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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Latest Update: April 7, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

We received good news this week in the form of Governor Newsom's plan to lift many COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions on June 15.

This announcement is welcome. At the same time, it includes caveats. The governor's announcement is based on continuing progress towards vaccination while keeping hospitalization numbers low.

Specific to higher education, we will continue to be bound by Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards and public health guidelines. Those have not changed since September 2020 and continue to be highly restrictive on how we utilize classroom, laboratory, and gathering spaces.

We recognize the confusion created when the policy headlines do not match today's reality. We are continuing to work with our advocacy team to get as much clarity as possible as soon as possible.

Until we get state guidance, our plan will remain the same – limited on-site classes and services. Most employees will continue to work from home, and most students will continue to learn from home.

I thank you for your continued resilience in the face of constant change. Please know that we are all working to provide certainty for our students and communities before we make commitments to be available in person.

Be well,
John Weispfenning, Ph.D.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the colleges open?

Coastline College, Golden West College, and Orange Coast College are holding the vast majority of courses online through spring 2021. All departments and offices are in operation to support students virtually, with limited in-person services available.

Has the virus spread from an infected person to others on site?

Given widespread infection in surrounding communities, it is difficult to determine an exact path of transmission for any positive case. To mitigate spread, the Coast District is keeping the number of people at our sites low, requiring that masks be worn on site, and taking steps to maintain distance between those on site.

What is the process for reporting a suspected case of the virus?

All students, faculty, classified and confidential staff, and management are encouraged to be aware and direct about their own health. If you have new and unexplained fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, other breathing difficulties, fatigue, stomach illness, loss of smell or taste, or other feelings of being unwell, you should notify your dean (faculty) or supervisor (staff/management). Students may choose to notify the Health Center or inform a trusted individual who will notify the Health Center and President's Office. For employees, the initial point of contact (dean or supervisor) is responsible for notifying HR. Your point of contact and HR will reach out to you as needed for follow up. If you are feeling unwell, do not come to campus or visit a District site for any reason. Report to your dean or supervisor by phone or email.

Will I be notified of a potential exposure?

Yes. With any suspected or positive case, contacts will be traced and close contacts will be notified. Per the California Department of Public Health: "A close contact is someone who spent 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of an individual with COVID-19 infection during their infectious period, which includes, at a minimum, the 48 hours before the individual developed symptoms." HR, risk management, and public safety – in consultation with the Orange County Health Care Agency – work with departments and may take additional precautionary steps to mitigate any potential exposures while waiting on testing results. Facilities will work with experts to identify and deep clean affected work areas and shared spaces.

How long is the quarantine period after a potential exposure?

The Coast District is continuing to apply the 14-day self-isolation standard for any documented or suspected exposure to COVID-19 (and any non-essential travel). Fourteen days of isolation remains the clearest and safest standard to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Coast District will evaluate this and other precautions as new information is available.

Will I be provided the name of the person who was confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19?

No. State and federal privacy laws strictly limit the Coast District's ability to share personal health information. Accordingly, the Coast District is not allowed to disclose an employee's health status to colleagues. Any notification will be made in a way that protects the individual's privacy to the extent possible.

When and how can I get vaccinated?

The Orange County Health Care Agency has recently opened access to COVID-19 vaccination to those working in education. If you have not created or reviewed an Othena profile recently, now is the time. Othena is the vaccine appointment management system used by Orange County. By signing up as a first-time user, or signing in to the website through the patient login, faculty and staff will be prompted to identify your connection to education. At this time, the limited supply of vaccine is being reserved for those who work in education, though students may be eligible based on other factors.

  • Do I need to wait on Othena, the scheduling system for Orange County?

    No. There are several vaccine distribution channels available at this time: through the state, county or city where you live, local pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and independent health care providers. Please explore all your options. Take the first appointment that works for you.
  • Will the Coast District be prioritizing who has access to the vaccine?

    The District has no control over vaccine supply. Orange County is setting aside a portion of new doses for those in education. Appointments are opening up through multiple venues as supply becomes available. All faculty, classified and confidential staff, and management are eligible.
  • Now that there are multiple options, which vaccine should I choose?

    Health experts continue to say that the difference between vaccines is less important than the difference between being protected versus unprotected.
  • Is an employment verification letter required to get a vaccine?

    You are not required to have an employment verification letter in order to get the vaccine. You may use a District-issued ID card or your paystub alongside a government ID establishing identity.
  • Is there a special code to be prioritized for a vaccine appointment?

    Some counties outside of Orange are using priority codes or digital QR codes to identify priority groups. The District has not been provided with any priority codes or QR codes to date. The District will update employees if and when those become available.

Who can I contact for additional information?

The HR department at your site is the best point of contact for information on reporting, notifications, and leave for employees. The Student Health Centers manage student cases – and are also available to address general questions about the virus and individual health.

Please start with these contacts for HR-specific questions:

Coastline College:
Renate Akins
Director, Human Resources

Golden West College:
Danielle Heinbuch
Director, Human Resources

Orange Coast College:
Rebecca Morgan
Director, Human Resources

District Office:
Crystal Crane
Executive Director, Human Resources

Or contact your Student Health Center:

Updated March 5, 2021

Additional Resources