Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) | SCC

Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

The Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a new form of the coronavirus family that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December and has spread throughout the world.  As of right now, the risk of exposure to this new strain of the coronavirus is considered low in Kentucky.  However, confirmed cases in the US are increasing.  We are monitoring the situation and will continue to update this page and take appropriate measures to ensure the health and well-being of all students, faculty, and staff.  The following is a list of key resources to keep you informed about the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

LATEST UPDATES

May 5, 2020, 3 p.m.

Dear SCC Student,

I know that the past two months have been filled with more uncertainty than you ever expected. With the many health and safety unknowns due to COVID-19, the “Real World” has changed. I wanted you to know and be assured that SCC has changed, too, to better meet your needs. 

We have been and will continue to develop flexible learning options so you can meet your education goals, especially during this time. Our college teams are have developed plans to meet the social distancing and health requirements for you and others once it is safe to return to the SCC campuses and centers. We are strengthening virtual student support for those online and remote classes too.

As a reminder, summer credit classes are available in an online-only format during the first session at our College. However, a few face-to-face classes will be scheduled for the second session based on Governor Beshear’s timelines for facility use. And as the spring semester ends, I want to remind you enrollment for summer and fall is ongoing. If you have not enrolled yet, please contact your advisor and they can help you enroll.  If you're unsure who your advisor is, email us at SCC_Care@kctcs.edu to locate them and get their contact information. 

Beginning August 17, fall term classes will be offered in a variety of formats just as we have in the past. There will be fully online classes as well as face-to-face classes and some options that are a mixture of both (barring any disruption from the pandemic response). Face-to-face classes will have a strong online or remote instructional connection, so if in-person classes must move online for a while, you and your instructor will be ready. Of course, we have a variety of scheduling options, including 16-week, 12-week, and 8-week sessions so you can take classes when it fits your schedule. If you have any questions or want to know more, please go to somerset.kctcs.edu/ for more information.

We are all facing a challenging new Real World. You are not alone. Somerset Community College is offering flexible options to face it with you. 

See you this summer,

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D. 
President/CEO

 

Hello Everyone,

Tonight I was reflecting on a busy but productive day and I continue to be very proud of all SCC students and employees. I recognize that the longer we remain in this sheltered environment, the more difficult it is to stay focused on the end goal. But all of you have worked sooo hard to get where you are now, just two weeks from finishing and one of those will be final exams! Now, more than ever you should be proud that you have stuck with it even after making this transition and dealing with the pandemic on a personal level. So keep at it, you are close to the goal line! Let’s get through this semester and jump on the next one, it will get better!

Dr. Hayes and I spoke with a couple of School Superintendents and it was interesting to see they are going through many of the same issues we are at SCC. They have also been asked by the Governor to complete their year with classes working remotely; a decision we had already made. Our big question mark now is when we will be able to do any required face-to-face hours needed and open the campus doors again. This will be a decision that filters down from the Governor’s office and the Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE). I think that will be coming over the next few business days and allow us to finalize planning for the summer schedule.

One thing we know for certain is we are going to be here for summer, and then look forward to a great fall semester. Our summer is going to be online only for the first 4-week session, Dr. Hayes will give you an update on the summer semester and initial plans for the fall semester in his Thursday email to everyone. Regardless of the final schedule, now is the time to keep moving with your academic plan so talk with your advisor if you haven’t already done so, they will be happy to help you. Yes, this pandemic has changed how do things in the near term and will likely impact some things long term as well but it doesn’t change the needs for students to take classes, the faculty to teach, the staff to support those efforts.

The pandemic isn’t going to stop any of us from achieving student success. We are only resting along the way.  Stay safe, stay healthy!

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D. 
President/CEO

Hello Everyone,

As we start another week working remotely, please know I believe you are all doing a great job at working through this difficult situation. Even though you’re busy I need to repeat that things are still "hot" in terms of COVID-19. The latest information I have is serious and I don’t say this to alarm you, there isn’t anything out there you haven’t been dealing with over the last few weeks, I just want you to have situational awareness about what you’re doing and where you are. In our service area, minus the Laurel County Data, there are 102 cases of COVID-19. The biggest increase is surprisingly in Adair County with 44 cases, Pulaski is second with 31, Laurel has 10, and the others have 7 or less. Casey County is reporting 0 cases. Unfortunately, we have 3 deaths reported, 2 in Pulaski and 1 in Adair. I have continued to hammer on this point over the past few weeks and will continue to do so; maintain your personal hygiene practices, wash your hands, cover your sneezes or coughs, and absolutely maintain social distancing. If you are ill, do not get around other people and of course, if you or your family members have symptoms of COVID-19, talk to a medical professional. All these guidelines are on the KY COVID-19 webpage at www.kycovid19.ky.gov so please take a few minutes to review it. 

For those of you who are tennis buffs, I have some bad news about the courts at the Somerset North campus. Effective today, we are locking them up for the duration of the stay at home rule. There has been concern from a few folks about how busy they are and the opportunity to possibly spread the virus. After checking with the Health Department and several community agencies, it is prudent to close these down for the time being. The walking trail is still open though so if you are looking for exercise, that may be an option. 

In a follow up to last week’s email, the recent CARES Act passed by Congress, has been out for a couple of weeks. There is a portion of this Act for higher education with money dedicated to students at SCC. The intention of this funding is to help students with additional costs related to taking their courses after the COVID-19 virus emerged. You will have to complete the necessary paperwork for funds once everything is ready. And while SCC has applied for those funds they are not here yet, the application process is still being developed. Tracy Casada, Chief Student Services Officer and Patrick Mayer, Financial Aid Director will be running this program. While you may be tempted to call, I ask that you hold off over the next few days while they’re getting things ready. I promise we’ll let all of you know as we get more information, but right now, all the KCTCS Colleges in the system are doing the same preparation work. Tracy will be sending the Wednesday email, and will hopefully some additional information.

Until then, stay safe and healthy!

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D. 
President/CEO

Good Evening All:

Not much to update you on this evening, things are beginning to become more and more routine yet still keep us all busy. We continue to monitor the events in our region, state, and the country as they unfold. The reality is while we are doing better than most, we still have over 1,000 cases in Kentucky. I will keep on reminding you to do the things that keep you from being the next number on that list. Stay focused on your schoolwork when you are not already managing a household, minding your children, or taking care of family matters. Most importantly, we need to know what you need from us past this semester. How have these recent changes impacted your academic career/plans and where should we plan to meet your needs over the summer and fall? 

I will be asking our INstitutional Effectiveness folks to develop a survey that asks you for this type of information as we move through the next couple of weeks. Please be sure to look for it in your email and respond, it will make a difference.

Many of you have asked about the CARES Act and what that means to you. Right now, we're still sorting that out for you, primarily with  Ms. Tracy Casada, our Chief Studnet Affairs Officer (CSAO). As we get more information over the next several weeks, she will pass it on through these daily emails. 

So for tonight, I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy. Dr. Hayes will be updating you tomorrow on the academic events and news.

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D.  
President/CEO

Good Evening Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Things have settled into more of a routine during this week and the extension of our home isolation has extended to April 30, meaning May 1 is the targeted return to normal work date. As we work toward that time, I can only urge you to continue following the all the things that have kept you okay to date. Primarily that means staying home unless you absolutely must leave. If you do have to leave follow all the guidelines we have been preaching to you for the past two weeks. If I sound like a broken record its because I have always felt that is something works, do it.

I am still in awe of the things all of you have accomplished and continue to do in spite of our situation. Connecting with others by using or contributing to the Share and Care center is great! I have seen the number of volunteers who continue to work in this area because the need is there. Thank You.

The Additive Manufacturing lab has been buzzing while making hundreds and by the time this is over, thousands of face shields for our hospitals and first responders. Program Coordinator Eric Woolridge has led this effort and put a few students to work (using social distancing guidelines) to make and assemble these face shields. Now he is being overwhelmed with requests, the best recognition of his success. Thank you Eric and those working with you!

Our maintenance folks have taken on staggered shifts to continue a constant barrage of disinfection and cleaning of the campuses. Although we have no employees regularly scheduled on campus, there are some contractors who continue to work on areas and our maintenance folks are leading the charge to ensure those areas are maintained to very high standards and every time someone opens a door or walks a hall, they are behind them keeping those building as clean as humanly possible. Thanks to all of you.

Faculty and staff remain available for all of you and as students if you are getting lost, have questions, or need something from the college-ask. If you don’t get a response, follow up. We’re here to help as much as possible with your course work but also just to lend an ear. Ensuring you have as much opportunity as possible to succeed is why we’re here.

Okay, enough for tonight, stay safe, stay healthy. Stay SCC Strong!

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D.  
President/CEO

Good Evening everyone,

As of 5 p.m. today, Kentucky has 591 cases of COVID-19 with 17 deaths. Our service area is affected in McCreary, Pulaski, Russell, Laurel, Rockcastle, and Wayne counties. Since it is spread by human contact I am serious when I ask you to stay at home unless you absolutely need to go out until this runs its course. If you do need to be out practice social distancing to ensure you minimize any chances of contracting this virus. 

It is crucial that we as a college continue to take actions that help prevent the spread of this virus. That includes the latest update to remaining at home. That date is now Thursday, April 30, 2020, so please update your plans to continue your studies remotely until then. Your instructors and the college are a phone call, text, or email away and if you don't get a response to your questions in a reasonable time, please let me know. We remain focused on getting you through the semester successfully but most importantly, with you in good health. Your patience and understanding are appreciated and all our other plans for any required labs and face-to-face requirements are still going to be available. 

Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other-there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a train. Stay Strong SCC!

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D.  
President/CEO

Some of you may already be aware of this but for the rest of our student family, here is the latest information concerning our college and where we are headed for the remainder of this semester.

Some key takeaways:

1) We are going to complete the semester online. This means the class you are in now will finish online, including the final exam. I know this may impact some of you more than others so as soon as you can identify any issues, let your instructor know. We'll approach it from there.

2) If you still need to complete a lab portion of your course, it will be available to you as soon as we can come together on campus. That means you may be getting an incomplete (I) or in progress (IP) grade until those portions are finished. This is not a reflection on your ability, just the way we track the completion of courses that go beyond the semester end date. Again, your best resource for questions is your instructor. Some clinicals may be done if available through our partners. 

3) The college is still OPEN but we will continue to operate as we have for the past week until April 17, 2020 or until the College can re-open on a regular schedule. If you need help with any portions of your courses, contact your instructor first. If it relates to student services call 606-679-8501, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. they will get you in contact with the appropriate office. 

4) If you need tutoring, we can do that! They are available through the SCC Learning Commons page on our website. All students can schedule an e-tutoring appointment with a Learning Commons Consultant through our web site under the Learning Commons tab or by visiting http://somerset-kctcs.libcal.com/ and clicking on the purple button “​Make an appointment with a tutor or librarian.” Our Learning Commons staff and tutors are also available through our chat feature which can be found at http://somerset-kctcs.libanswers.com/. All librarians are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. via chat at http://somerset-kctcs.libanswers.com/ for questions regarding research and more.

5) We are working on wi-fi access in our parking lots as well but right now the only known access is the Russell Center lot. 

6) If you need help or just someone to talk to, call, email, or text your instructor, advisor or any other SCC employee, you are not alone. We also have food available through the Share & Care Center. Contact Tawsh Beggan at tawshiana.beggan@kctcs.edu or call 606-451-6980. We'll go from there.  

7) Unfortunately, we will have to postpone our commencement exercises. Right now, we are tentatively looking at a date in June but as the commencement committee works through the details, we'll be sure to pass it along as soon as possible.

I appreciate your flexibility and patience as we work through this crisis and that while this is frustrating, it is only a short period. We will return to normalcy just as quickly as possible and plan to run full summer and fall schedules so be sure you are planning ahead to meet your goals. I keep saying it but I mean it, we will come out stronger on the other side of this, be patient, stay healthy, take care of yourselves and your families, and keep focused on your course work. You are part of the SCC family!

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D.  
President/CEO

Good Evening!

Well Monday is nearly over in our first full week of the “the change”! Some are describing this as the new normal but it seems to me that we are succeeding despite the hurdles. All of you have been able to do those things needed to keep moving forward-be proud of the work you are putting in and each success you are having, I know I am!

As you might imagine, we are still reacting to the effects of this virus but at the same time, making sound decisions to get through this rough time. You have to continue to take care of yourselves, your families, and your neighbors as well. You and I will be back to our normal routines soon.

Here’s what we know right now:

  • We are still going to see increases in the numbers of people contracting the virus for the near future. It is more important than ever to pay attention to hygiene and social distancing until things improve.
  • The K-12 schools in Pulaski are out till April 17 and others vary in our service area. While we haven’t made any decisions yet, it is logical to plan for longer periods of this type of distancing past this Friday. We are paying close attention to the situation and over the next several days, will decide to go with our original plan or extend it as quickly as possible.
  • The computer labs are still open but again getting very little usage. Unless we are forced to close them, I believe we need to keep them available for students that need the technology. We will continue to look at their usage and adjust the hours as needed to provide that service to students but limit the contact as much as possible. You may receive a survey in the next day or so, please respond if you can.
  • There are good things happening despite the change in our lives right now:
  • If you are a student in need of food, please contact Tawsh Beggan at tawshiana.beggan@kctcs.edu or 606-451-6980. If you would like to donate food, call Tawsh or if you would like to donate money, Cindy Clouse.
  • The 3D Printing department will be using the additive manufacturing equipment to build face shields for our health care providers. Provided liability issues can be resolved, this will help many people helping those who need it most. More on this as it develops.
  • Barnes and Noble has closed to all face-to-face traffic but the online book store is definitely open for business. Emily Conley’s (SCC Barnes & Noble Regional Manager) provided the following information:The SCC Online bookstore is open for all student needs, we are checking web orders and shipping daily. As long as UPS remains on its normal schedule most students will get their orders the next business day if orders are placed by 11 a.m. See below for some specific order information:
  • SCC Bookstore Local Services:
  • Bookstore Website: somersetccstore.bncollege.com
  • Orders: Using our website students can select their course (Somerset or other KCTCS Locations). All orders placed by 11am will ship same day.
  • Financial Aid: The Financial Aid office is still able to write book vouchers for anyone that qualifies via email.  Once received by the bookstore, it can process the order.
  • CHECK OUT: Using Financial Aid on the SCC Bookstore Website.  Since, Financial Aid is not a method of payment, please have the students us the GIFTCARD method. Gift Card number= Student ID# and PIN=123456.
  • Caps & Gowns: I am working with our vendor to get an online portal for students to place orders. Until then, please have any student needing to order email me their height. (emily.conley@kctcs.edu).
  • Questions: If you are unsure how to assist a student with their materials needs let me know! 
    Finally, the best positive news I see and hear about are those things you are doing, taking care of each other and succeeding! So till tomorrow, stay healthy and focused on the end goal; we will get through this!

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D.  
President/CEO

Good Evening!

As usual I am hoping you are all healthy and happy (at least as much as is possible) and your are doing those things that continue to protect you and your families.

Well we have made a dramatic transition this week from business as normal to completely at home. It has been easier for some than others but regardless, you should all be happy with your efforts to get here and to serve our students. Not too much to add for today’s message so as I wrap up for the weekend, a couple of notes:

  1. Unfortunately, Pulaski has now verified a second case of COVID-19. Again, that is not something we should be surprised about nor should we believe the situation will remain exclusive to Pulaski County. You MUST continue to do your part in maintaining healthy practices and social distancing.
  2. Stick with the facts. There are and will continue to be rumors about who is ill, how they contracted it, businesses closing, and similar news. Stay alert and be sure to focus on what’s true.
  3. The computer labs have very low usage so far. We would like to keep these open but it is a constant evaluation of need versus keeping everyone as safe as possible.

So, for the time being, continue looking out for each other, and yourselves. We’ve started down the path and we will come out on the other side. Have a great weekend, take care and I’ll catch up with you Monday unless other news comes in…

Stay Healthy!

Carey W. Castle, Ed.D.  
President/CEO

Hello SCC Students;

Hope this update is arriving to everyone and you and your families are healthy and happy. As many of you are already aware, Pulaski County now has its first case of the Coronavirus. We knew this was coming; you and I have done our best to minimize this risk and now more than ever, it is critical that you continue to practice the preventive procedures our health folks have identified. It is more important than ever for all of us to not panic but to take the things we do and the way we do them seriously. You and I can do this, so let’s watch out for each other.

All of us are working online in meetings, doing business electronically, etc., and it’s different but all things considered, not too bad. I spent my day in several Teams and Skype meetings and it actually went pretty well. Our daily tasks were very different but also very good as long as we keep communicating with each other. SCC faculty and staff are hunkered down and doing a great job. As always with anything this large there were (are) a few things to address but they are minor and hopefully those issues were minimal.

Notes from today:

The computer labs were open today and it seemed to be used by only a few students. If you need a computer we have a very strict guidelines with no more than 8 at a time. Social distance guidelines will be the norm. You are by no means required to use these labs, it is strictly up to you. We may have to make adjustments to those times and days after this weekend based on further guidance and their use.  

I haven’t heard anything to the contrary yet so I believe student services is working well for the given situation. Again, we’re open but using different protocols to minimize interactions. Call the number listed in yesterday’s email if you need some type of student services. They will connect you to the right person.
Your main point of contact for questions and course issues is your instructor. Be sure to contact them first for those types of questions but know they will help you with any questions about SCC if they can.
Last, I cannot repeat this enough. While we care about all of you I do NOT want to see you on campus unless you have arranged that with your instructor or SCC staff. All this week and next our maintenance people are cleaning and disinfecting rooms and buildings. Every time you visit, it will cause more cleaning but this is twice the issue if no one knows you were there. So please, for the time being, just stay home. Believe me, you’ll be back on campus soon enough.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Take care of yourself and your families. We need and want you to emerge from this crisis happy and healthy!

Thanks,

Carey W.Castle, Ed.D.
President/CEO

SCC Students:

Effective Immediately: Somerset Community College is going to ALL ONLINE INSTRUCTION ONLY. Your instructor is developing or has developed materials for the coming two weeks until we can reevaluate where and how best you will be able to finish your course.

  • All lab or face-to-face classes are cancelled until at least March 27, 2020. Stay home and you should receive an email from your instructor tonight or tomorrow morning with additional information.  
  • Nursing and Allied Health clinicals will continue where possible.
  • Again, your instructor will contact you about clinical sites when appropriate.
  • This means with the exception of some clinicals, students should stay home through Friday, March 27, 2020.
  • SCC is still open and we are here to serve our students. We will have online student services for admissions, financial aid, and advising. Please call 606-679-8501 if you need assistance and they will connect you to the appropriate person. Please be patient, this is a new process for us too and I anticipate there may be a few hick-ups as we move forward.
  • Students can also log into their self-service portal to accomplish many typical actions. Simple actions like name, address, payment plans, etc. may be available for you there before having to call someone.
  • We will have one computer lab open at most campuses or centers to help our students who do not have the technology needed for online courses. Labs will be open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. but can accommodate only 8 students at a time. Each lab will be observing strict social distancing guidelines with aggressive cleaning after each use. Below is a list of locations where you can access a computer lab:
  • Somerset Campus-Cooper, Room 110
  • Laurel Campus-Building 2, Room 211
  • McCreary Center-Building 2, Room 106
  • Russell Center-Room 121
  • Clinton Center-Room 101
  • Hopefully it doesn’t happen to you but if you test positive for COVID-19, please report that to Tracy Casada at 606-451-6631 for tracking purposes. Your name will not be used in conjunction with reporting but it is important to track the spread of anyone with the virus.
  • I know this has been a significant change to your lives and will continue to challenge you over the next few weeks. Remember, lean on each other, work towards getting your class work done, but most importantly, take care of yourself! I look forward to seeing you at graduation when the time comes!

Stay tuned to the website for updates as well as your email. We’ll keep as much information coming as is possible!

Thanks,

Dr. Carey Castle
SCC President

  • Effective tomorrow, March 18, 2020 through March 27, 2020, SCC is moving to online instruction only. That means many of you who have already been notified by your instructor that you’re moving to an online only course will not be affected. However, if you were planning to come to the campus or a center tomorrow, stay home. Your instructor is developing or has developed materials for the coming two weeks until we can reevaluate where and how best to finish practical course work. You should receive an email form that instructor tonight or tomorrow morning.  
  • This includes any lab classes as well. Stay home and you should receive an email from your instructor tonight or tomorrow morning with additional information.  
  • Nursing and Allied Health clinicals will continue where possible. Again, your instructor will contact you to come to clinical sites when appropriate.
  • This means that students should stay home until at least March 27, 2020 as we evaluate the next steps.

Your best point of contact for any questions is your instructor. I’m happy to take those questions but generally, I’ll refer you back to the instructor for specifics. They know the course and plan for class better than anyone else and consequently are the place to start.  

I want to emphasize that SCC is not closing but moving to alternate course delivery methods that limit or eliminate human contact until this virus run its course and limiting on campus services. We hope that will be very soon and we can all get back to a regular college climate.

Thanks to all of you for your patience in this very trying time. It seems we and all the colleges and universities are making changes on a daily basis and I know that can be frustrating for you. Know that it is hard on us as well but will be worth it when you finish your programs! I promise to keep you up to date as soon as new information becomes available. We will get through this!

Carey W. Castle
President/CEO

First, I would like to thank all of you for being so patient with us as we make these changes. Working through something like this is new to the nation, the state, and certainly to us. Our focus has been and will continue to be what is safest for you while providing the most opportunities to complete your classes. Earlier today, you should have received an announcement form the KCTCS System Office that helps explain some of the importance we place on you and your education. We are all together in this effort and we will see it through to a successful conclusion.

In the meantime, Somerset Community College (SCC) is working to ensure our student’s success and to avoid delay of educational goals by taking some significant steps to help you get through the semester. As a precautionary response to the COVID-19 crisis, SCC has cancelled all in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17 to give our faculty time to prepare for remote/alternative delivery of instruction, scheduled to start on March 18th. They have been working very hard converting courses where possible and adjusting face-to-face classes to keep all involved safe.

As we are constantly monitoring the situation, we will keep everyone up to date as quickly as possible. For now, we have instituted the following changes to SCC’s daily operations:

  • Beginning Wednesday, March 18, most classes will be totally online. Instructors have or will be contacting students in each class with more guidance. However, many of our labs, technical shop classes, and health sciences classes will meet face-to-face with precautions such as social distancing to minimize risk for students and faculty (see attached for more details on social distancing). Instructors will be emailing students with detailed guidance, and students should check their KCTCS email and Blackboard often for announcements. If you have any reservations about attending a face-to-face course, contact your instructor or supervisor for guidance.
  • Students in field and/or clinical placements should contact their supervising instructor for more information.
  • During this period, SCC will keep computer labs open on all campuses and centers during normal operating hours. However, social distancing guidelines will apply. (see attached for more details on social distancing)
  • All campuses and centers will be open and during normal work hours using social distancing guidelines. (see attached for more details on social distancing) Do not come to campus if you are ill or have flu-like symptoms.
  • Students and employees may not bring children or guests with them when coming to campus. If you have problems getting child care, discuss options with your instructor or supervisor.
  • Everyone on SCC campuses and centers will observe social distancing guidelines. (see attached for more details on social distancing)
  • All college-sponsored events and activities on campus are cancelled through April 5.
  • College-sponsored student travel is suspended.
  • College updates will also be posted at somerset.kctcs.edu and shared via social media.
  • SCC is following CDC guidelines for facilities and will continue intensified daily cleaning. These protocols include more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, restrooms, student lounges and other places where students and the public gather.

Some additional resource sites:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC
www.kycovid19.ky.gov 

I wish I could say these changes will solve our issues and we’ll return to a normal schedule April 6th but the truth is changes are occurring daily and we will be responsive to those changes in our work here at SCC. Please bear with us as we adjust to those changes as well. In the meantime, know that we all will get through this event, SCC is focused on the success of our students and the safety of our students and employees. I will continue to update you as further information is available.

Thanks!

Carey W.Castle, Ed.D.
President/CEO

March 13, 2020, 1:30 p.m.

Somerset Community College (SCC) is committed to making fact-based decisions and keeping the community informed and protected as information provided by health officials about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is evaluated. The college community’s health, safety and well-being is always the first priority. There are no reported cases of COVID-19 within the SCC service area at this time.

Somerset Community College will be taking the following approach to delivering instruction:

  • Online classes currently in progress will continue as usual.
  • Second 8-week bi-term online classes will start on Wednesday, March 18.
  • All face-to-face and hybrid courses delivered on campus will be cancelled Monday, March 16 and Tuesday,  March 17 and will be transitioning to online delivery. Converted face-to-face and hybrid courses will start on Wednesday, March 18. 
  • More information about technical program instruction will be updated soon.
  • We will continue working with faculty, staff and students regarding the specifics of online course delivery. Since we understand there may be challenges for some students in accessing online instruction, our campuses and computer labs will be open normal hours. Course specific labs will be scheduled by each instructor.
  • All SCC Campuses will remain open during this period. All of our business and student support services will continue as usual including access to on-campus computer labs.
  • All non-essential college sponsored events will be canceled through April 5. We will monitor the situation to determine if this should be extended. Other events will be reviewed on an individual basis.
  • At this time, we are planning to resume face-to-face and hybrid classes on Monday, April 6. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will make a determination about the rest of the semester by April 2.
  • We will continue to work closely with health officials to evaluate updated information about COVID-19 and communicating with you as we move toward April 5.
  • Check your student email and this webage often

Carey W.Castle, Ed.D.
President/CEO

March 13, 2020
Somerset Community College is committed to making fact-based decisions and keeping the community informed and protected as information provided by health officials about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is evaluated. The college community’s health, safety and well-being is always the first priority. There are no reported cases of COVID-19 within the SCC service area at this time.

SCC will be taking the following approach to delivering instruction:

  • Classes canceled Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17
  • Converted face-to-face and hybrid courses will start online on Wednesday, March 18
  • Second 8-week bi-term online classes will start on Wednesday, March 18.
  • Online classes will continue as usual
  • All SCC campuses will remain open during this period
  • All of our business and student support services will continue as usual including access to on-campus computer labs
    Check email and website often
 

Good Afternoon SCC Students:

As I mentioned in yesterday’s update, the SCC Crisis Management Team met this morning to determine our next actions to minimize spread of the COVID-19 virus at the college. When we started our pandemic flu plan, we used cues from other areas of the state and region along with current data to help make decisions for our students and employees. We also work closely with our KCTCS system office and the colleges and universities to collect and understand information for our own decisions. This morning we determined it is time for us to begin a change in delivery of our classes and limit gatherings based on CDC and KY Cabinet for Health and Family Services recommendations. 

Effective March 16, 2020 the following actions will be taken at SCC affecting you:

  • SCC will cancel most classes for March 16 and 17, 2020.
  • There are a few exceptions for online courses in session, some clinicals, and some workforce courses. Students should contact
  • instructors with questions in those areas.
  • Students should not come to any campus or center for classes during these two days. Students may still visit individually for academic or student support but all offices will be observing the social distancing guidelines listed below.
  • Some face-to-face classes will be required. In those cases, effective preventative measures will be taken using social distancing guidelines below.
  • Classes will resume on Wednesday March 18, 2020 using the temporary alternate schedule.
  • Instructors will notify students via email and through the class
  • Blackboard shell with details.
  • This alternate schedule is in effect until at least April 3, 2020.
  • Our Crisis Management Core Team is monitoring this issue daily and keeping college leadership and the Crisis Management Team up to date. If additional changes need to happen, the official notification is via SCC email and the SCC website. Social media sites are NOT official notification of SCC actions.

Social distancing guidelines:

  • In person meetings will be limited only to the time required and a minimum three-foot separation should be observed.
  • Cleaning and disinfection procedures should be used by everyone.
  • All employees and students should wipe common touch areas before and after use where possible but at least daily.
  • Maintenance will continue to emphasize cleaning while initiating additional options as they become available such as using mist machines after hours.
  • Observe individual hygiene precautions
  • Wash your hands! As often as possible for 20 seconds or more using soap and hot water. If soap and water are not available, use the hand sanitizers.
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing preferably using a tissue.  Dispose of the tissue in the trash and wash your hands before continuing.
  • Avoid close contact. Maintain a three-foot separation from other individuals.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have flu symptoms
  • Avoid public areas
  • Avoid public transportation
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick and must be out near others.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily.
  • If you contract COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, notify the appropriate people:
    Students-Student Affairs, Tracy Casada, tracy.casada@kctcs.edu or call her at 606-451-6631.
    Employees-Human Resources office, Kathy Patscheck, kathy.patscheck@kctcs.edu or call 606-451-6621.

It is important for us all to keep everything in perspective. There are no active cases of COVID-19 in the SCC area. This is likely to change but following basic common sense in our daily activities is the best way to stop or limit it’s spread. Know yourself and those around you and be courteous of them using goo personal habits as listed above.

Most important, if you have questions or concerns, ask someone; your instructor, your dean, any of us here at SCC are here for you. So, stay focused on being successful in your courses and let’s get through this situation together.

Thanks,

Carey W.Castle, Ed.D.
President/CEO

 

March 12, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

Good Evening Students and SCC Faculty/Staff!

Many of you have already seen the closures of sporting events and similar public activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As you may know by now, Governor Beshear has highly recommended K-12 schools close for a short term in response to the COVID-19 (corona virus) threat. This was a trigger for us to begin temporarily moving classes to venues that try not to put large groups of students in small spaces. This means going to online, rescheduling, and/or possibly delaying a few days to get prepared. As you might expect, this is a huge task and while we have been planning for it, implementing this will take some more work. The college leadership and I will be meeting first thing tomorrow morning and determine the best way to implement these actions. My intention is to update all of you by early Friday afternoon with more concrete details so please bear with us as we work through this process.   

I want to emphasize that nothing has changed for SCC regarding COVID-19. There are still no known cases of the virus in the SCC service area and the actions we are taking will help keep you and me safe in coordination with our communities. You still need to continue to do your part-maintain personal hygiene, limit contact as much as is practical, stay home if you feel like you may have flu symptoms. Together we will get through this event, the SCC family is strong!

Carey W.Castle, Ed.D.
President/CEO

Somerset Community College announces actions on COVID-19

Somerset Community College (SCC) is committed to maintaining the health and safety of our students and staff.

The college leadership team has been working with state and local government and health officials, along with public school and university partners, to carefully monitor coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in our region.

“At this point in time, there are no COVID-19 cases in the SCC service area. However, we have stepped up our cleaning and disinfection processes, informed employees and students about proper hygiene procedures, and advised anyone who feels ill to stay at home until they feel better. Since this situation can change rapidly, we have also been preparing for other areas of the college to continue operating under all conditions. This includes student interaction, class delivery, student support needs, and facility operations.” said SCC President and CEO, Dr. Carey Castle, “We’ll continue to adjust for things like employee travel and public events on an as needed basis.

Unlike the universities, SCC has no students living on campus and does not have the same concerns universities are dealing with now. Additionally, the technical programs SCC offer require access to equipment for hands-on training and skill assessment. SCC also offers dual credit classes at local public schools and employment training at local businesses.

At this time, the local health department perceives minimal risk for our students, faculty, and staff. In the meantime, we are following CDC guidelines and will continue additional daily cleaning. These protocols include more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, restrooms, student centers and other places where students and the public gather.

For the most current information on how the 16 colleges of KCTCS are responding to COVID-19, visit https://kctcs.edu/covid-19/ and the SCC website. Employees and students are also getting regular updates via email.  

The single and best primary defense on preventing the spread of illness is healthy hygiene and being aware and courteous of others through social distancing.

Hello!

The news of COVID-19 (corona virus) is still a top story nationally and one we to which we pay close attention. KCTCS has established a new webpage https://kctcs.edu/covid-19/ to keep people updated and I encourage you to visit it often. Additionally, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) as well as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) links are available on that site, these also provide current information. I continue to ask that you remain vigilant, use the procedures listed below to minimize transmission, and stay informed. We still have some people with the common flu and it remains much more prevalent than COVID-19. If you have or know of any employees with the common flu please let M&O know, they will treat the person’s office area as a precaution.

As of 9 Mar/6:45pm, the CHFS notes 34 people have been tested for COVID-19 with 6 positive results. Our service area does not have any cases reported. We will continue to monitor the health agencies state-wide and in our area, as well as other information as it becomes available. We do not intend to close classes or events until the conditions warrant doing so but a number of national events have been cancelled. The AACC meeting later this month is one of those as well as a few events some people had scheduled in other states. We have noted that Berea College has cancelled classes effective Friday while keeping the college open for employees. We have not seen any reason to take those actions now nor are we contemplating them at this point. We are not aware of any KCTCS institutions, state universities, or schools that have closed due to COVID-19 exposure.

At SCC we have established a Pandemic Flu Core Team that is monitoring the issues of common flu and COVID-19 daily and meet as a system via Skype every Monday. They are the key contact for the college and system office, communicating with local health government agencies, and constantly assessing the situation. They also keep the executive council up to date on those issues and help determine when our Crisis Management Team needs to meet. They are on top of this ever-changing issue and providing recommendations and data to support implementation of our plan. Nancy Powell leads this team which includes Emily Shafer, Todd Chmura, Shawn Stratman, Jami Evans, and Kenny Estep. In addition, I will be meeting Monday mornings with the PLT via phone about COVID-19.

As a reminder (although this applies to common flu and COVID-19):

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Take steps to protect yourself

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.


Take steps to protect others

Stay home if you’re sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.


Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.


Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick:  You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • To disinfect:
    Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include:

  • Diluting your household bleach.
    To make a bleach solution, mix: 
    5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    OR
    4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

  • Alcohol solutions.
  • Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
  • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
    Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens pdf icon[7 pages]external icon claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

Most importantly, please do not over react-the number one person who knows how you feel is you! Please be responsible for keeping the common flu and COVID-19 to a minimum by following these steps.

See you around campus!

Thanks,

Carey W.Castle, Ed.D.
President/CEO

Hello!

We are getting more and more information on common flu and COVID-19 (corona virus) daily and I am sure you are seeing many of the same kinds of information. Yesterday we sent an email to all students providing guidance about what to do if they travel, if they feel ill, how to practice good hygiene, etc. and attached for your reference. Hopefully you will not be reading this from your bed while dealing with the flu bug, but statistically, some of you may be doing just that. We are in a period where the common flu has spread to 45 states (CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm#ILIActivityMap) and, unfortunately, Kentucky still is rated at a high activity level. From the same website, the CDC notes the following:

Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with any flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills, though not everyone with flu will have a fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home. We care about you but really don’t want to see you until you are feeling better.

As a public facility, the college is concerned about the flu and its spread. So, we’re asking you to take common sense precautions to avoid spreading or catching the flu. These steps come from the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm:

1) Get a flu vaccination if possible. Read reliable sources, talk to your doctor, and decide if the flu shot is right for you.  

2) Preventive Steps:

a. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

b. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

c. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.

d. Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

e. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

f. Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

3) Seek medical treatment, if necessary.

Of course, I want to make sure you know what SCC is doing when it comes to the flu (common) and COVID-19 (corona virus). Both require the same prevention techniques right now and honestly, while the coronavirus can be more intense and deadly for some people with health problems, a major outbreak of the common flu can pose equal hardship on the school and its operations. As of this email, the CDC reports there have been 99 cases  of COVID-19 in the U.S. with 10 deaths although I have heard a few more in news reports. I say this not to alarm you, there have been many more deaths from common flu for the same reasons but I do want you to have a perspective on this issue as we move into the weeks ahead.

SCC is taking a proactive approach that encompasses planning for both the common flu and COVID-19 should they spread further into our areas. Along with the System Office resources, we have always had a pandemic (epidemic of a disease over large regions) influenza plan in our Crisis Management Plan. In fact, I don’t know of a college or large company that has not had a similar plan for many years. Our plan calls for a number of measures ahead of any real event, during, and after. The executive team, crisis management team, and I have reviewed that plan and we are at the lowest level possible. Essentially, we ensure the plan is still current, institute more stringent cleanliness measures, coordinate with community health and government agencies, and keep all of you informed as much as possible.

If it comes to a point where COVID-19 reaches this area and you have been told by medical personnel to self-quarantine please tell the HR office. If a student informs you they have been told to self-quarantine for COVID-19, let Tracy Casada know via email. By tracking this information, it helps plan the next steps to prevent or minimize spread.    

Our focus after Crisis Management Plan review resulted in implementing the following steps:

1) This email to keep students and employees up-to-date on where we are and recommend personal steps to help avoid catching and spreading the flu.

2) Track employee absenteeism to understand the scope of this issue for SCC.

3) Begin additional cleaning of common surfaces and areas, specifically for reducing virus spread.

4) Plan for increased levels of flu illness.

5) Regularly meet with local health agencies, schools, and government agencies.

6) Stay connected with the System Office to ensure all possible resources are available and used as needed.

This has not reached a critical stage for us right now but one we are watching, as you should be. Know that we’ll continue to stay on top of the issue and act proactively when needed. Feel free to contact your supervisor, appropriate director, manager, vice president, or me with any questions. I’ll be updating you regularly as needed.

Carey W.Castle, Ed.D.
President/CEO

RESOURCES

State of Kentucky COVID-19 Website and Hotline

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has prepared resources on when to seek care, how to prevent becoming ill, who is most at risk, and up-to-date status of the COVID-19 situation in the state. A hotline for questions regarding the virus in the state is available at 800-722-5725. 

Kentucky Department of Public Health

The Kentucky Department for Public Health continues to closely monitor the international situation concerning the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This respiratory disease was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China on December 31, 2019. Since that time, it has spread throughout China and to many other countries. Public health officials in Kentucky are monitoring individuals who meet certain exposure criteria to limit the introduction of COVID-19 in Kentucky. They are also are preparing for the possibility that the virus begins to spread in the commonwealth.

Kentucky Health Departments 

Colleges are encouraged to visit the websites of their local health departments and coordinate with them for guidance related to cases in their area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the leading public health agency for the United States and has all the current information related to COVID-19.  You will find facts about symptoms of the virus and what to do if you become sick, tips on how to prevent the spread of the virus, and answers to frequently asked questions.

The U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State provides an updated list of travel advisories.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

This web-based interactive dashboard tracks the spread of COVID-19 in real time. It is hosted by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.