I’m writing with a few updates specifically pertaining to the college’s response to coronavirus, impacts on faculty, and answers to some frequent faculty questions.
Protecting public health for the benefit of the community
The purpose of community health measures is, of course, to mitigate the impact on the community by reducing exposure with the goal of reducing the number of cases and fatalities. Thank you to biology instructor, Stacey Kiser, for sharing this graph from social media that illustrates how protective measures can help ensure that our healthcare system is not overwhelmed.
What else should faculty consider beyond all the general recommendations for prevention such as handwashing?
Please make announcements in your classes that students should follow CDC and OHA recommendations to stay home while sick, especially with a fever and/or cough and even if the symptoms are mild. In addition, faculty should follow the recommendations and stay home while sick as well.
What if I have symptoms but no sick leave?
The College and Association have reached an agreement that any faculty member who has exhausted sick leave may stay home while sick without loss of pay during this period of heightened concern around coronavirus.
What about classes this term?
While the College remains open for face-to-face classes, faculty may also wish to consider changing or implementing policies that do not encourage students to attend class while sick. This could include, for example, discontinuing grading for participation, allowing for remote participation in the calculation of participation grades, or making graded in-class activities such as exams also available electronically for sick students.
What about individuals with heightened risk?
Faculty members who anticipate the need to work from home should contact their dean. The Association is here to support faculty with individual requests or needs, so please do not hesitate to contact me or another union rep.
What if the college has to close?
Under our contract, all faculty are protected from loss of salary in the event of a college closure. Faculty will continue to be paid for their regular schedule during any closure.
What about the new requirement that faculty move coursework online for the first two weeks of Spring as a preparation measure?
As you likely read in VP Jarrell’s email, LCC is now requiring that faculty members take specific steps to be ready to maintain academic continuity for Spring term online with Moodle and Zoom, including preparing the first two weeks of coursework for online delivery. The Association will negotiate to ease impact on faculty and ensure sufficient support for faculty members at this time, given the increased workload this will represent for many faculty.
We will send out a short survey to all faculty to assess needs. Please be sure to complete it as soon as possible even if you are an experienced online instructor because it is important to have a full picture of current capacity and needs. Please check both Lane and personal emails for a link to the survey. Thank you!
There are many resources and steps that faculty can take proactively, and faculty instructional designers are available to provide assistance.
Travel restrictions – what is required?
Regarding international travel, anyone traveling to a country that the CDC rates as a “level 3” travel health risk will be asked to stay home under self-quarantine for 14 days according to CDC and OHA guidelines.
As you have likely read, the College also announced restrictions on travel, including prohibiting all college-affiliated travel outside Oregon. Furthermore, the college has discouraged faculty, staff, and students from personal travel to areas with higher incidence of coronavirus.
The College has clarified that there are no plans for LCC employees or students to be required to undergo quarantines beyond any required by the CDC or OHA. This means that faculty, staff, or students who make personal travel out of Oregon will not face any quarantine off-campus simply as a result of travel unless CDC or OHA require a quarantine.
That stated, making the decision to not travel to areas with greater incidence of coronavirus is a decision that can help to protect the community and public health.
LCCEA is collaborating with FPD and will work to address any faculty professional development that may be impacted by the travel restrictions.
As you are likely aware, Oregon recently joined California, Washington, and New York in declaring a state of emergency due to the rise in COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases. At the same time, the Oregon Health Authority released interim guidance that schools and universities should remain open if there are no active cases, noting that institutions of higher ed may also consider remote learning.
We will keep you informed as more information becomes available about changes for spring term and impacts on faculty and the campus as a result of coronavirus.