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.
Our Current Status – November 27, 2020
COVID –19 Status in our Community
- We had 31 number of students who were positive for COVID-19 (lab confirmed) at OJC during Fall Semester. Seventeen (17) of those cases were linked to the same source. All students who were impacted quarantined at home or on campus. All quarantines have now been lifted for those associated with the outbreak and most students have transitioned off campus to complete the semester via remote instruction.
- According to the Colorado Public Health & Environment Department, as of November 27, 2020, Otero County has 506 positive cases of COVID-19 and includes ten deaths; Crowley County has 1087 positive cases (97 in Crowley County Correctional Facility) and includes three deaths. Total Crowley and Otero County COVID-19 cases: 1593. (Cumulative summary of positive cases since March 2020)
The situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and OJC will continue to provide updates as information is available.
UPDATED: November 3, 2020
OJC to Begin Remote Learning for the Rest of the Fall Semester
After much discussion and consideration, the Otero Junior College administration has made the decision to complete the semester remotely. In an effort to further protect our student body, remote learning began on Tuesday, November 3, with full implementation by Wednesday, November 4.
Most students will leave campus and not return until the spring term. For some of the athletes, they may be expected to return early (late December) to accommodate the expected quarantine protocols. We are working with students to ensure we do not place any of them at risk.
Programs and classes exempt from remote learning and will continue to meet on campus will include:
- Law Enforcement Training Academy
- Medical Laboratory Technology
The OJC campus will continue to be open and most business and college operations will continue as normal, including student work study positions. Some offices are transitioning to face-to-face appointment-only through November 16, those include:
- Student Services
- Financial Aid
- Learning Commons
Students who currently have work study positions can continue to work through November 20. Students who do not wish to continue working will need to submit a letter of resignation to their immediate supervisor. Some offices will continue to utilize work study positions as needed through the end of the semester. Students will need to communicate with their supervisors regarding their ability.
Please contact me if you have any questions. Work hard and finish up strong Rattlers. WE GOT THIS!
Dean of Student Affairs
OTERO JUNIOR COLLEGE
|LATEST CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES|
|November 19, 12:25 p.m. - Otero County Level Orange to Red (pdf)|
|November 13, 12:25 p.m. - Otero/Crowley County COVID Update- Weekly (pdf)|
|November 9, 11:22 a.m. - Otero/Crowley County COVID Update- Level Orange (pdf)|
|November 3, 12:01 p.m. - OJC to Complete Semester Remotely (pdf)|
|October 30, 7:20 a.m - Otero/Crowley County COVID Update #1 (pdf)|
|October 27, 3:05 p.m - AVRMC Updated Community Testing Schedule (pdf)|
|October 27, 11:50 a.m - Otero/Crowley County COVID Update: Movement to Level 2 (pdf)|
|October 23, 9:35 a.m - Otero/Crowley County COVID Update (pdf)|
|October 16, 8:52 a.m - Otero/Crowley County COVID Update (pdf)|
|October 9, 7:08 a.m - Otero/Crowley County COVID Update (pdf)|
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.
The OJC administration continues to monitor 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 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 two on-campus locations:
- (1) Life Sciences building (main hub for nursing)
- (2) 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 site has 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 Spring Semester
- Enrollment for Spring Semester will open on October 19, 2020. All returning students and new students will be 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 has been to conduct in-person classes for the majority of the courses offered.
OJC gave students several choices for how they wanted to take classes this fall. There are some courses that started out being offered as hybrid or hybrid-remote classes. Some in-person classes were offered livestreaming for those who didn’t want to come to campus. For those who wanted a total online experience, they could take online classes through the Colorado Community College’s CCCOnline. OJC tried very hard to accommodate the various needs and preferences of our student body by offering multiple options.
Students were accepted into the College’s residence halls. Room assignments in the Residence Halls allowed 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 are required to go through a check-in process each day to have their temperature taken and complete a short health questioner. Wristbands are issued daily to indicate that people have completed the process
- Masks are required when within 6 feet of others
- Classroom and other gathering places have been re-arranged to accommodate social distancing
- Signage is 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. The sports of men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s rodeo have been allowed to continue their outdoor competition schedule.
How the Campus prepared in the Wake of COVID-19
Hours of work have gone into making the campus clean and safe for student and staff to return to this fall.
Physical Plant staff were considered essential staff, and continued to work throughout the Safer at Home order by cleaning and sanitizing our campus.
To ensure that the College is followed the protocols recommended by local, state and national healthcare agencies, OJC’s Pandemic Recovery Plan was submitted to the Otero County Health Department for approval.
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.
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.
- 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 has thoroughly cleaned the FCU’s (fan coil units) coils and changed filters in the dorms and class room units. 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.
- 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 | firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions concerning financial aid or your bill, contact Financial Aid Director Kelsey Barbee. 719-384-6985 | email@example.com
For questions about getting registered for next semester, contact Coordinator of Learning Commons Hailey Wold. 719-384-6946 | firstname.lastname@example.org
For employment and work questions, contact your supervisor or Director of Human Resources Carol Noll. 719-384-6824 | email@example.com
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