Latest Info From TBR

2020 FACULTY SURVEY RESULTS RELEASED

As presented at last week’s Board meeting, TBR released the spring 2020 Faculty Survey results about faculty members’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden shift to online instruction. Please see the TBR Research Library, where we have placed a dashboard with full results under the “TBR Faculty Survey” tab. The dashboard provides full and filtered results, which allows for a breakdown by college and other aspects.

 

GOVERNOR MAY CALL SPECIAL SESSION ON COVID LIABILITY LEGISLATION

Kim McCormick provided an update on the Legislature noting that there is a strong possibility that the Governor may call the Members back into a special session to address the Safe Harbor liability bill that was not passed before session ended.

 

CAMPUS SAFETY & SECURITY GROUP MEETING TOMORROW

Vice Chancellor McCormick also reminded everyone that the second session of the Campus Safety & Security Group (CSSG) will meet tomorrow, June 23, at 2 p.m. to hear from Director David Rausch of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The purpose of the meeting is to address options available for the following five training pillars:

  • Just, Fair, and Equitable Policing
  • Campus Community Outreach
  • De-Escalation Strategies
  • Use of Force
  • Campus Safety for All in a Pandemic

COVID SAFETY TRAINING COURSE

At this point, 275 participants have enrolled in the online COVID Safety Training course. Of those, 148 have not actually begun the course and will receive reminders to get started on the materials as soon as possible. Ninety-one have taken the exam, with 72 passing. Those who did not pass are retaking the exam. Presidents are encouraged to continue to share any comments or suggestions they have to improve the course.

 

ACCESS & DIVERSITY FUNDING – COMPETITIVE GRANT PROGRAMS

Student Engagement, Retention and Success (SERS) and Course Revitalization grant decisions should be finalized and shared with campuses this week.  Funding letters to presidents will also be finalized this week and will include information on competitive grants and one-time funding for COVID-19 response initiatives.

 

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

Full details & county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE UPDATE

From Johnathan Button: The U.S. Department of Education released an unofficial version of an Interim Final Rule last Thursday that addresses student eligibility for CARES funding. The rule will be published in the Federal Register soon and will be effective immediately on the date of publication. The final rule confirms the Department’s previous guidance that emergency grants to students can only be provided to those who are or could be eligible for Title IV funds as outlined in Section 484 of the Higher Education Act.  This restriction applies to both student funds and any portion of the institutional funds that the institution distributes as emergency funds for students.

At this point, we are suggesting institutions not distribute remaining CARES emergency grants to students they cannot confirm Title IV eligibility for. The first script community colleges received from TBR can be used to identify this population to appropriately award any remaining funding. Technical colleges will receive new scripts from our Shared Services team to assist with eligibility determination. If your staff have any questions, they may contact Johnathan Button. 

Finally, NASFAA published a timeline of CARES legislative changes last week that schools can use to verify compliance for previous payments. This is helpful at this point as the changing regulations mean you will have students awarded based on various criteria. The NASFAA timeline is here: https://www.nasfaa.org/uploads/documents/HEERF_Timeline.pdf

 

MARKETING UPDATE

From Matthew Gann: While the first is continuing, the second phase of the three-phase statewide marketing plan is currently in development. The first phase was a soft message (“We’re Ready When You’re Ready”); the second phase focuses on “There’s no better time than now to start building your future.” The second phase will begin in the next several weeks.

Separately, SCORE’s #itsGOtimeTN grassroots campaign kicked off today with a website launch and social media postings. Campus marketing directors were sent toolkits this morning. The system office’s marketing department will be customizing the toolkits to help with TCAT messaging. Each campus and campus president is encouraged to post messages about the “three steps” (see the link above for details) and tag them with #itsGoTimeTN to assist in creating a unified social thread with all higher education partners. Any questions or help with implementing the #itsGoTimeTN campaign can be directed to matthew.gann@tbr.edu.

 

BOARD OF REGENTS MEETING THURSDAY & FRIDAY

The Board’s quarterly meeting is this week, with committee meetings Thursday starting at 8 a.m. CT and the bull Board convening Friday at 8:30 a.m. CT. All Board materials are available for downloading here: https://www.tbr.edu/board/june-2020-quarterly-board-meeting. The meeting will also be livestreamed on the same link.

 

STATE LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

We’re monitoring as the General Assembly continues to negotiate on the state budget and the last of the bills we’re watching.

 

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

Full details & county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

Gov. Lee’s media briefing this week is scheduled for 3 pm CT Thursday, June 18. It will be livestreamed and archived here:  View Livestream

FALL PLANNING TEMPLATE DUE FRIDAY

As a reminder, the Fall Planning Template that Dr. Deaton emailed all Presidents on May 29, under that subject line, is due this Friday. The template is a series of questions about major functional areas for you to provide your current thinking about how you would approach various challenges this fall. Changes to current conditions, as well as local, state, and federal guidance, will obviously impact these plans over the coming weeks, so please consider your responses as a first draft. If you have questions or would like to discuss, don’t hesitate to contact us. And thank you for taking the time to do this.

 

TODAY’S DISCUSSION WITH DEREK YOUNG

I also want to thank you all for participating in this afternoon’s group discussion with Derek Young, which I think sparked a great conversation about the road ahead of us. I thought his opening message was completely on target: How you lead right now will be one of the most important parts of your leadership journey – and that as Presidents, you wear (at least) two hats: you are leading an organization filled with faculty, staff and students, and leading an organization to prepare people to go into the world and make a difference.

From here, Mr. Young and Dr. Thompson will review your responses to the questions we discussed (1. How are you doing and what are you feeling as a leader? 2. What do you think your people need so that they can be effective today and in the days to come, and how can you sustain momentum?) and return to us with a set of resources and recommendations.

 

BUDGET

The General Assembly, working with Gov. Lee’s administration, continues to work on a final version of the state budget for FY 2020-21 and we don’t expect final action until at least next week.

 

STATE LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Dr. McCormick provides our legislative summary as of early afternoon, with committees continuing to meet:

  • HB2102/SB2288 (Campus Carry) passed House Judiciary Committee yesterday and was referred to House Education, which is apparently not meeting again this session. This bill was rolled last week in Senate Education Committee to Dec. 1, 2020, which means the bill is effectively dead for this legislative session.
  • While there was some initial confusion as to the effects of HB2298/SB2887 on TBR, the bill simply makes a correction in state law pertaining to legal action against a person carrying a gun in a park. The bill does not change what’s already in statute relative to guns on campus and so the bill does not impact us. It passed House Education yesterday and will be heard in Calendar and Rules. However, the bill was rolled in Senate Judiciary to December 1, 2020, so the bill is dead.
  • HB2536/SB2614 relative to civil action against a person or government entity was not discussed in House Judiciary yesterday possibly due to Senate Judiciary rolling the bill to December 1, 2020, rendering the bill dead.
  • HB1553/SB1566, another gun bill, was not heard in House Judiciary yesterday. However, the bill has not been calendared in Senate Judiciary, so I don’t believe this bill will pass.
  • The Governor’s constitutional carry bill, or some like to call it permit-less carry, HB2817/SB2671 was placed behind the budget in House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee. The bill is waiting to be heard in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means. 
  • SB2381/HB2623 advanced forward from both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. This piece of legislation provides safe harbor COVID-19 civil liability protections for covered entities that include: businesses, manufactures, not for profits, hospitals, and schools. The proposed legislation seeks to provide those entities with protection and results needed to reopen and continuing operating in wake of pandemic. In house subcommittee deliberations, Civil Justice Sub-Committee Chairman Mike Carter introduced a number of amendments to attempt to strengthen the legislation by adding a higher pre-filing standard. The Senate added some provisions of those amendments and a number of other provisions strengthening the legislation by Chairman Mike Bell in a near unanimous vote in Senate Judiciary. The legislation now moves to the floor of both chambers and is expected to be heard as soon as Thursday.

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

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Full details & county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

In his weekly media briefing this afternoon (View Livestream), Gov. Lee released new guidance on requirements and options for Tennessee’s long-term care facilities to provide limited visitation options while keeping their resident populations safe from Covid-19.

The guidance will be followed by a forthcoming executive order and will permit new forms of visitation beginning June 15. Facilities that choose to re-open to visitors must first meet the following prerequisites:

  • Testing of all staff and residents at least once, and compliance with applicable regulations regarding weekly staff re-testing;
  • No new COVID-19 case in residents or staff members in the previous 28 days;
  • Compliant with Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities regulations and infection control guidelines; 
  • Overall stability of the disease burden present in the community where the facility is located.

Long-term care facilities who meet the prerequisites and allow limited visitation must follow guidelines, which include:

  • Making appointments prior to visiting and limiting the duration of visits;
  • Limiting the number of visitors per resident and daily visitors per facility;
  • Enforcing visitor social distancing and mask requirements; and,
  • Screening all visitors with symptom and temperature checks immediately upon facility entry.

 Long-term care facilities may utilize three options for limited resident visitation to take place: 

  • In an outdoor setting, weather permitting;  
  • Using a visitation booth or protective barrier; and, 
  • A resident’s room if the visitor documents a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to the visit.    

Separate provisions for visitation involving accommodations for support for residents with disabilities and other critical assistance or end-of-life care also remain in effect.

CAMPUS SAFETY & SECURITY GROUP

As we discussed last week, Vice Chancellor Kim McCormick is coordinating a systemwide effort to coordinate with your campus police chiefs or safety and security directors (at several TCATs, those are the Presidents) to explore their training and development needs and plan for a safe and secure reopening of our campuses. She is convening her first conference call with the group this afternoon, with an agenda that includes introductions, discussions about re-opening from a safety and security standpoint, a review of training opportunities and partnerships that are available, a discussion of methods of swift statewide communication, reporting and best-practices sharing, and planning the group’s next steps. In her initial discussions with TBR Director David Rausch, Dr. McCormick has found that TBI has several specific training topics available, including sessions on fair and equitable policing, community outreach, use of force and de-escalation strategies.

 

REMINDER: WEDNESDAY’S PRESIDENTS DISCUSSION WITH DEREK YOUNG

The focus of the regular 2 pm CT/3 ET Presidents call will be a conversation with Derek Young about what you may be experiencing on your campus as it relates to issues around racial injustice and social justice; strengthening and stabilizing your campus communities, and creating and sustaining a culture that understands, identifies, prevents and eliminates racism and its negative impact on student success. To participate in this discussion, you will receive a calendar invite for a private Teams meeting. Since we are limiting this session to Presidents, we ask that you not share the invite or information with your staff.  There may be future opportunities for staff to be involved; we will discuss these options once we have finished the session just for Presidents. 

 

STATE & FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

State: Dr. McCormick provided a state legislative update, focusing on Covid-19 liability legislation, which is still under development, and gun legislation, which now appears down to one bill regarding guns in parks and which we are still reviewing for possible impacts on our campuses.

Federal: Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Success Michael Tinsley’s comprehensive federal legislative update is attached. It appears that, if the current course of discussions about the next stimulus bill (the Health &  Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES, Act) holds up, you will be able to use CARES Act institutional funds to replace lost revenue. But those decisions are not final and we will continue to monitor and keep you updated.

 

BUDGET

THEC Executive Director Mike Krause is meeting early this week with state finance officials for further budget impact discussions. Afterward, THEC will send to us its guidelines for reporting our budget reduction plans and impacts, which we will forward to you.

 

SURGICAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM CONVERSION

Vice Chancellor Lana Hamilton has met with the directors of your Surgical Tech programs and reports that faculty have completed their preliminary work as we convert the Surg Tech programs from clock-hour certificate programs to credit-hour Associate degree programs.

And congratulations to President Chaney and TCAT Knoxville for its 100 percent students’ pass rate on the most recent Surg Tech exam.

 

COVID-19 SANITATION TRAINING FOR FACILITIES/MAINTENANCE STAFF

Our Covid-19 sanitation online training program for facilities staff – and later for other employers and businesses – is nearing completion and will be available for use soon. We’re working to complete a test for review of the material covered. Many thanks to Dr. Carol Puryear, Dr. Greg Sedrick, Richard Woodward and April Preston for putting this program together.

 

STUDENT SUCCESS MEETINGS WITH CAMPUS STAFF NEXT WEEK

Vice Chancellor Heidi Leming’s Student Success team will coordinate quarterly meetings next week with campus Admissions/Records and Financial Aid staffs, as well as student learning outcome training for student affairs staff. Last week’s Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) presentations went very well.

 

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

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Full details & county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

A DISCUSSION ABOUT RECENT HUMAN & ENVIRONMENTAL TRAGEDIES: Developing Immediate & Longer-Term Responses

In response to the recent human and environmental tragedies, we have arranged to have Derek Young, President and CEO of YMG Enterprises, to facilitate a session for Presidents and TBR senior staff next Wednesday, June 10, during our regular 2 pm CT/3 ET Presidents Call. The session, which may run up to 90 minutes or so, will provide an opportunity for Presidents to discuss ways in which they need support in:

  1. Strengthening and stabilizing their administration, faculty, and students 
  2. Creating and sustaining a culture that understands, identifies, prevents and eliminates racism and its negative impact on student success.

Vice Chancellor Wendy Thompson is leading this effort.

 

FALL ACADEMIC CALENDARS

President Summers and Vice Chancellor Hamilton presented the results of your voting on options for this fall semester’s calendar. Vice Chancellors Puryear and Hamilton are forwarding you summaries of the results, but in a nutshell:

TCATs will be following a Sept. 1 through Dec. 16 calendar – with fall break removed in order to get as much on-ground instruction completed as possible by Thanksgiving, so students can complete their work online or in hybrid, small-group settings after Thanksgiving. That option was favored by nearly a two-to-one majority of TCAT Presidents who voted.

Community Colleges: 11 colleges favored the plan that retains the planned start and end dates but provides considerable flexibility in modalities within the term to ensure that we are able to shift to online after Thanksgiving in the event of a resurgence of Covid-19. One college favored an alternative that will start fall semester Aug. 17 and complete by Thanksgiving by cancelling fall break. All 12 will be able to use their preference. And one college is still in discussion with Dr. Hamilton.

 

LETTER TO NEW HIGH SCHOOL GRADS & RECONNECT APPLICANTS

As we discussed last month, letters from the Chancellor were mailed on May 22 to the parents of this year’s high school graduates who applied for TN Promise and to all TN Reconnect applicants. Prior to that, copies of the letters were forwarded to your Vice Presidents of Student Affairs, Admissions Officers, and Marketing and Communications Officers. We had planned to attach them to an earlier Presidents Update for you – an oversight we’re correcting by attaching the letters today. Please make sure that all campus personnel who take calls from potential students and applicants are aware of the letters and know who to direct inquiries to. Our hope was that the letters would reassure parents and potential students that we will be ready for them this fall, despite all the uncertainty they’re going through, and to complement – not replace – your own messaging.

 

COORDINATION OF CAMPUS POLICE & TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

I have asked Vice Chancellor Kim McCormick to serve as a system-level coordinator for our campus police chiefs and security officers and she has agreed to take that role on, given that funding for our planned system-level police chief was removed from the state budget in March. She will be reaching out to you this week for contact information for your police chiefs and, at the TCATs, your chief security officers.

Dr. McCormick will be exploring  1) what training and development needs and opportunities your current police/security staff have, and b) whatever we need to do to upgrade the training provided students in our police academies and programs. Staff Attorneys Beth Martin and Don Ungurait have volunteered to help in this effort; both already work closely with your campus police. Kim has scheduled a conference call with TBI Director David Rausch about professional development opportunities. Director Rausch is the former Knoxville police chief and has considerable experience leading police training. Kim has also established a liaison at the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security.

 

CONGRATULATIONS & WELCOME TO DR. GEORGE PIMENTEL & BRIAN LAPPS

The Board of Regents on Tuesday morning approved the appointments of Dr. George Pimentel as the next President of Jackson State Community College and Mr. Brian A. Lapps Jr. as our new TBR General Counsel. Congratulations to both and we look forward to welcoming both into their new roles, officially effective July 1.

And to repeat what was said during the Board meeting, we owe special thanks to President Jeff Sisk for taking on the Jackson State responsibility in addition to his TCAT Jackson and Whiteville work; to Christine Modisher for coming back from her well-earned retirement to take on far more work than she probably expected as interim general counsel, and finally to President Jerry Faulkner, who has once again provided us another excellent campus leader from his staff. I’m attaching our media release from yesterday with all the details.

 

BUDGET

Following up our Monday discussion, we have not yet received the template from THEC for reporting how we would implement budget cuts of up to 12 percent – but will forward to you with guidance as soon as it arrives. We’ve been told that we’ll be able to submit a two-page summary of the impacts of budget cuts of that size collectively on our colleges.

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

We are in discussions with UT and other entities about potential legislation regarding Covid-19 liability.

The campus-carry bill was deferred in a Senate committee to December, after the legislature has adjourned for the year, but we continue to monitor gun bills and will keep you informed.

 

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

 

Full details & county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

Gov. Lee held a joint announcement with legislative leaders Tuesday to announce a Tennessee Business Relief Program, with $200 million in federal economic stimulus funding available for small businesses affected by Covid-19.

The full media release is here: https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/2020/6/2/gov-lee-announces-tennessee-business-relief-program.html

And more details will be posted on the Department of Revenue’s website in the coming days.

CLINICAL INFORMED CONSENT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FORM

General Counsel Chris Modisher last week forwarded you the informed consent form for your Allied Health students to fill out acknowledging the health risks of clinical environments. We recommend using it with spring semester students still going into clinicals and for fall semester students. Forms should be retained in the files.

Many hospitals are also requiring similar kinds of forms. If you or your students receive a form from a hospital or other clinical provider, please forward to your attorney in the General Counsel’s office.

 

FALL ACADEMIC CALENDAR & PLANNING TEMPLATE

As we discussed extensively today, Vice Chancellors Lana Hamilton and Carol Puryear have sent all Presidents the options for the fall academic calendar that the teams they met with last week representing community and technical colleges respective proposed. Please email them your preferences and thoughts on the options they presented and we will continue the discussion. At this point, we are assuming that we are going to have in-person classes in the fall.

 

In addition to the calendar options, Dr. Deaton on Friday emailed you the templates that he designed to get a high-level sense of what your plans are for fall – how the various services and activities that we do will look. Thank you for taking the time to fill those out.

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The General Assembly reconvenes this evening. Dr. McCormick provides this update:

The AOT (Associate of Occupational Technology) bill has already passed the Senate and is on the House consent calendar this evening. (The consent calendar is a list of mostly non-controversial bills that, unless a member objects, are generally approved with a single vote.)

The bills dealing with paying college athletes for use of their names and images were disposed of last week – one withdrawn and the other defeated in committee.

We are closely monitoring the various gun bills.

 

MARKETING CAMPAIGN

Matthew Gann, assistant vice chancellor for marketing & digital strategy, reports that the new statewide advertising/marketing campaign started last week on network newscasts, social media and digital video platforms. This is a soft, inspirational message of keeping your education on course and that online or on campus, “when you’re ready, we’re ready.”

We’ll follow this message up with at least one more commercial series starting in July/August with more urgency on enrolling. 

You can view the commercial on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW3UNVIG410

A campaign toolkit will be shared with campuses in the upcoming days for your local use.

 

TENNESSEE PLEDGE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

On May 28, Gov. Bill Lee released the Tennessee Pledge for Higher Education, which details health and safety guidelines for reopening our campuses. The full document is available for downloading here: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/higher-education-guidelines.html

And our system’s statement is here:

https://www.tbr.edu/news/college-system-supports-tn-pledge-higher-education-health-safety-students-faculty-staff-public

 

 

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

 

Full details & county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

As of now, Gov. Lee plans a joint announcement with legislative leaders at 11 a.m. CT Tuesday. The announcement MAY be live streamed here: View Livestream

 

CLEVELAND & MOTLOW CAPTURE 2 OF THE 3 ANNUAL AWARDS ISSUED BY COMMUNITY COLLEGES OF APPALACHIA

Congratulations to Cleveland State Community College and Motlow State Community College for bringing home to Tennessee two of the three awards issued annually by Community Colleges of Appalachia!

Cleveland State won the Instruction Award for its Forestry Wildlife & Fisheries program, and Motlow State won the Workforce Development Award for its Advanced Robotics Training Center. The third award is for Innovation, which it seems to me we should have also won but two of three is nice – especially considering that CCA received a record number of nominations this year: 47 nominations, from 22 different colleges in 12 of the 13 CCA states (spanning New York to Mississippi).

The awards were presented today by CCA Executive Director Anne McNutt in a virtual ceremony. President Seymour and Robert Brewer, biology professor and head of the college’s FWF program, accepted on behalf of Cleveland State.  President Torrence and Larry Flat, executive director of advanced robotics, accepted on behalf of Motlow State. We plan on a press release on the awards, but congratulations to all concerned for these high honors!

 

SENATOR ALEXANDER’S WEBEX MEETING THURSDAY

A reminder that Senator Alexander’s online meeting with Tennessee higher education leaders is at 9 am CT/10 am ET Thursday. He may inquire what your colleges need in the second round of federal Covid-19 stimulus legislation, which the Senate will begin considering soon, following the House’s approval last week of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act.

 

FACILITIES CLEANING

I’ve asked Vice Chancellors Puryear  and Gibbs to examine how we can provide training for campus custodial staff to ensure we’re performing high-quality cleaning that adheres to CDC protocols and products – and that custodial staff are protected in their work. The training may be a combination of online and on-ground activities, and will likely include development of a checklist of protocols to ensure a system-wide, best practices approach to this critical element of re-opening. We’ll keep you updated.

 

FALL PLANNING

As we continue our planning for Fall semester, I’ve asked Dr. Deaton to develop a template of your preparations for Fall. You’ll hear more from him as this work continues.

President Wightman’s discussion in this afternoon’s call – regarding his decision today to return the campus to an online environment two weeks after reopening for summer term – underscores my earlier request that we all think very hard about we’ll do if a resurgence of C-19  occurs after we start Fall semester. 

 

CARES ACT INSTITUTIONAL FUNDING

Vice Chancellor Gibbs is having conversations with the State Comptroller’s Office regarding CARES Act institutional funding, primarily for getting some additional guidance for expending the funds, including the Comptroller’s plans for auditing the funding. Danny is providing the Comptroller examples of things that colleges may want to expend these institutional funds on, and he will be reaching out to you for any additional items that you would like for him to forward to the Comptroller’s office.

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING

Johnathan Button advises that Cleveland State, Pellissippi State and Roane State all are ready to issue the first CARES Act student assistance payments, and that several TCATS have validated their lists of eligible students, clearing the way for the first TCAT student payments soon.

 

STRATEGIC ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT

Vice Chancellor Leming emailed all Presidents Tuesday inviting you to observe the Strategic Enrollment Management workshop and presentations by the community colleges, by region, June 3-5. The link in the email will take you to a Teams web meeting that will be activated when each day’s meeting opens. While we don’t have TCAT presentations at this time, Dr. Leming encourages TCAT presidents to listen in on a few of the presentations (perhaps for your region) so you can get a sense of what the community colleges have been working on for the past year. Her team will be working with TCATs on an SEM plan the coming year and this can be a primer for you to learn more about what SEM is and how it strengthens our work to support student success.

 

SPECIAL BOARD MEETING JUNE 2 FOR JACKSON STATE PRESIDENCY & TBR GENERAL COUNSEL

We are asking for a special called meeting of the Board of Regents for the morning of June 2 – prior to that day’s Committee Chairs and Audit Committee meetings – for the purposes of considering the appointments of the next President of Jackson State and the next TBR General Counsel. We’ll have more details on observing the meetings by Teams next week.

 

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

Full details & county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

Gov. Lee’s Covid-19 briefing for this week is scheduled for Thursday at 3 pm CT and may be viewed here: View Livestream

Earlier today, the Governor’s Office issued this release (excerpted):

Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group Issues Updated Guidance for Restaurants & Retail, Allows for Large Attractions to Open

Tennessee continues to advance the state’s reopening plan under the Tennessee Pledge, as the Economic Recovery Group issued updated guidelines today for restaurants and retail, along with new guidelines that enable attractions and larger venues to reopen with social distancing and capacity restrictions on or after May 22. The State continues to meet the White House gating criteria with a downward trend in case growth, increase in testing capability and sufficient hospital capacity.

 

The updated guidelines enable restaurants and retail to increase capacity as long as social distancing protocols remain in place. Restaurants should continue to space tables 6 feet apart, or install physical barriers where adequate separation isn’t possible. Bars remain closed unless used for seated, in-restaurant dining where there is 6 feet of separation between customer groups. Live music is permissible with appropriate precautions, which include maintaining at least 15 feet of separation between performers and audience in order to reduce potential exposure.

 

Large, non-contact attractions and venues including concert and performance venues, amusement and water parks, auditoriums, theaters and dinner theaters, zoos, large museums and more can also reopen safely under new Tennessee Pledge guidelines. Strong measures to protect employees and customers are recommended, including screening of employees and customers, creating plans for managing guest flow, and limiting capacity to ensure separation between small groups.

 

Full guidelines can be found on TNpledge.com for:

 

Six counties – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan – may continue to follow individual, county-specific reopening plans created in consultation with State and local health departments.

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved HR 6800, the Health & Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The fact sheet available here summarizes specific appropriations. This is the House version of an additional $3 billion dollar stimulus bill. As we discussed this afternoon, it now goes to the Senate. Obviously, this will likely change significantly before final passage, but this is the start. This version specifically provides for states and local government reimbursement of forgone revenues.

In addition, Sen. Alexander’s office may be setting up a conference call with you soon. We’re not certain of the agenda yet but it may be to discuss your colleges’ needs, in preparation for Senate action on the legislation.

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING UPDATE

Johnathan Button continues to assist individual colleges with processing CARES Act student assistance payments, with the first Community College checks expected to be released this week. All TCATs now have the lists of eligible students for verification. When we get those confirmed and back, our Shared Services team will calculate payments and begin issuing checks for distribution.

 

ONLINE TASK FORCE

Last week was the deadline for faculty members on the TBR System Online Task Force to sign up for one of the group’s three teams they prefer to serve on.  Some of you have also asked to serve on teams, and others have asked to be invited when the teams meet online so you can join when time permits.

 

The Task Force, led by Vice Chancellors Lana Hamilton and Carol Puryear, has these goals: Identifying best practices and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic; Strengthening distance learning opportunities within curricula (e.g. shifting some curricula from on-ground to a hybrid format as applicable); Recommending resources in support of faculty, and Providing training opportunities while ensuring program and student learning outcomes are met for each of its educational programs.

 

At President Janet Smith’s suggestion today, the task force will examine offering faculty professional development and best practices training this summer, and Dr. Leming reports that her Student Success team is in the process of creating a Faculty Teaching & Learning

website that will go live this summer. It will have the weekly webinars that Melynda Conner has done as well as the information that the University of Virginia Motivate Lab provides.

 

TUITION PLANNING

As we discussed today, THEC on Friday deferred setting its binding range for tuition and mandatory fee increases for the 2020-21 school year until after the General Assembly acts on a final state budget, expected by mid-June.

 

We don’t know yet what the final state budget will look like yet but state finance officials have said it is dire. Currently, we don’t plan to recommend a tuition or fee increase but until we know what the final state budget is, we won’t know for sure.

 

The Board of Regents Finance & Business Operations Committee meeting that was tentatively scheduled for June 2 has been cancelled and the committee will meet again June 18, the day before the full Board of Regents meeting.

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Angela Flynn has emailed all Presidents this afternoon with updated information from a vendor about the availability of personal protective equipment, including masks, face shields and hand sanitizer.

 

MARKETING

The letters from the Chancellor to the parents of this year’s high school graduates who applied for TN Promise and to all TN Reconnect applicants are expected to be mailed later this week, outline the benefits of attending our community and technical colleges.

 

The Career in a Year marketing campaign will be ending soon, to be followed later by a second wave focusing on the message “When you’re ready, we’re ready,” and our colleges are about serving the communities you live in.  

 

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

Full details & county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

Gov. Lee’s Covid-19 briefing for this week is scheduled for Thursday at 3 pm CT and may be viewed here: View Livestream

 

Today, Gov. Lee was in Memphis, where he, Shelby County leaders and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers administrators marked completion of the Mid-South region’s Covid-19 alternate care site at 495 Union Ave. The site provides an additional 401 bed spaces to treat C-19 patients if area hospitals exceed their capacity. “Our hope is we never need it,” said state Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey.

Under an assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Corps of Engineers managed contractors for the building’s renovation and the Governor’s Unified Command Group secured wrap-around services for maintenance and operation of the facility.

 

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis will provide medical direction for the care of patients if the facility is occupied.

PLANNING FOR A FALL RECURRENCE

While we have two separate task forces – both with campus representatives – planning for fall semester, I think everyone should be ready to transition back to an online environment if the pandemic flares again later this year, as federal health experts predicted during Tuesday’s U.S. Senate committee hearing. I encourage you to try, as much as possible, to front load toward the start of the fall semester the components of courses that really need to be in the classroom, leaving us free to transition back online if needed. There are going to be more bumps in this road and I just want to ensure we are planning and thinking about that as much as possible.

 

JACKSON STATE FINALISTS

Thank you for watching all three of the virtual forums for the three Jackson State presidential finalists. The archived videos are here. If your schedule permits, I hope you can observe the virtual forums for all three and email me your observations by Friday.  Thank you again for your input.

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING UPDATE

Johnathan Button is assisting individual campuses with processing CARES Act student assistance payments, and on our Shared Services team is working with TCATS.

In addition, immediately after this afternoon’s Presidents’ Call, Johnathan emailed all Presidents and college staff who are helping process the student payments the website template that will need to be posted on each college’s website no later than 30 days after you receive the CARES Act student assistance funds for distribution. Rick Locker also forwarded the template to your communications officers later this afternoon.

For your background, the US Department of Education issued an electronic announcement on May 6 outlining CARES emergency grant reporting requirements. The announcement is available at https://ifap.ed.gov/electronic-announcements/050620HigherEdEmergencyReliefFundRptg. The website template adheres to the published USDOE requirements. Highlighted sections must be updated by each institution. Bursars and financial aid officers should have that information for your college.

For TCATs, these templates will be loaded to your webpages once you notify us you are prepared to make payments to students and before the initial 30-day timeframe.  

 

CAPITAL PROJECTS PROCESS

As Danny Gibbs discussed at the start of today’s call, THEC has provided us an outline of the Capital Projects Selection Process for the FY21-22 budget cycle. Danny emailed you the THEC process during our call. It means that the TCAT Chattanooga project that was included in Gov. Lee’s original budget proposal this spring will retain its ranking (along with the other projects originally in this year’s budget proposal but removed as the budget was scaled back due to the Covid-19 crisis) in the budget that THEC will propose for next year.

There will also be an opportunity to compete for new outlay projects, per the established selection rubric for slots 5-8. New outlay projects, and/or outlay projects submitted last year, excluding the projects listed above, may be submitted to compete for additional slots in the FY21-22 budget. See Danny’s email for complete details, and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

 

MARKETING

The letters from the Chancellor to the parents of this year’s high school graduates who applied for TN Promise and to all TN Reconnect applicants will be mailed soon. The letters outline the benefits of attending our community and technical colleges.

 

TODAY’S TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

TBR UPDATE SCHEDULE CHANGE

Beginning this week, updates will be distributed only on Mondays and Wednesdays. Should there be time sensitive information we need to distribute, we will continue to update you as needed.

 

JACKSON STATE FINALISTS’ VIRTUAL FORUMS CONTINUE TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY

Thank you for watching this afternoon’s community virtual forum with the first of the three Jackson State presidential finalists, Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President for Academic Affairs at

Volunteer State. The other two are tomorrow (Dr. Paige Niehaus, Provost for Strategic Initiatives & Executive Director of the Design Center at Wayne County Community College District in Detroit) and Wednesday (Dr. Jeff Jochems, President/Vice Chancellor at Ozarks Technical Community College’s Richwood Valley Campus in Nixa, Mo.). Both are at 1:30 pm CT and the livestream links are here. The forums are also archived there, and if your schedule permits, I hope you can observe the virtual forums for all three and email me your observations.  Thank you again for your input.

 

PRESIDENTS CALL WEDNESDAY AT 2:30 CT/3:30 ET

As a result of the Jackson State Forums, our Wednesday Presidents Call will be at 2:30 pm CT/3:30 pm ET or immediately following the last forum if it goes over.

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING UPDATE

Training for campus staff implementing the CARES Act student assistance payments occurred this morning, and was recorded for those unable to participate. We are still on a schedule to issue the first of the student payments by late this week.

 

FACULTY SURVEY

More than 900 faculty across the system have responded to our faculty survey. It will be available through May.

 

MARKETING

We are working to mail letters to the parents of this year’s high school graduates who applied for TN Promise and to all TN Reconnect applicants. We expect to mail the letters as soon as we receive their addresses from THEC/TSAC.

And our Career in a Year marketing campaign launched again today on morning and evening newscasts across the state.

 

BACK TO CAMPUS QUESTIONS

Thanks to Roane State President Whaley and TCAT Knoxville President Chaney for the apps that allow students to answer their Covid-19 questions quickly and easily. President Whaley has shared Roane State’s app with your Chief Information Officers and will forward to anyone else who requests it. President Chaney’s is being tested this week.

 

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

15,544 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN (up 559 since Sunday, and up from 14,441 on Friday), out of 273,277. 8,038 people with confirmed cases have recovered. There have been 251 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. Full details and county-by-county listings are here:. https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

Gov. Lee had no briefing today. The next briefing is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday at 3 pm CT. It will be livestreamed here: View Livestream

 

JACKSON STATE FINALISTS’ VIRTUAL FORUMS MONDAY, TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY

As a reminder, Jackson State Community College will conduct virtual interviews with its three presidential finalists next week – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – and if your schedule permits, I hope you can observe the Open Forums for all three and send me your observations via the survey below. The Open Forums are scheduled each of those days at 1:30 pm CT/2:30 ET.  Information about the candidates and the Open Forums video links are on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/hr/executivesearches/president-jackson-state-community-college.

Survey forms for each candidate will also be available on the same webpage. Deadline to complete the surveys is 4:30 pm CT, Friday, May 15. Thank you for your time and input into helping select our next presidential colleague. 

 

PRESIDENTS CALLS NEXT WEEK MOVED TO 2:30 CT/3:30 ET

As a result of the Jackson State Forums, we’ll move our Monday and Wednesday Presidents Calls for next week to 2:30 pm CT/3:30 pm ET or immediately following the forums if they go over.

 

ONLINE TASK FORCE & FALL SEMESTER WORKING GROUP CONVENED TODAY

The TBR System Online Task Force, led by Vice Chancellors Lana Hamilton and Carol Puryear, convened this afternoon with, at times, nearly 60 participants representing all campuses. Its purposes: Identifying best practices and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic; Strengthening distance learning opportunities within curricula (e.g. shifting some curricula from on-ground to a hybrid format as applicable); Recommending resources in support of faculty, and Providing training opportunities while ensuring program and student learning outcomes are met for each of its educational programs.

The task force planned to form three working teams – Team A: Identifying best practices and challenges for institutions and instructors from the shift to online and hybrid environments, Team B: Strengthening distance learning opportunities within curricula, and Team C: Recommending resource and training opportunities.

 

The Planning Ahead Working Group, derived from the Strategic Plan Steering Committee, met to reflect on lessons learned from the spring, and to look ahead to preparations for the summer and fall terms. The group, comprised of TCAT and community college Presidents and other campus representatives, discussed a variety of topics including: guidance for resuming in-person activities, screening procedures to return to campus, and professional development needs for faculty and staff. Several ideas emerged that we will work to disseminate to all colleges. The working group will likely meet again in the summer to continue the conversation. 

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING UPDATE

Johnathan Button emailed all Presidents and relevant college staff this afternoon a package of information on the CARES emergency aid disbursement process. Along with this release, training opportunities are appropriate to review the process in its entirety and answer your questions. Understanding the critical nature of these disbursements, trainings will be scheduled for Monday morning. The trainings will be recorded for those who are unable to attend.  The disbursement process at technical colleges differs from the attachment included in the memo, and our Shared Services team started training TCAT staff on the separate procedure this week.

As Johnathan said, we appreciate everyone’s patience as we developed this process.

 

TBR ECONOMIC & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT UPDATE

Vice Chancellor Carol Puryear provides the attached monthly report for the TBR Office of Economic and Community Development.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

There have been 14,441 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN (up 345 since Thursday), out of 243,578 tests. 7,011 people with confirmed cases have recovered. There have been 241 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. Full details and county-by-county listings are here:. https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

Gov. Lee had no briefing today but release the information below since Wednesday’s TBR update. The Governor’s daily briefings can be viewed here: https://sts.streamingvideo.tn.gov/Mediasite/Catalog/catalogs/mediasiteadmin-covid-19-media-briefing

 

Next Steps for State’s Unified Command Group

Governor Lee today announced next steps for the Unified-Command Group as Stuart McWhorter departs the administration at the end of May to go back to the private sector and to take on a senior advisory role at Clemson University. McWhorter was the governor’s first Finance & Administration commissioner and moved over to lead the Unified-Command Group to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in March.

The Unified-Command Group, comprised of the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Department of Military and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, has established working procedures for testing, procurement, hospital capacity contingency planning, data analysis and other core functions in the fight against COVID-19. The Unified-Command Group continues to coordinate with the Economic Recovery Group through planning and executing on the safe re-boot of Tennessee’s economy.

“The strong work of Unified-Command will continue as we address the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Lee. “This group has optimized our state’s response and we will keep this model in place for as long as needed.”

 

New Executive Orders

Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 34, extending Executive Order No. 16 to allow for government bodies to hold meetings remotely until June 30 to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee. The full text of the order is available here.

 

Gov. Lee issued Executive Order No. 35, amending Executive Order No. 30 to allow for the reopening of small group, non-contact entertainment, and recreational venues according to new Economic Recovery Group guidelines. The full text of the order is available here.

 

ONLINE TASK FORCE & FALL SEMESTER WORKING GROUP CONVENE FRIDAY

The TBR System Online Task Force, led by Vice Chancellors Lana Hamilton and Carol Puryear, convenes at 2 pm CT Friday and you have received a meeting invite if you want to join the call and your time permits. Its purpose is to assist in identifying best practices and challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, strengthening distance learning opportunities, recommending resources in support of faculty, and providing training opportunities while ensuring program and student learning outcomes are met for each of its educational programs.

The Fall Semester Working Group will meet by Microsoft Teams at 10:30 a.m. CT Friday. Composed of nine members of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee – from your colleges and system office staff – its purpose is to discuss and plan for Fall Semester in the context of the continued pandemic and the possibility of shutdowns as the semester is underway. Please share any observations or reflections you have on the subject by emailing Dr. Deaton.

 

COLLEGE OPEN MESSAGING REMINDER

It’s important that telephone answering voicemails and email automatic responses not say or imply that our colleges are closed and that calls and emails won’t be returned. To emphasize again, we are open, serving our students and communities, but in many cases working remotely. Please remind your staff that voicemails or emails and other outgoing messages should not say or imply that telephone calls or emails are not being answered.

 

REOPENING GUIDELINES & QUESTIONS

Questions continue to arrive about reopening procedures following the release of FAQs compiled and distributed last week by our legal staff. In today’s call, both Interim General Counsel Chris Modisher and I emphasized the need to implement and enforce the reopening guidelines in the FAQ, including daily screening of each person coming in to campus, social distancing, and requiring everyone to wear masks. It is absolutely legal for us to require this, including mask-wearing. The screening questions should be asked each time students and faculty arrive on campus, through summer term. It might be helpful to think about this in the same terms you think of the personal protective equipment required in some of your classes. You are welcome to continue follow-up questions to Chris or your staff attorney.

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING UPDATE

Testing of the payment processing programming is going well. We still hope to get the programming package out to you this week. As a reminder, on Monday afternoon Johnathan Button emailed Presidents and relevant college staff an update and suggested responses to students inquiring about the payments, and Rick Locker emailed your communications officers draft language they can use in their public communications and the suggested responses to students.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

There have been 13,938 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN (up 248 since Tuesday), out of 227,101 tests. 6,564 people with confirmed cases have recovered. There have been 239 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. Full details and county-by-county listings are here:. https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

Gov. Lee has shifted to twice-a-week briefings – at 3 p.m. CT Tuesday and Thursday of this week. The Governor’s daily briefings can be viewed here: https://sts.streamingvideo.tn.gov/Mediasite/Catalog/catalogs/mediasiteadmin-covid-19-media-briefing

 

Tennessee Pledge: Next Steps

Today, Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group released additional guidance today for Recreation, Offices, Lodging, Construction and Manufacturing. The guidance for offices is here.

 

Key Updates from Tuesday’s briefing

Executive Order No. 33

Governor Lee issued Executive Order No. 33, amending Executive Order No. 30 to allow the safe reopening of close contact services. The full text of the order is available here.

Strategic Partnerships for Essential Supplies and Services

Unified-Command announced two strategic partnerships with Renfro, Corp. and Battelle to aid in Tennessee’s COVID-19 re-opening efforts and to ensure Tennessee households and health care workers have access to critical personal protective equipment. 

Renfro, Corp, a global sock brand company, headquartered in Mount Airy, N.C., with a manufacturing and distribution operation in Cleveland, Tenn., will work with the Unified-Command Group to make free reusable cloth face masks available to as many Tennesseans as possible. Unified-Command is supplying the first 300,000 Renfro masks, based on population, to all 95 of Tennessee’s county and municipal health departments this week. The local county health departments will serve as a convenient pickup location for local residents in need of a mask. A full list of local health departments is available here.

 Battelle, a global research and development company in Columbus, Ohio, will work with Unified-Command to provide a free N95 mask decontamination service to Tennessee’s front-line health care workers. Battelle will locate one of 60 nationally deployed decontamination systems in Jackson, Tenn., as part of an effort to bring down the costs, and increase the availability of, N95 masks for health care providers.

More information about the Battelle decontamination system is available here, and more information on Unified-Command’s new strategic partnerships is available here.

Touchless Thermometers

As businesses in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties prepare to implement guidelines for safe reopen and operation, the Economic Recovery Group has secured special pricing on Touchless Thermometers for the state’s restaurant, retail, and close contact businesses.

Tennessee-based businesses will have the ability to order this critical piece of equipment through Friday at 4 p.m. CT (or until supplies last). More information on how to secure no-touch infrared thermometers is available here.

FACULTY SURVEY UPDATE

Executive Vice Chancellor Russ Deaton emailed all Presidents this afternoon with information and links to the faculty survey. As Dr. Deaton says, the shift to online learning offered numerous challenges and success stories, and we are eager to learn more about faculty experiences, what worked, and what areas we can identify for improvement. Please send out to all faculty, full time and part time. The survey is anonymous, but please note that there are optional questions about college and teaching area.

We recognize that some institutions may also have surveys in the field or in preparations and we do not want this to interfere or cause confusion. So, please release the survey within the next day or two if you do not have any faculty surveys planned, or at a time of your choosing that would accommodate the timing of your own surveys. Either way, we would like to have all colleges release the survey by mid-May for completion by May 31. Please allow for a two-week time period to complete the survey in your email to the faculty. We will release system level results broadly and campus level results to you individually once the analysis has been completed.

 

TBR SYSTEM ONLINE TASK FORCE

As Vice Chancellors Lana Hamilton and Carol Puryear reminded us in today’s call, please submit your recommendation for your college’s representative on the TBR System Online Task Force, if you haven’t already, as soon as possible to Dr. Hamilton, Dr. Puryear and LaDonna Miller. (See Dr. Hamilton’s April 28 email.) The purpose of the task force is to assist in identifying best practices and challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, strengthening distance learning opportunities within the curricula, recommending resources in support of faculty, and providing training opportunities while ensuring program and student learning outcomes are met for each of its educational programs. The task force will be convening soon, and each member and all Presidents will receive a meeting invite. Presidents are welcome to join as your time permits.

 

PANDEMIC PLANNING PHASE 2 UPDATE

As Dr. Deaton discussed last week and again today, we are using the TBR Strategic Plan Steering Committee as the vehicle to discuss and plan for Fall Semester in the context of the continued Covid-19 pandemic and the possibility of shutdowns as the semester is underway. While not duplicating the work of the separate TBR System Online Task Force, this group will review

lessons learned from the spring if we have to start online, what worked well and what needs further attention, and what approach does TBR take if the fall semester starts up in person, but then has to shift to online instruction again. The TBR members of the broader Steering Committee seemed like an ideal group to engage on these questions.

 

The group will meet by Microsoft Teams at 10:30 a.m. CT Friday. Its members, who received a meeting invite today, include Melva Black, Kelli Chaney, Jacqueline Faulkner, Alisha Fox, Tracy Hall, Arrita Summers, Diane Ward, Traci Williams, Anthony Wise and some TBR senior staff members.

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING UPDATE

Immediately after today’s call, Johnathan Button emailed Presidents and relevant college staff an update on the CARES Act student assistance and suggested responses to students inquiring about the emergency grant payments. In addition, Rick Locker emailed your communications and marketing officers draft language they can use in their public communications. Work continues on testing the student emergency grant payment processing scripts. As long as testing continues to go well, we plan to release the full process this week.

 

As the payments are distributed, there will likely be students contacting you all who may not be eligible for payments. Johnathan’s email includes suggested language that may be beneficial as you assist those students.

 

ADDITIONAL CARES ACT INSTITUTIONAL ASSISTANCE

Vice Chancellor Danny Gibbs discussed in our call today his email to all Presidents on Friday, May 1, regarding a package of detailed information on a second and third section of CARES Act funding for higher education that provides a limited amount of additional funding for some of our colleges beyond the institutional funding that we have covered.

 

MARKETING UPDATE

Vice Chancellor Kim McCormick updated you in today’s call about a large, multifaceted marketing campaign we will be launching, in coordination with your college marketing officers. Starting May 11, we will be running the “Career in a Year” advertisements during morning and evening TV newscasts across the state. We are also working on op-eds and also encourage you to do whatever you can in regard to local media interviews, op-eds, social media and other free (or earned) media.

 

REOPENING QUESTIONS

Several of you continue to have questions regarding reopening of your campuses, and we will work to continue updating the FAQs compiled and distributed last week by our legal staff.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

There have been 13,571 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN (up from 11,891 in our last TBR Update on Friday), out of 211,443 tests. 6,081 people with confirmed cases have recovered. There have been 219 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. Full details and county-by-county listings are here:. https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE

Gov. Lee has two scheduled briefings this week – at 3 p.m. CT Tuesday and Thursday. The Governor’s daily briefings can be viewed here: https://sts.streamingvideo.tn.gov/Mediasite/Catalog/catalogs/mediasiteadmin-covid-19-media-briefing

 

Earlier today, the Governor’s office announced that more than 23,000 Tennesseans have received a free COVID-19 test at 67 drive-through sites over the past three weekends – including 5,153 Tennesseans who received a free COVID-19 test Saturday and Sunday at 16 test sites across the state – as part of Unified-Command Group’s efforts to reduce barriers and widen access to testing for all Tennesseans regardless of symptoms.

 

“Testing remains one of the most important tools for gaining more information in our fight against COVID-19, and the 23,000 tests we’ve completed over the last three weekends have provided incredibly valuable data,” said Gov. Lee. “We’re grateful to the thousands who came out to receive a test this weekend and we continue to remind Tennesseans: when in doubt, get a test.”

 

Soldiers and Airmen from the Tennessee National Guard supported Tennessee Department of Health personnel at 16 sites across the state May 2 and 3. Eight sites were operated on Saturday with 2,733 individuals tested and another eight sites on Sunday with 2,420 individuals tested. Hamilton County operated its site both days and tested 1,168 individuals for COVID-19 representing nearly a third of the weekend total.

 

“Our weekend sites have been equipped to meet the demand for free testing across the state,” said Dr. Lisa Piercey, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner. “With ample capacity at our county health departments during the week, we continue to encourage Tennesseans to take advantage of free testing at these locations.”

PANDEMIC PLANNING PHASE 2

We discussed on Monday’s call the creation of a systemwide task force to address online learning going forward. Thank you for your suggestions of campus representatives for this group, which Vice Chancellors Hamilton and Puryear are leading. Please continuing making any suggestions and observations you have to them.

While that group is focused on online learning, we ALSO need to have plans in place for shutting down our campuses again in case there is a flareup of the pandemic in August or later in the next academic year, as has been predicted by some health experts. While the plans would include the shift again to an online environment, they would be on a broader scale and address all the other important functions we routinely do on our campuses. We will discuss this more on Monday’s call about how we might structure this next planning phase.

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING UPDATE

Johnathan Button reports today that the initial testing of the student assistance eligibility and payment programming has gone well and we expect to get the complete programming packages to your colleges next week. Attached is the updated 90/10 Funding Methodology summary that we discussed with you last week. While there are still five colleges (as of today) going through the certification/approval process with the U.S. Department of Education, we hope that some of you will be able to start making the payments to students next week.

 

ADDITIONAL CARES ACT INSTITUTIONAL ASSISTANCE

Vice Chancellor Danny Gibbs emailed all Presidents this morning with a package of detailed information on a third section of CARES Act funding for higher education that provides a limited amount of additional funding for some of our colleges beyond the institutional funding that we have covered. His email to you follows the release Thursday of new information on these sections of the CARES Act by the U.S. Department of Education.

 

EMS CLINICALS GUIDELINES

Vice Chancellor Lana Hamilton this afternoon has emailed your Community College Chief Academic Officers and TCAT Curriculum Chair this update:

Please allow this email to serve as a guideline allowing TBR educational institutions delivering Emergency Medical Programs (EMT, AEMT, Paramedic) the opportunity to return to clinical sites as a component of their educational program of study.  Brandon Ward, Director of the Tennessee Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services, and I discussed this afternoon the importance of students returning and participating in clinical rotations.  He and I are supportive of EMS students returning to the clinical sites to complete their academic program requirements.

Please note -  Each campus program director shall work with their faculty and leadership team to ensure alignment and compliance not only with State of Tennessee, Centers for Disease Prevention & Control (CDC) guidelines, clinical affiliates but also with campus plans.

This guideline is effective as of today, May 1, 2020.  Please keep in mind that plans could change based on guidance we receive from federal, state, and local officials or the CDC.  I wish your students success as they complete their academic program!

 

HONORLOCK REMOTE ONLINE TEST PROCTORING

Angela Flynn, Associate Vice Chancellor for Procurement, Contracts & Payment Services, has also emailed you this afternoon to notify you that we are processing an amendment to the Honorlock agreement to extend the agreement to Aug. 31, 2020, for non-live remote online test proctoring services.

 

FACE MASKS/SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Angela is working with our vendors on availability of masks and other health and safety products and continues to email you separately as she finds new information.

 

WARN NOTICES

Deanna Morris-Stacey, Director of Programs & Initiatives in the TBR Office of Economic & Community Development, forwarded the attached spreadsheet listing the WARN (Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification) Act notices we have received through this morning.  The information for each notice (business name and address, number of employees, etc.) has been sent to the workforce contact at the technical and community college in the business area. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Deanna.

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE FUNDING

Johnathan Button reported that testing of the Banner programming for determining eligibility for the CARES Act student assistance funding and for making the payments continues this week, with a goal of getting the completed package of programming information to Community College financial aid officers and bursars by early next week. (TBR Shared Services will handle these functions for TCATs, but we are still asking TCAT staff to help verify student lists.) The programming will ensure that the payments are made directly to students and not applied to any account balances. We hope to make the first payments to students next week.

 

FACULTY SURVEYS

Executive Vice Chancellor Russ Deaton reported that we’re in the process of developing a survey to all full- and part-time faculty regarding their experiences this spring with the conversion to online teaching, including student engagement and strategies that worked and didn’t work. We hope to distribute the survey to Presidents early next week for you to deploy to your faculty. This is an effort to learn best practices, what worked and what didn’t, to help inform our work ahead.

 

EMS DISCUSSIONS

Vice Chancellor Lana Hamilton reported on her calls with the state Emergency Medical Services Director and your college EMS program directors in planning how our Emergency Medical Technician, A-EMT and Paramedic program students will complete their training, including their clinicals and labs. Discussions have included how to protect the health and safety of students and instructors, including alignment with the Governor’s and campus plans for returning to campus, and the importance of maintaining academic integrity and not lowering quality in order to get students out in the field. The group will continue working over the next week to develop a unified plan to move forward, with the goal of putting students back into labs and clinical settings so they can complete their studies. We will keep you apprised of this work.

 

SECOND CHANCE PELL

Congratulations again to Dyersburg State and Nashville State community colleges, and TCATs Dickson and Jacksboro for being the four Tennessee colleges among the 67 colleges nationally selected by the U.S. Department of Education April 24 for participation in the Second Chance Pell Grant program, which covers tuition for individuals incarcerated in federal and state prisons. Our work with incarcerated individuals is in line with Governor Lee’s initiative to provide skills and education to inmates to enable them successfully return to society on their release, reducing recidivism. 

 

ACHIEVING THE DREAM

Vice Chancellor Wendy Thompson updated us on the status of ATD work. We will meet with ATD again next week about how to proceed.

 

EMAIL SCAMS & PHISHING

Chief Information Officer Steve Vieira reported on an increase in phishing email attacks, including several cleverly designed to look like legitimate requests for information. Some have been disguised as faculty surveys – but the instant they’re opened, your computer or other device is infected.  We all must step up our vigilance. If you get something from someone you don’t know or are next expecting, forward it to it.service@tbr.edu for examination.

 

YOUTH APPRENTICESHIP GRANT

Vice Chancellor Carol Puryear reported that we’re in the process of applying for a Youth Apprenticeship Grant through the Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The goal is to train 700 16-to-24-year-olds. 

 

VIRTUAL CAMPUS VISITS FOR JACKSON STATE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

The three finalists for the presidency of Jackson State Community Colleges will conduct their interviews and forums online with the Jackson State campus community on May 11, 12 and 13. I ask as many of you who can to watch at least some of the virtual campus visits and let me know your thoughts on the candidates. We’ll send you the streaming information when it’s final.

 

FACE MASKS

We hear your concerns that many vendors are reporting long delivery times on face masks and hand sanitizer. Angela Flynn is working with our vendors to compile availability information and will get it to you as soon as possible. She has emailed you the first of that information late this afternoon.

 

STUDENT REFUND STATEMENT

At your request, our General Counsel’s office will work on a uniform statement that you can provide students regarding our plans not to refund student fees paid for the spring term. It will be added to the Re-Opening FAQs when completed.

 

COVID-19 HEALTH & SAFETY POSTERS

Matthew Gann reports that the health and safety posters his team is designing for campus use encouraging the use of masks and other health recommendations when we return to campuses should be delivered to TCATs in about two weeks. His team will send templates to Community Colleges so you can add your logos before printing.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

There have been 10,366 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN (up from 9,918 Monday), out of 168,549 tests. 5,140 people with confirmed cases have recovered. There have been 195 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

 

GOVERNOR’S DAILY UPDATE

The Governor’s daily briefings can be viewed here: https://sts.streamingvideo.tn.gov/Mediasite/Catalog/catalogs/mediasiteadmin-covid-19-media-briefing

 

Krysten Velloff provides this summary of today’s briefing:

Today, we were reminded that many restaurants and retail businesses are open and operating at a 50% capacity in 89 of the 95 counties. On Friday, gyms will reopen and elective procedures in hospitals will resume. Businesses and employees are asked to commit to keeping themselves and their customers safe through the TN Pledge. Aggressive testing is a part of the reopening strategy in Tennessee. Governor Lee urged Tennesseans to get a test if they plan to return to work. Over the next few weeks, residents and staff in long-term care facilities will be tested in mass. Executive Order 30, signed by Governor Lee yesterday, pertains to reopening the economy while still encouraging social distancing, wearing cloth masks, and proper hygiene. Close contact services, such as salons and barber shops, will be allowed to reopen one week from today (May 6th). Guidance will be issued by the end of the week for those businesses.

 

An order allowing Tennesseans to return to work safely while encouraging continued adherence to health guidelines to limit the spread of Covid-19:

https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/pub/execorders/exec-orders-lee30.pdf

An order to reduce the spread of Covid-19 by limiting non-emergency dental procedures:

https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/pub/execorders/exec-orders-lee31.pdf

ONLINE LEARNING TASK FORCES

I’ve asked Vice Chancellors Puryear and Hamilton to assemble task forces to address online learning as we go forward – taking the best practices we’ve learned from our current Covid-19 experience and building on them, and reviewing the challenges we’ve faced and how we can resolve them – all with a goal of strengthening our distance learning in general. The review will include how we can move portions of technical programs that have been entirely on the ground into a hybrid online/ground format. And it will include a look at our training and resource needs. Fortunately, some of the CARES Act institutional funding can be used to upgrade distance learning, and we can also leverage the buying power of the system to acquire the resources we need. Drs. Hamilton and Puryear will email you soon, asking for your recommendations of outstanding faculty who you think can really contribute as members of the task forces.

 

CARES ACT FUNDING

Vice Chancellor Danny Gibbs reported that we have received word that CARES Act funding cannot cover tuition revenue losses. He will send you more details.

 

FACULTY COMPENSATION

Vice Chancellors Gibbs and Hamilton and their staffs have been gathering information regarding faculty contacts and work extending beyond the end of the semester – such as clinicals. They are working on a plan that is fair, equitable and affordable, and hope to submit it to you by the end of the week. These are costs CARES Act funding will cover.

 

TN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION/AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION TRAINING

As Vice Chancellor Carol Puryear reported in this afternoon’s call, we have an opportunity to partner with the TN Department of Correction and the American Correctional Association on a new online professional development training program for correctional officers. TCATs Elizabethton and Oneida/Huntsville are already offering programs for correctional officers and jailers in their areas. TDOC has reached out to us about offering some these programs online, not just in Tennessee but nationwide. TDOC Commissioner Tony Parker, a graduate of Dyersburg State Community College, is the next ACA president and wants to make this a priority of his term. Dr. Puryear is continuing her discussions with TDOC and will report back to us.

 

REOPENING LEGAL QUESTIONS

General Counsel Chris Modisher (christine.modisher@tbr.eduand her staff are compiling your questions and concerns about legal issues that might arise as we return to campuses, and researching responses for a list of FAQs. She has received several questions, and expects to have the first set of FAQs ready for you this week.

 

COVID-19 HEALTH & SAFETY POSTERS

Our marketing team is designing posters for campus use directing/encouraging the use of masks and other health and safety recommendations when we return to campuses. The team will send copies of the posters to the TCATs and templates to Community Colleges so you can add your logos before printing.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

There have been 9,918 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN (up from 9,667 Sunday, 9,189 Saturday and 8,726 Friday), out of 154,402 tests. 4,720 people with confirmed cases have recovered. There have been 184 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

 

GOVERNOR’S DAILY UPDATE

The Governor’s daily briefings can be viewed here: https://sts.streamingvideo.tn.gov/Mediasite/Catalog/catalogs/mediasiteadmin-covid-19-media-briefing

 

Today, Gov. Lee announced that:

  • Elective surgery and procedures to resume Friday. Hospitals have received guidelines on resuming procedures. Timing and approach will be determined at the community level.
  • The state has implemented a hiring freeze, except for “mission-critical” hiring. “We know we will see the impacts of this in our state revenue. So this is an effort to get ahead of the curve.
  • Businesses and employees are asked to commit to keep themselves and their customers safe through the TN Pledge. Guidelines for most businesses can be found on the state website.
  • Working from home is still important and a strong suggestion. State employees that are able will continue to work from home until May 26th.
  • More than 7,000 Tennesseans received free COVID-19 tests, regardless of symptoms, during the Unified Command Group’s second weekend of expanded testing efforts at 18 sites across the state. Unified Command will continue expanded testing throughout the weekend of May 2-3. An updated list of available sites will be posted on the Department of Health’s website. All rural county health departments across the state offer free COVID-19 testing 5 days a week, in addition to drive-through sites. Governor Lee urged Tennesseans to get a test if they plan to return to work.

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE UPDATE

Assistant Vice Chancellor/Enrollment Management Johnathan Button emailed you and your Financial Aid offices this morning with the latest on the CARES Act student assistance front: the U.S. Department of Education issued new CARES emergency grant aid guidance this week. Unless USDOE provides different guidelines, FAFSA submission will now be required for identifying students who are eligible for emergency grant aid. Unfortunately, this is the only practical method of ensuring funds are provided to the federally defined eligible student population.

We will also identify any student who did not file a FAFSA but meets all other qualifications. This will allow schools to project potential eligibility in the event USDOE issues relaxed guidance. Our team continues to work with IT staff to modify scripts to identify these students, and we plan to have updated information to test schools soon.

 

REOPENING LEGAL QUESTIONS

As we discussed Wednesday, General Counsel Chris Modisher (christine.modisher@tbr.eduand her staff are compiling your questions and concerns about legal issues that might arise as we return to campuses, and researching responses for a list of FAQs. She has received several questions, and expects to have the first set of FAQs ready for you next week.

 

COVID-19 HEALTH & SAFETY POSTERS

Our marketing team is designing posters for campus use directing/encouraging the use of masks and other health and safety recommendations when we return to campuses. The team will send copies of the posters to the TCATs and templates to Community Colleges so you can add your logos before printing.

 

RAVE ALERT MATERIALS FOR TCATS

The TCATs use the RAVE Alert communication platform to keep students informed and connected to daily events, activities, closures and emergencies occurring on campus. The marketing team has created a series of posters, a how-to reference card and a social media toolkit that the TCATs can use to encourage student signups and/or updates to their existing contact information. These materials will be delivered to the TCATs along with the COVID-19 health and safety posters above.

 

BOARD FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETS APRIL 29 TO START 2020-21 TUITION & FEE DISCUSSION

The Board’s Finance and Business Operations Committee will meet by telephone conference l at 1 p.m. CT April 29 to begin discussion of student tuition and mandatory fees for the 2020-21 academic year. This will be an informational-only meeting and no action will be taken. It is the first of up to three for the committee to discuss and ultimately make its recommendations on tuition and fees to the full board. Other meetings are tentatively set for May 20 and June 2. The committee’s recommendations will be considered by the full Board of Regents at its June 19 quarterly meeting. The conference call is open to the public. Anyone wishing to listen may contact Board Secretary Sonja Mason at Sonja.mason@tbr.edu or 615-366-3927 by 4:30 pm Tuesday, April 28, for call-in information. Sonja emailed Presidents this morning the material the committee will review, which is also posted on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/board/june-quarterly-meeting The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has set a tentative range that would allow combined tuition and mandatory fee increases of up to 2 percent. The commission is expected to set its final, binding range during its spring quarterly meeting on May 15.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

There have been 8,726 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN (up from 8,266 Thursday), out of 131,298 tests. 4,370 people with confirmed cases have recovered. There have been 168 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

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GOVERNOR’S DAILY UPDATE

From Assistant Vice Chancellor/Government Relations Krysten Velloff: This morning, Governor Lee announced The Tennessee Pledge, a rollout of guidance and best practices for the restaurant and retail industries aimed at keeping employees and customers safe during the reopening of the State’s economy. Those businesses in 89 of the 95 counties will be able to reopen under the guidelines presented in The Tennessee Pledge, assembled by the Tennessee Economic Recovery Group chaired by Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Mark Ezell. Restaurants will be allowed to resume dine-in services at 50% capacity on Monday, April 27, and retail businesses will be allowed to reopen while maintaining 50% capacity on Wednesday, April 29. Businesses are urged to follow the federal guidelines on hygiene and workplace sanitation standards, maintain social distancing and capacity guidelines, and recommend that employees wear cloth masks. The full guidance offered by the state for both the restaurant and retail sectors is here.

The Governor said today’s announcement is the first step in a phased reopening of the state’s economy, which entails rebooting industries as they are safe to pursue in 89 of the state’s 95 counties. The state is working with Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan on plans to reopen businesses in those counties.

On the economic front, the Governor said 15 percent of Tennessee’s workforce filed unemployment claims as of this week – more than 400,000 people. State officials predict a $5 billion loss in the state’s gross domestic product during 2020.

 

AND TO CLOSE THE WEEK ON SOME GREAT NEWS…

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation today announced its 50 high-achieving community college students selected as recipients of the prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship for 2020. The highly competitive national scholarship will provide selected students with up to $40,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

Nearly 1,500 students from 311 community colleges across the U.S. applied for the scholarship. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, leadership, and service to others. The recipients selected represent 17 different states and plan to enroll at the nation’s most selective colleges.

 

Two of the 50 recipients of this prestigious – and generous – scholarship are OUR students:

  • Samantha Benavides – Cleveland State Community College
  • Gary Satin – Chattanooga State Community College

(We’ll have more about both students next week.)

In addition to financial support, new Cooke Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising from the Foundation to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of over 2,700 fellow Cooke Scholars and alumni.

 

Congratulations to both Samantha and Gary – and to Cleveland State and Chattanooga State!

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE UPDATE

As we discussed in today’s call, the new guidance issued Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education – and our understanding of discussions among USDOE and college financial aid officers – prompts us to substantially revise our original CARES Act student assistance distribution plan, toward most of the funds being distributed this spring. Johnathan Button will email you full details.

 

CARES ACT INSTITUTIONAL ASSISTANCE

Similarly, Vice Chancellor Danny Gibbs is researching the latest guidance on the upcoming CARES Act institutional funding and will update you when those questions are answered.

 

MULTIPLE MEASURES FOR LEARNING SUPPORT PLACEMENT

Vice Chancellor Lana Hamilton gathered input from your Chief Academic Officers Tuesday about the possibility of – as a limited pilot only  – reducing the high school GPA assessment tool for determining whether students should be placed in learning supports from the previously approved 3.60 and higher GPA. 

As a result of those discussions and today’s follow-up with Presidents, we will retain the 3.60 or higher high school GPA assessment tool generally and pilot a plan at Chattanooga State and Southwest Tennessee Community Colleges that permits placement of students with high school GPAs of 2.80 to 3.59 in college-level classes. However, the pilot will include, at both colleges, plans for monitoring the performance of those students and intervening if they need assistance or support.

Dr. Hamilton and I thank everyone for participating in this discussion. We want this to be data based. And as Dr. Hamilton said, we want what’s best for our students and this has been at least one positive that came out of the Covid-19 situation -- because high school GPA has long been discussed as a possible assessment tool, we have the data to support it and with the pilot, we will be able to better assess where the cut score for this measure should be. We will keep you all updated on the methodology, including the monitoring/intervention plans.

As a reminder, this is what we have previously approved

For summer 2020 and fall 2020 terms, TBR is creating an exception to Policy 2.03.00.02 (formerly A-100 guidelines).  This exception adds high school grade point average (HS GPA) as an additional assessment tool for learning support placement.  For these two terms, institutions should place students with a cumulative HS GPA of 3.60 or higher out of learning support and directly into college level coursework in all three subject areas: math, writing, and reading.

It is the intent that institutions use HS GPA for assessment and placement in the same way as they would use ACT, SAT, or Accuplacer scores.  This means that institutions use the “best” score for placement, and that a student with a cumulative 3.6+ HS GPA be placed out of learning support regardless of other assessment scores.  In the same way, a student at or above the ACT cut score would be placed out of learning support regardless of HS GPA.

Example:  A student has an ACT of 17 and 3.90 HS GPA.  The student shall be placed using the 3.90 HS GPA.

 

MASKS, SANITIZER & OTHER PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Following up our discussion, Associate Vice Chancellor/Procurement, Contracts & Payment Services Angela Flynn has emailed you information on Staples contract purchasing of masks, hand sanitizer and non-touch thermometers.

We are also in discussions with the Governor’s Office about possible reimbursement to you – from the CARES Act funding that the state will receive – for your donations of Personal Protective Equipment to the state’s Covid-19 safety efforts. We will keep you advised.

 

REOPENING PLAN LEGAL QUESTIONS

As we discussed, please email General Counsel Chris Modisher at christine.modisher@tbr.edu

your questions and concerns about legal issues that might arise as we return to campuses. She and her staff will research and compile FAQs.

 

ONLINE FEES FOR SUMMER

We opened a discussion today on whether to charge online fees to students this summer. Part of our eventual decision may rely on whether the CARES Act institutional funding can be used to replace the revenue loss. Danny Gibbs continues to research and discuss with your Business Officers, and we will continue to discuss with Presidents to reach a final decision.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

There have been 7,842 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 114,980 tests. 4,012 people with confirmed cases have recovered There have been 166 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide.

Full details and county-by-county listings are here:https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

CARES ACT UPDATE

After our call this afternoon, we received word from the Governor’s Stimulus Financial Accountability Group that the group has given its approval to proceed with our distribution plans for CARES Act student funding.

Please email me the status of filing your Memorandums of Understanding with DOE to receive the student funding.

 

MULTPLE MEASURES FOR LEARNING SUPPORT PLACEMENT

As we discussed, Vice Chancellor/Academic Affairs Lana Hamilton will be gathering input from your Chief Academic Officers tomorrow about the possibility of reducing the high school GPA metric for determining whether students should be placed in learning supports from the 3.60 and higher that we had previously agreed to – to 3.0 or 2.8. If we opt for going below 3.60, we will recommend monitoring of those students to ensure that they are performing. And we will present data indicating that the move to a lower GPA is justified.

 

REOPENING PLANS

As noted below, Gov. Lee this afternoon – after our conference call – announced that his order for Tennesseans to remain at home will expire April 30, with the vast majority of businesses in 89 counties allowed to re-open on May 1, and that his administration will work with Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan counties and their health departments as they plan their own re-open strategies.

So as we discussed in our call, it’s important for all of us to be thinking of our plans to reopen our campuses. For those whose plans are changing from what your originally sent, please send me updates on your reopening plans, using the broad parameters we discussed (continued social distancing, masks, etc.).

 

NURSING PROGRAM

We forwarded you Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 28 on Friday and we received this notice from the TN Department of Health as a follow-up, which Vice Chancellor Hamilton forwarded late Friday:

One provision addresses nursing and we wanted to make sure you all were aware.   

7.16 The provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 63, Chapters 6 and 7, and

related rules and policies are hereby suspended to the extent necessary to give the

Commissioner of Health the authority and discretion to allow a person who has

graduated on or after December 1, 2019, from an approved registered or practical

nursing education program, and who has applied and fulfilled all other requirements

for licensure as a nurse but has yet to take the National Council Licensure Exam

(NCLEX), to practice nursing under the supervision of a licensed registered nurse.

 

EMS STUDENTS

On a related matter, we received word from the state Emergency Medical Services office asking us to halt allowing EMS students riding with local ambulance services until further notice.

 

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

7,238 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, up from Sunday’s confirmed total of 7,070 and Friday’s total of 6,589. More than 11,000 tests were conducted over the weekend. There have been 152 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. 3,575 people have recovered.

Full details and county-by-county listings are here:https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

UPDATES FROM GOV. LEE

Gov. Lee issued the following media release after our call ended this afternoon:

 

Gov. Lee Announces Safer at Home Order Will Expire April 30, Tennessee Begins Phased Reopening Next Week

 

Nashville, Tenn. -- Today, Governor Bill Lee announced the order for Tennesseans to remain at home will expire April 30, with the vast majority of businesses in 89 counties allowed to re-open on May 1.

“Our Economic Recovery Group is working with industry leaders around the clock so that some businesses can open as soon as Monday, April 27,” said Gov. Lee. “These businesses will open according to specific guidance that we will provide in accordance with state and national experts in both medicine and business.”

The Lee Administration will work with Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan counties and their health departments as they plan their own re-open strategies.

“While I am not extending the safer at home order past the end of April, we are working directly with our major metropolitan areas to ensure they are in a position to reopen as soon and safely as possible,” said Lee. “Social distancing works, and as we open up our economy it will be more important than ever that we keep social distancing as lives and livelihoods depend on it.”

The Economic Recovery Group (ERG), composed of 30 leaders from the public and private sector is crafting guidance to assist businesses in a safe reopening. The industry representatives participating in the ERG collectively represent over 140,000 Tennessee businesses that employ over 2.5M Tennesseans. More information about ERG is available here.

PRESIDENTS CALLS & UPDATES

We’ll move to regular twice-a-week Presidents Calls next week. Mary Ann will be sending meeting invites soon. And we’ll shift this written Presidents Daily Update to three-times-a-week next week. If you need anything between calls, never hesitate to contact me or other TBR staff.

 

CARES ACT STUDENT ASSISTANCE UPDATE

Johnathan Button, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, has emailed all Presidents this afternoon with an important update on the CARES Act student assistance. Please read carefully.

 

SPRING WITHDRAWAL RATES REPORT ATTACHED

TBR’s Office of Policy and Strategy provides the attached report on Spring Withdrawal Rates. In an attempt to understand potential challenges faced by students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated changes to how education is provided by colleges, the Policy and Strategy team requested data from community colleges on rates of complete withdrawal by students from institutions in the current and two prior spring terms. From the data received, it appears that the Spring 2020 rate of withdrawal at colleges has nearly universally decreased from the rates of the prior two spring terms.

Some colleges provided additional data broken down by student subgroups. The downward trend in withdrawal rates is seen across all subgroups at the system level. Additionally, the data showed that, as with prior terms, differences between subgroups in withdrawal rates are generally small for the TBR system in Spring 2020; the most sizeable gap between subgroups at the system level was between the two student age groups. At the college level, size and direction of gaps between student subgroups differed from those at the system level in some cases.

Based on the available data, the measures taken by colleges, local communities, and the state do not appear to have increased the rate of complete withdrawal by TBR community college students. However, where available, the data shows an overall downward or flat trend in withdrawal over the previous two spring terms, so it is possible that factors previously decreasing the rate of withdrawal have continued to affect student behaviors and mitigate the impact of recent events.

Additionally, it is important to note that the data provided is a limited snapshot of the intra-semester impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on one student behavior, withdrawal from the college. Changes to other student behaviors not represented in the data, such as passively disconnecting from courses and colleges without formal withdrawal, may be another potential consequence of changes to daily life and education. The end of term data for Spring 2020, in particular the distribution of student grades, will provide a greater insight into how students, their courses, and their future success were impacted by the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic. 

 

CARRY-OUT FOOD CONTAINERS FOR K-12 SCHOOL MEAL PROGRAMS

Please see the email Dr. Deaton has forwarded you this afternoon with a request from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency for food containers that could help K-12 school districts still providing meals for children. Thank you for your help in this.

 

WARN NOTICES ATTACHED

Deanna Morris-Stacey, Director of Programs & Initiatives in our Office of Economic & Community Development has emailed all Presidents the attached spreadsheet listing the WARN (Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification Act) notices of layoffs and closures to the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development that we have received through this morning.  The information for each notice (business name and address, number of employees, etc.) has been sent to the workforce contact at the technical and community college in the businesses’ areas. Feel free to contact Deanna if you have questions, at Deanna.Morris-Stacey@tbr.edu

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

6,589 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 87,273 tests, up from Thursday’s confirmed total of 6,262. 

There have been 142 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. 3,017 people have recovered.

Full details and county-by-county listings are here:https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR SOAR AWARD WINNERS & FINALISTS

The complete media release is here, and excellent videos are here. I cannot thank you enough for participating in this program, designed to recognize the great work that you and your entire campus communities are doing to serve our students and the people of our state. We look forward to being able to get together and honor you in person in more normal times.

 

BOARD OF REGENTS MEETING

Although abbreviated from the usual in-person meetings, the Board took several important actions in this afternoon’s conference call meeting. We’ll have a more complete report later, but a summary:

Multiple Measures:

By its approval of the Interim Action Report, the Board approved our plans to add high school GPA as an assessment measure for placing students in regular college-level classes or learning supports, as a pilot during this year’s Summer and Fall terms, as we have discussed for several days in our calls. With the addition of GPA as a placement metric, a student will place into college level courses with either the requisite ACT score or a 3.6 GPA.

System COVID-19 Update

We provided a summary of actions we have taken as a system in response to the pandemic. As Vice Chair Reynolds said, “The team (all of you) hit the ground running. It doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges ahead,” but you have demonstrated you are meeting those challenges. Director Krause also gave an overview and said that after the crisis passes, there should be an after-action assessment because there have been lessons learned that can be applied in the future.

New TCAT Programs

The Board approved the 25 new program requested by TCATs, detailed in your Board Meeting Executive Summary and materials.

New Policies

The Board reviewed and approved revisions to these TBR policies, with details in your executive summary and materials:

Academic Policy 2:01:01:02 Inter-institutional Relationships and Off-campus Offerings is a new policy, which is being converted from Guideline A-020 with the same name.

Policy 2:08:10:00 – Development & Operation of Off Campus International Education Programs

Policy 1:04:01:00 Duties of the Chancellor

Informational Reporting

Vice Chancellors Kim McCormick and Danny Gibbs presented the updates on federal and state legislation, including budget and other funding matters.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

4,138 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 52,874 tests, up from Monday’s confirmed total of 3,802

There have been 72 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide.

Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

The Department has also posted this COVID-19 Screening Tool

 

GOVERNOR’S DAILY UPDATE

Provided by Chuck Grimes, Coordinator of Government Relations

Nothing today of very specific impact to TBR or our colleges.

Governor Lee was joined by TN Health Commissioner Lisa Piercy, Financial Institutions Commissioner Greg Gonzales and Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord. The Governor began the press briefing by announcing that Tennessee now has 4,138 confirmed cases, over 400 recoveries, and 72 deaths due to COVID-19. He stated that there has been positive news and slightly improving trends. Commissioner Gonzales gave details of the programs that will be instituted by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to support businesses that have suffered during the pandemic with forgivable loans of up to $2 million for purposes including keeping employees on the payroll through the first-of-its-kind Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Dr. McCord then expanded on the Governor’s earlier statement that over 250,000 initial unemployment claims have been submitted during the pandemic by saying that over 100,000 claims are being paid this week.  The TN Dept. of Labor has gone from 20 to 200 frontline unemployment claims reviewers, with plans to add at least 50 more. Under the CARES Act recently passed by Congress, funds and support are soon coming through the “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” program to aid self-employed individuals, sole-proprietors, and the like to file for and receive appropriate unemployment benefits. Further, the “Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation” funds will provide an additional $600 for unemployment recipients. Dr. Piercy gave brief remarks (though received more media questions) to reiterate the Governor’s earlier statements and to clarify that over 53,000 individuals, statewide, have been tested for the Coronavirus. She and the Governor reminded all viewers to continue following social distancing and safe-at-home guidance, as they appear to be having the needed effect.

 

From the Governor’s Office:

Administration Actions

Unemployment Relief/Unemployment for Self-Employed

COVID-19 has caused record spikes in unemployment with the number of initial claims spiking to more than 250,000 in the last three-week period.

In March, at the onset of the pandemic, Gov. Lee directed the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to conduct the following actions to support Tennesseans facing unemployment due to COVID-19, among others:

  • Extend unemployment benefits to those who are quarantined by a physician for COVID-19
  • Suspend certain regulations to speed up payment time

As the rate of unemployment claims escalates, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is projected to pay more than 100,000 claims this week. The department is employing additional resources to make this system run more smoothly.

With the passage of the CARES Act, Congress has made more funding available and greater flexibility for Tennesseans during the pandemic. Certain CARES Act provisions are on track to be implemented as early as next week.

Tennessee is also working closely with the federal government to ensure Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation for the self-employed or those who file 1099 forms is available as quickly as possible.

Tennesseans out of work can apply for unemployment benefits at www.Jobs4TN.gov.

Paycheck Protection Program and Support for Small Business

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The Small Business Administration will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

The Program authorized $350 billion in fully forgivable loans to help small businesses maintain payrolls during the coronavirus pandemic. The program went live on April 2, 2020 and is being run through local financial institutions. Additional information can be found here.

 

ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL

The Governor’s Executive Order 23 is a stay-at-home order.
We are again encouraging you that only essential personnel go to campus.
This means that if the job can be performed at home, they do not go to campus.

 

UPDATED GUIDANCE ON IN-PERSON CLASSES

Colleges may submit requests to the Chancellor for in-person classes prior to
April 24 for students training for jobs that are considered essential, particularly
nursing and health-related fields.

 

ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL TRAVEL LETTERS

General Counsel Chris Modisher and her team have drafted template letters they are forwarding to you that you can sign and issue to essential personnel on your campuses for travel purposes. The idea is that if they are questioned in regard to travel during the state’s stay-at-home order, they could produce the letter attesting that they are essential personnel as defined by state and local executive orders and permitted to travel to perform essential functions.

 

STUDENT WAIVER LETTERS

Similarly, the General Counsel’s Office is drafting letters for clinical students to sign as a kind of election – either that they are going to wait to do clinicals and take and incomplete OR continue their clinicals while acknowledging they understand the risks of potential coronavirus exposure.

 

TCAT SUMMER START DATES

TCAT Presidents held a conference call earlier today, and some want to start summer term on May 4 while others want to start May 18. The summer term start date will remain May 4 with TCATs having an option to begin students on May 18. Those who want to start on May 18 should submit a request as soon as possible to the Chancellor and copy Johnathan Button, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, at Johnathan.Button@tbr.edu so Johnathan can modify Banner functions for those TCATs.

 

SAILS TESTING UPDATE

Vice Chancellor/Academic Affairs Lana Hamilton:

As a backup plan in case high schools do not reopen in May, we surveyed colleges about the potential for having SAILS final tests on your campuses in May or June. There could be around 11,500 students across the state that could be taking their final SAILS tests. Thank you for your support. This is for planning purposes and we would request use of your facilities if needed – but NOT before you reopen your campuses, so you would not need to provide any personnel.

  • Staffing at CCs:  If/when the time comes, we plan to have at least four SAILS field coordinators at each college testing site to proctor examinations.
  • Facility Reservations:  Once we are able to make facility reservations with the colleges, we will be able to get available dates and available computer lab space at each college. From there, we will create a calendar of testing dates to communicate to SAILS partners (schools).
  • Communication Plan:  We will communicate this information through email (to SAILS teachers, school counselors, and administrators), announcements within the Pearson (course) platform (student and teachers will see), and automated calls to the students (initiated by the schools).
  • SAILS COVID-19 FAQs:  SAILS posted a frequently asked questions document to the TBR SAILS website (www.tbr.edu/SAILS). Click here to view the document and what we are communicating about testing to our partners at this time.

In addition, the SAILS team has developed a SAILS COVID-19 FAQ document. We have posted that in a Q&A format on the SAILS website.

BOARD OF REGENTS MEETING APRIL 7

The Board of Regents meeting postponed from March 26 is scheduled for 3 pm CT Tuesday, April 7, by telephone conference call. Board Secretary Sonja Mason emailed you Thursday the agenda, executive summary, link to all board materials on the website, and other information. If you plan to listen to the meeting, contact Sonja for call-in information no later than Monday.

 

JUNE BOARD OF REGENTS MEETING

We are moving the June meeting from Columbia State’s campus to the TBR office in Nashville IF we are able to hold an in-person meeting by that time. Decisions on how the June board meeting will occur later.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

3,067 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 37,839 tests, up from Thursday’s confirmed total of 2,845. 

There have been 37 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide.

Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR’S DAILY UPDATE

Gov. Lee held his daily media conference in Knoxville this morning (and is scheduled for a another this afternoon in Chattanooga). In Knoxville, the Governor:

  • Met with local leaders and his COVID-19 Unified Command Team for further planning.
  • Said the team has identified the Knoxville Expo Center as the site for a 350-bed health center for C-19 positive patients who need health care but not the high level of care of a hospital. Target is to have the site ready for patients in three weeks. Army Corps of Engineers is assessing other potential sites.
  • Reiterated that, “We have a tremendous challenge ahead of us and every Tennessean has a personal responsibility to engage in this fight against COVID-19. We will get through this but it will require every Tennessean to engage in behaviors and activities that slow the spread and mitigate the damage.”
  • Said the state has created a web portal providing information for health workers who want to become engaged in the fight.
  • Thanked “all of the health care workers out there on the front lines.”
  • Thanked UT and all higher education institutions who have helped, including the manufacture of over 10,000 face shields for health workers.
  • Said the state and federal governments are focused on helping individuals and small businesses economically hit by the pandemic.
  • Said, “We have some very difficult days and very difficult weeks ahead.”

UPDATED GUIDANCE FOR ON-CAMPUS CLASSES & LABS

Based on our discussion today, along with new projections from the State about when the pandemic will peak in Tennessee in mid- to late-April, we are revising our earlier guidance that permitted you to request approval for specific hands-on labs and classes for technical programs on campus starting April 13. My revised recommendation today is that we do NOT schedule in-person classes and labs through the end of April, except for very limited circumstances in which you would submit an exception request.

After our call today, President Bowyer emailed you information regarding one example of a  virtual nursing clinical lab program Dyersburg State is using through Swift River Online Learning. DSCC is paying $50 per student for 218 students to have access to virtual nursing clinical labs for five months from March through July.

If others have other models, please forward to all Presidents.

 

WAIVER REQUEST FOR NURSING & OTHER HOSPITAL-ESSENTIAL HEALTHCARE STUDENTS

From Vice Chancellor/External Affairs Kim McCormick:

We submitted the waiver request below today, through THEC, to the Governor’s COVID-19 team. This correspondence was the catalyst for a phone conference including Chancellor and TBR administrators, THEC, and the TN Department of Health. This was a good conversation ending in the Department of Health considering our request, researching the actions of other states, and examining needs here within the State of Tennessee. The Chancellor will be hearing from them by early tomorrow afternoon.

TBR request:  The Tennessee Board of Regents College System of Tennessee requests an emergency waiver to allow community and technical college students enrolled in hospital-essential allied health care programs who have completed required coursework, yet lack the clinical component, the ability to complete said component either: 1) in a 100% simulation environment or 2) by being  hired by a healthcare provider to serve in the COVID-19 crisis with the employment equated as the clinical component. It is the request that either option will satisfy clinical requirements toward licensure and program completion.

Population:  Students who have completed all coursework requirements except for the clinical component hours.

Optional:  This request would be optional for the student.  If the student does not select option 1 or 2, the student will be provided an incomplete grade option.

 

MULTIPLE MEASURES FOR LEARNING SUPPORT PLACEMENT

As we have discussed in several calls with Presidents and Chief Academic Officers, attached is a policy brief on using high school GPAs as another placement measure. Vice Chancellor/Academic Affairs Lana Hamilton and Executive Vice Chancellor Russ Deaton said that even before the C-19 outbreak, we have been exploring adding high school GPA as another option because we feel very confident that data supports this option. We’ve had very good discussion across the board and Dr. Hamilton is recommending to the Chancellor that we proceed with adding this option for Summer and Fall 2020 term registrations. Those terms would essentially serve as a pilot, and we will then gather the results and route the option through the sub-councils for further discussion and future consideration.

 

PASS/FAIL GRADING DECISION

Again, after considerable discussion among Presidents and Chief Academic Officers, Dr. Hamilton is recommending that the TBR System NOT adopt a Pass/Fail grade option for students and that we work closely with students on IncompletesI will approve that recommendation. The pros and cons of this option for students have been thoroughly examined and we believe there are long-term concerns for students, in regard to transfer and articulation, financial aid and other issues. We wanted to make sure we were making the best decision for our students and I think we’ve had good discussion, so we will not be adopting a Pass/Fail grading option as a system.

 

FACULTY EVALUATION GUIDANCE FOR SPRING 2020

Dr. Hamilton recommended that student evaluations of both full- and part-time faculty NOT occur for this Spring 2020 semester due to the C-19 pandemic, and that the reason for this action (the extraordinary circumstances of dealing with the pandemic) be documented in faculty personnel files so that in the future, when decisions on tenure and promotion are made, that it’s clear why there are no student evaluations in the file for this semester.

But several of you said that you might still want the option of student evaluations and surveys this semester as a learning tool. Nashville State specifically is developing a survey instrument. That discussion was a good one, so Dr. Hamilton will draft guidance for subsequent distribution that gives you discretion to conduct student surveys and evaluations of faculty during this semester with the understanding that the results will be a learning tool and will NOT to be used to penalize faculty.

 

STUDY-ABROAD TRIPS ARE CANCELED FOR SUMMER 2020

Vice Chancellor/Student Success Heidi Leming reports that the TBR System has determined that all study-abroad this summer – both TnCIS- and institution-led – will be cancelled. Student international travel and study-abroad fees will continue to be collected because they are traditionally used to fund cultural activities and student travel, both in the current and future semesters.

 

STUDENT FEE REFUNDS

In addition to study-abroad fees discussed above, our current thinking is that student fees for the current semester will NOT be refunded. Unlike various auxiliary fees assessed by universities – such as housing and meal-plan fees, our student fees all go to support campus operations.

 

eTRANSCRIPT UPDATE

From Dr. Leming:

We sent information on our launch of eTranscripts as part of the Nursing transcript update last Friday and are repeating here because it applies not just to Nursing students.

For Community Colleges, effective today (April 1), Pellissippi State and Nashville State will go live sending eTranscripts via PDF format. The remaining community colleges will be sending eTranscripts via PDF format by April 8, 2020. The process will include:

  1. Each institution will receive a dedicated URL for students to request transcripts.
  2. Any outside organization receiving eTranscripts will be sent two emails
  1. The first email will contain a link to retrieve
  2. The second email will contain an access code to open the transcript

 

TCAT AZURE LAB SERVICES

From Deputy Chief Information Officer Jonathan Calisi

This service provides you the ability to quickly set up a lab for classes that can be accessed from anywhere. Currently, classroom labs are the only type of managed lab supported by Azure Lab Services. The service itself handles all the infrastructure management for a managed lab type, from spinning up virtual machines (VMs) to handling errors, and scaling the infrastructure. After an IT administrator creates a lab account in Azure Lab Services, an instructor can quickly set up a lab for his class, specify the number and type of VMs that are needed to exercise in the class, and add users to the class. Once a user registers to the class, the user can access the VM to do exercises for the class.

 

ZOOM SECURITY CONCERN

Chief Information Officer Steve Vieira reports that a vulnerability has been found with Zoom that, at the moment, could give hackers access to usernames and passwords associated with some Windows applications:

This article basically says that you should not paste any of your network share information (such as a link to a file, a Google Doc or network drives or directories) into a Zoom session since the links will include your username and password in a form that hackers can decipher using tools available to them. The username and password are embedded in the link and you may not even be aware that your username and passwords are being transferred.

Until Zoom corrects the problem, I would not share files through Zoom, and instead, share them outside of the Zoom application. For example, you can use Microsoft Teams and control who can have access to a secure channel, much like we are doing with the Community Colleges now.  Each school has a channel devoted to material that should not be shared, such as configuration settings for servers, setups for their payment gateway, etc.

 

TCAT SUMMER TERM DISCUSSION

TCAT Presidents plan to discuss, during a conference call Friday morning, the possibility of delaying the start of the TCAT summer trimester to possibly May 18, among other challenges TCATs face. Following the discussion, TCAT Presidents may present a joint proposal or option on when the TCAT summer term would start.

 

JACKSON STATE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH UPDATE

The three finalists are scheduled to do Zoom presentations/meetings with campus constituencies May 11, 12 and 13.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

2,683 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 32,452 tests. An increase of 444 confirmed cases from Tuesday’s total of 2,239.  There have been 24 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. Confirmed C-19 cases are now found in 84 counties. (We erroneously reported yesterday that all 95 counties now have reported cases.)

Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

MAY 5 PRESIDENTS MEETING AT SYSTEM OFFICE CANCELED

The May 5 quarterly presidents meeting at the system office is canceled. We will not meet in person; however, we may need to schedule a conference call should we have policies that need to be reviewed/approved for the June board meeting.

 

FACULTY SUB-COUNCIL BUSINESS MEETING APRIL 17

Our Office of Academic Affairs emailed members of the Faculty Sub-Council and Presidents this morning to request agenda items to be considered for discussion during the Faculty Sub-Council Business Meeting scheduled for Friday, April 17, 2020 at 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. CT. Please forward to LaDonna Miller LaDonna.Miller@tbr.edu agenda items you would like to be discussed during the session and any supporting documents by Friday, April 10, 2020.  Due to restrictions in place as a result of COVID-19, we will hold the discussion virtually.  Additional details will be forthcoming.

 

TN C-19 MEDICAL SUPPORT PLANNING TEAM UPDATE

Executive Director/Facilities Development Dick Tracy emailed all Presidents this morning, thanking them for responses to and consideration of last Friday’s request from the state’s COVID-19 Medical Support Planning Team, regarding the availability of large, open facilities for possible use as alternate care sites. Mr. Tracy spoke with team members and they agree that at this time, the LGIs would have better capabilities to meet their needs – and if needed later, we could use some of our campuses with limited space requirements and supplement any needs by allowing any modular components onsite. If the need arises, Mr. Tracy will contact the appropriate TBR institutions.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

2,239 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 27,360 tests. An increase of 405 confirmed cases from Monday’s total of 1,834.  There have been 23 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. All 95 counties now have reported cases, up from 72 in yesterday’s report. Today, the Department of Health began adding two new data points to its daily update: the number of recovered patients and the number of negative tests per county. To date, 121 people have recovered from the disease. TN Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said that is a relatively low number because the first C-19 case in the state was confirmed on March 4, less than a month ago.

Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

 

GOVERNOR LEE’S 3 P.M. UPDATE 

Gov. Lee reminded Tennesseans that Executive Order 22, issued Monday, goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight.

 

All the Governor’s Executive Orders are here:

https://sos.tn.gov/products/division-publications/executive-orders-governor-bill-lee

 

Executive Order 22 is here: 

https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/pub/execorders/exec-orders-lee22.pdf

 

For those offices, workplaces, and businesses that remain open as permitted by this Order, employers should take steps to the greatest extent practicable to equip and permit employees to work from home, and employees and their customers should practice good hygiene and observe the Health Guidelines and necessary precautions advised by the President and the CDC to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 

Employers shall not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work. An employer, through its supervisors or appropriate management personnel, shall not require or allow an employee who the employer knows has tested positive for COVID-19 to report to work until that employee has satisfied the conditions for discontinuing home isolation under CDC guidelines, which are available at the following web address: https:/ /www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-aresick/steps-when-sick.html.

As we discussed at the end of today’s call, Gov. Lee issued Executive Order 22 at 3 p.m., “directing Tennesseans to stay home unless engaging in essential activities to limit their exposure to and spread of COVID-19.” The order is effective and enforceable at 11:59 p.m., Central Daylight Time, on March 31, 2020, and shall remain in effect until 11:59 p.m., Central Daylight Time, on April 14, 2020…”

The full order is here: https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/pub/execorders/exec-orders-lee22.pdf and see below for further details.

 

Prior to the Governor’s order, we had agreed during the discussion in today’s call that, for the remainder of Spring term, all programs will continue online through the end of the term BUT anyone who wants to request exceptions -- in order to 1) bring some personnel (beyond essential service employees) back to campus for specific purposes and 2) to have students in technical programs back for hands-on, lab- and skills-type classes -- starting April 6, to have those proposals in writing to the Chancellor by this Thursday.

 

Because the Governor’s new order essentially expands stay-at-home statewide through at least April 14, we’ll modify that to say that you should have your requests for exceptions to the Chancellor by the end of this week rather than Thursday, and that the exception proposals would be to have the personnel and students back starting April 15 rather than April 6.

 

In all cases, there is the understanding that such classes and labs will be staggered and times in such a way that no groups larger than 10 will meet at once, that social distancing be enforced, that rooms and equipment be cleaned after each use, and that it be emphasized to students and faculty that they are not required to attend and that they should absolutely not attend if they are sick or showing any symptoms of COVID-19. (See more below)

 

 

REMINDER: Vice Chancellor/Academic Affairs Lana Hamilton plans a conference call with Chief Academic Officers Tuesday morning, to discuss and get their views on four different matters that we have discussed on the Presidents Calls:

1) The Pass/Fail option. 2) Assessment/placement (adding high school GPA as an option). 3) Hearing from them how the semester is going, particularly in regard to the conversion to online and testing and hands-on competencies.  4) Letting the CAOs know that Dr. Hamilton will be reaching out to their faculty sub-council representatives for their feedback.

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

1,834 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 23,304 tests. This is an increase of 297 cases since Sunday.  This have been 13 deaths attributed to C-19 statewide. 72 counties have reported cases.

 

Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

 

GOVERNOR LEE’S 3 P.M. UPDATE 

Provided by Assistant Vice Chancellor/Government Relations Krysten Velloff & Vice Chancellor/External Affairs Kim McCormick

 

All the Governor’s Executive Orders are here:

https://sos.tn.gov/products/division-publications/executive-orders-governor-bill-lee

 

Executive Order 22, issued today, is here: 

https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/pub/execorders/exec-orders-lee22.pdf

 

Governor Lee issued Executive Order 22 today which lays out safer at home guidance, strongly urging Tennesseans to stay home starting tomorrow, March 31, until April 14 (for two weeks), if at all possible. Executive Order 22 is not a mandated shelter in place. All persons in Tennessee are urged to stay at home, except for when engaging in Essential Activity or Essential Services as defined in the Order. Businesses or organizations that do not perform Essential Services shall not be open for access or use by the public. Such businesses or organizations are strongly encouraged to provide delivery, including curbside delivery outside of the business facility, through online or telephone orders, to the greatest extent practicable. Individuals are encouraged to use any such options to support such businesses during this emergency.

 

Even though Essential Activity and Essential Services are permitted under this Order, all persons are strongly encouraged to limit the frequency of engaging in Essential Activity or Essential Services. All persons are strongly encouraged, among other things, to use thoughtful planning, careful coordination, and consideration of others when engaging in Essential Activity or Essential Services in order to minimize the need and frequency for leaving their place of residence or property. When engaged in Essential Activity or Essential Services, persons shall follow the Health Guidelines.

 

Persons and businesses should take particular care to protect the well-being of those populations especially vulnerable to COVID-19, including older adults and persons with compromised immune systems or serious chronic medical conditions. Businesses should further consider implementing measures to protect our most vulnerable populations by offering delivery service or special opportunities for members of vulnerable populations to shop in retail establishments exclusive of the general population.

 

For those offices, workplaces, and businesses that remain open as permitted by this Order, employers should take steps to the greatest extent practicable to equip and permit employees to work from home, and employees and their customers should practice good hygiene and observe the Health Guidelines and necessary precautions advised by the President and the CDC to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 

Employers shall not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work. An employer, through its supervisors or appropriate management personnel, shall not require or allow an employee who the employer knows has tested positive for COVID-19 to report to work until that employee has satisfied the conditions for discontinuing home isolation under CDC guidelines, which are available at the following web address: https:/ /www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-aresick/steps-when-sick.html.

  • The UT Board of Trustees unanimously approved Randy Boyd as President of the University of Tennessee System through 2025 during a special meeting this afternoon – removing the “Interim” from his title that he’s held for about a year and a half.
  • President Trump just signed into law the $2 trillion emergency federal legislation that we have been discussing.

 

UPDATED WORKING REMOTELY GUIDANCE

As we discussed in this afternoon’s call, the current guidance is:

  • Remember as you continue to serve students remotely, our campuses are closed until Monday, April 6.
  • Essential college personnel may visit campus for such functions as checking mail and limited campus police and security presence. According to each individual college policy.
  • It’s important that student services – including financial aid and responding to student questions – continue even when the campuses are closed.
  • Online education is continuing.
  • For the period April 6 through April 24, send me your requests for exceptions to campus closure.
  • The system office staff will continue work from home status through April 24.

Vice Chancellor Kim McCormick asks that if you receive direct contact from legislators regarding campus operations, to please send her a text or email, so we can follow up too.

 

 

NATIONAL & STATE SKILLSUSA COMPETITIONS CANCELLED

From Vice Chancellor/Student Success Heidi Leming

National SkillsUSA Executive Director Chelle Travis made this announcement this afternoon: “SkillsUSA has made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person activities related to NLSC — including our SkillsUSA Championships — and focus on essential organizational leadership opportunities conducted in a virtual setting."

 

The Tennessee State Leadership and Skills Conference held in Chattanooga is also cancelled. Once we resume normal schedules, SkillsUSA Tennessee Postsecondary Director Joy Rich will communicate with instructors about potentially offering virtual contests for state-level only. Both state and national SkillsUSA will proceed with the Model of Excellence competition, National Officer Elections through a virtual platform, and Advisor of the Year awards. 

 

Stay tuned for more information from Joy Rich, TN State SkillsUSA Director, as it becomes available.

 

 

REMEMBER: BE ALERT TO PHISHING SCAMS RELATED TO C-19

We included this in your Wednesday update and TBR Chief Information Officer Steve Vieira spoke with you in today’s call. I encourage you to share with your faculty, staff and students – and to encourage faculty to share directly with their students – because some of these schemes are asking for their bank account information.

We are seeing bad actors taking advantage of the situation by spoofing the Federal Government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an effort to gain people’s bank account numbers and personal information.  These would NEVER come from these organizations directly to you through an email message.  Any unexpected messages that come to your email account should be treated with extreme caution.  Don’t provide anyone your personal information and don’t open attachments or click on links in suspicious email deliveries.

We are also seeing Zoom bombing, in which some participants in classes delivered via Zoom are posting pornography and racist messages in the chat function. Be vigilant.

An InfoRisk article discussing the situation is here.

 

 

IMPORTANT REQUEST FROM TN COVID-19 MEDICAL SUPPORT PLANNING TASK FORCE

All Presidents should have received an email earlier today from Dick Tracy, routing to you a request for information about facilities, from the state’s COVID-19 Medical Support Planning Task Force. I’ve asked Dick to compile the requested information and submit it to the task force.

 

As part of its planning for surge capacity and alternate care sites, the task force (comprised of personnel from the TN Department of Health, TEMA, Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Hospital Association, FEMA and the US Army Corps of Engineers) is looking for the availability of large open facilities that meet certain criteria detailed in Dick’s email.

Many of you are already responding. If you didn’t get Dick’s email (dick.tracy@tbr.edu), please let him or me know. Thanks!

 

 

NURSING TRANSCRIPT REQUESTS

From Vice Chancellor/Student Success Heidi Leming

The Board of Nursing emailed schools March 25th regarding considerations for sending student transcripts electronically. We want to remind everyone that data should be properly secured if transcripts are shared in electronic format. Until TCATs launch eTranscript capability, they should continue to mail transcripts to the TN Board of Nursing. The initial training call to walk TCATs through the eTranscript process is scheduled for April 2 at 2 pm CT. A meeting invitation will be sent out electronically for this 30-minute webinar.

 

For Community Colleges, effective April 1, Pellissippi and Nashville will go live sending eTranscripts via PDF format. The remaining Community Colleges will go live with eTranscripts via PDF format by April 8, 2020.

  1. Each institution will receive a dedicated URL for students to request transcripts.
  2. Any outside organization receiving eTranscripts will be sent two emails
  1. The first email will contain a link to retrieve
  2. The second email will contain an access code to open the transcript

 

Community Colleges should direct questions or concerns to Tee Mitchell, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management. TCATs should direct questions and concerns to Johnathan Button, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management.

 

As a reminder, a complete TBR staff directory is here: https://www.tbr.edu/contacts/staff-directory

 

 

FINANCIAL AID UPDATES

Dr. Leming sent this information to your Financial Aid Directors yesterday:

THEC released guidance today via the TASFAA listerv regarding a waiver for TELS GPA calculations. We are currently drafting a flowchart and example scenarios to assist you all with processing determinations based on the guidance. Our team has been in contact with TSAC to clarify some portions of the process, and we will include the guidance in the documentation. Although TSAC has established a hotline for COVID-19 questions, we continue to ask that you send all questions to our team. We will then ensure TSAC is contacted and responses are provided in a consistent manner.  We are also scheduling a phone call for next Tuesday at 10 am CT. You will receive a meeting invitation shortly. We will use this time to review the documentation being developed and discuss any questions pertaining to the THEC guidance

 

 

FEDERAL LEGISLATION UPDATE

Vice Chancellors Danny Gibbs and Kim McCormick provided an update on the federal CARE Act, which won final Congressional approval in the House today and President Trump signed it into law. In addition to Danny’s discussion on the call, we will provide more detailed information when it becomes available.

 

 

REMINDER: HUMAN RESOURCES ISSUES & FAQS

Danny Gibbs and April Preston emailed all Presidents Thursday afternoon questions and answers on several HR issues. The goal with the email FAQs is to rapidly address some of the more common questions that we have received.  If you have questions, I ask that you email them to April Preston April.preston@tbr.edu so we can research them and respond.  We may add them to our FAQ as well.

 

The email included three attachments: A revised version of the document we reviewed on Tuesday, a copy of the FAQs as of Wednesday, and a sample leave request form you are welcome to use.

In addition, a copy of a new U.S. Department of Labor poster outlining employee rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is available here: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

 

Additional questions received, including those involving pay for faculty contracts, will be addressed in future updates.

These documents (and future related ones) will be posted on the HR-TBR Website, under the HR Officers Training link. The leave request form will be put in DocuSign, if you want to use an electronic copy of it.

We will be continuing to monitor the situation and provide additional information as needed. 

Share this with others at your respective colleges, as appropriate.

 

STUDENT PLACEMENT & PASS/FAIL GRADING CONTINUING DISCCUSSION

Vice Chancellor/Academic Affairs Lana Hamilton led our discussion today on placement of students and the continuing discussion on a Pass/Fail grading option. Dr. Hamilton will continue this discussion with your Chief Academic Officers in a conference call next week. And based on our discussion today, and your support for the idea, she is preparing a proposal to take to the Board of Regents April 7 regarding high school GPA as an alternative to ACT test results for placement of new students.

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

1,203  total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 16,091 tests, up from 957 confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR LEE WAS IN MEMPHIS TODAY AND DID NOT HAVE HIS DAILY UPDATE

Gov. Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 updates which can be found here.

VA PROCESSING COVID-19 

Vice Chancellor/Student Success Heidi Leming reports:
S.3503 was signed into law and went into effect March 21. The law authorizes the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to continue to provide educational assistance through December 21, 2020, for programs of education that have been converted to distance learning due to an emergency or health-related situation. Such assistance includes monthly housing stipends or subsistence allowances.

The guidance applies to current terms only, and VA is requesting that schools not generate future term enrollment certifications in VA ONCE, at this time. Guidance for future terms will be provided at a later date.


OTHER FEDERAL LEGISLATION

Vice Chancellor/External Affairs Kim McCormick reports that the CARE Act (S. 3548) has passed the U.S. Senate and is expected to be approved in the House of Representatives tomorrow. We have seen numerous clips of how this more than 800-page stimulus bill affects our students and our system; however, the following article in Community College Daily is more an in-depth summation than we have thus far seen.

http://www.ccdaily.com/2020/03/washington-watch-what-the-cares-act-holds-for-higher-ed/

 

HONORLOCK ONLINE TEST PROCTORING

Associate Vice Chancellor/Procurement, Contracts & Payment Services Angela Flynn reports today that we were able to get a system-wide Agreement in place with HonorLock Inc. for on-line remote test proctoring at a cheaper rate than the live option we had before during this high volume period. HonorLock is an online proctoring option for colleges that we have discussed on the calls this week. Contract documents, technical guidelines and order forms have been emailed to your Business Officers, Procurement, and Contracts staff.

 

 

REMINDER: TN PROMISE COMMUNITY SERVICE UPDATE FROM THEC

THEC posted this notice on its website (https://www.tn.gov/thec/covid-19-campus-information.html) Wednesday during our conference call. It waives the April 1 community service deadline for students enrolling in the summer term. We included this information in  yesterday’s update but are repeating it today since we didn’t discuss it during yesterday’s call:

 

Due to the current state of emergency related to the COVID-19 situation, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission/Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (THEC/TSAC) has made the decision to waive the April 1 community service requirement. A Tennessee Promise student enrolling at an eligible institution for the summer term will not be required to complete and submit community service to maintain eligibility for that term.
Furthermore, THEC/TSAC continues to monitor the impact from COVID-19 related to the July 1, 2020 community service deadline while our partnering organizations work to arrange alternatives for students.
If you have questions regarding this decision please contact 
tn.promise@tn.gov.

 

HUMAN RESOURCES ISSUES & FAQS

Vice Chancellor/Business & Finance Danny Gibbs has just emailed all Presidents questions and answers on several HR issues. We realize there can literally be hundreds of questions/scenarios.  The goal with the email FAQs is to rapidly address some of the more common questions that we have received.  If you have questions, I ask that you email them to April Preston April.preston@tbr.edu so we can research them and respond.  We may add them to our FAQ as well.  As April noted, things have been changing rapidly so we will make updates as new information develops.

 

 

TODAY’S 2 PM TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH UPDATE

957 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, out of 14,909 tests, up from 784 confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

Full details and county-by-county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

GOVERNOR LEE’S 3 PM UPDATE TODAY

Gov. Lee’s daily press conferences can be viewed live each day this week at 3 p.m. CT here. Gov. Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 updates which can be found here.

Today, the Governor:

  • Signed Executive Order 20 that relaxes regulations in order to encourage retired health professionals to return to practice, temporarily suspends continuing education requirements for health professionals, allows telephone assessments by mental health providers for mental health services, and authorizes greater use of telemedicine – with all licensed providers authorized to use telemedicine to serve their patients as long as they are practicing within their normal scope of practice. (This is a summary of the Governor’s remarks; refer to Executive Order 20 for details, to be posted here.)
  • Appealed for more personal responsibility to slow the spread of coronavirus, including exercising social distancing, staying at home and washing hands.
  • Announced that he and the First Lady have created a public service announcement (below) to underscore that message. (See below)
  • Encouraged restaurants still serving in dining rooms to convert to carry-out only and for churches to cease in-person services.
  • Announced that several businesses, including Kirklands, Lowes and Nissan for example, are donating personal protective equipment and materials for health workers, and encouraged other businesses to do so.
  • Announced a large increase in unemployment claims: 39,000 new unemployment claims last week, up from 2,700 new claims filed the previous week. “We know this will increase in the weeks ahead,” he said.
  • Announced creation of the Tennessee Talent Exchange in partnership with business to provide opportunities to match Tennesseans out of work with businesses experiencing a surge in need of workers, such as the grocery industry and others. More information is at Jobs4tn.gov
  • He has set up a task force within his administration to oversee distribution of funding when associated with the federal CARE legislation when it becomes law.

 

“Do Your Part, Stay Apart” Public Service Announcement from the Governor’s Office:

The State of Tennessee today launches a public service announcement campaign that urges all Tennesseans to adopt preventive health measures to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

“Do your part, stay apart” features Governor Bill Lee, First Lady Maria Lee and Tennessee celebrities that includes Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway, former NFL Titan Eddie George and Taj George,  University of Tennessee athletics director Phil Fulmer and Vicky Fulmer, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith and Cece Winans, among many others. Dozens of music artists, athletes and sports organizations who collectively reach millions of Tennesseans will join the campaign via social media. 

“COVID-19 is a serious threat to the health and livelihood of our state that must be treated seriously by Tennesseans so that we can slow the spread of this virus, keep our people healthy and get our lives back to normal as soon as possible,” said Governor Lee. “Involving influential Tennesseans will help us reach more of our citizens to drive home the message that the only way to beat the virus is to stop it from spreading. Maria and I are deeply grateful to the individuals in this campaign who are utilizing their tremendous public influence and reach to protect the health of their fellow Tennesseans.”

Like most Tennesseans practicing safe social distancing, the participants have recorded messages from the safety of their homes to emphasize that Tennesseans should stay home as much as possible, avoid gathering with friends, at church or in any unessential activity – and outside the home to maintain a six-foot distance from others.

In addition to preventive health behavior, the message encourages Tennessee citizens to watch out for neighbors, especially those who may be vulnerable to illness: “Right now, the best way for us to care for one another is to keep our distance – and take care of our neighbors. Give them a call or video chat. We’re all in this together. Please do your part, by staying apart.”

WORKING REMOTELY STATUS

Yesterday, the governor extended, to April 24, the Executive Branch’s AWS (Alternative Workplace Solutions) directive for Executive Branch employees who can work remotely. Our TBR earlier guidance was through April 6. Right now, I would like for us to stick with April 6. As we get into next week, we will know more. Please let me know your thoughts in an email.

 

NURSING PROGRAMS

I’ve asked Dr. Deaton and Dr. Hamilton to reach out to you to find out where we are with all of our nursing programs – and particularly about when we can get those finished up. If you have places allowing you to do clinicals, I would encourage you to do it. We need to get them into the healthcare pipeline. However, it’s important to let students know they don’t HAVE to go.

 

HOW IS YOUR TRANSITION TO ONLINE GOING?

Please email me by close of business Thursday how things are going on your campuses, including the online transition and student withdrawals, for an update to the Board.

 

ACCESS & DIVERSITY GRANTS

From Vice Chancellor/Organizational Effectiveness Wendy Thompson

Dr. Thompson has emailed all Community College Presidents specific information on reallocating Access & Diversity funds to assist students. On Tuesday, Dr. Thompson emailed similar guidance to TCAT Presidents, whose situation is slightly different.

 

QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNDING

From Vice Chancellor/Academic Affairs Lana Hamilton

We are working with THEC and have some updated information. In addition, we are launching scheduled Academic Audits next Monday, using virtual site visits rather than ground visits.

 

Gen Ed: (15 points/100 total) and Major Field Test (15 points/100 total).  We will use scores from fall test takers and what tests can be administered in the spring.  If spring graduates cannot be tested, lower participation rates will not be held against institutions.

 Academic Programs: (5 points Accreditation, 10 points performance review): For year 5, we are happy to accept virtual reviews. 

Institutional Satisfaction: (10 points) Year 5 is a qualitative report, so there should not be a major hinderance to completing this report.  Rubrics can be found in the QAF Guidebook.  

Adult Learners (10 points): The graduates in the quantitative section will be from 2018-19, so there should not be a concern there.  The qualitative portion should be able to continue as scheduled.  Rubrics can be found in the QAF Guidebook.  If an institution was not able to make the progress they had hoped toward institutional metrics and benchmarks set in the qualitative section, that will not be held against the institution.  Campuses should address the issue, but the rubrics are designed to facilitate campus reflection and reporting on goal progress.

TN Job Market Placement: (10 points) The graduates included will be from 2017-18, so we should be ok for this year.  We may see ripple effects into next cycle, but we will work to address this as we see the full effects of the current situation on employment. 

Student Access and Success: (25 points)The graduates in the quantitative section will be from 2018-19, so there should not be a concern for year 5.

 

 

PASS/FAIL GRADING DISCUSSION

Dr. Hamilton led a discussion on the Pass/Fail Grading option. Dr. Hamilton will schedule a call with college Chief Academic Officers for a deeper discussion, with an eye toward a systemwide decision – and Presidents will be notified so you can join the call too. Dr. Hamilton emailed additional information last Friday.

 

TENNESSEE PROMISE COMMUNITY SERVICE UPDATE FROM THEC

There have been parent and student concerns about the upcoming April 1 deadline for TN Promise students performing community service requirements for the summer term. The emergency legislation approved by the General Assembly last week allows THEC to waive certain requirements. THEC has posted this notice on its website (https://www.tn.gov/thec/covid-19-campus-information.html) and TN Achieves disseminated the information as well today:

 

Due to the current state of emergency related to the COVID-19 situation, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission/Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (THEC/TSAC) has made the decision to waive the April 1 community service requirement. A Tennessee Promise student enrolling at an eligible institution for the summer term will not be required to complete and submit community service to maintain eligibility for that term.
Furthermore, THEC/TSAC continues to monitor the impact from COVID-19 related to the July 1, 2020 community service deadline while our partnering organizations work to arrange alternatives for students.
If you have questions regarding this decision please contact 
tn.promise@tn.gov.

 

HONORLOCK ONLINE TEST PROCTORING

Dr. Hamilton and Associate Vice Chancellor Angela Flynn followed up earlier discussions about HonorLock online proctoring as an option for colleges. As of this morning Cleveland State, Columbia State, Dyersburg State, Pellissippi State and TN eCampus have sent in order forms for Honor Lock. Ms. Flynn will forward information to all TCAT Presidents, and Dr. Hamilton will monitor the program’s effectiveness with nursing programs.

 

SOAR UPDATE

Vice Chancellor/External Affairs Kim McCormick led a discussion of plans for announcing SOAR winners, after Vice Chancellor Heidi Leming’s Student Success team concluded virtual judging of regional finalists for Student, Faculty and Staff Members of the Year on Tuesday. Presidents agreed with a proposal to announce individual winners at the April 7 Board of Regents meeting, including a video package of winners. Chancellor Tydings announced that there will be two Colleges of the Year this year: a TCAT and a Community College.

 

FEDERAL C-19 STIMULUS LEGISLATION

Dr. McCormick also reported that we are monitoring the federal legislation that, if approved, will provide limited nationwide funding to assist with expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, Vice Chancellor/Finance & Business Operations Danny Gibbs has communicated with college Business Officers with guidance on keeping track of expenses incurred. We will update you when the legislation is approved.

 

 

OUTCOMES-BASED FUNDING

Executive Vice Chancellor Russ Deaton gave a brief update that THEC is exploring how it will determine outcomes based funding for next year, given that various Spring 2020 outcomes factors are likely to be problematic due to the C-19 disruptions. In addition, THEC has begun its 5-Year Review of the Outcomes-based Formula. We will keep you updated as both processes continue.

 

MESSAGE FOR FACULTY

Dr. Leming provides this letter that Presidents should consider sending to your faculty:

 

Faculty Members,

We know this is a trying time for you as we have moved to an online environment for all courses. This is also a difficult transition for our students and your assistance in helping students navigate the resources that have been put into place to assist them as they do their work from home is critical. If a student asks you a question that is not directly related to the course you teach, please direct the student to the appropriate campus level resource rather than stating that you do not have an answer for them. 

All of our institutions have come up with alternative ways to still provide student supports like technology access, counseling, and emergency aid. If you do not know where to find this information directly, please refer the student to your Vice President for Student Affairs who will be able to provide the information to the student.

Here is a link to a student resource guide we have developed at the System Office that can also be shared with students: http://bit.ly/TBR_COVID-19

We appreciate your assistance in supporting our students with in and out-of-class questions.

 

 

FREE WEBINAR FOR FACULTY & STAFF ON SUPPORTING STUDENTS IN TIMES OF CRISIS

In addition to the faculty message above, Dr. Leming suggests that you might also notify faculty and staff of this free webinar opportunity for them:

Free webinar- Mar. 27 at 11 a.m.: Supporting students in times of crisis

https://tacc.org/tsc/events/webinar-supporting-students-times-crisis

 

 

BE ALERT TO PHISHING SCAMS RELATED TO C-19

TBR Chief Information Officer Steve Vieira provides this alert about phishing email scams that you may also want to share with your campuses:

We are seeing bad actors taking advantage of the situation by spoofing the Federal Government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an effort to gain people’s bank account numbers and personal information.  These would NEVER come from these organizations directly to you through an email message.  Any unexpected messages that come to your email account should be treated with extreme caution.  Don’t provide anyone your personal information and don’t open attachments or click on links in suspicious email deliveries.

An InfoRisk article discussing the situation is here.

 

 

WORKER ADJUSTMENT & RETRAINING NOTIFICATIONS (WARN)

Vice Chancellor/Economic & Community Development Carol Puryear reports that the number of Tennesseans being temporarily or permanently laid off is increasing, which we know as a result of a rise in the number of WARN notifications filed by business and industry with the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development. Her TBR ECD staff, led by Deanna Morris-Stacey, is keeping track of WARN reports and will forward reports about layoffs in your areas to you and to your Workforce Directors.

 

APRIL TN TRAINED CONFERENCE CANCELLED

Dr. Puryear also reports that the TNTrained Conference scheduled for April has been cancelled and we will update you when it is rescheduled.

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) PROJECT

Dr. Puryear provides this update on our system’s efforts to produce face shields and donate other personal protective equipment for Tennessee healthcare workers:

As of 3 pm today, estimated TBR headbands total 1,803. Today’s output was 518.  We did have a few printers that had issues and ran low of filament; however, we have pulled material from other campuses.  The six campuses producing head bands will be able to make it to Sunday EXCEPT Jackson and Morristown.  I am working to deliver them some of the filament I received today.

We will easily exceed 2500 by Friday if all goes as planned. 

TCAT Murfreesboro Information Technology & Infrastructure Management Instructor Nick Albers is working on a video that will assist in showing other states how to print the bands.  We spoke with the Murfreesboro Post and Channel 2 today.  Elizabethton has been interviewed two today by local stations.

Murfreesboro received two new printers….thank you! 

Thanks not just to the colleges producing the headbands, but to other colleges helping. I don’t think we have an institution that is not helping in some way, from sending supplies to printers.

We’ve had businesses ask if they can help. THEC asks that they be directed to the hospitals in their areas to work directly with them.

 

I want to echo my thanks to everyone. This truly has been a systemwide effort. Gov. Lee cited this work in his remarks yesterday. Please give your instructors and others involved in this effort extra gold stars. I would like to get names of everyone involved for a more detailed thanks later.

 

 

Today’s 2 pm TN Department of Health update:

784 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, up from 667 Tuesday.

Full details and county by county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

 

GOVERNOR LEE’S 3 PM UPDATE TODAY

Gov. Lee’s daily press conferences can be viewed live each day this week at 3 p.m. CDT here. Gov. Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 updates which can be found here.

Key Updates Today

Tornado Disaster Recovery

FEMA has approved Tennessee’s disaster declaration for the remaining counties. All affected counties are now covered: Benton, Carroll, Davidson, Putnam, Smith and Wilson. Additional information can be found here.

 

Administration Actions

CDC Funding

The CDC has pledged $10 million for Tennessee’s efforts to fight COVID-19. Tennessee has purchased additional testing capacity and supplies per guidance from the CDC. 

In looking at the testing response of other states, Tennessee continues to be a proportional leader compared to states much larger in the region.

Child Care and Human Services

The Department of Human Services has deployed on the $10 million emergency response and recovery grants for existing child care facilities. A church, gym, or non-profit can open an emergency temporary childcare facility by registering with the Department of Human Services. Additional information can be found here.

Gov. Lee has directed the Department of Human Services to personally reach out to each existing child care facility in the state to help organizations secure supplies.

First, some good news. I want to thank everyone on the campuses and Dr. Puryear for the massive, successful effort to gear up production of components for protective face masks for front-line healthcare professionals.  This is a joint effort of our TCATs, community colleges and several universities, and it’s ramping up more. Gov. Lee announced this afternoon that he’s been contacted by other states about replicating the project. We’ve had many faculty members and staff working virtually around the clock since Friday on this and I hope that you will forward them my thanks and gratitude.  There are more details in our media release here, but there are far more details about the logistics and hard work that just can’t be covered here. But let me express my pride and gratitude to everyone involved.

 

STUDENT TECHNOLOGY ACCESS SURVEYS

From Dr. Russ Deaton

Good afternoon Presidents. This is informational only.

Over the last two weeks, several TBR colleges have conducted surveys to assess their students’ access to technology or identify ways to help students who lack access to a device or broadband Internet. For those of you who have not already conducted a technology access survey, Pellissippi has graciously agreed to share their survey as an example, and we have summarized their approach below as an FYI if you would like to replicate it.

 Pellissippi sent a short, three-question survey to students about technology access.

 

  1. Do you have reliable access to the internet when off campus? (Yes/No)
  2. Do you have reliable access to a computer or laptop when off campus? (Yes/No/Maybe)
  3. Do you have reliable access to a smartphone when off campus? (Yes/No)

 

The survey was conducted in Office 365 Forms. This required students to be logged into the college’s Office 365 environment, so it captured names and email address. This allowed Pellissippi to contact any students who lacked access to technology and provide help if available. Pellissippi also provided faculty a short URL to the survey and a QR code to display in their classes or to send to students.

 

Other TBR colleges have sent surveys with expanded questions about access to specific software packages. Some colleges have also surveyed faculty about their technology access and needs.

If you need assistance as you survey your students’ technology access, please feel to reach out.

Thanks.

Russ Deaton

 

HR OFFICERS CONFERENCE CALL

As discussed yesterday, April Preston and Beth Martin held a conference call with your Human Resources officers this morning to discuss various HR issues.

 

GOVERNOR LEE’S AFTERNOON UPDATE

In his daily afternoon update today, Gov. Lee:

  • Asked that K-12 schools remain closed through April 24 and for school districts to examine ways to continue teaching children.
  • Extended work-at-home status through April 24 for 23,000 Executive Branch employees who are Alternative Workspace Solutions (AWS) certified and whose work can be done remotely.
  • Announced that he has mobilized 250 Tennessee National Guard personnel, including 150 who have some medical or health-related training, primarily to assist at 35 remote COVID-19 assessment centers, particularly in rural areas.
  • Announced that the state won’t resume issuing REAL ID drivers licenses until May 18. (Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, all persons must have a REAL ID license for accessing certain Federal buildings, entering nuclear facilities, and boarding commercial flights within the United States but the governor said the federal government will extend the deadline.)
  • Announced a postponement of the normal April 15 filing deadline for business franchise & excise tax returns to July 15. 

 

Today’s 2 pm TN Department of Health update: 667 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN, up from 615 Monday.

Full details and county by county listings are here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

 

ONLINE TEST PROCTORING FOLLOWUP

Academic Affairs, Contracts & Purchasing, and the General Counsel’s Office have vetted a potential contract with Honor Lock for online test proctoring.  Documents will be sent to you for your review.

 

 

TECHNOLOGY ACCESS GRANTS

Campuses that would like to re-direct or request Access &Diversity funds to provide one-time emergency aid for students or faculty should email Wendy.Thompson@tbr.edu.

Drs. Wendy Thompson and Tachaka Hollins are also sending you a brief survey that we would appreciate you asking students who are using your computer labs about their needs.

 

 

TN PROMISE COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS

We have received questions about students performing their TN Promise community service hours. The essential legislation approved late Thursday by the General Assembly gives THEC authority to waive some of these requirements. THEC will issue an official statement/guidance after Gov. Lee signs the bill into law and we will forward the THEC statement when it becomes available. Informally, the community service requirements will be waived for now.

 

 

DUAL ENROLLMENT GPA REQUIREMENTS

We had a similar question about whether high school students in dual enrollment courses will still be subject to the minimum GPA requirements to qualify for dual enrollment.  The essential legislation gave THEC authority waive rules of a non-academic nature only, so the minimum GPA requirements will still be in place for determining dual enrollment eligibility.

 

 

FACILITIES GUIDANCE FROM TN TREASURY DEPARTMENT’S DIVISION OF CLAIMS & RISK MANAGEMENT (Attachment)

Thanks to President Jeff Sisk for forwarding the attached letter from the state Division of Claims & Risk Assessment, part of the state Treasury Department. The letter discusses the importance of monitoring unoccupied campus buildings and practical steps that facility directors can help reduce potential losses such as water damage, mold and thefts.

 

HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICERS CONFERENCE CALL TUESDAY

TBR Associate Vice Chancellor/HR & Payroll April Preston and Associate General Counsel Beth Martin plan a conference call with your HR officers at 9 a.m. CT tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss various HR issues, including the new federal legislation governing HR issues during the C-19 outbreak.

In addition, Vice Chancellor Gibbs is creating a summary guidance document – laying out steps and options – for campuses regarding paying employees.

 

 

NON-ESSENTIAL STUDENT FEES

Earlier this month, the Board of Regents Finance and Business Operations Committee recommended approval of various incidental student fees that some of you requested for your campuses.  The committee’s recommendations were scheduled to go to the next full Board meeting for consideration. But in light of the situation, I ask that those of you who sent in fee requests to re-examine them and see if you can do without them.

 

 

TBR INSTITUTIONS ASSISTING WITH PRODUCTIVE GEAR FOR HEALTH WORKERS

In his afternoon press conference, Gov. Bill Lee announced the effort by our TBR and other public higher education institutions to produce personal protective equipment for health professionals. Vice Chancellor Carol Puryear reported that TCATs Elizabethton, Jackson, Morristown, Murfreesboro, Shelbyville and Whiteville, and Jackson State and Pellissippi State community colleges are using 3D printers to produce headbands that will be paired with transparent face screens produced by Austin Peay State University to make protective face screens. And many other campuses are sending supplies and equipment to help in the work. THEC and TBR are issuing media releases on this crash project, which produced more than 400 headbands just over the weekend. The goal is to produce 10,000. In addition, Dr. Puryear is collecting Tyvek suits from our campuses. It goes to show the strength of our team and when we need to, we can be an army.

 

 

GOVERNOR’S ACTIONS SUNDAY & TODAY

Many of you are operating in cities and counties with “Safer at Home” orders issued by local authorities, which directly impact who may be on campus.

As of today, Gov. Lee has not issued a direct order closing campuses statewide

His Executive Order 17, issued Sunday, calls for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight CDT on Monday, March 23, until midnight CDT April 6, 2020. The order also outlines ways businesses and citizens should work to protect vulnerable populations. It is available here: https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/2020/3/22/gov--bill-lee-signs-executive-order-mandating-alternative-business-models-for-restaurants-and-gyms--lifts-alcohol-regulations.html

Today, Gov. Lee Today, established the COVID-19 Unified Command, a joint effort to be led by Finance & Administration Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, to streamline coordination across the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee Department of Military. Information is here: https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/2020/3/23/gov--bill-lee-establishes-covid-19-unified-command.html

Also this afternoon, the Governor signed Executive Order 19, which calls on non-emergency medical providers to cancel most elective surgeries and dental procedures and make available personal protective equipment to health authorities, including medical gowns, N95 masks, surgical masks, TYVEK suits, boot covers, gloves, eye protection and other supplies to their nearest Tennessee National Guard Armory. The order has not been posted yet.

 

Today’s 2 pm TN Department of Health update: 615 total confirmed cases of C-19 in TN

Full details are available here: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

STUDENT RESOURCES

Help for all students!

http://bit.ly/TBR_COVID-19

 

VETERANS EDUCATION BENEFITS

From Dr. Leming. This information has been shared with the financial aid directors.

The Senate and House passed a bill yesterday that gives the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the authority to continue to pay benefits regardless of the fact that a program has changed from resident training to online training. Also, students will continue to receive the same monthly housing allowance payments that they received for resident training until January 1, 2021, or until the school resumes normal operations of resident training. VA scheduled multiple call opportunities with School Certifying Officials next Thursday and Friday to discuss processing implications.

 

PASS/FAIL GRADING DISCUSSION

From Vice Chancellor Lana Hamilton

As a follow-up today’s call, Dr. Hamilton has emailed all presidents detailed information specific to the Pass/Fail Grading topic. Please know this is informational as we continue to learn about potential options. It includes TBR Policy on Pass/Fail Grading, what other colleges and universities are doing and key considerations. You should have this in this afternoon’s email.

 

COE FAQs FOR TCATS

From Dr. Hamilton

Each President will receive an invite to join the Google Docs frequently-asked-questions-and-answers related to COE and TBR Academic Affairs guidance related to the COVID-19 situation  are here. This is a working document.  As inquiries come into Dr. Summers, Dr. Hamilton, or Dr. Hollins, we will share both the question and response here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ICC0UU40etEhnvq3d6PEUT3ylC0DzRljf7HIpxXnO4Y/edit?usp=sharing

 

BUSINESS & FINANCE UPDATE

From Vice Chancellor Danny Gibbs

 

Cleaning Product Solution

The cleaning product we discussed on today’s call is PreventX247.  A link to the website and contact information is provided below should a campus be interested.  The TBR building is 45,638 square feet and the estimated cost for an application is about $2,000 (approximately $1,200 for the product and $800 for labor).

https://www.preventx247.com/

Contact information:

Rick Christian   Rick.Christian@Jennsco.com  615-414-8313

Jennifer Switzer    Jennifer@Jennsco.com  615-496-7313

 

Institutional Compensation Plans

Currently institutional compensation plan revisions or new compensation plans are due to the TBR on March 27th.  We are extending this deadline to April 3rd.  Plans submitted by April 3rd will be presented to the Board at the June Board meeting.

To aid any schools that can’t meet the April deadline because of the campus focus on the coronavirus related issues, we will also carry new plans or revisions to the September Board meeting.  A due date sometime this summer will be established for plans being carried to the September meeting.

Additional information related to the institutional compensation plan submission dates will be emailed to the campuses.

 

H.R. 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response Act

As was discussed, here is information related to H.R. 6201 and a flyer from the College & University Professional Association for Human Resources is also attached. The law has provisions related to emergency family and medical leave as well as emergency paid sick leave.  The TBR General Counsel and HR offices are working their way through the law’s requirements.  They will also be convening a call with the college’s HR officers to discuss.  Additional information will be forthcoming as we work through the potential ramifications.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201

 

 

 

HHS OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS GUIDANCE FOR USING REMOTE COMUNICATIONS TO PROVIDE TELEHEALTH SERVICES

From Dr. Leming. This is applicable to those institutions who have licensed counselors providing mental health services and has been shared directly with Vice Presidents for Student Affairs and Counselors.

Attached please find guidance recently issued by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), regarding the use of remote communication platforms to provide telehealth services during the COVID-19 emergency.

This guidance, in combination with Governor Lee’s recently issued Executive Order No. 15, provides for a broad relaxation of HIPPA security requirements in connection with the provision of telehealth services during the COVID-19 health emergency, regardless whether related to COVID-19 treatment or not. Specifically, the guidance permits  covered entities to use any non-public facing video or audio platform to provide good faith health services and otherwise communicate with patients/clients during the COVID-19 emergency.

While use of non-HIPPA compliant platforms is permitted, it is certainly still advisable to use HIPPA compliant services where possible. It is recommended that counseling staff let clients know if they are using non-HIPPA compliant technology and give the option to not communicate or receive treatment through the platform.  (Essentially, documenting “informed consent”.)

The guidance document lists a number of service providers that are HIPPA compliant.  In addition, TBR IT has determined that MS Teams is HIPPA compliant and does not require an additional Business Associate Agreement (BAA) to utilize it for telehealth purposes. A non-exhaustive list of prohibited “public facing” platforms is also provided in the guidance document.  Please consult with your IT staff if you are not sure if any particular platform you are considering is public facing or not.

It is advisable for counseling staff to verify that their licensing bodies are aware of the Executive Order, the OCR guidance, and are also willing to relax enforcement regimes for professional licensees who elect to use non-HIPPA compliant platforms. Counselors should be careful about providing remote health/counseling services to clients who reside outside of Tennessee, unless licensed in that location or specifically aware that such state has provided a waiver of licensing requirements for out of state health care providers, similar to that issued in Tennessee permitting providers licensed in other states to practice in Tennessee.

 Please notify OGC if you have any questions or concerns regarding this information or need assistance with determining whether a BAA might be required in connection with your use of any platform for telehealth purposes.

 

OTHER SUMMARY POINTS FROM TODAY’S PRESIDENTS CONFERENCE CALL

Online test proctoring

Dr. Hamilton and Angela Flynn, Associate Vice Chancellor for Procurement, Contracts, and Payment Services are examining student proctoring services and hope to report to colleges on options and costs by early next week.

Budget, legislative update

Vice Chancellors Gibbs and McCormick reported that the General Assembly approved the revised Fiscal Year 2020-21 state budget and a limited number of bills shortly before midnight last night before recessing until at least June 1 to continue with the balance of legislation.

The final budget approved is the same as we reported earlier, with full funding of the higher ed outcomes based funding formula and with a 1.5 percent salary package rather than the originally proposed 2.5 percent. The revised budget excludes the Advanced Manufacturing Building at TCAT Chattanooga, the competency-based education funding and the TCAT police proposal. It does fund mechatronics and SAILS.  Separate legislation gives THEC emergency authority to adjust various state-based financial aid issues and deadlines.

 

Campus access guidance

It remains up to presidents’ best judgement about whether to keep labs, small in-person classes and other offices and functions open. It is still okay to continue with small classes where needed, provided that all CDC guidance on social distancing and cleanings are followed – unless a total shutdown is ordered later.

General Counsel Chris Modisher emphasizes the importance of college staff informing students, faculty and staff who may have come in contact with someone who has been confirmed with C-19. Health Departments may be too busy to make such notifications.

 

What’s ahead

We suggest that you begin talks with your leadership teams about what it would look like if you could not go to your campuses at all.

 

* * *

To stay informed on the status of COVID-19 in Tennessee, the following resources are available to you and your employees:

  • For a comprehensive list of statewide resources, please visit: tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html
  • The Department of Health (TDH) continues to be a primary resource for up-to-date information for the status of COVID-19 in Tennessee. Click here to visit the TDH website.
  • Review the COVID-19 symptoms found on the CDC website by clicking here

The CDC has updated information and guidance available online atwww.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

 

Today’s 2 p.m. Update from TN Department of Health: 228 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR TCAT PRESIDENTS FOR STUDENT ACCESS TO D2L

From Vice Chancellor/Student Success Heidi Leming

Our office has received lots of student calls this morning asking how to log in to D2L,

so we think a reminder to students would be a good idea. Here are the directions your campuses should provide students:

For students locked out of their accounts: TCAT Students that know their S#'s and have previously logged into their accounts may go to their portal and reset their password themselves through self-service. If they have never previously logged in or do not know their S#, they may call the TBR Service Desk at 615-366-4444 to reset.

 

ADULT EDUCATION GRANT DEADLINE EXTENDED

From Executive Vice Chancellor Russ Deaton (forwarding from Jay Baker, Assistant Administrator Adult Education Division, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development)

Due to the C-19 crisis, TDLWD is extending the Adult Education grant application deadline and updating the timeline as follows:

May 1, 2020 – Applications due to the TDLWD Adult Education Division

May 22, 2020 – Announcement and posting of grant awardees

April 3, 2020 – Q&A forum closes

All information about the grant, RFP and application process are at www.tn.gov/adulteducation

 

CENSUS PROJECT GRANTS

From Assistant Vice Chancellor Matthew Gann:

For those colleges who received the Tennessee Complete Counts census project grants, the Office of Criminal Justice Programs at the TN Department of Finance & Administration sent guidance yesterday (attached) about being flexible in how we execute those submitted project plans. If part of your plan was to hold in-person events and if you plan to adjust those events or move to online or remote execution, please notify the program manager:

Jason J. Smith

Office of Criminal Justice Programs

William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 18th Floor

312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue

Nashville, TN 37243-1102

  1. 615-741-4417
  2. Jason.J.Smith@tn.gov

 

INTERNET ACCESS

From Assistant Vice Chancellor Matthew Gann, Vice Chancellor Heidi Leming, Communications Director Rick Locker and Assistant Vice Chancellor Cris Perkins:

Following a request last week by the Federal Communications Commission, several internet service providers are temporarily expanding access to broadband services – either free or deeply discounted – particularly to low-income households and those with K-12 and college students. In addition, Cris Perkins is discussing more options with AT&T Tennessee. Students may have to navigate finding what’s available in their areas and what options are best for. A  summary of current offerings:

  • AT&T: Offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through our Access from AT&T program. Additionally, all public Wi-Fi hotspots are open nationwide. To apply, visit https://accessatt.solixcs.com/ 
  • Charter: Free broadband and wifi for 60 days for students do who not already have an account. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395.
  • Comcast: Comcast’s is offering its Internet Essentials service to those households eligible for public-assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, or SSI. Applicants can visit internetessentials.com to enroll in the program; they may also call (855) 846-8376 for English or 855-765-6995 for Spanish.

 

REMINDER: 3-D PRINTERS

As discussed on Wednesday’s call, please forward NAME and MODEL NUMBER of the 3-D printers on your campus to Vice Chancellor Carol Puryear at Carol.puryear@tbr.edu by Friday if possible. Most of you have already.

 

SUMMARY POINTS FROM TODAY’S PRESIDENTS CONFERENCE CALL

 

Maintaining student services

We have discussed previously the need to keep maintain contact and service for students, particularly in financial aid, but Chancellor also asks you to ensure that other student services such as counseling, transcript services remain available.

 

Pass/Fail option

Vice Chancellor/Academic Affairs Lana Hamilton says SACSCOC came out with an update yesterday. One option is issuing a pass/fail grade rather than a letter grade. Some institutions outside TBR are exploring those options, including Vanderbilt University. TBR has assembled a team to explore this option, including challenges, advantages, etc. – with a goal of preparing a document for everyone to review and discuss, including from a financial aid perspective.

 

D2L Capacity

Associate Vice Chancellor/TN eCampus has made D2L aware of our online class delivery plans from the start and has had continuing conversations. Your distributive education directors have updates from the TN eCampus executive director. D2L says they have experience with surges, and has emergency response plans/system for us and the LGIs. They have built in redundancy, and have additional servers ready to go into place.  They have tested disaster recovery and everything seems to be working well. Zoom is integrated with D2L if any faculty want to use that. D2L is also integrating Microsoft Teams but likely won’t have that integrated by March 23. D2L has free versions of Virtual Classroom, through D2L, free for up to 50 participants, through 250 individual sessions. They are putting together a premium option for up to 150 participants per class with unlimited sessions.

 

Shared/leased space

Chancellor asks that you email her if you have problems with non-TBR institutions closing off access to spaces where you have been offering classes. Several colleges report that high schools are shutting down access to facilities where some of our classes have been held because the high schools are closed. President Chaney says TCAT Knoxville is moving its evening adult welding class from shuttered Oak Ridge High School to TCAT Knoxville’s Anderson County facility, where other welding classes are already held. President Seymour said Cleveland State still has access to an off-campus facility as long as it cleans after use. Chancellor Tydings said our providing cleaning services may be an option.

 

EMS programs

Dr. Hamilton reports that discussions are underway among the state EMS director, campus EMS program directors, TBR staff and the TN Department of Health regarding the shift from ground to online classes, particularly concerning the clinical/skills components. The group is working toward a unified strategy to the clinical and skills components, from both short- and long-term perspectives. Another meeting is set for March 25. Dr. Hamilton will distribute what they come up with. Looking at it both from short and long term perspective.

 

Student refund requests

Some presidents said students are requesting refunds for classes, despite being beyond the deadline for refund requests. President Bowyer says AACC reports that a stimulus package of legislation for higher education is in the works in Congress, with a focus on assisting Pell students and institutions that begin to develop cash flow problems. Chancellor Tydings says that refund requests should be judiciously considered by Presidents on a case-by-case basis, but that simply having to shift from in-person to online classes may not be a satisfactory reason.

 

COE matters

Dr. Hamilton followed up a question from Wednesday’s call regarding whether COE will accept a TBR-issued approval for certain shifts from on the ground classes to hybrid ground-online classes. She reports that, Yes, COE will accept a standard memo from TBR that we are approving TCATs to shift from ground delivery to ground-online hybrid delivery. But several components will have to be addresses in the memorandum. TBR has a draft memorandum approved by the Chancellor that will be distributed to Presidents for review.

 

COE FAQs

Dr. Hamilton, Dr. Tachaka Hollins and President Summers are developing FAQs on COE issues that they plan to place in Google Docs for sharing, where everyone can ask and discuss questions for resolution.

In addition, Dr. Hamilton reports that the COE leadership team is meeting this afternoon to address such questions as new students in new programs starting in May, and site visits versus virtual site visits

 

College staff concerns/conflicting guidance

Various presidents say there are staff concerns about working on campus, which is related to maintaining campus operations and services, including computer labs for students. President Sisk reported that he has survey Community College presidents about computer lab access and round roughly 60-40 in favor of having computer lab schedules. President Faulkner said the local Health Department has notified Vol State to close access. Chancellor Tydings suggested that if you have received an email from a Health Department saying they don’t want students on campus, to try to adhere to that. She also suggested that Presidents take every claim of exposure as if it is true and if we find out later that it’s not, we’ll handle to best of our ability. She said the Health Department has modified its previous approach of notifying contacts of confirmed C-19 cases directly to asking those exposed to contact those they have come in contact with.

Chancellor said to be sensitive to employee concerns – and if someone tells you they have a compromised immune system, to honor their request to not come on campus.

 

ADA compliance & other costs

Chancellor Tydings asks everyone to keep a running list of expenses you are incurring that you would not normally incur, such as the additional costs of ADA compliance while shifting to online classes.

Dr. Leming also provides this information:

Ally is a program that integrates into D2L and checks/addresses accessibility issues automatically. TNeCampus and other TBR schools have this software in place, but if a campus doesn’t and wants to explore purchasing, Ally has been determined to be a sole source product. Institutions can explore buying off one of the existing TBR contracts. Regardless, institutional leaders should continue to make accessibility a top priority with faculty.

 

Zoom

President Jackson said there is language in the Zoom terms of service that does not comply with state requirements. General Counsel Chris Modisher says her staff will review.

 

Legislative update

No changes in the legislation discussed yesterday and the budget. Both houses meeting today with intent to get budget through tonight. After today’s conference call, new budget amendments were introduced and are under review by Vice Chancellor Danny Gibbs.

 

A note about the daily 2 pm updates from the TN Department of Health: Based on what some Presidents have reported in today’s conference call, it appears the daily Health Department updates may be slightly behind in the number of confirmed cases being reported in your areas. But we’re continuing to post the daily update as the latest official numbers available.

 

Today’s 2 p.m. Update from TN Department of Health: 154 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide.

County

Case Count

Campbell

1

Cheatham

1

Cumberland

1

Davidson

75

Dyer

1

Hamilton

1

Jefferson

1

Knox

2

Montgomery

1

Robertson

2

Rutherford

1

Sevier

1

Shelby

4

Sullivan

1

Sumner

3

Williamson

30

Wilson

1

Residents of Other States/Countries

26

Unknown

1

Grand Total

154

 

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