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Touch Base Tuesday 9-14-21
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Since 2001, St. Charles Community College’s Democracy Days has engaged our students, faculty, and community members in “examining the history, health, and functioning of democracy in America.” I hope you will find some time this week to explore some of the topics: https://www.stchas.edu/docs/pdfs/DemocracyDays202.pdf. My appreciation is extended to Professor Emeritus, Michael Kuelker, and the faculty and staff who have contributed their time and energy to this important event.
Information about COVID-19 is one of the topics discussed at this year’s Democracy Days. It was also an agenda item at our last President’s Council meeting. Vice President Galbierz facilitated a session focused on obtaining feedback regarding the college’s response to the pandemic. Some of the feedback received includes the following:
• Create a seating chart for classrooms. This will help contact tracers identify students who may have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 exposure.
• Place the seating charts on Canvas for each of your classes for handy reference for contract tracers.
• Keep a list of who was seated or working next to whom for those cross-listed classes or classroom group activities when seating charts cannot be done.
• Place the Maxient link on Canvas course pages and on the Canvas announcement page for easy student access.
• Embed the COVID pages in the OEL welcome module on the announcement pages.
• Re-enforce the fact that students should stay home if they are feeling unwell. Fac-ulty should find ways to help manage the stress students and parent may feel re-garding attendance and attendance points if they miss a class due to illness.
• Stress to students the importance of being vaccinated.
• Remind students that masks are required while indoors and in group settings.
• Send a reminder message to faculty and staff regarding COVID protocols.
• Offer more vaccination clinics on campus this fall.
Council members reported that even in the current pandemic environment, students seem to be excited to be back to campus, attending classes in person, and interacting with other students.
The Council reviewed and approved two changes to the science lab fee. Currently, all students enrolled in a science class pay a $40 lab fee. Revenue from the fee goes into a reserve account for the science department to maintain supplies and equipment. With the increased number of DR. BARBARA KAVALIER fully online science courses, the Council was asked to consider whether the college should continue charging this fee to students enrolled in the following three fully online courses: PHY-127, BIO-106, and BIO-113. The Council voted to waive the fee for student enrolled in the online courses. The Council also voted in support of using federal pandemic relief funds to cover lab kits for spring 2022 online science courses.
Last Wednesday, President Biden announced new vaccination mandates to increase the number of individuals receiving the COVID-19 shot. Biden’s edict applies to businesses that exceed 100 employees and that do federal contract work. Although it is uncertain at this time how these new actions will affect higher education, colleges and universities that contract with the federal government most likely will be impacted. This Wednesday in Jefferson City, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing with public testimony regarding the new federal mandates.
If you have any thoughts or feedback related to COVID-19, please feel free to send me an e-mail. We will continue to find opportunities to gain feedback from faculty, staff, and students as we navigate these uncertain times.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 through October 15. The date of September 15 represents national independence days for the following Latin American countries: Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. National independence for Mexico is celebrated on September 16, September 18 for Chile, and September 21 for Belize. Hispanic Heritage Month allows all of us to recognize and celebrate the contributions of U.S. Latinos and to learn about their culture and their history. When Congress passed Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 the Hispanic population in the nation was approximately 9 million. In 2020, the population was 62 million. Please join me in recognizing and celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Over the summer we replaced the college’s two fountains that were not functioning. If you have a chance, check out the fountain adjacent to the Administration Building during the evening hours. Rotating colored lights were added as a new feature. It looks amazing!
Best wishes for a wonderful week!