at the public safety office in the Warner Center (Newark campus) or at the front desk area of the COTC extended campuses.
  • A temperature and wellness check will be conducted by public safety/facilities personnel upon arrival.
  • Visits must be necessary for work continuation.
  • Visits must be brief (an hour or less) and for item retrieval only.
  • Other work activities (e.g., analyses, reading, etc.) are not permitted during visits.
  • Faculty/staff must wear masks and comply with the state’s physical distancing requirements.
  • Guests may not accompany you into any campus building during your visit.
  • Using the visitor log, public safety will inform facilities of necessary cleaning after visit conclusions.

Please understand that these requirements are subject to change as circumstances continue to evolve.

Essential employee campus access
Essential employees will maintain campus access and work routines as previously established. Essential employees are those who had previously received approval from the office of the president or dean/director or Brian Boehmer, director of facilities, to work on campus during the college’s and university’s work-from-home directive. These individuals are limited to our critical and most basic operations and support for animals involved in research or instruction.

We thank you for your continued hard work, patience and resilience in support of our students during this extraordinary time. Take good care of yourselves and of each other.

Stay well and stay safe,

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean/Director, The Ohio State University at Newark

 John M. Berry, PhD
President, Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 19, 2020

Campus colleagues,

I share today important budgetary and academic program actions approved this morning by the Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) Board of Trustees as well as key information regarding future strategic planning. As you are well aware, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has created unprecedented uncertainty across all aspects of our lives, including higher education, and I convey today critical decisions which have been made to help ensure the future health of the college.

Baseline Budget and Further Contingency Plans
As we approached budget planning for FY21, there were several key dynamics to consider. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, COTC was already experiencing a revenue shortfall of $800,000 due to low enrollment and losses in investment income.

Unfortunately, we fully expect cuts to COTC’s State Share of Instruction (SSI) for FY21 to be imminently forthcoming. Thus, while the COTC Board approved a balanced FY21 operating budget this morning, I must clarify that we have modified our traditional budgetary approach and recommended to the board that this budget be viewed as a base foundational budget only. We expect that several key financial factors will continue to be highly fluid during the year necessitating future budget modifications. From this baseline budget we will immediately develop contingency targets and plans for anticipated reductions in SSI and enrollment.

The critical loss of revenue due to the anticipated reduction in COTC’s SSI subsidy for FY21, along with enrollment and short-term investment rate uncertainty, have precipitated and accelerated difficult decisions.

Departmental Reorganizations and Hiring Freeze
To keep the college’s expenses in line with declining revenues, COTC will create efficiencies through several departmental reorganizations. These administrative savings will provide increased efficiency while not compromising COTC’s high quality. The college will also continue a hiring freeze on open positions.

  • Institute for Public Services and Safety – The director position will be eliminated after Kevin Reardon’s departure on May 29.
  • The Gateway – Two current positions will be eliminated and two currently open positions will not be filled during the hiring freeze. The open College Credit Plus (CCP) manager position has been recast and collapsed into a newly formed position of CCP coordinator, resulting in cost savings to the institution.
  • Financial Aid and Fees and Deposits – These areas will be merged under the new title of Student Financial Services. This combined office will result in a more effective structure to serve students and will allow the office to operate with one less position.
  • Faculty Hiring Freeze – Three open faculty positions in nursing, natural sciences, and English/communications will not be filled during the hiring freeze. If the college’s financial outlook should become more favorable throughout the year, however, these positions could be re-examined for reopening job searches.

Tuition Increase and Reserve Funds

  • The budget includes a 2.6% or $5 per credit hour tuition increase for FY21. The college has worked hard to remain in the lower quartile of two-year peer colleges in terms of its tuition level and even with the current proposed tuition increase, it will remain in that position.
  • To balance the budget, we will also utilize reserves from COTC’s tuition stabilization fund.

Compensation
Even in a challenging year, COTC recognizes that its investment in human resources is at the base of the institution’s success. To that end, an increase in compensation has been included in this baseline budget. However, please understand that once the level of cuts to SSI are defined, the college may need to revisit the viability of this investment as a way to address any budget shortfall.

CARES Act Funding
COTC will receive $1,660,000.00 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. Half will be distributed as emergency grant funding directly to students impacted by COVID-19. COTC will be able to use the other 50% institutionally for general campus relief, with some restrictions.

Programmatic Review
Additionally, prior to COVID-19, the college had already begun a strategic review of all academic programs to ensure relevance, effectiveness and viability. The financial effects of the pandemic, however, expedited the timeline to address previously identified programmatic inefficiencies. While these decisions do not hold an immediate impact on the budget, they are integral to the long-term health and viability of the college. All academic programs will continue to be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the communities we serve and the mission and vision of the college.

Therefore, after thorough consideration and extensive review, I must sadly announce the discontinuance of the culinary science technology associate degree and certificate programs and the full-time faculty position supporting these programs. Students currently enrolled in these programs will be notified individually and will be given the ability to finish their studies per the policies and regulations of COTC and the Higher Learning Commission. Effective immediately, COTC will no longer accept new students into these programs.

Further, acting upon direct input from our industry partners, COTC is undertaking a comprehensive reorganization of our engineering technology programs. This process, which likely will take a year to implement, will strategically move COTC away from specialized engineering programs toward a more general engineering associate degree offering more broadly sought job skills and transferability. This restructuring, which has been strongly recommended by area industries for some time and which will better align our academic programming with local workforce needs, will result in the elimination of two full-time faculty positions.

My colleagues, these are very hard decisions.

However, we must confront the fact of falling revenue. It is imperative we also address the long-term need for operational efficiency and program sustainability. As always, supporting COTC’s mission and commitment to educational access were driving factors in all budget considerations, as is our commitment to financial sustainability in honoring our role as stewards of the public trust through efficient and effective use of our resources.

I thank you for your time in reading this lengthy communication. My goal is to be as open and transparent as possible during this critical time in the life of the college, and I welcome your questions and concerns. As always, I thank you for your continued hard work and dedication to COTC.

We are faced with unprecedented uncertainty. I believe that together we will emerge a more resilient and stronger institution.

Stay well,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 15, 2020

Campus colleagues:

I hope that you have experienced an outstanding start to the summer semester, and I want to thank you again for all that you do each day for our students. You truly embody COTC’s “We’re Here for Our Students Promise,” in which we pledge to do everything in our power to ensure that our students’ educational paths are not adversely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 First and foremost, the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority, and as you know, COTC is continuing in remote instructional and student service formats as we start our summer semester. We have been able to reinstate, though, a very limited number of face-to-face instructional activities in programs where some on-campus instruction is essential due to regulatory or accreditation requirements (diagnostic medical sonography technology, nursing technology, radiologic science technology, and Peace Officer Basic Training). All activities will be conducted under very specific and highly controlled safety protocols. Decisions regarding any additional return to on-campus activities will be informed by the latest guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health, local health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Further, to help alleviate some of the challenges brought about by the pandemic, COTC will continue to offer limited computer and Wi-Fi access for students at each of our campuses. All CDC guidelines regarding social distancing will continue to be imposed at these settings, with additional, regular cleanings scheduled and sanitizing supplies available for student use.

Also, I’m exceptionally pleased to share our very promising enrollment data for summer semester. That COTC could exceed our enrollment goals during this time of deep uncertainty is a testament to each of you. It is also strong evidence of the high confidence the public holds in our academic programs and to the exceptional services afforded to our students. Congratulations. A special thank you to our colleagues in enrollment, advising and academic affairs who worked exceptionally hard during the past weeks to help COTC realize its goals.

Enrollment data as of May 12, 2020

Total Enrollment Headcount HC Goal Percent
of HC Goal
FTE FTE Goal Percent of
FTE Goal
Total 1393 1306 107% 702.2 648.8 108%

Additionally, congratulations are in order for this year’s Teaching Excellence Award recipients. Customarily these recipients are announced during the commencement ceremony, and I included the announcement in my video recognition of our spring graduates. These faculty members exemplify excellence and dedication to both their students and their profession. Congratulations to Kimberly Goudy, PhD, professor of business management technology, as the 2020 full-time Teaching Excellence Award recipient. In their nomination, a student wrote about Dr. Goudy: “Kimberly Goudy was one of my absolute favorite teachers! … During the more stressful times both personally and academically, she was always there to motivate me and remind me of how much of an asset I was to this process. Kimberly is the most kind, caring, and passionate instructor I have ever crossed paths with. Her passion and drive to lead and help others goes well beyond this structured learning platform, and I’ve been a witness to that. She is more than deserving of this award.”

Congratulations also to Pamela Kirst, MA, English and composition faculty member, as the part-time Teaching Excellence Award recipient. “She makes you leave class with a sense of pride and motivation to continue on,” wrote one of her nominators. “Her class was the biggest class I’ve taken so far with over 15 people and she made everyone feel like family. She knew everyone’s name and made sure of it. She encouraged peer involvement and had everyone making friends the first day. Her class is full of laughter and long lasting knowledge that you don’t forget. I plan on taking another of her classes this summer.”

As I conclude this week’s message, I also want to urge each of you to continue taking good care of yourselves and each other. As the state of Ohio continues to lift stay-at-home directives for some employers and businesses, use an abundance of caution and discretion when traveling, and keep abreast of accurate information and developments of the virus by visiting the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health websites.

I thank you again. Keep up your great work!

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 8, 2020

Campus Colleagues:

I have always found the approach of each new semester to be a particularly hopeful and exciting time. It’s not only the occasion for our students to begin enlivening, new academic pursuits, but it also offers the opportunity for each of us to approach our work and goals with renewed optimism and determination.

As you know, our summer semester will begin on Monday with a continuation of our remote formats. In a departure from previous practice, however, class registration will close on May 11, the first day of the semester. There will be no late registrations. Especially given the ongoing crisis, an important element for student success will be ensuring that students are registered and starting classes without delay. My weekly student message reiterated this deadline, as well as included another reminder about the important availability of CARES Act and COTC scholarship funding.

Also, some important and promising news to share is that summer enrollment is currently trending stronger than we had originally feared. This is a very hopeful sign, and we will report more on enrollment numbers as they are finalized in the coming weeks.

As we prepare for the beginning of summer semester, I’d like to share with you the sage words of the inspirational Helen Keller, who said, “A bend in the road is not the end of the road … unless you fail to make the turn.”

COTC’s road will continue to bend with the ongoing crisis. To successfully negotiate any needed “turns,” however, I have every confidence in our ability to work together, to support each other and most importantly, to support our students.

I hope that you are finding time to refresh in body, mind and spirit as we all cope with the many uncertainties of this exceptional time.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

 John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 6, 2020

COTC faculty and staff,

Due to the continuing pandemic, we were sadly unable to hold our traditional commencement ceremony on May 1. Still, the college is committed to celebrating with our spring semester graduates in person when it is safe to gather in large groups. It is our hope that we can hold and invite them to our next scheduled commencement ceremony in December. Details regarding a future in-person ceremony will be shared with you as our understanding of the coronavirus pandemic and its multifarious impact improves. Graduates can expect to receive their diplomas in the mail in the coming weeks. For now, we are preparing a virtual recognition to acknowledge and congratulate the spring semester class of 2020. This will be online and on social media soon.

Thank you for finding a way to assist our graduates in achieving their goals. This is an important milestone for our graduates, for our college and for all of you.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 4, 2020

Campus colleagues:

First, let me reiterate what I mentioned in my video message of last Friday – congratulations! It has been a long and arduous journey to reach the end of spring semester. But through it all I have never been more proud of a college community. I send my utmost thanks to each and every one of you for your determination and resilience on behalf of our students. Congratulations and thank you on a job well done.

CARES Act Emergency Grant Funding and Scholarships Available
As we continue to realize the full effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, however, we understand that many current and prospective students are struggling with issues never previously imagined. The funding opportunities linked below have been shared with our students, but I ask you to take special note and share with any students needing support.

Using funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, COTC is able to provide financial support in the form of emergency grant funding to our students impacted by COVID-19. Also, COTC is in the enviable position of being able to offer more than $1 million dollars in scholarships to continuing and new students.

Summer Semester and Phased Plan for Campus Re-Engagement
As you know, the summer semester will begin on May 11 with a continuation of our remote delivery formats. On behalf of our students, I ask that you continue the exceptional teaching, service and resourcefulness you have demonstrated so superbly during this crisis. Also, I urge you to not hesitate to reach out to department leadership or myself regarding any rising challenges or systemic issues as the semester progresses.

I also appreciate that all of you are anxious to know any details regarding a phased return to campus. While I understand that it may be frustrating to hear no definitive news at this time, I do want you to know that I have been in active discussion for several weeks regarding the many aspects of how daily interactions will change upon any return to campus. The Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), with input from member colleges and the Chancellor of Higher Education, is currently finalizing a statewide plan to provide consistency and guidance for Ohio’s two-year college’s to return to on-campus operations. I anticipate the plan to be finalized and presented to the governor’s office in the very near future.

With Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement extending the stay safe order until May 29, however, please know that community colleges will not be imminently resuming on-campus operations. Instead, we will move cautiously and carefully to ensure that the identified strategies, which are highly informed by the latest guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health, local health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can be faithfully executed. Each institution will move at a different pace toward inviting faculty, staff and students back to campus. In addition, while protecting the health and safety of the college community will be the top priority during this time, colleges will also remain focused on the ultimate success of our student’s academic goals.

Financial Future
My final information to share regards COTC’s financial future. While we have already seen other state institutions in Ohio announce budget cuts, each college’s full financial effect from COVID-19 will be felt individually. As a result of the pandemic, the state has indicated the possibility of a 20% reduction to state agencies with an almost certain cut to higher education connected to continuous review of state income sources. This reduction in state share of instruction funding comes on the heels of an $800,000 deficit COTC must overcome from previous enrollment patterns from the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Several factors will be key to COTC’s budget considerations and any possible adjustments:

  1. Amount of reduction in state share of instruction funding.
  2. Final enrollment data for summer semester and projected enrollment numbers for autumn semester.
  3. Utilization of COTC budgetary reserves to help offset a deficit.

Together, these three key areas, which as yet contain some unknowns, will inform our budget decisions. While waiting for a full assessment of COTC’s financial outlook, David Brillhart, COTC vice president for business and finance, is currently creating several budgetary contingency plans which include a range of scenarios.

My friends and colleagues, there will be difficult decisions to be made in the coming months. We know there will be hardship ahead, and that COTC will be affected. My goal is to maintain the standard of excellence COTC has always continued to offer. Together, we will move ahead with a singular focus of providing access to exceptional educational opportunities for our communities.

I promise continued updates as more information is available.

Take Care. Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 1, 2020

 

April 24, 2020

Campus colleagues,

As this extraordinary semester ends, I hope that you are well and continuing to take good care of yourselves and family members.

I certainly understand that this past month under the stay-at-home directive has brought challenges to us all. That is undeniable. Today, though, I want to briefly shift away from those challenges to focus on something else I’m experiencing through this pandemic – gratitude.

I am grateful for our healthcare workers, first responders and essential employees (many of whom who are COTC students, graduates and faculty members) working on the front lines in this fight. I’m grateful for our students – they have entrusted COTC to help them meet their educational and career goals. I’m grateful for their resilience through this difficult time and for their understanding as we implemented unexpected new processes and methods of delivery.

I am also grateful for you – COTC’s dedicated faculty and staff. You have demonstrated time and again through your courage, inventiveness, flexibility and perseverance the true heart and nature of COTC. You have not only risen to the occasion of adapting quickly to our new remote formats – you have exceeded the challenge!  Thank you all.

I’m also grateful for the incredible community support COTC has long enjoyed. This long-standing support enabled us to announce last week the availability of more than $1 million in scholarships for the coming academic year. Community members who have lost their jobs or are facing financial challenges or hardships due to COVID-19 can get financial help through these scholarship dollars for career training from COTC. Scholarships are available to help new students, those transferring from another institution and continuing students, with a special allocation specifically for displaced workers impacted by the pandemic. These scholarships combined with other forms of financial aid can be used for tuition and books as well as living expenses – a critical and much needed differentiating point for our students. Please note that the funds which support the scholarship process were specifically designated for that purpose and cannot be transferred to support our basic operational needs.

We are broadly pushing this message to our communities through both paid advertising and earned media. During the past week I’ve had the opportunity to share this announcement on radio outlets in Coshocton, Mount Vernon, Newark and Columbus, as well as NCB4 TV in Columbus. And I encourage each of you to also share this good news with any who may want to take advantage of this opportunity. 

Additionally, COTC will soon have access to federal funds relating to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One intention of this act is to provide college students with emergency grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus including food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. More information regarding the CARES Act funding will be shared with our students very soon.

Finally, I want to share that we are working directly with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges and the Chancellor of Higher Education to prepare a phased plan for re-engagement with our campuses. We are working to present a systemic, methodical and gradual reopening process for consideration by the Governor. We will keep you all posted as this process progresses. Please know that the most important theme in this proposal will always remain the health and safety of all our constituents.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns as we continue to navigate this evolving situation together. Thank you again for your outstanding work and dedication to our students.

And as this very long and challenging month of April finally comes to a close, I am indeed finding much for which I can be grateful.

Stay well and stay safe,

We are In This Together Ohio.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

April 17, 2020

 

April 2, 2020

 

March 26, 2020

Now that we have almost completed our first week of fully remote services, I want to thank each of you for your patience and persistence during this extraordinary time. I hope you have taken the opportunity to read and review the various messages regarding steps we have taken in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). If not, I encourage you to visit our website where you can find the messages, along with other relevant and up-to-date information.

My sincere thanks to the dedicated people from state government to our respective Licking, Knox and Coshocton counties who have been working tirelessly as we monitor this public health crisis and developing plans for our campus. Our efforts are being done with the highest regard for the greater good of the Central Ohio Technical College community as well as the people who live in the surrounding region and are also affected by this dangerous virus.

The announcements we have rendered thus far are the first of many as we address a constantly changing situation involving significant uncertainty ahead. I am sure many of you have questions and, quite frankly, there are some that we are still contemplating as the situation unfolds. Nonetheless, we will do our best to make decisions and keep the community apprised.

For the moment, however, I would like to simply take pause from the planning and logistics, and provide some thoughts on the current global crisis, our campus situation, and the impact it is having on each of us in a personal and emotional way.

Certainly the COTC community — along with other communities across the nation and the globe — is confronting some very serious challenges. I understand that the never-ending stream of disturbing news, cancellations, and changes to life as we know it weigh heavily on many of us. Indeed, the next few weeks, perhaps months, may be unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime.

At the same time, I am confident that together we will reach the other side of this crisis and that campus life will return to normal. The preventative measures being taken by organizations such as cities, colleges, and sports leagues are critical to confronting this health emergency. At this point, as medical experts work toward positive solutions — which I am confident they will — the best course of action in defeating this outbreak is to undertake aggressive public measures to slow the spread of the virus and to protect our health system from undue burden.

To our students, especially those who participate in hands-on learning experiences, clinicals, internships, and many other activities that cannot be conducted online, I know the safety measures we and our partnering organizations have taken may be deeply disappointing. You have worked extraordinarily hard to engage in these opportunities, and I regret that this period of your college experience is subject to such uncertainty. As a parent and as your president, I wish I could prevent this. But my highest priority is to keep you safe. My commitment to each of you is that we will do everything in our power to keep you moving forward to your goal of academic achievement.

To our faculty and staff, I want to thank you for your support, flexibility and willingness to roll up your sleeves as we do our absolute best on behalf of our students. I recognize that you are doing the great work of the college in pursuit of our educational mission and the well-being of our students, all while you may be experiencing your own anxiety and uncertainty. I consider myself fortunate to be working alongside you through this challenge and can’t imagine a group of academic professionals better positioned for success. I am committed to ensuring the college does everything it can to provide support to you and your families.

I ask all of you for your understanding as our plans evolve and change. We have caring and talented people assessing the appropriate course of action for Central Ohio Technical College, but I recognize that our plans may have unexpected ramifications and unintended consequences. I can assure you that while we do not have perfect vision of the manner in which this crisis will be resolved or when our campus life will return to normal, we are doing our absolute best to ensure the well-being of our campus and greater community. I ask for your patience and, as always, appreciate your support.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

March 23, 2020

Dear Central Ohio Technical College Community:

Like many governments and institutions, to formalize some of the modifications Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) has made in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), I am today declaring a college state of emergency. This declaration is pursuant to COTC’s Short-Term Closing and State of Emergency Policy (policy 2.6.21). This declaration provides context for college leadership to ensure continuity of services to students and the public during extreme conditions and make a variety of financial decisions over an extended period of time. The emergency designation will be reviewed on a weekly basis as circumstances evolve.

COTC remains open with a number of restrictions that have already been announced.

The weeks ahead will be challenging, and I am certain of this community’s strength and resilience.

COTC remains committed to ensuring the health and welfare of all faculty, staff and students. As we begin offering all face-to-face college services remotely this week, I want to thank our faculty and staff again for your hard work, dedication and creativity in working through the unprecedented challenges brought about by the worldwide spread of COVID-19. You have demonstrated time and again over the past weeks your commitment to delivering our educational mission.

Stay well.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

March 23, 2020

To all students, faculty and staff,

The Newark campus bookstore, which is operated by Barnes & Noble, will close effective tomorrow March 24, 2020, with a tentative plan to re-open on Monday, April 6, 2020. This closure is to comply with Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home directive.

Full details are still developing and we encourage all students, faculty and staff to visit the Newark campus bookstore webpage, which will be updated with information regarding rentals and other specifics as soon as additional information is available.

Questions can be directed to Barnes & Noble customer service.

John M. Berry, PhD
President, Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean/Director, The Ohio State University at Newark

 

March 22, 2020

Dear faculty and staff,

As you may know, Gov. Mike DeWine announced a stay-at-home Public Health Directive for all Ohioans effective at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 23. The health and wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students continues to be our highest priority, and the measures we announced last Friday, March 20, restricting all Ohio State and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) employees to work from home except those performing some limited essential operations have already brought both institutions into compliance with the governor’s new stay-at-home directive. As outlined in our message of March 20, only those employees who received approval from the offices of the president or dean/director, or Brian Boehmer, director of facilities, are permitted to work on campus. These individuals are limited to our critical and most basic operations and support for animals involved in research or instruction.

As the governor said, “what we do now will slow this invader,” and we must all do our part to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We ask that each of you adhere to the governor’s and Ohio Department of Health’s stay-at-home directive while working remotely.

The Public Health Directive will last at least until April 6 and limits members of the public to leaving home for only essential activities, including: health and safety, obtaining necessary supplies and services, outdoor activities, certain types of essential work, and to take care of others. Read the Public Health Directive and stay-at-home FAQs here.

The guidance comes after substantial input from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health and from international health experts.

What to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are ill

Should any Ohio State Newark or COTC employee be exposed to or contract coronavirus (COVID-19), please connect with John Ralston, director of human resources. Ohio State employees should also call the Wexner Medical Center’s COVID-19 call center at 614.293.4000 for guidance on what you should do. Please do not call this line for general coronavirus information.

If you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with coronavirus, have been exposed to an individual with coronavirus or have been diagnosed with the virus, you should contact your primary care physician. If you are unable to reach your primary care physician, Ohio State employees should call the Wexner Medical Center’s COVID-19 call center 614.293.4000 for guidance. COTC employees who are unable to reach their primary care physician should contact the Ohio Department of Health coronavirus hotline at 833.427.5634.

Please remember

Social distancing is scientifically proven to be one of the most effective methods to slow the transmission of communicable disease, such as COVID-19.

  • Keep a distance of at least six feet away from another person
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Refrain from touching your face
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands)
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands

We thank you again for all that each of you are doing to support our students and each other during this extraordinary time.

John M. Berry, PhD
President, Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean/Director, The Ohio State University at Newark

 

March 20, 2020

Dear faculty and staff,

First and foremost, the health and well being of our faculty, staff and students remains our top priority. To that end, The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) will take the following steps to reduce spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Ohio State is requiring all employees who can do so to work from home and restricting services to those that are critical to our most basic operations. At the Newark campus, those services include law enforcement and public safety, limited food and residential services for students who remain in our residence halls, management of utilities, support for our buildings (including research and instructional labs), and support for animals involved in research or instruction.

Brian Boehmer, director of facilities, will be communicating with our facilities and public safety staff regarding working from campus or from home. A small number of Ohio State faculty and staff who must conduct work on campus to ensure the safety and maintenance of research and/or instructional labs or support animals involved in research or instruction will be contacted today by Bill MacDonald, dean/director.

All other Ohio State faculty and staff and cost-shared staff who are paid by Ohio State must work from home. Cost-shared staff who are paid by COTC will have received information from the Office of the President if they are approved to work on campus. All other COTC employees must work from home.

If it is not critical for you to be on campus but your duties can’t be completed through teleworking, please contact John Ralston, who will work with you to determine next steps. If you don’t have the resources to telework and you are paid by Ohio State, please visit keepworking.osu.edu. If you are paid by COTC, please contact Jeff Crabtree.

We thank you for your continued patience, creativity and collaborative spirit during this unprecedented situation.

John M. Berry, PhD
President, Central Ohio Technical College

William L. MacDonald, PhD
Dean/Director, The Ohio State University at Newark

 

 

March 13, 2020

Members of the Central Ohio Technical College Community:

Thank you for your continued cooperation and collaboration related to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). Today, I announce additional measures in our response to reduce the potential spread of the virus, and to help ensure that our faculty, staff and students have time to prepare for Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement regarding the temporary closing of all K-12 institutions in the state. We know that adapting to these new circumstances will require planning and patience throughout our community.

March 16 – 20 Most Classes (face to face, online, labs) are Canceled
COTC is canceling most face-to-face classes, all online classes, and all lab sections at all four of our campus locations (Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala) for the week of Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20.

Exceptions:

  • All nursing clinical experiences
  • Peace Officer Basic Training classes

Please note that all clinicals in COTC’s nursing programs as well as COTC’s Peace Officer Basic Training classes will continue as scheduled during this time. All other healthcare clinicals and all COTC practicums and internships are canceled for the week of March 16-20.

COTC classes offered at other locations will operate according to each individual institution’s schedule during this time. This includes classes held at:

  • C-TEC
  • Ohio Fire Academy
  • Knox Technical Center
  • Area high schools

Students should check with their respective provider to determine their schedule if they have classes at any of the above locations.

March 23-27

COTC will transition all face-to-face classes and most labs to a remote method of instruction, which will remain in effect indefinitely.

 Please note, the college is not closed, and we do not intend to do so at this time. Students who are symptom free are welcome to continue to utilize the campus library, computer labs and common areas. In addition, students are free to access their college’s wi-fi network when on campus. The Gateway office will remain open and available to assist current students, prospective students and their families who are symptom free. The Gateway will provide alternative options for students who would like to access Gateway services virtually. While services and amenities may be limited on campus, we remain committed to providing quality teaching and learning and exceptional customer service.

While social distancing is just one of the ways to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, you are strongly encouraged to continue practicing good hygiene, take care of your health, use an abundance of caution and discretion when traveling, and keep abreast of accurate information and developments of the virus by visiting the Centers for Disease Control website. The College will also continue with its enhanced cleaning standards, providing disinfecting wipes for offices and laboratories, and maintaining hand sanitizer stations throughout campus.

The safety of our campus community is our top priority and while these measures will create disruption, I call on all members of our college community to respond to this extraordinary circumstance with patience, kindness and resilience. Thank you for your efforts to provide a safe environment for all our campus community.

All official communication regarding the college’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak will be communicated from the Office of the President. Find all communications as well as health and hygiene links on the college’s coronavirus web page u.cotc.edu/covid19updates.

Sincerely,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

March 11, 2020

Members of the Central Ohio Technical College Community:

We have been closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and continue to align our procedures to follow the guidelines from local, state and federal officials, and medical experts.

I convened a meeting of the college’s senior leadership to formalize the college’s preparations and response. While there are no college-associated cases of COVID-19 and the risk of local transmission is low, Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) will follow Governor Mike DeWine’s recommendations to take immediate action to minimize the risk of exposure and slow the spread of this virus in our communities.

COTC is canceling most face-to-face classes and lab sections at all four of our campus locations (Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala) upon the return from spring break, Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, to allow our faculty time to prepare for remote methods of instruction. However, during these two days, healthcare clinicals, COTC Peace Officer Basic Training classes, as well as COTC classes held at C-TEC, the Ohio Fire Academy, Knox Technical Center, area high schools and online will operate normally.

Effective Wednesday, March 18, COTC will move all face-to-face instruction to a remote instructional format. Practicums, internships, most laboratory experiences, healthcare clinicals, COTC Peace Officer Basic Training classes, COTC classes held at C-TEC, the Ohio Fire Academy, Knox Technical Center, area high schools and online will continue as scheduled, though extra measures to minimize group settings will be reevaluated on an ongoing basis. Social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures are actively encouraged.

These decisions will remain in effect indefinitely and be reevaluated on an ongoing basis based upon recommendations from health and government officials regarding the health and safety of our communities. We will share updates and modifications as more information is available.

During this time, all of our campus locations will remain open for regular business hours. Staff members are expected to report to work during their regularly scheduled work hours. Additional information for faculty and students will be forthcoming. Recommendations regarding college events, student support services, business travel and other college services will also be forthcoming.

This situation is evolving rapidly. Please be aware that these guidelines and policies may change. I encourage you to check the CDC website and the Ohio Department of Health website regularly for up-to-date information.

The safety of our campus community is our top priority, and while these measures will create disruption I call on all members of our college community to respond to this extraordinary circumstance with patience, kindness and resilience. Thank you for your efforts to provide a safe environment for all of our campus community.

Sincerely,

John M. Berry, PhD

President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

March 4, 2020

I write to provide an update related to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio. One person in Ohio is currently under investigation for the virus with lab results pending. To date, seven persons in Ohio have been tested with negative results, and the state continues to be considered a low risk area. However, we are continuing to monitor the guidelines and recommendations from local, state and federal officials during this quickly evolving situation.

With spring break approaching, I want to remind everyone in our COTC community to continue good hygiene practices wherever you may be. We should all take a proactive approach to campus and general health.

  • Get a flu shot immediately if you have not received one.
  • Follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to avoid all nonessential travel, which currently includes travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. There are currently no travel restrictions within the continental United States. Please continue to monitor the CDC website for the most up-to-date information on travel advisories associated with COVID-19.
  • Implement the personal prevention protection methods used to prevent flu and other infectious disease.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
    • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
    • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

I encourage you to check the CDC web site and the Ohio Department of Health web site regularly for up-to-date information.

We will continue to stay in close contact with government and local healthcare officials and provide updates as the landscape regarding this outbreak evolves.