March 12, 2020 (Denver, CO) – To ensure the health and safety of campus communities across Colorado, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) activated its emergency operations team focused on coordinating the system’s response with the CO Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the guidance provided by the Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) on any CCCS campus, preparation continues to receive the highest level of attention from college leaders and system administration.
“The health and safety of our 125,000 students and 20,000 employees is our highest priority as we coordinate our response and take informed actions,” said Joe Garcia, CCCS chancellor. “Our thirteen college presidents and I are having regular, ongoing conversations and heeding the guidance of public health experts and the CDC.”
Immediate actions taking place across all thirteen colleges include limitations on large group gatherings, implementation of restrictive travel policies, and the possible extension of Spring Break for students. Staff and faculty will utilize the extra time to transition appropriate courses from in-person to remote instruction and exams, and implement risk reduction plans tailored for each campus.
Due to varying institutional size, location, and programming across CCCS colleges, some courses may not be appropriate to transition to remote learning, such as welding and nursing labs. To provide students with the opportunity to continue their educations in which they have invested so much time, money, and effort, while ensuring safety for students in these career and technical education programs, courses will be held in spaces that allow for adequate social distancing.
“We are prepared for this fast-moving, fluid situation and are implementing appropriate plans at each of our colleges to keep our communities safe and avoid interference with student academic progress,” said Garcia.
CCCS hopes to keep offices and colleges open, but also wants to ensure alignment with best practices to promote a healthy environment such as implementing plans to allow employees to work remotely and ensuring paid sick leave.