Monday, June 21, 2021
A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources
In May 2020, we introduced Valencia College’s Roadmap for Reopening as our science-based, phased approach to emerging from the COVID pandemic. It’s hard to believe that more than a year later, we are preparing to enter the final phase of that roadmap. Our success in prioritizing health and safety, while maintaining the continuity of our students’ learning, has been realized only because of the hard work each of you have done in adapting, being patient, providing grace and learning new ways of engaging. Thank you, once again, for working together in service of one another and our students.
We are excited to think about a return to a sense of normalcy, both in our personal and professional lives. The past few weeks have brought significant changes to guidance from local, state and federal officials in terms of public health protocols. As is our practice, the Conditions to Reopen team met with Dr. Hunter from Orlando Health to consider what the changing guidance on masking, distancing and other protocols meant for Valencia in both our Phase 3 and 4 openings. In our conversation, Dr. Hunter noted that the increasing vaccination rate, coupled with natural immunity from those who have endured COVID, is leading to rapidly declining caseloads and hospitalizations in our community. Vaccines are widely available and evidence continues to demonstrate their efficacy in preventing serious illness from the COVID virus. If you haven’t already, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine in preparation for our move to Phase 4 operations.
Based on the guidance from our COVID-19 planning partner, Orlando Health, and in light of public health data and forecasts, the Conditions to Reopen team has received approval from College President Sandy Shugart and Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske to implement changes in our Phase 3 and Phase 4 protocols.
Effective today, through the remainder of Phase 3 on Saturday, July 31, 2021, please note these revised guidelines:
- Wear a mask: To protect ourselves and each other, all employees, students and vendors on campus will still be required to wear face masks that cover the mouth and nose while indoors. Masks are welcome outdoors but are not required.
- Maintain physical distance: When possible indoors, please continue to maintain physical distance of at least six feet and avoid congregating as much as possible. Physical distancing outdoors is welcome but is no longer required.
- Cleaning and sanitization: All cleaning and sanitization protocols will continue.
Thank you to all who are working in-person on our campuses for continuing to maintain our Phase 3 protocols, even as guidance in our community is changing.
All other Phase 3 protocols, such as the Daily Health Assessment and limited food and vending, will remain unchanged during Phase 3.
As we begin Phase 4 operations on Sunday, August 1, 2021, the following revised guidelines will be in place:
- Masks welcome: Masks are welcome both indoors and outdoors but are not required. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, you are welcome to do so. If you are not vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask anytime you are indoors.
- Distancing welcome: Distancing is welcome but is not required. We have become accustomed to having our extra space, and you are welcome to ask others to provide you extra room if you need it. In addition, our plans for reduced class sizes (meaning fewer students on campus) coupled with approved, flexible work arrangements will mean that the population density on campus will already be significantly lower than in a “regular” semester.
- Daily Health Assessment is not required: Although the assessment is not required, please know the symptoms of COVID-19, and stay home if you feel sick.
- Cleaning and sanitization: Enhanced cleaning and sanitation will continue along with the addition of more than 2,000 sanitizer dispensers installed collegewide.
For Phases 3 and 4:
We will continue the following protocols during both Phases 3 and 4:
- Paid sick leave for COVID-related concerns: Emergency Paid Sick Leave, which provides up to two weeks of pay for all employees for reasons related to COVID-19, will continue.
- Extended paid leave for COVID vaccination: Paid leave for a COVID vaccination, which provides a maximum of 12 hours of paid time off for employees (on an as-needed basis) to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and/or recover from the side effects, will be extended through Friday, December 31, 2021.
- Reduced onsite capacities: Smaller class sizes and some employees continuing approved, flexible work arrangements will support the successful transition back to on-site learning on campus for faculty, staff and students and will help to reduce population density on campus and in classrooms.
- Air quality: Our Facilities and Maintenance teams will continue their commitment to air quality on our campuses.
- Hand washing: Remember to keep your hands clean by washing them regularly. Hand sanitizing stations have been placed on campus so you can keep hands clean when hand washing with soap and water is not convenient.
- Illness reporting: If you become ill with COVID-like symptoms, test positive, come in close contact to someone who tests positive or must provide care for someone with COVID-19, please follow our illness reporting protocols and contact Tanya Mahan, HR analyst and Valencia’s specially trained COVID-19 case manager, at COVIDillness@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 3047.
Before returning to campus, the Conditions to Reopen team strongly encourages everyone to be vaccinated to help protect you as we collectively emerge from the pandemic.
On behalf of the Conditions to Reopen team, we thank you for your careful attention to the many messages we’ve shared, your adherence to the protocols that have helped us keep our community healthy and safe, and for your unwavering dedication to our students and one another. As we take this next step, we do so in an informed way with our priorities still in place.
We know that you’ll have many questions and we look forward to engaging with you in the coming weeks as we prepare for Phase 4. Please look for announcements of town hall meetings, read the articles that are shared and feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. You may contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).