Last Updated: 06/08/2020
Good afternoon Stone Academy Community,
Over the three months I have written to you regarding the COVID-19 crisis that has overtly effected each of us. In that time our community has felt the entire continuum of emotions between fear and hope. Every day brought news, some for the better and some for the worse, but we took it in stride and find ourselves with a world that is cautiously opening up.
With any luck this nightmare will be resolved in a matter of months with a treatment, vaccine, or other development.
Today, I am writing to you not to speak of this disease, for which a cure is likely, rather I want to speak to the most recent incidences of racial injustice for which we must find a cure. With the horrific passing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, riots, and demonstrations each of us should have found ourselves at one point or another considering the state of racial bias in our society. As for myself, I struggled to find words that could properly encapsulate my emotions on the matter.
In an effort to respond to students, faculty, and staff that have looked for my opinion on the matter, I will start by succinctly stating that the injustice to George Floyd was atrocious and I support those protesting systemic racism. The greatness of America was supposed to be built upon providing opportunity to all without regard to race, ethnicity, creed, or bias but unfortunately that has not been the case for generations of many Americans. It is in this moment that we must forge a path to fix what is broken.
It is easy to condemn racial injustice without taking the next step to enact change. From our homes, self-isolated, it may feel like we are all helpless in the face of this massive issue. I admit my own struggles to determine how, as one voice and one man, I can effect change. I found that my strongest option is to use it, to speak out against the injustice and encourage others to use their voice as well. We can only win this fight with enough voices decrying it, and I am adding my voice to the chorus.
So from each of your homes, I encourage you to use your voice. Don’t accept the normalization of this injustice, educate people on your experiences, learn from theirs, speak up, speak out, because in doing this we will give our voice to those that have lost theirs and if we all play our part then we can rebuild a society based on equality.
I believe that each of us has a purpose and over the past three months, I have seen incredible compassion and understanding from every member of our community. These two traits will serve as a salve to subdue the pain that so many in our society are feeling today.
Thank you for everything you have continued to do to serve humanity and I continue to hope for your health and safety.
Joseph M. Bierbaum
Questions About Blackboard
Stone Academy has entered into a partnership with Goodwin University to use their learning management systems (LMS) for the sole purpose of avoiding academic disruptions that have arisen due to the spread and containment of COVID-19.
Goodwin University will provide Stone Academy with the hosting of our coursework on Blackboard, assistance in transitioning existing coursework into the online modality, training of personnel and students, as well continuing support on the platform. We retain full academic oversight of the curriculum and faculty. This arrangement is intended to stay in place until the abatement of the current health crisis and the resumption of our regular academic activities.
- When am I able to access Blackboard?
We anticipate that you will commence online classes by March 19, 2020. To access the website, go to goodwin.blackboard.com
- How do I gain access to Blackboard?
Stone Academy will send your username and password to you through iGrade. If you have not received this information by 03/19/2020, please reach out to the Institution.
- How do I learn how to use Blackboard?
Once you gain access to Blackboard, a training video is available.
- What devices can I use to access Blackboard?
You can use any web-enabled device including smartphones, tablets and computers. The Blackboard app is located in both the Android and Apple stores. We have contingency plans in place for students who may not have access to web-enabled devices.
- What if I do not have internet at home?
Below is information about internet connectivity that might be helpful for students who don’t have it (collected in part by Colorado College).
- Spectrum (Charter): Call 1-844-488-8395
- Altice USA: Call 1-866-200-9522
- FCC agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hotspots.
- Altice COVID-19 response: Offering Altice Advantage 30 Mbps broadband solution for free for 60 days to any new K-12 and College household within their footprint.
- AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families
- Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months: Free access to spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi For 60 days for new K-12 and College student households.
- Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time
- Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
- T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
- Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers but following the FCC agreement.
- Can I use a tablet to complete Blackboard?
Yes, you can use a tablet to engage in Blackboard. Should you have any difficulty, please reach out to your instructor, Site Administrator or Campus Director
- I called out today due to my travels to NY over the weekend, what can I do to be covered for the hours that I have missed?
At this time, all clinical rotations have been suspended due the 03/09/2020 directive issued by the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) to restrict visitors. By the end of the day Friday, March 20th further information will be available as the Board of Nursing plans to offer some direction specifically on clinical rotations.
- Everyone does not have computers or access to one. Also, I am not computer savvy and would hate to fail my class due to this mess. Will somebody train us?
Students will be offered a tutorial via Blackboard. In addition, students will be supported by their faculty member, Site Administrator, and Campus Director. The learning experience for students will be engaging and will allow ample time for students to complete the required work.
- How will we get our assignments?
All assignments will be clearly posted on Blackboard. Students are encouraged to ask as many questions as needed. Modifications will be made accordingly as long as communication is maintained amongst student-teacher and teacher-student.