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CARES ACT – COVID 19

Communications from President Cosby

July 31, 2020

Simmons Nation,

The leadership of the college has continued to monitor the status of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has worsened and continues to hit black communities hard, due to America's patterns of economic injustice. We have also been listening as our governor has encouraged remote work and as JCPS has chosen to go remote for fall.

As a result, to protect the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, we have made the necessary decision to go to all remote classes for fall, but with an emphasis on making as many in person support opportunities as possible available to students, such as library services, the computer lab, tutoring, and more.

We will be releasing more details about this in approximately one week, but we wanted to inform you of this decision now so that you can make plans.

We are committed to providing students with a robust quality learning experience this fall, but we must do this safely.

Please continue to register for fall classes using the advising link: bit.ly/sckyfalladvising .

If you run into problems, contact the registration helpdesk: helpdesk@simmonscollegeky.edu.

If you are expecting to participate in the September 2020 commencement exercises, please watch for an email invitation from Student Services.

We look forward to being with you this fall, even if we can't be with you personally in all the ways we would have liked!

STUDENT RELIEF FUNDS AVAILABLE


May 25, 2020

First Report – Distribution of CARES Act Emergency Funding to Students – May 25, 2020

Report submitted to the U.S. Secretary for the Department of Education (“The Department”)

  1. Simmons College of Kentucky signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

2. The total grant award to Simmons College of Kentucky for direct grants to students is $120,403, under Grant Number P425E201629.

3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of May 25, 2020 is $34,800.

4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Our initial estimate is somewhere between 116 and 171. That’s because the criteria for awarding grants is still unclear. The first round of awards went only to students who were Title IV eligible and who had made Satisfactory Academic Progress.

5. As of May 25, 2020 a total of 116 students had received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act: All students who had demonstrated that they met the Title IV eligibility requirements were awarded the same initial amount of $300 each. An opportunity is planned for students later to apply for supplementary aid by demonstrating need based on Covid-19 disruption.

7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants: No special instructions were given, since all who had complied with Title IV eligibility were awarded the same amount. A general announcement was made to the students.

Second Report – Distribution of CARES Act Emergency Funding to Students June 30, 2020

- This 2nd report, effective June 30, 2020, incorporates by reference the statements made above under Grant Number P425E201629 of the award of $120,403 designated solely for Covid-19 aid relief directly awarded to students.

- As of June 30, 2020, a total of total of $38,100 has been awarded to students deemed eligible from their Spring Semester 2020 from the funding of the CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

- As of June 30, 2020 a total of 127 Simmons students received direct grants of $300 each, which includes 11 additional students verified as eligible from the Spring 2020 semester awarded after the first report. No new announcement was made since this was a continuation of the $300 award to every student who met the eligibility guidelines.

Third Report – Distribution of CARES Act Emergency Funding to Students Sept. 30, 2020

- This 3rd report, effective September 30, 2020, incorporates by reference the statements made above under Grant Number P425E201629 of the award of $120,403 designated solely for Covid-19 aid relief directly awarded to students.

- During the summer months of July and August 2020 no awards were made from the CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. During this time, it was decided that supplemental awards would be made to students otherwise eligible under the regulations based on students’ application for and demonstration of special financial need due to Covid’s disruption of their education. Consequently, an application form was developed and placed on
the web under the CARES Act tab. A notice was then distributed to all fall enrollees, advising them of this opportunity. Covid awards will be ongoing throughout the fall semester and awarded to eligible students based on their completion of the application explaining their needs due to Covid disruption of their education.

- As of September 30, 2020 an additional $8,904 was awarded to 19 current Simmons students who applied for relief. Students may continue to apply for Covid relief throughout the fall semester. Additional awards will be made at least monthly after students submit their application.

- Therefore, as of September 30, 2020, a total of total of $47,004 has been awarded to Simmons students deemed eligible from the funding of the CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Young,
Provost

FALCON FLEX: SAFE @ SIMMONS

Greetings, Simmons Nation!

Thank you for your great work during the spring and summer semesters! We are, indeed, getting through this together.

This message comes to you from the leadership team at Simmons and is designed to explain what we know at this point about plans for the fall semester in light of Covid-19.

As we created these plans, we had the following in mind:

  1. How do we best meet the needs of students and provide as much in-person instruction as possible?

  2. How do we do all we can to keep each other safe?

  3. How do we devise an instructional plan for Fall 2020 that can respond to the fluid situation with Covid-19.

You have no doubt heard of many schools and colleges adopting a “hybrid model” of instruction for fall, one which has elements of remote and in-person learning. That is what we have done. Our hybrid model calls for meeting in person on Mondays and Tuesdays, and remotely on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with possible music courses in Axton Hall on a different day if construction on Axton is completed before fall:

  1. Reduces the total number of people in the buildings at any one time;

  2. Provides in-person options and stay-at-home options, based on your needs;

For students who want the in-person experience, we will have it. For out-of-town students who choose to remain at home for a semester, or for students or professors who feel their health is at risk by being in group gatherings, even with social distancing and masks, the plan accommodates you, too.

How will the plan work?

Classes will begin August 17, which is the day they were originally scheduled to begin. The final day of classes will be Tuesday, November 24th, although academic work will continue after Thanksgiving break, such as final exams or completing projects or papers.

Due to lost time in class, Fall Break is canceled.

Before returning to campus, all students, faculty, and staff will be required to be tested for Covid-19. The college will provide free testing on campus during the week before school, and numerous free sites are available in Louisville. More details about this requirement will be released soon. Please understand that testing--which is being required by many colleges--is consistent with the best practices handed down by health officials and is put in place for the protection of all of us and our loved ones.

What will it be like on campus?

  1. Everyone will be required to wear masks and to socially distance while on campus and to have masks properly in place. This is not optional. Social distancing will also be required.

  1. New sanitation procedures, traffic patterns within buildings, and other precautionary steps will be put in place.

  1. Classes will meet in person on Monday and Tuesday. These classes will be recorded and posted through our new Learning Management System, Canvas. (More details below.)

  1. Professors will record Wednesday and Thursday lectures either from home or by reporting to be recorded in their classroom, but without students present on Wednesday or Thursday. Professors may also choose to use options such as Zoom for their Wednesday or Thursday classes, and these will be recorded for viewing later by students if necessary.

  1. All classes will be videotaped and posted online, and professors will post assignments to complement the lectures.

  1. We will have two kinds of students this fall: remote students and in-person students. If a student chooses to attend in person, they will be in class M/T and then learn remotely on W/Th. If a student remains in their home city or does not feel safe coming to campus, they will view the video for M/T and then follow the same steps for remote learning as in-person students for W/Th.

  1. In-person class sessions will be limited to the number of students who can safely socially distance in the classroom space available. If necessary, we may have to devise a system of reserving seats in class on a rotating basis, but an in-person student who doesn’t have a seat available will still be able to view the video of their class.

  1. Some professors have health risks or at-risk loved ones and cannot be present to teach in person. When that is the case, the professor will provide two video lectures a week along with lesson plans so students can learn remotely.

One thing everybody has to do: Immediately learn how to access your Simmons email! Simmons has purchased a first-class Learning Management System, Canvas. Canvas is the most popular LMS among U.S. colleges and universities and is used by many HBCUs, as well as schools such as Stanford and Cornell. An LMS allows you to keep track of your grades, assignments, and what’s going on in class. (You might have used other versions of an LMS, such as Blackboard orInfinite Campus.)

But you’re not going to be able to access this system without first knowing how to access your Simmons email. For instructions on accessing Simmons email go to

https://www.simmonscollegeky.edu/students-4/simmons-email/

Canvas accounts are presently being set up for all students and details on getting into Canvas will be released soon. To learn more about Canvas even before you have your account information, you can go to https://www.instructure.com/canvas/

Bottom line: We can do this! You can do this! With Canvas in place, we have ways to track your progress and help keep you on track, and we will have ways to have online group discussions we couldn’t do easily in the spring. We know this is challenging, and we know that there are many work and family challenges being faced right now, but we encourage you to plug in this fall and keep moving toward that degree!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why not meet in person Monday-Thursday instead of two days a week? Risk reduction necessitates a dramatic increase in cleaning procedures, and the more we gather in groups, the greater the risk, even with social distancing and masks.

  1. What about night courses? Because of all the risk reduction protocols that must be in place, evening classes will be 100% remote. The campus will not be open at night.

  1. What if I don’t have a computer or have problems with internet access? Please contact the Office of Student Affairs for help with this.

  1. What if the situation improves and it becomes safe to gather more in person? We can expand our in-person gatherings if public health officials advise it is safe to do so, but no out-of-town students will be required to report to campus and no at-risk student will be required to attend.

  1. What if the situation gets worse and it’s not safe to gather at all in person? In this case, professors will report to have their lectures recorded in an empty classroom or will record their lectures at home on their computers. Lectures will be posted and all students will become remote students in all their classes.

  1. What if someone in my class tests positive for Covid-19? Here is why masks and social distancing is vital. If the person is discovered to have not been wearing a mask properly or not at all, all students in all that person’s classes will have to remain at home for 14 days and will not be permitted to participate in any activities, including athletics.

  1. What if I forget my mask? We may have single-use masks available for a small fee, but you will not be permitted on campus without a mask.

  1. What if I have a breathing problem that makes wearing a mask difficult for me? Contact Student Affairs to let them know about this and they will work on informing school officials of your need to be exempted from the procedures.

  1. Will The Nest be open and will food insecurity assistance (pantry, snacks) be available? We are planning to open The Nest, but procedures will have to be put in place and will be posted, and failure to follow those procedures could lead to its closure.

  1. What if I want to hug my awesome professor or high-five my classmate for their insightful observation? The Simmons falcon will be posted inside the ceiling and will swoop down to deal with the situation.

  1. What if I need to meet with my professor or someone on the Simmons staff? We are doing everything we can to keep our staff and their families safe, and many offices are very small. In many cases, you will have to meet by phone or videoconferencing, or in a pre-arranged large conferencing space.

  1. Will the library be open? Yes, but only a prescribed number of people at a time will be admitted and health protocols will be in place. Go to the library’s web page for information regarding online research materials.

  1. What about the shuttles? We plan to offer shuttle services, but masks will be required and the frequency of service may be curtailed.

  1. What about my Christian Service Program obligations? Unless public health officials allow churches to re-open this fall, for the protection of our students, given that we cannot control what precautions may or may not be in place in other organizations, we will suspend our CSP for the fall semester.

  1. What about the band and other musical groups? There is a great deal of public health information on the risks of singing or playing wind musical instruments in a group setting, so group musical activities will not be able to resume until it is safe to do so. We are also exploring ways to do online musical activities to keep our fantastic musicians connected.

  1. How will decisions be made about revising this plan if necessary? Based on guidance from state health officials, and in consultation with the faculty, the SCKY executive leadership team will present proposed changes to the provost and president for approval, and this information will be distributed to all SCKY email accounts. As of July 15th, Kentucky and the nation are moving in the wrong direction with Covid-19, and we are certainly monitoring the situation.

  1. What if I have problems with childcare? Can I bring my child on campus? We are sorry that we cannot allow this, but you can use the remote options to keep up with your class.

CAMPUS COVID PLANS

Fall Reopening Announcement

June 26, 2020

Re: Simmons College’s Re-Opening Fall 2020 – Hybrid Learning Method

Greetings Simmons Nation.

We all are saddened by the loss of 125,000 Americans and 500,000 of God’s children in our world due to Covid-19, as well as all those facing economic devastation during this crisis. Even as we have prayed for others, however, we have had to consider what we should do about classes for Fall 2020. Continuing your education at Simmons is vital to your individual future and to your ability to be an agent of change who advocates for social justice in America.

Our college has designed a flexible plan for fall that will allow students and faculty to be in class in person if they choose, or to teach or attend remotely if they feel this is in the best interest of their own health or the health of someone near to them.

Classes will resume on August 17th as originally scheduled. In-person classes will, however, end earlier than usual on November 24th, although assignments will continue after that date.Because of this change, fall break has been canceled.

To reduce risk, in-person classes will meet one day a week rather than two, but classes will continue remotely for the other instructional day. Sessions will be videoed and made available on the web. To protect the health of students and faculty, as well as the health of their loved ones, wearing masks while inside campus buildings will be mandatory, and social distancing is required while anywhere on campus.

A detailed plan will be released soon. We wanted to get this initial message to you now so you can begin to make plans. We will soon provide a comprehensive picture of the plans for fall.

In preparation for fall, all students must begin making use of their Simmons’ email. This is mandatory. Only through your Simmons email will you our faculty and staff communicate with you about your classes, scholarships, class assignments, and important announcements. You will need to use your Simmons email to access our learning resources and learning management system. For individual help with your Simmons email, contact Ms. Vaughn at svaughn@simmonscollegeky.edu. Directions for setting up your email are posted also on our webpage at https://www.simmonscollegeky.edu/students-4/simmons-email/ .

Looking forward to your continued success at Simmons.

March 18, 2020

SIMMONS STUDENTS WILL COMPLETE THEIR SPRING 2020 SEMESTER COURSEWORK REMOTELY

Dear Simmons Students:

For the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, your classes at Simmons will continue remotely. Our faculty will continue to work with you individually, via email, telephone, telephone group conferences, or video lectures. Please make sure you are in contact with all your professors to complete your coursework and fulfill your course obligations so you can receive credit for your classes. They will be reaching out to you through your email, but you need to take responsibility to reach them if they miss you.

Our directory of department chairs is listed on our web page, at https://simmonscollegeky.edu/old/faculty-staff/ . If you are having trouble reaching a faculty member, please email Ms. T’Keisha Barger at tbargar@simmonscollegeky.edu, and she will assist you.

Here’s what you should know.

1. All students must complete their coursework and assignments in order to receive credit. Semester teaching and learning are still going on. We are just not meeting on-campus.

2. The semester will end as previously scheduled, which is as follows:

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 is the last day of classes (now being held informally or online)
  • Tuesday, April 28, 2020 is a reading day.
  • Exams will be administered April 29-30 and May 4, 2020, as each professor so arranges.

3. Students are responsible for submitting their work to their professors and demonstrating mastery of the required course material according to the professors’ instructions. Professors will only use students’ Simmons’ email, unless they expressly agree to write you at an alternate email address. If you need help setting up your Simmons’ email, you may email Shawnta Vaughn at svaughn@simmonscollegeky.edu. She can set up an online zoom conference to assist you. You may also see Andrew Chalk, our library director, at the A&L library.

4. Your faculty will provide you with a variety of ways to communicate with them as your teachers. Again, if you have difficulty reaching anyone, you must initiate an email to Ms. Barger as stated above.

5. We are running a skeleton crew to keep essential services going, as we practice social distancing to do everything we can to avoid the spread of this virus. Our campus is closed to students and the public, except that the A&L library will be open most weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for our students and staff. But we will practice social distancing and will allow only four people at a time to work in the computer area. This will allow students who otherwise lack access to internet and computers an opportunity to fulfill their assignments.

6. We strongly encourage students to learn to use the free program known as Zoom. Go to https://zoom.us Many of our professors will set up zoom group meetings. Faculty will text or email students a link that lets them join the group conference either by video or by telephone. This program allows those with internet to see video lectures, but those with only phones can dial in, listen, and participate in group discussion, though they won’t see the teacher’s computer screen.

To begin learning how to use Zoom, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2pq4I1urXA . Zoom is free for those who join a meeting.

7. Tutoring is still available for any of your writing projects. You just have to email Linda Ellison (aka “the cookie lady”) your draft at lellison@simmonscollegeky.edu and give her your phone number and some options as to when she can contact you. Please allow at least two days before your paper is due.

8. All student clubs and student group activities are canceled for the remainder of the semester. Do not plan to arrange student activity meetings either on or off campus.

9. If you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or otherwise would like some personal coaching or emotional support on any matter, our counselor Jimmy Joseph is available for individual online or telephonic support. Please email him at jjoseph02@spalding.edu. Mr. Joseph has been working at Simmons this year as part of a cooperative arrangement we have developed with Spalding University.

10. If you are leasing an apartment and wish to move, you are responsible for working out the details with your landlord, who may impose early termination fees and prevent your renting from them again next year. Also, be mindful that public transportation, whether by bus, train, or plane, can cause greater exposure to the virus. Those decisions are up to you and your family. Wherever you reside, avoid groups and crowds and practice social distance and good hygiene, including frequent hand-washing, as much as possible.

As circumstances evolve, we will provide additional information. We hope that the current information assists you in planning your life for the next few months as you, yourself, limit in-person contact with others to minimize the spread of Covid-19. Remember, the virus may only make you mildly ill, but you could pass it on to an elderly person who would face life-threatening consequences. So we all need to do our part to protect our entire community.

We want all our Simmons Nation members to be safe and well during this challenging time.

In Christian Service,

MORE INFORMATION ON COVID-19 FROM THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

PREVENTION

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this
virus. The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. Closely following recommended prevention measures is the best method for protecting yourself from sickness.

SYMPTOMS? NEED TO REACH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL?

Be mindful of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

According to the CDC, “Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus
disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.”

For more information about symptoms, please visit the CDC COVID-19 Symptoms page.

NEED TO TALK WITH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL?

General questions from the public or healthcare provider inquiries about COVID-19 may be directed to the Kentucky Department of
Health’s COVID-19 Hotline (800) 722-5725. Their website is (HERE).

FURTHER INFORMATION

COVID-19 is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring.

WHERE IS IT SPREADING?
HERE ARE THE LINKS TO ORGANIZATIONS THAT WE CONTINUE TO MONITOR:

SIMMONS CLASSES TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED MARCH 16-20, 2020 DUE TO PRECAUTIONS FOR COVID-19

Dear members of the Simmons community,

Simmons College has been monitoring news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and working with campus leaders to determine how students, faculty, and staff might be affected.

To plan for handling this rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, Simmons College of Kentucky is responding as follows:

  • Face-to-face classes are temporarily suspended from Monday, March 16 through Friday March 20 when students will be notified as to how their classes will resume.  This temporary suspension will give us time to transition to alternative course delivery options, which may vary from teacher to teacher.
  • We will send out updates next week to students as to how their classes will continue.  Some will continue via independent study, some by telephonic conferences, and some by using Zoom, which allows video connection.  Regardless, faculty will be in touch with students. Please watch your emails and texts for updates that pertain to you. We hope that by April 1 or sooner, on-campus classes will resume, but this will depend on the guidance given from local health officials.
  • The campus will remain open during the interim and students will be afforded access to the library and the computer lab daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm.  This will be helpful to those who may otherwise lack interact access.
  • College faculty and staff should continue to report to work as usual as we prepare for alternative delivery of courses, to continue normal work activities, and to assist with recruitment and retention efforts of new and current students. If you are able to work effectively from home, please contact your respective vice-president to gain approval for special accommodations.
  • Special Caution to Recent Travelers. Although this is unlikely, any student or staff member who has visited an area designated by the CDC as a Level 3 travel warning (currently China, Iran, Italy and South Korea) are required to contact our Vice-President for Student Services, Ms. Phyllis Clark, by email (pclark@simmonscollegeky.edu) or their respective supervisor and self-monitor their conditions at home as instructed according to CDC guidance. See the latest CDC travel warning list HERE. This is also required if you have had direct exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Currently, the college is undergoing a deep cleaning to sanitize the buildings, and we will be using additional practices to minimize the spread of any disease.

At present, no member of the Simmons College community has tested positive for COVID-19 or has reported any symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Today’s decision is intended to protect the community and slow the rate at which the virus is spreading, while maintaining the integrity of our academic offerings.

We continue to monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with guidance from Kentucky health authorities. Please note that information will be regularly updated on our webpage.

We all regret this disruption, but in the grand scheme of things, this disruption is no different from having classes canceled because of heavy winter snows.  Your courses will continue, and you will complete the required coursework assignments the same as if this disruption did not occur.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this complicated and unprecedented interruption of campus life. The health of our students is paramount.

As Christians, we gain perspective by recalling that “God has not given us over to a spirit of fear, but of love, peace, and a sound mind.”

In Christian Service,

INSTITUTIONAL AWARDS DUE TO COVID

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