Teaching and Learning Response to COVID-19

Updated: 03-31-2020

Good evening Stone Academy Community,

This past week has been a period of great adaptation for all. The vast majority of our faculty and students had never utilized an online learning platform but, with great patience and understanding, we have made incredible strides together.

Today I want to reiterate some of my comments from previous communications while answering questions from both students and faculty that have come to my attention.

Graduation Dates

One of the most common questions we have received from students is whether their anticipated graduation date will change. At this moment I can say that we have no plans to change graduation dates for any classes. This does not take into account students that need to repeat courses, or those that have withdrawn from their program.

The truth is that the healthcare field needs our graduates more than ever as the increasing strain on hospitals is creating employment gaps in doctors’ offices and long term care facilities. We are working with the State of Connecticut to address these needs and have provided the National Guard with a report on the number of practical nursing graduates that we anticipate by June 1, 2020. At the moment I do not have any further updates on how this will effect graduation dates, but there appears to be an extensive push from the government to ensure their timeliness.

Clinical Experiences

The last time I wrote you, our plans to provide clinical experiences deteriorated upon the Governor’s executive order for residents to stay home. We recognize that many students are currently working in the field or are being called to volunteer their time and are currently weighing options to provide students with credit for clinical hours based upon this time. I hope to provide an update on this before the end of the week.

Longevity of Distance Education

I believe Dr. Fauci said it best when he said that we do not make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline. We have every intent of resuming on-ground courses as quickly as possible but will not do so until we are confident that it does not pose a substantial risk to any member of the Stone Academy community. I expect that the toughest weeks are directly in front of us and will look to readdress our timeline once we are past it.

Visitors on Campus

Personnel on campus is still limited to our Campus Directors and other select staff. I need everyone to make sure that they call prior to coming on campus.  Scheduling a time to visit campus is the only way we can ensure a reduction in face-to-face interactions.

Away from Stone Academy I know that so many of us are dealing with the isolation that our prevention measures require and that this has kept us from the our friends, family, and colleagues. At times when this reality overwhelms you, I urge you to look forward, as every dusk has its dawn. This will pass and we will be better for it.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones and please remain healthy and safe.

Sincerely,

Joseph M. Bierbaum
President

 

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.

  1. 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


  2. 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.


  3. How do I learn how to use Blackboard?
    Once you gain access to Blackboard, a training video is available.


  4. 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.


  5. 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.

  6. 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


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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.