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Student Updates on COVID-19

Altierus Career College shares in the concern for the health, safety and welfare of our communities. As you know, due to COVID-19 we transitioned all of our programs entirely to distance learning remote instruction at each of our schools, which has allowed students to continue their education without requiring them to be on campus. On June 1, students with IP grades were be able to return to campus at scheduled times to make up lab competencies. This plan will be continued through the month of June. Starting July 6, all students with IP grades from March, April and May will receive additional communication by June 11th. Starting July 6th, all students will return to campus for instruction on a modified schedule. Please start preparing your schedule to ensure that you are able to return to campus for face-to-face instruction for the July 6 start; which may include organizing transportation, setting up child care, modifying your work schedule, etc. In an effort to continue answering some commonly asked questions—including questions regarding plans to return to campus and resume on-campus learning—please review the following FAQs. We welcome your feedback and questions, and we will continue to update this information as needed.

Altierus Career College
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Originally Published April 24, 2020
Last Updated June 23, 2020

Campus Operations

When are we returning to campus?

Based on each state’s executive guidance, we expect to complete the June/Summer B classes with the current online plan. On July 6, instruction will resume on campus with a modified schedule to ensure we are following CDC guidelines. Please note that our go-forward plans may vary by state—based on local/state directives, CDC guidelines, as well as what’s best for our students, faculty and staff—and as such, we will communicate with you as our decisions are made.

During the week of May 11, we started to welcome back some faculty who elected to deliver their lectures and demonstrations from campus. As of June 1, students who have IP grades have been able to sign up to complete missing lab work during scheduled times to complete competencies and receive a final grade. Should guidance from state health officials continue to allow, we plan for all faculty, students and staff to return to campus and resume classes with a modified schedule on July 6. We are providing this information to allow you make adjustments to child care, work schedules, and transportation in order to accommodate a class schedule that includes in person instruction beginning in July.

For the health and safety of our Altierus community, we are taking a measured approach to resume on-campus learning that will allow us to maintain social distancing while ensuring we follow the cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines set forth by the CDC. Due to this approach, your modified schedule is as follows:

Return to campus modified schedule as of July 6, 2020

Why do we have weekly surveys in Canvas?

There have been weekly surveys conducted through Canvas to provide ample and consistent opportunities for the students to provide feedback. The information shared is greatly appreciated! On average, 87% of students feel they have the support needed to be successful in the virtual learning environment and 88% of students feel their instructors have been prepared to teach in the virtual learning environment. We know that this is a transition for everyone, and your flexibility and determination are noticed and greatly appreciated. If you do have any concerns, please reach out to your faculty, program chair or dean. Open, regular communication is paramount to our success.

I’m having difficulty making my tuition payments, who do I contact?

You can reach a financial aid representative by calling the main number for your campus and choosing Option 5.

I’m having a financial hardship outside of tuition cost, who do I contact for assistance?

Emergency Aid grants are available to eligible students for qualified expenses. You can apply here.

Do you have any resources that can help alleviate stress, worry or anxiety associated with COVID-19?

We have partnered with Active Minds, an organization that focuses on mental health awareness. You can contact them at 800-985-5990, text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 or access their resources here. In addition, we also have Aunt Bertha, which will enable you to search for free or reduced-cost services like medical care, food, job training and more.

What is the CARES Act and how does it affect me?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a law passed by Congress and the President to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. As part of the Act, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) provides federal aid to institutions to award as emergency financial aid grants to students who have been impacted by disrupted campus operations due to COVID-19. The U.S. Secretary of Education specified certain criteria for a student to be eligible to receive this grant. First, in order to be issued a CARES Act Grant Award to help defray the costs and disruption to on-campus courses transitioning to distance learning, you must have be an effected Altierus Career College student at one of the census dates. This includes students active on May 2 and students that remained in our May cohorts after the census date. Additionally, the Department of Education also specified that individuals must be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. In determining the grant amount provided to each student, Altierus elected to award the funding equally to each student eligible as all students faced an equal disruption to their normal course schedule as a result of the transition to distance learning. Altierus Career College has issued payments to students eligible in the form of checks. You can read additional information about this payment here.

Academics/Grades

I’ve completed lab competencies in a prior classroom. Can we use that grade for the current course?

If you feel that you have mastered the lab competency or lab check-off in a previous class, please reach out to your instructor to discuss.

When will we get to do the hands-on part of the class that we missed?

For the month of June, any student who missed lab competency check-offs will be able to sign up for time to come back to the campus to make them up. All students with IP grades from March, April and May will receive additional communication by June 11th. There will be additional open lab times to sign-up for in July.

Based on each state’s executive guidance, we expect to offer June/Summer B classes with the current online plan. On July 6th, instruction will resume on campus with a modified schedule to ensure we are following CDC guidelines. We are providing this information as soon as possible to allow you make adjustments to child care, work schedules, and transportation in order to accommodate a class schedule that includes in person instruction beginning in July.

Please know that our go-forward plans may vary by state—based on local/state directives, CDC guidelines, as well as what’s best for our students, faculty and staff—and as such, we will communicate with you as our decisions are made.

I’m concerned with my grade being penalized because I am unable to do the hands-on labs. What can I do to complete these?

Rest assured that you are not being penalized. This is why In Progress (IP) grades have been awarded. Since you have not been provided the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of one or more outcomes, a zero was placed in the grade book as a placeholder and an IP grade awarded for your course(s). For the month of June, you will be able to complete any outstanding lab check-offs, and your lab grade(s) will be updated and the IP grade will be removed for the course(s). Additionally, open lab times will be scheduled for the month of July too. If you feel that you have mastered the lab competency or lab check-off in a previous class, please reach out to your instructor to discuss.

Why am I receiving a zero in my grade book for lab comps that I can only do on campus?

Since you have not been provided the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of the outcome, a zero was placed in the grade book as a placeholder and an IP grade awarded for the course.

What does the IP grade mean and how does this affect my GPA?

An IP(In Progress) grade means that a final grade has not been issued in a course due to outstanding work. In the case of courses that have transitioned to distance learning, the grade indicates you have not been provided the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of a course’s outcome and, therefore, the course is still in progress. IP grades are not used in calculating GPA and will be replaced by the earned grade once you have had the opportunity to complete any outstanding course requirements.

I’m not happy with my current grade, who do I contact?

Please reach out to your instructor to discuss.

When am I going to be able to obtain my certification/credential?

Many certification exams have stopped testing due to COVID-19. We are working on a process for certification and credential testing to begin in July.

I’m preparing to go on an externship, how do I communicate with the Career Service reps?

If you need to connect with Career Services, please call the school and follow the prompts to reach Career Services. Although we are remote, all calls are routed during normal business hours. You can also reach the Career Services reps via their individual extensions, email and Zoom. The externship coordinator is also conducting one-on-one sessions with all seniors before going on an externship.

We know that some of our externship sites are not accepting students at this time, or that students might not feel comfortable going to an externship site during COVID-19. Because of this, we have the ability to enroll in a practicum course as a substitution for externship. The practicum course is 200 hours of practical application of the skills in your program under the supervision of qualified faculty at the campus. Like the externship, it is a capstone. The MBC practicum is offered at Bissonnet, Norcross and Tampa. The Dental, Pharmacy and MA practicums are offered at Bissonnet and Norcross. Please connect with Career Services if you have questions.

I am a senior who needs to complete an externship. Will I still graduate on time?

Once you complete an externship and meet all graduation requirements, you will officially graduate. Practicums are also available in certain programs.

Will graduation ceremonies be postponed?

We are weighing the option to hold an in-person graduation vs. an alternative virtual graduation. At this time, we are postponing the early summer graduations and working with local venues to secure space for a future in-person graduation.

Technology

For additional details about technical support, be sure to visit the Tools & Resources page on the blue navigation bar in your Canvas classroom.

Who should I contact if I can’t log into Canvas, the Student Portal or a virtual Zoom classroom?

If you are having technical issues related to your eBook, iPads, software for your course or your computer, call 866-945-6308 (Option 1 for iPads; Option 2 and then press 3 for portal, email, O365 or Bookshelf issues; Option 3 for Canvas support).

I can’t access my eBooks, who do I contact?

If you are having technical issues related to your eBook, iPads, software for your course or your computer, call 866-945-6308 (Option 1 for iPads; Option 2 and then press 3 for portal, email, O365 or Bookshelf issues; Option 3 for Canvas support).

I’m having trouble with the Internet, is there someone who I can call?

If you are having Internet connectivity issues, please contact your provider.

If you’re having a financial hardship and cannot pay for your Internet or you’re in need of food/transportation assistance, we want to make sure you’re aware of the Altierus Career College’s Emergency Aid Grant. The grant is eligible to current students, recent graduates and students on leave of absence. Please click here for information regarding additional eligibility information needed to process requests.

Are we able to get paperback copies of the textbooks?

All books are included in tuition. Should you wish to obtain a paperback copy of a textbook, Print-On-Demand (POD) Books are available.

Career Services

I heard Career Services launched a professionalism course. What does that mean for me?

We are excited to announce that our Professional Skills “soft skills” course has launched to support your education journey. Upon enrollment, you will be automatically enrolled in this course to increase your awareness of the attributes employers look for to obtain a job following your education. For more information, be sure to reach out to Career Services.

Is there a practicum course available in place of externship?

We know that some externship sites are not accepting students at this time, or that students might not feel comfortable going to an externship site during COVID-19. Due to this, we have the ability to enroll in a practicum course as a substitution for externship. Students are getting the same capstone-like opportunity to demonstrate the culmination of their skills by completing a practicum. The MBC practicum is offered at Bissonnet, Norcross and Tampa. The Dental, Pharmacy and MA practicums are offered at Bissonnet and Norcross. Currently, multiple students are participating in the practicum course. Please contact with Career Services if you have questions.


June 30, 2020
Dear Altierus Students,

First, we’d like to thank you for your hard work and dedication over the past three months. We’re proud to see how everyone has worked together and adapted to a changing environment, united in a common goal.

We’re looking forward to having everyone return to campus on Monday, July 6, after this week’s break. Classes will resume on campus on a modified schedule to ensure social distancing and CDC guidelines are being followed. The modified class schedule can be found here on the FAQ page. Updates from instructors will be posted in Canvas as class announcements. Although we are returning to campus on July 6, we will continue to have a remote virtual orientation for students starting class in the July term.

With our return to campus taking place just after a national holiday, where traditionally large groups of individuals would get together to celebrate, we’d like to remind you of the importance of taking precautions and following CDC recommendations.

If you celebrate with family and friends over the holiday, there are precautions you can take to help lower the risk to yourself and those around you. Consider wearing a face mask, keeping distant and gathering outdoors if possible. Taking these precautions can help keep you, your coworkers and students healthy when we all return to campus.

As we move into this next phase and adjust to a new sense of normalcy, we want you to know this would not be possible without your support and commitment. These past few months have asked us all to push ourselves and we’re in awe at how you’ve risen to overcome unexpected obstacles.

While there are still questions about what lies ahead, we’re hopeful for the future and can say with confidence, together, we can persevere.

Stay safe and be well,

Academic Deans,
Charity Lanier, Kelly Washington and John Wilson


June 24, 2020
Dear Students,

First, thank you for your perseverance as you’ve navigated the challenges over the past few months. Your dedication and flexibility have not gone unnoticed and we couldn’t be prouder of the work you’ve put in.

Now it’s time to look ahead as we continue to evolve and make changes. Starting on Monday, July 6, students and faculty will return to campus. Classes will be held on a modified schedule to ensure social distancing and CDC guidelines are being followed. Your modified class schedule can be found here on the FAQ page. Check Canvas for class announcements and updates from your instructors.

If you have additional questions or concerns about returning to campus on July 6, please reach out to your Program Chair or Academic Dean.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be part of our new norm going forward. You’ll be expected to wear masks in classrooms and labs, as well as common areas such as break rooms, hallways and the library. We will be issuing every student two washable Altierus-branded masks to wear on campus. Alternatively, you may wear your own mask, provided it meets CDC recommendations for cloth face coverings.

Anytime you enter the campus facility, you affirm that you are not ill, you do not have symptoms and you have not been exposed to anyone who is ill or has symptoms (see the specific health requirements at the end of this message).

We want to thank every one of you for your hard work and commitment to your own career training. We recognize it hasn’t always been easy, but your efforts have put you that much closer to reaching your career goals. Don’t forget, your Altierus community is here to support you and can provide a range of resources to help you stay on track.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and hard work.

Academic Deans,
Charity Lanier, Kelly Washington and John Wilson

Health Requirements

During an infectious disease outbreak, it is critical that you stay home if you are ill and/or experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, muscle pain or chills. We are following the guidance provided by the CDC who currently recommends you remain at home:

  1. Until at least 72 hours after you are free of fever (100.4 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, OR
  2. If you currently have symptoms of respiratory illness as described by the CDC, OR
  3. Until at least 10 days have passed since you first experienced symptoms of respiratory illness, OR
  4. If you have been in close contact with someone who has had symptoms of respiratory illness or tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.

May 27, 2020
Dear Students,

We are opening campus beginning June 1 to allow for scheduled groups of select students to return so they can complete lab competencies and check-offs. This is specifically for students who have In Progress (IP) grades pending from classes held in March and April.

To ensure the safety and protection of our Altierus community, we will be practicing social distancing by allowing only four labs to be open at a time, with five students and one faculty member per lab. These labs will be staggered to better allow for social distancing.

Starting July 6, all faculty, students and staff will return to campus. Students will return on a modified schedule that will ensure we can minimize crowds. This schedule will not be outside of your current scheduled class time. If the July 6 return date is delayed based on guidance from health officials, we will update you as soon as possible. Specific details regarding this schedule will be shared closer to the return date.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be part of our new norm going forward. Students will be expected to wear masks in classrooms and labs, as well as common areas such as break rooms, hallways and the library. We will be issuing every student two washable Altierus-branded masks to wear on campus. Alternatively, you may wear your own mask, provided it meets CDC recommendations for cloth face coverings.

If you have IP grades from the March and April classes, you will receive a separate email and text with a link to sign up for a time when you can return to campus. Please make sure you show up at your allotted time slot to ensure that you have sufficient lab time and that the labs can be cleaned before the next group of students arrives.

By entering campus each day, you affirm that you are not ill, you do not have symptoms and you have not been exposed to anyone who is ill or has symptoms (see the specific health requirements at the end of this message).

If you have questions, please contact your instructor or program chair.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and flexibility during this time.

Todd Steele
President, ECMC Education

Jacob Kassuba
Vice President, Campus Operations

Health Requirements

During an infectious disease outbreak, it is critical that you stay home if you are ill and/or experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, muscle pain or chills. We are following the guidance provided by the CDC who currently recommends you remain at home:

  1. Until at least 72 hours after you are free of fever (100.4 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, OR
  2. If you currently have symptoms of respiratory illness as described by the CDC, OR
  3. Until at least 10 days have passed since you first experienced symptoms of respiratory illness, OR
  4. If you have been in close contact with someone who has had symptoms of respiratory illness or tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.

April 14, 2020
Dear Students,

Over the last month, everything we originally planned for the March and April classes was turned upside down because of the COVID-19 situation. To follow social distancing guidelines, our faculty and staff worked diligently to transition our blended learning modules to distance learning so you could continue your program without interruption.

We understand this is a time of uncertainty and we’ve asked you to be flexible with your learning environment. We want to convey our thanks and sincere appreciation for your resilience, adaptability and patience during these challenging times. All of you have risen to the challenge to keep an open mind and a positive attitude and it does not go unnoticed, well done!

As we navigate this situation, we want you to know we’re here for you—you are part of this amazing community. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your instructor, advisor, chair, dean or campus director.

We understand many, including our students, are facing uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19. If you’re struggling financially or in need of food/transportation assistance, we want to make sure you’re aware of Altierus Career College’s Emergency Aid Grant. The grant is eligible to current students, recent graduates and students on leave of absence. Please click the link (https://altierus.edu/emergencyfund) for information regarding additional eligibility information needed to process requests.

We also want to provide you with resources to help you during this ever-changing situation. We encourage you to keep self-care and healthy routines front of mind, such as prioritizing daily exercise habits and connecting with friends, co-workers and loved ones regularly! Below are a few resources that may be helpful at this time:

Based on each state’s stay-home order, we expect to complete the April classes with the current online plan, and we are assessing whether to alter our plans for the May classes (i.e., continue with online learning or return to campus). Our go-forward plans may vary by state— on local/state directives as well as what’s best for our students, faculty and staff—and as such, we will communicate with you as our decisions are made.

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we work together to respond to the threat of COVID-19 in our classrooms, workplaces and communities.

Todd Steele
President, ECMC Education

Jacob Kassuba
Vice President, Campus Operations