Dear Cochise College Community:

First, let me start with a thank you to each of you!

To our students, thank you for your patience and understanding as we work our way through these uncertain times. Please know that your academic success has been at the center of all our actions. We are trying to provide you the best opportunities to complete your Spring 2020 classes within CDC and best practice guidelines. Please know that we are trying to accommodate, to the best of our abilities, your course completion. We have resources available to help you, not only in your courses, but in your academic decision making. Please continue to communicate with your instructors, counseling and advising, financial aid, and the registration office with questions/concerns you may have regarding your current and/or future academic planning.

To our faculty and staff, thank you for “rallying to the cause” and “rising to the occasion” in helping our students succeed. I know there has been an extra burden placed on each of you. Your dedication, commitment, and effort has been recognized and is appreciated. We are trying to make decisions that will allow the college to continue in its important work while providing you reasonable work accommodations. More information will be forthcoming.

Classes to resume on Monday, March 23. By now most students should have received communications from their instructors informing them of the course format changes and actions moving forward. Please check your college email for these updates. If you have not received a communication, please reach out to your instructor(s). Spring 2020 classes will conclude, as previously planned, on May 11, 2020.

Commencement 2020 and end of year celebrations. During this challenging time, we are faced with many unknowns including when the COVID-19 threat will end. Unfortunately, we are canceling this year’s commencement ceremony scheduled for May 15, 2020, based on the updates and recommendations from the CDC and the Arizona Department of Health Services.

We know this decision is disappointing for many of our graduates and their families. We understand that our students work incredibly hard to reach this milestone. Rest assured, the canceling of Commencement will not delay the receipt of diplomas and certificates.

Similarly, we are canceling other end of the year celebrations including: the Red and White Banquets, Student Recognition Ceremonies, Nurse Pinning Ceremony, and the GED Recognition Ceremony to name a few. These decisions were not made lightly, but with the best interests of our campus community. The health and well being of our campus community is our highest priority.

We will continue to discuss and look for opportunities to hold special recognition ceremonies for these students in the near future, should it be deemed safe and feasible.

Cochise College will continue to monitor COVID-19 updates and work with public health officials to keep you informed and to maintain a safe and healthy campus. We encourage everyone to visit cochise.edu/wellness for updates about campus information on public health, student services, and any corresponding college updates. If you have not done so, please sign up for CCAlerts to receive emergency notifications from the college.

Campus protocols continue as follows:

Stay at home when you are sick, most especially if you think you may have an infectious disease.

If you need to miss a class or series of classes due to illness, you are responsible for emailing your course instructor(s) with a copy to the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@cochise.edu as soon as possible (ideally in advance of the classes).

You are responsible for completing any work that you miss, including assignments, quizzes, tests, and exams.

You are responsible for communicating with your instructor(s) via the Cochise College email.

Students who are working off-campus doing internships, clinical rotations, or other forms of experiential learning should closely adhere to the absence policies of the organizations in which they are embedded and/or college department(s).

Finally, we share your pain for the losses and massive disruption you have had to endure over the last several weeks and the weeks to come. We know this wasn’t how your year was supposed to end. You were supposed to be looking forward and moving forward in excitement as your dreams become reality. We have always known that our students are resilient and have every confidence that this latest trial will show the world not only your resilience, but also your perseverance.

J.D. ROTTWEILER, Ph.D., is president of Cochise College. Contact him at jdr@cochise.edu.

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