March 13, 2020 UPDATE from Blinn chancellor Mary Hensley:
• The Blinn College District is extending spring break for all employees and will be closed until Monday, March 23rd. Any events scheduled to take place at a Blinn location during this time period are canceled.
• Faculty, please monitor your email for updates from your vice chancellors and supervisors.
• Upon Blinn’s return on Monday, March 23rd, the College will implement flexible work schedules that allow employees an alternative to the traditional Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. work week. These flexible schedules, developed in cooperation with each employee’s supervisor, allows employees to vary their arrival and/or departure times and to work 40-hour compressed workweeks (i.e, 10 hours per day for four days with 30-minute lunches each day). This 40-hour-per-week schedule is designed to provide flexibility for employees.
• Upon our return to campus, Blinn will implement “social distancing” on all campuses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately six feet) from others when possible.
• The Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th, has been postponed. An announcement will be forthcoming regarding the new date and time of this meeting.
• Finals for the Spring first 8-week session have been postponed until Monday, March 23rd. The Spring second 8-week session is now scheduled to begin on Friday, March 27th.
• Blinn has canceled the Boots and Blue Jeans fundraiser event scheduled for Saturday, March 28th, in Sealy.
• The Blinn College Foundation has postponed the Alumni and Friends Clay Shootout that was scheduled for Friday, April 17th.
• Blinn will cancel all prospective student campus tours. Preview Day events are being rescheduled to include no more than 50 individuals per event.
• Per an announcement by the NJCAA released today, all Blinn athletics events are canceled through Friday, April 3rd.
From March 12, 2020:
Blinn continues to monitor the developing COVID-19 situation. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of our students and employees, Blinn is extending spring break for students by one week. Faculty and staff will return on Monday, March 16th, but students will return on Monday, March 23rd.
This extra week will provide Blinn employees time to conduct additional trainings and prepare to resume instruction. To do so, Blinn is taking the following actions for the Spring semester:
· All campuses and services will remain open during the week of March 16th and students may utilize campus services. Residence halls, dining halls, health and counseling services, libraries, testing centers, learning centers, computer labs, and other services will remain open. However, Blinn encourages students to consider remaining home if possible.
· Blinn will move most courses to an online environment on Monday, March 23rd. Hands-on, skills-based classes such as labs, clinicals, and external internships will continue in their current format. Students, please look for future announcements from the College regarding course format.
· Blinn has identified faculty who require eCampus training to prepare for moving to an online environment. These trainings will take place during the week of March 16th, and the College anticipates all training to be completed by Friday, March 20th.
· We temporarily have suspended Blinn’s current absence policy. Students, please contact your instructors if you will not be able to attend for medical reasons.
· Bryan Collegiate High School and off-campus dual credit courses will continue as previously scheduled.
· Blinn is conducting a deep clean of all campuses. Once students return, all common areas, residence halls, classrooms, and restrooms will undergo frequent deep cleans, particularly in high touch points such as tables and doors. The disinfectant used, VIREX, is approved to be effective against COVID-19.
· Blinn’s Food Services are undergoing extra cleanings and the College is eliminating self-service food buffets.
· Blinn will be open and available for faculty and staff to complete tasks in their offices or workstations.
· To provide greater flexibility for faculty and staff, the College is exploring adjusted work schedules. The Human Resources Department and supervisors will work directly with employees to make these changes as needed.
· We will continue to keep the public informed regarding the cancellation of upcoming events. Large public events such as the Performing Arts Series concert by The Young Irelanders on March 17th, the groundbreaking ceremony for the new science, technology, engineering, and innovation building on March 20th, and College-sanctioned events at the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center such as concerts and plays have been canceled.
· All employee travel will be restricted to essential business purposes only. Please contact your vice chancellor regarding special exemptions, if needed.
· Blinn’s study abroad trips, including the trip scheduled to begin May 23rd to Granada, Spain, have been canceled.
· Campus tours for prospective students will remain as scheduled; however, the College is rescheduling smaller Preview Day events.
· The Brenham Campus Kruse Center will be open for scheduled classes and practices; however, it will be closed for recreational and community use.
· Hiring interviews and processes will be completed online. For questions, please contact the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources.
· Blinn is exploring its options regarding NJCAA athletic contests, and more information will be included in forthcoming announcements.
In addition to the College’s initiatives in this regard, we encourage each member of our community to take appropriate precautions. Please follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. If you are sick or become sick, please stay home from work and class and avoid close contact with others.
Students who are in self-isolation or are unable to return to campus on March 23rd for health reasons should contact their instructors. If you have any concerns that you have been exposed to the virus, please contact your medical provider immediately.
Please remember to take preventative measures, including washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoiding shaking hands and other physical contact. If you traveled over spring break to areas with widespread, ongoing community spread of COVID-19, please follow CDC guidance to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. We also encourage employees and students to avoid handshakes, hugs, and other physical contact.
As always, the safety of our faculty, staff, and students is our highest priority. To keep you informed regarding the latest developments, Blinn will continue to provide frequent updates throughout the coming days. Please watch for emails, updates to www.blinn.edu/alert/emergency-preparedness.html, and messages on Facebook and Twitter. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your supervisor, vice chancellor, or me as we work together to address this evolving situation.