Remote and In-Person Learning Offered: Winter Term COVID-19 Updates
Colleges and universities in Linn and Benton counties have made many adjustments to the state’s already established masking, distancing, and quarantine rules, including having students attend Zoom school instead. LBCC was no different.
LB started winter term off with more in-person classes offered, 26%, exactly, according to LB’s education plan, which is on their main website. The Commuter contacted Jennifer Boehmer, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, and she gave a full account of how the school plans to respond and keep guidelines updated and its students and staff safe.
LB is keeping in close contact with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Linn-County Health Department, and the other colleges and universities in Oregon for updates on cases and what they recommend doing, she said.
“We just learned of a new federal distribution of testing kits in our area and are working quickly to determine how LBCC can assist in distributing these kits to our community” through the Linn County Health Department, Boehmer said.
Updates will be posted on LBCC’s COVID site, which can be found here as well as a form to fill out if anyone has knowledge of any positive cases. Boehmer said that along with help from health authorities, students and staff who report cases are also vital to keep us safe so that we can notify groups who may have been exposed to be on the lookout for symptoms.
LBCC has vaccination mandates in place for students and staff in health care but currently are not mandating it for general students or staff, Boehmer said.
Kristin Adams, Chair of the Board of Education, said, “LBCC board members represent a very diverse student and family population. We know that the experiences of COVID-19 are varied, with different levels of comfort for both the vaccine and other safety measures. Our goal is to provide the very best education for as many students as possible, all while keeping a safe, welcoming environment. It is not always easy to navigate, but we will continue to pursue what is right for LBCC step by step.”
Along with discussion about vaccines, LBCC has implemented cleaning protocols that match and exceed CDC recommendations by examining the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to prioritize airflow and filtration. The college also has added touchless equipment throughout major entrances on Lebanon, Albany, Sweet Home, and Corvallis campuses for soap, hand towels, hand-free door use, and hand sanitizer. Signage for mask reminders and stations that have free masks in every entrance have also been increased this term.
LB has been offering free, walk-up vaccine clinics as often as they can and will continue to do so in order to help with the county-wide vaccination rates, said Boehmer. They hosted one on Jan. 12 and had Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines offered. No requirements or appointments were needed. There will be another one in February; be sure to look for the date and times in student or staff email and on the Commuter website, LBCommuter.com.
LB President Lisa Avery said, “With all of the uncertainties of COVID-19, it is so important that students can depend on LBCC to continue with the plans we’ve laid out to offer a mix of remote and in-person learning.”
The Business Office has processed almost $2 million in relief funds by sending checks to students throughout the pandemic. During fall term, Boehmer said, LB made a $500 “Rebound Scholarship” for students who were forced to drop out due to the pandemic so they can return to LB with extra monetary assistance.
LB also offers a Live Chat to aid students with problems ranging from help registering for events and classes or navigating the website to finding support from the Student First Resort. This feature is offered on the college’s main website at the bottom right of the home page. There are also resources for students to access technology and many other support services.
LB’s Vice President of Finance and Operations Sheldon Flom sent out an email on Jan. 13 regarding updates to LBCC’s Isolation and Quarantine regulations.
“These guidelines reflect the Centers for Disease Control recommendations, which have been approved by OHA,” he wrote.
The guidelines will be implemented for all campuses and will be added to the Rebound Plan found on LBCC’s website as soon as possible.
Flom added a link to OHA’s webpage – http://www.oregon.gov – for updated tips if you or someone you know has tested COVID positive. You can find the CDC’s quarantine and isolation plan at http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html.