Return to Campus Toolkit

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Overview

To ensure the safety and health of our college community, TCC will continue to take a series of actions in response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.

Our decisions continue to be informed by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health best practices. We also partner with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, work closely with other public higher education leadership and take direction from Gov.  Jay Inslee. Our goals continue to be:

  • Protect the health and safety of students, staff and the community.
  • Adhere to the guidance of public health experts, State and federal government mandates.
  • Provide ongoing communications to students, staff and the public.
  • Support students and staff in the transition to online instruction and working remotely.
  • Ensure equitable access to instruction, technology and other resources for student success.
  • Plan for the future of TCC that ensures the safety of our community.

Frequently Asked Questions - November 2021

What are TCC’s cleaning protocols to help prevent the spread of Covid-19?

The CDC reports that the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. The most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer. TCC provides wipes and hand sanitizers throughout every building, and encourages students, staff and faculty to wipe down surfaces. TCC Facilities provides routine cleaning of campus areas. See section Classroom Preparation for more information.

Besides masks, vaccinations, and hand hygiene, which are all recommended approaches to reduce Covid-19, building ventilation is another important safety mitigation. What is TCC doing with our system?

TCC has a number of safety strategies to address this issue, such as:

  1. Updated filters from MERV-8 to MERV-13. Filters with MERV-13 or higher ratings can trap smaller particles, including viruses. This filtration upgrade has been completed.
  2. Operate all facilities for two hours before and after daily space occupancy to allow for a refresh of air before and after.
  3. Increase the amount of outside air where applicable. Each building has been evaluated; there are assessments for which areas we need to increase air flow.
  4. Run HVAC in daily occupied mode for a week before the start of the quarter.
  5. Continue to follow preventative maintenance on the filters.
  6. Disable hot air hand driers, which can spread airborne germs, and replace with paper towel dispensers.

For more details, read the email communication from Vice President Patty McCray-Roberts on Oct. 25.

I am hoping to hold an event that may host more than 50 people at TCC. Am I allowed to do so?

For any events that will host 50 or more people, please send in a request to Dr. Harrell and CC your Vice President. Please provide as much detail as possible regarding the event’s safety mitigations. The Leadership Team will discuss and make a decision.

I have students who have questions regarding enrollment. Is the Zoom Lobby open?

Yes, the Zoom Lobby has been re-opened. It’s open Monday-Thursday, 10am-3pm. Visit this webpage to connect.

What is the winter quarter schedule?

For classes in winter quarter, TCC is offering in-person, hybrid and online options:

  • In-person classes: 25 percent
  • Hybrid classes: 35 percent
  • Online classes: 40 percent

For staff and faculty, starting on Jan. 3, every office will be open daily. Each staff member, with very few exceptions, will be required to have a presence on-campus, per telework and supervisor agreements. Faculty will be on campus 25 hours a week per contract.

Who are the health monitors and what are their roles?

Health monitors are part-time employees who work in specific high-traffic buildings to ensure our campus members are following safety protocols, such as masks, name badges, Covid-19 testing, re-stocking supplies and more. There are 18 monitors working around-the-clock to support our campus. They wear bright orange vests. If you need to connect with a health monitor, please contact Public Safety at 253-566-5111.

What are the additional safety mitigations for those who attested an exemption?

Students who attested medical or religious exemptions are required to wear a double-mask or approved KN95 mask; social distance when possible; follow CDC guidelines when traveling and follow CDC guidelines if exposed  and more. Students who choose not to self-attest will not be allowed to enroll for classes on-campus; they will be directed to register for online classes only.

Staff have the same requirements and also will be required to test twice a week at TCC. At this time, students with an approved exemption are not required to test.

TCC is offering free self-administered PCR tests available in the Library, the Food Pantry, and Gig Harbor Campus. To find testing sites, please click here. 

 

FAQs as of September 2021

(find more FAQs on our Safe Start page)

Does TCC enforce social distancing?

Because TCC is a fully vaccinated college, it is not required for TCC to enforce social distancing on the campus, including the classroom and workspace. However, TCC may recommend social distancing in some areas and can be responsive to requests.

If I am or someone else is feeling sick, what should we do?

You should stay home and report to your supervisor, or students should report to instructor(s).

If you are experiencing COVID symptoms, please follow guidelines and get tested. If you test positive for COVID, follow the Contact Tracing protocols that are outlined in the Contact Tracing section below or on page 7 in the toolkit.

Here are the first actions to take:

  • Report to a supervisor.
  • Contact Wayne Mask at wmask@tacomacc.edu for further instructions and to initiate contact tracing process.

Other important details:

  • From our experience, there is no one-size-fits all approach with these situations. Since the beginning, TCC has taken a cautious approach to be the most safe. Work with your supervisor, based on the information you have, to make the decision that feels the most safe for you and students and employees.
  • Even if you are not experiencing COVID symptoms, you should still stay home as a precaution.
  • Faculty are encouraged to be flexible with student attendance.

Can students request social distancing in a classroom? 

This depends on the class enrollment size and the size of the actual classroom. We will work to continue to find solutions for this. Students and Instructors should work together to adjust to comfort levels as space allows.

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated? 

A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receipt of the second dose of a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or two  weeks after receipt of the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If an online student who has not self-attested come onto campus? Can they come and check in as a visitor? 

Students who opt not to self-attest nor fully vaccinated are required to take online classes only. As for coming onto campus, they are asked to use remote services and avoid coming onto campus. We will continue to explore this question and provide more information.

How do you get accommodations if you cannot safely wear an acceptable face covering?

Contact Human Resources for employees; contact Access Services for students. The process will be the same as requesting other class or workplace accommodations.

What types of masks are acceptable?

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
  • Completely covers nose and mouth
  • Fits snugly against the side of the face and doesn’t have gaps
  • If you choose a gaiter, wear a gaiter with two layers
  • Face shields are currently not recommended, but evaluation is ongoing

View this infographic and more information from the CDC here.

Who has access to view who has self-attested? Can a faculty or staff member see the content of a student’s self-attestation form?

There will be no general access to the self-attestation reports. Two specific identified individuals in Student Affairs will have access for students; two individuals in Human Resources will have access for employees.

In order to ensure self-attestation due dates are met, additional employees may have access to who has not filled out the self-attestation form in order to send reminders but they will not have access to what is on the self-attestation forms.

Can I get in trouble for not wearing a mask? What is the consequence? 

It is a state law and TCC policy for you to wear a mask at all times on the TCC campuses. All are encouraged to give each other the benefit of the doubt and positively remind those not wearing a mask of the policy. Remind, repeat, and then report to campus safety.

Employees will be subject to disciplinary action. Students will be referred to the Code of Conduct process.

What is the best way to interact with others on campus?

Every individual has a personal idea of what safety means to them. For example, you may be comfortable meeting with a colleague or a student in an office or a conference room; others may not. As long as you follow safety protocols, such as self-attestation and masking, you can make these decisions based on your own comfort level. Having open conversations with employees, students and supervisors is encouraged. You can use many tools to meet with others, such as Zoom, phone, or Teams.

Let people know how you wish to connect with them. You are welcome to make a sign for your door with instructions on how to set an appointment if you have an individual office.

Table of Contents

Masks and Compliance

Classroom Preparation

Workstation Preparation

Vaccine Information and Exemptions

Employee Vaccination Timeline

Student Vaccination Timeline

COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 Contact Tracing at TCC

Support and Resources

Reminders, Additional Info and Resources

Masks and Compliance

Masks

Everyone on campus is required to wear masks indoors and outdoors, regardless of vaccination status. This includes parking lots.

Mask stations will be placed at all buildings on the campuses. If you need more masks, please call Campus Public Safety at 253.566.5111.

Mask guidelines:

  • All individuals on campus are expected to wear masks indoors unless working alone in a private workspace, but a mask must be kept close and put on if someone enters the workspace, even if social distance is maintained.
  • Masks must be worn outdoors.
  • Wear your mask until you are ready to eat and then place it back on afterwards. Staff are encouraged to eat in their office area or outside. Maintain social distancing in breakrooms or shared spaces. Eating or drinking in classes is not permitted.
  • You have every right to ask a student or employee to wear a mask in any setting or ask them to correct their mask placement on their face. You can make it clear this is college policy and state law.
  • Review the CDC guidelines of what is an acceptable mask.

Compliance

  • Health monitors (new employees who will be stationed in key areas around the campus) will help with providing masks, ensuring mask compliance, helping with check-ins for visitors, restocking supplies and more.
  • Please offer a mask to any individual who is unmasked before providing them with services. If they refuse to wear a mask, direct them to services that can be conducted virtually via Zoom, phone or email. Services will not be provided to those who are unmasked.
  • If the unmasked visitor refuses to leave and conduct their business virtually, contact Campus Safety to escort the unmasked visitor off campus: 253.566.5111.
  • If a student or an employee refuses to wear their mask, employees are encouraged to remind them that masking is a condition of attendance or employment at TCC and they may be subject to removal from campus or face disciplinary action if they do not comply. If the individual continues to refuse, contact Campus Safety: 253.566.5111.

Classroom Preparation

As TCC’s campuses phase back into in-person operations, classrooms will need to adjust to ensure the safety of both employees and students.

  • Masks are required for all. Mask stations will be located in most buildings. Health monitors will assist with masks. If a student needs accommodation regarding a mask, please contact Access Services at access@tacomacc.edu.
  • Disinfection wipes will be available in all classrooms to maintain a hygienic atmosphere. CDC has reported that in most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. The most reliable way to prevent infection is regularly wash hands. For general sanitation, we encourage faculty and students to use the wipes after each use. Facilities will clean the areas daily. If you need more wipes, call Campus Safety at 253.566.5111.

Communicating to Students

  • Faculty are encouraged to provide TCC’s safety protocols in their syllabi, course resources in Canvas or other ways you communicate to students and reinforce these protocols during the first day of class.
  • Suggested syllabus language:
    “TCC has implemented safety protocols based on guidance from public health agencies. This includes wearing a mask at all times; wash hands; and self-attest your vaccination status. As a member of our campus community, students, faculty, and staff are expected to follow all health and safety protocols and policies. These protocols apply to everyone who physically enter the campus grounds. TCC is committed to protecting the health and safety of the campus community. By participating in this course, you agree to abide by TCC’s ongoing safety protocols.”
  • Clearly communicate your preference of how you wish to interact with students. Faculty can choose to meet with students in-person; via Zoom or Teams or phone. As long as you follow TCC safety protocols of masking and self-attestation, it is up to the faculty member and their own comfort levels. Also work with students about their preference, too, such as small group setting or one-on-one meetings.  

Digital Access to Classes

Faculty are encouraged to adopt a method of recording class sessions through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Panopto, or other means. Having a method of digital access will ensure that students who are required to quarantine and miss in-person classes do not fall behind in coursework.

Support can be provided by TCC’s eLearning team

Workstation Preparation

Campus workstations can allow for three feet of physical distance between an employee and students, visitors, or other employees. Some workstations may need to be modified, rearranged, or relocated to comply with this recommendation. Employees can request a plexiglass barrier or other safety equipment through the Facility Maintenance Request on the Portal or at 253.566.5152.

Cleaning processes will be implemented throughout campus, but employees are encouraged to frequently disinfect their workstations to maintain a hygienic atmosphere for themselves and other members of the campus community. Employees can request additional cleaning supplies through Campus Safety at 253.566.5111.

Supervisors are free to provide digital access to meetings or gatherings through Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or other programs to ensure a safe working environment.

Telework Processes

TCC recently revised its Telework policy. Employees can review the updated policy here.

The college will consider telework requests on a case-by-case basis based on the needs and priorities of college operations. Email humanresources@tacomacc.edu for more information.

Vaccine Information and Exemptions

Vaccinations are an essential tool in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Per Gov. Jay Inslee’s higher education proclamation 20-12, TCC opted to be a fully vaccinated campus this summer. This means staff, faculty and students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and self-attest their vaccination status. Only medical and religious exemptions will be considered.

As a condition of employment, all higher education employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.

All students must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31.

Per approval, exemptions for medical or religious reasons will be honored.

Employee Vaccination or Exemption Attestation

Employees must submit a self-attestation form to verify their vaccine status through ctcLink. Employees should submit this information as soon as they have completed both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or after their first and only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 (see timetable below).

Employees may submit exemptions for legitimate medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs. Employees claiming exemptions will also need to complete the self-attestation form through ctcLink.

Instructions on how to complete the self-attestation form can be found here.

Employee Verification Process

TCC is required to verify proof of vaccination for employees. Human Resources, under the guidance of our legal counsel, has developed a process to verify authentic vaccine cards. Another process has been developed to review medical and religious documentation. No documentation will be kept for records.  

Student Vaccination or Exemption Attestation

Students must submit a self-attestation form to verify their vaccine status through ctcLink as soon as they have completed both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or after their first and only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All students who are enrolled in on-campus classes or plan to participate in any on-campus activities and services are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31 (see timetable below).

Students may submit exemptions for legitimate medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs. Students claiming exemptions will also need to complete the self-attestation form through ctcLink.

If students are not fully vaccinated and/or do not self-attest, they can only enroll in online classes. They are encouraged to take advantage of TCC’s remote student services.

Instructions on how to complete the self-attestation form can be found here.

Winter Quarter (subject to change)

For winter quarter, students who are enrolled in on-campus classes or plan to participate in any on-campus activities and/or services must be fully vaccinated and self-attest by Dec. 27.

Students enrolled in on-campus classes who have not self-attested by the Dec. 27 deadline will be removed from their on-campus classes.

Students who are taking exclusively online classes and will not be on-campus for any activities or services are not required to be fully vaccinated or self-attest.

Employee Vaccination Timeline

Vaccination Type

Series Dose Requirement

First Dose No Later Than

Second Dose

Completed Series

Fully Vaccinated By

Pfizer

2 doses, 21 days apart

9/13/21

10/4/21

10/04/21

10/18/21

Moderna

2 doses, 28 days apart

9/06/21

10/04/21

10/04/21

10/18/21

Johnson & Johnson

Single dose

10/04/21

N/A

10/04/21

10/18/21

Staff/Faculty Actions

Due Date

Submit Request for Medical or Religious Exemption

10/15/21

Submit Request to not Return to Work on Nov. 15 (Staff Only)

10/15/21

Complete Self-Attestation 

10/15/21

Submit Proof of Vaccination

10/18/21

All staff return to campus

11/15

Full re-opening

1/3/22

Student Vaccination Timeline

Vaccination Type

Series Dose Requirement

First Dose No Later Than

Second Dose

Completed Series

Fully Vaccinated By

Pfizer

2 doses, 21 days apart

9/26/21

10/17/21

10/17/21

10/31/21

Moderna

2 doses, 28 days apart

9/19/21

10/17/21

10/17/21

10/31/21

Johnson & Johnson

Single dose

10/17/21

N/A

10/17/21

10/31/21

Student Actions

Due Date

Submit Request for Medical or Religious Exemption

ASAP

Complete Self-Attestation 

10/31/21

Submit Proof of Vaccination

10/31/21

Winter Quarter Self-Attestation Due

12/27/21

Full re-opening

1/3/22

COVID-19 Symptoms

Before you leave for work, assess your health. How do you feel? Do you have any symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms vary, and are updated by the CDC, but the most common are:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

There is additional information about COVID-19 at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website.

What to do:

  • Stay home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms.
  • Notify your supervisor right away. If you would like to work from home, please ask your supervisor.
  • Seek medical advice about whether or not you need to be tested for COVID-19. TCC will offers free self-administered PCR tests available in the Library, the Food Pantry, and Gig Harbor Campus. Click here for information about testing sites. 

COVID-19 Contact Tracing at TCC

Employees must self-report immediately to their supervisor if they develop symptoms of, were exposed to, or test positive for COVID-19.

To report a confirmed positive case:

Contact Wayne Mask of Administrative Services at wmask@tacomacc.edu or 253.566.5051 to self-report and initiate the contact tracing process. All information shared will remain confidential.

For employee-related questions, contact Shawn McRavin of Human Resources at smcravin@tacomacc.edu or 253.566.5374. She can provide additional information about available leave and other resources.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will be contacted for support, if necessary.

New Tool to Help if You've Been Exposed or Test Positive

The King County Health Department has developed a new calculator to help you determine how long you need to isolate or quarantine and any additional precautions you need to take based on your specific situation. This will help inform your next steps. Click here to access this tool: https://redcap.iths.org/surveys/?s=AP3NW4AWJM

Student Cases

If a faculty member has a student who has been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19 in their classroom, please contact Wayne Mask at wmask@tacomacc.edu or 253.566.5051 to initiate the contact tracing process. Students should report if they are positive to their faculty instructors.

What happens if there is a positive case in a classroom or work setting?

These are the general guidelines:

  • The employee or student should be sent home and referred for medical treatment.
  • Contact Facilities for the area to be cleaned.
  • Individuals who have been identified as having close contact (within six feet for a cumulative 15 minutes or more of contact) will be notified and advised the following:
    • Vaccinated individuals: Should be tested three to five days following the date of the exposure and continue to wear a mask at all times until they receive a negative test result. They should watch for symptoms. If there are no symptoms, vaccinated people do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work following an exposure, if they follow the masking and testing recommendations. If positive, isolate for 10 days after the exposure date or at the onset of symptoms.
    • Non-vaccinated individuals:
      • Quarantine for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
      • Watch for fever (100.4°F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
      • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
      • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your health care provider.  
  • Also note for non-vaccinated individuals: Local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local  conditions and needs. Follow the recommendations of your local public health department if you need to quarantine. Options to consider are:
    • After Day 10 without testing
    • After Day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test should occur on Day 5 or later for the most accurate result)

Positive Test 

I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms

You can be around others after:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*

*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​

I tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19.

If you develop symptoms after testing positive, follow the guidance above for “I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms.

Further actions and communications

For the workspace and classrooms, the general guidelines listed above would apply. Faculty and staff are recommended to contact Wayne Mask, who will provide directions about what actions to take, whether  to get tested, quarantine and/or stay home.

Examples:

  • If a student is confirmed positive and was sitting within six feet of other students for 15 or more minutes, than those students would be notified. It is not required to notify the entire classroom about an exposure - only those who were in close contact. However, if the faculty member decides it's necessary, please work with college PIO for guidance.
  • In the workspace, if an employee comes into work sick, leaves and tests positive for COVID, the supervisor will be asked to help collect contact tracing information, such as who was in close contact with the individual. Supervisor will assist with notifying those who were in close contact. It is not required to notify the entire department about an exposure - only those who were in close contact. However, if the supervisor decides it's necessary, please work with college PIO for guidance. 

Wayne Mask will work with the TCC PIO and the Health Department if there is an outbreak (two or more positive cases in a setting) and will guide the communications and further actions, if necessary.

Support and Resources

TCC employees and their family members have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for free and confidential licensed mental health counseling. EAP is a resource to provide guidance on both personal and work-related issues, among other services including free online workshops. Visit eap.wa.gov/worklife (org code: TCC) or call 888.728.1408 for more information.

Supervisors and Human Resources are encouraged to support employees as they transition back into the workplace or express other mental health obstacles.

For students, free and confidential counseling is available through TCC’s counseling department. TCC’s professionally trained counseling team is available for remote sessions to help students navigate obstacles in college and life. Book an appointment or find more information.

Combating COVID-19 Task Force

This new task force, which started in the summer, works to help inform, heal and support the college community. One of the task force's goals is to identify social and emotional needs of the campus community, and how we can best support members. More to come as we work to help students, staff and faculty.

Reminders, Additional Information and Resources

Reminders 

  • Stay home if you are ill – even if you are not experiencing COVID symptoms.
  • Masks are required at all times on-campus.
  • Wash your hands – the chance of contracting COVID from surfaces are low – but the CDC recommends handwashing to be an effective tool. 
  • Attempt to stay at least three-feet from others.
  • Follow the reliable news from the CDC and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department about the pandemic.
  • TCC will keep its Safe Start page updated – read this page for news and updates. It’s important to be engaged!  
  • TCC is offering multiple vaccination clinics – read here for more information. The dates are:
    • Monday, Sept. 13 (Gig Harbor)
    • Tuesday, Sept. 21 (Tacoma)
    • Monday, Oct. 4 (Gig Harbor)
    • Tuesday, Oct. 12 (Tacoma)

Additional Information

  • Visitors to the Tacoma campus must go to Building 14 and fill out the health check form. Employees and students are no longer required to fill out the health check form or to complete the weekly safety training . 
  • If you plan to hold a gathering of more than 50 people, you need to obtain permission from the college president. Please work with your supervisor or club advisor to submit a request.
  • Athletics has its own safety protocols. Contact Athletic Director Jason Prenovost for questions. 
  • TCC offers free self-administered PCR tests available in the Library, the Food Pantry, and Gig Harbor Campus. 

Additional Resources 

Visit the following links for more information: