COVID-19 Update from Chancellor Stuart Van Horn

The following message is being sent on behalf of Dr. Stuart Van Horn, Chancellor of the West Hills Community College District:

 March 13, 2020

 In light of the rapidly changing responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19), particularly the past three days, I am providing an update on where we are as a District.  Please take a moment to read through the details below.

 General Update

 The health and safety of our students and employees are top priorities.  As of today, we continue to have zero confirmed cases of students or employees with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the West Hills Community College District and all West Hills sites remain open.

 The District is cooperating with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other local health officers in measures necessary for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in students and employees.  In addition, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a directive that all non-essential professional, social, and community gatherings – regardless of their sponsor – should be postponed or cancelled across the state of California for at least the remainder of the month of March.  The West Hills Community College District has no immediate plans of shutting down.

 All Classes Will Be Held on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020

All in-person, hybrid, and fully online, including late start, classes will be held on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020. 

 Voluntary Training for Online Delivery on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020

 The colleges and District Office will provide two days of voluntary training for instructional faculty to access and teach online utilizing Canvas and other platforms such as Zoom.  Faculty may attend the training sessions at any West Hills College site. All services will continue on campus.  Counseling faculty and librarians (non-FTES generating faculty) may participate in training to learn and refresh Canvas and Zoom skills.

 Transition to Alternate Instructional Delivery on March 18, 2020 through April 24, 2020

 District leadership, Vice Presidents, and CTA have initiated the process to move to an alternative delivery of instruction effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  Wherever possible, all instruction will move to alternate methods of delivery from March 18 through April 24.  This end date is subject to change based on county, state, and federal directives.

 Vice Presidents and Deans are working with faculty to determine which courses will be moved to temporary remote instruction and which must maintain face-to-face meetings.

 The Colleges Remain Open for Business Throughout this Period of Alternate Instruction

 Expectations of faculty involvement in the business of the colleges will continue to follow those terms in our collective bargaining agreements and will take place with alternative methods (e.g., Zoom).  Administrators, classified employees, confidential employees, and managers are expected to continue their normal duties and schedules throughout the alternate instruction period.

 Here is a timeline.  Please note this is subject to change depending on guidance from county, state, and federal agencies:

 March 16-17:  Voluntary training available at all sites to include Canvas and Zoom faculty training and review.  Please see your Dean or Vice President.

 

  • March 18:  An alternate schedule begins.  Campus Vice Presidents and Deans will coordinate with faculty concerning which classes remain face-to-face.  There will be some exceptions for courses that do not lend well to an online format, especially for career and technical education programs.  Exceptions and other modifications are under review for hands-on labs, performance classes, adult education classes, and physical education/kinesiology courses.

 

  • March 27: Flex Day continues as currently planned.

 

  • April 6-10:  Spring Break continues as currently planned.

 

College/District Sponsored Travel

 West Hills continues to prioritize safety as its highest priority and is adopting the following interim travel restrictions for all students, faculty, and staff until further notice.  Effective immediately, West Hills is restricting all college/district-sponsored travel outside of our service area until further notice.  Please limit your work travel within our service area as much as possible.

 Student, faculty, and staff travel to conferences, meetings, or other mass gatherings will not be authorized, whatever method of travel is proposed, until further notice.  Faculty and staff should minimize attendance at off-campus meetings.  These precautions are taken to lessen the likelihood of the spread of transmissible disease.  This restriction applies to all planned travel even if the registration and/or reservation has already been reserved/paid.  If you have prepaid travel related expenses, cancellation is your responsibility.  Reimbursements will be made for cancellation fees and nonrefundable cancellations.

 Please access the reimbursement form on the portal or click here.  If you have questions regarding a specific trip, please consult with your immediate supervisor and/or applicable Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet-level administrator.

 Personal Travel

 Although the District cannot prohibit personal travel, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to avoid personal travel.  With Spring Break approaching, we recognize that many students, faculty, and staff have personal travel plans.  As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, please consider the following:

 Any student, faculty, or staff member who has traveled for any reason to countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice related to COVID-19 will not be allowed on any College/District location for 14 days after leaving the aforementioned countries.

  • Persons returning from quarantine are required to provide certification from a physician that they are clear of COVID-19.
  • Although the District will do what it can to be supportive, to reduce health risks to the entire District, these restrictions will be enforced.  Students or employees who violate these restrictions may face discipline.
  • 14-Day Restriction from College/District:  Employees restricted from College/District locations should contact their supervisor to determine whether they may work remotely or whether they will need to take vacation or sick time.  Students and employees will assume all responsibility for their personal travel decisions to countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice related to COVID-19, including any consequence related to an inability to complete their coursework or fulfill their job duties immediately following their return.
  • Circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are evolving rapidly and could change while you are traveling, potentially complicating your return.  Stay informed of the latest travel alerts from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the S. Department of State.
  • Before leaving, notify a family member or friend to share destination and contact information.
  • Take steps to prevent the spread of illness by practicing good hygiene, including washing your hands often, as well as trying to avoid crowded environments.
  • If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider to inquire about any follow up that might be needed.

 

Additional Updates and Information

 We continue to meet with internal partners to provide more detailed information on pending plans to staff and students.  With guidance from the California Department of Public Health, California Community College Chancellor’s Office, and the Governor’s office, web resource pages can be accessed.  The health and safety of our students and employees are top priorities.  We will continue to monitor and plan as we learn more about this rapidly evolving public health situation and will continue to provide regular updates.  If you have immediate concerns and/or questions, then please start with a discussion with your immediate supervisor.  Thank you for your continued cooperation.