COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED: 6/1/20

These FAQs will be updated as new information becomes available.

A special email account has been created allowing the MCC community to email any feedback or concerns they would like to have addressed by our Emergency Management Team. Please contact emergencymanagement@middlesex.mass.edu.

CORONAVIRUS BASICS
COVID-19 RESOURCES
TRAVELING
SOCIAL DISTANCING
STAYING HEALTHY
CLASSES
MCC's BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
STUDENT FINANCES

CORONAVIRUS BASICS

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel (new) virus that causes respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. While there is currently no vaccine to prevent the disease and the treatment plan to combat COVID-19 continues to evolve, there are everyday precautions that may be taken to lower the risk of contracting the disease. More detailed and up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available on the CDC's website, along with a list of preventative measures, including tips on effective hand washing and hand hygiene.

What does “Person Under Investigation (PUI)” mean?
A PUI for COVID-19 is someone who met the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) risk assessment criteria for testing and immediately enters quarantine until results of the testing are available. This includes persons who have traveled to specific countries detailed in the CDC Travel Health Alert.Someone’s nationality alone is not a risk factor for COVID-19.

What is a “Presumptive Positive Case?”
A Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 is someone who met the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) risk assessment criteria for testing and their test came back from the state laboratory as positive for COVID-19. The person then isolates at home. Close contacts, household and family members may be subsequently tested.

What is considered close contact?

A close contact is defined by the CDC as:

  1. being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case; or
  2. having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).

What do quarantine and isolation mean?

Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.

Isolation means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state or local public health order. Following notification of a presumptive or confirmed positive test result, persons will be required to be in isolation (keep to one room or floor of a home), separated from the rest of the family and other community contacts.

COVID-19 RESOURCES

CDC COVID-19 website full of resources and guidance on how to stop the spread of the virus and keep your family and community safe.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health website where all of the latest information on the Coronavirus may be found. This site will offer general information as well as Massachusetts-specific resources and updates.

View a list of online tools and internet access options for working and learning remotely during this emergency.

Know the facts about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and help stop the spread of rumors.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth Busters

Download a printable flier with CDC tips for stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

TRAVELING

Is it safe to travel?

College sponsored travel: Due to guidance from the CDC and Governor Baker’s Administration, MCC decided to suspend all International Fellowships and domestic college sponsored student travel. Additionally, all college-sponsored, out-of-state domestic travel for faculty and staff is also cancelled for the foreseeable future. This includes conferences and workshops. Any costs that have been already incurred with relation to these trips need to be immediately communicated to the respective supervisors from the impacted areas. Our finance team will work toward investigating whatever reimbursement options are available to the college.


Personal Travel: At this time, faculty and staff who engage in personal travel, both domestic and international, are requested to report their travel plans to the Emergency Management Team by filling out the Travel Reporting Form. Reporting is necessary so that the College can take appropriate preventative measures, offer available resources, and immediately assist any member of our community who may become ill or has been in close proximity with someone who has become ill. The information reported will be used to assist the College in implementing any precautions or protocols recommended by public health agencies.

Please check the CDC for up-to-date Travel Health Alerts. If you previously filled out the Travel Reporting Form and your travel plans have changed, you may update the college by sending an email to MCC's Emergency Management Team.

All information gathered through this process will be maintained confidentially and separate from personnel or student record files and shall be used only to assist MCC in providing and maintaining a healthy learning environment.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Social distancing means keeping six feet away from individuals at all times. This includes not shaking hands as a means of greeting, limiting time in common spaces, and not sharing food or beverages.

For meetings, consider emails and videoconferences instead of face-to-face interactions. Avoid crowding a contained area, limit the amount of people in one room to 10, and keep the air ventilated by opening a window or door when possible.

If you are on campus, wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap. The recommended time it takes to appropriately wash your hands is 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if you do not have immediate access to soap and water, but wash your hands immediately upon availability.

The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting areas that are used frequently, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. This also includes maintaining the cleanliness of individual work stations for the safety of yourself and others who may be in close proximity.

Visit the CDC website to learn more about proper hand washing, disinfecting techniques, and how to protect yourself.

Learn about the World Health Organizations basic protective measures against COVID-19.

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STAYING HEALTHY

What can MCC students and employees do to reduce the risk of acquiring COVID-19?
While it is important to be vigilant and informed about the COVID-2019 outbreak, please note that the influenza (Flu) infection rate is high in Massachusetts this year. It is not too late to get a flu shot. Call your local Board of Health department or medical provider to learn more.

Also, as a means of preventing transmission of any respiratory infection, please practice the following activities:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in the trash
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like computers, door knobs, desks and countertops
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home from school and work if you are sick or exhibiting symptoms

What do I do if I have been in contact with someone who has, or may have, COVID-19?
If individuals who have come in contact with someone who is classified as a Person Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19, they should contact their medical provider or visit the Department of Public Health COVID-19 website for further guidance.

What should individuals do if they are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough)?
If you are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough), you should contact your primary care provider for further guidance. Please do not go directly to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care Center. If your medical provider (primary care physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner) directs you to the Emergency Room based on their assessment, please call ahead to the hospital before arriving.

  • Lowell General Hospital: 978-937-6000
  • Lahey Hospital and Medical Center: 781-744-5100
  • Emerson Hospital: 978-287-3690
  • For any medical emergency, call 911

Students, faculty and staff who have been diagnosed with a communicable disease by a health care professional should email MCC Director of Compliance Alisa Chapman or call 781-280-2564. Per Massachusetts law, the College must follow established Communicable Disease Notification Protocol and follow U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HIPPA guidelines.

Can I be tested for COVID-19?
Only your healthcare provider can order a test for COVID-19. If you are feeling ill, contact your medical provider by phone, email, text or video platform to determine next steps. It is important to contact your provider for guidance on testing and not just arrive at their office.

CLASSES

Will MCC be offering classes on campus in the fall?
Based on evolving information and guidelines from Governor Baker's Office, the college anticipates that most of MCC's fall courses will be delivered either fully or partly online. The college is looking at each fall course individually, and if necessary, adjusting the delivery format to meet the state's social distancing guidelines while providing a quality education that prepares students for the next step on their path. Over the next three months, faculty will be designing and preparing courses that deliver the award-winning, high-quality online and hybrid learning experiences that MCC is known for. Check the MCC website regularly for up-to-date information on the fall semester

Will MCC be Closing?
Middlesex Community College will continue planning, and participate in additional professional development opportunities for alternative instructional modalities, should the need arise.

This will provide our academic teams the opportunity to:

  • engage with faculty and explore what instructional options make the most sense for students in their content discipline;
  • allow faculty to seek out/participate in additional professional development opportunities to integrate other modalities appropriate to their disciplines and their students;
  • make adjustments to syllabi to meet the student learning outcomes of the course;
  • collect faculty and student input on what resources and supports are needed to ensure a successful completion of the spring semester.

Students are encouraged to check their MCC email and check in with their individual professors.

MCC will not be sponsoring/hosting any events or gatherings where more than 10 attendees are expected. This also holds true for any community-based events utilizing college property. MCC personnel should not report to campus and need to work with their manager on working remotely.

Internet Access
In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many internet providers are offering free internet services to low income households and houses with children. Below is a list of providers offering this help. If you do not see your service provider listed, please contact them directly.

Technology Tools
To maintain business, teaching and learning continuity during an emergency — when MCC will be closed for an extended period of time — the Office of Information Technology recommends using one or more of the tools listed below:

  • VDI (virtual desktop). VDI is available to Faculty, Staff, and Students from the myMCC portal.
  • Office 365 - Students can use the Office software built into O365 to create, store, and share documents.
  • Blackboard LMS - Faculty, Staff, and Students can access course content online, take exams, submit papers, etc.
  • Blackboard Collaborate tool offers video conferencing for lectures, meetings, etc.
  • Zoom and WebEx offer free versions of their video/phone conferencing systems.
  • Skype is another free app for video conferencing/phone.
  • Century Link - phone conference call system available to Faculty and Staff. Link is accessible on the myMCC portal.

MCC's BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS

When will the college be reopening?
The college is actively developing a phased plan for controlled resumption of on-campus services and activities in accordance with guidelines from Governor Baker's Administration and the Mass. Department of Public Health. All information regarding campus access will be shared with the MCC community via MCC email and posted on MCC’s COVID-19 microsite.

Will upcoming campus events be cancelled?
MCC will not be sponsoring/hosting any events or gatherings where more than 10 attendees are expected. This also holds true for any community-based events utilizing college property.

How are MCC’s buildings being cleaned?
The Facilities department is continuing with the ongoing cleaning of community spaces and classrooms. Currently the College has sufficient sanitizing supplies on campus and has ordered more. Hand sanitizer stations already located around campus are being filled and repaired. If you encounter a station without sanitizer or a bathroom missing soap or paper towels, please submit a facilities work order right away.

Sanitizing wipes are being distributed to each classroom for students and staff to use on keyboards and table tops. Touch-free hand sanitizers for building entry ways have been ordered and will be installed as soon as possible. Information about staying healthy and stopping the spread of the virus will be posted on both the Bedford and Lowell campuses.

What if I need to access my office?
Should anyone wish to access their individual offices for any reason, please contact Public Safety upon arrival on campus. In Bedford, that number is 781-589-0234. In Lowell, that number is 781-589-1384. Anyone who does visit campus should sanitize your hands immediately upon arrival and practice social distancing, maintaining a six foot separation between individuals. Public Safety will be on campus, as will our Facilities staff, who will continue deep cleaning our properties.

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STUDENT FINANCES

I am experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Does MCC offer any support?
In partnership with local banks, through community donations, and with recently approved government aid, MCC has established several sources for student financial/economic relief. For more information about these resources or to talk with someone about your personal financial matters as they relate to your tuition, financial aid, or essential needs, please email mcccares@middlesex.mass.edu.

Will my student financial aid be impacted if my course moves to an online format?
MCC Student’s Financial Aid will not be impacted. For any financial aid related questions, students should email the Financial Aid Office or visit the Financial Aid website.

What if I need to pay a bill or have questions about my account?
Middlesex has partnered with Touchnet Commerce Management System to provide online account services. Students can access their bill and bill payments, as well as getting refunds faster into their bank accounts right from the MCC website. To access MCC’s enhanced online financial services, Login to myMCC with your UserID and Password. Go to My Student Records on left hand side of page & select My Bill. For any student account related questions, students should email the Student Accounts Office or visit the Student Accounts website.

Will students be getting tuition refunds for the change to on-line course delivery?
In consideration of COVID-19 pandemic, MCC needs to alter face-to-face credit class instruction, offering these on-campus classes in an alternative instructional format so that faculty and students can observe the CDC’s recommendation of social distancing. MCC has been a leader in online education for over 20 years and the Office of Academic Technology & Distance Learning has been and will continue to train and support MCC faculty in using an online and/or remote tool(s) that meet the student learning outcomes of the course. Student will receive full credit for courses that move to an online/remote format. Accordingly, MCC does not expect to provide tuition refunds given the unique circumstances we are facing. For any student account related questions, students should email the Student Accounts Office or visit the Student Accounts website.

Last Modified: 7/31/20