Story by Laura Canida
A Clackamas Community College employee tested positive for COVID-19, the college announced on Nov. 22. This is the ninth confirmed case on a CCC campus.
The latest employee who tested positive works in Barlow Hall and was last on campus Nov. 10. The employee reports no close contact with others and is currently following self-isolation protocols.
Since learning of the confirmed case, CCC has been notifying individuals who may have had contact with the employee after exposure and are asking them to self-isolate for 14 days. According to the college, Barlow Hall has been deep-cleaned and disinfected.
Cases five through eight came as three more CCC students and another employee tested positive, the college announced on Nov. 21.
The students and employee were in Randall Hall but have not been on campus since Nov. 12.
Out of an abundance of caution, CCC suspended all athletic programs for the remainder of fall term.
The first four cases were announced between Nov. 6 and Nov. 18, with the college halting in-person athletics activities after the third case involving a staff member in Randall Hall — home of the college gym, weight room and athletics.
A recent photo of the CCC wrestling team, unmasked and not practicing social distancing, was posted to their Instagram account on Oct. 17.
“While we encourage all of our students to practice safe social distancing and to follow CDC guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, we cannot enforce what students choose to do when they are off campus,” the college responded in an email Nov. 25.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge across the state, Gov. Kate Brown announced a two-week freeze that started Nov. 18. According to the college, there are no direct impacts to higher education in the governor’s freeze. Classes being held in person will continue as scheduled, and all other online classes and virtual student services will continue.
“For winter term, we will continue to follow our Return to Campus plan and its associated protocol. As of right now, all scheduled athletic programs are expected to return winter term,” said Lori Hall, college spokesperson.
Bob Cochran, dean of campus services, said in an email Nov. 25 that routine cleaning on campus (modified for COVID) has stayed the same. This means frequent cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and touchpoints (handrails, doorknobs, light switches and more).
Cochran said after a confirmed case on campus, the college takes specific actions that include vacuuming floors, wiping down touchpoints, mopping all surfaces with disposable mops and spraying everything with a Clorox 360 machine. The college also provides increased fresh air flow and full use of personal protective equipment for cleaning crews.
“Campus services and our amazing custodial team will continue to clean, sanitize and disinfect areas to minimize any chance of transfer,” Cochran said.
“With infection rates continuing to rise both in our state and the college community, I want to remind everyone that visits to campus should be restricted to activities that cannot be conducted virtually,” wrote Tom Sonoff, director of college safety, in an email to CCC staff.
The Oregon Health Authority guidelines require CCC to report all COVID-19 positive cases and exposures occurring on or related to the college to Clackamas County Public Health. To meet the Oregon Health Authority guidelines, CCC’s Return to Campus plan requires all students and employees to report COVID-19 positive cases or exposures to College Safety. Compliance with the guidelines is not optional as Clackamas County Health determines the ability to offer face-to-face instruction and services.
“It is critically important to the health of our college community to report positive COVID-19 cases or exposures occurring on or related to the college,” CCC President Tim Cook wrote in an all-staff email on Nov. 19. “The college continues to urge every member of the community to continue adhering to basic health and cleaning habits to help prevent contracting and spreading illnesses.”
The college referred people to its Return to Campus webpage at clackamas.edu/return-to-campus, which has information and updates relevant for all community members.