COVID-19 Health and Safety Information

COVID-19 Latest Updates


July 9,2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing you with positive news: during yesterday's meeting of the COCC Board of Directors, the board approved the college's reopening operational plan for in-person instructional, residential, and research activities, as well as for student services.

COCC's approved reopening plans are now available here via our website, and I encourage each of you to review these plans.

The college will also launch a Fall Reopening website the week of July 20th, which will further explain and make accessible the plan's details and protocols, as well as provide FAQs for students, employees, and our community at large. If you have any COVID-19 and/or reopening-related questions, you can also email, and the College Relations staff member monitoring that inbox will direct your query to the appropriate resource.

In mid-June, the Oregon Health Authority released guidance for the reopening of Oregon's colleges and universities. Among the higher education requirements was a mandate for every institution to secure board approval of a reopening operational plan prior to September 1st, 2020. With yesterday's board approval, COCC can now move forward in our efforts to resume some in-person activities across our campuses for the 2020 Fall Term.

As you know, one of COCC's Principles of Community is to "Promote a Healthy and Safe Learning Environment." Thus COCC's reopening plans take seriously health and safety requirements and concerns. The college plans to offer in-person instruction at all campuses this fall, along with online, remote and hybrid options for students. COCC is also prepared to move to fully remote or online instruction if directed to do so by the state.

I want to echo the board's acknowledgement last night of our Reopening Task Force. I'm grateful to the members of COCC's Reopening Task Force:  Matt McCoy (Chair), Sharla Andresen, Seana Barry, Lori Benefiel, Zak Boone, Dan Cecchini, Julie Downing, Annemarie Hamlin, Kevin Hughes, Jenn Kovitz, Peter Ostrovsky, Paula Simone, Joe Viola, and Michel Waller.  They all have shown tremendous commitment, and they have invested many hours in developing our reopening plans to date.

And our work is not done.  Our plans will be reviewed and updated regularly, according to current local, state, and national requirements.   We will continue to need to adapt to the changing COVID-19 situation.  We will review substantive updates with our board, and communicate these changes to you as they happen.

Thank you for your resiliency, Bobcats! 

Kind regards,

Dr. Laurie Chesley
COCC President


COCC Communication About COVID-19 Accessible by Date

  • College Update June 30, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope everyone has had a strong start to Summer Term.

    Oregon Statewide Facemasks RequiredAs you may have heard, Governor Kate Brown has declared that, effective tomorrow, Wednesday July 1st, all Oregonians must wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This guidance, which you can read in full here, currently applies to businesses and to members of the public visiting indoor public spaces.

    Admittedly, the Governor's latest statewide directive does not specifically mention higher education institutions. However, in the spirit of the order, and to uphold COCC's steadfast commitment to being a good community partner, we will follow this new guidance.

    Beginning tomorrow, all COCC students, faculty, staff—as well as visitors to the college for any reason—are required to wear a face covering while inside any campus building for any length of time, unless an accommodation or exemption is legally permitted.

    COCC will provide complimentary disposable masks to any individual who needs one (more on this below). I encourage each of you to make a habit of keeping a mask with you at all times, and I'm looking forward to seeing the creative, personalized prints many of you sport on your cloth masks.

    I've prepared a brief FAQ below, as I imagine questions will arise from this new statewide mandate and our college's adherence to it. If you have further questions beyond those I've gathered below: faculty and staff, please reach out to your supervisor; students, please contact Alicia Moore, Vice President of Student Affairs: or 541-383-7211.

    How is a "face covering" defined?
    "Face covering" is defined as a cloth, paper, or disposable face covering that covers both the nose and the mouth.

    What are the legally required accommodations or exemptions to this face coverings guidance?
    These include—but are not limited to— state and federal disabilities laws if applicable, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which protects people with disabilities from discrimination in employment and requires employers to engage in the interactive process for accommodations.

    For a complete list of accommodations or exemptions as required by law:
    COCC Students, please reach out to Disability Services or 541-383-7583.

    COCC Faculty and Staff, please contact Human Resources: or 541-383-7216.

    Am I required to wear a face covering in my classroom if I'm taking/teaching a 2020 Summer Term course on campus?
    Yes please! Instructors, if you and/or your students do not have a face covering, please contact Lori Benefiel, Director of Auxiliary Services: or 541-383-7572.

    Do I have to wear a face covering if I'm alone at my desk?
    Per Governor Kate Brown's latest guidance, individuals do not need to wear a face covering when eating or drinking, nor when at or in a location where the individual is not interacting with the public and where six or more feet of distance can be maintained between other people. For COCC faculty and staff, we are interpreting the "public" to mean "students and/or visitors to the college for any reason." This means that if you are alone in your office, you do not need to wear a face covering. However, if one or more individuals join you in that space, we do expect you (all) to wear your face coverings.

    I don't own a mask or other face covering. What do I do?
    Throughout Summer Term, COCC is committed to providing disposable face coverings to any individual (faculty, staff, student, or visitor) who requires one. Please contact the following individuals if you need a mask this term:

    Faculty and Staff: Lori Benefiel, Director of Auxiliary Services, or 541-383-7572

    Students/Visitors: Ask your instructor or a staff member for a mask, and they can contact Auxilary Services on your behalf.

    For Fall Term: as we prepare to (hopefully) reopen, please stay tuned for a more robust and widespread distribution plan for free face coverings across our four campuses beginning in September.

    Bobcats, I understand and empathize with the feeling that each new statewide COVID-19 response might seem abrupt or disruptive. But we are truly in this together. I remain optimistic that we will be able to gather on campuses together this Fall; however, the current regional increase in COVID-19 cases means we are at a critical point in central Oregon in this pandemic. Together, we can wear our face masks and make a difference in the transmission rates of this virus. And with our faces covered together, we can help ensure we'll learn together again this fall.

    From behind my cat-print mask, I thank you,

    Dr. Laurie Chesley
    COCC President

  • College Update June 12, 2020 (pdf)
  • College Update April 24, 2020 (pdf)
  • College Update April 9, 2020 (pdf)
  • College Update March, 19, 2020 (pdf)
  • College Update March 16, 2020 (pdf)
  • College Update March 13, 2020 p.m. (pdf)
  • College Update March 13, 2020 a.m. (pdf)
  • College Update March 12, 2020 (pdf)
  • College Update March 11, 2020 (pdf)
  • College Update March 10, 2020 (pdf)
  • College Update March 6, 2020 (pdf)
  • Letter to Students from COCC President, Dr. Laurie Chesley, March 3, 2020 (pdf)

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