COVID-19 Latest Updates


June 22, 2022

Please review updates to the College's student COVID-19 vaccination requirements. The College is currently open to students and the general public, and classes are offered in-person, online, and in hybrid learning formats.


March 2, 2022


This week, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced that it will lift the mask requirement for indoor public spaces and schools on Saturday, March 12, 2022 due to the rapid decline of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Following this guidance, COCC will lift its indoor face mask requirements starting March 12, noting that masks are required until that time. Important exceptions:

  • Masks will still be required in classes where masking is required due to the nature of the course and/or lab.
  • Masks will still be required while riding in COCC vehicles as federal mask requirements for public transportation still apply.

When many of you enrolled in Winter 2022 term courses, we know you chose to take in-person classes because there was a mask mandate in place at the time. This requirement helped many people feel more comfortable about returning to the classroom. In keeping with COCC's Principles of Community, we encourage you to support those who had planned on a statewide mask mandate by continuing to wear masks indoors until Spring Break.

Additionally, the College strongly recommends continuing to wear face masks into Spring term, especially for those who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated, as well as for those who are at high-risk from the coronavirus. As a reminder, COCC offers free KN-95 masks to students, available in multiple locations on all four campuses. Note that COCC will update its face mask and other COVID-19-related policies in the future should OHA or other guidance change.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you, Bobcats, for doing your part these last two years to keep our communities healthy and safe.


Alicia Moore
Vice President of Student Affairs


COCC Communication About COVID-19 Accessible by Date

  • College Update January 26, 2022

    Good afternoon, Bobcats –

    On behalf of College's COVID-19 contact tracing team, I'm writing to share upcoming changes to COCC's contact tracing policy and process.

    Earlier this month, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Deschutes County Health Services (DCHS) each released updates to COVID-19 contact tracing and isolation/quarantine protocols, informed by the dual realities of a highly contagious variant (omicron) and limited public health department resources across the state.

    In turn, COCC will follow this latest OHA and DCHS contact tracing guidance, effective Monday, January 31. Please note that isolation is still required for all individuals who test positive forCOVID-19 and quarantine may be required for those exposed to COVID-19 (depending on symptoms, vaccination and booster status, etc.). We recommend you review OHA's latest isolation and quarantine guidelines and send any questions to

    Beginning Jan. 31, COCC will only contact trace for the following groups:

    • Wickiup Hall students
    • Students in educational labs where social distancing cannot be maintained
    • All COCC employees, including benefitted employees, p/t faculty, irregular wage workers, etc.

    Supervisors and their employees should continue to report positive tests and known/possible exposure to

    If faculty or staff learn of a Wickiup resident and/or student involved in an educational lab who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has a known/possible exposure, those faculty or staff should email the impacted student(s)' information to

    If students who do not fit into the categories above (or instructors reaching out on their behalf) reach out to about a positive test or exposure, COCC's contact tracing team will direct the student to the OHA website for guidance on their individual situation, per new Deschutes County Health Services.

    Sharla will continue to lead contact tracing for the above groups and monitor the contact tracing email address. Students and employees may continue to send questions to

    Following OHA guidance, COCC will no longer consider a masked interaction an exposure if someone is sick. Beginning Monday, COCC's COVID-19 dashboard will no longer be updated, as the data will no longer reflect all positive cases at COCC.  However, the dashboard will continue to be available for viewing until Tuesday, February 15, and Sharla will retain all historical data.

    Throughout the pandemic, COCC's multi-faceted COVID-19 mitigation efforts (6-foot social distancing in classrooms, HVAC system filters upgrade, prevalence testing, free on-campus testing, indoor mask-wearing at all times, current and forthcoming vaccination policies, etc.) continue to help prevent an outbreak in classrooms and on campuses. We should all be proud of the impact our collective actions are having on the ongoing health and safety of our campuses. 

    Common questions (copied from OHA's latest guidance):

    Q: What if I test positive for COVID-19 or was exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms?

    • Stay at home and away from others for five days regardless of vaccination status.
    • If you have no symptoms, or your symptoms are resolved after five days, you can leave your home.
    • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for an additional five days.
    • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until it goes away.

    Q: What if I am up to date on vaccinations and was exposed to someone with COVID-19 and do not have symptoms?

    • Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days.
    • Test on day five, if possible.
    • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, get a test and stay home.

    Q: What if I am not up to date on vaccinations and was exposed to someone with COVID-19 and do not have symptoms?

    • Stay home for five days.
    • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask for an additional five days.
    • If you are not able to stay at home, you must wear a well-fitting mask around other people for 10 days.
    • Test on the fifth day after exposure.
    • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, get a test and stay home.

    Again, please don't hesitate to send questions to

    Take care,


    Jenn Kovitz
    Director of Marketing and Public Relations
    Central Oregon Community College 

  • College Update September 15, 2021

    Welcome to Fall term, Bobcats!

    We are so excited to see you on campus, whether in person or virtually. The following information is a brief review of key information, with hyperlinks to provide you with additional details.

    • Masks: Need a mask? Just ask! The College provides free disposable masks to any student, employee, or visitor — ask your instructor, the COCC Bookstore, or your campus information desk. Important notes: 
      • Face masks are required in all indoor spaces, outdoors when six feet of distance cannot be maintained and in COCC vehicles. Masks can be temporarily removed to actively eat or drink, noting that eating is not allowed in classrooms.
      • COCC has several online, remote and other options for students who do not wish to be on campus or wear a mask. Check out the Class Schedule for options!
    • Vaccines: COCC requires COVID-19 vaccines for students in specific academic programs and Wickiup Hall and strongly recommends it for all students and employees. Students who are exempt from the COVID vaccine may be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Details will be provided if this applies to you.
    • Win big!! If you are fully vaccinated, or will be by September 20, submit your name, COCC ID number, and dates of testing by September 24 to be entered to win up to $500 in Mastercard gift cards. 
    • Daily self-check: Please take care of yourself – and help others stay healthy! COCC asks that you do a daily self-check prior to coming to campus (also on the COCC mobile app). If you have one or more symptoms, please stay home, alert your instructor, and contact a health provider. 
    • Struggling with bills? Housing? Food? Other needs? COCC is here to help! We have staff dedicated to helping with these challenges. Check out the many options on the Help for Students in Need web page.
    • Books, parking permits, and student ID card: Save time during the first week of classes and get your parking permit and student ID card now. You can also order your books online or visit the Bend Campus Bookstore.
    • Bend campus students: Construction on Newport Avenue is in full swing and it is closed at NW College Way. We encourage you to plan ahead, as detours can take longer than expected. You may wish to consider getting to campus using Mt. Washington Drive.

    Need other information? Contact the COCC Admissions and Records Office at 541.383.7500, stop by any of our four campuses, or see the COCC Department Directory for more information. We are here to help!


    Alicia Moore
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Central Oregon Community College

  • College Update August 12, 2021

    Greetings Bobcats,

    I hope this message finds each of you enjoying healthy and safe adventures this summer. Given Oregon Governor Kate Brown's announcement today, COCC will follow OHA and state guidance by requiring face masks in all indoor public spaces across all campuses, effective Friday, August 13. An acceptable face mask fits snugly over your nose and mouth. You can remove your mask briefly to actively eat or drink; however, I hope you'll join me in eating outdoors whenever the weather allows. We can enjoy some sunshine and keep the virus from spreading.

    The highly contagious Delta variant threatens to overwhelm our region's hospital systems. A lack of hospital beds, in turn, threatens all Oregonians in need of hospital care for any reason. The Delta variant also threatens to derail in-person learning for K-12 and higher education in the fall. This indoor mask requirement will help slow the spread of the virus until more Oregonians can be fully vaccinated and COVID-19 hospitalizations dramatically and consistently decrease. 

    Bobcats, we've masked up before and I know that together we can do it again! Let's show our essential frontline healthcare workers that while they are working to save lives, we are doing our own part to help them and keep one another safe.

    In the meantime, do not hesitate to send any questions to COCC's COVID team:


    Alicia Moore
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Central Oregon Community College 

  • College Update August 5, 2021

    Dear Bobcats —

    At yesterday's Reopening Task Force meeting, the group voted to update COCC's indoor face mask policy due to the high increase in community transmission of the COVID-19 Delta variant in Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties. I appreciate their thoughtful work and support their recommendation. 

    Effective tomorrow, Friday, August 6, COCC strongly recommends that all individuals — vaccinated and unvaccinated alike — wear a face mask indoors in all public spaces, as well as in your office when another individual is present. Per CDC and OHA guidelines for public transportation, all individuals are still required to wear a face mask over their nose and mouth, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

    This update aligns with OHA and CDC guidance, and is necessary due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in our district stemming from the Delta variant, which currently accounts for 80% of cases in Oregon and is much more contagious than previous strains. Of course, the College's face mask policy remains subject to change, and will be frequently reassessed based on local, state, and national public health recommendations.

    COCC supports all individuals who choose to continue to wear masks indoors in any campus setting. We encourage employees and students to always keep a face mask with them when on campus. If you encounter someone in their workspace who is wearing a mask but you are not, please consider being courteous and putting your mask on too. If someone comes into your workspace and you would feel most comfortable if they join you in wearing a mask, you can respectfully ask them to consider wearing their face mask while you are together.

    This face mask policy update does not mean the available COVID-19 vaccines are no longer working, nor does it mean increasing our community's vaccination rate is less urgent. In fact, we — like the OHA and the CDC — must strongly recommend face masks indoors again precisely because too few individuals in our district are vaccinated, allowing the coronavirus and its variants to spread.

    The science is clear: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, and unvaccinated individuals are at a very high risk of contracting the more contagious, more deadly Delta variant. About 99.999% of fully vaccinated Americans have not had a COVID-19 breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, CDC data shows. 97% of local and national COVID-19 hospital patients remain unvaccinated. But community transmission remains high in our district. Employees and students may have not-yet-vaccinated children and/or immuno-compromised family members at home they want to help protect. Our counties' vaccination rates (especially among the 18-39 age group) remain well below levels thought necessary for herd immunity.

    Bobcats, COCC strongly recommends you mask up when indoors and that you get the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Kind regards,

    Laurie Chesley, Ph.D.
    Central Oregon Community College 

  • College Update June 29, 2021

    Dear Bobcats —

    It has been nearly 470 days since Governor Kate Brown first suspended in-person learning at Oregon's institutions of higher education. Last week, Gov. Brown announced that she will lift all COVID-19 health and safety restrictions tomorrow, Wednesday, June 30. Her decision also ends Executive Order 20-28, which provided guidance for Oregon higher education and shaped many of our policies at COCC. Some state requirements, such as those from Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), are expected to remain in effect for sectors including health care and transportation. 

    Overall, tomorrow's end of state and OHA restrictions is a major milestone in Oregon's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for your commitment to our communities' health and safety. Your collective efforts helped us reach this moment together.

    Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, June 30, face masks will no longer be required on any COCC campus—except in instructional settings where they were required before the pandemic. 

    The College will continue to pursue layered prevention strategies, as recommended by the CDC, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 across our campuses:

    COCC supports all individuals who choose to continue to wear masks in any campus setting. There are many reasons why one might continue to wear a face mask after these restrictions are lifted. People who should take extra precautions include those who are unvaccinated, at increased risk for severe illness, living with dependents who cannot get vaccinated, pregnant, etc. Mask-shaming has no place at COCC, and we honor everyone's personal choice to continue to wear a mask. As the College and the state transitions away from these COVID-19-related restrictions, please continue to practice our principles of community: respect the rights and dignity of all persons, be compassionate and considerate, and act with empathy.

    The College's reopening plans have not changed. COCC will resume in-person services and reopen all facilities to students and the general public on August 23. 

    Bobcats, we have weathered a profound time of change and uncertainty together. As a nation, we have lost more than 600,000 loved ones to the coronavirus. As a community and as individuals, we are just beginning to recover. Thank you to every COCC student and employee for continuing to prioritize one another's health and safety. Here's to hope made manifest today and long into COCC's future. 

    Laurie Chesley, Ph.D.
    Central Oregon Community College 

  • College Update June 10, 2021 

    Hello Bobcats,

    Congratulations on nearing the end of Spring term. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at our drive-thru Commencement on Saturday.

    Last week, I received recommendations from our COVID-19 Vaccination Subcommittee on COCC's COVID-19 vaccination policy for the upcoming 2021/2022 academic year. I am accepting all three of the overarching recommendations made by the COVID-19 Vaccination Subcommittee:

    1) Require COVID-19 vaccination of all students and clinical faculty members for the 2021/2022 academic year in all cases where students' successful program completion is dependent upon their:

    a) Participation in (and/or instruction in) clinical hours at off-campus clinics or on-campus clinics, and/or
    b) Close contact with actual patients/clients.

    This recommendation would include, but not be limited to: Dental Assisting, Early Childhood Education, Emergency Medical Technician, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Nursing, Nursing Assistant, Paramedicine, Pharmacy Technician, and Veterinary Technician. 

    Other academic programs may be eligible to participate.  Those programs will be approved by COCC's Reopening Task Force (who will be further refining the stated criteria), with input from COCC's Instructional leadership.

    Of note: COCC's Nursing program already requires proof of several other vaccines from its students, and clinical locations for several of our Allied Health disciplines are specifically requiring COVID-19 vaccination for individuals to participate in patient care. 

    2) Require COVID-19 vaccination of all Wickiup Hall residential students for the 2021/2022 academic year

    3) Continue to strongly recommend all COCC employees and students be fully COVID-19 vaccinated for the 2021/2022 academic year and provide incentives for those who are fully vaccinated.

    Of note: incentives will be determined in the weeks ahead. 

    The College will share with continuing and prospective students how they will attest their COVID-19 vaccination status with COCC in the weeks ahead. 

    These recommendations are subject to change according to evolving CDC, OHA, OSHA, HECC, county health, and governor's office guidance.  They should also be revisited ahead of each term and whenever relevant guidance changes.

    Throughout the pandemic, COCC has followed health and safety guidelines that have provoked strong feelings. I understand that this vaccination policy will be no different. The College will do its best to follow the input of the subcommittee, scientific and public health recommendations, state and federal laws, and best practices among our fellow community colleges. 

    Please remember that the most effective way to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus is to get fully vaccinated. We will continue to partner with county public health organizations to offer pop-up vaccination clinics throughout Central Oregon in the months ahead. I got my COVID-19 vaccine because I want to resume learning together in-person. I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated too. We're in this together, Bobcats.

    Take good care, 

    Laurie Chesley, Ph.D.
    Central Oregon Community College 

  • College Update June 9, 2021

    Hello Bobcats and members of our Central Oregon community – 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that change is our only constant. I remain grateful for COCC students' and employees' patient resilience while we have made — and remade — the College's reopening plans. 

    In light of new state of Oregon directives, all COCC employees will return to their COCC workplace on Monday, August 2. The College will reopen to students and the general public on Monday, August 23. Those campuses and facilities that have remained open to students throughout the pandemic (Redmond, Madras, Prineville, computer labs, in-person classrooms, etc.) will do so through the Summer term. Staff returning in August will have a full three weeks to reacquaint themselves with in-person work before the College publicly reopens, allowing ITS, Campus Services, and many other teams to ensure technology, facilities, processes, and more are ready for a successful reopening.

    COCC's current face mask policy remains in place: COCC campuses require face masks in all indoor spaces, as well as outdoor spaces where 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be easily maintained. We will communicate with employees, students, and the community when this policy changes. Tomorrow, I will share an update on the College's COVID-19 vaccination policy following review of the Vaccination Subcommittee's recommendations.

    Throughout the pandemic, the incredible group of employees on our Reopening Task Force have remained fluent in CDC, OHA, OSHA, and HECC-specific COVID-19 guidance. We'll communicate any and all updates to our COVID-19 protocols on our COVID-19 information webpages and in press releases, where appropriate.

    I am still just as excited as I was in the spring to say "thank you" in-person for a job well done during an unforgettable year. Please don't hesitate to email with any reopening questions you may have.

    Thank you, Bobcats, for your commitment to our mission of serving Central Oregon students and communities. Here's to an August reunion!

    Laurie Chesley, Ph.D.
    Central Oregon Community College 

  • College Update May 6, 2021

    May 6, 2021

    COCC Delays Planned June 14 Reopening  

    Good afternoon Bobcats, 

    The last few weeks of COVID-19 news in Central Oregon have been difficult. Positive COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations are surging while vaccination rates are slowing. Throughout the pandemic, COCC has responded to the ever-changing situation with a commitment, first and foremost, to your health and safety. This has meant we've asked COCC students to be flexible and to understand all plans are subject to change — including our intent to resume in-person services this June.

    COCC will not reopen to students and the public on Monday, June 14 as planned. Student support services will still be available via phone and remote formats, so do not hesitate to reach out to your advisor, CAP Services, Tutoring, Diversity and Inclusion, Financial Aid, and other departments for assistance. We are here for you, even if at a distance.  

    Please note:  This decision does not impact our Summer 2021 term course schedule; all Summer term classes will be offered as noted in the Schedule of Classes

    The COVID-19 vaccines are Central Oregon's fastest way to ending the cycles of COVID-19 case surges and hospitalizations – and the resulting economic shutdowns and College closures. If you haven't yet been vaccinated, get the COVID-19 vaccine. It is best way to help COCC reopen for in-person interactions. 

    COCC will be hosting vaccination clinics in the coming weeks – stay tuned for details.  In the meantime, please continue to wear your masks, practice social distancing, and limit the number of people you gather with. We can do this, Bobcats!

    With just a few weeks left in Spring term, we know how hard you're working. We are proud of all you are doing more than a year into this pandemic, and we are here to support you. Visit to learn more about the many resources available to COCC students, from assistance with food, housing, finances, and more. 

    Thank you, Bobcats, for your understanding and flexibility. 

    All my best,


    Alicia Moore
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Central Oregon Community College
    Prefers pronouns she/her/hers

  • College Update April 8, 2020

    Hello Bobcats!

    Throughout this last year, COCC has followed all Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) health and safety guidelines – and we will continue to do so in the months ahead. With these in mind, and given the statewide availability of COVID-19 vaccines, I am pleased to share that COCC plans to resume most in-person services on Monday, June 14 in preparation for Summer term. We are so excited to see you on campus soon!

    A few important things to know about reopening:

    • Summer and Fall Class Schedule: In-person learning for Summer term will remain limited and as currently scheduled. We intend to gradually expand in-person classes in the Fall and future terms. However, I encourage you to check your class schedule on your Bobcat Web account in case there are changes to how your classes are delivered. Contact your advisor for assistance in making class schedule changes if needed.

    • Vaccine Requirement? COCC and OSU-Cascades strongly recommend, but do not require, that COCC students and employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Following CDC guidance, the College urges everyone in Central Oregon to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. Starting April 19, all Oregonians age 16+ are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can pre-register for the vaccine at if you haven't done so already. You will then receive a text and email to schedule your first vaccination appointment when you are eligible.

    • Will the reopening date change? COCC will closely monitor county health risk levels and regional COVID-19 vaccination and hospitalization rates to determine if we need to change our reopening date. In other words, this plan could potentially change – like all pandemic-era plans – but we certainly hope not.

    • Reopening Updates: Other reopening details are still being developed. Critical updates will be provided via email and the College will post information to the COCC COVID-19 website. Students can also email reopening-related questions to

    It has been a long thirteen months since COCC had to shift to remote learning due to COVID-19. I am so proud of how you weathered this time and the amazing creativity and care for others you brought to the classroom. Thank you for being such a strong part of our community!

    Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you might have. In the meantime, I wish you and yours a wonderful and safe Spring term.



    Alicia Moore
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Central Oregon Community College
    Prefers pronouns she/her/hers

  • College Update December 8, 2020

    While we have hope on the horizon with news of the coronavirus vaccines, Central Oregon continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this ongoing reality, the College's leadership and I have made the first of our decisions about what to expect at COCC for the Spring 2021 term.

    The College will largely maintain our current operational approach through the Spring term. Wickiup Residence Hall will remain closed. The majority of our services will continue to operate remotely. Our campus facilities will remain closed to the public, and community access will remain limited. Employees who currently work on campus will continue to do so, but we ask that all other employees plan to continue to telework through at least the Spring 2021 term.

    As we make further decisions about any possible changes to in-person course offerings, we will of course communicate with our students, our employees, and the community at large. I know these difficult decisions have real-world implications, and I deeply appreciate students' and employees' ongoing resilience as we prepare for another term under COVID-19 restrictions.

    Please continue to wear your masks, practice strict physical distancing, and wash your hands. Thank you for staying home when you feel sick, and for alerting your instructors or supervisors when you do. Together, Bobcats, we will get to that light we can now see at the end of the tunnel.

    Take care, stay safe,
    Laurie Chesley, Ph.D.
    Central Oregon Community College 

  • College Update November 18, 2020

    Hello Bobcats!

    We hope the term is going well. As you may have heard, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced a two-week statewide "freeze". From November 18 to December 2, the state has restricted social gatherings and businesses to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and conserve our hospitals' capacities.

    It is important to note that this two-week freeze will not affect your Fall term classes and they will continue as scheduled — whether in-person, remote, or online.

    The holidays are quickly approaching, and you might be excited about traveling to see family and friends. While we know you've had to sacrifice many activities because of the pandemic, the safest place to be for the holiday is where you live right now.

    If you must travel, it is important that you review guidance from the Oregon Health Authority on several important ways for students to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when traveling this holiday season. We encourage you to read and follow these critical recommendations.

    It's also important to renew our individual commitment to mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing. If you are coming to campus for class, please continue to take the COVID-19 Daily Self-Check before leaving home each day. And most critical of all: please stay home if you feel sick.

    Bobcats, thank you again for your patience as we continue to work together to keep each other and our community safe. Stay healthy and don't hesitate to email COVID-19 specific questions to


    Alicia Moore
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Central Oregon Community College

  • College Update October 23, 2020

    Regionally, the COVID-19 transmission rates are not moving in a positive direction. Our local public health authorities warn of additional surges in positive cases in the weeks and months ahead. To continue to ensure the health and safety of our students, employees, and community, the College will largely maintain our current plans into the coming term. Wickiup Residence Hall will remain closed. Student Services will continue to operate remotely. Our campus facilities will remain closed to the public, and community access limited (for example, this week's blood drive, next week's flu shot drive). Employees who currently telework will continue to do so

    With a dual focus on student safety and success, COCC will slightly expand its in-person course offerings for Winter 2021. In Fall 2020, the college offered in-person instruction only for those courses that could not be taught remotely and that are necessary for a student to graduate. In Winter 2021, COCC will widen its in-person course offerings to include some classes that cannot be taught as effectively in a remote environment (for example, some outdoor, low-risk health and human performance classes or studio art). Under these guidelines, COCC will offer approximately 82% remote instruction in Winter 2021

    The College has not yet made a decision about Spring 2021 reopening plan updates, but we will keep you informed as to the timeline we set for those discussions. 

    I know these decisions impact each and every member of our COCC community, which is why I take them so seriously. The pandemic continues, but so too does our Bobcat resilience, flexibility, and shared sense of purpose. I am confident that we will continue to reinvent and reinvigorate learning in our largely virtual environment, and that we will successfully navigate this time together

    Take good care,
    Dr. Laurie Chesley
    COCC President

  • College Update September 18, 2020

    According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) COVID-19 reopening guidelines for higher education, COCC is required to provide a plan for communicating to the public and to local public health authorities all positive coronavirus cases confirmed among our employees and students.

    One of the ways we will meet this requirement is a data dashboard. This tool is now live and available on our COVID-19 Health and Safety Information webpage. The dashboard tracks daily reported, confirmed cases among COCC employees and students who: 

    1. test positive for COVID-19 and
    2. visited a COCC campus during the 14 days prior to their positive test result

    With so many of our community members working and learning remotely this term, we will not record to this dashboard positive cases among those employees or students who have not been on campus within the two weeks prior to their confirmed positive test result.

    To comply with health privacy laws, no additional information will be provided about the identities of those employees or students who test positive, except to assist local public health authorities with contact tracing, as required by law. COCC, per OHA requirements, will notify the local public health authorities of any known confirmed COVID-19 cases among the COCC community. The local health authority manages contact tracing and they will reach out directly to an individual if it is believed that the person has been exposed to the virus.

    Bobcats: we need your help to report accurate information to the public and keep our community safe.

    • All employees: if you are asked to quarantine for possible exposure to COVID-19 and/or if you test positive for COVID-19, please report this to your supervisor right away. Supervisors should then immediately alert Matt McCoy ( if one of their direct reports must quarantine and/or tests positive, as Matt McCoy is the College's OHA-required COVID-19 liaison with the local public health authorities in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties.
    • All faculty: if your student is asked to quarantine for possible exposure to COVID-19 and/or if they test positive for COVID-19, please immediately alert Matt McCoy (

    We are asking all COCC employees and students to report when they have a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result, regardless of whether or not they've visited campus in the 14 days prior to their test results. This is to ensure supervisors can support their direct reports while they are sick (and offer information and resources as needed), and faculty can work with students who may miss class or coursework as a result of being ill.

    COCC is one of many colleges and universities deploying a public-facing data dashboard to ensure transparency about our real-time positive COVID-19 cases. You can explore the OSU-Cascades COVID-19 data dashboard and the SUNY COVID-19 Case Tracker for other examples, as well as Deschutes County's data dashboard.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, your supervisor, HR, or your SLT member. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep our students, employees and community healthy and safe. We're in this together, Bobcats, and I'm grateful for your help.

    Kind regards,

    Dr. Laurie Chesley
    COCC President

  • College Update August 20, 2020

    Good afternoon, Persons of Quality –

    First and foremost, let me thank each of you for the patience and understanding you continue to demonstrate during the coronavirus pandemic. This remains a time of constant change, and I am inspired by your adaptability and dedication.

    After careful consideration of ongoing Central Oregon health trends, and with utmost concern for our community's long-term safety, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and I decided to make several important updates to the College's Fall reopening plans. This afternoon, the COCC Board of Directors met in a special session to discuss these changes, and now I'm writing to share these updates with you.

    In short, Fall term will now look much like Summer term, with a few notable exceptions. The following changes apply to all of our campuses:

    The College will scale back its planned in-person course offerings for Fall, with the exception of some CTE classes and labs/practicums which require hands-on learning that cannot be taught effectively in a distance format. In-person instruction will now be offered in Apprenticeship, Automotive, Aviation, CPR/First Aid, Culinary Arts, Dental Assisting, Fire Science, Manufacturing, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Nursing/Nursing Assistant, Outdoor Leadership, Paramedicine, Pharmacy Technician, and Veterinary Technician, as well as in internships, forestry field classes, practicums, and science labs. The College will also offer a select group of in-person skills-based Continuing Education courses. In total, this will mean that approximately 75-80% of Fall term classes will be delivered remotely and/or online.

    • Barber Library will be physically closed; however, students and employees can still access the collection and other resources online, as well as schedule curbside pick-up.
    • Wickiup Residence Hall will be closed, and there will be no students housed on campus for the Fall term (previously, we had intended to operate Wickiup at 50% capacity).
    • Mazama Gym and Fitness Center will be closed except to those CTE students actively enrolled in Fall classes that use the facilities in their coursework. This means Mazama will remain closed to faculty, staff, and the general public.
    • The Bookstore will be closed for in-person shopping; however, it will be open for online ordering and curbside pickup.
    • Food and dining services will remain closed, and student support services will be offered remotely, as they were in Summer term.
    • Select drop-in computer labs will remain open on each of the COCC campuses, and will continue to operate with enhanced health and safety protocols. Computer labs will provide updated information.
    • Campuses will remain closed to the general public, except to those visitors with official college business (deliveries, facilities maintenance, etc.).

    All other details of the COCC Fall reopening plans will remain the same, unless the College is directed to change by the State and/or the COVID-19 health situation deteriorates in Central Oregon. Continue to check our COVID-19 health and safety webpages for the latest information. The College will revisit a broader reopening for future terms, beginning with Winter 2021, but it is too early to make any commitments about what to expect. 

    The College does not make these changes to our Fall plans lightly, and every decision is made with our community's health and safety as our central priorities. We all of course want to return to "normal," but we also understand that in order to keep our students, faculty, staff, and community safe—now and in the future—we have to be careful not to reopen too quickly. As a community college, we serve many different kinds of students—including those from communities most vulnerable to COVID-19—and we take this responsibility seriously. Our actions today can save lives tomorrow.

    The SLT and I understand that these changes to COCC's Fall reopening plans will have cascading impacts and may create new anxieties. We will be working together to answer your questions quickly and communicate further decisions to faculty and staff in the days ahead. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me, your supervisor, and/or SLT member with your concerns, or send an email to We will also update the College's website over the next few days to reflect the updates listed above.

    Bobcats, one of the qualities we all share is the care we exude for one another. Thank you for caring—about your students, your colleagues, our College, and the health and safety of our community.

    Kind regards,


    Dr. Laurie Chesley
    COCC President

  • College Update August 13, 2020

    Good morning, Bobcats!

    I hope each of you is finding safe ways to rest and renew this summer.

    As I've frequently indicated, the College is ready to adapt and evolve Fall reopening plans if necessary. COCC continues to monitor the COVID-19 health situation in Central Oregon, as well as the actions of our education partners at local K-12 districts, OSU-Cascades, and fellow community colleges across the state.

    With the latest information in-hand, I will be calling a special session of the College's Board of Directors on Thursday Aug. 20th at 1:15 p.m. to update our Fall reopening plans. This session, as with all of our Board meetings, is open to the College community and the general public. I'll also send another Headlines communication shortly after the Board meeting concludes to give you a summary of any changes that may be made to the current plan.

    Please continue to send any COVID-19-related questions or concerns to

    Thank you for your patience as we continue to refine our health and safety commitments.

    Take care.

    Kind regards,

    Dr. Laurie Chesley
    COCC President

  • College Update 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, 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

  • 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 Auxiliary 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)

Still have questions? Please contact