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Emergency Preparedness

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Otero Junior College has developed this page to provide OJC faculty, staff, students and families with information and resources about Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and actions taken by the College to prepare for potential impact. 

CARES Act Required Reporting

The CARES Act is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for Higher Education. OJC was awarded funds that were required to be used only as direct grants to students to provide emergency relief aid for hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic as they look to continue their education.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)Section 18004 (E) of the CARES Act Reporting and Disclosure

(HEERF) Reporting and Disclosure: August 18

(HEERF) Reporting and Disclosure: July 4

(HEERF) Reporting and Disclosure: May 15

(HEERF) Reporting August 15, 2020 – 45 Day Status

(HEERF) Reporting July 1, 2020 – 45 Day Status

The situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and OJC will continue to provide updates as information is available.

CDC Guidance to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Resources & Information

UPDATED: August 26, 2020
  August 26, 8:00 a.m. - Social Distancing Facial Covering Guidance (pdf)  
  August 25, 11:00 a.m. - Gov Polis Safer at Home Tenth Amended PHO (pdf)  
  July 31, 3:44 p.m. - Crowley-Otero Country COVID-19 Updates (pdf)  
  July 20, 4:27 p.m. - Newly Issued School Reopening Guidance (pdf)  
  July 16, 3:26 p.m. - Gov Polis Announces Statewide Mask Order (pdf)  
  July 15, 4:00 p.m. - Otero PositiveCases-Pioner Long Term Care Facility (pdf)  
  July 7, 3:10 p.m. - OJC FAQ’s for Students Concerning Fall Semester 2020  

  July 1, 8:00 a.m. - Gov Polis Safer-at-Home and Vast in the Great Outdoors Extension (pdf)  
  June 30, 3:44 p.m. - Crowley/Otero COVID-19 Update: Bent, Crowley, Otero (BCO) Variance Extension (pdf)  
  June 19, 3:44 p.m. - #2 COVID-19 Update: Risk and Benefit Information (pdf)  
  June 19, 2:52 p.m. - #1 COVID-19 Update: Safer At Home PHO 7th Amendment (pdf)  
  June 19, 1:14 p.m.  - NJCAA COVID-19 Update from Dr. Parker (pdf)  
  June 9, 12.46 p.m. - COVID-19 Update: New Positive Otero County Case (pdf)  
  June 8, 12:29 p.m. - COVID-19 Update: New Positive Crowley County Cases (pdf)  
  June 4, 3:25 p.m. - COVID Testing Locations (pdf)  
  June 4, 3:15 p.m. - Coronavirus Update: New Positive Otero County Cases (pdf)  
  June 4, 3:00 p.m. - Otero Health Dept. Safer at Home 5th Amended Statement (pdf)  
  June 1, 9:39 a.m. - Crowley/Otero Update: New COVID_19 Positive Cases (pdf)  
  May 31, 3:23 p.m. - Bent, Crowley, Otero Counties Alternate COVID-19 Suppression Plan (pdf)  
  May 28, 3:55 p.m. - Otero/Crowley Update: Three New COVID-19 Positives (pdf)  
  May 26, 4:37 p.m. - Governor Polis Safer at Home Policy Presentation (pdf)  
  May 26, 4:37 p.m. - Governor Polis Elective Surgery Extension (pdf)  
  May 25, 8:00 a.m. - Governor Polis Safer at Home Policy FAQ (pdf)  
  May 25, 7:46 a.m. - Governor Polis Extending Safer at Home Policy (pdf)  
  May 22, 12:30 p.m. - Otero/Crowley Update: New COVID-19 Positive Cases (pdf)  
  May 13, 9:54 a.m. - Otero/Crowley Update: New COVID-19 Positive Otero County (pdf)  
  May 8, 10:40 a.m. - Otero/Crowley Update: 35 New COVID-19 Positive Crowley County (pdf)  
  May 4, 2:45 p.m. - Otero/Crowley Update: Two New COVID-19 Positive Crowley County (pdf)  
  April 29, 5:33 p.m. - Otero/Crowley Update: Two New COVID-19 Positive Otero County (pdf)  
  April 27, 4:18 p.m. - Safer At Home Public Health Order (pdf)  
  April 27, 10:15 a.m. - Otero/Crowley Update: New Possible COVID-19 Positive (pdf)  
  April 27, 10:08 a.m. - Gov. Polis: Safer at Home (pdf)  
  April 27, 10:08 a.m. - Gov. Polis: Voluntary or Elective Surgeries & Procedures in Colorado (pdf)  
  April 27, 10:08 a.m. - Gov. Polis: Creating New Normal Advisory Board (pdf)  
  April 23, 2:27 p.m. - Crowley/Otero Safer At Home & Amended School Closure (pdf)  
  April 23, 2:27 p.m. - Doing My Part Colo: Safer At Home Fact Sheet (pdf)  
  April 23, 2:27 p.m. - Gov. Polis: Amended School Closure Order (pdf)  
  April 22, 10:41 a.m. - Crowley/Otero COVID-19 Update: Safer At Home Level (pdf)  
  April 22, 10:41 a.m. - Gov. Polis Doing My Part Colo Presentation (pdf)  
  April 22, 10:41 a.m. - Gov. Polis COVID Modeling Report (pdf)  
  April 21, 11:05 a.m. - Otero Update - New Positive Otero County (pdf)  
  April 17, 3:00 p.m. - Governor Polis: Mask Covering Executive Order (pdf)  
  April 17, 12:44 p.m. - Otero Update - New Positive Otero County (pdf)  
  April 17, 12:02 p.m. - OJC Offers Students Grade Options in the Wake of COVID-19  
  April 16, 1:46 p.m. - Campus Update: Remote Grading Information (pdf)  
  April 10, 6:29 p.m. - Crowley/Otero Update: New Positive Crowley County Case (pdf)  
  April 9, 2:29 p.m. - Otero Junior College to Serve as Alternate Care Facility  
  April 9, 8:06 a.m. - Crowley/Otero Update: New Positive Otero County Case (pdf)  
  April 8, 12:39 p.m. - Bent/Crowley/Otero Update: Call For Volunteers, Second Call (pdf)  
  April 7, 9:55 a.m. - OJC’s Summer Semester moves to Remote Access Learning   
  April 7, 9:03 a.m. - President Alvarez Campus Update (pdf)  
  April 5, 12:08 p.m. - Crowley/Otero COVID-19 Update #1 (pdf)  
  April 4, 9:31 a.m. - GovPolis-Doing My Part Mask Presentation (pdf)  
  April 4, 9:00 a.m. - Gov Polis-FAQ Colorado Mask Campaign (pdf)  
  April 2, 3:32 p.m. - Crowley/Otero Coronavirus Update #2 Call For Volunteers (pdf)  
  April 2, 12:51 p.m. - Crowley/Otero Coronavirus Update #1 (pdf)  
  April 3, 3:00 p.m. - Governor Polis: Mask Covering Executive Order (pdf)  
  March 30, 12:58 p.m. - Crowley/Otero Update: Your Game Plan (pdf)  
  March 30, 11:41 a.m. - Crowley/Otero Update: 3RD Positive Otero County Case (pdf)  
  March 27, 7:31 a.m. - Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education (pdf)  
  March 26, 10:42 a.m. - Otero Update: 2nd POSITIVE COVID-19 Case In Otero County (pdf)  
  March 25, 6:50 p.m. - Gov. Polis Stay-At-Home Order FAQ (pdf)  
  March 25, 6:50 p.m. - Gov. Polis Announces Statewide Stay-At-Home Order (pdf)  
  March 24, 6:02 p.m. - Otero Update #2: POSITIVE COVID-19 Case In Otero County (pdf)  
  March 24, 5:43 p.m. - OJC Press Release: Coronavirus Update (pdf)  
  March 24, 9:50 a.m. - Otero Update: POSITIVE COVID-19 Case In Otero County (pdf)  
  March 23, 1:09 p.m. - COVID-19 Impact on Veterans: GI Bill of Rights (pdf)  
  March 20, 11:30 a.m. - National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coronavirus Update (pdf)  
  March 19, 6:40 p.m. - SBDC Coronavirus Update (pdf)  
  March 19, 2:06 p.m. - Crowley/Otero County COVID-19 Update (pdf)  
  March 19, 11:45 a.m. - Instructions for Students Needing to Pay Their Bill Online (pdf)  
  March 19, 8:10 a.m. - Work Study Employment Information (pdf)  
  March 19, 7:53 a.m. - Colo: Public Health Orders Through 3/18/2020  
  March 18, 7:10 p.m. - Governor Polis: Colorado Takes Further Action (pdf)  
  March 18, 2:23 p.m. - Press Release: OJC Spring Semester Status  
  March 18, 12:49 p.m. - OJC Residence Hall Closing Letter & Instructions (pdf)  
  March 18, 12:13 p.m. - Update From Public Health Director: Local Covid-19 (pdf)  
  March 18, 10:37 a.m. - Dr. Alvarez Update: OJC Spring Semester Status  
  March 17, 5:58 p.m. - SBDC COVID-19 Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Guide  
  March 16, 6:44 p.m. - Governor Polis Update on State’s Response to COVID-19 (pdf)  
  March 16, 11:59 a.m. - NJCAA National Office Communication About Spring Athletics (pdf)  
  March 15, 11:18 a.m. - Public Health Director Crowley and Otero Counties - What's the Plan (pdf)  
  March 13, 3:21 p.m. - Governor Polis Update on Coronavirus (pdf)  
  March 13, 3:03 p.m. - Colo SBDC Coronavirus Update (pdf)  
  March 13, 2:10 p.m. - NJCAA National Office Communication About Coronavirus (pdf)  
  March 13, 10:15 a.m. - Update from Public Health Director Crowley and Otero Counties (pdf)  
  March 13, 9:47 a.m. - Important Learning Commons Updates for Student Success  
  March 12, 10:31 a.m. - OJC Extending Spring Break  
  March 12, 9:30 a.m. - CCCS Prepares Transition to Remote Instruction  
  March 11, 9:20 p.m. - Dr. Alvarez OJC COVID-19 Update  
  March 11, 7:43 p.m. - Governor Polis Update on Coronavirus  
  March 11, 5:00 p.m. - Otero County Health Department Update (pdf)  
  March 11, 4:35 p.m. - Health Emergency Guidelines  
  March 04, 11:47 a.m. - Dr. Alvarez E-Mail to Campus  

How the College is Responding to COVID-19

The College is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation, and as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is taking action to address a potential future outbreak in the U.S. that could impact daily College operations, athletics, and other educational, personal, and business travel for students, faculty, and staff.

The College has convened its Emergency Management Operations Group and has put in motion the actions required for social distancing and shelter in place, as mandated by the State of Colorado. We are in communication with county and state health officials to monitor the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We are also working closely with the Colorado Community College System Emergency Management Office for guidance and updates.

Otero Junior College has been making numerous adjustments to our daily activities as we have responded to the mandates and recommendations associated with the Coronavirus.

 As of Thursday, March 26, 2020 the OJC campus was closed. The only people allowed back on campus for short periods of time are identified essential personnel.

As of Monday, March 30, 2020, all courses at Otero Junior College were transitioned to remote learning formats. Over the past few months OJC administrators have been making numerous adjustments as they are responding to mandates and recommendations associated with the Coronavirus.

The OJC administration continues to meet remotely to further outline how Otero Junior College will move forward in this on-going situation.  We are preparing ourselves to cope with additional challenges, should they become necessary. 

OJC Recovery Operation Plans Abridged

OJC Social Distancing & Facial Covering Guidance

OJC FAQ’s for Students Concerning Fall Semester 2020

Our Current Status – September 17, 2020

COVID –19 Status in our Community

  • We have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on-campus for either students or staff
  • According to the Colorado Public Health & Environment Department, as of September 17, 2020, Otero County has 86 positive  cases of COVID-19 and includes six deaths; Crowley County has 73 positive cases (65 in Crowley County Correctional Facility) and includes one death. Total Crowley and Otero County COVID-19 cases: 159.

OJC as Alternate Care Facility

  • Otero Junior College has been designated as an Alternate Care Facility (ACF) by the Otero/Crowley Health Department during the current COVID-19 crisis.
    • According to Richard Ritter, executive director Otero County Health Department, OJC was designated as an ACF to support the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center (AVRMC) if that facility were to become overwhelmed with patients as a result of increasing COVID-19 patients.
    • “Basically, the way our AFC at Otero Junior College would work is that AVRMC would transfer their non-critical patients to the AFC, where they would get appropriate medical care. This would enable AVRMC to focus on more severe, critically ill patients that need much more attention and care,” explained Ritter.
    • Ritter said the ACF will have a direct line of communication with AVRMC. Patients will not report directly to the ACF, they will report to AVRMC where they will receive an initial assessment before possible transfer to the ACF.
  • Ritter stressed in his comments that utilizing the ACF at Otero Junior College is not happening right now.
    • “This is being planned with an abundance of caution, so that IF the need arises, we are ready to assist our regional hospital to meet the need,” he said.
  • OJC is prepared to offer three on-campus locations:
    • (1) Life Sciences building (main hub for nursing)
    • (2) The Wunsch Hall residence facility (patient beds)
    • (3) McDivitt Center Gymnasium, should the need arise for more space
  • According to Ritter, the OJC site has been prepared to accept patients at any time should the need arise.
    • “The Life Science and Wunch Hall sites have been cleaned and readied; medical beds are in place, and we have access to many more beds if the need arises. Start-up supplies have been secured; linens and pillows have been donated; and food service and laundry service is being finalized,” said Ritter.


Enrollment for Fall Semester

  • Enrollment for Fall Semester has officially opened. All returning students and new students are being communicated with via email about the process of enrolling for a future semester via Navigate, an online platform that students can utilize remotely, thus allowing them to get enrolled without coming back to campus.

In-Person Classes plus Options

The primary focus for Fall Semester at OJC will be to conduct in-person classes for the majority of the courses offered. Alvarez explained that there will be some exceptions.

“We are intending to give our students several choices for how they want to take classes this fall. There are some courses that will start out being offered as hybrid or hybrid-remote classes. Some in-person classes will offer livestreaming for those who don’t want to come to campus. For those who want a total online experience, they can take online classes through the Colorado Community College’s CCCOnline. We are trying hard to accommodate the various needs and preferences of our student body by offering multiple options,” said Alvarez.

Students are currently being accepted into the College’s residence halls. Room assignments in the Residence Halls will allow for double and single occupancy, with cohorts of students grouped together and social distancing measures put in place.

On-Campus Requirements for Fall Semester

  • Students, faculty, staff and guests will be required to go through a check-in process each day to have their temperature taken and complete a short health questioner. Wristbands will be issued daily to indicate that people have completed the process
  • Masks will be required when within 6 feet of others
  • Classroom and other gathering places will be re-arranged to accommodate social distancing
  • Signage will be placed throughout campus to remind people of handwashing, masks, social distancing and other measures to ensure health and safely

To view a full list of frequently asked questions about Fall Semester, go to this link:


Fall Sports move to Spring Competition Schedules

An announcement by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) on Monday, July 13, 2020 set the course for all fall sports at OJC to move to a spring competition schedule.

In making the announcement, Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO stated, “Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes. Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the Board of Regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level with proper safety measures in place.”

The most recent plan of action shifts all close-contact fall sports to the Spring Semester. Fall sports teams will be allowed 60 consecutive calendar days for practice and scrimmages, with no regional or district competition. All regional and district competition will be held in the spring with an abbreviated competition schedule.

OJC fall sports being impacted by this ruling include; Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Men’s Wrestling

View the NJCAA Full Plan of Action

Preparing the Campus in the Wake of COVID-19

Alvarez said that hours of work have gone into making the campus clean and safe for student and staff to return to this fall.

“Our staff in the Physical Plant were considered essential staff, and continued to work throughout the Safer at Home order by cleaning and sanitizing our campus. They have continued to work this summer to have the campus fully ready by our August 17 start date,” he said.

To ensure that the College is following the protocols recommended by local, state and national healthcare agencies, OJC’s Pandemic Recovery Plan was submitted last week to the Otero County Health Department for approval.

“The faculty and staff developed a comprehensive plan that the Otero County Health Department approved last week. The plan met the Otero County Health Department’s guidelines, thus allowing us to move forward with our plans, while maintaining the health and safety of our campus community,” explained Alvarez.

Currently all staff, other than Physical Plant staff, are working no more than 50 percent on campus. The rest of their work is being done from home utilizing the technology OJC had in place prior to the Safer at Home order.

“We will gradually bring more employees back to campus for longer periods of time, but until we have fully passed this pandemic, or we receive different orders from the Governor, I will not expect all faculty and staff to be on campus full-time as they would have been in the past,” explained Alvarez.

Alvarez also stated that some community events and activities, that were previously scheduled to be held during the fall months, will be postponed until after the New Year in 2021.

“Once again, this is all about timing, if things have quieted down with COVID-19 by January 2021, we will once again welcome our community back on campus.”

Campus Cleaning

  • Extensive cleaning is being conducted on all public spaces, classrooms, computers and computer labs, restrooms and residence halls on a regular basis.
  • The OJC Maintenance crew is thoroughly cleaning the FCU’s (fan coil units) coils and changing filters in the dorms and will be addressing class room units next. Since Viruses such as COVID-19 can be spread through airborne transmissions through HVAC systems, the droplets can enter into and be distributed by the building HVAC system. Much of the same stimulus that effects surface longevity of the virus is likely true for the HVAC system. This makes it most important during this time to make sure coils are clean and free of all forms of bacteria and filters are free from accumulated dust for proper filtration.

Personal Health

  • Should employees working remotely fall ill, the employee will submit a sick leave request as they normally do; make a note in the comment section of why they are leaving work. The HR office will be able to track our incidents of sick leave with the possibility that administrative leave could be granted for that time at a later date.


  • We made requests to a number of accreditation bodies and agencies for approval to offer remote course-work delivery and a truncated semester. This was crucial in order to maintain accreditation standards and to ensure the quality and rigor of our programs.

Our Guiding Principles

  • Ensure the health and safety of students and staff.
  • Minimizing risk – providing/practicing social distancing.
  • Maintaining rigor and quality educational programs.
  • Satisfying learning objectives and accreditation standards.
  • Ensure access and equity for all students, particularly those who might not be comfortable with remote learning.
  • Minimize disruption to the extent possible.


For questions concerning the residence halls or athletics, contact Dean of Students Gary Addington. 719-384-6859  |

For questions concerning financial aid or your bill, contact Financial Aid Director Kelsey Barbee. 719-384-6985  |

For questions about getting registered for next semester, contact Coordinator of Learning Commons Hailey Wold.  719-384-6946  |

For employment and work questions, contact your supervisor or Director of Human Resources Carol Noll.  719-384-6824  |