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Student Update on COVID-19

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.

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. Starting June 1p, students with IP grades will be able to return to campus at scheduled times to make up lab competencies. 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 May 27, 2020

Campus Operations

When are we returning to campus?

Based on each state’s executive guidance, we expect to complete the May classes and offer June/Summer B classes with the current online plan. 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.

As of the week of May 11, we have started to welcome back some faculty who have elected to deliver their lectures and demonstrations from campus. As of June 1, students who have IP grades will be 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 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.

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.

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?

Starting June 1, 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.

Based on each state’s executive guidance, we expect to complete the May classes and offer June/Summer B classes with the current online plan. 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.

We are currently preparing the campuses to allow students to return to complete outstanding work at predetermined open lab times at the beginning of June. Should guidance from state health officials continue to allow, we plan for all faculty, students and staff to return to campus and resume classes in July.

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). Starting June 1, you will complete any outstanding lab check-offs, your lab grade(s) will be updated and the IP grade will be removed for the course(s). 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 monitoring when they are reopening and will communicate availability and the process to obtain your certification/credential once more information is available.

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.


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