Covid-19 (coronavirus) Information

Academics,

March 25, 2020

Dear Lake Erie College community,

Our senior leadership group is meeting daily, and our emergency response team also met again this morning.  My thanks to all who are working so hard to make things work during this unusual set of circumstances.

Based upon recommendations by our Commencement Committee, I am able to announce the following:

Although we will officially grant degrees on schedule, our May 9th commencement ceremony is officially postponed.  The new date and time for our “spring” commencement exercises will be on August 1st, at 10 am.  It is my hope that all eligible students will return and celebrate the granting of your degrees at that time.

Seniors, I join you in mourning the loss of our ‘senior week’ activities, as that week is steeped in tradition and excitement for students being graduated.  Please hold the date of July 31st, for we will have a party for you and your loved ones to celebrate the conclusion of your academic journey.  More details will be announced soon.

The other significant item to share with you all today is that all offices on campus will cease physical office hours until the state restrictions are lifted.  The work of those offices will continue, but will be done remotely, so feel free to contact them through email or by phone.  Phone messages may take a little longer than usual for a response, so please be patient. 

Of course, food service, security, housing, barn staff, and physical plant workers will still be here, doing what they need to do to serve our residential students.  Our IT staff will continue to serve in person as needed. Mail service continues, but if no one is present when you stop by, you will need to contact either security or student life to obtain your mail or packages.

Security remains present and on call 24/7 and can be reached at 440-375-7575.  Student Affairs remains available during this remote learning period to assist with needs.  Please be sure to reach out by phone or email with any questions or concerns. The Office of Student Life is open Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm.  They can also be reached after hours at 440-679-4884 and studentlife@lec.edu.  Residence Life staff remains on call for students who remain in the halls and apartments, due to hardship, after hours.  They can be reached at 440-897-8513 AND 440-679-4884. 

Brian Posler, PhD
President
Lake Erie College

March 22, 2020

Dear Lake Erie College community,

Conditions continue to change quickly, and we continue to adapt.   Following the latest news out of New York, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, as well as receiving updated guidance from national, state, and local governments, we continue to re-evaluate our responses.

The safety of all of us is the most important imperative, so this is what we are going to do now.  For the next two weeks, we will direct the vast majority of our employees to work from home. Only those in roles which must be on campus will be asked to report.  All others should stay at home, and do their best to accomplish their work from there. Your supervisors will be in touch soon to let you know their plan for your department, if they have not yet done so.

The roughly one-third of residential students remaining due to their particular circumstances are still welcome to stay in campus housing, but we ask them to stay in their apartments or residence hall rooms as much as feasible, adhering to social distancing principles.  Many offices will be operating remotely, but our food service will continue to serve meals, our cleaners will continue to disinfect surfaces, and critical offices will be staffed to help you meet your needs. Security can let you into the library if there are resources you need.

Students, as your coursework continues in the new format, we will continue to plan for the future during discussions this week.  Contact your Academic Advisor to help you enroll in summer and fall classes remotely. Housing selection begins tomorrow, and will proceed remotely.  Please don’t allow your lack of in-person courses halt your progress toward your goals, for this unsettling situation is temporary.  

Anyone may reach Security at 440-375-7575, and Student Life’s On Call number is 440-679-4884.  Both of these numbers are answered 24 hours/day.

We should all be very proud at the way our entire community is coming together in this important moment.  Together we will make it through our challenges, and thrive on the other side.

Brian Posler, PhD
President
Lake Erie College
 

March 19, 2020

Dear Lake Erie College community,

Our emergency response team met again this morning, and we continue to gauge the changing conditions and evaluate our responses and plans.

We have determined the following:

  1. We had earlier committed to virtual learning for all courses, at least through April 12th.  Given the updated guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and governor, we have now decided that the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester will be virtual.  There will be no more face-to-face class meetings for the remainder of this semester. Faculty will continue to work with students to achieve course outcomes in the new format.  If on-campus residential students now choose to depart, please contact Student Life to schedule checkout. Student Life will be in touch with residents who are not currently on campus regarding their move out process.

  2. Given that we now have a confirmed case of the virus in Lake County, we ask for additional diligence for all of us. Governor DeWine today advises us all to check our temperature prior to coming to work. Common symptoms with this virus include a temperature exceeding 100.3 degrees, a cough, and possibly shortness of breath.  From the first moment that anyone experiences one of these symptoms, they are encouraged to self-quarantine, take their temperature twice daily, and to log their symptoms by date/time. Do not travel to access care without first calling your primary care physician and sharing the logged data.  

  3. In response to the governor’s call regarding gyms, we have closed both the Osborne Center and Richie Gym for all physical activity.  Offices in those locations may still be used by staff members, but the exercise equipment may not be used.  

  4. The Lincoln Library remains accessible, for now, but with limited hours.  Patrons are asked not to congregate in groups, but individual students may access the resources needed for study and for their coursework.  New hours are Monday-Thursday 8:30 am - 8:00 pm, and Friday 8:30 am - 4:00 pm. The library will be closed on weekends.

  5. Our Metz food venues are experiencing much lower than typical demand, so we have made the decision to not keep open all three venues.  Effective today, we have closed the Lincoln Lounge until further notice. We will continue with a single venue within the Holden Center. It will be open for three hot meals each day, but all meals must be taken “to go.”  Revised hours on weekdays are 8:30-10 am breakfast, 11 am-1 pm lunch, and 4:30-6 pm dinner. Weekends will have Brunch from 11 am-1 pm, and 4:30-6 pm dinner.

I am proud of the way our campus community has met the daunting challenges surrounding our situation. We have come together to accomplish much in a very short amount of time, and we are all continuing to find our way through this circumstance. Nonetheless, every day brings us closer to a sense of normalcy. I will continue to keep you informed and updated.

Brian Posler, PhD
President
Lake Erie College

March 18, 2020

Dear Lake Erie College community,

Overnight, we have learned that two of our students were potentially exposed to a person who has subsequently tested positive with COVID-19.  Potential exposure occurred before that person was symptomatic and happened off campus. 

Contact has been made with both students to confirm: they are not currently on campus; to be cautious they are self-quarantined, and they are in contact with their medical providers.  Additional attention is being paid to recent areas one of the individuals had visited on campus.  

We have contacted all known LEC individuals who may have had contact with these two students since their potential exposure. I am confident that all reasonable steps are being taken to limit additional exposure on campus from these individuals.

We remain in contact with and will continue to take guidance from the Lake County Health Department and Ohio Department of Health. Please continue to take all recommended social distancing precautions, and help us continue to disinfect hard surfaces near you.

Brian Posler, PhD
President
Lake Erie College

 
March 17, 2020

Dear Lake Erie College community,

We understand the dynamic pressures faced by our students, employees and families related to changing restrictions on k-12 schools, restaurants, theaters, gyms, and now possibly day cares.  

We continue to balance our need to serve our students well while recognizing that it is challenging to execute our roles in our communities despite the changing guidance.  However, our faculty and staff continue to go above and beyond my expectations with creative thinking, problem solving and leading with compassion.  

Each of our employees has different stresses related to this outbreak, whether it is the need to find adequate child care, or caring for an aging parent, or simply feeling the stress caused by keeping up on the news.

For now, I do not expect every single employee to need to be here on campus all day every day.   We have been working on new policies to allow for Flexible Working Arrangements for many of our employees.  I know that I can trust our people to ensure that the vital work gets done and that our students will receive the best care and services we can provide, but I also expect us all to engage in self-care and in adequate care for our loved ones.  Watch your email for communication from HR, and you will see that with this temporary policy the decisions will lie at the supervisor level, and that they are charged with balancing both goals.

For those of you who have very little vacation or sick leave accumulated, please be in contact with HR as conditions warrant.  I do not want anyone who feels symptoms to feel that they need to come to work. HR will work with you individually if you need to be on leave.

As a reminder, I encourage employees to use resources (supervisors/HR/VP) to communicate their individual needs.   Students are encouraged to communicate their needs to Student Life (studentlife@lec.edu or 440.679.4884).  I know that together we can ensure we fulfill our mission while also meeting the needs of our people.  

I hope this increased flexibility will provide some comfort as we continue to adapt.  I am very proud of how you all have pulled together, and with the tremendous progress made as we work to transition into these new situations.  Our students are blessed to have so many of you working so hard to find a successful path forward through adversity.  I am proud to be your president.

Brian Posler, PhD
President
Lake Erie college
 

March 13, 2020

Dear Lake Erie College community,

Our update today is brief.  Our NCAA conference, the GMAC, has officially cancelled all spring seasons of competition, and the NCAA has cancelled all Division II championships.  In addition, all LEC athletic team activities are suspended, at least through April 12th.  We will revisit closer to mid-April, but that prohibition may be extended. 

Our Equestrian teams and academic riding courses will follow suit.  As of this Monday, all team activities will be cancelled through April 12th.  Riding courses will also not be held through that period.  Do please contact your faculty members or Dean for more details as they become available.

If students have already registered to return to campus, but now wish to change their plans, just have them return to the online form and let Student Affairs know their revised plans.

I appreciate everyone’s patience.  These are very fluid, changing conditions, with external forces at work, and we are all doing our best to navigate through the crisis.  Please take care of yourselves and your own mental health in this stressful time, and check back here regularly for updates as we determine them.

Sincerely,
 
Brian Posler, PhD
President
Lake Erie college
  

 
March 12, 2020
 
Dear Members of the Lake Erie College community,

I write to you today with gratitude.  Thanks to all who are working so hard to implement these difficult changes while continuing to serve our students well.  As you can imagine, we received quite a flurry of emails, calls, and visits in the 24 hours since my last message to you.  I ask for your patience as we work to respond individually to each of those contacts. 

There are still no known cases of the virus with any members of the Lake Erie College faculty, staff, or student body.  There are now five confirmed cases in Ohio, as a new one in Trumbull County joins the three confirmed in Cuyahoga and one in Stark County.

We continue to make progress with implementing the changes announced yesterday, and I will strive to update you regularly as conditions change, or as decisions are made.

We have committed to a cleaning “surge” for highly trafficked areas of campus over the next few weeks.  We will increase the cleaning hours and staffing levels in areas where students will concentrate, including but not limited to our residence halls, the Holden Center, the Lincoln Library, computer labs, Richie Gym and the Osborne Center. 

As of now, all offices of the college including the Lincoln Library will remain open with their regular hours.  As usage changes, we may eventually revisit that decision, but we want students’ experiences to proceed with as much normalcy as possible given the outbreak.

We anticipate that the Metz food locations will continue with regular hours next week.   They have implemented many changes, including increased cleaning protocols, plastic cutlery, served rather than self-serve stations, etc.

The academic affairs division continues to work collaboratively to create several alternative methods for course delivery.  Based upon what I am hearing, it looks like we have made much progress with this rush conversion. Many people are continuing to contribute to the efforts to ensure that our remote courses have sufficient rigor, quality, and engagement. Ranging from our online learning director to IT staff, the collaborative efforts many people have prepared as well for the start of classes on Monday.

Our colleagues in academic affairs have also developed a plan for remote academic advising.  Our fall registration process should be able to continue on schedule, but more information will be coming from Academic Affairs related to advising soon.

Student Affairs has developed a plan for housing selection for next year, so that we can complete that process remotely as well.  More information will go out to students so that they can select among their housing options.

We continue to look to the future with physical improvements for campus.  Some residence halls are receiving new carpet and bathroom renovations this week.  More of that work will continue in the summer.  In addition, this summer we will see improvements to our wi-fi and data infrastructure, two new high-tech classrooms in Garfield Hall, renovations for the Rickel Theater, and improvements to the exterior and entry of College Hall.

Our dedicated public relations and marketing team will be working with all of you to get the word out about changes to the event schedule. In addition, they will be updating our website regularly from this point forward as new information comes available.

Finally, as I shared yesterday, please remember this advice from the Ohio Department of Health website.  Use these everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
Sincerely,
 
Brian Posler, PhD
President
Lake Erie college

 
March 11, 2020
 

Dear Members of the Lake Erie College community,

I write to you today with an update on rapidly changing conditions related to the COVID-19 virus and the confirmation of cases in Ohio. Our goal is to continue to fulfill our mission, while prioritizing safety for our community. We continue to follow the guidance of the Ohio Department of Health, as well as Governor DeWine. This particular form of crisis management brings with it many unknowns, and I hope you will join me in advancing the education of our students with the least amount of disruption as possible. 

Due to new guidance that we received yesterday afternoon, we are implementing the following changes, effective immediately:

  • All academic coursework will continue, but our mode of instruction will change. No in-person class meetings will occur from now through April 12th.  Our faculty will reach out to their students as their plans develop, and students should connect with their faculty members to share any unusual circumstances.  Alternate modes of instruction may include, but are not limited to, LEO, Google Hangouts, video lectures, email interactions, phone discussions, etc.  Classes scheduled in locations away from our Painesville campus (or the EQ Center), including internships and clinicals, are expected to follow decisions made by the owners of those locations.  We will continue to monitor and evaluate our path going forward and communicate updates regularly.
  • Campus housing and dining services will remain open and available for students.  We will continue to honor meal plans.  Some on-campus residents might choose to go home and study remotely.  We do ask that students not travel back and forth frequently.   All students returning to campus must register here:   https://forms.gle/XfxcZ188xN8iWscc9.
  • Most large public gatherings or events are cancelled through April 12th.  As advised by the state officials, in-season outdoor athletic practices and contests will continue as normal, but indoor athletic events will only continue without spectators.
  • All college-sponsored international travel is cancelled through April 12th.  If any students have traveled internationally in this calendar year, please let Student Affairs know so that they can help connect you to appropriate resources.  College-sponsored domestic travel for students is not restricted at this time, although we will continue to monitor guidance by the Ohio Department of Health, the NCAA, and the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
  • Offices are expected to remain open, and college employees are expected to continue to report to campus. Employees should work with their direct supervisor as decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis regarding any possible alternative work arrangements.  
  • Any unnecessary college-sponsored domestic or international travel by employees is cancelled through April 12th.
  • Although most of these decisions only currently apply through April 12th, we will continue to monitor conditions and guidance by the state, and we will make additional decisions closer to mid-April.  Any further developments will be communicated through these same channels.

For specific questions regarding the above, I ask that you operate with guidance from each area vice president. Based upon what I have heard from each of our divisional leaders, I am confident that we will work through these challenges while ensuring the quality and rigor of instruction and also the personalized approach, to the extent possible, for which we are known.

The outbreak is cause for anxiety for many people, but I am confident that we all will work diligently to minimize the impact on our learning environment and our beloved Lake Erie College community.

Finally, please remember this advice from the Ohio Department of Health website.  Use these everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
Sincerely,
 
Brian Posler, PhD
President
Lake Erie college

March 9, 2020
 
The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff are a top priority. The academic division at Lake Erie College is monitoring the COVID-19 situation carefully, and the circumstances are changing daily. The college is receiving information and guidance from local, regional, state, and national sources, and an institutional Emergency Response Team (ERT) is leading the institution’s contingency planning. As a reminder, as of this date (March 9, 2020), Ohio has no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus; however, please continue to monitor the news from state and federal health officials. 

Below is some general information regarding the academic division’s responses and guidance regarding COVID-19:

Classes, Internships, and Clinical Rotations

  • Classes are continuing to run as scheduled. Please attend your classes, clinicals, fieldwork, student teaching, etc. unless instructed to do otherwise by Lake Erie College;
  • If you are a graduating senior or graduate student in your final semester your remaining hours are vital to the timely completion of your degree; therefore, carefully follow instructions from your faculty or internship supervisor regarding any changes that might occur due to COVID-19 preparation or related issues;
  • If you have questions regarding your courses, be sure to remain in contact with your faculty members, check your email frequently, and respond in a timely fashion to messages and instructions;
  • Professional Development courses are running as scheduled, but please contact Lisa Strausbaugh at lstrausbaugh@lec.edu for specific information;
  • Faculty have been asked to identify plans to handle any unlikely disruption in your courses, but given the unique nature of our courses, there will be some variability of what is possible.

Events

  • All academic events (e.g., commencement, senior week, etc.) are being held as scheduled as of March 9, 2020. Please monitor emails and the college’s website for information or changes. For non-academic events (e.g., athletics, student life activities, etc.), please contact personnel in those areas for status updates.

Advising

  • Students:  All academic advising will take place, and we expect no interruption at this time. You must remain in contact with your advisor should there be any unlikely disruption of courses.

For Faculty

In the unlikely event that we need to identify alternate delivery means for our face-to-face classes, please be prepared to reach out to our director of online learning, Eric Oestmann at eoestmann@lec.edu or Barb Helms, the college’s registrar, at bhelms@lec.edu;

  • For those courses that are more hands-on, please work directly with your dean to explore options for course completion should COVID-19 circumstances require adjustments.

General COVID-19 Contacts

  • Students, please email Vice President for Student Affairs Billie Dunn at bdunn@lec.edu or Kimberly Robare (krobare@lec.edu) regarding general information or questions about the institution’s response to this situation; 
  • Faculty should direct questions regarding course delivery to their deans;
  • Students should contact their instructors for information about their courses;
  • For academic matters that cannot be resolved at the instructor or dean level, please contact Senior Vice President Bryan DePoy at bdepoy@lec.edu.
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