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Federal Emergency Grants for Students

Attention: Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos

Updated: September 11, 2020

Ocean County College has awarded $2,132, 585 to 1,199 students consistent with the CARES Act guidelines. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant funds have been fully distributed as of September 11, 2020.

CARES Act Distribution Information Report

August 12, 2020

Ocean County College Restart Plan

To the College Community:

As we anticipate a partial return to campus-based instruction in September, we will, of necessity, continue to offer all academic instruction, except for a limited number of on-campus programs and laboratories, either remotely or online throughout the Fall 2020 semester.

In accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 155, New Jersey colleges and universities are required to submit a restart plan to the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education at least fourteen days prior to the return of students to campus.  Last week, I submitted Ocean County College’s Restart Plan for the Fall 2020 semester, COVID-19 – The Road Back.

The College will schedule a limited number of on-campus laboratories for courses that require significant hands-on instruction in order to complete the courses satisfactorily, such as Nursing, Chemistry, Biology, Forensic Science, Painting, TV Studio Production, and Continuing and Professional Education allied health programs.  The College’s Restart Plan includes detailed information on the precautions that will be taken to keep students and staff safe and healthy when they return to campus for these programs only.  The first group to return for laboratory instruction will be Nursing students on August 24, 2020.

We will distribute the Restart Plan to all students and employees as well as post it prominently on the OCC website.  Appendix A, Safety Information Plan and Protocols for Students, is of significant importance.  This document outlines the facilities modifications, enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes, personal protective equipment, and other precautions, all of which will minimize the risk of transmission for any illness.  In addition to required employee training, all employees, students, and visitors will be required to complete a questionnaire each time they intend to be on campus.  There will also be temperature checks in designated buildings that will be required as part of the campus process for returning.  Except for personnel considered essential to the operation of the College, all employees will continue to perform their responsibilities remotely.

As has been the case since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the basis of all College decisions is first and foremost the health and safety of all our students, faculty, and staff.  Our Restart Plan continues to demonstrate our long-standing deep concern for all our colleagues and students and our commitment to academic excellence at Ocean County College.

Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.

July 15, 2020

Fall Athletics Update

Dear Coaches, Students & Our Entire Viking Family —

This spring, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced his vision, “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health,” to put the state on the road to recovery, with principles and key metrics to guide the process for lifting restrictions and restoring New Jersey’s economic health through public health. These principles comprise learning from the lessons of COVID-19 and preparing for the possibility of a resurgence.

To adhere to this vision for the state, and following the recommendations from the National Junior College Athletic Association Presidential Advisory Council and the NJCAA Board of Regents, the NJCAA recently announced an adjusted plan of action for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year, which includes postponing most fall athletic competition.

Therefore, in compliance with New Jersey’s coronavirus pandemic-related rules and regulations for institutions, in light of the NJCAA’s decision, and, most importantly, in the interest of the health and safety of our students and staff, Ocean County College has determined that the Fall 2020 semester sport programs – Soccer, Volleyball, Cross Country, and Tennis – will not take place at this time.

This decision was not made lightly, yet we must do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation for our Spring 2021 season and will provide updates as they are available. We will focus on academics and maintaining eligibility, and hope to give athletics the green light in the spring semester.

“As we move forward as an association,” NJCAA president Dr. Christopher Parker said in a statement, “we will continue to provide opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches, and all those involved with the NJCAA to be safe and successful.”

Dr. Gerald Racioppi
Vice President of Student Affairs

June 17, 2020

President’s Message – Fall 2020 Semester

To the College Community:

While we are all eager to return to campus, a measured and gradual approach must be taken to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.  Given the continued complexities of COVID-19, the College will offer most fall 2020 semester for-credit and noncredit courses online or remotely.

There is a possibility that State regulations will permit on-campus instruction in the fall; if so, we are prepared to offer some face-to-face classes in areas such as Nursing and Health Sciences.  In addition, we may consider offering other courses that require hands-on labs, including Criminal Justice and the Arts.

With a limited number of classes on campus, additional space will be available for students and faculty to maintain social distancing recommendations.  We will fully adhere to all health and safety protocols as recommended by the State and the CDC, including enhanced cleaning and monitoring the wearing of personal protective equipment.  Should some limited in-person instruction be resumed in the fall, alternatives will be offered to students who prefer to learn remotely for the semester.  Technology-enhanced courses in Science will also be developed that provide an immersive experience by streaming live experiments.

 The College’s plans will be informed by two guiding principles:  1) ensuring the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff; and 2) maintaining an unyielding commitment to students’ success both inside and outside of the classroom.  First and foremost, decisions will be made based on what is most likely to keep our students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible while delivering the highest quality instruction possible.

With the assistance of our well-prepared faculty, staff, and administrators, an even more comprehensive virtual education experience will be offered for students in fall 2020, including robust academic and student support.  The College will provide computers to students who need them, as well as a host of remote student services, including tutoring, counseling, online student club activities, career services, and advising.

The College has continued to serve the needs of its students in various ways since the end of the spring semester.  Most notably, “crisis boxes” are and will continue to be distributed by the OCC Foundation and Fulfill to students and their families who are experiencing food insecurity.  These boxes of food will feed a family of four for four days.

I want to once again express my deep appreciation, as well as that of the members of the Board of Trustees, for your outstanding efforts as we met the challenges of the past three months and for your continued dedication to serving our students.

Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.

May 7, 2020

Ocean County College President’s Message on Plans for Instruction During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Ocean County College is providing high quality, affordable, remote instruction in all classes during the mandated campus closure and will continue for as long as necessary.  All classes will be delivered remotely through August 31, 2020.  Thereafter, OCC is prepared to offer in the fall semester both remote instruction and limited, select courses on campus that require laboratory experiences, including Nursing and STEM disciplines, with the approval of New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.

Under the guidance of epidemiological scientists and the terms of all State and Federal executive orders, College officials are currently developing a plan to partially open the campus for in-person instruction.  The reopening plan will include specific, strictly-enforced requirements for social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment, and other reasonable measures to protect our students, faculty, staff, and their families from COVID-19 infection.

We anticipate that many students, and their parents as well, will not wish to risk exposure by close contact in traditional classroom and dormitory settings and will opt for the world-class instruction for which Ocean County College has been ranked nationally as a top-ten leader.  We recommend that students and families consider either the option of limited on-campus instruction in some disciplines or, the safest option, remote instruction from OCC.

As you make enrollment decisions, we urge you to consider the cost, convenience, and quality advantages of enrolling at OCC, where annual tuition, including most fees and all books, will average $5,250.  Compare that to Rutgers University, where the 2020 annual tuition is estimated at $15,407, excluding books and living expenses.  We ask, “Why pay more for remote instruction?”  Why not enroll at the most well prepared, highest quality remote instruction college in New Jersey, Ocean County College.

All of OCC’s credits transfer to all in-state universities and most out-of-state universities.  After completing an Associate Degree, students are guaranteed by State law to be admitted to any public New Jersey university as a junior.  Graduates also have the option of remaining on the OCC campus to complete a Bachelor’s Degree at Kean University or transferring to one of our many partner universities, some of which allow students to complete three years at OCC and one year online.  All of these options are surprisingly affordable and can make a debt-free Bachelor’s Degree a reality for OCC graduates.

Visit our website at  You will be happy you did!

Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.

April 10, 2020

OCC’s face-to-face classes for the Summer 1st 5-week session and the Summer 10-week session will be offered remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The classes will not meet on campus as scheduled, but instead will be offered through Canvas, our Online Learning Management System.

These courses will be pre-developed master online courses, or remote instruction designed by our course professors.  Courses may be scheduled to meet online at specific times, or classwork may be assigned to be completed on your own time.  E-Books, or rental textbooks, or purchased textbooks, will be required.

Dr. Jerry Racioppi
Vice President of Student Affairs

March 21, 2020

Summary of Executive Orders No. 107 and No. 108

March 20, 2020

Ocean County College To Remain Remote Through Spring Semester; College Is Cancelling Commencement Ceremony Due To The Covid-19 Pandemic

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Ocean County College has made the decision to continue online-only instruction and remote business practices through the Spring 2020 semester.  During this period, student services will be available on-line and by phone, including the ability to register for future semesters.

The College further regrets to announce that 2020 Commencement ceremonies will be cancelled. This was a difficult decision but one OCC believes is necessary to keep students, families, faculty, and staff safe. OCC is working on some alternate ways to celebrate the accomplishments of graduates including a video overview of the past year on campus.  Additional information will be available on the OCC website.

Sara Winchester
Executive Vice President of Finance & Administration

March 18, 2020

To Members of the Campus Community:

I am writing to inform you that the College has been assessing the global, national, and local factors relating to the rapidly shifting situation of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). Although there are few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ocean County, making the risk of community transmission of the virus low, it is continuing to spread in various parts of the country and the state. As a result, a number of changes are being implemented at the College in response to the virus.

Beginning Monday, March 16, and until further notice, the College will move to virtual instruction and primarily remote business practices. OCC, like many other institutions following the guidance of public health officials, is adopting a practice of social distancing in an effort to safeguard its students and employees while still fulfilling its mission of academic excellence.

The College will continue to provide services via email and phone during regular business hours. Contact information for each department is available in our faculty and staff directory.  Students are on Spring Break from Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 22. All face-to-face classes are cancelled, from Monday, March 23, and until further notice, and will instead move to online instruction. Faculty members and lecturers will work with their deans to determine how best to continue class instruction.

Academic Operations

  • In-person classes are cancelled from March 23 until further notice, and instead will be conducted remotely. Students will be contacted and provided instructions by their professors. Professors should contact their deans regarding continuity of instruction.
  • Some face-to-face classes cannot easily be moved to an online format. Alternate arrangements will be provided by instructors for those classes.
  • All online classes will continue as usual following Spring Break.
  • The OCC Library will be closed but remote access continues to be available.
  • Continuing education classes are postponed or may continue by way of distance learning. All continuing education students should contact their instructor for specific details regarding CPE meeting times.

Athletics and Student Life

  • Ocean County College recognizes the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. Given the constantly evolving landscape of closures and cancellations due to the COVID-19, the leadership of our institution has made the challenging decision to cancel all outdoor spring sports seasons, effective immediately. Our Executive Director of Athletics will work within the guidelines of NJCAA, to have all student-athletes regain their year of eligibility back for the 2020 spring season.

Student Services

  • The HUB is available via phone and email during regular business hours to help you with financial aid, registration, academic advising appointments and much more! Visit for online services or email or call 732-255-0482.

College Events

  • All events scheduled to take place from March 14 through March 29, 2020, will be cancelled or rescheduled, including theatre productions, planetarium shows, outside rentals, employee meetings, student events, and trustee meetings.

Administrative Operations

  • The campus is closed, however, personnel who are considered to be essential to College operations will continue to report to work on campus. Essential personnel will receive instructions from their supervisors.
  • Employees who have the ability to work remotely will continue their responsibilities from home and will receive instructions from their supervisors.
  • Supervisors may assign project work to employees during this period.
  • Supervisors may request employees to return to work if there is a reason to do so.
  • Work-related meetings should be conducted remotely.
  • Canteen Food Service will be closed.
  • Security will continue to provide 24 hour service on campus.
  • A deep cleaning will be undertaken by custodial personnel throughout the campus.
  • Campus construction will continue.

At this time, it is anticipated that all on-campus operations will resume on Monday, March 30, 2020, including face-to-face classroom instruction; however, another assessment will be made before then to ensure it is safe for students and employees to return. We will continue to keep abreast of local, state, and federal guidelines and will communicate with you through email and the OCC website. If any student or employee tests positive for COVID-19 during this time, please report it via or 732-255-0379.

I want to express my appreciation to College members who have been monitoring the status of COVID-19 and its effects on OCC and Ocean County. I also appreciate your continued cooperation as we work together to maintain the health and well-being of our campus community.


Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.

March 9, 2020

Coronavirus Update

The health and safety of our students and employees is paramount. Out of an abundance of caution, if you or someone close to you is not feeling well or experiencing any type of cold or flu symptoms, please stay home. Students should work individually with their instructors to make up coursework; the instructors will accommodate such requests. Students who plan to travel during spring break should consider their options carefully, take precautions as recommended by the CDC, and self-quarantine if necessary. Any student or employee who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home and contact the College at and/or 732-255-0379.

The CDC has issued new fact sheets on COVID-19 and how best to prevent exposure:

We will continue to update you on any news regarding COVID-19 as it becomes available.


In light of this matter and the ongoing cold and flu season, we continue to encourage students, faculty, and staff to take some basic precautionary measures.

To minimize the effects and spread of the COVID-19, flu and seasonal flu, please remember to:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 30 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose. Immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Maintain social distancing of 6 feet.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • And perhaps most importantly, if you are feeling ill – particularly with a respiratory ailment – see a health care professional immediately.

Additional Considerations:

  • If you are a resident in a community where person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been detected and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms.
  • For people who are ill with COVID-19 but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.
  • If you have been in a country with a CDC Level 3 Warning or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity for up to 14 days. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow the spread of this virus. Employees who believe it is necessary to self-quarantine, should contact Human Resources.

Sara Winchester
Executive Vice President of Finance & Administration

March 3, 2020

To the College Community:

Dr. Larson requested that the following information be shared college-wide:

Update – Information on the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV)

In response to the concerns regarding the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV), the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are regularly updating their websites with current information. The best way to stay abreast of developments on the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) is to visit these websites, or make use of hotlines put in place to answer questions. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are our highest priority and we will continue to follow the guidance provided by public health authorities as it becomes available.

The websites are as follows:

New Jersey Department of Health:

Center for Disease Control:

Here is some general information that remains in place:

What are the common symptoms of 2019-nCoV?
Information to date suggests this virus is causing symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness, such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

How is 2019-nCoV spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

What measures should you take to prevent 2019-nCoV?
There is currently no vaccine available to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues or your sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often for at least twenty seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay home from class and work if you are sick.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Get a flu shot – it is not too late to be protected from the flu.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects.

World Health Organization Video About the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV)


Connectivity Options and Information for Students

    • FCC agreement 2 stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots.
    • Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time
    • Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months
    • AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families
    • Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
    • Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
    • T-Mobile COVID-19 response 1: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.

Canvas Orientation

Canvas is the Learning Management System utilized by Ocean County College for online instruction.

Complete our Canvas orientation at

Questions Regarding COVID-19 Testing at OCC Should Be Directed to County

In response to a number of inquiries regarding coronavirus testing on the Ocean County College campus, individuals seeking information should call the Ocean County COVID-19 Hotline at 732-341-9700, ext. 7411, or email

Ocean County Health Department’s requirements for COVID-19 testing

OCC Counseling Center

If you are anxious or stressed, or need access to mental health professionals, contact OCC’s Counseling Center at 732-255-0386 or  The Counseling Center’s web page has information about the services, programs, and resources available.

Resources for New Jersey Community College Students and Community Members Affected by the Coronavirus 

Have you lost your job or work hours been reduced?

If you have lost your job, your work hours have been reduced, or your place of work has closed you may qualify for unemployment insurance. Please visit the following websites for more information: 

COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Flier from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Ocean County is Hiring!
We are Ocean, and we are here for you. That’s why Ocean County College and Townsquare Media have partnered to promote the New Jersey Virtual Job Fair. Many companies providing essential services in our community are looking to expand their teams to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are looking for work in industries like healthcare, retail, or shipping and logistics, the New Jersey Virtual Job Fair can connect you with nearby employers who are urgently hiring. View current job openings!

OCC Career Services 

Our Career Services Coordinator can help you create/update your resume and cover letter, prepare you for an interview, and inform you of job opportunities and virtual career fairs. Visit our page.

Has your job been impacted?
New Jersey has among the most comprehensive Earned Sick Leave, Temporary Disability, and Family Leave Insurance laws in the country, which cover all employees – full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonalPlease visit the following websites for more information:

COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Flier from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

If you and/or your family own a business
The New Jersey Business Action Center has compiled information on guidance and economic assistance for businesses:

If you need food or financial assistance
If you and/or your family are in need of food or financial assistance, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and/or General Assistance (GA):

SNAP Assistance During Coronavirus – English (PDF)
SNAP Assistance During Coronavirus – Spanish (PDF)

Students in need of food assistance can contact Alison Noone at

If you need help paying home energy bills
The Home Energy Assistance Program helps very low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills, and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the Home Energy Assistance Program:

If you need help paying the rent
The State Rental Assistance Program provides rental assistance grants. To get more information and determine your eligibility, visit:

If you are caring for family members with special needs
The New Jersey Department of Human Services has guidance for individuals and families caring for people with developmental disabilities:

How to protect yourself
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has the most up-to-date information on protecting yourself from COVID-19:

If you think you are sick or if you need a COVID-19 test
The State of New Jersey has developed an online tool to check your symptoms, as well as a centralized resource with information on OCVID-19 Testing Sites throughout the state. For more information, visit:

If you need your local health department visit:

If you need health insurance
NJ FamilyCare is New Jersey’s publicly funded health insurance program. It includes CHIP, Medicaid and Medicaid expansion populations. That means qualified NJ residents of any age may be eligible for free or low cost health insurance that covers doctor visits, prescriptions, vision, dental care, mental health and substance use services and even hospitalization.

If you are anxious or stressed
Coping with stress during infectious disease outbreaks can cause anxiety and stress. These guidelines can help:

If you need access to mental health professionals
NJMentalHealthCares is New Jersey’s behavioral health information and referral service. To get help now, call 866-202-HELP (4357) or visit:

If you want updates on COVID-19 from the State of New Jersey
For updates on COVID-19 in New Jersey, text NJCOVID to 898-211. For live text assistance, text your zip code to 898-211. You can also visit:

To see the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 Online Dashboard, visit:

More information on the Coronavirus can be found at:

State of New Jersey COVID-19 Jobs and Hiring Portal

The State of New Jersey has developed a centralized resource to match talent with opportunities in industries on the front lines of serving New Jerseyans during the outbreak. Learn more about who is hiring in your community at

Employers in critical industries can submit information about openings with urgent hiring needs related to COVID19 at

The Department of Labor’s Web Portal for New Jersey Residents 

The Department of Labor created a new web portal that allows New Jersey residents to contact the Department of Labor directly. This is a helpful tool for residents who have questions about their applications. To submit a message, residents must go to and follow the instructions below:

NJ Human Services Announces $36 Million in Additional Food Assistance

Many New Jerseyans who receive food assistance through the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP) will receive additional benefits in May to help address critical food needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An additional $36 million will be provided to about 214,000 New Jersey households in May.

SNAP supplemental payments were included in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In March and April, Human Services announced $70 million in total additional NJ SNAP benefits that were provided to New Jerseyans to help purchase groceries.

“During this tough time, we want to make sure that we are providing as much food assistance as possible to eligible households for as long as we can,” Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. “I continue to thank our Congressional delegation for their efforts to protect and help residents as we respond to this pandemic.”

The supplemental benefits will be directly loaded to NJ SNAP recipients’ Families First EBT cards as part of their regular monthly payment.

NJ SNAP provides food assistance to families with low incomes to help them buy groceries through a benefit card accepted in most food retail stores and farmer’s markets.

NJ SNAP currently serves about 674,000 New Jerseyans in 343,000 households.  Households eligible for the NJ SNAP supplemental benefit will receive the difference between their regular SNAP benefit and the maximum benefit for their family size.  These supplements will be in addition to standard monthly benefits.  Households’ standard monthly SNAP benefit is based on household size and income.   Under federal policies implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, households that already receive the federal allowable maximum SNAP benefit are not eligible for supplemental payments.

“These extra benefit payments will prove critical to many New Jersey households, especially older adults and individuals with disabilities,” Human Services Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “Access to additional food assistance is more important than ever, and we hope that these new resources will give many individuals and families additional peace of mind.”

“During this difficult time, we encourage residents who need food assistance to visit and apply for SNAP online at,” said Assistant Commissioner Natasha Johnson, who directs the Department of Human Services’ Division of Family Development and oversees the SNAP program. “We appreciate the dedicated staff at the County Boards of Social Services who are essential to getting these critical services to New Jersey families.”

Human Services also received federal approval to extend NJ SNAP recertification periods to six months for cases that were expiring in March, April and May. This means families receiving SNAP will not have benefit interruptions during that time.

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