Previous COVID-19 messaging

Previous COVID-19 messaging

3-19-2020 President's message: spring quarter start dates

Big Bend students,

Many questions are being asked about the start of the spring quarter and how Big Bend will be delivering classes. Moving forward, our college will continue into the spring quarter operating on our present restricted schedule and offering all classes possible online. Those classes that cannot be taught online (labs, clinicals, and workforce education programs) will continue to be taught face-to-face while adhering to the social distancing mandates stipulated by Governor Jay Inslee.

Spring quarter’s official start is March 30; however, not all classes will begin at this time. Some instructors will be moving their start dates back a week in order to prepare and migrate their course content to an online format. A list of available academic classes and their start dates can be found HERE. Classes are listed in alphabetical and numerical order. You can easily search using CTRL+F and searching by course number.

This information will also be located on the college’s COVID-19 webpage.

In areas where face-to-face instruction will take place, increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols are in place to ensure those areas are sanitized multiple times each day. We continue to ask all students who still come to campus to make responsible choices to protect themselves and those around them:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds. Or, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean your hands afterward with soap or a hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t share food and drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

I thank you for your continued patience and vigilance as we move forward with trying to continue our mission of educating students, while also acting as a good community partner trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I know that these times are confusing and challenging, but Big Bend will continue to do its best to make you successful.

 

3-18-2020 President's message

Effective Thursday, March 19, Big Bend Community College will begin instituting additional preventative measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our campus community and the public.

After careful consideration of the concerns of the campus community, and in consultation with the BBCC Executive team, I have decided to minimize our employees’ face-to-face interactions with the public by offering as many resources as possible remotely to our current and future students.

This operational status will take different forms in different departments, and your supervisors will further detail what this means for you. Each of you has the option to continue to come to work on campus daily without interaction with the public, to work from home remotely, or a combination of the two.

The college will continue to operate this way until further notice.

College leadership wants to be as flexible as possible with you and ensure that you have the necessary resources to perform your work remotely if you choose or to provide a safe environment where recommended social distancing can be practiced while you work on campus.

In addition, I am encouraging everyone to practice responsible social distancing by moving all in-person campus meetings to an online format through Zoom, conference calls, or other formats.

The health and safety of our campus community directly influences our ability to fulfill the college’s mission of student success through excellence in teaching and learning, and I made this decision with that in mind. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try to navigate our current situation and the impact that COVID-19 is having on our daily lives and the lives of our students.

These are unchartered waters but with your continued support and feedback, I am confident that we can continue to find a balance between serving our students to the best of our ability and providing a safe, healthy, and secure environment for our employees to do so.

3-17-2020 President's message

Good morning Big Bend colleagues and trustees,

During this time of uncertainty, we continue monitoring the constant changes regarding COVID-19 via updates in the media.  Beginning today, we are offering online all classes that can be delivered in that format. Other instructional activities (e.g., labs, clinicals, etc.) will exercise social distancing and other health practices consistent with federal, state, and county restrictions. Cabinet and others are meeting this afternoon to continue preparing for the next few weeks and decisions that are ahead.

The trustees have called a special meeting today at 4:00 p.m. to discuss our plans. Our COVID-19 webpage is updated with current information from the Governor and the Grant County Health District. We are postponing this month’s Birthday/Service Award event (Thursday 3/19) to a future date to exercise appropriate caution about gathering as a group.

As we check the constantly changing situation and strive to make decisions with health and education at the forefront, I urge you to make good decisions for yourselves and your loved ones:

  1. Anyone feeling unwell, caring for someone with symptoms at home, etc. should stay home.
  2. Anyone who feels uncomfortable on campus and wants to telecommute should talk with their supervisor about options that are posted on the HR portal page.
  3. If you can attend meetings via Zoom to reduce contact with others, please do so.

This crisis is an opportunity to spend more time at home and out of the public as much as possible. We will get through this together.

“Predicting the opportunity and adversity you’ll experience is an impossible task.

Responding to them is your life’s task.” — Brian Kight

 

3-13-2020 President's message: restricted operating schedule

Good afternoon Big Bend students, employees, and trustees,

In a press conference Friday afternoon, Governor Jay Inslee ordered the statewide closure of all public and private K-12 schools and placed restrictions on face-to-face instruction at college and university campuses beginning Tuesday, March 17 and continuing through Friday, April 24.

Big Bend Community College will follow this order and restrict normal operations beginning Tuesday, March 17. Our college will still operate on a regular schedule on Monday, March 16, and we ask all students and employees to follow their normal school and work schedules. Instructors will provide more information about completing the winter quarter at this time. We encourage students who are not on campus Monday to contact their instructors about next steps.

During this six-week period, college operations will continue and our college will be open for business. We also ask employees to follow their normal schedules on Monday. More information about continuity of operations will be available at that time from supervisors.

We understand that there are currently many questions about our situation, and we will continue to provide regular updates as our situation evolves. College officials appreciate your continued patience and support as we make final plans for the completion of the winter quarter and adjustments to our spring quarter schedule.

3-12-2020 President's message

Big Bend Campus Community,

On the recommendation of the most recent update from the Grant County Health District, Big Bend will comply with the proclamation issued by Governor Jay Inslee yesterday by practicing social distancing and canceling all public events scheduled on our campus that would include 250 or more participants beginning today through Monday, April 13th.

We will continue to re-evaluate the decision and act accordingly based on the most current information.

While there are still no positive cases of COVID-19 in Grant County or within our campus community, the health and safety students, faculty, and staff remain at the center of all our decision-making. The choice to practice social distancing and canceling large events and gatherings was made with this in mind.

As of today, the Grant County Health District is still not recommending the closure of our campus. However, the planning and logistics of making this possible decision in the near future are underway. The college has convened an emergency operations group that is focused on continuity of operations should we have to close our campus.

The current messaging for our campus community continues to be to practice good personal hygiene habits in order to protect yourself and those around you. These are the things that we all have personal control over and can help us curb the spread of germs through our community.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds. Or, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean your hands afterward with soap or a hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t share food and drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

Thank you all for your continued work and focus on success during the current situation we are facing as it relates to COVID-19. The is new territory for the majority of us, and I will continue to keep you updated as this very fluid situation continues to evolve.

3-9-2020 President's message

Good morning Big Bend Campus Community,

Big Bend learned Sunday evening that the Grant County Health District (GCHD) asked an employee of the college to self-quarantine for 14 days for possible exposure to COVID-19. The possible exposure happened late in February, and the employee is asymptomatic. GCHD officials have said that our college does not need to do anything further at this time.

These preventative steps are being taken out of an “abundance of caution” to protect the Big Bend Campus Community. The employee is not experiencing coronavirus symptoms and therefore does not qualify for coronavirus testing at this time per federal and state guidelines. The college is committed to 100-percent transparency concerning COVID-19 and our campus community, and we will continue to communicate updates as timely as possible.

A big “thank you” to members of the Big Bend custodial staff who jumped into action quickly this morning disinfecting and sanitizing the limited area where the employee had contact.

Please be diligent in practicing good personal hygiene habits to protect yourself and those around you. These practices continue to be the best way that you can protect yourself and your fellow community members:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds. Or, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean your hands afterward with soap or a hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t share food and drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

I will continue to update you as our local situation evolves. Please know that all decisions are being made with the safety of the campus community as our highest priority.

 

3-11-2020 President's message

Good morning Big Bend Campus Community,

This is a quick follow-up to my last communication with an update on the Big Bend employee who was asked to self-quarantine by the Grant County Health District. We spoke with the employee this morning and are happy to report that the employee is still asymptomatic. The Grant County Health District (GCHD) is still not recommending any further action from the college.

The GCHD is providing daily updates on its website with the most recent (March 10 at 6 p.m.) being that there has still been only one positive case of COVID-19 in Grant County. A table containing updated case numbers for Grant County can also be found there.

The messaging for our campus community continues to be to practice good personal hygiene habits in order to protect yourself and those around you.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds. Or, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean your hands afterward with soap or a hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t share food and drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

Thank you for everything that you are doing to help us be safe and successful during this time. Your health and safety continue to be our top priority.

 

3-5-2020 President's message

Big Bend students, faculty, staff, and trustees:

Good afternoon! I am writing to provide an update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) as it relates to our campus community. As of this communication, one person in Grant County has tested presumptive positive. A second suspected case at Samaritan Hospital tested negative. Health authorities have lifted quarantines for those exposed to that patient. So far no one in our campus community is known to have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive.

The situation concerning the worldwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is rapidly evolving. Governor Inslee has declared a state of emergency for our state as a growing number of cases have been identified.

If you are feeling anxious and uncertain, please know that we are working collaboratively and aggressively to safeguard our campus. My primary focus remains on the safety and well-being of our campus community. Our State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers “Coping with Stress during an Infectious Disease Outbreak” as a resource for employees who want to view it.

In our age of social media, rumors and false information can easily to make their way into our lives and heighten our anxieties during uncertain times. There is no denying that COVID-19 is threatening, but I caution you not to panic when your neighbor coughs or sneezes. We are still in the middle of cold and flu season, and both of these diseases share many of the same symptoms with COVID-19.

We are well served by focusing on the facts and actions we can take to protect ourselves. According to the Grant County Health District (GCHD), Washington State Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the best thing we can do is to focus on the things over which we have control like good personal hygiene practices:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds. Or, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean your hands afterward with soap or a hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t share food and drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

Big Bend’s custodial staff is also doing its part to help us combat COVID-19 by focusing their cleaning efforts on commonly touched surfaces including door handles, countertops, handrails, and tables. Our cleaning products and cleaning protocols meet the CDC’s recommendations.

We are closely monitoring the situation, have an emergency plan, and are following established emergency management procedures. We will continue to work closely with and take cues from the GCHD and other state health agencies. As of today, the GCHD does not recommend the closure of our campus. If a member of our campus community has a confirmed case of COVID-19, we will address such situations on a case-by-case basis keeping the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff paramount in our decision-making process.

Big Bend has created a dedicated web page to serve as a central point of information about COVID-19 in the context of our college and to keep our campus community updated on any situational changes that may come from the disease. We will update the web page regularly as circumstances warrant, and you can access it on the homepage of the college’s website or at https://dev.bigbend.edu/about-us/covid-19/.

Please know that we make these decisions with your safety as our top priority. Similar to any other challenge, we will be more successful when we work together.

I will continue to inform you regularly on developments that relate to COVID-19 and Big Bend Community College.

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