VCCCD COVID-19 Response Plan – Social Distancing
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and is now being spread widely in other parts of mainland China, and is now present in many countries worldwide including the United States. While new cases were initially linked to Hubei Province, China, at this time public health considers being anywhere in China in the past 14 days a risk factor for novel coronavirus infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, current global trends indicate that the virus may spread worldwide causing a pandemic. There are presently nearly 600 confirmed cases in the United States including cases in California.
The virus causes respiratory illness. For up-to-date information regarding the novel coronavirus including number of cases in the United States, see:
- The California Department of Public Health website at https://www.deph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx; or
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Social distancing is a public health safety intervention used to reduce the likelihood of transmitting communicable disease. Social distancing involves minimizing exposure to infected individuals by avoiding large public gathering venues, adhering to spacing requirements in the workplace, and following proper personal hygiene practices.
Step 1. Standard Strategies for Effective Social Distancing:
Practice at All Times
The goal of social distancing is to limit exposure to infectious bacteria and viruses during a communicable disease outbreak. The following strategies may be useful in conducting social distancing:
Adhere to public health hygienic recommendations by washing your hands after touching commonly used items or coming into contact with someone who is sick.
- Stay home when sick.
- Remain at home until fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe, e.g., high fever or difficulty breathing
- Use “respiratory etiquette”.
- Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve. See CDC’s Cover Your Cough page.
- Provide adequate supplies within easy reach, including tissues and no-touch trash cans.
- Wash hands frequently.
- Encourage hand washing (at least 20 seconds with soap and water) by students and staff through education, scheduled time for handwashing, and the provision of adequate supplies.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.Daily cleaning and disinfecting of high traffic areas.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth and avoid rubbing your eyes.
- Properly dispose of anything that comes in contact with your mouth such as tissues or plastic eating utensils.
- Students and staff who start to develop symptoms on site will immediately go home and should contact their own physician or health care provider depending upon level of discomfort and type of symptoms.
- For students using the college Student Health Centers for primary care, please call the Student Health Center for advice and referral for care.It is important for students to call before coming in to minimize exposure to Health Care Center staff, other students, and college employees.
- Face masks are most useful for preventing disease spread when they are worn by people who have symptoms. This is why people are asked to wear a mask at doctors’ offices and hospitals if they are coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid coming in contact with individuals displaying symptoms of illness.
- If working in close proximity to other individuals, attempt to keep a distance of approximately three feet from the nearest person while working.
Step 2. Notification of VCCCD Implementation of Social Distancing Protocol:
Occurs Following Ventura County Public Health Notification of a Health Emergency based upon Confirmed Community Transmission of COVID-19 in Ventura County or Cases Occurring in Surrounding Counties
Implementation of the VCCCD Social Distancing Protocol will be communicated to employees and students by the VCCCD based on recommendations of public health authorities and assessment of circumstances
Classes and Work
- To the extent possible, maintain a minimum distance between people of three and preferably six feet.Adjust work and classroom spaces as needed.
- Message and format consistent informational flyers and posters will be distributed for posting at all VCCCD sites.
- Classes may be suspended or moved to web-based and/or distance learning modes to continue instruction.Employees and students will be notified of these changes in advance.
- Colleges will apply for and obtain blanket exception from the CCCCO to offer additional classes in an online format.
- Employees may be required to participate in an alternate work schedule or alternate work mode.This could include work from home remotely using phone and computer or staggering work shifts to reduce the number of employees on site. These actions may occur depending upon local circumstances and directives from public health authorities.VCCCD employees will be notified should implementation of alternate work schedules and/or modes be implemented.
- Employees with identified critical functions to maintain District/College operations will be provided technology and access for remote work should that need to occur.
One possibility of enacting social distancing procedures is the closure of venues where large amounts of people may congregate or closure of specific services e.g. childcare centers. For more information on closing, refer to the VCCCD website. VCCCD employees will be notified should broad scale alternative work accommodation and schedules be implemented.
The colleges and District office may also close depending upon circumstances and recommendations or directives from public health authorities. Closures will be communicated to students and employees on the VCCCD website.
- Any consideration of closures of locations or services at locations (e.g. childcare centers, libraries) will be discussed among District and College leadership.This will ensure that decisions are made in a consistent manner across all District locations evaluating similar criteria and communicating actions in a timely manner to all students and employees.
- Closure of venues where large amounts of people may congregate will likely occur.Information on cancellation of college events and closings of any specific services will be regularly updated on the VCCCD website.
- Individuals should consult public health entities for closings on any public or private venues in their area.
- The colleges and District office may also close depending upon circumstances and recommendations or directives from public health authorities. Closures will be communicated to students and employees on the VCCCD website.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Recommendations for wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves or masks will be issued by public health authorities. If used correctly, PPE may limit some exposures; however, they should not take the place of other preventative interventions, such as proper hygiene practices.
Consult with a physician for recommendations on obtaining medical prophylaxis.
Immunocompromised and Other High Risk Individuals
Individuals with compromised immune systems, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, diabetes, and other medical conditions, are encouraged to consult with their personal physician to assess the safety of their workplace during an event that warrants social distancing. They can then work with their supervisor and Human Resources regarding required absences or accommodations.
Step 3. Implementation of High Intensity Social Distancing Measures:
Occurs Following Increased Community Transmission of COVID-19 Indicating a Growing Risk to the General Public and the Need for Additional Precautions to Contain Local Community Transmission. These additional actions will be considered once this status is confirmed by Ventura County Public Health.
- Communicate the implementation of high intensity social distancing measures with faculty, staff, students and the community.
- Employees will be allowed to stay home if someone in their house is sick or school closures have occurred.
- Healthcare provider’s note will not be required for employees or students who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work. Healthcare provider officers and medical facilities will be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Classes may be temporarily suspended and public areas or large gathering areas closed.
- Further expansion of alternative work schedules and modes to minimize the number of employees on site will occur.
- Our locations may need to close if there are high rates of absenteeism among employees that make it difficult for safe and effective operations. A call for large scale closure would happen only if there was significant community transmission that could not be well-controlled through other strategies or to follow directives from public health authorities.
- Modify, postpone, or cancel large campus events. Events where people are in close contact with others for an extended period will be cancelled or modified should there be significant community transmission in a particular community or many different communities. Public Health authorities may call for cancellation of many different types of public events.
- Maximize actions to ensure continuity of education services through digital and distance learning options as feasible and appropriate.
- Provide alternative grading mechanisms including grades based upon work to date.CCCCO has provided these types of accommodations in past emergency situations requiring closures of colleges.