Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

March 20, 2020


To: Chief Academic Officers

From: Tod A. Laursen, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

Subject: Guidance Regarding Grading for Spring 2020

In light of recent conversations regarding grading during the transition to online or remote instruction, we want to share some information regarding pass/fall options:

  • Campuses are advised to flexibly extend their policies so that students may opt —with appropriate advisement—to have spring 2020 courses graded pass/fail. There is no SUNY, NYSED, or Middle States approval needed to enact such flexibilities on an ad hoc basis according to programmatic needs; instead, this is a campus-based decision.
  • Note, however, that if you consider shifting *all* spring 2020 course grading to pass/fail, you must first consult Middle States and all applicable programmatic accreditors, as well as review all licensing/certification requirements for licensure/certification-qualifying programs.
  • Further, please note that we advise against adopting an across-the-board pass/fail grading scheme unless absolutely necessary, because there are multiple considerations that could render such a process problematic, including the following:

    • A student may need GPA-impacting course grades in order to meet the institutional GPA requirement for graduation;
    • A student may need GPA-impacting course grades in order to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress;
    • Inter-SUNY transfer plans could be impacted in some cases;
    • A student may want GPA-impacting course grades in order to be competitive for graduate school admissions (and other purposes external to the program);
    • Programmatic accreditors may have requirements regarding the maximum percentage of courses that may be graded pass/fail and/or the particular kinds of courses that may be graded pass/fail; and
    • Licensure/certification-qualifying programs may be impacted by licensing/certification requirements.

Tod A. Laursen, PhD
Provost & Senior Vice Chancellor
The State University of New York
State University Plaza - Albany, New York 12246
Tel: 518.320.1313    Fax: 518.320.1571
Be a part of Generation SUNY: Facebook - Twitter - YouTube


March 20, 2020


I am sure you heard the mid-day news from Gov. Cuomo that he has signed an executive order closing non-essential businesses effective Sunday at 8:00pm. Thank you for your patience as Dr. Murabito and the executive staff determined specifically how this impacts Niagara County Community College. We have decided that no face-to-face instruction will take place on campus whatsoever. Everything must be migrated to an online format.  No academic services such as the library or ACE will be available in person. That said, personnel will be considered non-essential and will work from home.  The few exceptions to this mandate will be OIT, Facilities, and Security.

Lisa Dubuc and her team have already set up online training to help faculty teach virtually. Lab instruction, etc., will be a challenge to migrate to an online format but faculty have the week of March 23 to do so. Instruction begins again on March 30.

I ask faculty to be flexible with students, perhaps offering projects or reading assignments that you may not have previously considered.  SUNY is encouraging faculty to consider offering S/U grades even if that is not usually the case with particular courses. Guidance from SUNY regarding grading options will be posted on the website under the faculty tab.

Advanced registration will be delayed a week to allow faculty/advisors to focus on changes to instruction. Registration will begin March 30. Support staff will also work from home. Details regarding job duties will be handled with supervisors; however, phone messages must be checked remotely and calls returned as soon as possible. Mail will have to be picked up two days per week by a select individual. More on that through Human Resources.

I realize that faculty and staff may need to visit offices to pick up necessary materials to work from home. You are able to visit the campus this weekend, Saturday and Sunday from 9am-5pm ONLY. Any exceptions will have to be clearly by Security. You need to enter through the Learning Commons, sign in, go directly to your office, and leave as soon as possible. Support staff should record an away message specific to working remotely due to coronavirus. The same days and hours are available to pick up laptops from OIT. More information will be sent via System Message and on the Website. Please refer to this information frequently.

I’m sorry to say that I won’t see my colleagues for the near future. But know that we are going through this together and I’m available to communicate remotely at any time.

Best to all. Stay safe.

Lydia Ulatowski
Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs


March 13, 2020

Message to Faculty

As a preventative measure, SUNY has directed all campuses to develop a plan for distance learning and other instructional modalities in response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

NCCC is taking this direction seriously.  A contingency plan was created by Academic Affairs and the Executive Council and was previously relayed to you by email, your division leaders and a System Message.

Virtually or otherwise, faculty are expected to fulfill their professional duties of teaching, advising, and holding office hours. To be clear, it is not necessary for faculty to be on campus to fulfill their duties, especially when large gathering of individuals may place themselves, students, and others at risk.

To repeat, faculty will use the week of March 23 to prepare to move from traditional face-to-face course instruction to online or other alternative teaching methods. No instruction will occur this week.  Please know that we are doing everything we can under these unusual circumstances to help faculty fulfill their professional duties and serve our students.  OIT, the Office of Online Learning, and FRCAE will help faculty migrate coursework from f2f to online and other modalities.

Nursing and Allied Health clinicals, labs, science labs, unique software-enhanced courses such as CADD, and other unique courses such as studio art will be held on campus as long as they are held in smaller groups.

As I mentioned before, exceptions to the general rule of holding lecture courses on campus rather than teaching online or other modalities MUST be discussed with division chairs then vetted through the Office of Academic Affairs.  Again, we must mitigate the risk of the spread of coronavirus.

Class will resume in alternative teaching methods on March 30.  The campus will be open; however, individuals must distance themselves from others.

Students are able to use the library, computers, and tutoring services in ACE.

Faculty need to keep in touch with students via Starfish or other appropriate methods and encourage visiting the College website for updates.


Lydia Ulatowski

Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs

Novel Coronavirus Hotline Call 1-888-364-3065
How to Change your Voicemail from Off-Campus and Update Voicemail Greeting


Coronavirus flyer

SUNY Announcements