COVID-19

MCCS Information and Updates

Updated March 30, 2020

As we navigate the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine’s community colleges are focused on the health and safety of our students, employees, and communities and the teaching and learning underway this semester.

  • In-person courses are being moved to online/distance education. This includes nearly all lab, trade, and technology courses which will continue through a combination of virtual tools that include online demonstrations, recorded labs and lectures, and online simulation. If you are a student with questions about the status of a specific course, please contact your instructor or check the links to college specific COVID-19 information listed to the left.
  • Campus student housing has been closed for the remainder of the semester except for those students with extenuating personal circumstances.
  • Additional actions that the colleges are taking are detailed in the FAQs.


Guidance and information for MCCS employees


Guidance and information for students: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a tuition refund because my class is now being delivered remotely?

Because courses have not been cancelled, and students will be able to complete their curriculum and earn the credits for which they enrolled, refunds for courses that began in January and are being offered remotely are not available.

Although course refunds are not available, the college has emergency financial assistance available to help students remain in college and complete their courses during this difficult time. We expect that the federal government will also make new financial assistance available to students in the coming days. If you are a Maine community college student facing a significant financial challenge, please contact your financial aid office. We are here to help you reach your educational goals.

Note: If you have enrolled in a course that is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks, you may withdraw from the class and get a full refund within six business days of the first day of class.

Will I receive a refund for room and board now that I have had to move out of campus housing?

Yes. Refunds for room and/or board charges are being pro-rated based on the number of days a student was in residence during the semester. Colleges are in the process of distributing those refunds now.

I’m worried I won’t be successful in a class that is now being delivered remotely. I’m afraid it will have an impact on my Grade Point Average (GPA) or that I won’t perform as well.

We recognize that students may face unexpected personal and academic challenges this semester. For that reason, students in most courses will be allowed the option of converting a letter grade to a Pass/Fail option once grades have been assigned at the end of the semester.

Students who choose the Pass/Fail option will have one of three grades recorded on their transcript:

  • A “Pass” (P) grade will be awarded for a letter grade of C or better.
  • A “Low Pass” (LP) grade will be assigned for a grade of D+ through D-.
  • A “No Pass” (NP) grade will substitute for a grade below D-.

Students may want to consider choosing the Pass/Fail option for 2020 spring semester courses for the following reasons:

  • “Pass” and “Low Pass” grades earned in the 2020 spring semester will be counted toward degree credit.
  • “Pass” and “Low Pass” grades earned in the 2020 spring semester will not be used in computing a student’s cumulative grade point averages (GPA).
  • For this semester only, a grade below D- (NP) will not impact the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA).
  • A grade of Pass for the spring 2020 semester will count for prerequisites that require a C or above grade. (This is not true for a Low Pass grade.)
  • Although the college typically limits the total number of courses a student may take Pass/Fail, that limit does not apply for the 2020 spring semester, and a course taken Pass/Fail this semester will not count against the total number of Pass/Fail courses the college typically allows.

Students may want or need to record their regular grade, rather than opt for Pass/Fail, for the following reasons:

  • Students in certain courses—many of them in the health care field—require a letter grade. All students should consult with their instructor before opting to switch their grade to Pass/Fail.
  • If a student is planning to transfer to another college or university, it is possible that the institution may not accept a P grade for credit in certain programs.
  • Once a student has chosen a pass/fail option, the grade cannot be converted to a letter grade at a later date.
What happens if I need to drop a course or withdraw from the college because of the move to remote instruction?
  • Although the deadline to withdraw from a course that began at the beginning of the semester has been extended, withdrawals will not be eligible for tuition/financial aid refund.
  • Dropping a course or withdrawing from all your courses may have a significant impact on the progress you have made towards your degree.
  • You should also be aware that the college and the federal government are continuing to pay students whose wages are paid by federal or college work/study funds for the hours they normally work. If you withdraw from the college, the college will no longer be able to pay you those wages.
  • If the move to remote learning poses issues for you, please notify your instructor of advisor.
What if my course is cancelled? How will I know and what are my options?

Only a small number of courses across the seven community colleges will not be able to continue this semester. If you are unsure about the status of one of your classes, contact your instructor.

I don’t have access to reliable wifi? What am I supposed to do?

Your college may be able to help. Contact your instructor or advisor to learn who at your college can discuss your needs and what options exist.

Can I still receive tutoring or disability services?

Yes. Tutoring and disability services continue to be available to students. Please contact the disabilities coordinator at  your college or your instructor or advisor if you need help in accessing these services.

What if I am sick or caring for others and can’t complete my coursework?

Contact your instructor. They will work with you to extend deadlines and modify assignments if necessary to address your specific needs. You can also discuss with them the option of taking an incomplete and developing a plan for finishing the course at a later date.

How am I going to complete courses that require internships, practicum, clinicals, certification hours, co-ops, etc.?

Each of the community colleges has developed plans for course completion, among them:

  • Some programs have been able to accelerate hours at sites in order to meet requirements.
  • Others are substituting hours in simulation labs or with online instructional technology.
  • Where necessary, make-up hours will be scheduled once the colleges and/or sites re-open.
  • If you have additional questions, please contact your instructor for the most up-to-date information.
What about hands-on courses like culinary, plumbing, and science labs?

Plans are in place for nearly all lab, trade, and technology courses to continue using a combination of virtual tools that include live, online demonstrations, recorded labs and lectures, and online simulation.

If you have questions about the status of a specific course, please contact your instructor for the most up-to-date information.

Am I going to be able to graduate?

Yes. If you remain enrolled in your classes, you will graduate on schedule as long as you pass your courses this semester and are on track to graduate.

Will there be a commencement?

We know that everyone is eager for word about commencement. We are, too!

We have decided that under the circumstances, the colleges cannot hold a traditional commencement. But the colleges are in the process of deciding the best way to celebrate their remarkable graduates and all they’ve accomplished.

Contact the local college to find out their plans.


Staying Safe: Information about the COVID-19 virus 

Where can I get reliable information and updates about COVID-19?

MCCS encourages you to stay-up-to-date on developments by seeking information through credible sources, such as the Maine Center for Disease Control and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

If you have a question that is not answered here, visit the Maine CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions.

In addition,  211 Maine is a new option for Mainers to get answers to questions about COVID-19 at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing info@211maine.org.

What precautions can I take to protect myself from COVID-19?

It is important for all Maine residents to take proper precautions:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid shaking hands as a greeting.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Practice social distancing.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The virus causes symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

What should I do if I become sick with COVID-19 or suspect I am infected with the virus that causes it?

The Centers for Disease Control provides the following advice. More detailed information about each of these recommendations is included in the CDC’s information sheet: What to Do if You are Sick:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have symptoms or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • Wear a facemask when you are around other people.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, and bedding. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily.
  • Monitor your symptoms: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility.
What if someone in my home is diagnosed with COVID-19?

If someone in your home has been diagnosed with COVID-19, immediately check with a medical professional for guidance. Contact your instructor or supervisor if the medical advice you receive will require you to miss class or work.

What if someone in my home has been asked to self-monitor for symptoms?

If someone in your home has been asked by the Maine CDC or a health care provider to self-monitor for symptoms, you should also self-monitor.

Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.

If the person in your home becomes symptomatic, please check with a medical professional for guidance. Contact your supervisor if medical direction will require you to be out.

References 

CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019

Maine CDC COVID-19