May 16, 2020
Dear BCCC Faculty and Staff:
Good Evening. As the academic year comes to an end, I am sincerely grateful to our faculty and staff for showing great empathy, creativity, and professionalism to support our students throughout the year. We could never have dreamed or realized the drastic impact and intrusive nature that COVID-19 would pose on our lives. But, the resilience of the BCCC community is evident by our collective response to COVID-19 and the commitment to the success and rise of our students. Whether through flexible assignment deadlines, utilizing creative platforms, sending notes of encouragement, making masks, or delivering meals, each one of you have risen to this unprecedented challenge.
This uncertain time has not just impacted our work life. The stress and disruptions created by the crisis has taken a toll on many of us. Your physical and emotional health must remain a priority during this time and when we are finally able to settle into our new normal. To support your health and well-being, I am pleased to share that we secured a new BCCC Employee Assistance Program (EAP) available to all employees and dependents at no cost to you. This is new and differs from the State of Maryland EAP which is referral based and only available to PIN employees. The BCCC EAP benefit covers six confidential short-term counseling visits. The EAP can assist with many different types of problems including stress, depression, anxiety, workplace difficulties, and unhealthy lifestyles. Wellness and support options are also available. To access the BCCC EAP, call 1-888-993-7650 or visit https://members.deeroakseap.com/ and use bccc as your Username and Password. For more information, visit our website or contact Anna Rutah, Benefits Specialist at ARutah@bccc.edu.
As I have throughout this crisis, I want to keep you informed with the latest updates and information:
To celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020, I am pleased to share that our Virtual Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 22, 2020. While a Virtual Commencement is not how any of us thought we would be celebrating our graduates, I promise you that it will be unique, fun, and worthy of our students’ hard work. Each graduate will receive his/her diploma, cap and gown, other regalia, and BCCC branded material in a special package delivered prior to Commencement. A special website is being designed and there will be social media engagement, along with ways to share photos, stories, and memories. Certainly, we will look for a way to display our graduates’ photos during Commencement. Each graduate will be acknowledged during the live-streamed ceremony and faculty and staff will be able to share the special moments. More exciting details will be shared as they evolve.
BCCC Supports Our Community
COVID-19 has taken a toll. BCCC is situated in the heart of a residential community, and some of our neighbors as well as others in surrounding areas may need additional support and assistance. We are proud to partner with World Central Kitchen and use our parking lot at South Pavilion, 2600 Liberty Heights Avenue, to provide free meals to our community on Saturdays, starting with this Saturday, May 16th from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. There will be individually-packed fresh meals, ready to heat at home. All are welcome and individuals can drive or walk up. Please spread the word. Click here for the informational flyer.
Grading and Academic Calendar
All grades for the spring semester are due in the grading portal by 3:00 pm on Wednesday, May 20. Please make sure your grades are submitted on time. After a review of the Academic Calendar dates for fall 2020 through spring 2021, an error was found. The Vice President for AA, Academic Deans and Associate Deans with Student Affairs, worked collaboratively to modify the calendar. For the 2020 fall semester, classes will begin on August 24. Fall semester will end on December 13 with finals to follow from December 14 to 20. Winter Intersession will run from December 21 – January 11. Spring semester will run from January 13 to May 5 with spring break scheduled from March 29 – April 4. Spring semester finals are scheduled from May 6 to 12. For this year, Commencement will be held on May 16; I know it is a Sunday. The full calendar will be posted on the College website.
Planning for Our Eventual Return to Campus
The Cabinet and other College personnel are actively planning for a multi-phased return to campus which includes instituting safety protocols to ensure that social distancing and hygienic measures are in place. We will get other input and evaluate what services we may be able to provide on-campus in a safe, limited, and scheduled manner. While I have received many anxious inquiries about when the campus can reopen, we know that students, faculty, and staff will have questions about how we will operate. More information will be provided when those decisions, guided by local and state health officials, have been made.
I am confident that BCCC will rise from this period more effective and energized than ever and, with your efforts and support, we will continue to evolve as Maryland’s Community College. Now more than ever, our College will need to play an important role in reshaping the economy of our City and State. Thank you for keeping our students first, they deserve it!
Stay BCCC Strong and Safe.
Debra L. McCurdy, PhD