As of March 30, all spring semester classes will be conducted remotely. Read more: hcc.edu/coronavirus

Student Life

Student FAQs

Below you'll find answers to our most frequently asked questions. Didn't find an answer to your question? Email us at coronavirus@hcc.edu


Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus and has been declared a global pandemic, infecting people in China, Iran, Italy, Europe, and other countries, including the United States. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation being closely monitored by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization) and other public health agencies, and it is important for everyone to take precautions against the transmission of COVID-19.

SYMPTOMS The CDC states that at this time, symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. The three main symptoms can include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
CDC PRECAUTIONS
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • 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.

The CDC has established a coronavirus website that includes a wealth of information about transmission, symptoms, prevention and treatment of the virus, as well as situation updates:

The CDC advises that only those individuals who have personally had close-contact exposure to someone with positive or presumed-positive COVID-19 should self-quarantine. Close-contact exposure is defined as: 

(a) being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case, or 

(b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on). 

For example:

Person A spent several hours visiting with her mother, who appeared to have a cold. The next day, Person A goes to work and is in contact with Person B and Person C. Later, Person A learns that her mother is presumed positive for COVID-19. Person A must go home and self-quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to work. However, per CDC guidance, Person B and Person C are not considered exposed to the virus based on their contact to Person A, and do not require testing or self-quarantining. 

For complete information, read the CDC's Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposures: Geographic Risk and Contacts of Laboratory-confirmed Cases

You generally need to be in close contact with a sick person to get infected. Close contact includes:  

  • Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19,
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19,
  • Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes, OR
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.). 

If you were in close contact with an individual with COVID-19, you should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places for 14 days. You should monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath during the 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. Additional information is available on the CDC website.

If you develop symptoms at any point, stay home and contact your healthcare provider for instructions.

Staying at least six feet away from other people and avoiding crowded spaces are examples of social distancing. Staying home and not having visitors are examples of self-quarantining. Please take a moment to read Johns Hopkins excellent definitions and recommendations.

We recommend that you avoid all forms of international travel as well as domestic air travel, which expose you to lots of people in crowded spaces. If you have traveled recently, or have plans to travel in the future, we ask you to let us know using this travel report form.

HCC will be teaching, learning, and operating remotely for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. We are doing this to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. This does not mean that HCC is an online college.

In-person classes will not take place during the week of March 23 – 27, though online classes will continue as scheduled. This is to allow faculty time to transition their courses to remote learning for as long as is necessary. 

What is remote learning?

A move to remote teaching and learning utilizes a combination of tools like Zoom and WebEx for class in "real time" while also having materials and assignments readily available digitally for students to complete on their own and post to Moodle. Remote learning also considers the need to still provide materials to students outside of these virtual spaces. Online teaching and learning has a specific pedagogy (or method), with courses carefully designed for that environment, which is why it's important to be clear about the distinctions between the two and where HCC is moving in response to this unprecedented time. We are not redesigning courses to be an "online college." We are shifting and providing necessary flexibility. HCC's transition to remote teaching and learning allows faculty and students used to in-person environments to modify their course experience in order to be effective at a distance.

What resources are available?

We know that not all students have reliable internet access or the computers they need at home. The HCC Library has Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots that students can borrow, and we are also making the DON 142/144 computer labs available. The library and HCC food pantry will be open limited hours. PVTA bus service will still be available.

It will take time for students, faculty, and staff to adjust, and there may be bumps along the way, but we will work through these issues together as a community.

The Library has WiFi hotspots and Google Chromebooks available for borrowing. Simply click here for information on how to request a device, and we will send it directly to you without you needing to come to campus.

In addition, both Comcast and Charter Spectrum are offering 60 days of free access to broadband wi-fi and low cost computers for qualifying households. Information can be found below:

Charter free internet access 

Comcast free internet access

Comcast low-cost resources

HCC has moved summer and fall registration to April 15 for current students. New student registration will open May 4.

Though we are moving to a remote business environment, some work-study students may be able to continue working. Students should consult with their supervisor to see if it is possible for their position. If a work-study student's current job duties are changing as a result of the college's new remote work, the supervisor should document the changes and send them to the financial aid office.

HCC's Thrive Student Resource Center will provide access to grab and go meals and groceries, and can assist you with securing SNAP and access to other resources. Hours are posted at hcc.edu/thrive, and staff can be reached at thrive@hcc.edu or by leaving a message at 413.552.2783.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered utility companies to not shut off gas, electric or water for people who fail to pay their bills.

The order will last until the governor's state of emergency is lifted or the state Department of Public Utilities determines otherwise. Details are in this press release from the Governor's office. 

At this time, it's especially important to find ways to reduce anxiety and care for yourself. Try to find a balance between staying informed and limiting media consumption, and stick to reliable sources of information, such as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the CDC.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok have seen a number of false and misleading posts about COVID-19. While they are taking steps to limit or label misinformation, it's nearly impossible to catch them all. The World Health Organization has put together a Myth Busters page to counter this and other misinformation.

Please also take advantage of the resources HCC provides to our students and their families. Our free WellConnect Student Assistance Program offers 24/7 phone and in-person mental health counseling, as well as health and wellness coaching, legal consultation and a variety of other services. You can find comprehensive information about their services, and directions on accessing WellConnect content online, at hcc.edu/wellconnect. They can also be reached at 866.640.4777 (voice/TTY). If you'd like to speak to someone at HCC, reach out to the office of Student Affairs at 413.552.2231.

You can also take advantage of the Disaster Distress Helpline, at 1.800.985.5990. This is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including disease outbreaks like COVID-19. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories.

Finally, if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255). You'll also find helpful information on their Emotional Well-Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak webpage.

Review the CDC's excellent guidance on how to keep yourself and your family safe.