I am writing to you shortly after Orange County moved into the highest tier on the state’s COVID alert scale. As we approach Thanksgiving, we are all weary of the challenges we face. This is our eighth month of continuing to educate and inspire our students during this pandemic — roughly the equivalent of two full semesters.
I share this to let you know I am aware of the toll this has taken on you, our students, and our families, but also to reflect on how much we have overcome in the 250 days since we were last on campus. You have completely reinvented how you teach and how we all serve our students. You have been amazing and I salute each of you.
COVID-19 CASES AND NOTIFICATIONS
In the last week alone we have seen our own campus community struggle with the Coronavirus To date the college has experienced a total of 11 cases (6 students and 5 employees) in which someone who had been on campus tested positive for Coronavirus. These numbers are cumulative since the start of the pandemic.
As we learn of additional positive cases, we are sharing them on our Coronavirus section of the campus website at https://www.cypresscollege.edu/coronavirus. Look for the “Confirmed Cases” header and click on the “+” sign to expand the accordion. We also share updates with our constituent groups per the collective bargaining agreements. Going forward, all positive cases with an on-campus presence will be reported in this area of the website.
Changes in legislation have increased the speed at which we must share positive cases with the campus community and the manner in which we report cases to the county Health Care Agency.
To meet these new mandates, it is vital that whenever you become aware of a positive COVID-test result — whether or not the student or employee has been on campus — this be reported without delay to your immediate management supervisor. We are currently required to report to OC Health within one day all known Coronavirus cases without regard to a physical nexus to the campus. Managers have been directed to the county-approved questionnaires stored on our COVID 19 SharePoint, and our NOCCCD COVID manual, including the Cypress-specific protocols, will be released in the next few days. This too, will be located and updated on our website.
OUTDOOR / INDOOR STUDY SPACE
If you have been on campus, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the large study tent in front of the Student Center. We hope you’ve shared this opportunity for fast, reliable internet with your students. As the weather turns colder (at least on some days), we are making plans to safely move the study space to an indoor location. The change in the alert level this week has slowed our plans, but we continue to try to find safe options for our students, so please keep an eye out for more information soon.
Please encourage your students to exercise caution as they travel during the holidays. We ask the same of each of you. If you leave the state we ask that you self-quarantine for 14 days before resuming your usual activities and if you plan to celebrate with family that you minimize your exposure to large gatherings as much as possible. We are entering a critical period in our battle with this virus and although the desire is strong to be with family and enjoy all the holidays bring, we ask that you do so safely and smartly.
P/NP AND EXCUSED WITHDRAWL
The deadline for students to choose an excused withdrawal (EW) with a refund or the Pass/No Pass grading option is Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. for 16-week classes, and the date of the last class meeting for classes that are less than 16-weeks in length. As a reminder, students may not select either of these options for courses that have already been graded.
While we won’t be on campus for our traditional holiday celebration, we are planning a series of special virtual surprises to celebrate the end of the semester together. This is an important part of who we are as Cypress College Chargers and not even the pandemic can take away the hope to connect as a community. Thank you for all the efforts across our campus to provide for our students and to create opportunities for celebration as we move into the holidays.
I thank you, again, for your commitment to our shared goal of helping our student build better futures through the power of education. We truly do take this journey together!