We continue to work together to respond to the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, we released an update after consultation with CTA and CSEA. The update identified immediate steps for March 16-18, 2020. Those steps include: 1) hold face-to-face, hybrid, and online classes on March 16 and March 17 and continue normal operations; 2) offer voluntary Zoom and Canvas training to all faculty and staff on March 16 and March 17; 3) move to primarily online delivery methods with FTES-generating faculty on March 18; and 4) implement immediate travel restrictions.
Late Friday afternoon several significant events occurred, including the designation of a national emergency and closure of public schools in Kings and Fresno counties. Last night, additional guidance was received from the State Chancellor’s Office. It is very likely an additional update will be released to you. As of this writing we do not have any confirmed cases at West Hills sites. Most importantly, if we are notified by county health departments of any confirmed cases at any of our sites and/or county, state, or federal directives release additional guidance over the next 48 hours, additional measures will be taken and communicated to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees.
I have scheduled a special Board of Trustees meeting for Tuesday, March 17, at 3:00 pm to formally declare a State of Emergency. Both the Board and members of the public will be able to participate in this meeting in person at the District Office or via Zoom.
Attached is an updated information communication. Please take the time to read through the document.
Finally, please remember that email is our official method of communication to all employees. Please regularly check your email as things can change quickly with little notice. Thank you.
Stuart Van Horn, ED.D.
Remember: We want to hear from you! Throughout this response, we rely on the free and easy flow of information. Please continue to stay in touch. The best place to raise questions and concerns is through the form on our website:
Coronavirus Questions and Answers for Employees
What would happen if the colleges were to close?
At this time, the colleges remains open for business with instruction moving to alternate methodologies wherever possible beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The colleges and District remain in constant contact with public health authorities and are continually evaluating operations in response to this ongoing situation. Additional measures are being evaluated by the hour. It is very likely updates will be sent daily.
Vice Presidents and Deans are working with faculty and currently determining which
courses can be converted to temporary remote instruction, taking into account degree
and program requirements, curriculum specifications, course syllabi, and technological
capabilities. These courses will be identified and information disseminated by faculty
and Deans over the coming days. Classes that will not be converted will continue to
be offered in traditional, face-to-face formats.
Students and faculty maintaining face-to-face instruction are encouraged to practice good hygiene and sanitize any common surfaces to minimize the likelihood of transmission. At this time, the colleges remain open for business with instruction moving to alternate methodologies wherever possible.
What about K-12 School Closures?
Anyone who is impacted by school closures due to COVID-19 and has been unable to make arrangements for child care may use sick leave and/or vacation hours available. If the staff member is out of time, the District is offering temporary accommodations to allow for negative balances with the understanding that the time will have to be taken from future accruals. Those who may need to go into negative leave balances should contact Human Resources.
Will faculty hold office hours?
Face-to-face interaction with students is a key part of instruction. As our methods of instruction will likely change, it will be important for faculty to maintain individual advisory relationships with students to gauge progress, ensure learning, and provide additional support as necessary.
The District is recommending regular office hours be conducted as previously scheduled but in remote formats, primarily through ConferZoom and the Canvas system. Additional interactions are at the discretion of the student and faculty member.
Will faculty be on campus?
The colleges remain open for business throughout this period of alternate instruction. Expectations of faculty involvement in the business of the college will continue to follow those terms spelled out in the collective bargaining agreements. Faculty may come to campus for meetings or other purposes just as they may on any other day.
What about students who do not have access to technology?
College computer labs, library resource centers, and student service centers remain open for normal business during this time of alternate instruction. Students who need to access technology may use these resources to do so.
What about dual enrollment (CCAP) and prison education classes? Will those be modified
The traditional instruction classes will continue as long as high schools remain open. If high schools close, those classes will stop until further notice. College and district leaders are working directly with state and federal prisons as long as those sites remain open. Plans are underway if short term changes are needed with prisons if no visitors are allowed.
What if a student decides not to attend?
Our colleges remain open for business. Students will be expected to maintain attendance in courses whether they are meeting face-to-face or through remote means. It is important to remember that attendance in a remote environment is different than in face-to-face settings, and relies on timely completion of tasks rather than time spent in an online system.
Students may elect to take an excused withdrawal or otherwise modify their enrollment, and they should work with a counselor or Admissions and Records staff to understand their options and the consequences of their decisions. Each student’s case is going to be handled in relation to their own particular circumstances.
Will this impact launch of priority registration dates and timelines?
Yes. District and College leadership have revised timelines to optimize opportunities for students to enroll in summer, fall, and spring classes. Information will be distributed early next week regarding these changes. Leadership is also examining the current Academic Calendar.
Will the Child Development Centers be closing?
The District understands the valuable service the Child Development Centers provide to our students, faculty, staff, and members of our broader community. The centers are also an educational lab for Early Childhood Education students. At this time, leadership is exploring a range of options to reduce the potential for transmission and ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. More information will be shared as soon as it is available. For now, the centers remain open.
Will student clubs and shared governance organizations continue to meet?
At this time, the colleges remain open for business with instruction moving to alternate methodologies wherever possible. Clubs and committee meetings may elect to postpone depending on their own particular circumstances, but organizations must weigh their need to promote health and safety while conducting the timely business of the college.
What about pay and student work?
At this time, all employees – including hourly and student workers – should report to their job sites as normally would be expected. Anyone who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms should stay at home until they are well. The colleges remain open for business with instruction preparing to move to alternate methodologies wherever possible.
What if I become sick?
Anyone who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms should stay at home until they are well. Employee sick time is to be used, and vacation time may be used if an employee’s sick time is exhausted. After that point, questions should be directed to Human Resources.
What about those who are over 65?
At this time Governor Newsom has recommended that individuals 65 years and older isolate at home for their health safety. This is a recommendation, not a directive. Those affected individuals can choose their own path.
What if I have an underlying condition that puts me in a high-risk category?
Any employee with a previous condition that qualifies them as a high-risk individual as defined by the public health department (such as 65 years or older, pregnant women, and underlying health conditions) should contact Human Resources for further information.
What about residence hall students at West Hills College Coalinga?
Information regarding residence halls and cafeteria operations will continue to be transmitted to West Hills College Coalinga students, faculty, and staff from the President’s Office.
How will issues affecting international students be handled?
Information and assistance for international students will continue to be facilitated through the International Student Program and Student Services on the West Hills College Coalinga Campus.
What if I encounter a student or a fellow employee who is sick?
Anyone who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms should stay at home until they are well. If you know of someone who is feeling ill, please encourage them to remain at home and away from others until their illness has passed or they seek professional medical advice. Even though the vast majority of people will not be suffering from coronavirus, these measures help limit the possibility of transmission and make sure our health system is not strained unnecessarily.
The cleaning supplies in my area are not functioning as expected. What can be done?
The Maintenance and Operations department is taking every available step to procure supplies and quickly refresh soap dispensers, hand sanitizers, and other cleaning stations. Flat surfaces, doorknobs, and other areas are being sanitized every night, and pumps of hand-sanitizer have been delivered to high-traffic areas. Additional wipes and sanitizing stations are expected to be on site within a week. If you notice a station needing attention, please use the “Submit a Maintenance Request” on the maintenance and operations work request site via the portal: https://whc.formstack.com/forms/zendesk_maintenance_request.
- CCCAA state men’s and women’s basketball championship hosted at WHC Lemoore, March 12-15, 2020
- WHC Coalinga Spring Rodeo, March 20-21, 2020
- Essential Elements, April 16, 2020
Students have been sent regular communications by the District. A COVID-19 update site has been created for students and staff. You can access the messages here. It is designed so new COVID-19 announcements will be featured at the top of the site.