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LSCO COVID-19 FAQs

Campus Safety

Is the College working with local, state, and federal officials?

LSCO remains in constant contact with appropriate governmental agencies and continues to follow the coronavirus guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and our local County officials.

What steps is LSCO taking to help protect the safety and well-being of faculty, staff, and students?

LSCO moved most classes to an online or virtual format for both Summer I and II semesters.

The campus is only open to individuals with an LSCO ID, current and prospective students, and approved contractors.

Certain offices with limited student/public engagement are operating 100% remotely.

Multiple buildings on campus have been closed and hours of operation have been reduced to limit exposure on campus.

Janitorial staff is continuing to vigorously clean common spaces/touch points, including door handles, elevator buttons, and areas of shared usage, such as restrooms and computer labs. Hand sanitizer dispensers are being installed in high traffic areas of each campus building.

The campus will continue to follow strict social distancing guidelines as recommended by the CDC. The Gator Community is strongly encouraged to monitor their daily health (according to CDC guidelines), follow the required face coverings policy, and posted  signage limiting occupancy in certain areas of the campus.

LSCO’s leadership team is continuing to monitor COVID-19 and will provide up-to-date, relative information to our faculty, staff, and students.

What should I do if I believe I might have the coronavirus or think I have been exposed?

According to the CDC, if you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19 or have a family member who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community. 

  • Stay home: Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care.  Do not leave your home, except to get medical care.  Do not visit public areas.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor.  Call before you get medical care.  Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation:  Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay away from others.  You should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible, and away from other people and pets in your home.  Use a separate bathroom, if available.

For more information visit the CDC’s webpage on what to do if you are sick.

In order to protect our Gator community, if a student, faculty or staff member or an immediate family member has COVID-19 symptoms, has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19, LSCO will require that you self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure prior to returning to campus.  If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms but do not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, you are assumed to have COVID-19, and you may return to work when all three of the following criteria are met: at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and you have improved respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appears. 

LSCO has developed Self-Quarantine Guidelines for all faculty, staff, and students.  Anyone who has been exposed to or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to follow the above guidelines and complete the Request to Return to Campus Following Self-Quarantine Form and receive approval before returning to campus.    Based on the response to the questionnaire, the person may be directed to a health care provider before being approved to return to campus.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

LSCO is asking all faculty, staff, and students to do their part to help our Gator Community stay well by taking the following steps, as recommended by the CDC, to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home as much as possible, follow the Orange County Stay at Home, Work Safe order.
  • Practice social distancing.  Keep 6’ between yourself and other people.  Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.  Keeping distance from other is especially important for people who are at a higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Face coverings are required on LSCO’s campus at all times unless you are alone in your office.  Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.  Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.  The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.  Do NOT use a facemask meant for healthcare workers.  The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing, continue to keep 6’ between yourself and others.  For more information on cloth face covering, visit the CDC’s website.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.  Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.  Throw the tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.  This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.  For guidance on disinfecting, visit the CDC’s website.

LSCO custodial teams are conducting extensive cleaning and sanitation efforts in all buildings on campus.


Students

When do students return to school?

Summer I and Summer II classes will be conducted online or virtual format.  Students who are enrolled in labs or hands-on courses that have been permitted to return to campus this summer, will be notified of their schedule.  Prior to arriving on campus, students should monitor their health according to the CDC guidelines.  All students will be required to wear a face covering at all times while on campus (see face covering policy in Student Handbook).

At this time, LSCO is anticipating students will return to campus for face to face classes on August 24th for the start of our Fall 2020 semester.  We will follow CDC, State, and Local health protocols, including encouraging self-monitoring before entering a building, requiring students to wear a face mask, maintaining 6’ social distancing guidelines, and continued stringent cleaning and disinfecting.

Please check your email and/or Blackboard course for specific instructions from your faculty member concerning your courses.

Will classes be online?

Most classes will be conducted online for the Summer I and Summer II sessions.

At this time, LSCO is anticipating students will return to campus for face to face classes on August 24th for the start of our Fall 2020 semester.

All students should check your LSCO email and/or Blackboard course for specific instructions from your faculty member concerning your class.

How do I contact faculty?

Most faculty are working remotely and are available by email. Please check your my.lsco (Office 365) email for messages from your instructors and use the “reply” feature to contact them in return. It is important for you to communicate with faculty via your my.lsco email account instead of a personal email so that the faculty member can confirm that they are working with their students.

For assistance accessing your my.lsco email account, please email helpdesk@lsco.edu.

Faculty and staff emails may also be found in the campus directory on the LSCO website.

Additional contact means such as “chat” or virtual meetings may also be arranged by your faculty on an individual basis. LSCO faculty are ready to support you.

Will the August commencement ceremony still be conducted?

 

Due to the recent and heightened precautions issued by Governor Abbott regarding gathering protocols across the state, LSCO has determined that it is NOT feasible to proceed with a formal in-person August graduation ceremony, originally scheduled for August 14, 2020.
As such, we will move forward with a virtual graduation ceremony that will still honor, celebrate, and recognize the summer graduates.
August graduates should check their LSCO email for details about the virtual graduation ceremony, visit http://www.lsco.edu/graduation/applying-for-graduation.asp, or email graduation@lsco.edu for more information. 

What if I do not have the resources to do online classes?

If you cannot get to a place that has Internet/Wifi or use your phone's hotspot, you can try calling 844-488-8398 as Spectrum is offering free Internet for 60 days for students.  We have prepared a list of other resources that may be available to you.  Click here to view that list.

Please contact your instructor to assist you in finding the resources that will be best for you. In addition to instructor assistance, all LSCO students have access to Lamar State College Orange Virtual Success Center through UpSwing. Additional information about how to access UpSwing can be found at https://lsco.upswing.io/.

Also, our Library and Learning Center are both available to assist students. Visit the Library or Learning Center on our website and click WE’RE HERE! SPEAK TO US button.

What if I am not confident in my computer skills to do online classes?

LSCO faculty and staff are committed to helping all students succeed. We have multiple resources to assist you. Please work with your instructor to find the resources that will be best for you. In addition to instructor assistance, our Library and Learning Center are both available to assist students. Visit the Library or Learning Center on our website and click WE’RE HERE! SPEAK TO US button.

How can a student access or reserve library resources?

Library resources AND research support will continue to remain available online in digital formats through OverDrive or via the “Chat with a librarian” feature.

Can I still register for Summer and Fall classes?

Summer II begins July 8 and Fall begins August 24. Students are encouraged to register for courses online through Self Service Banner (https://www.lsco.edu/registration/registration.asp). Many holds have been waived to allow students to self-register online. Students can schedule a remote advising session appointment with an Advisor. To schedule an online appointment please contact the Advising Center at advising@lsco.edu or at (409) 882-3340. More information on course registration can be found on our Online Registration website page.

Will face-to-face and hands-on courses resume during the Summer term?

LSCO is committed to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. Therefore, summer session classes will primarily be offered in an online or virtual format. In very specific cases, such as clinical placements and lab instruction leading to professional licensure, hybrid options that adhere to small group meetings in accordance with CDC protocols will be offered.

Will dual credit classes be online?

Most classes will be conducted online for the Summer I and Summer II sessions.

At this time, LSCO is anticipating students will return to campus for face to face classes on August 24th for the start of our Fall 2020 semester.  We will follow CDC, State, and Local health protocols, including health screening before entering a building, request students to wear a face mask when social distancing protocols cannot be maintained, maintaining 6’ social distancing guidelines, and continued stringent cleaning and disinfecting.

All dual credit students should check your LSCO email and/or Blackboard course for specific instructions from your faculty member concerning your class.

Is the bookstore open?

LSCO’s campus bookstore is closed temporarily until the conditions are safe to reopen. We will continue to accept orders online for delivery, though you may experience longer shipping times than usual based on local delivery conditions. Store reopen dates are tentatively set to be July 6th, but will be based on national, state, and local guidelines, as well as LSCO policies. Any purchases returned via shipment to our stores will be processed when our store reopens. Please visit the bookstore website for specific information regarding bookstore policy, textbook rentals or purchases.

Are student workers required to report for work?

Student workers should contact their individual supervisors for more information about their work assignment arrangements.

Are clinical rotations canceled?

Clinical hours are an important part of many of our programs and cannot be missed by students per accrediting standards. Each program’s leadership is reaching out to the accrediting body to inquire about modifications that can be determined. Please contact your program director for specific details regarding clinical rotations.

When will LSCO distribute funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act?

Lamar State College Orange cares deeply for our students and wants to assist them through this challenging time. The grant funds have been made available to current students who are experiencing disruptions to their lives due to the current pandemic that we are experiencing worldwide.

LSCO’s goal is to assist students facing economic hardships quickly so that they can continue on their educational journey, where hope meets opportunity. The LSCO application for emergency funds can be found on our website.  Complete details about the distribution of funds can be found on our website.

Questions?


Employees

I am an LSCO employee and think that I am considered a vulnerable employee as defined by the CDC. What is the process to request workplace accommodations?

Employees who are believed to be at an increased risk (as defined by CDC) and that want to request a workplace modification related to COVID-19 must complete the Workplace Modification Request Form. Evidence of your condition must be submitted to the HR Director at lora.rives@lsco.edu. Turnaround time for decisions on how to best accommodate the workplace conditions for employees is not predictable, so please submit the form and documentation at least one week (5 business days) in advance of the time that you are expected to return to work.

Is an LSCO employee entitled to a workplace accommodation in order to avoid exposing a family member who is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition?

No.  Although the ADA prohibits discrimination based on association with an individual with a disability, that protection is limited to disparate treatment or harassment. The ADA does not require that an employer accommodate an employee without a disability based on the disability-related needs of a family member or other person with whom she is associated. For example, an employee without a disability is not entitled under the ADA to telework as an accommodation in order to protect a family member with a disability from potential COVID-19 exposure.

I am required to return to campus before the 1-week (5 business day) turnaround time for appropriate consideration of workplace modification request. What options do I have?

If you do not provide a 1-week (5 business days) window whereby your request can be carefully reviewed and approved and you are expected to return to work before your request is able to be approved, staff have the following options:

  • Submit a request to use approved vacation time to your supervisor if they have accrued vacation time; or
  • Take leave without pay.

Faculty will be expected to return to campus the week of August 17th. Any faculty who intend to request workplace accommodation should submit their request and documentation to lora.rives@lsco.edu on or before August 1st. Review and consideration of any submissions after August 1st cannot be guaranteed, and the faculty member will be expected to return to campus as scheduled without requested accommodations.  This timeframe is needed to provide instructional leaders ample time to adjust LSCO’s fall schedule, if necessary.

What are examples of workplace accommodations that may be considered?

Workplace accommodations are intended to assist employees in performing the tasks associated with their job. While there is not a prescribed list of workplace accommodations, some that may be considered are:

  • Installation of plexiglass/protective transparent barrier between the employee and other individuals;
  • Relocation of office to a remote and more isolated area on campus;
  • Relocation of classroom to larger space to conduct classes;
  • Adjusted campus work schedule in order to be on campus during more limited traffic times (i.e. evenings, weekends);
  • Temporary transfer to a different position.

Are the circumstances of the pandemic relevant to whether a requested accommodation can be denied because it poses an undue hardship on LSCO?

Yes. As outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers do not have to provide a particular reasonable accommodation if it poses an "undue hardship," which means "significant difficulty or expense" to the institution. Because employees working from home creates an undue hardship on our institution, LSCO is striving to find reasonable accommodations (including the ones listed above) for our employees who are at higher risks, as defined by CDC while maintaining the safety of our Gator family.

What is LSCO’s policy regarding travel of employees?

All college-related travel has been canceled through August 31, 2020.

CDC recommends you consider several things before traveling.

  1. If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be more likely to get infected if you travel there than if you stay home.
  2. If you or your travel companion(s) will be in close contact with others during your trip, your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like coronavirus may increase in crowded settings.
  3. If you or your travel companion(s) are more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19, the CDC recommends that you avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.  The CDC defines people that are at a higher risk for severe disease on their site.

In order to protect our Gator community, LSCO has developed Self-Quarantine Guidelines for all faculty, staff, and students.  Anyone who has traveled internationally will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days and complete the Request to Return to Campus Following Self-Quarantine Form and receive approval before returning to campus. Based on the response to the questionnaire, the person may be directed to a health care provider before being approved to return to campus.

LSCO will follow all local, state, and federal guidelines concerning travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What if I or an immediate family member who I live with or have been around has been exposed to, has symptoms of, or has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

In order to protect our Gator community, if a student, faculty or staff member or an immediate family member has symptoms of COVID-19, has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19, LSCO will require that you self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure prior to returning to work.  If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms but do not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, you are assumed to have COVID-19, and you may return to work when all three of the following criteria are met: at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and you have improved respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appear. 

LSCO has developed Self-Quarantine Guidelines for all faculty, staff, and students.  Anyone who has been exposed to or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to follow the above guidelines and complete the Request to Return to Campus Following Self-Quarantine Form and receive approval before returning to campus. Based on the response to the questionnaire, the person may be directed to a health care provider before being approved to return to campus.

What happens if LSCO has a suspected or positive case of COVID-19?

To protect medical privacy, LSCO legally cannot release personal information about any Gator community member who is being monitored or tested for COVID-19.  If there is a positive case, any individuals identified as having potential exposure to COVID-19 will be directly notified by public health officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services and/or our local county health department.

What other resources are available to aid employees at this time?

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for LSCO faculty, staff, and family members has COVID-19 resources, articles, and webinars available online at www.4eap.com. If your login and password is needed, please contact us at info@ieap.com. The EAP is available 24/7 for support with personal issues, including those related to COVID-19.

More information about the EAP is available on the Human Resources webpage - Employee Assistance Program.

COVID-19 and Your Health Plan

The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) has added a new link: COVID-19 and Your Health Plan which contains COVID-19 testing information, virtual visits, and contact information for insurance providers for emotional support, mental health benefits, and coverage questions. In addition, prescription drug plans have early-fill programs in place to assist at this time.

Optum has opened its Emotional Support Help Line–staffed by mental health professionals–to anyone who may be experiencing fear or stress because of COVID-19. Call (866) 342-6892 (TTY: 711), free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This helpline is available to anyone, so you can share it with family and friends. Caring professionals may also connect callers to additional resources.

Catapult Nurse Practitioner

BCBSTX HealthSelect members can now speak with a trained Catapult Nurse Practitioner about COVID-19 concerns.

Visit ERSassist.com and type the word “support” in the password field to get started.

This site also provides daily updates about COVID-19, along with links to statewide resources, including coronavirus testing sites. 

If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 resources or your HealthSelect benefits, call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant at 800.252.8039, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CST. 



About Covid-19

What is COVID-19 and how does it spread?*

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.  The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.  The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

How serious is COVID-19?*

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness:  about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care.  Older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?*

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. People with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?*

Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. The World Health Organization is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people who are coughing or sneezing.

How do I track the COVID-19 outbreak?

There are a number of online resources for tracking the number of reported cases of COVID-19 globally, in the United States, and in Texas.

John Hopkins University Global Map
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Texas Department of State Health Services

*Information obtained from the World Health Organization.