Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Update – March 24, 2020

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry has issued a Stay at Home order for all of Galveston County. Many of the cities in Galveston County are likely to follow suit. The order goes into effect tonight, Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. through April 3 at 11:59 p.m.

Effective, Tuesday, March 24 at 3 p.m., no students, employees or visitors are allowed in COM buildings or facilities, unless otherwise directed by COM officials. The COM Police Department will continue to be on campus.

Employees who have been identified as exempt from the order will be contacted by COM administration for further guidance.

Again, COM buildings and facilities are closed until further notice. Classes and services will continue delivery online.

Visit www.com.edu/coronavirus for future updates.

Thank you,
Dr. Warren Nichols
President, College of the Mainland

Update – March 20, 2020

Students, faculty, staff and community,

As we all try to navigate through this challenging time, I want to personally speak to our COM community and assure our college family that my thoughts are with each of you. With the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff in mind, please know that the measures we have in place are being taken to keep our college community safe and prevent the broader spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, March 23, the college will resume providing instruction to students through an online or alternative instructional format. A limited number of hands-on courses may require on-campus components for completion. In those circumstances, the college will practice all appropriate social distancing and sanitization measures. In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, faculty have been asked that the essential activities that will be taking place during this time do not involve more than ten people. Faculty should also provide as much flexibility as possible to accommodate students.

As you may know, on Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott announced an executive order related to restrictions on a range of public gatherings and closures of schools. Recently, his office provided a memo offering some clarification on that order and its impact on institutions of higher education. The memo provides additional flexibility to colleges and universities, and COM will continue to follow the guidance of our health authorities and the CDC in all our college operations. You can read the memo in its entirety here.

These are unprecedented times, but please know that my leadership team is working hard to ensure that we continue providing a successful learning experience for students during this period. As the situation is rapidly evolving day by day, I have provided an update below on where we currently stand with our college operations:

Student Support Services

The library will remain open with limited staffing. Through the end of the semester, COM student support services will have the library and limited computer labs open for students needing computer and internet access. These services will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. Additionally, tutoring services will continue to be available with an increased online tutoring presence.

Campus Closures
The Lifelong Learning Center is closed given that most of this student population is at the highest risk of the coronavirus. The gymnasium and child care services are closed until further notice due to the elevated level of physical contact that normally takes place in these facilities. All continuing education classes have been postponed. For more information, contact the continuing education program at ContEd@com.edu or (409) 933-8586. We will continue to monitor and reevaluate the situation to determine when to reopen and resume programming at these facilities.

College Events

Out of an abundance of caution, College of the Mainland will be canceling or postponing all events through the middle of May. This includes postponing our graduation ceremony to a later date. Below is a list of canceled campus events. Please keep in mind that while these events are canceled, they may be rescheduled at a later date.

  • Employee Recognition Dinner
  • All Student Life activities
  • Man Up Conference
  • Women's History Month event
  • Upward Bound (TRIO) Saturday Trip - March 28
  • Upward Bound (TRIO) tutoring
  • Community of Care Luncheon & Resource Fair
  • Commencement (Postponed)
  • Veteran's Health Resource and Employment Fair
  • FAFSA Workshops
  • Music Concerts
  • Theatre Productions
  • GCIC Academic Symposium
  • Nursing Pinning Ceremony

Travel

All travel for COM business is suspended until further notice.

We want you to know that we aren’t taking this situation lightly. Following the guidance of local, state and federal health authorities, we will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our students and employees. I ask that employees and students continue to monitor COM emails, text alerts, social media and our website for the most up to date information. For the latest updates and information, visit www.com.edu/coronavirus.

Though there is much uncertainty right now, I believe in the strength and resilience of our community and am confident that together we will come back strong. Thank you for being a part of the COM family, and thank you for your understanding and support as we work through this challenging time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Warren Nichols
President, College of the Mainland

Memo from Brady Franks, Deputy Budget and Policy Director, Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, 3/19/2020 ~8:00 pm

Good evening Chancellors and Presidents,

The Office of Governor Abbott has asked that I share the following memo regarding today’s executive order:

This memo will provide additional guidance on the continued operation of your institution of higher education in light of the Governor’s Executive Order Number GA 08 issued on March 19, 2020. Educating future generations is a crucial feature of any society, second only to ensuring public safety. In the executive order, institutions of higher education are directed to operate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. As described in the text of the order, the state is following guidance from the CDC to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent practicable. Please continuously monitor the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education for any updates. Texas’ institutions of higher education have already taken on this responsibility and acted swiftly in responding to this unique crisis. The work your institutions have already done is admirable and for that we are grateful.

It is our understanding that your institutions have already taken numerous precautions to protect your students, faculty, and staff. Those precautions include moving nearly all instruction to an online modality. There will be of course some instruction and operations that cannot be moved entirely online, and we expect that administrators will make the best decision on a case-by-case basis that incorporates adequate social distancing, limits on the total number of people in one space, and includes proper disinfection. This office also appreciates that institutions have made housing and food services available to a limited number of students for whom it is necessary. While we encourage you to use teleworking as much as possible, we also expect that certain staff must remain in their work environment, and specific offices located on campus may need to remain open to ensure the continuity of your operations. Again we ask that you take any and all necessary precautions.

Please accept my gratitude for everything you do for the students and residents of this state. While there will always be unique circumstances specific to each campus, we hope that this memo and CDC guidance for higher education are of assistance as you work through this situation. If you feel there are additional areas in which further discussion is necessary feel free to contact me.

Best regards,
Brady Franks
Deputy Budget and Policy Director
Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Update – March 19, 2020, 6:30 p.m.

In light of Governor Greg Abbott’s recent announcement concerning the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation, College of the Mainland is assessing all plans to date. Classes will resume in an online format on Monday, March 23.

Update – March 18, 2020

Instruction Resumes:

On Monday, March 23, College of the Mainland will resume providing instruction to our students. We will be moving all instruction possible to an online environment.

There will be some activities that will still require a campus presence. In those limited instances, we will be practicing all appropriate safety measures in regards to social distancing and sanitization.

Faculty will begin participating in workshops and using online resources this Wednesday, March 18, through the end of the week to prepare for transitioning to online. Several faculty leaders in online teaching have offered to lead sessions with their fellow faculty to ensure the most successful online learning experience possible for our students.

There will be support services for students during the remaining seven weeks of the semester. Computer classrooms will be made available and staffed for students who need computer and/or internet access. Tutoring will provide support for these areas. Additionally, our tutoring services will continue to offer their services while also increasing their online tutoring presence. The library will be open with limited staffing as well.

The support services will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. There will be no services on Saturday at this time.

Areas temporarily closed:

During this rapidly evolving time, College of the Mainland is continuously working to reevaluate campus operations and take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our students and employees. At this time:

  • The Lifelong Learning Center is closed given that the majority of this student population is at the highest risk of the Coronavirus.
  • The gymnasium and child care services are closed until further notice due to the elevated level of physical contact that normally takes place in these facilities.

Following the guidance of local, state and federal health authorities, the college will continue to monitor and reevaluate the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation to determine when to reopen and resume programming at these facilities

Update – March 17, 2020

Employee Pay:

All full-time and part-time COM employees will receive full pay based on their typical work schedule. (Part-time example: an employee who typically works Monday and Wednesday for a total of 16 hours will continue to get paid at a 16-hour rate per week rate.)

Travel:

All travel for COM business is suspended. Employees are responsible for making their own cancellations and securing a refund.

Events:

Out of an abundance of caution, College of the Mainland will be canceling or postponing all events through the middle of May. This may include postponing our graduation ceremony to a later date. Our top priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Listed below please find a list of canceled campus events. Please keep in mind that while these events are canceled, they may be rescheduled at a later date. (Please Note: This list may not include all canceled events)

  • Employee Recognition Dinner
  • All Student Life activities
  • Man Up Conference
  • Women's History Month event
  • Upward Bound (TRIO) Saturday Trip - March 28
  • Upward Bound (TRIO) tutoring
  • Community of Care Luncheon & Resource Fair
  • Commencement (Postponed Date TBD)
  • Veteran's Health Resource and Employment Fair
  • FAFSA Workshops
  • Music Concerts
  • Theatre Productions
  • GCIC Academic Symposium

Update – March 13, 2020

As the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation continues to grow, College of the Mainland will be extending its Spring Break through March 20. This measure is being taken proactively to keep students, staff and faculty safe and prevent the spread of the virus.

In preparation for transitioning student instruction to an online format, please note the following:

  • Students should not report to any College of the Mainland campus for physical instruction during the week of March 16-20.
  • Senior/Executive, Custodial, Information Technology Services and Educational Technology staff should report to work on Monday, March 16.
  • Instructional leadership should report to work on Tuesday, March 17.
  • Faculty should report to work on Wednesday, March 18 for training to prepare for online delivery of instruction.
  • Any full or part-time non-essential employee (classified and professional) who does not fall in the above categories, should not report to work the week of March 16-20. All employees will be paid during this period.
  • Further communication will be forthcoming regarding the continuation of instruction after March 20.

As a reminder, any student, faculty, staff or visitor who is experiencing any signs or symptoms of illness, is asked to stay home as a measure to prevent the spread of any virus. Other measures you should take to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Always practice good hygiene. Wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid sharing food, cups or utensils.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid personal contact with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Recognize the symptoms of this illness which may include a high fever, cough, difficulty breathing.
  • Self-report any planned international travel to the College, whether it is personal or college-related travel.

With the safety of the COM community at the forefront of our decision-making, College of the Mainland administration will continue to work with local, state and federal health officials to monitor the Coronavirus situation and decide what further actions are needed. Given the evolving nature of this situation, we ask that employees and students monitor COM emails, text alerts, social media channels and website for the most up to date information.

Coronavirus

College of the Mainland continues to closely monitor the global COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to keep our community informed as developments occur. To date, we have not identified any cases at our campus locations or the communities we serve. However, as COVID-19 has become more prominent in the United States and has begun to spread more rapidly through parts of Europe and Asia, we should remain aware and take precautions.

What is the risk to the COM campus community?

We have not identified any cases at COM campus or instructional sites or among any students, employees, or visitors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers COVID-19 to be a serious public health threat, which has now been detected in more than 70 countries, including cases in the United States. The latest CDC risk assessment is available here.

What precautions should members of the COM community take?

  • Always practice good hygiene: wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid sharing food, cups or utensils.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Make sure to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid personal contact with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Recognize the symptoms of this illness which may include a high fever, cough, difficulty breathing, similar to what you may feel with the flu or a bad cold.
  • Seek care and immediately notify your health care provider if you are experiencing these symptoms. Call before you show up at an office.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Self-report any planned international travel to the College, whether it is personal or college-related travel.

Communications

The College remains in regular contact with local, state and federal health officials for the latest information and will continue to provide updates to the COM Community when warranted. Changes and updates to the situation will be published on this webpage. Urgent messages may be distributed through the COM Alert rapid notification system.

Travel Guidelines

College of the Mainland has cancelled all current College sponsored travel. Decisions about summer and future travel will be made with the most current guidance available. Anyone considering travel at this time should be aware of the rapidly changing health landscape worldwide. Refer to these links to view the latest warnings:

Self-Report International Travel

In addition, any student or employee who has traveled outside of Texas within the last 30 days, or who plans future travel anywhere internationally, is asked to self-report their travel to COM using our Travel Registration Form located here.

The College recommends that everyone in the COM Community examine your personal travel plans and make changes or take precautions where necessary. The College encourages everyone to heed all COM and U.S. Government travel warnings related to the novel COVID-19. In recent days, both the CDC and U.S. Department of State have expanded their warnings. Refer to these links to view the latest warnings:

Learn More about Coronavirus

Prevention continues to be the best protection for this as well as reducing your chance of contracting other respiratory illnesses caused by influenza, parainfluenza and RSV viruses. This includes staying home when you are sick, which cannot be emphasized enough. Anyone with any symptoms of illness is asked to stay home and avoid campus. If you are in need of campus services but should not come on to campus, please contact your supervisor or instructor to arrange an alternative to visiting campus in person.

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?

Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage available here. Additionally, Johns Hopkins CSSE is tracking the global spread.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it seems to be spreading from person to person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some diseases are highly contagious (like measles), while other diseases are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people. It is spread via respiratory droplets. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses on the CDC’s transmission page.

Is there a vaccine?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Is there a treatment?

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.

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