LSCO COVID-19 FAQs
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 is offering classes in traditional face to face, online anytime, virtual on a schedule, and in a hybrid format. All classrooms hosting face to face classes have been prepared for social distancing, including removal of desks/chairs to reduce room capacity and spaced at 6’ intervals.
The campus is open Monday thru Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. All employees, students (current and future), contractors, and visitors must comply with LSCO Face Covering Policy. For questions concerning the face covering policy, please visit our COVID-19 FAQ section.
Janitorial staff continues 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 have been installed in high traffic areas of each campus building. Water fountains have been closed.
The campus will continue to follow strict social distancing guidelines as recommended by the CDC. The Gator Community is expected 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 continues 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?
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, they should notify the COVID Coordinator, Patty Collins (409.882.3922), their instructor, or their immediate supervisor. LSCO will require that they self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure prior to returning to campus. They may return to campus when all three of the following criteria are met:
- are fever-free for at least 24 hours (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications)
- have improved symptoms, and
- at least 14 days have passed since their exposure, or in which their symptoms first appeared, or from the date the specimen was collected for their test.
Quarantined students, faculty, or staff may also return to campus if they receive two negative COVID- 19 test results in a row that have been taken at least 24 hours apart.
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 from Patty Collins or her designee 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.
According to the CDC, if you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have 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 and review the details on what to do if you are sick.
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 hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after visiting 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.
- Practice social distancing. Keep at least 6’ between yourself and other people. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at a higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wear required face coverings on LSCO’s campus at all times, unless you are alone in your office. Cover your mouth and nose with a face cover when around others. Everyone should wear a face cover when out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. The face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Do NOT use a facemask meant for healthcare workers. The face cover is not a substitute for social distancing, continue to keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others. For more information on face coverings, 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.
What is required for students to attend classes?
We are following CDC, State, and Local health protocols, including:
- encouraging self-monitoring before entering a building,
- requiring all faculty, staff, and students to wear a face mask,
- maintaining 6’ social distancing guidelines,
- continued and regular stringent cleaning and disinfecting of all LSCO buildings, offices, and classrooms.
Prior to arriving on campus, students should monitor their health according to the CDC guidelines. All students and faculty will be required to wear a face-covering at all times while on campus (see face-covering policy in the Student Handbook).
Will classes be online?
LSCO is offering classes in traditional face to face, online anytime, virtual on a schedule, and in a hybrid format.
We will follow CDC, State, and Local health protocols, including strongly recommending students monitor their health on a daily basis following our self-monitoring guidelines, follow the required face-covering policy, and posted signage limiting occupancy in certain areas of the campus. Faculty and students will be required to maintain 6’ social distancing while on campus.
How do I contact faculty?
Faculty will be 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 email@example.com.
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 December commencement ceremony still be conducted?
LSCO is diligently working to locate a facility to host the December commencement ceremony. Details on the event will be available at a later date. Graduates should check their LSCO email for details or , visit http://www.lsco.edu/graduation/applying-for-graduation.asp, or email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 may be offering free Internet 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 during regular campus hours or virtually 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.
When does registration for Spring classes begin?
Registration for the Spring 2021 semester begins Monday, November 2nd. Spring semester classes begins January 19th. Students are welcome to come to campus to visit with an advisor. Our campus is open Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. LSCO has implemented a face-covering policy for anyone on our campus, so please make sure you are wearing a face covering or stop in our Library to pick up one.
Students can schedule a remote advising session appointment with an Advisor. To schedule an online appointment please contact the Advising Center at email@example.com or at (409)882-3340.
Students may also 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.
More information on course registration can be found on our Online Registration website page.
Is the bookstore open?
LSCO’s campus bookstore is open and ready to serve students each Monday through Thursday 7:45 am through 2 pm. They will continue to accept orders online for delivery, too. Plan ahead and shop early since there may be longer shipping times than usual based on local delivery conditions. Please visit the bookstore website for specific information regarding bookstore policy, textbook rentals, or purchases.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 must be approved by your supervisor prior to registering or making travel arrangements.
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:
- you are fever-free for at least 24 hours (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);
- you have improved symptoms; and
- at least 10 days have passed since your exposure, your symptoms first appeared, or from the date the specimen was collected for your test.
Self-quarantined faculty, staff, or students will be allowed on campus prior to the end of their self-quarantine if they receive two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart. Test results must be forwarded to LSCO’s COVID Coordinator, Patty Collins
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. In order to keep the Gator Community updated on positive cases of COVID-19 within our community, a statement indicating the number of positive cases since March, 2020 has been placed on the website. This statement also includes the number of active positive cases within the Gator Community.
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 email@example.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.
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?*
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. Around 1 out of every 5 people who get COVID-19 become seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer, are at higher risk of developing a serious illness. However, anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill. People of all ages who experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, chest pain/pressure, or loss of speech or movement should seek medical attention immediately. If possible, it is recommended to call the health care provider or facility first, so the patient can be directed to the right clinic.
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?*
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include aches and pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but only have very mild symptoms.
Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?*
While some western, traditional, or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of mild COVID-19, there are no medicines that have been shown to prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials of both western and traditional medicines. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19 and will continue to provide updated information as soon as research results become available. 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.
*Information obtained from the World Health Organization.