Monthly Archives: April 2020

In the news

Press clips for the week include:

LCC Theatre professor “on stage” until April 26

As events around the world were cancelled this past month, a number of intrepid theatres have been able to salvage their productions by filming them to share via pay-per-view style streaming. LCC Theatre professor Mark Colson is appearing in one of these productions for the next several weeks.
 
When the area went virtual, Mark was in rehearsal at the professional Williamston Theatre for “These Mortal Hosts,” a riveting exploration of faith and community in small-town America. The theatre quickly got the permissions and resources to adapt their staging so it could be filmed. It officially “opened” April 3 and “runs” through April 26.
 
Find more information about the play and tickets at www.williamstontheatre.org.

More tips and tricks for using WebEx, including how to prevent ‘Zoom-bombing’

This is a follow-up to last week’s Star article about how to use WebEx effectively. Please see The Star from April 2 for more information.

WebEx continues to be critical to LCC’s day-to-day operations during our primarily remote working environment. If you’re new to WebEx, hopefully you’ve had a chance to figure out some of the basics. If not, please take the training on LCC’s Talent Management System, located in the “Work” tab on myLCC. Feel free to reach out to the Help Desk or eLearning if you need additional assistance.

Check out the additional tips below to get the best out of your experience and to learn ways to avoid Zoom-bombing, which is a pop culture term for malicious video conferencing interruptions.

Screen sharing – When you share your screen, your WebEx controls will appear at the top of your screen. These controls automatically hide when not in use. To access them, move your cursor to the very top of your computer display and they will reappear.
 
Playing videos – You can add multimedia videos to your meeting. To do this, select the “Share” tab (or in the WebEx controls), and “Share Content.” Then select “Optimize for music and video” and “Use my computer for audio,” then select the application that will play the video (e.g., Windows media player, VLAN player, YouTube link) and begin playing. Unshare the video application when you have finished the video.

Playing background music – The instructions are the same as playing a video (see above). While the background music is playing, you can share other presentations, talk to participants, etc.

Polling attendees – The polling feature allows the host or presenter to conduct a survey or questionnaire with attendees during a WebEx meeting. You can create, edit and save a poll using the Polling panel within a WebEx session. To open the polling panel during your meeting, select “More Options” in your WebEx controls and then select “Polling.”
 
Recording meetings – Hosts may record some or all of a meeting and then share the link with those who missed the meeting. To start recording within a WebEx meeting, select the red “Record” button. When you begin recording as a host, all participants are notified in the WebEx meeting window that the meeting is being recorded.
 
Attendance reports – WebEx offers many reports that provide information about how WebEx is being used. For example, you can see a report of how many people have viewed your recorded meetings, who the participants of your meeting were, and the times they entered and left the meeting. To access this functionality, select “My WebEx,” “My Reports,” and “Usage Report” in the Classic View (before you start a meeting).
 
Locking meetings – Once a host starts a meeting, the host has the ability to lock it so no one else may enter. When you lock your meeting, any participants who attempt to join your meeting will be placed in your virtual waiting room instead of directly into your meeting and the host will receive a notice in the Participants display. You may then allow access to your meeting on a case-by-case basis. To lock your meeting, select “Meeting” tab and “Lock Meeting.” You should consider locking your meeting after you start to minimize interruptions.
 
Muting participants – As the host, you can mute all participants by selecting the Participants tab and then muting individuals or everyone. When a user is transmitting audio into your meeting, there will be audio lines which appear next to their connection method in your Participant list and they will be listed as an Active Speaker. Similarly, to prevent the delivery of unwanted messages, you can disable the chat ability for participants during the session. To do this select the “Meeting” tab, “Options,” and “Disable Chat.”
 
Booting the uninvited – Hosts can remove a participant by right-clicking on their name and choosing the expel option.
 
Preventing interruptions in the Participants tab – In addition to locking meeting, muting participants and booting uninvited participants, there are several best practices to help keep interruptions to a minimum:

  • Disable the “Anyone can Share” option to prevent participants from sharing their screens.
  • Disable the “Entry and Exit tone” to ensure the entry/exit beeps are not heard by everyone.
  • Enable “Mute on Entry” in the Participant tab to ensure participants have their microphones muted.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact the LCC Help Desk at lcc1@star.lcc.edu.

Update on bargaining

The college administration and PTCTU negotiating teams continue to bargain. The current LCC/PTCTU labor agreement expires on June 30, 2020. The parties are moving forward and are now meeting virtually to comply with the governor’s stay-at-home order.

In other bargaining news, sub-committee members of the college administration and MAHE negotiating teams continue to meet, using email messages and WebEx meetings. Progress continues on this labor agreement, which expires Aug. 16, 2020.

All summer classes to be held online; fall registration will open May 18

LCC will hold all its classes online this summer. Classes will be held in two formats:

  • Asynchronous virtual, which is a traditional online course that does not have set meeting times or days
  • Real-time virtual, in which courses will have faculty instruction live on certain days and times

Summer registration opens April 20. Course offerings are viewable online.

Fall registration will open May 18. A decision has not yet been made about what course format(s) will be available.

LCC offering pass/fail grading option for spring semester

In recognition of the challenges the transition to online learning has created, LCC will allow students in most courses to opt into a pass/fail grading system for their spring 2020 classes. Students will be required to talk with an academic advisor prior to submitting their request to move to pass/fail to ensure their decision will not inadvertently impede their educational goals. Advisors are available by email, phone and live chat.

Forms to request a pass/fail option will open May 14, after final grades are available. All requests must be submitted by July 1, 2020. Students are asked to use the next month to consider their options and set up meetings with academic advisors.

Pass/fail grades are not calculated into students’ GPAs at LCC. However, the college cannot guarantee how other institutions will view a “pass” grade, or whether they will accept it for transfer. LCC is working closely with other schools as we all navigate this time, with the goal of helping students transfer successfully. Please note, some courses across the college are exempted from this pass/fail option specifically to help avoid negative outcomes at transfer schools.

We hope this option provides students a little bit of relief in the midst of uncertainty. Check out new FAQs on the college’s COVID-19 webpage to learn more.

How and why to report work directly related to COVID-19

All employees who are required to dedicate time and effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its related impact on the operations of the college need to document and track that time. This applies to all employees – faculty, staff and administrators. This documentation will be completed in Banner’s timekeeping system and through exception log reporting.

The reason we are asking for this work is because the college is required to support all claims submitted to FEMA for public assistance relief available under the federal and state emergency declarations. Part of those claims will be employee salaries and benefits, and the exception logs properly document the work completed by college employees in direct relation to the COVID-19 emergency. The Dynamic Form is used for security and the ability to record electronic signatures through the Banner single sign-on process. 

The following is not an exhaustive list of all situations that require timekeeping and exception log reporting, but does outline general guidelines. If you have any questions whether time should be reported as COVID-19 Direct Work, please forward them to Director of Emergency Management Carol Wolfinger at wolfinc1@star.lcc.edu.

General COVID-19 Direct Work guidelines:

  1. Any work conducted as member of the college’s Incident Command Team (ICT) or work conducted by any employee in direct support of ICT efforts.
  2. Work that directly relates to the college’s response to COVID-19, such as Emergency Operations Meetings, meetings related to decisions regarding pass/fail options for classes, meetings related to class categories and the related outcome and refund decisions as a result, and all meetings directly related to the COVID-19 emergency.
  3. Time and effort to research, analyze and attend webinars/trainings related to the enacted or amended regulations, laws, directives, guidelines, etc. from all levels of government.
  4. Staff who have worked additional hours as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. For example:
    1. Employees may have to perform duties, not normally part of their job description, due to the COVID-19 emergency. (Speak to your supervisor to ensure your situation qualifies.)
    2. Employees may have to work extra hours to meet an important deadline(s) related to the COVID-19 emergency. (Administrative staff cannot claim more than eight hours per day on the exception log.)
  5. Additional faculty professional development, meetings and non-instructional time directly related to preparation and the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.

Instances that should not be charged to the COVID-19 Direct Work activity code:

  1. Any work performed by grant personnel continues to be charged to the grant even if the work is in direct relationship to the COVID-19 emergency.
  2. Projects that were already in process but were accelerated to completion are not chargeable unless overtime was required and paid to staff working on the project.
  3. Time charged to the EOP or EOT earn code cannot be charged the COVD19 Activity Code.

If there are any questions related to the proper recording on timesheets, please contact FS-Payroll@star.lcc.edu for assistance. If there are any questions related to the exception logs, please contact FS-Grants@star.lcc.edu. As noted below, there are job aids to assist you with recording time on timesheets and completing the exception log on the Payroll website.

For all time beginning after April 5, 2020, if you have non-grant funded COVID-19 Direct Work, you are required to complete two steps:

  1. On your timesheet, record the time using the Account Distribution process on the timesheet. The instructions to use the Account Distribution process are on the Payroll website under Instruction and Information Guides, last item. You will be overriding the Fund Number to 110001 and the Activity Code to COVD19.
    • If you are hourly staff, record the hours on the appropriate line (regular hours, overtime, etc.) and use the Account Distribution process to signify the number of those hours related to the COVID-19 Direct Work.
    • If you are salaried staff, record the hours on the Grant Override hour’s line and use the Account Distribution process to signify the number of hours related to the COVIDE-19 Direct Work. No more than eight hours per day can be recorded on this line.
    • If you are faculty, record the hours on a “green sheet” and turn into your timekeeper. Your timekeeper will complete the process by overriding the fund and account codes and add the activity code based on the earn code associated with the work.
  2. Document the work completed that qualifies as COVID-19 Direct Work. All employees – faculty, staff and administrators – will use the Dynamic Form, Exception Time Reporting, accessed through your myLCC Work Tab. There is a Job Aid with step-by-step instructions for employees and for supervisors also on the Payroll website, under Instruction and Information Guides, second to last item.

For all time from March 2, 2020, through April 4, 2020, if you had non-grant funded COVID-19 Direct Work, you are required to complete the following. Please note, this start date has been updated from Monday’s operations email announcement.

  1. Document the work completed that qualifies as COVID-19 Direct Work. A separate log is required for each pay period. All employees – faculty, staff and administrators – will use the Dynamic Form, Exception Time Reporting, accessed through your myLCC Work Tab. There is a Job Aid with the step-by-step instructions for employees and for supervisors on the Payroll website, under Instruction and Information Guides, second-to-last item.

What is Records & Information Management at LCC?

The Records & Information Management (RIM) program at LCC usually works quietly behind the scenes, helping employees understand and follow laws, regulations and best practices related to the management of records and information at the college. During the month of April, the program is going to get a bit louder in order to celebrate National RIM Month.
 
The planned in-person training sessions are being postponed (for obvious reasons), but there will be articles in The Star all month long that will discuss a variety of RIM topics. Today’s topic is:
 
What is RIM at LCC?
The RIM program strives to create a unified, consistent, efficient and effective approach to the management of records and information resources in all formats throughout LCC, across all divisions, departments and locations. 
 
RIM develops, implements and monitors LCC records and information management functions including:

  • Retention (what stuff do we keep and for how long).
  • Disposal and disposition (how do we get rid of stuff).
  • Document and data storage (how do we properly keep stuff).
  • Records management policies, guidelines, best practices and recommendations (what are the rules and how-tos for keeping stuff).
  • The preservation of materials of enduring historical value in the LCC Archives (where is the cool, old stuff).

If you have questions or need more information about Records & Information Management at LCC, contact Records Information Specialist Linnea Knapp at LCC-RIM@lcc.edu, and look for more articles in The Star during the month of April.

What about benefits? CARES Act health benefits updates

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law late last week, providing economic relief for the individuals and businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting financial downturn. This law also contains important provisions that will affect those enrolled in a Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)*.

Effective immediately:

  • Over-the-counter drugs and medicines can be paid for or reimbursed through an HSA, FSA or HRA without a doctor’s prescription. These changes are effective for amounts paid and expenses incurred in 2020 and apply indefinitely.
  • Menstrual care products, such as tampons and pads, are now considered qualified medical expenses and are eligible for payment or reimbursement through an HSA, FSA or HRA. These changes are effective for amounts paid and expenses incurred in 2020 and apply indefinitely.

If you have more specific questions about these changes and your accounts, please contact LCC’s plan administrators below for more details:
 
HSA
Health Equity
Member Services 866-346-5800
 
FSA
General Agency
Member Services 989-773-6981
 
*LCC does not offer HRAs.