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COVID-19 Update - March 9, 2020

March 9, 2020

COVID-19 Task Force Update

Dear Campus Community,

As you know, we’ve convened a COVID-19 task force charged with developing plans to ensure the safety of El Camino College students and employees, to relay vital information, and to manage any variety of disruption to our students, employees, and college operations. This task force held its first weekly meeting on Friday, March 6. I write to share with you the outcomes of that meeting, as well as some of the steps to come.

First, we’ve prepared an institutional Pandemic Outbreak Plan, which you’ll find attached to this email. Developed with guidance from both the California Department of Public Health and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, this plan serves as a road map for us as we prepare for and address the possible scenarios that may occur as the COVID-19 situation progresses. We are reviewing the document’s formatting, but I invite you to look it over and become familiar with it.

Level 1 of the plan guided the first task force meeting. This means we’ve assessed the possible impact on the campus and have developed a response plan to mitigate those impacts to the greatest extent possible. This also includes the creation and implementation of a prevention campaign for proper hygiene and disinfecting. To that end, our custodial staff will ensure hand soap and paper towels in campus restrooms are replenished regularly. Additionally, signage with instructions on proper handwashing will be posted in campus restrooms.

We’re now at Level 2 of the plan, which recognizes the new COVID-19 cases confirmed within California, including transmission through human-to-human contact. This phase of the plan also allows for the cancellation of non-essential travel and events. As you’ve likely seen in the media coverage of this situation, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow across the country. Increasingly, these cases are due to exposure during travel. Accordingly, out of an abundance of caution, we’ve determined that all non-essential travel by employees and students will be cancelled for the foreseeable future. We’ve decided to take this precaution due to the heightened risk of exposure at airports and large gatherings. Communication is being sent to those who currently have travel or conference plans. 

The focus for this coming Friday’s task force meeting will be on class accommodations; specifically, the potential need to provide instructional continuity by shifting from in-person to online instruction. We recognize the logistical and technical challenges this would present, and, should it become necessary, we want to ensure the process is successful. Work is underway now on informational resources for faculty regarding minimum capabilities with Canvas and the ConferZoom video conferencing tool. Watch for announcements about training sessions.

In addition, there will be discussion about the need to allow students the flexibility to self-quarantine at home without being dropped from their courses. Similarly, we will address the need to make accommodations for employees to work remotely. We want students and employees alike to be assured they’ll have the flexibility they need to deal with this situation appropriately.

I also want to reiterate that, to date, there are no known cases of the COVID-19 disease at El Camino College. The actions I’ve described are being taken out of an abundance of caution. As always, every member of the campus community is urged to diligently follow best hygiene practices, including washing your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and avoiding close contact such as shaking hands.

The COVID-19 task force is comprised of a cross-section of campus departments and constituencies to ensure we have the needed collaboration and input that this important work requires. Throughout this process, we welcome questions and comments from the campus community. A new email address, covid19taskforce@elcamino.edu, has been created to allow the campus community to submit questions and feedback directly to the COVID-19 task force.

Working together, we’ll ensure El Camino College is prepared to deal with the potential challenges this outbreak may pose.

Best regards,

Dena P. Maloney
El Camino College



Members of the El Camino College COVID-19 Task Force

Rick Christophersen
Dir., Center for the Arts

Melissa Fujiwara
Professor, Sociology

Dave Fuhrmann
IT Consultant

Amy Grant
Dean, Natural Sciences

Jorge Gutierrez
Exec. Dir., Facilities

Jeff Hinshaw
Dir., Business Mgmt.

Iris Ingram
VP, Admin. Services

Lindsey Lee
Student Trustee

Dena Maloney

Crystle Martin
Dir., Library & Learning Resources

Jane Miyashiro
VP, Human Resources

Ross Miyashiro
VP, Student Services

Susan Nilles
Faculty Coordinator, Student Health Services

Ann O’Brien
Exec. Dir., Marketing & Communications

Teresa Palos
Professor, Microbiology

Michael Pascual
Dir., Purchasing & Risk Management

Dipte Patel
Dean, Counseling & Student Success

Colin Preston
Dir., Athletics & Kinesiology

Russell Serr
Interim Dean, Health Sciences & Kinesiology

Jean Shankweiler
VP, Academic Affairs

Marc Stevens
Public Information Officer

Michael Trevis
Chief of Police

Viviana Unda
Dir., Inst. Research & Planning

Paul Yoder