COVID-19 Update

Check https://www.iavalley.edu/about-the-district/covid-19-updates/ for additional updates regarding IVCCD’s responses to COVID-19.

Our campuses are open to select students and employees only. Online classes are going smoothly; lab classes and events remain canceled until mid-April. Students can access services and staff through email. Our switchboards are accepting calls, but most staff are not on campus at this time.

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COVID-19 Student Information

These are informational emails to students related to our college responses to the emerging COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. All updates will include a date/time, with newer information at the top of this page. 

STUDENT EMAIL (MAR. 30 @ 6:59 AM)

While I know the vast majority of you are no longer on campus, you are still an important member of our community. Late last week I shared the following information with our employees and thought you might find it helpful as well. Members of our leadership team talked with the Marshall County Department of Health (one of our local counties) last week to seek guidance on how to respond to employees who were sharing scenarios and asking if they should self isolate.

When discussing the guidance, we evaluated what we have done to support the section shaded below. Some of our actions to support this are:

  • Only a handful of students remain in housing and they are following strict protocols including limiting access to only one door to the main building to pick up meals. This door is locked at all other times.
  • No face-to-face classes
  • A large percentage of employees have moved to telework arrangements.
  • Supervisors are managing on campus work to ensure people are not working in proximity to others.
  • Required compliance with social distancing efforts while on campus.
  • Flexibility in leave policies for employees.

These steps are allowing us to continue to serve you in our new virtual learning environment. And while only a small percentage of our employees are physically on campus, we are here for you. We are answering emails and checking voice mail regularly to return your calls.

PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE FOR THOSE HAVING CONTACT WITH COVID-19

We’ve received questions from employees and students who have either been in direct or indirect contact with COVID-19. In the interest of getting the correct information to everyone, we spoke with the Marshall County Public Health Nurse and are sharing this guidance:

GENERAL GUIDANCE

  • At this time, everyone should just stay home as much as possible.
  • If you are with others, social distancing at 6 feet or more is essential.
  • Frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizer are highly effective.
  • If you have a fever of 100 or more, diarrhea, coughing or other cold/flu symptoms, you should stay home. You are safe to be back in public once you’ve gone 72 hours with no fever and seven days have passed since your first symptoms appeared.
  • If anyone in your household is ill with any of the symptoms listed above, everyone in that household should self-isolate for 14 days.
  • According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, at some point the majority of U.S. citizens will likely become ill; most will only experience mild cold-like symptoms. This is why it’s so important for anyone with symptoms to stay home and self-isolate as noted above.

DIRECT CONTACT (You have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19)

  • If someone in your home has COVID-19, the sick person should be isolated in the home and others in the home should stay beyond 6 feet to the greatest extent possible. It is recommended that all people in that home self-isolate for 14 days.
  • If you were in contact with someone outside your home who has COVID-19, self-isolation is not required as long as you are well and have no symptoms, and as long as no one in your household is ill.

INDIRECT CONTACT (You have been in contact with someone who has been in contact with COVID-19)

  • If the person that you have been in contact with is not ill and you’ve maintained social distancing and hygiene, you’re probably okay.

Stay healthy both physically and mentally…take care of yourself and others!

STUDENT EMAIL (MAR. 20 @ 4:58 PM)

Welcome to the weekend!

Please take a moment to read the following guidance regarding emotional wellness during COVID-19. This situation is new and unpredictable, and we’re all likely experiencing some emotional discomfort. Below are some thoughts and resources on how to stay emotionally well during these times.

Know that we are committed to our students: You’re the reason we exist! We’re all working very hard to plan carefully and ensure your studies, growth, and campus connections continue.

Be careful of COVID-19 overload. Limit the time you spend taking in Covid-19 news. Turn off/stop reading the news, or maybe check it just once a day.

Be cautious of COVID-19 misinformation. Rumors abound about what’s open, what’s not, what’s closing, etc. Check out state and local government sites for up-to-date information about closings. Go to the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/) or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/) for correct information about the virus.

Our emotions reside in our bodies, so take good care of yours! Try some (or all) of these:

  • Maintain a regular sleep, study and relaxation schedule
  • Maintain good nutrition and regular meals; limit alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Get some exercise, spend time outside and with your four-legged friends
  • Practice deep breathing, relaxation, yoga
  • Try an activity that requires use of your body and mind (knitting, art, playing an instrument, etc.)
  • Safely maintain contact with others by texting, phone calls or even letter writing
  • Keep a journal about this experience, ending each daily entry with three good things about the day
  • Remind yourself of what’s good and important: health, friends, working toward your degree, etc.
  • Do something kind for someone else: check in to see how those you care about are doing
  • Consider making use of one of the many free or for-pay mental health apps available by following this link: www.psycom.net/25-best-mental-health-apps

If you are struggling and would like to speak to someone over the phone contact Nancy Adams, Coordinator of the Student Assistance Program, at nancy.adams@iavalley.edu to set up a time.

* Special thanks to the Northwest Arkansas Community College Counseling & Wellness Department for sharing their suggestions for students.

Stay well, safe and healthy. Remember, we are here for you! Kristie Fisher, IVCCD Chancellor

NEWS RE: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TAKING CEP CLASSES (MAR. 19 @ 6 PM)

IVCCD notice to high school students enrolled in college credit courses

Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) has collaborated with area K-12 school superintendents regarding the status of concurrent enrollment (CEP) coursework being taken by high school students for college credit.

Online courses continue to be offered as usual effective today (March 18). High school students enrolled in CEP courses should check their college email and continue doing the coursework.

High school students enrolled in face-to-face CEP courses will see their courses change to either online or Zoom formats beginning Monday, March 23, at the same days/times the classes were scheduled to be held. High school students should check with their instructors via email for further instructions.

Currently, the Marshalltown Community College, Ellsworth Community College and Iowa Valley Grinnell campuses are CLOSED to the public (updated 3/20).

High school students enrolled in face-to-face career and technical education programs (e.g., culinary, welding) will either do online work and wait for labs to be held starting April 16, or suspend activities until classes resume. Again, students should watch their iavalley.edu email for additional instructions.

High school students enrolled in Nurse Aide courses will be contacted by faculty to ensure that their clinical experiences can be completed by the end of the school year; if this changes, students will be contacted via college email. IVCCD is hopeful that students in the spring Nurse Aide program can complete the coursework and certify before orientation for the summer college credit program begins.

The IVCCD faculty and adjunct instructors teaching at the high schools will resume teaching when the high schools re-open. CEP administrators and faculty will be looking at each CEP course to assure completion, with a special focus on making sure that seniors are able to graduate.

Any updates or changes to this information will be communicated to the K-12 superintendents and posted online at this web page.

STUDENT EMAIL (MAR. 16, 2020 @ 7:43 PM)

Students,

It has been a busy day on our campuses as faculty, staff and administrators have met to discuss and make recommendations about a number of important issues related to the COVID-19 situation. We greatly appreciate your patience and your attention as this issue continues to emerge. Please be assured that you, our students, are our Number One priority at this point. We remain committed to supporting your educational journey and helping you succeed in and outside of the classroom. We are making every effort at this point to ensure that the classes you’re currently taking, the work you’ve done already this semester, and your ultimate educational goals (including graduation) can still be met.

We are also deeply committed to protecting your health and the well-being of your fellow students. We are following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Iowa Department of Public Health, and county experts as we work our way through this uncharted territory of COVID-19. As of today, the CDC is recommending that gatherings of more than 10 people be avoided. To that end, we have made the following decisions:

Face-to-face classes at Ellsworth CC, Marshalltown CC and IVG will be cancelled until Monday, March 23, when nearly all of them will be moved to a virtual, technology-assisted platform using any combination of either a fully online Blackboard tool or a hybrid version using Zoom videoconferencing through the remainder of the semester.

A limited group of identified lab courses that do not lend themselves to virtual learning will be suspended for four weeks until Monday, April 13, or until it is recommended that group gatherings are able to resume per state and federal guidance.  Students directly affected by this situation will be contacted by their instructors to inform them of this change and to discuss if any lecture components will be taught virtually during the lab hiatus.

Previously online courses or courses that have been taught online all semester will resume on Wednesday, March 18.  Students should check their iavalley.edu email and Blackboard daily for specific course correspondence from their faculty.

Additional guidance for courses taught in our local high schools will be provided in the coming days.

Computer and Internet Access

Campus computer labs hours and access will remain the same at all locations. However, please note that no minor children (unless they are a registered MCC or ECC student) will be allowed on campus in order to support social distancing efforts. Our campuses are currently closed to the public (updated 3/20).

Housing and Food Service

Student housing and food service will remain open for students who wish to remain on campus. Given the changes in class format, we understand many students and their families may wish to move out of the dorms over the coming days/weeks to minimize social contact in close quarters. At the same time, we understand that there may be extenuating circumstances that prevent some of our students from leaving campus at this time. There will be staff on our campuses to ensure that residence buildings are being supervised and cleaned to minimize any possible concerns; food services will remain open to serve students in campus housing.

We will be providing additional guidance soon to allow for an orderly process that will minimize the number of people present at any given time as students relocate.

Campus Services

The campuses remain open for services, but students are encourage to use email and phone when possible. Students are encouraged to use email to contact offices and college staff (updated 3/20). Additional services will be moving online over the next few days.

Athletics

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has cancelled all spring competitions, including those for Ellsworth Community College and Marshalltown Community College, for the remainder of the academic year, effective March 16, 2020.

Spring competition includes all practices, regular season, post season, and national championship play. Spring sport student-athletes enrolled in 2020 will not be charged with a year of participation.

Student-athletes should check their Iowa Valley email regularly for updates from coaches.

College-Sponsored Travel for Students and Employees

No international travel thru June 30, 2020.

No non-essential out-of-state travel until May 30, 2020.

All in-state travel will be reviewed.

Events

All events at all locations are cancelled until April 13, 2020.

Again, please know we are committed to continuing to serve and educate you during this unprecedented national crisis. Please continue to check your email and our websites.

Stay healthy and keep learning, Dr. Kristie Fisher, IVCCD Chancellor

STUDENT EMAIL (MAR. 14, 2020 @ 8:34 AM)

Students,

Several students have asked for guidance on whether to fly back to campus or wait for further instruction. We plan to issue additional guidance on Monday and Tuesday.  Many airlines are allowing passengers to change flight dates at no charge; if you can postpone your flight back to campus, please feel free to do so until additional guidance is issued early next week. With that said, housing and dining will be open for students who do return to campus.

Monday and Tuesday are planning days for staff and faculty and we expect to plan for classes that can effectively be transitioned online for a period of time and develop plans for programs/classes that require lab time. We will issue more guidance on Monday and Tuesday.

Continue to watch your email and www.iavalley.edu for additional information.

Stay healthy, Dr. Kristie Fisher, IVCCD Chancellor

EMAIL TO STUDENTS (MAR. 13, 2020 @ 12:54 PM)

Students,

A great deal has happened while we were away from campus for spring break with COVID-19 or Coronavirus being in the world news. In an effort to properly address the emerging COVID-19 situation, Iowa Valley Community College District (Ellsworth and Marshalltown Community Colleges) will extend Spring Break for students through Tuesday, March 17. Classes will not meet on Monday (March 16) and Tuesday (March 17). Additional guidance for students will be emailed and posted to our websites daily.

However, all campus offices and services will be open on Monday and Tuesday to serve students and our communities. This includes residence halls and dining services which will be open for normal operations.

Your dedicated campus teams will be providing additional information soon so please check your email regularly.

As always please stay home if you are ill and communicate with your instructors and housing staff. In addition to COVID-19, there are a variety of other illnesses including influenza that are striking communities and workplaces so please keep yourself and those around you healthy.

Stay healthy, Dr. Kristie Fisher, IVCCD Chancellor


If you are interested, the Iowa Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control both are excellent resources available online.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-ihe-response.html

www.cdc.gov
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

https://idph.iowa.gov/emerging-health-issues/novel-coronavirus

Other helpful links: