Returning to Campus

July 2, 2020

Dear Campus Community Members,

I am pleased to forward to you a link to the latest draft of our Plan to Reopen Campus that has been developed over the last several weeks through the cooperative efforts of our COVID-19 Task Force, which is comprised of faculty, staff, administrators, and community members.  You can access the Plan by clicking on the following link: https://southeasttech.edu/coronavirus/returning-to-campus.php  As we discussed previously, the Plan outlines a phased approach to reopening our campus to the public and highlights important health and safety initiatives that we are undertaking to minimize the spread of the coronavirus on campus.  I would ask that you take a few minutes to review and familiarize yourself with the Plan goals and objectives.  A number of the health and safety precautions discussed in the Plan are direct recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), South Dakota State Department of Health, and the City of Sioux Falls Community Health. 

Based upon the attached Plan to Reopen Campus, we would like to implement the following health and safety practices as you return to campus next week after the July 4th holiday.

Face Masks/Coverings Required on Campus

There is clear medical evidence that wearing a face mask/covering significantly reduces the potential spread of COVID-19.  Based upon the recommendations of the CDC, and state & local health officials, our COVID Task Force has unanimously supported implementing a mandatory face mask policy at Southeast Tech.  As a result, we will be requiring all faculty, staff, and students to wear a face mask/covering when interacting with others on campus, including situations where other protective measures (e.g., physical distancing, plexiglass shields) are in place.

Face coverings are required to be worn:

  • When attending a class, lab, or event held indoors.
  • In indoor common spaces (e.g. lounges, hallways, bathrooms, etc.) used by other individuals.
  • When interacting in-person with others on campus.
  • In Paavo's, except when eating or drinking.

Face coverings do not need to be worn:

  • While outdoors, if a 6-foot physical distance from others can be maintained.
  • When alone in a private study area, office, or workspace.
  • When eating or drinking in Paavo's dining areas.

This means that as you return to campus, you are required to wear a face mask/covering in any campus building, hallway, classroom, or lab.  Southeast Tech has ordered both cloth face masks and disposable face masks for use by employees and students that will be distributed when they arrive on campus.  According to the attached Plan, each employee and student will receive one cloth face mask from Southeast Tech. We will also provide disposable face masks for prospective students and members of the public.  Disposable face masks will also be available in various locations across campus for those who forget to bring their mask to campus.

Although I recognize that wearing a face mask is an inconvenience, this action has proven to be an effective strategy to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and I believe it will help us continue to offer face-to-face classes for our students this fall.  To help us all wear our face masks correctly, Ruby Castardo (Surgical Technology) and Jaclyn Kramer (Nursing) have put together a short video that outlines the right way to put on and take off your face mask.  Please review the video prior to returning to campus. You can access the video by clicking on the following link:  https://southeasttech.techsmithrelay.com/L42R

Complete a Symptom Monitoring Self-Assessment Daily

As part of our comprehensive effort to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 on campus, we are requiring every Southeast Tech employee to complete a short symptom monitoring health self-assessment each morning prior to or immediately upon arrival to work.  The assessment is accessible by logging into myTech (formerly STInet). The assessment form will automatically pop up upon your first log in each day on myTech and asks whether you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have been recently exposed to anyone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.  If you answer yes to any of the symptom monitoring questions, you are asked to stay home or return home and contact your health care professional and your immediate Southeast Tech supervisor regarding your potential exposure and symptoms.  Your answers to the symptom monitoring questions are not being tracked or recorded.  Southeast Tech is tracking whether you have completed the daily self-assessment. Completing a daily symptom monitoring assessment is critical and will help us provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all of our students and employees.

Temperature Checks

As part of each employee’s daily symptom monitoring assessment, Southeast Tech is asking all employees to complete a temperature check each morning prior to your arrival at work or if you have not been able to do so at home, shortly after arriving on campus.  To assist with this effort, Southeast Tech has purchased a number of handheld infrared temperature scanning thermometers that are available for use by employees.  Your supervisor will be able to provide you with information on how to access the infrared scan thermometers on campus.  According to recent studies, 88% of individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms report running a fever, so performing a daily temperature check is a very good way to continually monitor your health.   

Thank You for Doing Your Part

I want to express my personal thanks to each of you in advance for your cooperation and assistance in implementing these new health and safety guidelines.  As we look ahead to the phased reopening of campus, we all need to do our part to protect the health and well-being of our fellow employees and students.  If you have any questions regarding the new health and safety initiatives, please reach out to your supervisor for further details or clarification.  Thank you again for all you do for our students, and we look forward to your return to campus this summer. 

Have a great July 4th holiday weekend.

Bob Griggs

President

Southeast Tech