Questions about the Spring Semester

SMCC moved from in-class to online learning last spring with the outbreak of COVID-19. For the fall, we offered a mix of online and hands-on learning with strict safety protocols. We have further refined our plan for the 2021 Spring Semester.

Our top priorities for the spring are to:

  • Protect the health and safety of our employees and students
  • Deliver on our mission of providing educational excellence
  • And provide support services to our students to ensure their success

These FAQs attempt to answer your questions in more detail.

Q: Is SMCC open for in-person instruction this spring?

A: We will have some students back on campus in the spring, but not all students. Most courses will be offered online. Courses that cannot meet their required learning standards online will be taught in person, with smaller class sizes for safety.

The Spring Semester begins January 19, but due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Maine, all classes will begin in an online environment for the first two weeks of the semester. A very few classes where live instruction is essential — such as those with medical clinical experiences — will be allowed to start on January 19 with the approval of the president.

The campus will reopen to hands-on instruction in selected programs on February 1, but is limited to designated trade programs where hands-on learning is required for students to meet learning standards. Portions of those classes, such as lectures, may be offered online.

 

Q: How do I apply for admission to SMCC?

A: Applying for admission is free and easy. Simply visit our Steps to Apply webpage to apply online or download an application. Our Admissions Office is not open to the public for the time being, but you can contact the office at admissions@smccME.edu or 207-741-5800, ext. 1.

 

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?

A: To apply for financial aid, students first need to fill out a FAFSA online by visiting the Federal Student Aid webpage.  If students need to submit additional documentation to SMCC, the Financial Aid Office now uses a service that allows you to send documents securely. Simply take a clear picture of the document on your phone and upload it to the website. To access the website, login to My Maine Guide, select My Money and click on “Upload Financial Aid Documents” in the Things to Know section.

 

Q: How do I pay my bills?

A: SMCC offers payment plans and accepts checks and credit/debit cards (MasterCard, Visa and Discover) for payment. Our Student Billing Office is closed to the public for the time being, but students can pay online, through the mail or by telephone. The Billing Office can  be contacted at bursar@smccME.edu or 207-741-5530.

 

Q: Will the Spring Semester calendar change in any way?

A: The Spring Semester will remain the same. Classes begin Tuesday, January 19, and the semester ends on Saturday, May 15.

 

Q: Will you continue to offer noncredit workforce training and Continuing Studies classes?

A: SMCC continues to offer short-term and customized workforce training to those who are looking to gain job skills that lead to employment. For information about our training programs, people can visit the Workforce Training webpage.

SMCC also continues to offer a selection of Continuing Studies courses, primarily for people interested in beginning new careers or enhancing their current professional skill sets. For information about Continuing Studies classes, please visit the Continuing Studies webpage.

 

Q: Will residence halls be open?

A: Residence hall housing will be limited to students who have to take in-person classes on campus and students who are homeless. All residents will be assigned single rooms at Spring Point Hall in South Portland (with a bathroom shared with one other person).

For the spring, residence halls will officially open on January 30.  However, residence life staff will be in communication with incoming resident students to coordinate move-in dates specific to each student’s in person class start date and quarantine expectations.”

 

Q: Will dining services be available?

A: Meals will be provided to resident students who must move in prior to January 30.  Oceanview Dining Hall in South Portland will be open beginning January 30 for residents, commuters who are on campus for in-person classes and employees. The dining hall will have take-out options and limited socially-distanced seating. Masks must be worn at all times in the dining hall, except when seated to eat. All venues have been reconfigured to remove self-service and allow for socially-distanced traffic patterns. An app is available to allow customers to order in advance for take-out and for contactless payment with debit/credit cards, Beacon Bucks and resident meal plans.
 

Q: Will the bookstore be open?

A:  The bookstore will be limited to five people at a time with a reconfigured entrance and exit. Students are strongly encouraged to purchase their books online and have them shipped to their homes in order to avoid long wait times.  Some pick-up only times and locations will be posted on the bookstore web page.
 

Q: How are services, typically available in the Campus Center, being offered?

A: Student support services provided by the Admissions, Advising, Financial Aid and Student Billing offices, as well as the Learning Commons, will be offered remotely online or by phone, email and/or video conferencing.

Some support functions will take place by appointment on campus, but all other meetings will continue to be held remotely.

 

Q: Will there be sports this spring?

A: The winter seasons for men’s and women’s basketball will not be played following a decision by the Yankee Small College Conference to cancel winter sports Both programs will conduct a review for an instructional offering later in the semester.

Spring Sports offerings are also under review and will continue to follow local, state, and regional guidance for a return to participation that ensures the proper safety and well-being for all participants.

The HUB gymnasium and the fitness centers on both campuses will be closed for the spring.

 

Q: Will tutoring and other academic support services be available?

A:  The Learning Commons locations are closed due to COVID-19 outbreak, so access to physical materials and face-to-face meetings is not available.

However, the Learning Commons will offer a full array of online tutoring, writing assistance, and access to online resources for the semester. For an overview of the support services, please visit the Learning Commons’ webpage.

 

Q: Will the Student Senate, club meetings and other activities be held in the spring?

A: Student Life will continue to offer a full slate of virtual activities for student engagement. These include Student Senate and student club meetings, TedTalk presentations, Open Mic sessions, leadership programs and more.

There will also be some socially-distanced small-group in-person events, drive-in movies, and other outdoor events.

 

Q: What will online classes look like?

A: Instruction not requiring hands-on learning will be offered remotely. We will offer synchronous classes that meet live online at scheduled times. We will also offer asynchronous classes that have no scheduled meeting times with a schedule of work to be completed. Instructors may require you to do any of the following on BrightSpace, our new online classroom learning system:

  • Participate in live online meetings with your classmates
  • Watch recorded lectures
  • Read course materials
  • Watch videos
  • Participate in discussion boards/chats
  • Take quizzes and exams
  • Submit assignments and homework online
  • Log into BrightSpace regularly
  • And take part in other strategies to maximize student learning
 

Q: Where and when will I be required to wear a mask?

A: Disposable or cloth face masks made of multiple layers of fabric that fit snugly against the side of the face and cover the nose, mouth and chin, are required of all people who are on our campus in all public settings both indoors and outdoors. The only exceptions to the rule are when a person is alone in an office with a door or a bedroom in campus housing as long as the doors are closed; when eating or drinking in a space where eating and drinking is permitted and only for the time necessary to consume the food and/or beverages; and for children under 5 in a daycare setting and all other children under 2 years old. Whether a face mask meets the College’s requirements shall be at the discretion of college personnel.  Students who require a medical accommodation to this policy should contact Director of Disability Services, Sandra Lynham (slynham@smccme.edu, 741-5923), prior to arriving on campus.

 

Q: What is the College doing to help protect the health and safety of students, employees and visitors?

A: In addition to instituting safety protocols that include face covering and social distancing, the College has invested in upgraded ventilation filters in buildings with ventilation systems that can be modified in this way and installed physical barriers and hand sanitizing stations. Students and employees are expected to use provided cleaning products to wipe down surfaces and equipment after use. Occupancy levels have been reduced across the College, and traffic-flow patterns have been modified to support social distancing. Hallways are designed for one-way travel where possible and specific doors are designated as entrances and exits only. Most bathrooms will be limited to one user at a time.

 

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

A: SMCC 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). The CDC has also issued specific guidance regarding higher education institutions.

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.