Covid-19 information, resources for the LBCC community

COVID-19 and LBCC Information

 

October 19, 2020

To help us all be empowered to take action in case of a positive COVID diagnosis, here are some FAQs to reference:

In the case of a future positive COVID diagnosis:

Q: Employees will be contacted by Linn County Health Services if they were in close contact with a person who tested positively. What does "close contact" mean?

A: "Close contact" means you were in the presence of the person, standing six feet apart, and wearing a mask, for more than 15 minutes. If you were not wearing a mask, any length of time is considered "close contact."

Q: If "close contact" includes people who were wearing a mask but were within 6 feet of the individual for more than 15 minutes, why is it important to wear a mask?

A: Besides protecting yourself and others from getting sick (and complying with LBCC's strict guidelines), this is important because our classroom desks are placed 6 feet apart. That means if everyone in the classroom is wearing a mask at all times, there is a much greater chance that we won't have to quarantine everyone in the classroom and can continue operating the class.

Q: If I was determined to be within close contact of an individual who tested positively for the virus, when can I expect to be contacted by Linn County Health Services (LCHS)?

A: LCHS will attempt to contact you within 48 hours after learning of the positive diagnosis.

Q: What should I do if a student I know tests positive for Coronavirus?

  1. Do two things:
    Contact the Office of Finance and Operations at sparksc@linnbenton.edu, or call 541-917-4330 right away. Timeliness is important: as soon as you know for certain, please reach out so we can get information to the LCHS.
  2. Encourage the student to reach out to the Center for Accessibility Resources (CFAR) to explore options for continuing their studies while quarantining. 

Q: What should I do if I, or an employee I work with, tests positive for Coronavirus?

Do two things:

  1. Contact the Office of Finance and Operations at sparksc@linnbenton.edu, or call 541-917-4330 right away. Complete confidentiality will be maintained, and timeliness is important: as soon as you know for certain, please reach out so we can get information to the LCHS.
  2. Affected employees are encouraged to reach out to HR Manager, Deana Culbertson Human Resources to explore options related to continuing work while quarantining, or assessing Family Medical Leave.

If you have further questions, contact Jennifer Boehmer privately. Jennifer will work with the Executive Team to respond to your questions, and to add further information to these FAQs.

  

 

Previous Updates

August 18, 2020 - Fall Rebound Bulletin

  • Rebound Plan Approved for Fall – The LBCC Board of Education has officially approved the college's Rebound Plan. You can read the plan in full (PDF), also available for download and summarized on our website. Many thanks to the Rebound Task Force, and to VPs Sheldon Flom and Ann Buchele, for their leadership in developing safe learning and working environment protocols that will allow us to continue to serve our community well this fall. 
  • Educational Plan In Place for Incoming Students – Additionally, the college has developed a thoughtful and smart approach to fall course delivery, following the guidelines of state and local authorities. The Fall Education Plan is ready for download (PDF), and can also be found on our Education Plan webpage. The web page is structured to include a number of accessible approaches for users to quickly find out about delivery methods for programs, lectures, labs, student services and more.
  • Message for New Students: 'Your Future is Within Reach Now' – During this difficult time, it is more important than ever to let all students know LBCC is ready for them and committed to offering safe, smart ways to stay on track. In support of enrollment, on our homepage, you will notice a link to a new landing page called "LB Now." This page, supported by a full range of community marketing and outreach, will help new students discover our plan for fall and make the choice to enroll. Additionally, current students will be contacted directly with all fall plan information, and an overview has been sent to local media.
  • COVID-19 Site will Continue to Serve as a Resource – All information related to the pandemic will continue to be linked from the COVID website, accessed from the college's homepage. Thank you for helping us maintain a single-point-of-contact for our students and community.

August 3, 2020 - Fall Rebound Bulletin

Rebounding Draft Complete; Sent to College Council
The Rebounding Task Force has completed the final draft of our Rebounding Plan. It will now go to College Council for review, to be discussed at this Wednesday’s meeting. College Council is comprised of representatives throughout the college and members will be soliciting feedback from their constituents.
 
Board to Approve Plan this Month
Once the draft is approved by College Council, the purposed Rebounding Plan will be sent to the Board of Education for review and approval at a special session held later this month. 
 
Readying the Fall Course Schedule
As you know, this summer staff have been working hard to prepare a fall course schedule that keeps students on track and as safe as possible. At this time, percentages of Fall Term delivery methods breakdown as follows:
  • Face-to-Face classes = 14%
  • Online and/or Virtual classes = 71%
  • Hybrid classes = 15%
  • In addition, the vast majority of our core student services (such as the Library, Learning Center, First Resort, New Student Center) will be delivered remotely.

July 16, 2020 - LBCC Fall Rebound

We are now calling the return to campus the "Fall Rebound"... we are using rebound rather than reopen because—as you all well know—we never closed! These updates will continue to cover all the ways in which LBCC is rebounding from the impact of COVID-19, and how we are progressing in our plans for serving students and staff this fall term.
 
Governor's New Executive Order
Yesterday the Governor's newest guidelines went into effect state-wide. Face coverings are currently required statewide for indoor public spaces. In addition, face coverings are now required in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible, effective this week; and indoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people. Note: the 10-person indoor restriction does not include classrooms, and LBCC is currently working to create future learning spaces where individuals will be able to maintain 6 feet of distance or more. 

LBCC Summer Guidelines Remain in Place
LBCC will continue to require that all faculty, staff, students and visitors wear face coverings when on campus, unless an exception is pre-arranged. LBCC is staying the course this summer with our current guidelines that only allow pre-approved staff to work regularly on campus.

Fall Term Planning
The college's Rebounding Task Force is continuing its work on developing back-to-campus plans for Fall. We have a goal of finalizing the plan for the Board of Education's review by August 10th. Once approved, I will share the full document with our college community.
 
Taking Temperatures this Fall
We've received a number of questions related to the possibility of the college taking temperatures to test for fever before individuals are allowed on campus. While we will not be attempting this, we will be setting up a system that asks staff to self-monitor their health and report daily as to whether they are symptom-free. More information about this will be coming in the weeks ahead.

Purchasing PPE for your Program or Department
If you determine a need to purchase Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for your program or department, please send a request to your supervisor. All requests will be evaluated by VP Sheldon Flom. The college does have some supplies of PPE on-hand, and, combined with some federal funding we may be able to access under the CARES Act, it is likely the cost of PPE will not have to come from your department budget. We therefore encourage you to not let budgetary restrictions prevent you from asking the question.

CARES Act Funding for Students this Summer
LBCC will be distributing another round of funding to students facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Funds will be awarded to students taking summer courses who meet the federal eligibility requirements. Awards range in amount from $100 to $700 depending on unmet need as determined through the FAFSA process, and are intended to widely provide a helping hand to our students this summer. If you have any questions about these awards, please contact the Business Office. More information can be found online.

July 1, 2020 - Governor's New Executive Order and More

Governor's new Executive Order
Responding to new state guidelines issued by the Governor this week, LBCC will now require that all faculty, staff, students and visitors across all LBCC locations use face coverings when in public and common areas, and in areas where physical distancing can't be easily maintained, unless an exception is pre-arranged. The goal is to join in efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to do everything we can to ensure a healthy learning and working environment. LBCC is staying the course with our current guidelines remaining in place, continuing to only allow essential staff to work regularly on campus.

Policy Information on COVID Site
A set of new temporary ARs further describing the face covering and physical distancing policy details has been posted on the college's COVID-19 website.

Back-to-Campus Planning Continues
The Reopening Task Force is working hard to develop the college's back-to-campus plan. Once the draft is completed and approved, I will be sure to share our guidelines. The plan addresses circumstances for when and how work and learning may take place on campus, cleaning, personal responsibilities, communication and much more. We anticipate completion this month, in coordination with state and local health authorities. In the meantime, I will continue to send updates regarding LBCC's responses to changing state guidelines.

June 15, 2020 - Expiration of Executive Order for Higher Education

Responding to changing state guidelines
Though the Executive Order concerning colleges in Oregon expired on June 13th, the Governor has issued new guidance that requires each college put forth an individual plan for reopening within their specific learning environment. LBCC is working on that plan now within the Reopening Task Force committee. It is a detailed, comprehensive process...until it is completed and receives official approval, LBCC is staying the course with our current guidelines remaining in place, continuing to only allow essential staff to work regularly on campus. I will certainly share the approved plan as soon as it is available. If you have questions or concerns, I invite you to reach out to me or any member of the Task Force committee.

Update for those on campus
For those essential staff working on campus, you will see new signage. Our facilities crew has been hard at work placing physical distance spacing guidelines around campus, including limiting adjacent bathroom sinks and stalls, and blocking off spaces where higher traffic traditionally occurs.

Anticipating fall term
As registration for fall gets under way, we are letting students know that everyone on campus -- students and employees -- may be required to wear a face covering. If that is the case, the college will recognize some exceptions as needed/allowed, and people will be asked to make those in advance. (More guidelines concerning fall will be released as soon as they are approved.)

June 1, 2020 - Fall Term

As we prepare for fall term, we are making plans to resume some classes in person.

Each academic department is currently working to determine which courses and programs will remain online, and which courses and programs can safely be offered face-to-face for students. When students register for fall term, there will be a mix of both delivery methods at LBCC, according to each particular course and/or program. With new guidance from Governor Kate Brown, LBCC is now switching from state-wide coordination to developing a focused plan with our local health authorities. This provides more flexibility to offer a schedule that both protects the health and safety of our students and instructors, and keeps students on track toward their educational goals.

As decisions about individual fall term courses and programs are made, we will reflect those changes in the schedule, so students can choose their paths accordingly. We will also provide updates about when students can be allowed back on campus, and under what circumstances and safety guidelines.

We ask that students reach out to their advisors for assistance.

May 14, 2020 - Phased Reopening

Linn and Benton Counties have been approved for Phase I Reopening beginning Friday, May 15th. Please refer to Page 17 in the Governor's presentation for more detailed information about what this means.

Please note: The reopening of educational facilities is dictated by a separate Executive Order and all LBCC buildings remain closed to the public until further notice. However, this information is indicative of ways that LBCC might be given permission to update guidelines in the near future.

May 13, 2020 - Distribution of Federal CARES Act Stimulus Funds

Linn-Benton Community College was provided with funds from the CARES Act to distribute to our students to help manage some of the disruption created by the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have worked diligently to make these distributions fair and equitable to all students who are eligible based on the CARES Act guidelines.

 
Disbursement of these funds will begin May 13, 2020. Read more about distribution of funds and what students need to know before accepting funds.

May 8, 2020 - Federal CARES Act

LBCC is in the process of finalizing the distribution of the emergency funds to students who qualify under the federal CARES Act. Notices of awards will be sent to students as early as possible, with an anticipated distribution process taking place May 14 through May 22. More information regarding specific requirements, amounts distributed, and alternatives for students who don't qualify, will be posted shortly. Please check back for updates.

LBCC is in the process of finalizing the distribution of the emergency funds to students who qualify under the federal CARES Act. Notices of awards will be sent to students as early as possible, with an anticipated distribution process taking place May 14 through May 22. More information regarding specific requirements, amounts distributed, and alternatives for students who don't qualify, will be posted shortly. Please check back for updates.

April 6, 2020 - 2:00 p.m. - LBCC is Open for Education

LBCC is open for education — but following the Oregon Governor's executive order to curb the spread of Coronavirus, all instruction is now being held online until further notice. 
 
All in-person events and activities are canceled until at least June 13th. Summer and fall registration will begin soon! Despite our changing situation, we encourage you to register as soon as possible and speak with an advisor about options. Your advisor will help you chart a course forward and keep you on track to achieve your goals. 

March 23, 2020 - 2:00 p.m. - Governor's Executive Order to Stay Home, Stay Safe

This morning Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a new Executive Order (EO) directing everyone to stay at home to the maximum extent possible and adding to the list of businesses that will be temporarily closed to stem the spread of the virus in Oregon.

Thanks to the cooperation of staff, faculty, students, and all those in the LBCC community, our college is already on track to do what we need to be doing as a college by having announced the move of Spring Term classes to online formats and public closure of our buildings (please see detailed information about this change in our March 17th update). This EO will help broaden measures so that general citizens and other businesses will have the guidance needed to make similar decisions... If LBCC needs to make further decisions in the days ahead about our college's response, we will post information and contact people directly just as soon as possible. Thanks for continuing to check this page for updates.

March 19, 2020 12:00 noon - Response to New Executive Order

Responding to an Executive Order from Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued last night, classes will now be held entirely remotely (online) for the remainder of the Spring Term. College facilities will continue to be closed to the public and student body during this time, as the college shifts to a virtual workspace. More specific information is forthcoming; please stay tuned. (Emails are also being sent to students, staff and all groups within the LBCC community.)

March 17, 2020 - Building Closures and Spring Term

As new guidelines for dealing with COVID-19 continue to be issued, we would like to thank our college community for showing such tremendous flexibility, understanding, compassion and responsibility, and for rolling with changes to ensure that LBCC remains a safe learning environment for everyone.

Today, we are announcing a set of important new decisions for LBCC:

  1. LBCC Buildings: As of Wednesday, March 18, all LBCC buildings will no longer be open to the public or general student body. (There are a few in-person finals which are the only exceptions.) Most instruction will continue by going online or delivered through other alternative means. Please visit our Student FAQ page for important information that addresses specific questions.

  2. Spring Term: We are announcing that Spring Term classes will now begin one week later: April 6th. The term will still end on time, as planned (June 12th). This adjusted class start date will allow college faculty and staff to fully put remote and alternative plans into place so we can best support our students and their success. LBCC is joining most other Oregon community colleges in announcing this change at this time. Please also see our information about Extended Learning classes and training

  3. Communication: We are striving to keep our entire community of learners and workers well-informed of updates. College leaders are working directly with the Oregon Health Authority and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to convey health information and to receive important and evolving guidance on a more-than-daily basis. All updates about LBCC are being posted here, to the LBCC Coronavirus Information page, as quickly as we can make changes. We will continue to add information to our Student FAQ section as more questions emerge. We will also continue to email and text students directly, place announcements on social media, alert the press when appropriate, and are in the process of placing physical signs on building exteriors.

Additionally, here are helpful contact resources regarding Coronavirus-related changes you can use and share:

  • At any time, including evenings and weekends, you can send an email to the following address: contact@linnbenton.edu
  • During the hours of 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, you can call our Campus Help Line and get questions routed to the appropriate administrator: 541-917-4222.

(For all other regular, ongoing college business like Financial Aid, Library, Book Store, Admissions, etc., please contact departments by phone or email directly. Again, please check the Student FAQ page for helpful specific information.)

This is an unprecedented, changing situation. Once again, thank you most sincerely for working together to support solutions -- both for the short-term need, and for the long-term health and vitality of our college and the entire LBCC community. 

With gratitude,
The LBCC Executive Team 

March 13 Update

Frequently asked questions that are specific to student issues are now listed in the COVID-19 FAQ section. We will add new answers as we identify additional areas of concern to our student population.  

March 12 Update

We know that the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) throughout Oregon is of growing concern to our students, staff and community. LBCC is committed to providing a safe and healthy educational environment, but recognizes the way we provide service will need to shift for a time in response to recommendations from the Governor, Oregon Health Authority, public health officials, Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) and the CDC to help slow the rate of exposure and potential illness.

As of Monday, March 16th, LBCC has made the official decision to do the following:

  • Again following the recommendations of the Governor's Office, the Oregon Health Authority, and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, all LBCC locations and facilities will remain open, with further precautionary measures described below.
  • Winter term finals week exam and activities will be delivered remotely where possible.
  • Where remote testing is not possible, maximum “social distancing” measures will be utilized. ("Social distancing" refers to the practice of maintaining a distance of at least 3 feet from others.)
  • For exams that must be held in-person, LBCC will seek to relocate final exams to locations where room capacity is three times the number of people registered to take that test.
  • Where appropriate, faculty will have discretion to cancel finals or provide an alternative exercise.
  • Faculty will be reaching out to their students to explain specific course plans for finals.
  • Until at least April 10th, all non-essential LBCC-sponsored (employees and students) travel will be suspended.
  • Until at least April 10th, no LBCC events, or events hosted by other organizations that are scheduled to take place on our properties, will be permitted if they involve an attendance of more than 50 people. All events with fewer than 50 attendees will be held with maximum social distancing. Please check the link to the left for your event status. Please note: some events will be rescheduled, so we will update this page as information becomes available.
  • We will continue to monitor recommendations by state authorities, and share what approach will be taken with events taking place after April 10th as we get closer to that date.

Starting spring term:
  • All of the above actions are maintained.
  • For the first two weeks of the term, all spring term credit courses, labs, and exams will be delivered remotely, where possible. (With credit face-to-face courses we will endeavor to provide instruction “synchronously” – this means courses will be delivered at the time they were originally scheduled.) Where remote teaching, coursework and testing is not possible, maximum social distancing measures will be utilized (again, this refers to keeping a distance of at least 3 feet between individuals).
  • LBCC academic and remote meeting tools, including Moodle and Zoom, will be used to minimize in-person meetings.
  • Community Education classes are postponed.
  • Adult Basic Skills will have a later start date. Classes will begin April 13th.
We know that there will be many questions regarding these measures, and are committed to sharing news as soon as it becomes available. Check back to this site for updates.
 
In the meantime, if you have urgent questions, we have set up the following ways to help:
  • At any time, including evenings and weekends, you can send an email to the following address: contact@linnbenton.edu
  • We are also setting up a hotline phone number where staff will be available to route your question to the appropriate administrator. This phone line will be staffed from 7:30am to 5:30pm: 541-917-4204
College community: we are committed to doing whatever possible to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment. We know information is getting updated rapidly -- we thank you so much for your ongoing understanding and support.

March 11 Update

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to make headlines in the U.S. and around the world. We are closely monitoring the situation and working closely with local, state and national health agencies on prevention and management in the event of an outbreak in our community. 

This is an evolving situation. Our primary concern is to continue to ensure LBCC is a safe learning and working environment for students, faculty, staff and guests.  

We are working directly with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Oregon Department of Education and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to follow guidance, best practices and decision-making concerning coronavirus in Oregon.

The Oregon Health Authority is explicitly not recommending school closures at this time. Health officials continue to emphasize the importance of education in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Check back here for regular status updates.

March 10 Update

LBCC is working very closely with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and is following the recommendations they have issued for all Oregon colleges and universities.  

At this time, the guidance is against closing schools and campuses where no cases of COVID-19 are present. It also recommends that schools, colleges and universities consider all alternatives before closing a school, college or university in the event that a COVID-19 case is detected among students or staff. Our sister community colleges have all agreed to follow this recommendation until external health agencies instruct us to do otherwise. We are grateful LBCC has no indications of an outbreak at this time.

We are carefully monitoring this situation and creating contingency plans if we need them. We are also increasing and changing our cleaning products and practices, in alignment with the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC).

It is important that we all practice personal wellness. Follow these guidelines:

  • Stay home when you are sick. Particularly if you have a fever, you should stay home until you have been fever-free for 72 hours without medication.
  •  Increase handwashing. Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy warm water or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol if you are unable to wash.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
  • Students: If you are worried about missing class, please reach out to your instructors. We will work with you to make up lost instruction time so you can be successful.

We will post regular status updates in this section of the website. Our TOP priority is to provide you with a safe learning and working environment so that you can be successful -- this is the principle that guides all of our decisions. 

Thank you for committing to staying safe and practicing wellness.

 


 

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