Your safety is our top priority. Please visit dccc.edu/coronavirus to access resources and information to help support student success during the pandemic.
COVID-19 Response Plan
Information & Updates
Updated August 10, 2020
This COVID-19 Response Plan is intended for Delaware County Community College (DCCC) faculty, staff, and students to ensure the cleanliness and safety of our campuses and to provide a strategy to safely resume in-person instruction. Reopening of DCCC requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other recommended daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Reopening DCCC also strongly relies on recommended federal, state, and local public health strategies, including increased testing of people for the virus, social distancing, isolation, and keeping track of how someone infected might have infected other people. DCCC is following the Pennsylvania’s phased reopening plan and corresponding Red, Yellow, and Green phases. Additionally, DCCC will work with local public health officials on local recommendations and health monitoring.
This plan is only part of the overall response actions being taken by DCCC and focuses on building operations strategies to reduce potential infections, provide guidance on social distancing, how access to our buildings is being controlled, and our enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.
SARS-CoV-2 Virus (COVID-19)
The novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, is a virus that causes a respiratory illness known as COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), person-to-person transmission of the virus occurs during close (within 6 feet), unprotected, contact with a person with COVID-19, from respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets, particularly when aerosolized, can be deposited in the mouth, nose, or eyes of nearby people. Airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances (i.e., through HVAC systems) is believed to be unlikely.
People can also become infected with SARS-CoV-2 by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus, and then touching their mouths, noses, or eyes. Current evidence suggests that this virus may remain viable for hours to days on a variety of surfaces. Frequent cleaning of visibly dirty and high-touch surfaces, followed by disinfection, should decrease SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens (germs) from spreading.
Person-to-person spread is likely to continue to occur under current pandemic conditions. There is still more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with SARS-CoV-2.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the risks from SARS-CoV-2 depends on how extensively the virus spreads between people; the severity of resulting illness; pre-existing medical conditions the infected person has; and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus and the relative success of these measures.
According to the CDC, certain people, including older adults and those with underlying conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
Classifying Risk of DCCC Faculty, Staff and Students Exposure to SARS-CoV-2
Risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 while on DCCC campuses may depend in part on expected job duties and the need for proximity within 6 feet of people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2. Other factors, such as facility conditions and individual health conditions, may also affect people’s risk of getting COVID-19 and/or developing complications from the illness.
OSHA has divided job tasks into four risk exposure levels: very high, high, medium, and lower risk. It is DCCC’s goal that the majority of our faculty, staff, and students will fall in the lower exposure risk (caution) or medium exposure risk levels while on DCCC campuses. A variable in the risk exposure level determination as well as the potential need to quarantine is being a “close contact.” This is being with 6’ of a confirmed or suspected case for 15 minutes or longer.
Lower Exposure Risk (Caution)
OSHA defines activities as Lower Exposure Risk that do not require close contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2. Workers in this category have minimal contact with the general public and other coworkers. Examples include:
- Remote faculty, staff, and students (i.e., those working from home during the pandemic).
- Office employees who do not have frequent close contact (within 6 feet, unprotected, for greater than 15 minutes) with coworkers, students, or the public.
- Faculty/Instructors who do not have frequent close contact (within 6 feet, unprotected, for greater than 15 minutes) with coworkers or students.
- Facility staff who do not have frequent close contact with coworkers, students, or the public.
Medium Exposure Risk
Activities that require frequent/close contact with people who may be infected, but who are not known to have or suspected of having COVID-19 include:
- Those who may have frequent close contact (within 6 feet, unprotected, for greater than 15 minutes) with coworkers, students, or the public.
It is the goal of DCCC to minimize job functions that may require close contact with people who may be infected. Situations that require close contact will be evaluated on a case by case basis (i.e., nursing, performing arts, shop programs, etc.) and additional administrative, engineering, or personal protective equipment may be recommended.
There are currently no known situations where DCCC faculty, staff, or students should be required to be in close contact with any persons known to have COVID-19 (i.e., High or Very High Exposure Risk). As part of the implementation of this COVID-19 Response Plan, ongoing risk assessments will be completed, and job duties evaluated to ensure the majority of faculty, staff, and students remain in the Lower Risk Category.
Infection Prevention Strategies
Specific measures for protecting faculty, staff, and students from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, depend on the type of work being performed and exposure risk, including potential for interaction with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and contamination of the work environment. DCCC has adopted the following general infection prevention strategies based on our understanding of the general hazards our faculty, staff, and students may face while on our campuses during this pandemic.
OSHA has developed interim guidance to help prevent exposure to SARS-CoV-2. The general guidance below applies to all DCCC faculty, staff, and students
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Practice good respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes with your inner elbow.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if sick.
- Recognize personal risk factors. According to the CDC, certain people, including older adults and those with underlying conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
DCCC will require the use of face coverings at all times while in our campus buildings until further notice. Disposable face coverings will be available for faculty, staff and students as needed. The use of personal face coverings are allowed as long as they are appropriate (i.e., non-offensive graphics) and they comply with current CDC recommendations. Children under 2 years of age are not required to wear face coverings. Persons with medical conditions in which a face covering may pose a risk shall discuss this with their department supervisor.
Signs, markings, and building occupant communication will be posted throughout campus buildings as follows:
- Exterior doors will be marked to require people to enter buildings from one primary entrance.
- Hand washing signs will be installed throughout campus buildings.
- “6-foot Social Distancing” reminder signs will be installed on floor, wall, and bench surfaces throughout campus buildings.
- Distance markers will be installed at elevator lobbies. Additionally, signage for “One person per elevator” will be installed.
- Traffic arrows will be installed in hallways and in areas to help control traffic flow. Some areas may be closed to traffic.
- Where feasible, sinks, toilets, and urinals may be marked off to allow for social distancing in bathrooms.
- “Wait Here to be Called” signs will be installed at all waiting areas, reception, and walk up locations to assist with social distancing between students and staff.
In addition, DCCC will print, sign and post the “COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses” flyer on our occupied buildings. We will post the signed flyer in employee common spaces and near each building’s primary entrance.
Hand Sanitizer Stations
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) is helpful in protecting against the spread of germs and viruses. However, handwashing with soap and water is still best. Hand sanitizer is effective when soap and water are not readily available. Carrying a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer makes it easy to disinfect your hands in these situations. Additionally, DCCC has installed hand sanitizer stations throughout our buildings for our faculty, staff, and students to use as needed.
Handwashing is a significant mitigation strategy to protect yourself and minimize community spread of COVID-19. It is common sense and it works. However, it must be done properly and with soap and water. DCCC will ensure bathroom facilities are opened, operating, and properly stocked with supplies. Bathroom exhaust vents will run 24/7 to allow for continuous air flow in the bathrooms. Replacement of fixtures to be ‘no touch’ will be considered and planned as part of future renovations. Toilet lids and appropriate signage will also be considered for bathrooms.
Paper towels should be used when available to dry one’s hands. After washing, turn off the water, then open the door preventing contact with these fixtures.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has developed proactive guidance to help address COVID-19 concerns with respect to the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.
DCCC will generally follow the recommendations outlined in the “ASHRAE Position Document on Infectious Aerosols” dated April 14, 2020. For most campus buildings and areas, the HVAC system will operate under normal conditions. Where possible, additional ventilation and outdoor air will be increased. Filtration media will be increased to be a minimum of MERV-13 rated. Additional ventilation may be considered for certain higher risk areas if identified. Temperature and humidity control will be maintained as normal.
Since maintaining social distancing may be difficult in certain situations, DCCC will institute measures to physically separate people where feasible. Physical barriers such as plexiglass sneeze guards will be installed throughout our buildings at reception areas, academic advising, one on one meeting areas, checkout areas, etc. Existing barriers (i.e., enrollment) will be modified as needed to ensure an adequate barrier is present.
Reduction of Touch Points
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight, humidity, and the type of surface. Although DCCC will have an enhanced cleaning and disinfection program in place, we also will reduce ‘touch points’ throughout our buildings as much as possible. Interior classroom and office doors will be kept open as much as possible. No-touch trash cans will be available. Flyers, brochures, magazines, pens, and other common materials will be limited. DCCC staff will continuously review our building operations to determine how touch points can be reduced.
Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people. According to the CDC, keeping space between you and others is one of the best mitigation methods we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread on our campuses.
Limit close contact with others outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are infected, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you—or they—have no symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
DCCC will implement the following procedures to assist our faculty, staff, and students practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Work/Learn Remote Policies
DCCC has developed a framework for the reopening of college operations. This includes remote learning courses, hybrid format courses, and in-classroom instruction. Details on remote learning and academic scheduling will be provided through the Office of Academic Affairs.
In general, DCCC will consider the prioritization of in-person instruction for courses with academic outcomes that cannot be measured or achieved virtually, such as performance, laboratory, and clinical experiences. We will implement a hybrid mode of instruction for the foreseeable future. Remote options will be planned for and available in the event that a rebound in local infections necessitates continued physical distancing and to support vulnerable students and staff, students in quarantine or isolation, and students and staff who cannot physically return to campus.
Work from home policies and sick time policies will be provided through Human Resources.
Staggered Arrival Schedules
To avoid large gatherings of faculty, staff, or students entering a building at the same time, consideration will be given to staggered start times for operations and classes. As appropriate, each department will determine schedules for their staff.
To help with social distancing, select furniture in common areas will be moved and closed off for use. Where possible, interior and exterior chairs and tables will be moved apart to ensure a minimum of 6’ separation. Immovable furniture (i.e., benches) will be labeled with a sign, poster, or decal to remind users to maintain 6’ separation. Classroom and auditorium chairs/desks will be marked with a decal to indicate which ones are authorized for use.
Decals will be placed on floors throughout campus buildings to indicate traffic flow, maintain 6’ separation, ‘wait here’ lines, and separation zones.
Reduced Classroom Capacity
In order to maintain the CDC recommended 6’ social distancing, the capacity of classrooms, auditoriums, conference rooms and other large gathering rooms will be reduced. DCCC will review each room and determine maximum room capacity based on 6’ social distancing. New room capacities will be recorded to assist with scheduling of these spaces. Additionally, as previously mentioned, seats will be marked for use.
Access Control & Health Monitoring
To assist with access control into our campus buildings we are implementing the following protocols:
Primary Entrance Identification
Each building will be assigned a primary entrance location. Signs will be posted throughout the exterior of the building to indicate that only the one primary entrance is to be used. Other entrances will be locked to the extent feasible.
DCCC will be conducting daily in-person health checks (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening) of employees before they enter campus buildings. To maintain social distance as best as possible, screening will occur as part of a drive thru check in process at a designated parking lot at each campus. The screening will only include questions recommended by the CDC and a no-touch forehead temperature check. Results of the screening will be considered confidential and maintained by Human Resources.
Employees who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day will be separated from other faculty, staff, and students and sent home. Employees who develop symptoms outside of work should notify their supervisor and stay home.
Return to work/campus policies will be developed and issued by Human Resources.
To assist with contact tracing and minimize people entering our campus buildings, non-essential visitors will be limited as much as possible. Visitors entering the building will be asked to sign in and record what parts of the building they will be accessing. Visitors will also be subject to health screening protocols.
Any vendors working on campus will be asked to provide a COVID-19 response plan as it pertains to their operations (i.e. food vendors, contractors, etc). Activities by vendors must follow current CDC and DCCC recommendations for in person operations.
Deliveries (i.e. FedEx, UPS) will be limited to designated drop off points.
It is our goal to monitor the overall health conditions of our campus communities throughout this pandemic. As such, in addition to employee screening as noted above, we are asking all faculty, staff, and students to self-report to Human Resources any suspect or positive COVID-19 illnesses. DCCC will track and record possible COVID-19 transmission on campus. If transmission is observed, we will contact the PADOH and local health officials and follow current CDC recommendations.
Cleaning & Disinfection Protocols
When people touch a surface or object contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and then touch their own eyes, noses, or mouths, they may expose themselves to the virus.
According to the CDC, the SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on certain types of surfaces, such as plastic and stainless steel, for 2-3 days. However, because the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 from contaminated environmental surfaces and objects is still not fully understood, DCCC will follow recommended cleaning and disinfection procedures in occupied areas.
DCCC will operate during the COVID-19 pandemic only as allowed by law and will continue routine cleaning and other housekeeping practices throughout our buildings that remain open. The CDC provides instructions for environmental cleaning and disinfection. These instructions have been summarized in our protocols described below.
Standard Cleaning Protocols
DCCC staff will continue to follow pre-existing cleaning protocols throughout occupied campus buildings. These standard protocols are documented under separate cover and include standard procedures for trash removal, dusting, surface cleaning, mopping and vacuuming. An increase in frequency of cleaning will be considered as needed.
During this pandemic, DCCC staff will follow disinfection protocols in addition to the existing standard cleaning protocols. The disinfection protocols are documented under separate cover and will focus primarily on the disinfection of high touch surfaces throughout our occupied buildings. Additionally, disposable towels for faculty and staff to clean their work surfaces will be provided.
Deep/Reactive Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
If a person is identified as suspected or known to have COVID-19 in one of our campus buildings, additional deep or reactive cleaning may be warranted. It is unknown how long the air inside a room occupied by someone with confirmed COVID-19 remains potentially infectious. As such, DCCC staff will consider factors such as the size of the room and the ventilation system when deciding how long to close off rooms or areas used by ill persons before beginning disinfection. DCCC’s reactive cleaning protocol is provided under separate cover.
For those conducting enhanced cleaning and disinfection activities DCCC will train employees about the sources of exposure to the virus, the hazards associated with that exposure, and appropriate workplace protocols in place to prevent or reduce the likelihood of exposure. Training will include information about proper cleaning techniques, use of EPA approved disinfectants, and proper personal protective equipment.
Quality Control / Quality Assurance Program
To document the effectiveness of our standard and enhanced cleaning protocols, DCCC will utilize a third party Certified Industrial Hygienist to periodically inspect and test our buildings. Results of the inspections will be used to modify or enhance our procedures as necessary.
Positive COVID-19 Response
As this pandemic continues, it is possible that a person may be infected with COVID-19 and come to our campus buildings. If a person is identified as suspected or known to have COVID-19, the follow protocols will be implemented:
Contact tracing is the process of the identification of faculty, staff or students who may have come into close contact with an infected person for a prolonged period of time (greater than 15 minutes within 6’). At this time, a formal contact tracing program is not in place on our campuses. If we are notified that a suspected or positive COVID-19 person was on our campus, we will attempt to determine where that person visited and with whom they may have been in close contact. Screening records, visitor logs, and class rosters will be maintained.
Faculty, staff, or students that have been in close contact of a confirmed case must quarantine for 14 days. A close contact of a suspected case must also quarantine until a determination has been provided if their contact was with a confirmed case. A return to campus policy will be available through Human Resources.
Area Shut Down Measures
In most cases, we do not anticipate the need to shut down an entire building following the identification of a COVID-19 person. If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the building, we will close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time (i.e. greater than 15 minutes) by the infected person (such as a classroom). The area will be closed for approximately 24 hours (if possible) prior to conducting deep/reactive cleaning activities.
Additionally, if a sick person vomits or expels bodily fluids in an area, the room will be immediately evacuated, and these response measures will be implemented. If in an open/common area, the area will be immediately cordoned off in all directions at a minimum of 12’. Staff with appropriate Blood Borne Pathogen training will conduct proper cleanup activities.
In the area that is identified to be shut down, the HVAC system will be turned on to operate 24/7. Outdoor dampers will be opened to allow 100% outside air (if possible). Exterior windows, if present, will be opened to allow for additional ventilation.
Following a 24-hour period, the impacted area will be cleaned and disinfected following the deep/reactive cleaning protocols identified above.
PA Department Of Health Notification
In addition to the above strategy to mitigate and contain the spread of the virus on campus, DCCC will notify the PADOH and local health officials if COVID-19 transmission is identified on our campuses.
DCCC will create an internal communication plan for reaching employees through combinations of emails, intranet postings, flyers/posters, leader talking points, FAQs and website resources. The plan will identify simple, key messages, a reliable process and the vehicles for providing continual updates and collecting feedback from employees. Additionally, DCCC will create an external communication plan for reaching students, parents, media, shareholders, suppliers, and the local community.
This COVID-19 Response Plan was developed following current federal, state and local guidelines and recommendations. Since we are currently in a pandemic and dealing with a novel virus these recommendations may change without notice.
- CDC - Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education
- CDC – Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education
- OSHA – Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- EPA – Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes
- Preliminary Guidance – Resuming In-Person Instruction at Postsecondary Education Institutions and Adult Education Programs
- PADOH - Pennsylvania Department of Health Resource Page
- The Process to Reopen Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf
- AIHA - American Industrial Hygiene Association
- APPA – COVID-19 Resources and Guidelines
- AACC – American Association of Community Colleges
- ACHA - American College Health Association
Statement of Preparation
This plan was prepared by Alan Lloyd, a Certified Industrial Hygienist with Pennoni Associates, Inc. Any questions regarding this plan, he can be reached at 856-547-0505 or by email [email protected].