Employees at Tidewater Community College’s Chesapeake campus began their return to work on campus on June 11. Less than two weeks later, the campus is once again closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Students and the public have had no access to campus since mid-March, and most employees are still teleworking.
This situation raises important questions as WCC moves toward a limited re-opening: what exactly are the standards for opening and closing the campus? Will the administration institute a daily screening process for its employees prior to the students’ return? If so, what does that screening look like? Will an employee’s positive COVID-19 test shut the entire campus, or just the building(s) the employee has been in?
Once students are on campus, how will WCC handle COVID-19 exposures? Will students be screened? If so, what does that consist of? Is there any plan to offer COVID-19 testing on-site for students and staff? Will the College require all persons on campus to wear masks, and if so, how will this be enforced? Does WCC have a plan in place to identify so-called “asymptomatic super-spreaders?” Will the College employ contact tracing, and if so, how will it manage that process? Who will have access to the information, and how will notifications be made?
What is the plan to replace faculty who become ill during the semester? What options will WCC provide for students who contract COVID-19 during the semester?
It has been more than three weeks since the WCC administration offered any information to the public about its plans. A minimalist communications strategy by the administration of a publicly funded institution during a pandemic is beyond unhelpful. Frankly, it’s unacceptable.
Students and the community need to know what’s going on at WCC.
Photo Credit: Kevan , via Flickr