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Genesee Community College – COVID Best Practices – our many successes

Members of the Genesee Community College community have worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the success, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. Navigating this new normal has been challenging, but together we have many successes to celebrate.

As we continue to adapt, we share below a sample of our campus’s “best practices” from COVID protocols and processes including quarantine and isolation procedures, to the use of facilities, to student activities (including athletics). We hope some of our creative and innovative programs and processes implemented can benefit other SUNY campuses.

We look forward to continuing to learn from each other, as every day we learn something new.

Sincerely,

Genesee Community College

Health and Safety

Our upmost priority since March has been the health and safety of our students and employees. Before the college reopened to individuals other than essential employees, four reintegration committees were established: 1) Academic and Instruction Delivery; 2) Employee Experience; 3) Operations and Facilities; and 4) Student Experience. These committees, made up of various stakeholders across campus, worked hard to develop best practices on how to reopen and reintegrate safely back into the offices and classrooms.

To ensure everyone’s continued health and safety, the college has only been available for use by students, employees or visitors with approved business. We have also staggered in-person classes and work schedules to minimize the density of individuals on campus. This limits the potential contact and exposure for all.

Community Partnerships 

Genesee Community College has always had a close relationship with its local and regional communities, and we ensured to keep these ties even stronger during such challenging times. We worked to support the needs of our community partnerships by:

1. Loaning respiratory ventilators to our local hospital

2. Donating large amounts of excess personal protective equipment

3. Making our Richard C. Call Arena available for any community needs (e.g. overflow medical center, rapid testing site, vaccination location)

4. Partaking in local campaigns to support student success (e.g. Batavia CSD, “Can’t Mask Batavia Pride”)

Student Inclusion, Engagement, and Success

Our Student Success Center Virtual Hub has been very successful in remotely fulfilling student service needs in a collaborative approach. The SSC has also created how-to videos to assist students with navigating the registration process.

Our Student Engagement and Inclusion department has offered numerous online student engagement activities that are outlined in a weekly engagement newsletter called the G-Dub Chronicle. A few examples of these include Bingo, Yoga, Keep Calm & Paint, 5k Out-Run Your Stress, Lip Sync Battle, Virtual Escape Room, and various Social Media Challenges.

Our College Village residence halls have continually met the needs of our students since the onset of the pandemic, incuding providing housing to international students and other populations who could not return home over summer and holidays. We expanded the scope of our food pantry offerings, and partnered with our dining services provider to donate excess food and beverages at times when student mobility was limited. Isolation and quarantine spaces were designated within College Village for use by students having tested positive or waiting for results of tests that stemmed from contact tracing.

Our coaches have supported athletic student engagement through conditioning and practice to maintain team bonds. Intersquad competitions have been a popular activity.

Employee Support

To ensure the safety of employees, the college closed at the end of business on March 20 and did not reopen to non-essential staff until July 6. We provided the necessary resources for employees to work from home during this time. Prior to resuming our regular on-campus presence, the Employee Experience Reintegration Committee developed Employee Welcome Back Guidelines that outlined everything from workplace changes to cleaning and safety protocols.

The college ensured there was no interruption of communication so every part of the college community remained informed. Whether it was a President’s open forum, semester welcome back message, or monthly newsletter, methods of delivery were adjusted to meet safety protocols yet deliver important updates and information.

Administration encouraged employees to take care of their health, use the challenge as an opportunity, and take advantage of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other resources if they needed help.

The college’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution of appreciation thanking the students, faculty, staff, and administration for their efforts during COVID. The resolution was shared with the college community.

Virtual Connections

Moved Commencement from Stage to Screen – Virtual Commencement Ceremony occurred Saturday, June 6, 2020. Officials at Genesee Community College created and delivered a commencement ceremony using innovative technology to honor the Class of 2020 and recognize their achievements while simultaneously adhering to the existing social distancing mandates.

Honored and Recognized Nursing Graduates at Unique Pinning Ceremony – In July, nursing graduates and their families parked their cars facing a lectern that was set up outside, and all guests could listen to the program on our campus radio station, WGCC 90.7FM from their car radios, or watch it remotely through the live stream access. The evening to remember included a parade of emergency vehicles to kick off the event and a Mercy Flight helicopter, which is stationed nearby at the Batavia Airport, doing a fly-by tipping its wings to the newly minted nurses.

Released Continual Social Media Salutes to Nurses and Healthcare Heroes (especially GCC Alumni!)