Think of the words you didn’t know in January, that you know today. Coronavirus was simply a beer joke. Herd immunity was something that applied to cows. Flattening the curve was your effort to drop Christmas cookie weight. Life changed since those carefree days of January.
Today, there are almost 400 cases of the virus and at least 14 fatalities in Salem County. I keep using the word “surreal” to describe the situation; however, it just seems to be too understated. To those afflicted, both personally and within their family, you remain in our thoughts and prayers. To those who have lost a loved one, there is nothing we can say to ease that pain, but promise to keep you and yours in our prayers. And we would be remiss without commending all those who have been working in the health care field -- first responders, supply-chain facilitators, grocery and pharmacy clerks, and a host of others, including teachers.
It feels almost sacrilegious to mention the economic effects of the virus, though they are quite real as well. However, we will recover from the economic damage, a family never recovers from the devastating loss of a loved one.
Your Salem Community College has been effected much as the businesses in the County have been. In our case, the State of New Jersey impact flows directly to us. Case in point, the state is losing more than 15% of its anticipated revenues, over $4,000,000,000. That means state aid for colleges, including SCC, is cut in half for the balance of the fiscal year. We have to make up a $300,000 shortfall in revenues over a 60-day period. This has required staff reductions, belt tightening, and some reliance upon our reserves (savings). None of this is pretty. It is possible that our aid will be only 50% of normal going into September.
The CARES Act which has been in the news over recent weeks, will help somewhat. Students will be assisted on a criterion basis, but must submit the FAFSA form (financial aid) in order to be eligible for any assistance (money for shelter, food, child care, technology, etc.). Similarly, there will be some institutional aid coming to SCC; however, this is restricted to COVID-19’s impact outside of revenues lost, such as our technology upgrades for remote learning services.
In the Phillies’ 1980 World Series run, relief pitcher Tug McGraw famously said of the team, “Ya Gotta Believe.” We did, and they became champs. The same applies to your SCC today – Ya Gotta Believe. Your Salem Community College is the Affordable, Quality, Empowering, and Personalized Educational Opportunity. We can help our citizenry through these tough times.
Our goal is to help these groups who need us now more than ever:
- Displaced Workers. Those whose jobs don’t exist after the COVID crisis.
- Aspiring Collegians. Their families can no longer afford a four-year college.
- The 40% of HS graduates with no life plan. This group desperately needs our help.
- Stop-Outs. Those who interrupted their college experience and need a restart.
- Value-Conscious students and families. Why pay four-year prices to stay home taking online university courses? SCC is viable.
We are here to help. If you need assistance or know of anyone needing assistance, direct them to Your Salem Community College, the Affordable, Quality, Empowering, and Personalized Educational Opportunity.
Our challenge is our privilege, and our mission – to serve our community in a time of stress and crisis. With everyone’s help, we can change an additional 200 lives starting this September. Ya Gotta Believe!