White House Challenge for COVID-19!

Good afternoon Vaccine Champion Colleges/Universities!

We are so grateful for your participation in the White House COVID-19 College Challenge. I am thrilled to report that as of today we are more than 350 institutions strong, representing 46 states nationwide and a wide diversity of institutions. Thank you for being an early adopter in this initiative – and most of all, thank you for your leadership in getting your college community vaccinated.

This email contains a lot of links to resources from this week and other information that should be helpful in your planning and vaccination efforts. Please flag this email and use these resources.

Next week, we will kick off a series of engagements where we bring Challenge participants together to listen and learn from each other, and provide resources to advance vaccination in your college community.

Responding to Challenge questions: As you know, our purpose in launching this Challenge is convening and calling college and university leaders – including student leaders – to action on vaccination. We are asking all of you to take responsibility right away for getting your college communities vaccinated, regardless of where your community is over the summer. We need vaccination action now – not later this summer when people are headed back to campus – and we need individual students, staff, and faculty to make a plan and get vaccinated even if they are not on campus. This is a steep challenge, but we need to sprint ahead towards the President’s goal to get as many Americans as possible vaccinated today, tomorrow, and in the weeks to come.

We will meet this Challenge by sharing information and learning from each other about what works. In order to Engage every student, faculty, and staff member, we want to hear from YOU:

  • How are you partnering with student leaders and student organizations to reach all students in making and following through on a plan to get vaccinated – even if they have left campus for the summer?
  • How are you using social media to reach every student, staff, and faculty on and off campus?
  • What are you offering your college community as motivation, encouragement, or incentive to get vaccinated?
  • What voices in your college community or surrounding region are your students most going to listen to and trust in getting vaccinated?
  • What is the most creative approach you’ve used to engage students on the vaccine and/or to get them vaccinated?

Are you a college president/administrator, or a student leader? Got a creative approach you want to share in response to the above questions? Please tell us! We want to hear from you, and we want you to share across this community so more colleges and universities can learn from your good work. If you have ideas to share, please share them out on social media with #COVIDCollegeChallenge and/or send us responses at We want to feature you and your ideas on a panel on next week’s webinar – please let us know by Wednesday 6/9 at noon if you would like you/your idea to possibly be featured during the panel. We very much welcome participation from both administrators and from students.

Please share out your progress on social media using #COVIDCollegeChallenge and #WeCanDoThis! This is how we get more people on board. The more colleges step up and the more momentum we build, the better we reach young people in getting vaccinated. Every vaccination is one step closer back to the campus life we know and love.

Ask other colleges to join the Challenge: Colleges around the country are already making plans to bring students back on-campus this summer and fall for in-person learning. Ask your colleagues to join the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge as you help bring your community back in-person. Institutions can sign up on the White House website at

THANK YOU for being a part of this important initiative. We look forward to hearing about your progress and sharing ideas with you all in the weeks ahead!

With thanks,


Mary C. Wall

Senior Policy Advisor

White House COVID-19 Response Team

Join the White House COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge today!

* * * * * * *


  • White House website COVID-19 College Challenge (where participating colleges are listed)
  • White House fact sheet on Month of Action (featuring COVID-19 College Challenge)
  • U.S. Department of Education press release on the COVID-19 College Challenge
  • @FLOTUS Dr. Jill Biden post on COVID-19 College Challenge
  • @SecCardona Secretary Miguel Cardona post on COVID-19 College Challenge
  • New ED COVID Handbook Volume 3: Strategies for Safe Operation and Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Students, Faculty, and Staff
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) On-Site Vaccination Clinic Toolkit
  • HHS COVID-19 Public Education Campaign library of resources and toolkits
  • ED one pager on the COVID-19 College Challenge (attached)
  • Social media toolkit for the COVID-19 College Challenge
  • Four easy ways to get the people you know vaccinated – see below!

Promote the Four Ways for People to Learn How to Get a Vaccine Across All Your Channels

·       Share where and how to get vaccinated:

      • (English) and (Spanish)
      • Text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX) in English or 822862 (VACUNA) in Spanish
      • Call 1-800-232-0233 for assistance in English, Spanish, and 150+ other languages

·       Post the Vaccines.Gov widget on your websites. For available widgets, please see here.

·       Share this information on email lists; e-newsletters; social media channels; banners on your homepage; webinars or virtual events; text message campaigns; workplace signage.

·       Share the Following Messages that Work to Help Build Confidence in the Vaccines

      • Getting vaccinated gets us back to normal. Getting vaccinated is the best way to defeat this virus and get back to safely gathering with family, friends, weddings, sports, and travel.
      • The vaccine is free and available to everyone. Vaccines are available at no cost to everyone age 12 and older living in the United States, regardless of immigration or insurance status.
      • If you have questions, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider. Estimates show that 90% of doctors have gotten a shot themselves.
      • More than 150 million Americans have been vaccinated. They are now protected from this deadly virus and are on the path back to normal.

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Dear Paier Students & Faculty,

As promised, the Administration has evaluated current COVID levels in the State of Connecticut and would like to communicate next steps to resuming on-campus classes. We will be sending out several emails about your personal class situation later this week. Many of the classes at Paier will begin at 25% capacity for our on-ground classes Monday February 8th as the College has officially met the phase 3 threshold of 3.1%-6% average positivity rate for 7 continuous days as of today Tuesday February 2nd.

What this means: 

  • Studio classes and hybrid classes will be split into 2 groups and each will be allotted half of the class 
  • Example: 5-hour studio time will be split into 2-hour 15-minute sessions with a 15-minute sanitation time between groups. 
  • Online classes will continue in the manner that they have been.

Next Steps: 

  • The Dean’s Office and/or Registrar will be reaching out to notify you and the students in your classes if you are affected by this change.
  • Faculty-After the initial email is received, post an announcement on Canvas as soon as possible with information about who will be in which cohort and when they will be required to attend your class. If your class is now fully online, please post an announcement letting students know they will need to frequently access Canvas. 

If you have any questions about the reduction in capacity please reach out to Chris DiStiso ( If you need any assistance with getting content onto Canvas please reach out to Keegan Soncha (

Thank you as always for your flexibility and cooperation during this time,

Dr. Summer C. Amorosino


Paier College of Art


Good Afternoon Paier Community,

As you know, Paier Administration has been monitoring COVID-19 positivity rates daily at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center to ensure your safety and enact new phases of our contingency plan as needed.

The College has a clear and aggressive plan to ensure you receive a rigorous and enriching educational experience and a safe work environment (see below table).

Effective immediately, we are enacting a 25% of original capacity regulation on all classes at Paier. If you are affected by this change your instructor and/or the Dean will email you (on your email account) by end of business today or sooner.

Lastly, please be sure to:

Use hand sanitizer as you enter any of Paier’s buildings. The nursing staff will be enforcing this.

o Stay home if you are ill and email the COVID-19 Coordinators ( or . Coordinators will help with next steps. Paier Community Members may return to campus when they are either cleared by a doctor to return or provide a negative test result to the COVID-19 Coordinators.

  • Students should also email their instructors.
  • Staff and faculty should let their supervisors know in addition to the Coordinators.

If you travel to any ‘hot spot areas’, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days per the State of Connecticut. Again, let the COVID-19 Coordinators know if you have traveled to one of these areas so they can provide you with guidance.

As previously planned we will have the following “Town Hall” meetings where your questions can be answered “face to face”:

Student Town Hall: Thursday November 5th from 11:30AM to 12:30 PM


Once again, thank you all for your flexibility and positive attitudes during this strange time in our history. Together, we can build a strong, healthy community!


Thank you,

Dr. Summer C. Amorosino


Paier College of Art


Good Afternoon Paier Community!

As you know, Paier Administration has been monitoring COVID-19 positivity rates daily at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center to ensure your safety and enact new phases of our contingency plan as needed.

The College has a clear and aggressive plan to ensure you receive a rigorous and enriching educational experience and a safe work environment (see below table).

While the State of Connecticut still has some of the lowest positivity rates in the Country (hovering at 1.3% to date), Paier would like to do its part in safeguarding the community. To date, Paier has not sustained any COVID-19 cases.

Effective immediately, we are enacting a 50% of original capacity regulation on all classes at Paier. Since Paier took an aggressive stance on COVID-19 from the start this change will affect only a few courses. If you are affected by this change your instructor and/or the Dean will email you by end of business today or sooner. An advisor may also call you to answer your questions.

Lastly, please be sure to:

  • Use hand sanitizer as you enter any of Paier’s buildings. The nursing staff will be enforcing this.
    • Stay home if you are ill and email the COVID-19 Coordinators ( or . Coordinators will help with next steps (i.e. take sick time, teach or receive instruction remotely, send home learning packets etc.). Paier Community Members may return to campus when they are either cleared by a doctor to return or provide a negative test result to the COVID-19 Coordinators.
    • Students should also email their instructors.
    • Staff and faculty should let their supervisors know in addition to the Coordinators.
  • If you travel to any ‘hot spot areas’, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days per the State of Connecticut. Again, let the COVID-19 Coordinators know if you have traveled to one of these areas so they can provide you with guidance.

Once again, thank you all for your flexibility and positive attitudes during this strange time in our history. Together, we can build a strong, healthy community!

Have a restful weekend,

Dr. Summer C. Amorosino


Paier College of Art


Good Afternoon,

As we enter our third week of school I wanted to thank everyone for their continued compliance with Paier College’s health and safety regulations. Together, we can make a difference! It is our collective goal to stay healthy while learning and working.

A quick reminder:

  • All people entering the College must be screened by the nursing staff
  • If you are ill, notify your teacher/supervisor/Covid-19 coordinator and stay home. Most schoolwork/work can be done online in the short-term while you convalesce

Thank you all again for sanitizing, wearing a mask and keeping the Paier Community safe and productive!


Dr. Summer C. Amorosino



Dear Paier Community,

The start of school is just around the corner and we are excited to start the semester! I wanted to give you more detailed guidelines about the start of school (see below) we will also be going through guidelines during the following programs:

Faculty/Staff Kick-Off 8/21

Convocation 8/28

Please become familiar with these guidelines and give yourself enough time when you arrive on campus to be screened. The full phased reopening document can be reviewed at

Here are some general guidelines to keep you safe at Paier:

  • A nursing team will be on campus daily to screen the Paier Community for COVID-19 Symptoms. Temperatures will be taken and a series of questions will be asked. Once a member of the Paier Community has been screened, they will receive a dated marker for the day (name badge, wristband etc.). It is advised this be worn all day to provide fluid access to all buildings without being stopped by the nursing staff.
    1. If someone is symptomatic a RN will confirm and advise (see testing and quarantine guidelines)
    2. Please allow enough time before class/engagements to be screened. Any students/staff/faculty must be screened before gaining entrance to campus. No exceptions will be made.
  • When entering the school, in common areas or when interacting with a colleague or classmate you are required to wear a mask and/or headshield. Surgical and/or cloth masks will be handed out at work or in the classroom each day. Masks can also be provided at the front desk and other designated areas around campus. Paier will continue to provide masks, hand sanitizer etc. for the foreseeable future, please use these accordingly.
    1. Faculty are required to secure enough masks for their students before each class as applicable. Masks may be acquired at the front desk, library, or business office (during summer, Covid-19 Coordinators).
    2. Staff/faculty are not required to wear a mask in their own office as long as no one is with them in the same space
    3. If you have a medical condition that prohibits you from wearing a mask you must notify the Provost immediately in writing and provide a doctor’s note (per Paier policy)
    4.  Models will be required to wear a mask at all times with the exception of when they are physically on the modeling platform (lecture box). Students and faculty must remain at minimum 6 ft away from the model at all times. If the model wishes to wear face covering at all times during their session they may. Models may also conduct virtual sessions for online and hybrid classes as needed.
    5. Eating and drinking in classrooms is prohibited at this time.

2) Staff/faculty should generally, try to stay in their own area/office building as much as possible

  1. Only one person/guest is allowed in your office at a time and they must remain at least 6 feet away from you at all times

3) Use the bathroom in your own office/class building as much as possible

  1. Due to the small area, bathroom use is limited to one person at a time. Signage has been placed on all bathroom doors reminding staff and students of this policy. Please wait outside the bathroom in a non-crowded hallway or space
  2. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and follow with hand sanitizer as needed.
  3. When possible, close the lid on the toilet before flushing, this significantly cuts down the transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses in the bathroom setting

4) Outside (non-Paier) visitors to campus including prospective students are limited. If a visitor absolutely needs to come to campus, all visitors must make an appointment with a staff member in advance. This excludes delivery people but INCLUDES outside vendors who will remain on campus for more than 5 minutes. Once visitors are allowed on campus they must abide by the below protocols.

  1. When making an appointment with a visitor you must inform them about which building they are to enter through, that they are required to wear a mask (we will provide one if they do not have their own) and that shaking hands is prohibited at this time due to COVID-19

* Prospective students or existing students may only bring one additional support person with them, close family member or friend. Additional guests may be asked to wait outside or in a different room

  1. When Staff/faculty have made the visitors’ appointment they must notify the nursing staff of the date and time. You may be required to write the person’s name and contact information in a tracking log. All visitors should report to nursing stations in either building 20 or building 10 (student lounge)
  2. Do not shake hands, hug or touch any visitors or co-workers/classmates
  3. Any events on campus are limited until further notice. The College will host some socially distanced, outside events for the existing Paier Community, however, all events must be approved through the Dean for safety guidelines
  4.  All guests are required to sign in for contact tracing and security purposes with the nursing staff

5) On campus meetings should be limited and used only when phone and email cannot be utilized

  1. If a meeting must occur, keep it as small as possible
  2. Host the meeting in a large, well ventilated room (outdoors, library, auditorium, student lounge) all participants should be wearing masks and be seated 4-6 feet apart
  3. Tissues, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes should also be available in the room
  4. Meeting participants must wipe down their area after using the meeting room

6) If you are feeling ill at all please use your sick time or request to work/study from home until symptoms have subsided. There is a zero tolerance policy for coming to work or class ill or with symptoms of illness, Paier College of Art wants you to rest and be well.

  1.  Students should notify their instructors if they are not feeling well. Instructors can work with students to continue their schoolwork in an online setting until they are well.
  2. Instructors are required to send any symptomatic students home immediately and notify the Covid-19 coordinator(s) of any ill or symptomatic students.

7) If faculty need additional sanitizer/wipes or cleaning supplies for their classrooms/offices, please see Facilities or the Covid-19 Coordinators. We are maintaining a rigorous cleaning schedule at this time but understand if you would feel more comfortable sanitizing your own work space

  1.  Faculty may work with their Division Director/Department Heads and/or Facilities/Covid-19 Coordinators to ensure their classrooms are safe and continually stocked with supplies. Faculty may also submit tickets to Facilities through their Department Heads or at the front desk
  2. Faculty must direct students to wipe down their areas and equipment before and after class
  3.  Everyone in the Paier Community should wipe down commonly used equipment like, chairs, copier machine key pads, common area tables, watercooler spigots, coffee pot handles etc. after use. The use of hand sanitizer and handwashing after interacting in a common area is also encouraged

8) Access to public spaces will be significantly affected due to Covid-19

  1. The library will remain open for a limited amount of users. At this time capacity of the library is capped to 14 users and one Librarian. Anyone using equipment/computers must remain 4-6ft away and wipe down their area when finished. Students taking online classes only may email to check out up to 2 books/materials at a time (unless the Librarian allows more) and have them mailed to their homes (this is in addition to digital library resources). The College will also provide a contactless drop box in the library for book returns. As always, all students may request tutoring appointments by emailing
  2. The student lounge will remain open since Paier College of Art is a commuter school. However, the lounge will be limited to 10 students at a time and 2 nursing staff. With the exception of those actively using the restroom and those using the vending machines. A 4-6 foot distance must be maintained at all times while masked and indoors. This will be enforced by Paier staff and faculty. Violations may result in closing the student lounge. The administrative assistant and other Paier staff will check the lounge frequently.
  3. The faculty/staff lounge will remain open for the following:

Retrieval of mail, coffee/water and reheating food, adding grades etc.

*Part-time faculty may use the lounge to eat their lunch. All full-time faculty and staff should eat and rest in their offices. The faculty/staff lounge will be limited to two seated occupants and 1 standing occupant at any time.

Outside of Paier it is important to exercise caution, not attend large events (unless socially distanced) and try to maintain good overall health. Please refer to Paier’s conduct code in the handbook for more details about being a good Paier citizen. At this time the COVID-19 situation is evolving, please know Paier’s number one priority is the health and safety of our employees and students. As such this policy may change and be amended in the future.


Dr. Summer C. Amorosino


Dear Paier Community,

We are looking forward to welcoming you back to Paier College on August 31. Over the past several months the administration at Paier has been working non-stop to bring forward plans for re-opening the campus while keeping our students, faculty and staff safe.

Over the next several weeks, we will share detailed information about schedules, health and safety guidelines, responsible distancing and more. In the meantime, I am pleased to provide updates on our fall opening:

Keeping You Safe

Daily Health Screenings: All students, faculty, staff and visitors who enter the buildings at Paier will be given a short questionnaire upon arrival along with a forehead temperature screen. Those who show signs of fever or answer yes to any COVID symptom will be excused and asked to study/work remotely.

Face coverings: All students, employees, and visitors are required to wear face coverings when inside the buildings at all times. Paier will provide every student returning to campus with one mask, but please plan to bring additional personal face coverings as backup. Every effort will be made to supply face coverings as needed in various campus settings. Faculty will receive additional protective supplies. The College will also distribute health and safety supplies to each Paier Community member during the first week of class or sooner. Faculty will be oriented to new pedagogical supports and safety regulations during the faculty kickoff meeting Friday August 21st 2020, details to follow.

Social Distancing: Academic facilities including classrooms, libraries, studios, and other campus areas are being reconfigured to allow for social distancing and reduced capacity. Please be sure to not to move chairs or furniture as they have been purposely installed. Additionally, the configuration of campus has changed and access to classrooms may have moved. We will provide assistance with navigating through campus in the first week of classes.

Cleaning and Disinfecting: Our facilities team will continue to perform regular intense cleaning of all public spaces. They will consistently disinfect classrooms, common areas, workspaces, and dining areas to help minimize transmission. Additional hand sanitizing stations are being installed across campus and ventilation systems are being updated with appropriate filters.

Academic Calendar and Class Schedules

As a reminder, we made changes to our fall 2020 academic calendar to reflect COVID precaution. You may have been sent a copy of your class schedule via email, however, it may be updated to reflect COVID precautions. We ask that you please pick up a fresh copy on your first day of class. Due to COVID precautions, we have created a blended approach to academics for the fall and are offering classes in a variety of formats:

In Person: Traditional in-person classes will meet at a specific time and place that is reflected on your schedule.

Hybrid: These classes are a mix of in person and online, depending upon the needs of the class. Some meetings will be in person, while others will be online, as determined by the faculty member. For example, if you have a Tuesday course, the instructor may tell you that it meets in person on Tuesdays and online.

Online OR Remote: Online classes are fully online and do not meet at a specific time (asynchronous). Remote classes are fully online but meet at a specific time as determined by the faculty member (synchronous).

It is possible that some of your courses will not be in the modality that you prefer. We are crafting our plan to offer in-person classes with space constraints required by social distancing in the classroom, and working with our students and faculty who have high-risk considerations or disability accommodations, to provide for your best overall experience given this unprecedented situation.

Depending on your program and specific course, there may still be updates in development. We will communicate specific plans in the very near future. For example, we have begun to move classes that have traditionally been conducted in one area of the school to a more open area for better distancing. We are also working out a plan to keep the wet studio classes in the studio area, but with proper working stations.

We know that many of you are looking forward to in-person classes but that there are others who, for various reasons, are unable to or do not want to return to face-to-face learning. We will do everything we can to accommodate a remote learning environment for the fall semester should you choose to remain off campus. If you are at high risk and must receive an accommodation, please contact Dean DiStiso at

Residential Life

Housing assignments will be finalized by the beginning of August. Students (if they have not already) will receive an email with their fall housing assignments, and further information about residential life will be forthcoming. COVID guidelines and suggestions will be included with this information.

Contingency Plan and Criteria

While we remain optimistic about the fall semester, it is important to communicate a flexible plan in the event the covid-19 infection rate worsens in Connecticut during the semester. Please see the below table which will dictate the metrics used in the Administration’s decision making to ensure Paier community safety.

Covid Contingency Table

*Moving Average Percentage of Covid Testing Positivity Rates in CTOn Campus CapacityClass-Operation Plan
<1%Full Capacity= 75% of regular capacityFully On-Ground, Hybrid and Online Courses
1.1-3%50% CapacityHybrid and Online Courses
3.1-6%25% CapacityHybrid and Online Courses
6.1%0% CapacityFully Online Courses

*Table data is based on the moving average of Covid testing positivity rates in the State of Connecticut for 7 sustained days. The percentage represents the number of people tested on a given day who test positive out of the total tested daily population. Covid changes can be tracked at the Johns Hopkins Testing Tracker website:

Policy: If there is a positive case of Covid-19 on campus some or all classes will go fully online for 14 days with access to individual studio time by appointment only. Staff may continue to report to campus or remotely. If a staff member is Covid-positive the Covid-19 coordinators will contact trace and may have certain departments or classes operate remotely. Operations may continue normally after a 14-day quarantine period or after a negative result after 3 days.

I hope this information helps you feel much more comfortable in knowing that your Paier community is committed to doing everything we can together to minimize risk of transmission of COVID 19 while maintaining a creative, intuitive and positive overall experience for learning.

Please check regularly for updates as we will provide them throughout the period before the fall semester begins at

If you have any questions you may contact out Covid-19 Coordinator, Lynn Pascale at


Dr. Summer C. Amorosino


Paier College of Art


Good afternoon Paier Community,

As we all begin cautiously adjusting to the realities of the State of Connecticut reopening, I wanted to provide you with an update on some developments at Paier College of Art.

Antibody Testing

Over the past three weeks we have been working with Integrated Health Services to provide antibody testing for our students, faculty, and staff. As of Friday they were approved through the Department of Public Health and will begin testing as early as next week.

Initially we will begin offering the antibody testing registration to administrative staff that is already on campus, or those that are going to begin resuming their roles on site. We will then look to open the testing to students and faculty engaged in either of the summer sessions, beyond that we will open the testing to the entire community. This process is in place to prevent a bottleneck from forming while trying to move expeditiously.

Our Provost or your direct supervisor will reach out to you directly with the testing registration link once spots become available.

It is important to note that we are not mandating the testing for students, faculty, or staff; we are simply providing an expedited manner to get tested if you would like.

There is no copay and health insurers are required to pay for the testing. If you do not have health insurance, the link that will be provided to you will give you resources on how to sign up with the State of Connecticut’s HUSKY program. This will also allow you to get tested without any out of pocket costs.

Re-Opening Campus

As I alluded to in the previous section, we will begin resuming limited on-ground operations within the next few weeks. This will be limited to the administrative staff required to do intake and registration of new and existing students. If you need to visit campus you must call ahead and make an appointment first. This is to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff.

Looking forward, we will begin rolling out the protocol that was developed by our administration with guidance from the Connecticut Office of Higher Education by the end of the month. This will precede any students or faculty coming back on campus.

Additionally, to answer the question we have been receiving from students and faculty alike, Paier College of Art intends to resume all on-ground instruction in the fall. We will be taking precautions and will provide detailed updates to students and faculty over the course of the summer.

I hope everyone had a pleasant Memorial Day weekend and I look forward to providing you with updates within the next two weeks.


Joseph M. Bierbaum


Dear Paier Community,

As we come to the end of our semester I want to provide you with some insight into what the future holds at Paier College of Art throughout the summer, and looking forward to the fall semester. Before doing so, I want to start by thanking each of you for your resilience, cooperation, and understanding throughout the past two months. This has been an extremely trying transition for all of us and it has only been through each person’s sheer force of will that we have been able to make the situation tenable.

Last week the Governor announced opening procedures for colleges and universities in the State of Connecticut, this included a resumption of on-campus coursework for some schools as early as June 1st. With that being said, I do not anticipate resuming on-campus instruction until July, at the earliest, and that will consist of one Color and Design course. We are planning for all students to resume on-ground courses in the fall, as we recognize how especially vital studio experiences are to students, and will implement suggestions from the Governor’s office to ensure that faculty, students, and staff are safe. I will provide updates on any and all safety measures closer to the beginning of the semester.

In regards to this year’s graduation, after researching some inventive options to run our graduation this May, a poll of our graduates showed that the vast majority would prefer the full graduation at a later date. I will look to provide more definition to this timeline as we begin to see how the upcoming weeks of the State’s reopen effect conditions. While we will not have our graduation this month, that does not mean that we can’t celebrate our graduating seniors. Through social media and a virtual art show, we will be able to showcase each one of our graduates and their amazing transformation and growth over the course of their time at Paier College of Art. Additionally, the College will be providing each graduate with a matted and framed diploma to proudly display their achievement.

Finally, in light of the economic impact that this health crisis has had on students and their families, Paier College of Art will begin a program in which Title IV students registered in active courses will receive funds intended to provide additional financial security during this time. Students will need to opt-in to the program at which will become active on May 15, 2020. We expect to release funding evenly to all registered and active students as early as the end of the month. This will consist of those students registered for summer classes and beyond.

Separate from the above mentioned program, we will also be offering funds for students with extraordinary needs. These funds will need to be applied for independently and more information will be available through the link above.

I simply do not have the words to express my appreciation for everyone’s cooperation over the past month. We will all be back on campus soon and I sincerely look forward to walking the halls with all of you. Until that day, be healthy and safe.


Joseph M. Bierbaum



Dear Paier Community,

Today we will begin moving our classes on to the Blackboard learning platform. I know that this will be met with great trepidation on all sides, but in a few short days we will all begin to amend ourselves to the new “normal”. Your Blackboard logins will be sent to you today and your Student Advisors will call you to answer any questions you may have.

I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Zappalorti today, who said that he has been working on taping his courses. I say, if Zap is on board, then we can all make it work.

In an effort to ensure that all faculty and student concerns are being addressed in a timely manner, we will be gradually starting courses between Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and Monday, March 30, 2020. On Wednesday students in Effective Speaking and History of Contemporary Art will resume their coursework, this will be followed by all academic courses on Thursday, all courses utilizing the computer labs on Friday, and finally all studio art courses on Monday. These are our current guidelines and may be adjusted as the implementation is underway.

I would like to address some topics that we have regularly received questions about including:

Will seniors be able to graduate?

A big part of moving our courses online was to ensure that all of our students would still remain on track with their education. This includes our seniors, who will be able to graduate upon the successful completion of all of their courses this semester.

At the moment we have not cancelled the actual ceremony, while some colleges have. We are giving the situation in Connecticut time to develop and I cannot guarantee that it will occur as planned, but that is our goal at the moment.

What will happen to the art shows?

We are still developing our plan for both the Senior Show as well as the Spring Art Show. We are considering the possibility of a virtual show, but will look to provide further guidance next week.

How can I get access to Revit, Maya, or the Adobe suite if I don’t have it on my computer?

Your Student Advisor will explain this in further detail but, in short, we will provide each student with remote access to a certain computer in our labs during the time that your class would normally meet. This will allow students to utilize our existing desktops to work on their projects from home.

I will continue to communicate throughout the week to provide more guidance and answers to additional questions we receive. Until then, good luck to all of our students that will begin their first courses tomorrow.

Stay healthy and safe.


Joseph M. Bierbaum



Dear Paier College of Art Community,

Good evening, I hope this email finds you healthy and safe as the current health crisis has begun to reshape our day-to-day lives. The world is a different place than just one week ago when you left for spring break and the college has had to amend itself to the new realities that we are presented with. Tonight I will provide you with a quick overview of Paier’s efforts to address the situation.

Distance Education

Our Provost, Dr. Cerruto Amorosino, along with Dean DiStiso have been working tirelessly to build out all of the courses in Blackboard over the past week and half. This is a colossal undertaking and they deserve a lot of credit and our gratitude for what they have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time.

At the moment we are targeting Wednesday, March 25, 2020 for students to begin receiving their login credentials for Blackboard. This will be dependent upon how our faculty engagement with the platform goes tomorrow, so please look out for my email tomorrow night as I will provide final guidance on the timing of our implementation.

In the interim, I urge faculty and students to reach out to Dean DiStiso if there are any technological issues that will prevent you from engaging with the online coursework. We will remedy these issues on a case-by-case basis as quickly as possible.

Studio Courses

The college is adapting best practices for pursuing studio courses remotely to ensure the continued development of each student’s artistic skills. Each course will have a different approach depending on the subject matter and many of them will need to evolve over the coming weeks. Please be patient with the process as this will be new to both faculty and students.

If you have not been able to retrieve your current works or equipment from campus, please reach out to Dean DiStiso as soon as possible. We will be setting up individual times for students to come on campus as to reduce face-to-face interactions.

We have received questions from both students and faculty regarding how long it will be before we are all back on campus together. At the moment our only answers are indefinitely or until the end of the semester. I hope that neither of these are the result and that the health crisis abates and all can go back to normal sooner than later, but the college will continue to make our decisions in the best interest of the health and well-being of our entire community.

Until tomorrow, stay healthy and safe.


Joseph M. Bierbaum



Dear Paier Community,

Since my message to you on Friday, I have received a lot of questions. Many regard how Paier College of Art will continue to proceed as an academic institution and an employer, yet others are looking for our opinion on COVID-19 and the local, state, and federal efforts. Today I will take time to address both topics and provide an update to last week’s timeline.

A question that several staff members and myself have gotten is whether we are scared. There is little doubt that this situation is unlike one we have faced before and I can admit that there have been times where the pang of fear has left me feeling underprepared. All that can be done to move forward is to recognize that fear, and focus on what we can control. For every worried thought that we have, there is a way to address it, and that is all we can hope to control. Focus on your preventive measures, educate yourself on the disease, and talk to others about your fears. Once they are out in the open, and you know what elements you can control, you will find much needed areas of refuge and moments of solace.

Educating yourself on the disease can present its challenges, as many articles, social media posts, and news stories seem to provide conflicting information. It is because of this that we have compiled a fact sheet with links to official sources, which is available at We will continue to add to this as more studies provide insight into the situation, so check back often.


From an academic perspective we have begun to pursue the course of action that was outlined on Friday, March 13, 2020. Today we had our first faculty training on the Blackboard platform and look to be on target to begin resuming all courses on March 23rd. As we begin this transition we recognize that some students may lack the basic technology, a cell phone at minimum, to participate in class. I ask you to please reach out to the Dean ( ) immediately so that he can assist you in addressing this issue.

Staff on Campus

We are beginning to assess the possibility of select staff working remotely. Currently this is being addressed on a case-by-case basis, although Paier College of Art remains prepared to accelerate the transition for staff to work remotely should the Governor’s executive orders require it. In the meantime, our Provost and Dean will be asking for insight from each member of the staff regarding their preparedness to work remotely.

Visitors on Campus

Effective March 18, 2020, Paier College of Art will no longer be allowing prospective students on campus. Efforts to digitize the workflow in both financial aid and admissions are well underway and guidance will be provided directly by the Director of Enrollment and the Director of Financial Aid. This measure is being taken to continue to reduce face-to-face interactions on campus. It is also important to note that all staff and faculty pay checks and stubs will be mailed home each week rather than available for pick up on campus.

Vendors, students, and faculty are asked to call ahead prior to visiting the campus unless they have already been scheduled to be on campus.

I will continue to provide updates all week, so please continue to direct any questions to the Dean, as I will look to answer some of them in each communication.

Thank you all for your patience and continue to be safe.


Joseph M. Bierbaum



We’re an institution preparing students for professional careers in art and marketing, Paier College is committed to a program of learning and services that provides intensive practice in art skills and other areas of study leading to diploma and certificate awards.