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 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

Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) students,

I hope that your semester is progressing smoothly. The health and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff remains our highest priority, and at this time, COTC is continuing operations almost exclusively in remote formats.

We understand that while some restrictions are being lifted regarding business and travel, many students are still experiencing unique challenges due to the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus. I want to remind you that there are multiple free support services offered by the college to help you achieve your educational goals. All are available remotely, including academic support offered by the Center for Student Success and counseling services through the Office of Student Life. Links to COTC support services as well as community services can be found on the college’s COVID-19 Stay Connected web page. Also, please continue to stay in touch with your academic advisor, faculty members and the Office of Student Financial Services. They are ready to assist you remotely; please do not hesitate to reach out to them directly at any time.

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; 557 applications were submitted with 365 students awarded funding. This demonstrates the urgent need for relief felt by many students, and I am so incredibly proud of how swiftly COTC has been able to implement these new procedures and get relief funds directly to students who need support the most. Thank you to the staff in Student Financial Services for a job well done! Information and a link to the CARES Act application form can be found here.

Finally, 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. Being an engaged student is exceptionally demanding in any circumstance, and even more so now. I urge you to continue staying focused on your goals, but to also celebrate your daily accomplishments. We are so grateful that you are part of the COTC family.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 22, 2020

 

May 15, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College Students:

I hope that you have experienced an outstanding start to the summer semester. We’re honored that your academic journey includes Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), especially during this time of crisis. In upholding our commitment to providing access to high-quality technical education, I want to reiterate to you COTC’s “We’re Here for Our Students Promise,” in which COTC pledges to do everything it its power to ensure that your 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 begin our summer semester. We have been able to reinstate, though, a very limited number of face-to-face instructional activities for programs where some on-campus instruction is essential due to regulatory or accreditation requirements. Students in these courses will receive information directly from their instructors, and 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.

Limited Access Student-Use Computers
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; IT support: 740.366.9244

  • Newark: John Gilbert Reese Center room 206 (call Public Safety for access – 740.366.9237)
  • Coshocton: Montgomery Hall, room 265 (PC lab), room 345 (Mac lab)
  • Knox: Ariel Hall, room 10 (PC lab)
  • Pataskala: Room 100

Wi-Fi access: Access to the campus Wi-Fi is available in the Adena Hall parking lot on the Newark campus. Connect to eduroam and enter your COTC student credentials to log in.

As the state of Ohio continues to lift stay-at-home directives for some employers and businesses, I urge each of you to continue practicing good hygiene, to take care of your health, use an abundance of caution and discretion when traveling, and to keep abreast of accurate information and developments of the virus by visiting the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health websites.

Please know that above all, COTC’s highest priorities are to keep you safe and to give you support to help you succeed in your chosen program. As the semester progresses, please continue to reach out to faculty and your academic advisors, and to utilize the resources listed on the college’s COVID-19 web page.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 8, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College Students:

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

To our returning students, I hope that this break week afforded you the opportunity to refresh in body, mind and spirit. To our new students, we understand that you are undertaking this commitment in a time of uncertainty. To all – I wish you the best of success as you embark on this journey.

As we prepare for summer semester, if you have not already registered for classes please note that there’s still time to do so, but you must act quickly. Registration will close on Monday, May 11, the first day of the semester. There will be no late registrations.

Also, please remember that there are important financial resources available to you. 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 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. As always, if you have any questions about financial assistance please contact The Office of Financial Aid at 740.366.9435 or by email.

As you begin the semester, I offer 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.”

As your road continues to bend with the ongoing crisis, COTC promises to do everything in our power to ensure that your educational path is not adversely affected. And as you continue to negotiate any further “turns” in your path, COTC will be here to support you as you work toward achieving your educational goals.

Stay Healthy. Stay Helpful. Stay Hopeful.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 8, 2020

 

May 6, 2020

Spring 2020 graduates,

Congratulations on your achievement. It is with awe and appreciation that I acknowledge your accomplishment during a global health crisis.

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 you in person when it is safe to gather in large groups. It is our hope that we can hold and invite you 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. Your diploma will be mailed to you in the coming weeks.

For now, we are preparing a virtual recognition to acknowledge and congratulate you. There is still time to submit your photograph for inclusion (but hurry – the deadline is midnight tonight). Connect with us on social media, where we can be found with the handle @COTCedu, to view this presentation. Also, please continue to check your COTC email for future announcements.

You found a way to succeed, and for that we are very proud of the class of spring 2020. Welcome to the COTC alumni family.

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 1, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College Students:

Congratulations! We are so very proud of you for persisting during this trying time and for continuing in your academic journey. Now that our spring semester is officially finished, I hope that you take some moments to appreciate what you have accomplished. I do want to acknowledge with thanks the tremendous support of the COTC faculty and staff during this crisis, but it was your diligence and hard work that enabled you to finish your semester. Congratulations to each and every one of you.

Also, we understand that during this pandemic you may be struggling with many issues you never previously imagined. Please know that COTC is here to help. I ask that you take special note of the funding opportunities outlined below. As always, if you have any questions about financial assistance please contact The Office of Financial Aid at 740.366.9435 or by email.

CARES Act Emergency Grant Funding Available
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. The Office of Financial Aid is prepared to respond quickly to applications after determining eligibility based on each student’s circumstances.

What the grant can be used for:
Expenses related to the disruption of campus operations as a result of the coronavirus such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health and child/dependent care expenses.

Learn more and apply:
For more information, including a list of minimum eligibility requirements and a link to the grant application, click here.

$1 Million in Scholarships
COTC is also offering more than $1 million dollars in scholarships to continuing and new students, and those transferring from another institution. All admitted students who have submitted the 2020-2021 FAFSA will automatically be considered for scholarships; there is no separate scholarship application to complete. Learn more about COTC’s scholarship funding here.

Graduates
And to our spring graduates, whom we would have celebrated at our spring commencement today, we offer a very special congratulations. You’ll be receiving some immediate pieces of recognition and gratitude from COTC very soon, and each of you will be invited to walk on stage during our Autumn 2020 Commencement ceremony, currently scheduled for December 18. While we are all deeply disappointed that we cannot celebrate together now, we are so very proud to congratulate you as you complete this milestone. Welcome to the ranks of COTC alumni!

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

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

May 1, 2020

 

April 30, 2020

Dear Student:

Central Ohio Technical College knows that during these unprecedented times you may be grappling with issues you never imagined. Please know that we are here to support you with the circumstances that may have put unexpected demands on your educational goals and your personal lives. 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.

To apply for the grant, complete the one-page Emergency Grant application.  The Office of Financial Aid is prepared to respond quickly to applications after determining eligibility based on each student’s circumstances.  

  • What the grant can be used for: Expenses related to the disruption of campus operations as a result of the coronavirus such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health and child/dependent care expenses.
  • Who is eligible: Students who complete the grant application and have demonstrated eligibility for federal financial aid.  
  • How grants will be awarded: If approved, funds will be disbursed to you via direct deposit or paper check. To expedite the receipt of funds, students are encouraged to set up direct deposit in myCOTC. All other refunds will be mailed to the student’s permanent address on file.

For questions or more information, click here or contact The Office of Financial Aid at 740-366-9435 or by email.

Together, we will get through this!

Sincerely,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

Faith Phillips
Director, Financial Aid
Central Ohio Technical College

 

April 24, 2020

Dear student:

I hope this message finds you faring well during these unprecedented times. As you may have seen in the media, Congress recently passed, and the President signed into law, 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. Funding related to this act will be made available to Central Ohio Technical College students very soon.

We are preparing to make this funding available to COTC students as defined by the U.S. Department of Education rules. A key factor to qualify to receive the funding is a student’s demonstrated eligibility for federal financial aid. To apply for the CARES emergency funding, students must complete the 2019-2020 and/or the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) at www.FAFSA.gov.

Which FAFSA do you submit?

  • If you are enrolling summer and/or autumn semester, file the 2020-2021 FAFSA.
  • If you are not enrolling summer or autumn AND you were enrolled spring semester, you must have the 2019-2020 FAFSA on file.

If you need assistance in completing the FAFSA, please click here for information and/ take advantage of this video resource.

Students who have already completed the 2019-2020 and/or 2020-2021 FAFSA do not need to complete the form again. Note that you do not need to receive Federal financial aid (Pell grants, student loans, etc.) in order to be eligible for the CARES Act funding. The funding being made available via the CARES Act is independent of federal financial aid and will not be calculated as a part of this or future years’ awards.

Central Ohio Technical College will send out a subsequent email with application instructions for the CARES Emergency Grant when the application is available. We are expecting funding to be available to students on or about May 1, 2020. Students who wish to apply for the emergency grant are strongly encouraged to signup for direct deposit on MYCOTC to expedite the disbursement process.

QUESTIONS:
Please contact The Office of Financial Aid at 740-366-9435 or by email.

 

April 24, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College Students:

As you complete your final projects and exams, I hope that you are well and continuing to take good care of yourselves and family members. I wish for you to stay well and finish strong! We are incredibly proud of all that you have accomplished.

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 and graduates) working on the front lines in this fight. I am also grateful for our dedicated faculty and staff – they have admirably risen to the occasion of adapting quickly to our new remote formats. And I’m grateful for each of you – our students — who have entrusted COTC to help you meet your educational and career goals. I’m grateful for your resilience through this difficult time and for your understanding as we implemented unexpected new processes and methods of delivery.

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 continuing and new students. These scholarships combined with other forms of financial aid can be used for tuition and books as well as living expenses, with an allocation specifically for displaced workers impacted by the pandemic or those facing financial challenges or hardships due to COVID-19.

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. Look for emails with additional information and action steps on this critically important topic. As always, staff members in the Office of Financial Aid are ready to assist you with any questions by phone (740.366.9435) or by email.

We are a strong and resilient community. Please know that COTC will continue to support you in any way we can as we navigate this evolving situation together.

Stay well and stay safe,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

April 17, 2020

 

April 10, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College students,

I hope that this finds each of you well and safe. These are challenging times for all, and as we near the end of the semester I want to thank each of you for not only your extraordinary dedication to your education but also for your patience and perseverance during this time of such uncertainty. Please know that above all, COTC’s highest priorities are to keep you safe and to give you support to help you succeed in your chosen program. Continue to reach out to faculty and your academic advisors, and to utilize the resources listed on the college’s COVID-19 web page. Every COTC department stands ready to assist you remotely.

For those who will be graduating this spring, we applaud your hard work and are extremely proud of your accomplishments! We understand and share your disappointment in not being able to recognize your achievements at our traditional spring commencement ceremony. While we have cancelled May commencement in light of the current health restrictions, you will each receive your diploma or certificate by mail. We do look forward to celebrating with you in person at a full graduation ceremony at a later date. The details as to when it will be safe for such a large event to occur are still yet-to-be-determined, and we will inform you as soon as a date can be finalized. For now, know that we will not let this important moment pass without some salute to each of you. So watch your mail (electronic and home) for items of congratulations from COTC. Also, watch your local media for recognition of your achievement!

For students continuing at COTC, as you know, registration is now open for summer semester and will continue until May 11, the first day of classes. I want to reiterate that your safety is our priority, so all courses and student services will continue to be delivered remotely indefinitely.

I also want to reiterate COTC’s commitment to you during this extraordinary time. Last week we outlined the college’s “We’re Here for Our Students Promise.” I want to take this time to reinforce our pledge to you of extended support during this pandemic.

In continuing our student-first philosophy,

  • COTC promises to do everything in its power to ensure that your educational paths are not adversely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To ensure continued access, all student services including academic support, advising, tutoring, counseling and financial aid are being offered remotely.
  • Students whose clinical or practicum experiences are disrupted due to COVID-19 will be able to continue their course sequence without having to worry about repeating a course. Students should talk to their academic advisor for more information.
  • COTC will do everything it can to ensure students receiving federal financial aid are not adversely affected by a course, clinical or practicum disruption.

Finally, I ask that each of you take time to care for yourselves and family members during this crisis. We are all experiencing stress and anxiety in such a time of deep uncertainty. There are support resources in our communities for those facing job losses, food insecurity, health concerns or other issues, and I encourage you to seek assistance for yourself or family members. Below is a partial list of local resources.

 Stay well and stay safe,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

Resources:

United Way

COTC Counseling Services

Health Departments
Ohio Department of Health
Licking County
Coshocton County
Knox County

Food Pantries
Food Pantry Network of Licking County
Mid-Ohio Food Bank

 

March 26, 2020

Dear COTC Community,

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 20, 2020

To all Central Ohio Technical College Students,

First and foremost, the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority. To that end, Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) will take further steps to reduce spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ensure that our students, faculty and staff remain safe.

Effective Monday, March 23, COTC’s four campus locations (Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala) will offer all face-to-face services through remote delivery methods only. Faculty, advisors and staff members in all college offices are ready to assist you through email, phone and other remote options. Please review our student resources web page for guidance on how to remotely access all student services.

We understand that these changes will create further disruption.

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

Limited Access Student-Use Computers
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; IT support: 740.366.9244

  • Newark: John Gilbert Reese Center, room 206 (call Public Safety for access – 740.366.9237)
  • Coshocton: room 210
  • Knox: room 100
  • Pataskala: room 100

Please know that we are ready to help you explore multiple alternative options to complete your coursework, and I encourage each of you to reach out to faculty members or your academic advisor with any questions during this challenging time. Before making any academic decisions, I ask you to consult with a Gateway or Office of Financial Aid representative.

Spamming/Phishing Scams: Please be very careful about clicking on links and double-check the identity of emails you receive. Spammers are very active and are looking to take advantage of students and institutions. COTC faculty and staff will never ask you for personal information via email. Additionally, if you have questions about an email you received, it’s always best to write an email to your faculty member to ensure the information is legitimate. Please do not reply to any suspicious emails.

We are a strong and resilient community, and we will all need to support each other as we navigate this evolving situation together.

Find all official college communications as well as links to student resources and health and hygiene links on the college’s coronavirus web page.

Sincerely,

John M. Berry, PhD
President
Central Ohio Technical College

 

March 20, 2020

 

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.

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