—By Richard DeSalvo
Photo credit: https://web.pccc.edu/vaccine-incentive-program/
After a return from a 16-month hiatus of in-person classes due to the ongoing pandemic, students this semester have seemingly settled into their courses. With the development of new variants of Sars-COV-2, this attempt to return to normalcy has found many new hurdles to cross. Since the beginning of the pandemic the president of our college has made several plans to make sure we break through these barriers to success.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to sit down with college president Dr. Stephen M. Rose to discuss the future of health and safety here at PCCC. We talked on a range of topics spanning from the student emergency fund to the vaccine incentive program to the planned vaccination requirements for students and faculty in the upcoming semester.
“Covid has had a devastating effect on so many different things… it would be a tragedy if we let it stand in the way of students reaching their goals…”
Dr. Rose, along with the rest of the college administration, have set forth a rather clear and proactive plan to combat the new revelation of these viral variants.
Dr. Rose, while keeping in line with New Jersey Department of Health and CDC recommendations, made plans to require all students and faculty to be fully vaccinated if they wish to continue attending in-person courses in the 2022 spring semester.
Despite the obvious backlash this decision might incur, Dr. Rose made it clear that he and the rest of the college staff plan to open other avenues for those that might have restrictions stemming from either religion, pre-existing health conditions, or simply personal beliefs. PCCC has made plans to introduce concurrent courses, or courses that are simultaneously in-person and via Zoom, into the spring semester. These courses would not restrict students and staff member’s agency regarding their own personal bodily autonomy but instead, as Dr. Rose put it, “… keep [students and faculty] safe…” and create a situation “…we can handle”.
“Delta changed things”
Dr. Rose expressed that he and the rest of the PCCC faculty have made these plans with hopes of creating a safer and healthier environment for everyone at our school. PCCC has offered its students and staff numerous resources and incentives to help our community accomplish that objective.
Take the vaccine incentive program for instance; our school offers its vaccinated students $150 and both students and staff the chance to win a laptop. Unvaccinated individuals could receive doses of both the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines on campus and also be eligible for this stimulus payment and laptop raffle.
After president Biden’s signing of the CARES act earlier this year, PCCC set up an emergency grant fund that has provided students with over $2.7 million in financial assistance.
Public Safety has aided in the effort to help our school return to a state of normalcy. There are infrared temperature checks at every entrance and if you forget a mask, one of our kindly officers will be glad to provide you with one.
PCCC also provides students and faculty with free testing at the main campus, every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the game room.
With these new safety measures in place, hopefully this ongoing struggle can soon be over, and the state of the college can return to what it once was.
If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, vaccine safety, the vaccine incentive program, testing, or other means related to aiding students during the pandemic please refer to the following resources:
On-campus Vaccinations: https://web.pccc.edu/vaccine-incentive-program/#Vaccinations%20On-Campus
Vaccine Incentive Program: https://web.pccc.edu/vaccine-incentive-program/
CDC COVID-19 and Vaccine Information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
Subsidized Laptops: https://newweb.pccc.edu/laptops/