March 10, 2020
I write to update you on developments and some guidelines specific for our college.
Thank you to all the faculty, staff, and administrators for your incredible hard work and collegiality, can-do spirit to help our students and each other during these very challenging times. The college is dedicated to the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.
What we are learning is students may not be fully aware that it isunlikely they will get infected if they follow correct health protocols. Remember that the Coronavirus as explained by the Centers for Disease Controlis not transmitted airborne– instead, it is spread mainly from person-to-person
Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
By now, you should have received communication from ChancellorMinerwith district updates. You may also be wondering about Foothill, since surrounding universities/colleges have announced moving most of their classes online for a certain duration, with some employees working virtually while keeping their campuses open for other employees and students.
The decision to close the campus or to go to avirtualcampus is a District decision with public health officials.The District is following CDC guidelines and will act according to State recommendations. County Public Health says, for instance: “The County Public Health Department is not recommending closing schools [K12] at this time.” Please also see the California Department of Public Health guidance on this subject. The CDC recommends that colleges should work in consultation with public health officials in making decisions on closure. We recognize that Stanford University tookthe decision to move their classes 100% online until spring quarter starts, but please note that they have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 on their campus. UC Berkeley, SJSU, and now CCSF have decided to move many of their F2F classes online, butthere are staffworking on campus.
As of March 10,we have not had a case of students or employees contracting COVID-19 on the Foothill campus. County and state public officials have not directed our college to close or go virtual. However, the District Office and both colleges have been planning for all possibilities including the need to go entirely or partially virtual. In the meantime, we are encouraging classes and meetings to be conducted virtually, if possible. We are also sending another message to studentstoday; we have messaged them directly on a regular basis. Students may also be reaching out to you, so please continue to provide them with kindness and inform them of our efforts along with the college website.
Foothill College is also following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Santa Clara Health Authority protocols on other matters. Based on their recommendations and in consultation with President’s Cabinet and the District, the following will be in place from now until April 30, 2020.
Large /Medium Gatherings: cancellation or postponementofall on-campus events with 100+ people scheduled for March and April.
The County has issued an order to cancel mass gatherings of 1,000 until the end of March. However, due to the mostly smaller room sizes on our campus,we deem 100+ (over one hundred) to be medium/large and thus, all such events would be cancelled or postponed. If you feel that there are other factors to consider for your specific event, please let your supervisor know.
If you have an event that is anticipated to be less than 100 participants,there are still guidelines to follow to minimize transmission. Please go over with your supervisor the guidelines for small gatherings to ensure health and safety. Is there enough space to allow people social distance (three to six feet) from each other? Is food being served? Is the food individually wrapped? If not, do you have a designated server so participants do not touch the food until it is on their plates? Will there be hand-sanitizers for “Gel-In, Gel-Out.”Please err on the side of caution. These are considerations identified by our college; there are additional considerations identified by the State Guidelines for Gatheringscounties with transmissions (See Scenario 2).
For all college meetings, please consider Zooming. Governance already is equipped for Zooming, though I highly encourage employees (even if on campus) to join by Zoom.
Travel: We recommend that allnon-essential travel be cancelled. The District will reimburse all cancellation fees. Please discuss any travel plans with your supervisor, if you have a compelling reason not to cancel.
We encourage all faculty and staff to be trained on the Zoom platform. Foothill College will offer additional on-campus Zoom tutorialson March 12 and online sessions on March 11 and 18 (Please see attached Zoom training flyer).
Illness:Due to the volume of students who have been going to the Health Center, for students who are ill,we request thatthey do not go to our campus Health Center. Instead they should go home and call in to our Health Center instead via a virtual doctor's appointment. Students can access Foothill College via this online link:Telemedicine services.Faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider by phone if they start to present flu symptoms. The Health Center protocol is posted on the website.
Please Zoom into a campus-wide meeting for an update on COVID-19 on Thursday, March 12 from 2:00 – 2:45 PM.
Faculty: Please complete your Canvas training if you have not done so already. We need to be prepared should the college need to go virtual with all classes online. Please go to this short assessmentso we can help provide you with the resources you need.
Spring 2020:Registration is open for spring. The college is working to schedule as many online courses as possible and will be supporting faculty to move F2F classes online wherever possible.
Campus Sanitation: The District is scheduling more custodial hoursto regularly sanitize classrooms and communal work spaces. Thank you for continuing to wipe and clean your own workspace. Thanks to Respiratory Therapy Prof. Lisa Hills’advice, we are recommending a “Gel-In, Gel-Out" protocol (a common hospital procedure) whereby people usehand-sanitizer as they arrive and leave a room, classroom, meeting space, etc.
Good Public Hygiene Practices: I highly encourage you to help each other and students practice good public hygiene. For instance, at our Cabinet meeting, we sat spaced out and the first person to touch their face had to treat everyone to boba.
The college will make every effort to ensure that all employees are fully informed on the latest decisions. We are now having the website also include information for employees. Thank you to all the faculty, staff, and students who have contacted the Office of the President with your supportand suggestions.
We will get through this as long as we stay calm/cool/collected, follow recommended protocols from experts, prepare for the worst while hoping for the best, and support our students and each other with empathy and kindness.