Here are answers to some of your frequently asked questions. This page is being updated as information changes and as new questions arise.
If you're an employee and you need an answer to a specific question, use the Employee Contact Form to contact Human Resources.
Are classes canceled?
Classes at FIT have not been canceled. All classes have transitioned to remote instruction as of March 23, 2020.
What about spring break?
Spring break will take place as scheduled, April 6–10. No virtual classes will be scheduled that week.
What student services are available at this time?
There are many remote services to help support you in your academics, such as advising, tutoring, and more. For other student services, see the Student Resources listed on the left-hand side of the Information for Students page.
I offer my class in person. How should I move it online?
Remote instruction means that faculty and students are not meeting in person at the same place and time. There are many different ways to teach in person; there are also a variety of options for teaching remotely.
Faculty members remain in charge of instructional decisions, and your particular solutions will depend upon the educational goals of your class. Technological tools enable you to continue lecturing, allow for interactions with and between students, and provide options for completing and submitting assignments. You will have to determine the exact balance.
You may provide some instruction in “real time” (synchronous), but you may also pre-record video instruction or voiceovers on PowerPoint. Likewise, students may interact in real time in a synchronous class over a tool like Blackboard Collaborate, or interact asynchronously (at different times) through Blackboard message boards or other tools.
While you may have to make some adjustments, the overall goals and course learning outcomes should remain the same. There are many resources available from the Office of Online Learning and Academic Technologies as well as the Center for Excellence in Teaching.
Do I have to use Blackboard? Do I have to use Blackboard Collaborate?
Since all FIT courses are set up in Blackboard, it is a useful place to serve as a kind of virtual home classroom. Many FIT faculty members already use this system as a way to email students, take attendance, share resources, and more.
FIT supports Blackboard Collaborate; Google Meet, which is part of G Suite; and Webex. There is no requirement that you use particular tools, as long as your students have access to them.
Can I change my class time when I hold virtual classes?
If you use live video or audio conferencing, you should stick to the time when your class already meets. Otherwise, students may run into scheduling conflicts with other classes.
Don’t I have to maintain a certain number of contact hours according to state requirements?
For in-person classes, New York State uses “contact hours” to determine course credits. A contact hour is considered to be one hour of class time and two additional hours of work outside of class.
What is important, according to the New York State Department of Education, is that the amount of learning time should remain the same no matter what delivery method or learning activities are used. The total time should be “roughly equal to that spent on comparable tasks in a classroom-based course.”
As long as you are having students do comparable tasks, whether participating in video sessions, viewing lectures online, reading and writing in discussion threads, and completing assignments and projects, the remote instruction will be equivalent in terms of credit.
What about grading? Can I use pass/fail grading?
Faculty cannot independently determine grade mode (i.e. letter or pass/fail). FIT has a policy that pass/fail is not appropriate for required courses. FIT’s registrar has consulted with other SUNY registrars and the group recommends maintaining grading modes as they are. If there are updates, the Office of Academic Affairs will let you know.
We understand that it is a difficult time for all and encourage flexibility in working with students who face a variety of challenges in working remotely; however, please remember that the grade indicates a student’s academic achievement of learning outcomes and standards.
I have additional questions related to teaching remotely and academic policies. Who should I ask?
Please begin by asking your department chair, who will be an excellent resource at this time.
It says that “essential employees” must report to work on campus. Am I an essential employee?
Essential employees are those whose job function is essential to the effective operation of the college, who must be physically present to perform their job, or others who are involved in the COVID-19 emergency response. If your position is considered essential, you will be notified directly by your supervisor.
What are the options for working remotely?
Depending on your position, remote work may be available. Please consult with your supervisor to discuss your options.
What factors are used to determine whether a job can be done remotely?
Office jobs that can be replicated at home or in another remote location may be able to be done remotely. Front-facing jobs that require in-person interaction may need to be done on campus. We are also considering how to limit the impact of remote work on students, your department, other departments, and other stakeholders.
I currently get a paper check. How will I get my paycheck if the college is closed?
Your paycheck will be mailed to you via USPS. Please consider signing up for direct deposit by filling out this form and emailing it to [email protected].
What if I cannot work and don’t have sick, personal, or vacation time?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all leave banks are frozen as of March 16, 2020. That means that employees do not have to charge leave during this period.
If I am covered by an Aetna health care plan offered by FIT, are there costs for testing or related services?
If you are covered by one of FIT’s Aetna health care plans, copayments for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19 will be waived. Member cost-sharing will be eliminated for health care provider visits (in and out-of-network), telemedicine visits, urgent care visits, and emergency room visits that result in an order for or administration of the COVID-19 test. For the next 90 days, Aetna will offer waived copays for in-network telemedicine (virtual) visits for any medical reason.
Can I continue to submit claims to FIT’s Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Plan for processing?
Yes, claims will continue to be paid. We do recommend that you use your benefits card so that you don’t have to submit claims. If you are submitting claims by mail or through Flexible Benefit Administrators’ (FBA) online portal, we suggest setting up direct deposit through the online portal so that payments will go directly into your bank account. Contact [email protected] with further questions.
If I participate in the Commuter Reimbursement Program (TransitChek), how do I change or suspend my contributions?
In order to make a change, please log in to your TransitChek online account to modify or suspend your contributions. (Important: Do not select “cancel.”) Changes made through March 31 will impact your May benefit month. If you suspend your contributions, don’t forget to log back into your account when you are ready to resume your contributions.
How do I submit my Tuition Exemption form?
Hold onto all request forms until on-site operations resume, as the education offerings may have changed.
How do I make contribution changes related to a voluntary retirement plan offered through FIT?
In order to make changes, please follow the instructions below. Please note that your change will be reflected in the first available/allowable paycheck; in most cases your change will be reflected within two paychecks after the change is made; in some instances it may take three paychecks for the change to be reflected.
- SUNY 403(b) Voluntary Savings Plan (formerly the SUNY Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) Plan)
You may change your contribution amount by logging into [email protected]. For assistance, follow the instructions in the "Making 403(b) Deferral Changes" section of the Making Retirement Account Changes Guide (.pdf). If you are not yet registered at [email protected], please refer to the “First Time Users” information in the guide in order to register and make changes. For additional assistance, please contact a [email protected] representative at (866) 271-0960.
- The New York State Deferred Compensation Plan (NYSDCP)
You may change your contribution amount by logging into your account at nysdcp.com. For additional assistance, please call the NYSDCP Helpline at (800) 422-8463.
- FIT Foundation Retirement Plan
Please send an email to [email protected] if you would like to make a contribution change and a benefits representative will provide you with the required form.
Can I still actively recruit for vacant positions in my department?
The HR department is continuing to operate and provide all services to the extent possible utilizing multiple technologies. Please contact your HR representative to discuss the status of searches and online options.