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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates:

Coastline College, Golden West College, and Orange Coast College will resume online or remotely-taught classes on Monday, March 30—with counseling and advising provided by phone, email, and online for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. In general, student support, academic support, and administrative services will be provided at a distance, except for limited functions that cannot be performed remotely. The colleges remain closed to the public, with only authorized individuals on site.

 Message from the Chancellor, March 25, 2020

 

Quick Links:


Student Health Centers:


Helpful Tips:

  • Try to keep at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.
  • Minimize face-to-face meetings (use email, telephone calls, and video conferencing as alternatives)
  • Avoid sharing equipment whenever possible
  • Limit congregating in workrooms and other areas where people socialize
  • If a face-to-face meeting is unavoidable, minimize the meeting time, choose a large meeting room, and sit at least 3 feet from one another, if possible
  • Avoid person-to-person contact such as shaking hands
  • Consider cancelling non-essential trainings and workshops

If you have a question, comment, or concern, please submit below.

April 3, 2020

MESSAGE FROM THE CHANCELLOR, COVID-19 UPDATE

There are a handful of defining moments in our shared human journey that uproot current understanding and plant the seeds for what is to follow. The COVID-19 outbreak is one of those moments, affecting nearly every aspect of our lives and our social fabric. 
In the midst of great change, it is our nature to try and fill in the unknowns. At the Coast Community College District that might include asking “How will the campuses being closed affect my department?” and “If the campuses don’t reopen this semester, what will that do to enrollment?”

While those questions are on our minds, this emergency requires a sharp focus on immediate issues of health, safety, and mission. That has meant making the difficult call to close the campuses, transitioning employees to remote work plans, moving face-to-face classes online, providing additional technology resources, and restarting spring semester. Next up is bringing spring semester to a successful close and addressing what the Colleges will be doing for the summer term to be followed by fall.

Beyond that, many of our decisions about the future will depend on how our state and national leaders respond. At this point, what we know about the budget impact of COVID-19 is that there will be an impact. We have no information more specific than that. It’s just too early to provide realistic estimates.

This is all taking place in context of the retirement incentive, hiring freeze, and other steps to ensure the financial health of Coast. While this combination intensifies the sense of uncertainty, I continue to believe that the right approach for our Colleges and District is to give those who can the opportunity to retire a bit earlier than planned, recognizing all that they have accomplished, while giving others who remain the opportunity to experience new roles.

I appreciate the shared commitment and extraordinary effort it took to get back online this week. This has demonstrated that we are capable of managing great change. I put my trust in you—in your courage, in your talents, and in your shared dedication to our students.

Be well, 
John Weispfenning, Ph.D.
Chancellor
  

March 19, 2020

Video Message Text: As COVID-19 continues to spread, and Orange County has instituted strong social isolation steps, the Coast Community College District—our managers, faculty, and classified staff—have remained engaged in monitoring, planning, and working to ensure the continuity of education that is our mission. As a sign of just how much and how fast things are developing, just two days ago, in the first of these videos, I said that we planned to resume classes on March 30th. A few hours after recording that message, Orange County Public Health officials announced a large effort to have individuals stay home as much as possible to minimize the spread of the virus. Those instructions were put in place until April first. As we now look at the remainder of the spring semester and at the upcoming summer session, I want to assure students that we are planning to resume and complete the spring semester for online classes, along with classes that have been shifted to online, and those classes that can and will be shifted online in the next few weeks. For those classes that require significantly more time to move to online instruction, we expect to make decisions in the coming days about how to proceed. At each turn, the virus has infected more, and public health experts tell us that won’t be changing in the near future. I recognize the heavy toll this is taking on the students, faculty, classified staff, and managers in the District, as well as of the families who are connected to this District. Practicing social distancing and isolation isn’t easy—it goes against our core instincts—but it can help to keep you and others safe. I want to thank those employees who are working onsite, coordinating planning and operations, and keeping our district and campus facilities maintained and secure. Your work is essential to the future of the district. I also want to thank those employees who are working from home and those who remain ready to assist when you are called upon. Your dedication and willingness to help—and your support for others—is important to all of us. Finally, I want to point out that our current planning relies on work done by our information technology professionals who have been developing the capacity for instructional and operational continuity in the case of a disaster or crisis. Shifting hundreds of people from our campuses and facilities to working from home in just a few days has presented its challenges, but without the hard work of those in the technology field—and our faculty and staff who have worked with them—this shift would be impossible. We all should join in thanking our IT professionals and technology innovators at the Colleges and District. I certainly offer my sincerest appreciation. Together, we can and will get through this time of challenge and change. Be well.

March 18, 2020

Video Message Text: Hello. I am John Weispfenning, Chancellor of the Coast Community College District. In order to protect the health and safety of our students and employees, the District and its facilities are closed including Orange Coast College, Golden West College, and Coastline College. We have suspended classes for the week of March 16th through the 20th. And March 23rd through the 27th will be Spring Break, as previously scheduled. Our intention at this time is to resume instruction on March 30th. However, if that should need to change due to the quickly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19 updates will be emailed and communicated to employees and students. To employees of the Coast District and its colleges, thank you. I appreciate your good work, flexibility, and kindness over these past few weeks. I am asking you to work from home or stay home and await instructions from your supervisor. Except for a few of you who are needed to keep our facilities maintained and secure, all classified staff, faculty, and managers should follow the guidance of public health officials and minimize your trips away from home. At this time, no employee will be charged for leave related to COVID-19, as long as the employee is in work-from-home status or waiting for instructions. The Coast Community College District has a legacy that stretches back 73 years. Our three colleges, Orange Coast College, Golden West College and Coastline College have served the communities of our district by preparing students for productive and fulfilling lives. We are internationally-known as colleges that produce high-achieving alumni and create opportunities to improve our county and beyond. I know you join with me and our trustees in a shared commitment to maintaining our important role for our communities and our students. Thank you.


March 16, 2020

All Coast District campuses and facilities (CC, OCC, GWC, and District Office) are closed immediately through March 30. Faculty, management, and staff are to stay home. Faculty may continue work to prepare courses for alternative formats. Management should work from home to the extent possible. Classified and confidential staff are to await work instructions. This is out of an abundance of caution resulting from a suspected (unconfirmed) case of COVID-19 at OCC. Those potentially exposed have been contacted. Please communicate any questions or concerns by email to your immediate supervisor or dean. Additional communication will follow starting tomorrow.


March 15, 2020

Dear Coast Faculty,

With a growing level of concern due to COVID-19, all onsite and online classes will be suspended beginning March 16 through March 20 out of an abundance of caution, followed by Spring Break the week after as planned. This will allow faculty to get the training and preparation they need to transition to online instruction for students. The sole exception to the suspension is Coastline College’s eight-week online military contract education program, which will conclude as scheduled.

While there have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Coast Community College District, all campuses and facilities are closed to students and the general public. These steps are being taken to protect the health and welfare of our students, employees, and the community out of an abundance of caution.

Classified staff and management are asked to report to work to finalize continuity plans and support faculty efforts to move classes online following Spring Break. Removing students and the public will dramatically reduce the number of people at our Colleges, allowing for increased social distancing for remaining faculty and staff.

These steps should give us additional flexibility with how we handle this quickly evolving public health emergency, and we should be in a better position to accommodate the needs of students and employees who have children or are at high risk (or have family members at high risk).

If you need to take leave for any COVID-19 related reason, please take care of these needs and communicate to your dean that this is due to the outbreak. For now, we must operate under existing policies and processes—including family and emergency leave. State and federal relief, currently being considered, may provide additional leave options in the very near future.

Your efforts are essential to educating students should the emergency continue. We look to your creativity and expertise in crafting ways to sustain our educational mission should the emergency extend past Spring Break. Please check your email for further information or go to cccd.edu/virus for updates.

Sincerely,

John Weispfenning, Ph.D.
Chancellor

March 15, 2020

Dear Coast Staff and Management, 

While there have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Coast Community College District, all campuses and facilities are closed to students and the general public effective immediately. All classes, including online, are suspended beginning March 16 through March 20 out of an abundance of caution, followed by Spring Break the week after as planned. The sole exception to the suspension is Coastline’s eight-week online military contract education program, which will conclude as scheduled. These steps are being taken to protect the health and welfare of our students, employees, and the community out of an abundance of caution.

Classified staff and management are asked to report to work this week as we finalize continuity plans and prepare classes to move online following Spring Break. Removing students and the public will dramatically reduce the number of people at our Colleges, allowing for increased social distancing for remaining faculty and staff.

I know that many of us will have children home from school or other family members needing care. While you are asked to be at work, this is an emergency situation. Do what you must for the wellbeing of yourselves and your families. Then do all that you can for students and colleagues.

If you need to take leave for any COVID-19 related reason, please take care of these needs and communicate to your manager that this is due to the outbreak. For now, we must operate under existing policies and processes—including family and emergency leave. State and federal relief, currently being considered, may provide additional leave options in the very near future. 

When filling out absence sheets, please note any leave due to COVID-19. Documentation will help us ensure that our staff benefit from changes as federal, state, and local rules catch up to this emergency.

Please know your work is essential—and we want your input in how we prepare for the challenges to follow. Continue to check your email for further information or go to cccd.edu/virus for updates.

Sincerely,

John Weispfenning, Ph.D.
Chancellor

March 12, 2020

Hello Coast Colleagues,

In yesterday’s communication, I committed to notifying you of developments. There are two issues that emerged since that email, which include new guidance on events and further clarification on travel.

EVENTS: We have received new guidance from Gov. Newsom and the California Department of Public Health “that gatherings with 250 people or more should be rescheduled or canceled. Smaller gatherings can proceed if organizers implement 6 feet of social distancing.”

The Coast District will follow this guidance and take the following steps:

  • All events, regardless of size, should consider alternatives to in-person gatherings.
  • Gatherings of 250 people or more should be cancelled, changed to an alternative format, or postponed until May at the earliest.
  • Rare exceptions may be granted by me or a College President in cases of mission-critical activities that cannot be carried out in any other way.
  • Those events that continue in March and April must demonstrate steps taken to protect the health of students, employees, and guests.
This guidance applies to College-sponsored events, District-sponsored events, and external events.

TRAVEL: Most major gatherings are being called off globally. It is reasonable to assume that any event scheduled for the next two months could be the next to cancel or postpone. Therefore, I am asking that no new air travel be booked through April 15. Hotels may be booked at the fully refundable rate. We are looking at other travel options and will provide additional guidance for travel within the next week. Travel that is already approved can proceed, provided the scheduled event occurs and follows the guidance from March 10.

Please check with your College President’s Office if you have specific questions on events or travel.

I realize the significance of these steps and the difficulties they will cause. Curtailing our activities will have a real and painful impact on our educational, professional, outreach, community engagement, and entrepreneurial efforts.

Every activity of our College and District is essential to those we serve, yet we must balance that against the potential health risks—both for those attending and all they subsequently come in contact with.

Thank you,

John Weispfenning, Ph.D.
Chancellor    

March 11, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

State and local guidance in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing by the hour. This is putting a great deal of pressure on everyone, but it is important that we take steps now to protect our students, peers, and communities. This includes lowering the number of close interactions that occur at our Colleges to protect those who are most vulnerable (those over the age of 60 and those with underlying health issues).

Today, the District COVID-19 Response Task Force met, and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office held a call offering guidance to help us mitigate exposure to COVID-19. Statewide leadership asked that we take immediate steps to limit exposure while minimizing impact to the education of our students. To achieve this balance, our Colleges continue to be open as we take immediate steps to limit the number of gatherings.

INSTRUCTION: Site-based, in-person classes that are ready and able should switch to an alternative format starting next week (the week of March 16). Those site-based, in-person classes that are not able to change format immediately should continue to meet next week as scheduled. Alternative format classes (including online instruction) should also continue as usual.

Most classes should prepare to use an alternative format after Spring Break. Some courses will need to continue in person if alternative instruction is not possible, (e.g., laboratory, performing-arts, and physical-education courses). Social distancing options should be considered for these courses. We will provide ongoing support to faculty who need training.

As class formats shift, we will all need to be as flexible as possible, kind, and helpful to students—putting their needs first.

SOCIAL DISTANCING: While the Colleges remain open at this time, the District encourages switching planned events to alternative formats if possible. Please take advantage of existing tools, like ZOOM, that can shift as many activities as possible online. Student support functions and operations will continue with heightened awareness around social distance, hand washing, taking care when coughing, and staying home when sick.

TRAVEL: Faculty, staff, and students are discouraged from travel to protect community health. If you need to cancel a planned work trip, please refer to the guidance from yesterday’s (March 10) email. Travel is banned to countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea as of March 11).

The risk in Orange County continues to be believed to be low and the majority of our students seem to be in a demographic that generally has good health outcomes. Yet, we know there are many who are vulnerable should the outbreak worsen. 
The Coast Colleges are taking urgent steps in order to reduce the risk to students, employees, and our families. The urgency of this pandemic requires us to act quickly. As things change, we’ll keep you informed.

Sincerely,

John Weispfenning, Ph.D.
Chancellor

March 11, 2020

Below describes what employees need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and general information around what to do if you or a colleague have symptoms. You’ll also find guidance regarding what to do if you or a colleague need time off.

PURPOSE:
The Coast Community College District is actively monitoring the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and is committed to fulfilling our duty to provide a safe work and educational environment.  The best way to achieve this goal is to work together to minimize the spread of illness by staying home when sick and practicing good hygiene.  Along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the District recommends that individuals wash their hands frequently, maintain social distance, avoid touching of the eyes, nose and mouth and practice good respiratory hygiene. There may be times when an employee or student presents with visible signs of illness.  We hope this guidance will help you to take the appropriate steps to help keep our community safe.

OVERALL:
All employees, students, members of the general public, and vendors shall be treated with courtesy and respect.  A person’s risk for COVID-19 depends on a variety of factors that do not relate to the person’s race or ethnicity.  As a reminder, the District prohibits all forms of discrimination. Caution should be exercised to ensure that actions are not taken against faculty, staff, and students based on their national origin, as that would be unlawful. Retaliation or discrimination against any employee who requests or uses paid sick days is prohibited.  The District is also committed to maintaining confidentiality per state and federal privacy laws including HIPAA.  

GUIDELINES:
The District is committed to maintaining a safe and secure workplace.  Social distancing is a public health safety intervention used to reduce the likelihood of transmitting communicable disease.  Social distancing involves minimizing exposure by adhering to spacing requirements in the workplace and following proper personal hygiene practices.  

Employees who have symptoms associated with COVID-19 (flu-like symptoms, cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches or feel ill) and/or have travelled to or through, in the last 14 days, to an area identified as a Level 3 Travel Health Notice are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4℉ or greater), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).  Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick. 

Managers can require an employee to leave work and go home if the employee is showing signs of symptoms associated with COVID-19 (flu-like symptoms, cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches or feel ill) and/or has travelled to or through, in the last 14 days, to an area identified as a Level 3 Travel Health Notice. Managers must work with their site HR Directors before sending any employee home.  Employees may be asked to utilize their available leave balances and provide a return to work authorization. If those balances are exhausted, the site HR Directors will work with the employee to determine appropriate leave designation. Please submit all doctors’ notes received during this time period to the site HR Directors so the appropriate leave can be determined with the employee. Temporary employees (short-term temporary, student assistants, professional experts) also have leave available to them, up to 24 hours in a fiscal year.

If employees need time off to care for their spouse, child or parent who has symptoms associated with COVID-19 or has been quarantined, they may apply for Family Medical Leave or use family illness leave. Employees should contact their site HR Director for more information.  Under the respective collective bargaining agreements, Faculty and Classified staff have a provision for quarantine leave, where employees will continue to receive remuneration from the District at a regular rate of pay for a period which the employee is quarantined by city or county health officers.  Managers and Confidentials have this same provision under Board Policy.

Employees who believe they may have possibly been exposed to the virus at work should immediately inform their supervisor and seek medical attention directly.  A situation of work-site exposure would likely qualify as a Workers’ Compensation claim.  Please coordinate this claim with your site HR Directors. 

Payroll Services has asked, that during this time period, absence forms be turned in according to the collective bargaining agreements terms, but no less than weekly. Payroll will accept absence reports electronically and managers can submit absence reports on behalf of employees during their absence.  

Faculty who have students in their classroom that show signs of symptoms associated with COVID-19 (flu-like symptoms, cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches or feel ill) and/or have travelled to or through, in the last 14 days, an area identified as a Level 3 Travel Health Notice, please have them call or send them to the site Student Health Center for further evaluation.  Coastline students should call MemorialCare or their personal healthcare provider. 

As an additional response measure, the District is evaluating the possibilities of telecommuting, as appropriate.  Managers are not to allow employees to telecommute until direction is received by the District. 

SUMMARY:
Suggestions and concerns regarding these guidelines are welcome at any time and may be directed to the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources or his designee. 

Dr. Marco Baeza, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources

March 10, 2020

Dear Coast Colleagues,

It is natural to feel uneasy about Coronavirus (COVID-19) as the guidance from national, state, and local health agencies evolves from day to day and even hour to hour. I appreciate both your patience as we navigate a districtwide response to these changes, and your support for colleagues who may be directly or indirectly affected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OC Health Care Agency released new guidance on travel. Individuals who are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 should avoid crowds and non-essential air travel. These are older adults (ages 60 and higher) as well as people who have serious, chronic medical conditions (like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease).

If you are over 60 or have a serious, chronic medical condition, you are encouraged to follow this guidance. That may mean cancelling travel for work, research, or professional development. Managers received an email earlier today describing what needs to be done in case of a cancellation. If you are cancelling travel due to medical guidance, please:

  • Notify your immediate supervisor
  • Seek a refund from organizers, airlines, hotels, and others
  • Submit a travel reimbursement for all costs incurred by you, noting that the travel did not happen due to medical guidance

These steps also apply in the case of a conference or scheduled meeting being cancelled by the organizer due to health concerns.

The California Department of Public Health also advises that students, faculty, or staff who have a travel history over the course of the last 14 days to an area identified by the CDC as having a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea as of March 10) should avoid coming to campus and stay home until the 14-day period concludes.

Please work with your manager should you need to be excused and notify your Office of Instruction should a student report possible exposure or other concerns.

Thank you,

John Weispfenning, Ph.D.
Chancellor

March 9, 2020

Dear Coast Colleagues,

Last week, as part of the News Brief, there was an update on districtwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) response planning. You can expect to see weekly updates in future News Briefs with as-needed communication of significant developments.

I continue to appreciate the work of our districtwide experts and employee representatives on the COVID-19 Response Task Force, all of whom are helping us think through next steps as we prepare for whatever might come our way. 

As an important early step, the Task Force completed a review and update of our districtwide Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan. We will continue to make planning documents and notifications available on the District website.

Based on current guidance, Human Resources and our Offices of Instruction are looking at policies for employees and students to ensure that we are supporting those who may need to take an extended absence.

For now, the basic precautions—frequent hand washing, being careful when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when sick—continue to make the most sense in protecting against an outbreak at our Colleges.

I understand and share the concerns that many have expressed. This is a serious situation. It is in these testing times that we most rely on the counsel of experts and our shared capacity to plan ahead.

Sincerely,

John Weispfenning, Ph.D.
Chancellor

March 5, 2020

Late yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency in California to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the recent strain of Coronavirus.

While the California Department of Public Health continues to state that the health risk from COVID-19 to the general public remains low at this time, the governor’s proclamation includes provisions to protect consumers and to provide more flexibility for health providers. The governor also directed the California Office of Emergency Services to develop school-specific guidelines by March 10.

The Orange County Health Care Agency has issued the following guidance:
  • Risk of infection to public in Orange County is believed to be low
  • At this time, there is no recommendation to cancel business or social events
  • All residents should practice good health hygiene 

Good health hygiene includes: washing your hands, staying home if you are sick, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve (not hands).

To support the health of our colleges and communities, the Coast Community College District has formed a COVID-19 Response Task Force comprised of experts from among our faculty and staff along with stakeholder representatives. The group is updating and expanding the existing districtwide emergency plan for disease outbreaks. The group will inform ongoing communications and suggest next steps for a variety of possible developments.

Partial information and misinformation can lead people to feel overwhelmed and contribute to individuals tuning out necessary communications, overwhelming the healthcare system, or stigmatizing groups of people. 

Aside from good health hygiene, the most important actions we can take right now are to plan and engage in a calm and informative manner.

February 27, 2020 

As you may be aware, the County of Orange declared a local emergency and local health emergency on February 26, 2020, to prepare for COVID-19, commonly referred to as novel coronavirus. The declaration assists the County in accessing resources to prepare for a possible outbreak in Orange County if one were to occur.

Currently, there has only been one confirmed case in Orange County and that individual has recovered. Additionally, there is no evidence that person-to-person transmission has occurred in Orange County, and the risk of infection to the public is believed to be low

To minimize potential infections, the Centers for Disease Control recommends everyday preventive actions (no elevated procedures/recommendations): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

To help further prevent the spread of respiratory illness, such as the common cold and flu, the District Office is carrying out the following:

  • Posting flyers on good hygiene posted in common areas (restrooms, break rooms)

  • Making stationary hand sanitizers available in each wing

  • Enhancing the cleaning/disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces

  • Planning for potential impacts to districtwide operations

  • Sending ongoing notifications 

The Coast Community College District is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace and learning environment. We will continue to implement guidelines and inform staff of updates as directed by local, state, and federal agencies. 

If you seek further resources, the following links provide accurate information on COVID-19. 


February 4, 2020 

There are a limited number of cases in the United States, with one reported in Orange County. While individual guidance to use common preventative measures remains the same, the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has issued guidance specific to schools, colleges, and universities.

https://newsroom.ocde.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/School-Guidance-February-1-2020.pdf

Certain U.S. airports are quarantining travelers returning from China. While John Wayne Airport, Orange County is not on that list, the HCA does advise voluntary self-quarantine for 14 days. A student or employee who traveled to the affected regions, especially if ill or exposed, should immediately call their healthcare provider.

If advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, please notify your employer and/or instructors by email.

It is important to note that while new viruses often generate headlines, any form of the common cold or flu can be detrimental to health or fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a high level of flu activity in the U.S. for the next several weeks.

The CDC provides a list of steps to take to avoid the flu, beginning with vaccination. While no vaccine currently exists for the coronavirus, common preventative steps used to limit flu outbreaks may reduce risk of exposure and spread:

  • Stay at home if you are sick and call ahead before going to your healthcare provider
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeves (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, immediately throw used tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/index.html