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Laptop Loan Program, Work from Home Tips, Student Survey + More

Greetings, Comets!

How is working from home treating you? Last week, Dean of Students Dennis Franco shared some work-from-home wellness tips, which I would like to pass along, as well:

  • Maintain regular hours — Set a schedule, and stick to it as best you can.
  • Create a morning routine — Creating a routine that guides you into your workspace every morning.  Mine is one cup of coffee while watching a little TV and then another cup as I sit down to work.  I also use MS Teams to send out a good morning message to all of my teammates to let them know that I’ve started work.
  • Schedule breaks – Don’t just schedule them but make sure you take them and do so in their full entirety.
  • Get outside as much as this stay home order, or the weather, allows – Get some fresh air!
  • Make sure you ask for help if you need it – Talk to your manager, colleagues, etc.  Try not to be embarrassed if you don’t understand a specific task or use of a specific technology.
  • If you can, set up a workspace – I know for a lot of people, this may be tough.  Conversations are happening among the district-wide student services managers about how we might make this better.
  • Socialize with colleagues – Just the other day I had a Zoom happy hour with some friends/colleagues.  I strongly encourage you to consider maybe taking a lunch together or some other way of staying connected via Zoom.
  • Take sick leave – If you aren’t feeling well, you should consider taking a sick day.  It would be easy to just keep working but you need to take care of yourself so that when you are working you are at 100%.

STATE COVID WEBSITE

The state has launched its own Coronavirus information hub, which I urge you to review. It contains news updates and a wealth of resources, including student guidance in Spanish and a pretty robust section on converting in-person courses to remote instruction.

LAPTOP LOAN PROGRAM

We will be checking Chromebooks out to students again this Friday, March 27. As a result, we have reopened the loan referral for​m. Please use the form to refer students who lack access to a computer. The foundation is also purchasing more Chromebooks to support this effort, but we do not yet know when they will arrive.

EXCUSED WITHDRAWAL

The state chancellor has issued an executive order eliminating academic and apportionment penalties for withdrawal due to the switch to remote learning. Some state financial aid consequences have also been mitigated by this order, however other challenges still remain. Federal financial aid is still a concern, as are the student’s ability to graduate and transfer. So, it is still imperative that we help as many students get through this semester as possible.

STUDENT SURVEY

Earlier this afternoon, students received a text and email asking for their thoughts on and needs during the remote learning transition. We’re already getting valuable feedback, which we hope to use to address immediate needs and inform future plans. Please feel free to share it with this trackable link: https://bit.ly/2xnLUCM 

SERVICES AND RESOURCES

We also continue to update the website with important resources for our students. Today, for example, we added or updated a number of health and mental wellness services. Be sure to check it regularly because some things are changing daily. 

Demand for food pantries appears to be especially high, so Gabriela Duran in Student Life personally contacted every food bank in our service area to see which ones had been affected by the COVID-19 stay home order. She was able to verify that many are still open and serving the public, which we have shared here. Her sense was that most others are also still operating, as well, but too busy to respond to calls. Thank you so much, Gabriela!

MAJOR DONATION TO THE FOUNDATION

To close with a bit of good news: Linda Cherry, former Executive Director of the Contra Costa College Foundation, has made an extremely generous $58,000 gift to the foundation. Words could never express our gratitude to Ms Cherry. And, of course, we can’t forget Linda’s successor Sara Marcellino, who earned so much trust and respect from her predecessor. It is even more inspiring to see this sort of generosity at a time like this, when need is especially great, and the impact becomes even more apparent.

Which is why I would like to thank you all once again for giving so much of yourselves to get our students through this time. Never forget that you are changing lives.

-dab