As we continue to work, teach and learn from home, I’d like to share a few updates from this week.

FEMA Site/Remote Operations
Earlier this week, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will continue to use the main campus as a “drive-through” testing facility through June 1 (at minimum). Thus, we must transition our entire summer class schedule online. We will do so quickly, as registration continues concurrently.

Additionally, the announcement also means we will continue our on-campus closure through June 1. Employees should plan on working remotely through at least this date.

Commencement 2020
After much deliberation, and in the interest of the health, safety and welfare of the College community and guests, commencement 2020 will take place virtually, and not at MetLife Stadium as originally planned.

While we can no longer gather at MetLife Stadium, we’ll celebrate the class of 2020 via a virtual ceremony complete with remarks from government leaders, the valedictorian and the reading of graduates’ names Monday, May 18 at 5:30 p.m. And here’s the best part: you can share the live stream with family from around the world, making this the most global celebration in Bergen’s history. We have some very exciting things planned for this first-ever virtual commencement. We’ll publish additional details soon – please check your Bergen email frequently.

Student Affairs

  • Online registration for summer and fall sessions has begun. Students can email regoffice@bergen.edu for assistance or visit bergen.edu to register.
  • The State has extended the new filing deadline for state financial aid to June 1 for students who plan to enroll for the 2020-21 academic year. Remember, filing the FAFSA can unlock programs that can make Bergen more affordable.
  • The Faculty Senate has passed a resolution to offer students a pass/fail option on course grades this semester. This means that students will have the option to choose pass/fail or a letter grade in their individual classes. We will publish additional details shortly.
  • Bergen’s vibrant campus life will continue … online! Each week during the pandemic, we will publish “Virtual Life @ Bergen,” a directory of off-campus remote events and activities sponsored by organizations such as the Office of Student Life, Phi Theta Kappa and STEM. Visit here to see this week’s events. To submit an event, visit here.
  • Students who rented textbooks from the bookstore will receive a prepaid shipping label emailed to them to avoid a late fee. Email erovetto@follett.com with questions.

2020 Census
The federal government has launched the 2020 Census. As you know, completing the Census remains vitally important to the institution, as the decennial survey serves as the basis for the allocation of federal congressional seats, funds and resources. The government has mailed Census forms to households – I encourage you to fill yours out or, for the first time in the country’s history, complete it online. Our Phi Theta Kappa chapter has developed a plan to promote the Census among our student body as well. I thank them for their efforts.

Recognizing Courage
While COVID-19 has unquestionably altered our way of life, it has not stifled the enduring American spirit. Throughout the nation, and right here at Bergen, people have committed acts of selflessness, altruism and heroism. And we want to know these stories! If you, or a student, faculty or staff member that you know, has helped bring light to the darkness known as COVID-19, I encourage you to email Dr. Larry Hlavenka at lhlavenka@bergen.edu – he’d like to begin a campaign that recognizes the efforts of those in the College community responding to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Virtual Classrooms
The College has an enterprise license for Cisco’s WebEx Video Conferencing application. This license provides faculty and staff with the ability to schedule and host online classes/meetings safely and securely. The WebEx platform offers a rich set of features and functions to make your class or meeting interactive, productive and secure. Nationally, numerous security issues have impacted other platforms – including the popular “Zoom” – that have forced companies, colleges and school districts to stop using the application. Bergen does NOT support the use of Zoom and strongly encourages College employees to use WebEx, the institution’s fully licensed and supported web conferencing application. If you would like to review instructions and/or brief tutorial videos on the use of WebEx, please visit the “Working Remote” web page here.

Personnel
Even though we continue to work from home, that doesn’t mean faculty and staff won’t require time off away from the computer to decompress. As such, faculty and staff can request time-off through vacation, sick, personal or floating holidays through the ADP time management system. I don’t expect anyone to work nonstop simply because we’re all “at home.”

I hope you have remained healthy during this pandemic. Please take care!

Sincerely,
Dr. Tony Ross
Interim President

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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