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A Message From Dr. Barbara Gaba - June 30, 2020

06/30/2020 | Media Contact: Erin Mercer | 609.343.4923
Message from Dr Gaba

June 30, 2020

Greetings Faculty and Staff,

During the last three months, all of us have experienced dramatic changes in our work and personal lives, which were unanticipated and unimaginable at the start of the pandemic. However, we are resilient, and we continue to be mission-focused supporting our students and each other through these extraordinary times. 

Reopening for the Fall Semester:

With the recent lifting of Governor Murphy’s “Stay-at-Home” order, Atlantic Cape is preparing for students to take courses this fall. We will offer limited face-to-face classes, which may include courses that require hands-on labs like culinary, health sciences and other related courses.

Our Coronavirus Task Force has developed a comprehensive reopening plan and is reviewing all cleaning and sanitizing protocols, to ensure that Atlantic Cape can provide the necessary in-person services (such as Financial Aid, Admissions, and Advising) for student success.

The first classes for Fall 2020 begin August 31, with classes at the Cape May County Campus beginning on September 14.

Phase I Reopening:

Atlantic Cape will be opening in phases and we will be submitting the required reopening plan to the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) this week. Phase I includes the protocols necessary to bring staff back to campus beginning on Monday, July 13. This will be a gradual process beginning with the President’s Cabinet. It is our intention to have all staff back to campus by Monday, August 10.

Housekeeping has been very busy cleaning and sanitizing all offices and common areas to ensure a healthy return to campus. Human Resources will keep you informed with the necessary training and CDC protocols we will be taking, including wearing of face masks, sanitizing our workspaces, and remaining 6 feet apart.

CARES Act:

As you are aware, all colleges across the country received an allocation of Federal stimulus funds under the CARES Act with Atlantic Cape receiving $3.9 million. Half of those funds must be awarded directly to students. I am pleased to update you that to date we have awarded $1,303,675 to 1,364 students. There are 3,270 students eligible for these grants and we continue to reach out to students to complete the required CARES Act application.  The remaining half of the funds, (about $1.9 million) will be used to cover specific institutional expenses associated with the delivery of remote instruction. 

Budget Shortfall Mitigation:

Given the unexpected budget shortfall due to reduced state aid and the anticipated reduction in enrollment, we continue to take steps to operate within our tight budget. Several important steps needed to mitigate the shortfall have been taken. Faculty promotions will be in title only, and all faculty and staff will be deferring the contractual 2% pay increase until September 30.

In addition, a number of full-time employees were placed on unpaid leave/furlough and the President’s Cabinet and the Academic Deans are taking a pay reduction. Operating expenses continue to be limited to only those purchases that are essential and necessary. Due to the expected long-term effects of COVID-19, each action we take now helps to ensure our future sustainability.

Hero Card:

Spreading kindness and being thankful is something we should not forget, especially during this time. Let us take a moment to express our gratitude to our colleagues who have made a difference in the lives of our students and/or each other by providing them with a Hero Card. Please consider sending a Hero Card virtually through email. Type in “Hero Card” in the subject line and send a brief description of how the Atlantic Cape hero went above and beyond assisting students, solving a problem, collaborating on a project, or just helped you through a difficult situation.

Please ensure you send a copy of the virtual Hero Card to Human Resources attention Gorgianne Giordano a ggiordan@atlantic.edu. Each Hero Card copied to Human Resources will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Amazon gift card on August 28.

In Closing:

I continue to advocate with our legislators for resources that support our college’s mission. Additionally, I am working in collaboration with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) to deliver our message of how important a role that community colleges play in the recovery of our community from COVID-19.

I appreciate your ongoing support of Atlantic Cape’s mission, with students in the forefront. Together we are making a difference in the lives of our students and overcoming obstacles that we are challenged with every day; we continue to persevere. We are Atlantic Cape Strong!

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”– Christopher Reeve

Sincerely,

Dr. Barbara Gaba

President