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 – May 5, 2021
COVID –19 Status in our Community
- CDPHE currently has Otero County categorized as Yellow Level (COVID-19 dial dashboard | Colorado COVID-19 Updates)
- The pandemic is not yet over, so we still must maintain a vigilant and proactive stance by abiding by Yellow Level Caution guidance.
- OJC is not in an Outbreak Status with any athletic teams or other campus cohorts.
- According to the Colorado Public Health & Environment Department, on May 5, 2021, Otero County had 1978 positive cases of COVID-19 and which included 65 deaths; Crowley County had 2182 positive cases (97 in Crowley County Correctional Facility) and included 15 deaths. Total Crowley and Otero County COVID-19 cases: 4160.
- Increase of 8 positive cases from day before.
(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: April 5, 2021
Summer and Fall 2021 Return to Campus FAQs
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 Summer & Fall Semester
- Enrollment for Summer & Fall Semester is now open. 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.
To view a full list of frequently asked questions about the semesters, go to this link:
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.
- 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 Amber Asbury. 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 719-384-6824.
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