Please check this page for regular communication updates, including these recent messages to the campus community:
July 24, 2020 – Resident Life Update
PTC Resident Life Updates & Reminders
Screening Days, Times, and Locations:
Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Main Academic Building (level 4 )
Monday – Friday, 6:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in the Energy Tech Building (rear parking lot)
Weekend (Resident Students Only)
Keystone Hall Residents (Building 100)
Saturday & Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. OR 7:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.*
Independence Hall Residents (Building 200)
Saturday & Sunday , 11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. OR 7:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. *
Steel Hall Residents (Building 300)
Saturday & Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. OR 7:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.*
*Resident Life will inform you of possible changes to screening times and locations during holidays, or if the school is closed. Times are subject to change.
Leaving for the weekend? If you will be off PTC property for more than 24 hours or longer, you will need to inform resident life. Simply send an email to one of the following staff members with the date you will be leaving and when you plan to return.
Example: “Hi Mrs. Ritchie, this is Mike Jones from Steel Hall 307-A. I will be off campus July 29-31 my family is going camping!”
Gloria Ritchie, email@example.com, Director of Resident Life
Shane McGarvey, firstname.lastname@example.org, Assistant Director, Resident Life
Jaclyn Smith, email@example.com, Resident Coordinator
Corey Kranak, firstname.lastname@example.org, Resident Coordinator
Cover Up! All students and staff must wear a face mask or covering in all common areas including laundry rooms, trash rooms, stairwells, and lobby areas. Also, please follow all directional signage.
No Visitors! Please remember, the only people in your apartment should be you and your roommate. You are not permitted to visit in any other resident apartment, or have guests, including other PTC students. This is to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by social distancing.
July 15, 2020 – Town Hall presentation for families of returning students
July 14, 2020 – Email to students who are returning to campus in July
Dear New and Returning PTC Students,
I hope that this message finds you doing well and enjoying some rest and relaxation before you head to campus. Our Summer Quarter will begin on Thursday, July 23rd.
PTC is anxiously awaiting your arrival!
An Approach Dictated by Science
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to rethink the way we conduct nearly every aspect of our daily lives. You name it, we have had to find creative ways to get it done! It appears that the novel coronavirus will be with us for the foreseeable future. But I am confident that we can safely conduct limited onsite classes at PTC—as long as each of us accepts responsibility for doing our personal best to prevent the spread of the virus on campus.
Over the past few weeks, I have been facilitating a series of Town Hall Meetings to share PTC’s Return to Campus policies and procedures and address any concerns. These carefully constructed plans are based on the health and safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PA Department of Health, and World Health Organization (WHO), and are continually updated as new information becomes available.
No institution has the ability to eliminate all viral risk. But if we follow regimented hygiene practices and closely track any COVID-19 instances, we can control the spread from person to person and protect our community.
This is the key to sustaining the on-campus educational environment that we all want.
To ensure that the PTC COVID-19 prevention policies are adhered to for the good of all, we have written an addendum to the Code of Student Conduct that specifically addresses consequences of policy violations.
Completing Educational Modules Before Departing for Campus
The success of our health and safety plan will hinge on day-to-day personal behavior. This mindset starts with being well-informed on the science of the novel coronavirus and why prevention strategies are of the utmost importance. To meet this need, PTC has developed educational modules that everyone (staff, faculty, students, and administrators alike) must complete before returning to campus in late July.
To access these educational modules: Blackboard > PTC Virtual Student Union > COVID-19 Training (left panel)
The training is comprised of two general COVID-19 educational modules (Module 1: COVID-19 Basics and Module 2: Preventing COVID-19), as well as your signing of the PTC Personal Responsibility Statement.
Special note to Housing students: In addition to this universal training, you are also required to complete the COVID Guidelines for Housing Students module to ensure that you are familiar with the specific safety policies established to protect you while living on campus.
Please remember that no student, instructor, or staff member will be permitted to enter the PTC campus until they have completed all assigned educational modules.
Leveraging Our Greatest Strength
Our goal at Pittsburgh Technical College is to provide you and your fellow students with a quality-driven, holistic, in-person educational experience. We can continue this longstanding PTC tradition as long as we work together to prevent COVID-19 transmission on campus. In these challenging times, we have no greater strength than the power that lies in each of us to commit to doing our part to protect one another.
Stay Safe… Stay Well… Stay PTC Strong!
Terri Barbour, MSN, RN
Dean of Nursing and Healthcare Professions
June 24, 2020 – Learning and Growing Together, Email to Students
“Leadership is not about popularity, it is about doing what is right.”
– Laura Bush
The quote above is one of my favorites and one with which I can truly identify. I have been a leader in higher education for more than 25 years, and, while I adore the cheers from students and smiles from families, being a leader often involves making some really hard choices, which may not be popular. The lesson for us all is to always do the right things for the right reasons; never do the popular things simply because they are popular.
When Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, Texas in 2017, I was the Executive Vice Chancellor at Lone Star College, one of the largest college systems in the nation. We served more than 99,000 students, and the areas surrounding several of our campuses and neighboring communities were devastated. Our on-the-ground operations were halted temporarily as a result. The impact was immediate and required critical decisions to support our students, their success, and their ability to eventually return to college in a safe and secure manner.
COVID-19 has been different in that its impact in our region has been less immediate as compared to areas like New York, Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles, for example. But the impact has been critical just the same. We are fighting an invisible foe. We cannot ignore that the number of virus cases and deaths continue to climb across the nation. The current CDC projections require that we must remain vigilant and adhere to proper guidelines to assure you a safe and secure return to campus. And so, we have established a new Health and Wellness Team to guide our transition back to campus at the appropriate time. I, along with PTC’s Board of Trustees and College Administration, remain committed to doing what is right, although not always popular, to secure and protect our community.
Helping you progress safely toward your educational goals is a critical objective for us, as is supporting your success in the virtual learning environment. In fact, virtual learning will be an essential part of our operations from now on. Here are a few examples of how we have been growing and improving virtual learning for you.
- Cables, hotspots and/or Chromebooks delivered for students with technology issues
- Lab supplies and materials shipped for applied skills that could be practiced at home
- Blackboard course sites created to provide course content, discussion boards, lecture notes, activity sheets, project packets, and digital course resources
- Collaborate classrooms set up to simulate the on-ground classroom. Some kept the same schedule as on-ground courses, and others incorporated synchronous and asynchronous structures to best suit your availability. Many open early and remain open late to allow for additional assistance.
- Faculty and additional staff reach out regularly to provide help and check on your well-being
- Virtual student union and activities like gameshows, movie viewings, and contests keep you connected with your classmates
- PTC Counseling Services and referral to other community support systems expanded for students, faculty and staff
- The PTC website and Academic Department are valuable resources for information
- Technical assistance is always available
- CARES Act funding obtained and distributed to those who qualified and applied – more than 700 students so far
- Housing charges credited and/or waived while you cannot reside in PTC apartments
- Courses re-aligned to offer only classes that are the most conducive to the online/virtual environment and to keep your education progressing
- All classes taken matter and are a part of the coursework needed to graduate
Celebration of Success
Your success means everything to PTC. We are continually seeking ways to celebrate your accomplishments even when we can’t be together.
- Virtual Special Congratulations developed recognizing April 2020 Graduates
- Virtual Multimedia – Web Design and Development Portfolio Show
- Drive-In Multimedia – Video Production Portfolio Show
- Drive by Nursing Pinning Ceremony and Salute by Nursing Department
- Virtual Commencement and Awards Ceremony on July 8, 2020
Have we been perfect? No, but we have approached our work with a goal of excellence. Are we learning in this unprecedented situation and getting better? You bet we are!
While being fully-virtual may soon no longer be a requirement, it is highly recommended whenever and wherever possible. We cannot and will not risk the health and safety of nearly 2,000 students and employees, and are therefore taking steps to carefully reopen campus. We are preparing the academic and housing buildings to be ready for students who will be on campus, and we are asking those not returning to campus during this initial phase to please be patient while the next phrase of our reopening strategy and processes are finalized. We are committed to taking the care required to bring all of our students back safely.
As mentioned previously, PTC has Taskforces which are dedicated to developing plans for reopening PTC. Recently I appointed Terri Barbour, Dean of Nursing and Health Professions, to the role of COVID-19 Administrator. In this role she will utilize her 30+ years in healthcare to serve as the lead in overseeing our return strategies. You can expect to receive messaging from her detailing the protocols for you safe return.
For some, returning to campus for class may also involve returning to campus housing. After careful analysis, we will be ending our contract with the Westpointe Apartments. This decision was made in-order to provide students an improved, safer and more secure living and learning space.
We are also requesting voluntary commuters as it is ultimately safer for everyone. Students who must live on campus to attend on-ground classes can be assured there is still more than enough housing available for the needs of the July quarter. New housing options will be finalized and ready for all housing students to return to on-ground classes when that time comes.
Many of you have been patient and understanding and have voiced your support and appreciation in these challenging times. Some have also expressed how the current learning environment is less than ideal. You are all PTC students. You chose to enroll because PTC is a unique and special college. We are student-centered, follow an applied approach to education, consistently deliver over 95% in-field job placement assistance to available graduates, and, likely, there are other reasons that are personal to you.
Please know that if you are struggling, if you are frustrated, we are here to help. Call us or email us directly so we can take action to help your unique situation. We truly care about your success. For us, these are more than words – they are real actions of support and care.
Having worked at many excellent colleges, I can assure you that I have seen no other faculty and staff take such extraordinary steps to demonstrate the care they have for their students. I noticed it immediately when I became President last year, and I dubbed it the “PTC Magic.” Please keep open minds, and always share your suggested solutions. We are listening to you, we want to move forward with you, and together we can make magic happen. Lastly, PTC will always do the right things for the right reasons to support our students.
As a reminder, the following resources are always available:
- Career Services, Kristy Swegman: Swegman.Kristy@ptcollege.edu
- Education: Eileen Steffan: Steffan.Eileen@ptcollege.edu
- Financial Aid: Candy Kirkwood: Kirkwood.Candy@ptcollege.edu
- Resident Life, Gloria Ritchie: Ritchie.Gloria@ptcollege.edu
- Student Services, Keith Merlino: Merlino.Keith@ptcollege.edu
- PTC Virtual Student Union: blackboard.students.ptcollege.edu
- IT Helpdesk: 412.809.5397, option 1; or email@example.com
- LifeSolutions, PTC’s Counseling Service, Elizabeth and Patti: 1.800.647.3327
- Frequently Asked Questions: ptcollege.edu/public-safety
June 4, 2020 – Student Update Regarding the July 2020 Quarter
Dear PTC Students,
When times are uncertain, I turn to writing as way to gather my thoughts and express my emotions. The unrest in our city right now, as well as the country around us, has me reflecting, and has us all craving normalcy and comfort. As much as we want to see a return to “normal,” we also know that we must keep moving forward. And while moving forward includes returning to our beautiful, peaceful PTC campus, we will find ourselves in a new normal with necessary changes that may make it look and feel different. But there will be strength in being together again, and I believe we can be stronger than ever.
As mentioned in a previous update, we have several task forces dedicated to determining the proper steps for our return to campus. Just as the state of Pennsylvania has been easing each county through phases of reopening, PTC will follow a gradual phased approach to returning to on-ground instruction. And, with Allegheny County moving to the “green phase” this Friday, June 5, PTC will be initiating plans for a transition to a limited return to campus for students and employees.
With respect to social distancing and contact tracing requirements, we cannot simply reopen the doors to everyone for all classes. Therefore, programs that are able to progress within a virtual environment will remain virtual as of the July class start. These programs include:
- Business Administration: all concentrations and degree types
- Criminal Justice
- Computer Aided Drafting: all concentrations
- Computer Programming
- Graphic Design
- Hospitality Management Administration: all concentrations
- Information Technology: all concentrations and degree types
- Multimedia Technologies: Web Development and Design
All fully online programs will continue without interruption.
Programs not listed above are expected to adopt a hybrid schedule including on-ground labs and continued virtual instruction. We are assessing opportunities so that, if possible, we will begin transitioning some students to a hybrid schedule with the start of the July quarter or potentially before the end of June. Please note that:
- Details specific to your program and quarter will follow directly from your academic leader.
- Faculty will only return to campus to teach necessary on-ground courses. All office hours and virtual instruction will be conducted remotely.
- If you need to reside in student housing in order to attend on-ground classes, you will soon receive additional information from the Resident Life department regarding move-in dates and procedures.
There may be variations in the above list for new students beginning their first quarter on July 23, 2020. The Admissions Department and Academic Leadership will be in touch with all new students prior to their first day.
This return to campus will not be a “return to normal.” The preparation involved and the processes for temperature protocols, as well as the necessity for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing (if available), make it prohibitive to safely bring 1,500+ students back to campus all at once. The students in programs that are designated to resume on-campus classwork should expect extensive procedures for maintaining social distancing and increased sanitation. Portions of the academic building will be inaccessible. Corridors and ramps will have designated directions. Further instructions as well as an updated Student Code of Conduct will be distributed prior to July 23.
As a reminder, the above information is based on the assumption that Allegheny County remains in the “green phase.” Should that not occur, or there are other setbacks regarding the spread of COVID-19, revised communication will follow. It is our hope that with everyone’s cooperation and government guidance, all students will return to a hybrid on-ground/virtual instruction in October. Rest assured that the goals of PTC students and administration are the same – we want to get back to campus, and we’ll follow the necessary steps to make that happen for all of us.
Thank you for your continued patience and resilience. Stay well, stay safe, and stay PTC strong.
May 20, 2020 – Email to Students
Dear PTC Students,
For many of you, becoming a student of PTC didn’t mean simply attending classes and moving on with your career. As a college, our students experience a lifestyle – forming relationships, building friendships, collaborating with peers, and making life-long memories. The sense of family is something our students enjoy and our alumni reflect upon. It has pained all of us to be apart these past months, but we have learned valuable lessons, grown immeasurable strength, and developed previously-unperceived skills.
We are all eager to return to campus. However, none of us can predict the future. We do not know if COVID-19 will be minimized or experience a resurgence during these summer months and into the fall. Additionally, we are bound to the guidelines set for colleges and universities by our government officials and health experts.
Fortunately, our region has experienced a relatively low number of coronavirus cases and, as a result, on May 15 Pennsylvania’s Governor Wolf designated Allegheny County to be in the “yellow phase” of reopening – a step toward the “green phase” when colleges may resume on-ground education.
I have appointed task forces to develop the schedule for reopening PTC. Currently we are examining the following options:
- Continuing virtual instruction
- Implementing hybrid instruction including limited in-person labs and combining on-campus and virtual instruction
Reduced student housing occupancy and special class accommodations for students in high-risk groups are also being considered.
As an education community, and ultimately a family, we will remain flexible because the course of this virus is unknown and unpredictable. We hope, but of course cannot guarantee, that with proper hygiene measures, social distancing, testing, contact tracing, and other procedures, we may return to campus and enjoy a new PTC lifestyle. The development of rapid testing, treatments, and/or a vaccine could speed up this transition, while a spike in cases could halt the progress. More than anything, we hope that once we start moving forward there will not be a need to reverse course, therefore, we intend to proceed with caution. Once our plan is in place, I will share the specific details in upcoming communications.
As a reminder, the following resources are available to you at any time:
- Career Services, Kristy Swegman: Swegman.Kristy@ptcollege.edu
- Education: Eileen Steffan: Steffan.Eileen@ptcollege.edu
- Financial Aid: Candy Kirkwood: Kirkwood.Candy@ptcollege.edu
- Resident Life, Gloria Ritchie: Ritchie.Gloria@ptcollege.edu
- Student Services, Keith Merlino: Merlino.Keith@ptcollege.edu
- IT Helpdesk: 412.809.5397, option 1; or 1.888.947.8448, option 1; or firstname.lastname@example.org
- LifeSolutions, PTC’s Counseling Service, Elizabeth and Patti: 1.800.647.3327
- Frequently Asked Question: ptcollege.edu/public-safety
I hope that you, your friends and loved ones stay safe, stay well, and stay PTC strong in the weeks ahead.
May 1, 2020 – Housing Update
Dear PTC Housing Students,
We have recently announced that we will continue with virtual classes through the end of the current quarter, July 9, 2020. As I result, I want to confirm for you that there will be no charge for housing for the entire April – July 2020 quarter.
Additionally, we are developing plans for removal of all student items from apartments. We will first accommodate students who are graduating or going on internships. Once those students have moved out, we will schedule the remaining resident students to move out.
The plan we are developing is multi-phased and each of you will have two options to choose from:
- After the stay at home order is lifted for Allegheny County, we will work with you to schedule staggered move-out of apartments across our multiple buildings and locations. In doing so, we plan to limit the number of residents in any one location at one time and thereby aid in following social distancing requirements.
- We have contracted with a company to pack and ship a reasonable amount of your items at PTC’s expense. This would not include oversized, heavy, or difficult to ship items. We will work with you to schedule communication with the contractor while they are in your apartment to help determine which items are yours.
OR YOU MAY CHOOSE…
For your safety and the security of your belongings, activities will be monitored by Resident Coordinators and PTC Police.
Additional specific communications will follow in the near future from the Office of Residence Life. Please be assured that we have heard your requests for the return of your belongings and are actively working toward achieving that goal.
We thank you for your patience and offer best wishes to you and your family.
Keith A. Merlino
Vice President of Student Services
May 1, 2020 – April-July Quarter Update
“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” – Zig Ziglar
As a student of Pittsburgh Technical College, you started with a goal. In one form or another, that goal included graduating and starting a successful career. And whether you’ve been with us just a few days or you’re nearing the end of your program, the Coronavirus outbreak certainly altered the way you thought you were going to reach that goal. I want you to know how proud I am of you for your commitment to education and for remembering that your goal is worth achieving, regardless of any obstacles.
As we continue to follow guidelines and recommendations from government leaders, we will abide by Governor Wolf’s phased approach to reopening Pennsylvania, and specifically Allegheny County. We must also bear in mind that at PTC, we welcome students from all over the region, the country, and even the world. Our primary focus must always be the safety and well-being of the PTC community, and for this reason, I am announcing that PTC will be continuing virtual classes through the end of the current quarter, July 9, 2020.
Pennsylvania’s phased approach will also dictate how we will move forward regarding the quarter beginning July 23, 2020. As Governor Wolf stated, “the virus controls the calendar for all of us.”
It is truly our pleasure to continue to provide you the training and guidance that will help you to be a part of the rebuilding of our region and nation after this global crisis. Many of the careers you are pursuing have been deemed essential at this time and will only grow in importance and value as we get back on track. We appreciate and applaud you for adapting to your new learning environment and the strong commitment to your future.
Please reach out to your education team and the staff at PTC if you need assistance. You’ll find direct resources below. We are here to help you overcome those challenges and there’s nothing we want more than to see you reach your goal.
Gloria Ritchie, Resident Life: Ritchie.Gloria@ptcollege.edu
Keith Merlino, Student Services: Merlino.Keith@ptcollege.edu
Candy Kirkwood, Financial Aid: Kirkwood.Candy@ptcollege.edu
Eileen Steffan, Education: Steffan.Eileen@ptcollege.edu
Kristy Swegman, Career Services: Swegman.Kristy@ptcollege.edu
Elizabeth and Patti with LifeSolutions, PTC’s Counseling Service: 1.800.647.3327
IT Helpdesk: 412.809.5397, option 1; or 1.888.947.8448, option 1; or email@example.com
April 17, 2020 – Update for Parents/Guardians of PTC Students
Dear Parents and Guardians of PTC Students,
In its 74 years, Pittsburgh Technical College has never experienced anything like the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It has caused a disturbance on every level, from government and business leaders ensuring we have what we need, to those of us in our homes trying to provide for our families under very unusual circumstances. As the president of PTC and the wife of a retired US Army Officer, I can relate to the disruption being felt by so many. And as a scholar and a believer, I know that history has taught us that events like this are temporary, and we will return to normal – perhaps not exactly the same as before, but I trust we will come out of this stronger, wiser, and more unified.
OUR FAMILY AND YOURS…
As you’ve likely come to know, the PTC community is a close-knit family consisting of our students first and foremost, as well as our faculty, staff, administration, board of directors, advisory boards, and employer partners. That family also includes you, the parents and guardians of our students. You were their support team before they came to us, and you will be long after they graduate. We are partners together in their lifelong success.
We have always taken every step to ensure the health and safety of our PTC family, and when the virus became a concern in the US, we increased sanitation methods and encouraged preventative measures on campus. While we are unaware of any confirmed cases of the virus within our family to date, we truly want to keep your students safe, and therefore have moved all classes to a virtual learning environment and closed the campus including all school-sponsored housing facilities. These measures are in effect through at least the first half of the April – July 2020 quarter which ends May 28. We hope that we will be able to safely resume our regular on-campus activity at that time, and will continue to keep you and your students abreast of any changes to this schedule.
A NEW WAY OF LEARNING…
We recognize that for many of our students and their families, this virtual learning environment isn’t what they “signed up for” when they came to PTC. We have been impressed with their perseverance, ability to adapt, and positive attitudes – traits that will suit them well as they become professionals and leaders in our world. And we appreciate the efforts you are making to provide them with a positive learning environment away from school.
Between homeschooling younger children, closed daycares and workplaces, and challenges just obtaining daily essentials, we have all had to alter our way of life as a result of COVID-19. As always, PTC is committed to providing our students with quality, face-to-face instruction, guidance, tutoring, and career advisement, all of which continues in our current, virtual format. Your students can still interact with their faculty and classmates, talk privately with faculty during office hours, and receive the personal attention they were familiar with when they were on campus.
Our Student Activities department, accustomed to planning fun campus events like Humans vs. Zombies, the PTC Carnival, and intramural sports, has taken to social media to maintain student interaction for those who wish to participate. Netflix movie nights, virtual game shows, newsletters, contests, and photo sharing are just a few of the ways our students can keep in touch with their peers outside of class.
RESOURCES TO HELP…
I encourage you to visit our website and view the Frequently Asked Questions posted at ptcollege.edu/public-safety. We have addressed the concerns we’re hearing from many students and their families. You will also find all of the COVID-19 communications shared with the students on this page. And, if you haven’t already registered for our Emergency Text alert system, instructions are located here as well.
Again, the support your student is receiving at home right now, combined with the outreach of their PTC faculty and education leadership, is paramount to their ongoing success in their studies and careers. We are here to help you as well as them. Faculty and our Student Services department are available via phone and email to answer your questions and concerns. Counseling services are available at no cost via telephone at 1-800-647-3327. If you experience any connectivity challenges or other computer-related issues, assistance is available through the PTC helpdesk at helpdesk.ptcollege.edu, by phone at 412-809-5397, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To paraphrase the founder of the Ford Motor Company, coming together, keeping together, working together, that is how we will achieve success. I look forward to the time when we can all once again congregate at PTC, but until then, I hope that you and your families stay well and stay safe.
March 31, 2020 – Housing Credit Update
Dear PTC Housing Students,
After yesterday’s announcement regarding the extension of remote studies through the first half of the April quarter, I wanted to quickly and personally get back to you with the policy we’ve developed for housing students. Please know that we appreciate the questions and concerns you have raised, we’ve heard you, and the following policy is the result of thoughtful consideration.
- For returning students: you will receive a pro-rated credit on your housing for the time period ranging March 16, 2020 through April 14, 2020. This credit will apply toward your housing charges in the April – July 2020 quarter.
- For graduating students: you will receive the same pro-rated portion for the quarter as listed above, credited toward any outstanding balance to PTC. If you do not have an outstanding balance, a check for the designated amount will be issued to you during the month of April 2020.
As stated in yesterday’s email, no housing expenses will be charged while you are not permitted to safely reside in your PTC apartment during the upcoming April – July 2020 quarter. Appropriate adjustments, including credits for the prior quarter, will be reflected on future billing statements once you have access to return to school-sponsored housing.
We thank you for your patience as this policy was developed. We look forward to when our campus family can be together again.
Keith A. Merlino
Vice President of Student Services
March 30, 2020 – Student Housing Update
As a follow up to my recent announcement regarding the continuation of online studies through at least the first half of the April – July 2020 quarter, I acknowledge that as a student in school-sponsored housing, this raises a unique set of circumstances separate from those of our commuter population.
Access to Apartments
At this time, all PTC apartments, both on- and off-campus, will continue to be vacant. This is necessary to maintain everyone’s health and safety as our county, state, nation, and the world continues to fight the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Your belongings are being stored as you left them until you are able to return to campus. We understand that you did not plan to be away from your apartment for this extended period, and therefore, urgent requests to retrieve items from school housing may be directed to Campus Police and will be handled on an individual basis by appointment.
We appreciate that it is an inconvenience to not have access to your belongings. If you are scheduled to move out of your apartment at the end of the January – April 2020 quarter, the Resident Life Department will be in touch to schedule your move-out and inspection once “stay-at-home” orders are lifted and it is deemed safe to return to campus. At this time no one has access to student housing facilities aside from Campus Police and, in extreme/emergency situations, PTC Maintenance/Housekeeping.
PTC is reviewing the federal government’s stimulus plans and developing a policy for issuing credits for the portion of the January – April 2020 quarter during which you were not permitted to safely reside in your apartment. As details are finalized, we will promptly share plans with you.
Housing Expenses for the Upcoming April – July 2020 Quarter
Rest assured no housing expenses will be charged while you are not permitted to safely reside in your PTC apartment during this upcoming quarter. Appropriate adjustments will be reflected on future billing statements once you have access to return to school-sponsored housing.
I know you may have additional questions. If so, please direct them via email to Gloria Ritchie, Director of Resident Life, at Ritchie.email@example.com, or Shane McGarvey, Associate Director of Resident Life, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Keith Merlino, Vice President of Student Services, at email@example.com. Your questions will either be responded to individually and/or in future group messaging.
Thank you for your continued understanding as we all navigate these unique circumstances. PTC’s administration remains committed to our students and providing the best possible education and experience available. We are making every effort to maintain the spirit of the PTC community even from a distance.
March 30, 2020 – April–July 2020 Quarter Update
I hope this message finds you well-settled into your new learning environment. It’s heartening to see that the sense of community at PTC, what I refer to as “PTC Magic,” is strong even when we can’t be together. So I am confident that we will press on after today’s announcement: PTC is continuing virtual instruction through at least the first half of the April – July 2020 quarter; April 21 – May 28, 2020 at the earliest. Since each program at PTC varies in regard to meeting learning objectives and core competencies, going forward you will receive communication directly from your program’s leadership team with information that specifically affects you.
All student housing remains closed during this time. A separate message will soon follow to all housing students. We will do our best to address your specific concerns, and we will continue to share updates and communications as more information becomes available.
Our Education and Student Services teams are actively engaged in determining the best solution(s) for distributing books and supplies to all students – not just returning students, but also those who are beginning their very first quarter with PTC on April 21. Remember, PTC has been offering fully-online programs for more than a decade and already has procedures in place to provide required course materials for those programs. We will determine the best possible ways to modify these methods for our students who are accustomed to retrieving their new materials on campus. You will be notified when procedures are in place.
While this may not be the news any of us hoped for, I ask that you look at this time as an opportunity to connect with family, your peers, and mentors. The support I’ve witnessed between students and their faculty and advisors is uplifting. The resilience you’ve all displayed on a daily basis is encouraging and will serve you well in the future. These challenging times, while forcing us apart, are bonding us in a way we’ve never known before. Your well-being and safety have always been our primary concern, and that won’t change when we are able to return to normal. Until then, please continue to watch for email updates which are also posted on our website ptcollege.edu/public-safety. Your ongoing trust, patience, and support is immensely appreciated.
March 24, 2020 – “Stay at Home” for Allegheny County
As each day passes we continue to take all necessary steps to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across our nation and the world. Our lifestyles have been inexplicably changed and this is a time none of us will soon forget.
PA Governor Wolf issued “Stay at Home” orders effective 8 pm last evening until April 6, 2020 for Allegheny and six other counties. PTC has been closely following all government directives regarding COVID-19 and will continue to do so.
This order by Governor Wolf further validates all of PTC’s current practices. We have already moved all instruction to an online or alternative format and closed the campus thereby requiring all employees, with the exception of Campus Police, to work remotely. The campus closure is in effect through April 10, 2020 and students will not be permitted to return to school grounds until at least the start of the April – July quarter, pending further instruction.
This is a trying time for all of us, but the health and safety of our community must be our top priority. I couldn’t be more proud of how our students and faculty have adjusted to a fully online environment, and how staff has managed to continue operations as seamlessly as possible given the circumstances.
I’m happy to see the increased interaction on social media, as well as the efforts put forth by our Student Activities department to keep students, faculty, and staff engaged. PTC has always been a family and even in times of isolation, we can continue to support one another.
If you do become ill, please get the help that you need, but also notify your supervisor or student advisor as it is necessary for us to track this illness within our PTC community.
I think we all have a greater appreciation for our beautiful campus and the camaraderie of our classmates and coworkers. We are doing what needs to be done, but I know we’re all looking forward to when we can return to business-as-usual. Until then, please stay home except when it’s absolutely necessary to leave for medical care or to obtain supplies.
A lack of commute and more time at home hopefully affords you the opportunity to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Make the most of this uninterrupted time with those in your household, get outdoors while practicing social distancing, and don’t forget to rest. Remember, counseling services are available.
PTC’s COVID-19 Response Team is meeting daily via conference call. I will keep you updated via email as new information arises. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me directly or to your supervisor. We are all in this together, and I look forward to an even greater sense of community as a result.
Stay well, and stay safe.
March 20, 2020 – Student Update
The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” has never applied to any of us at PTC, and you can be 100% sure that PTC students are top of mind throughout this time of global crisis.
For those of you accustomed to online classes either full-time or occasionally, we hope this time of transition has been relatively simple. And for those students experiencing online courses for the first time, I hope you’ve been able to get the assistance you’ve needed from our faculty and IT staff. I acknowledge that this isn’t what you “signed up for” with PTC, and I ask that you appreciate that we’re all doing the best we can to adapt to new circumstances. One thing I know for sure is that we are doing everything in our power to continue to offer you the quality of education and support you’ve come to expect from PTC.
Campus Reaction to COVID-19
In these uncertain times PTC is doing all that we can to keep our students, faculty, staff, and greater community healthy and safe. As you know, we are continuing online/alternative coursework through the end of the quarter. Additionally, we have officially closed the campus to staff and faculty through April 10, 2020. Rest assured we are not closed in terms of activity. Faculty continue to teach, staff continue to work remotely, Campus Police continue to monitor our facilities, and conference calls to determine future steps for all of us are happening on a daily basis.
PTC is Still Here For You
Our student activities team isn’t taking a break either. They’re busy looking for opportunities to provide you with interaction, even if it’s from a distance. They will reach out to you once plans are confirmed, but some things they’re looking into include discussion boards, game shows, viewing parties, and contests delivered to you via email and PTC’s social platforms.
If you have met with campus counselors in the past, or feel that you would like to speak with someone now, these services are still available to you. The following is a direct message from them:
“In light of the recent social distancing requirements, Pittsburgh Technical College’s student counseling services will now be conducted telephonically. Elizabeth and Patti will continue to provide the support. Please call 1-800-647-3327 to make arrangements for sessions by phone. Appointments will continue to be available Monday through Friday from 10 am-2pm. If you’re experiencing anxiety, fear, or other reactions to these unprecedented changes associated with the COVID-19 virus, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Lifesolutions is here to help.”
For housing students, we know you have questions and concerns regarding returning to campus and/or retrieving your belongings. With the official closure of campus, all resident life buildings are closed and no one is permitted inside. Your property is being protected by Campus Police who do have permission to continue to patrol our facilities. PTC Resident Life staff will keep you informed in the coming weeks.
As we all proceed through this time of uncertainty, you are encouraged to follow guidelines to help reduce the spread of this illness and hopefully prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. Please continue
- Practicing social distancing
- Steering clear of gatherings of more than 10 people
- Avoiding contact with the elderly or those who are immunocompromised
The world has endured global crises before. History teaches us that this is temporary. You still need to be ready for the future. That includes the certificate or degree you’ve been working toward. You can count on us to help you reach your goals.
If you need assistance, please contact your instructors or Student Advisor directly. Updates are posted on our website at ptcollege.edu/public-safety. I will continue to be in touch with you as we wrap up the quarter.
March 17, 2020 – Remote Classes and Commencement
As information regarding the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rapidly develops, we are closely following the recommendations of government officials at the local, state, and the federal levels to stem the spread of the illness. Since our original communication with students on March 12, President Trump has declared a national emergency and Pennsylvania’s governor has closed all K-12 schools in the state and is recommending that colleges and universities do the same.
While we had hoped we’d be able to resume regular campus operations by March 31, 2020, it is clear that is no longer advisable and it is now necessary to continue remote classes through the remainder of the quarter, April 14, 2020. Your academic leadership team and faculty are working to ensure the continuity of education. Updates will be forthcoming with specific information about how this applies to your individual circumstances.
Additionally, the commencement ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2020 is being rescheduled to July 8, 2020. Updates regarding commencement will also be forthcoming.
Also note that PTC residences – Westpointe, Hawthorne, and on-campus – remain closed until further notice.
All of us at PTC are striving to do everything possible to ensure the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as that of the greater community. We are all making sacrifices and adjusting to new ways of studying, working, and living. We truly appreciate your cooperation, patience, and compassion for one another during these unprecedented times.
March 16, 2020 – Employee Update
The safety and wellness of our students and employees are at the forefront of all decisions being made during this uncertain and unprecedented time. With confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Southwestern Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County, we are all the more confident of the precautionary actions that have been taken to date.
To further protect our campus and greater community, effective Tuesday March 17, 2020 we are asking all employees where possible to begin working remotely. We recognize that some departments may require skeleton crews on campus during the next day or two as they finalize plans to transition remotely.
For those positions that do not translate remotely, supervisors will be working across the organization to develop workplans that may allow you to assist other departments with their roles and responsibilities; or you may use sick time and PTO accumulated through December 31, 2020.
Essential staff will be on campus on any given day, which may include a senior leadership representative, campus police, resident life, and maintenance. The small number of housing students unable to vacate their apartments are also being accommodated and cared for by designated staff.
The campus will not be closed. If for any reason you must come into the office, please coordinate with your supervisor. Access in and out of the academic building will be limited to the Reception entrance on Level 3.
However, if a national quarantine goes into effect the campus will close until allowed to reopen and further instructions will follow.
Please be assured that we are monitoring the situation and will follow the advice of the CDC, WHO, and state and local government. We will continue to keep you up-to-date with any new information or changes.
Please remember to continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for proper handwashing, sanitation, and hygiene. It is our hope that you and your families remain healthy.
March 12, 2020 – Guidelines for Vacating Apartments
For your safety, we are temporarily vacating student housing.
Effective: Monday, March 16, 2020, by 3 pm
You have received the communication from PTC’s president, Dr. Harvey-Smith, stating that on-ground classes are being transitioned to online, and that it is necessary to ask our student residents in all complexes – Westpointe, Hawthorne, and on-campus student housing – to temporarily vacate their apartments. We understand that this is an inconvenience, but must do our part in responding to what has become a national health emergency response to COVID-19, the Coronavirus. These decisions were not made lightly and are in the best interest of the health and welfare of our students.
To assist in the process of moving out of housing, we ask that you:
- Take your valuables home with you. As you should have personal property/renters’ insurance, PTC is not responsible for the loss or theft of personal property.
- Alternative accommodations must be made for all emotional support animals as they cannot remain in student housing.
- Clean up. Dirty dishes left in your apartment will be disposed of without compensation.
- Empty your refrigerator and dispose of perishable items that will “go bad” while you’re away.
- All items on flat surfaces like countertops, desks, and windowsills, should be removed. Bathroom sinks, showers, and toilet areas should be free of obstructions like rugs, towels, and shampoos. This will allow better access for potentially enhanced housekeeping services.
- Properly dispose of all trash and garbage.
- Turn off all lights and unplug small appliances. Do NOT unplug refrigerators, modems, or DTAs.
- Set thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lock all doors and windows before you leave.
It is not necessary to take everything home with you, but make sure you take anything you think you may need. This is a good time to organize your belongings and take home any items that you no longer need in your apartment. Apartments will be inaccessible until on-ground classes resume. If you have urgent reason to access your apartment, contact PTC Campus Police.
The health and welfare of our students is our first priority. If you have concerns about your housing, please reach out to:
Assistant Director, Resident Life
Associate Director, High School Admissions
412.809.5142 or 412.334.9808
Thank you for your cooperation.
March 12, 2020 – Virtual Instruction Announcement
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Pittsburgh Technical College continues to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and at this time there are no reported or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus or in Allegheny County. However, to protect the health of our students and employees, especially those most vulnerable to infectious disease, we are implementing precautionary measures that are in line with local and national efforts to stop the spread of the illness.
With the end of classes this Friday, March 13, 2020, PTC is canceling all on-ground, face-to-face classes and replacing them with virtual instruction as much as possible.
We understand that this is a significant disruption. In its 70+ years, PTC has never experienced a public health challenge of this magnitude. These decisions have been made carefully and with the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff in mind. They are decisions guided by the latest preventive health recommendations and will help us participate in proactively reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health and safety of our campus and surrounding community. As always, our commitment is to our students and ensuring the best education possible under these unprecedented circumstances.
Please note the following:
- Classes already held online will continue unchanged.
- Current on-ground classes will be canceled Monday, March 16, 2020 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020 resuming in an online format on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 and continuing online through at least March 31, 2020. Updates will follow as we assess the situation.
- Faculty will be in touch with students during this transition, and students should continue to check their email, Blackboard, and www.ptcollege.edu/public-safety for updates.
- Housing students should begin arrangements to vacate student housing. All residences – Westpointe, Hawthorne, and on-campus,– will close at 3 pm on Monday, March 16, 2020. Our intention is that this will support the need for social distancing and potentially allow enhanced housekeeping services. Additional communication from the Resident Life staff directly to housing students will follow, and options will be discussed for students with extreme circumstances.
- PTC shuttle bus services will be discontinued after the end of classes on Friday, March 13, 2020.
- Until further notice, all internships and clinicals are suspended as of Friday, March 13, 2020. Interning students living in student housing will need to vacate by 3 pm March 16, 2020. Remote work may be possible in some internships. Faculty will be in touch regarding the completion of required hours.
- Student workers employed by PTC should talk with their supervisors.
- Business operations will continue and staff and faculty will receive further direction.
- If you are experiencing signs of illness or have concerns of exposure to COVID-19, stay home, alert your supervisor, and complete the absentee form at www.ptcollege.edu/public-safety.
All preventative measures currently in place for your health and safety will continue, and you should check our website regularly for updates.
I thank you all for your patience and level-headedness as we proceed through the coming weeks. The PTC family is forever looking out for one another, and I strongly believe that will continue and our college will become stronger for this experience.
Dr. Alicia B. Harvey-Smith
March 11, 2020 – Open House Cancellation
The Open House at Pittsburgh Technical College, scheduled for Saturday, March 21, 2020, has been canceled. As we typically welcome several hundred visitors from around the tri-state area and beyond at our open house events, we have decided to proceed with an abundance of caution and take this proactive measure following the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation for social distancing.
Please be assured that this is a precautionary measure designed to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) before it reaches the PTC campus. Like many other colleges and universities nationwide, we are canceling all large events thereby limiting close contact for prolonged periods and staving off the potential threat of the virus to our residents, community, and guests.
We truly apologize for all scheduling inconveniences that this cancellation may cause. We recognize this is a crucial time for prospective students finalizing their college plans and that this open house was an anticipated opportunity to tour our on-campus housing. However, we hope that everyone can appreciate that this is an unprecedented public health condition and we must do our part to protect our students and community.
We are grateful to all PTC employees who have risen to the challenges raised by the present situation in our world. Particularly our housekeeping, maintenance, and foodservice teams and taskforces who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff and their families, especially those who may be more vulnerable to infectious disease.
Again, it is with great disappointment that we must cancel our upcoming open house. But you don’t have to wait to get the information you need. We will be in touch to make arrangements that work best for you. In the meantime, any enrollment, housing, or financial aid questions or concerns should be directed the Admissions staff who can be reached at 412.809.5100 or 800-784-9675.
March 11, 2020 – Coronavirus Update
PTC is taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our community. If you are feeling unwell, stay home, and contact your instructor or supervisor.
A questionnaire has been developed to gather information as we monitor the risk of exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the PTC community. If you have concerns of exposure, or are experiencing any signs of illness, please complete the form located on the Public Safety page of our website: https://ptcollege.edu/public-safety/.
You are encouraged to check communications regarding COVID-19 on our website regularly. Should emergency communication become necessary, the text alert system will be utilized.
VP of Education
March 6, 2020 – Coronavirus Update
Dear PTC Family,
With confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus, aka coronavirus, in the United States and specifically Pennsylvania, the PTC community should be assured that measures are in effect to protect our campus, residents, and commuting students and employees; and preparations are in place should the virus make its presence in Oakdale.
A Student Health Services COVID-19 Planning and Response Committee, chaired by Keith Merlino and Nancy Starr, is meeting regularly. If you suspect that you may be infected for any reason, but particularly because:
- You have a mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness with fever, cough, or shortness of breath
- You have traveled to or had contact with an individual who has returned from China since Jan 21, 2020
- You have traveled to or had contact with an individual who has returned from Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea since Feb 13, 2020
Please notify your supervisor, Keith, or Nancy, and immediately begin practicing social distancing (defined at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html) for a minimum of 14 days and refrain from coming to campus. Supervisors may investigate options for employees to work remotely, and student advisors will discuss with students the availability of continuing their studies remotely.
If you or a member of your household is traveling in the coming weeks, take note of the CDC’s travel advisory at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
To minimize the spread of illness to the college community, PTC regularly takes steps during cold and flu season to ensure that classrooms and public areas receive additional cleaning and sanitation such as disinfecting door handles, railings, classroom desk surfaces, light switches, shared computers, etc. The Housekeeping staff has been instructed to be hypervigilant in their efforts and are correctly using the recommended products.
Employees and students can also aid in preventing the spread of respiratory illness by following the CDC’s recommendations:
- Practice proper handwashing techniques
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Cough/sneeze into your elbow or cover your face with a tissue and immediately dispose of it
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Regularly disinfect objects and surfaces
- Stay home when you’re not feeling well
Guidance can also be found on our website at https://ptcollege.edu/public-safety/. You are encouraged to check the site regularly for updates. In the event that emergency communications need to be shared, the Text Alert system will be utilized – if you are not currently registered, you may do so on the site.
Remember, if you are sick, do stay home and take care of yourself.
Alicia B. Harvey-Smith, Ph.D.
February 27, 2020 – Coronavirus Update
Dear PTC Community,
Pittsburgh Technical College continues to monitor all developing news about the coronavirus. Many U.S. colleges/universities are beginning immediate preparations and are developing contingency plans if operations are impacted by an outbreak on campus. This will include: managing instruction, business operations, and all related social media panic concerns, suspending classes, sending students and personnel home, etc.
A special PTC Task Force is being formed to include Student Services, Public Safety, Marketing, Education, Human /Resources, Facilities, and others, to explore potential scenarios and develop a comprehensive response for PTC. Keith Merlino, the Vice-President of Student Services and Nancy Starr will serve as the chairs of this critical emergency planning and response team. A very special thank you to Sandra Ireson for taking the lead on ordering additional sanitizers for distribution.
We will also work in partnership with Allegheny County Health Department to assure our community receives appropriate guidance. Vice President Merlino, is also working closely with other Pittsburgh Council of Higher Education membership colleges to develop and share joint response plans.
Please review all posted information and take all necessary pre-cautions. Be reminded, that if you are experiencing any cold or flu related symptoms, please seek treatment immediately. As this global situation continues to evolve and alerts heighten, we will continue to monitor and update the PTC community.
Alicia B. Harvey-Smith, Ph.D.
Pittsburgh Technical College
1111 McKee Road
Oakdale, PA 15071
January 29, 2020 – Coronavirus Update
January 29, 2020
A Message to the PTC Community:
Pittsburgh Technical College is monitoring developing news about the new coronavirus spreading in China and elsewhere. Although the risk of an epidemic in the U.S. is very low, we are sharing this information to better educate and update our community. More than 100 individuals in the U.S. have been tested for the virus, but only five cases have been positive for coronavirus, and there are no reported deaths. At this time, no positive cases have been identified in Pittsburgh or surrounding areas.
We encourage our faculty, staff and students in our community — especially individuals who recently traveled to China or who plan to visit in the near future — to stay informed, cautious and healthy.
The CDC describes the coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause mild and moderate upper-respiratory-tract illnesses, similar to the common cold. Symptoms may include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell.
The viruses also can sometimes cause lower-respiratory-tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. These appear more commonly in people with cardiopulmonary disease or a weakened immune system and in older adults and infants. Symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Prevention and Care
At present, there is no vaccine to prevent a coronavirus infection. The best way to prevent infection is through simple precautions:
- Wash your hands frequently 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 immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing and have traveled in China in the past 14 days, contact your health care provider or your local public health department.
Counseling Support is available 24/7 for anyone with additional concerns. They are located on the 3rd Floor and the number is 1-800-647-3327 or you may also contact Keith Merlino, VP of Student Services, at Merlino.Keith@PTCollege.Edu
The CDC on Tuesday advised Americans to avoid travel to all of mainland China. It is advised for those considering travel abroad to enroll in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive email health and safety alerts and informational updates from the local U.S. Embassy and to update their locations with STEP as they travel to other countries. You may also follow the news, check the World Health Organization and CDC websites for updates.
At this time, there are no restrictions or warnings in place at PTC or surrounding areas. The College will continue to track the situation and communicate any changes affecting college and community. Thank you and stay well.
Alicia B. Harvey-Smith, Ph.D.
Pittsburgh Technical College
1111 McKee Road
Oakdale, PA 15071