LOCK SHELDRAKE, NY — While we are all focusing on the expanding COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our community, I wanted to take an opportunity to let you know of some of the things that are happening at SUNY Sullivan to support our students and our county now and in the future.
Contrary to what you might have heard, SUNY Sullivan is not closed; instead we are operating in a new way. While the campus buildings are not accessible to the general public, the entire College has pulled together to support our students and local community. Our amazing faculty and staff are working with the entire SUNY system and our community partners such as Sullivan County BOCES, local school districts, Catskill Regional Medical Center and Sullivan 180 to provide high quality educational opportunity and social support at a time when it is needed most.
Currently enrolled students can rest assured that they will be able to continue in their program of study uninterrupted. Spring semester classes resume on Monday, March 30 using online and distance learning tools. Students will continue to have access to all the educational and emotional support systems they would normally have if the buildings were open and are being notified of how to access these. Online registration for summer and fall 2020 courses is open at www.sunysullivan.edu.
In order to ensure that emergency personnel in the county can do their jobs at this critical time, we are working with BOCES and the school districts to provide temporary daycare for their children. And, we have donated equipment from our Nursing and Respiratory Care programs to CRMC to help serve patients and protect staff.
As we increase social distancing and move our lives on-line we may find that we explore and experience our community in new ways. For instance, in an effort to support the mental, physical and nutritional wellbeing of the community at large, we are partnering with Sullivan 180 to offer free distance learning classes to the community. Sullivan 180 Community Health Champions will be utilizing SUNY Sullivan's distance learning platforms to offer classes such as mindfulness, nutrition and fitness. Classes will be open to all ages and abilities.
The impact of COVID-19 will last. This situation presents many opportunities to address students' needs in innovative ways. We recognize that many people will need retraining to participate in the inevitable economic recovery in which many employment sectors may no longer provide the jobs they once did. So, in addition to offering our current two-year degrees and certificates, SUNY Sullivan is looking to the future by building new professional development and certification programs, in the fields of Healthcare, Sustainability, and Business and Entrepreneurship for example, which will be both accessible and affordable.
At times like this, I'm reminded of words recited by kids all across the country: the 4H pledge. As a person from a family with a long history in 4H, I think about what an impact this simple pledge has had on me and my life. It really sums up how I think about my job as a community college professional. Now more than ever:
I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.
As we move forward we will all look for ways to better educate ourselves, engage in professional development programs, and expand community engagement; I remain optimistic that the members of our community will emerge from this trying time as better prepared citizens. While we don't yet know how long we will be working and living in this new way, I am confident that we will come out stronger, more skilled, and smarter than when this started. SUNY Sullivan is here and we are #sunysullivanstrong.
President, Sullivan County Community College