SPRINGFIELD — The state awarded Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) two grants totaling nearly $662,000 for COVID-19 relief, STCC President John Cook announced.
The money will be used to help keep the campus safe during the pandemic, compensate faculty for their work developing online courses, and boost student aid, Cook said at a news conference at STCC. He spoke from Building 20, where check-in stations are set up to screen students, staff, and faculty who arrive on the campus.
Joined by state Reps. Carlos Gonzalez, Angelo Puppolo Jr., and Bud Williams, Cook thanked the lawmakers for their support. “We are really thrilled that you can be here, that you can share in this award with us, and that you continue to champion for STCC and for public higher education.”
Heriberto “Herbie” Flores, president and CEO of Partners for Community, also joined the event to show support for STCC.
STCC received a Higher Education COVID-19 Response Grant from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) in the amount of $502,425 to support the college’s COVID-19 response efforts. Separately, the college received a $159,266 GEER grant to support emergency need-based assistance for students who have been affected by COVID-19.
Cook said the GEER grants totaling $661,691 would be used specifically for campus sanitizing, COVID-19 testing, student aid, faculty compensation for online course development, and personal protective equipment.
“This funding will allow us to address critical needs that we are facing during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cook said. “We are grateful to Gov. Charles Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito for their support. The grants will help keep our campus safe and support our students as they pursue their goal of obtaining an education and transforming their lives. We also are pleased to use part of the grant to compensate our talented faculty who have done a tremendous job preparing their online classes.”
To reduce the risk of illness posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, STCC is offering online classes with a mix of low-density, on-campus labs for health and STEM programs this academic year. Faculty trained this past summer for online instruction and have been developing courses.
In a letter to Cook announcing the grant, Baker and Polito said, “we understand how challenging these past months have been as you and your staff and faculty have worked tirelessly to continue providing academic opportunities and additional supports for your students. Thank you for your commitment to student success, and for finding creative and thoughtful solutions to maintaining your course offerings and services without compromising the health and safety of your students, staff, faculty, and the surrounding community.”