Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Alert Level: Response to Outbreak

In alignment with  stay-at-home orders issued at the local and state level, we have scaled back in-person workforce to the fewest employees possible to maintain infrastructure and operations. At the Lowry location, security and a limited number of staff are providing essential operational functions. All other System Office staff have transitioned to remote/work from home and can be contacted through email.

The CCCS System Office’s priority is to ensure alignment with best practices to protect the safety and health of its employees. CCCS has activated its emergency operations team focused on coordinating responses with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the guidance provided by the Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Staff Resources

For COVD-19 related inquires, system staff are encouraged to email or call Human Resources. Please be aware that some questions may require additional research on our part so we appreciate your patience.

  • COVIDNotices@cccs.edu This email will allow multiple HR staff access to your email inquiry related to COVID-19.
  • (720) 858-2426  This line will direct your inquiry, including voicemail, to the appropriate staff member.

Communications from CCCS Leadership

System Office COVID-19 Update: January 7, 2021

Hello System Office Employees,

In December, System Office leadership decided that employees who are able to work remotely may continue to do so through February 15, 2021.  We are also now receiving questions from employees on the vaccine rollout. Here’s what we know:  We are aware of CDPHE’s Phased Vaccination Distribution plan. The most recent information from CDPHE (January 5th)  indicates that efforts to inoculate frontline health workers (1a) is expected to wrap up around January 15th, and, based on the current supply of COVID-19 vaccines, officials expect to finish much of the next phase (1b) – moderate-risk health care workers,  first responders and adults 70 and over by February 28th.  Front line workers such as essential education staff and grocery store employees will follow, which is expected to begin in late February or early March.   We will be working to define which staff may fall into the various phases and will provide additional information as it becomes available.  If you are interested, you can monitor the state’s vaccination roll out at https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.

The FAQs and the Leave Management Guide on the CCCS COVID-19 website has also been updated with information on new leave available on January 1, 2021, under the  Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA).  This leave is similar to the FFCRA, which ended December 31, 2020.  As always, please contact HR if you have any questions regarding leave.

Finally, it is important to remember to practice self-care during these trying times.  Below is a list of resources available to all of us:

Colorado State Employee Assistance Program
Call 303-866-4314 or complete this form to schedule an appointment.

Colorado Crisis Services (24/7 live response) 1-844-493-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7 live response)

Find Your Words (understanding depression)

Center for African American Health (culturally responsive counseling)

Denver Indian Health and Family Services (culturally responsive counseling)

Servicios De La Raza (culturally responsive counseling)

Asian Pacific Development Center (culturally responsive counseling)

Substance Use Treatment and Support

Local 2-1-1 (connection to community resources to meet basic needs)

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Greg Busch and Laura DuClos

System Office COVID-19 Update: December 17, 2020

Hello System Office Employees,

Happy Thursday!!

System Office leadership has re-evaluated the current COVID-19 situation within Colorado and employees who are able to work remotely may continue to do so through February 15, 2021. We must do our part to help keep our COVID-19 numbers down at the System Office and in the State of Colorado, so we also ask that you continue to limit the amount of physical interaction among staff to the greatest extent possible. We will re-evaluate the status of COVID-19 towards the end of January 2021 and will send updated guidance at that time.

The good news is that vaccinations have started in Colorado. However, we believe most of our staff will not fall into the groups who are qualified to take the first rounds of vaccinations made available. You should work with your own physician based on your personal circumstances and what that looks like for you. We will keep you updated as more information about Colorado’s plans becomes available.

Although there is hopeful news out there regarding a vaccine, please continue to wear your mask, social distance six feet or more, and wash your hands frequently. Stay at home if you feel sick. We also ask that you continue to notify one of us, Greg or Laura, if you come into the office for any reason. Even if it is to just pick up an item. This helps us to track when employees may be in the building so: 1) facilities can ensure the cleanliness of all areas and, 2) we are able to communicate to the correct employees should an outbreak or potential exposure occur. Your assistance with all of this is greatly appreciated.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Take care and have a wonderful holiday and well deserved break!

Greg Busch and Laura DuClos


System Office COVID Update: December 4, 2020

Hello System Office Employees,

Hope you are all doing well!

Here’s an update on where we are at in keeping our workplace safe during COVID and so you know what to expect if you test positive for COVID. On October 13, 2020, we shared the System Office, Quick Action Guide, which is an outline of the process that the System office follows when an employee reports a positive COVID case or symptoms. This is located on our COVID-19 Updates website page. When you report a positive COVID result or symptoms, HR will ask you a few questions regarding the date when your symptoms first began and the date you were last in the office. This helps us to determine if we need to notify any other employees of a potential exposure.

If you have tested positive, HR will ask you to isolate for ten days from the onset of symptoms. You will be allowed back in the office once the ten days have passed and you have been fever-free for 24 hours and have improved symptoms. Remember, some symptoms may continue for weeks after this threshold has been met; however, you are no longer contagious. This is the guidance we have received from our local health department, Tri County Health. Also, under lawful orders, we are required to share information regarding our positive COVID cases with Tri County Health. Tri County Health provides guidance to us in tracking COVID cases to ensure we are doing all we can during this pandemic.

As a reminder, if you do come into the office for any reason, please continue to wear your mask, social distance six feet or more, and wash your hands frequently. Please limit your exposure to others who may also be in the office by trying to spend the majority of your time in your own work space. Also, continue to notify one of us, Greg or Laura, if you come into the office for any reason. Even if it is to just pick up an item. This helps us to track when employees may be in the building so: 1) Facilities can ensure the cleanliness of all areas and, 2) we would be able to communicate to the correct employees should an outbreak or potential exposure occur. Your assistance with all of this is greatly appreciated.

Additional leave granted under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be ending on 12/31/2020. If you need leave related to COVID-19 after 1/1/2021, there may be emergency paid leave available under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act that goes into effect January 1 or you will be asked to use your own leave balances. Please work with HR on the options for your specific circumstances. Supervisors will continue to work with their employees and HR on more flexible work arrangements, when they can, to assist employees with needs during this time.

We appreciate everyone continuing to work together and for following the Governor’s plea to help keep our State safe by working remotely when we can. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Take care!

Greg Busch and Laura DuClos


System Office COVID Update: November 10, 2020

Hello System Office Employees,

This is a follow-up to Chancellor Garcia’s message to the System Office this morning. The COVID-19 numbers in Colorado are increasing, so let’s all help by doing our part for our System Office community. As a reminder, if you do come into the office for any reason, please continue to wear your mask, social distance six feet or more, and wash your hands frequently. Please limit your exposure to others who may also be in the office by trying to spend the majority of your time in your own work space. Also, continue to notify one of us, Greg or Laura, if you come into the office for any reason. Even if it is to just pick up an item. This helps us to track when employees may be in the building so: 1) Facilities can ensure the cleanliness of all areas and, 2) we would be able to communicate to the correct employees should an outbreak or potential exposure occur. Your assistance with all of this is greatly appreciated.

Travel: The winter holidays will soon be upon us and some employees may be considering travel. Or you may be considering having guests from out of town. We ask that employees keep their supervisors and/or HR apprised of their travel plans or guests visiting, both prior to leaving and before returning to the office, while the COVID-19 virus is active. This will allow us to work together to identify the most appropriate response to a given situation based on the applicable CDC guidelines on quarantines and restrictions. We advise that you research the state/city/area wherever your destination takes you (or your guests come from). Share your plans with your supervisor so they can be apprised, especially since the CDC risk assessments and State/City declarations of emergency can change quickly.

If the CDC or CDPHE requires quarantine upon your return from travel, or the visit from your guests, CCCS will not allow you back at work during the quarantine period. Quarantines after your scheduled leave will be addressed as follows:

  • Where possible, you will be assigned to work remotely during the necessary quarantine period beyond the end of your scheduled leave.
  • For time during the quarantine period you cannot work remotely, you will need to work with Human Resources on the appropriate application of emergency sick leave or annual leave.
  • Each situation that emerges will be evaluated based on its specific and unique circumstances and appropriate and reasonable arrangements will be made in conjunction with the employee, supervisor and HR.

Safety: Many of us are working remotely, some visit the office and yet others must perform their jobs in the office. Here are a few safety tips for all of us:

  • If you do come into the office and are in a locked building either by yourself or with minimal staff, if someone comes to the front door – contact Security. They will assist you with handling this situation.
  • The State of Colorado Risk Management office has an online Ergonomic Self-Assessment that employees may take to evaluate their work spaces: https://state-co-ergo.ehs.com/login. Check it out to see if your home workspace is set up correctly.
  • If you have taken any equipment home during COVID-19 to create a better remote workspace for yourself, remember that the equipment is on loan to you temporarily. Finance is working on a document that employees can inventory what equipment they’ve taken home, so we may keep track of our assets. More to come on this in the next week or so!

Thank You!!: We’d also like to take the time to thank all the employees who have provided front desk/phone coverage: Cynthia Hoeppner, Barb Pontarelli, Marie Mueller, Mario Montoya, Jennifer Jaderborg, Erin Allen, Lauren Jablonski, Karen Vidrio-Aguirre, and Makenna Becker. Kate Barnes has done a wonderful job at the Front Desk during the pandemic and all these employees deserve our thanks for a job well done!

We appreciate everyone continuing to work together and for following the Governor’s plea to help keep our State safe by working remotely when we can. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Take care!

Greg Busch and Laura DuClos


Chancellor's Message to System Office Staff - COVID Update and 11/27 Administrative Leave: November 10, 2020

Colleagues,

By now you have heard that Colorado is experiencing a significant spike in individuals testing positive for COVID-19. Yesterday afternoon Governor Polis spoke to Colorado urging all of us to do our part to help reduce the spread of the disease. He asks that we drastically reduce our in-person interactions and only interact with folks in our own households through November. That includes us.

Many of our colleges will be taking steps to minimize the risk to students and employees. Although we have a relatively small number of employees working in our Lowry offices, I am asking employees who are working in the office to discuss with their supervisors options for working more remotely and to limit the amount of physical interaction among staff to the greatest extent possible. Employees who can work remotely should continue to do so. Please watch for a follow up email from Laura DuClos and Greg Busch that outlines some additional information regarding office procedures and personal travel.

Within the last week, two system office employees tested positive for COVID-19, and both these individuals had been on campus. In addition, one employee who had been on campus is experiencing COVID like symptoms. All system office employees who had any contact with these three employees have been notified. In all cases, our System Office Director of HR, Laura DuClos, and the System Office COVID Response Team have been working with the Tri-County Health Department on appropriate actions. We will continue to operate with an abundance of caution. For information about our protocols, please refer to the System Office COVID-19 Quick Action Guide. I also encourage employees to sign up for the statewide Exposure Notifications. Read more about signing up for these notifications here: CO-Exposure-Notifications-One-Pager.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude for all of your hard work in support of our students and our colleges. It has been an extremely challenging year. I have been impressed with everyone’s unwavering dedication and hard work throughout this historic year. In recognition of your extraordinary effort, I am providing staff with a day of paid administrative leave on Friday, November 27. Our campus will need to remain minimally accessible and anyone who may be required to work on November 27 will be provided with the equivalent amount of paid administrative leave on another day prior to the end of the calendar year.

Thank you for all you do, and stay safe.


System Office COVID Update: October 13, 2020

Hello System Office Employees,

Happy Tuesday!!

System Office leadership has re-evaluated the current COVID-19 situation within Colorado and employees who are able to work remotely may continue to do so through January 15, 2021. You may also elect to work in the office and we will continue as is for now. We will re-evaluate where the state is at in the first part of January 2021 and will send updated guidance at that time.

Please continue to wear your mask, social distance six feet or more, and wash your hands frequently. We also ask that you continue to notify one of us, Greg or Laura, if you come into the office for any reason. Even if it is to just pick up an item. This helps us to track when employees may be in the building so: 1) Facilities can ensure the cleanliness of all areas and, 2) we would be able to communicate to the correct employees should an outbreak or potential exposure occur. Your assistance with all of this is greatly appreciated.

The System Office Operations Plan team has also created a COVID-19 Employee Quick Action Guide and Checklist that outlines the processes we will follow if an employee is either experiencing symptoms, exposed to a positive case or an employee tests positive for COVID-19. The document is attached to this email and it is also available on the CCCS COVID-19 Updates website. There are Employee Action items for each situation described and you will be able to follow what you should do along with the next steps that will be taken, at the System Office, to ensure the safety of you and all of our employees.

Also, don’t forget to take your COVID Safety and Awareness training, if you haven’t done so already. To register for this course, follow this registration link: https://at.ccconline.org/partners/cccs/. We ask that you complete the course before October 31, 2020.

We’d also like to take the time to thank you for completing your work safely and effectively under these circumstances. As Leadership looks to the future, we know that employees may want flexible work arrangements. System Office leadership will take lessons learned over the past several months into account as they develop our new normal plans for future work arrangements.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Take care!

Greg Busch and Laura DuClos


System Office COVID Update: September 25, 2020

Hello CCCS Employees,

Hope that this email finds you all well!

System Office leadership continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation within Colorado and, as you are already aware, employees who are able to work remotely may plan on doing so through October 31, 2020. We will re-evaluate in mid-October and then communicate whether we change our current processes or not.

We’d also like to remind everyone to continue to wear your mask, social distance six feet or more, and wash your hands frequently. These actions are helping the COVID numbers in Colorado and we encourage you to remain diligent in following these guidelines. The low numbers at our colleges and at the system office are due to the conscientious efforts of all of you. Please keep up this great work!

The System Office FAQs have been updated and contain information regarding the Coronavirus itself, resources, business and personal travel, etc. They are out on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates website, the first link under Staff Resources. We encourage you to re-visit these as a re-fresher on guidelines and protocols that have been established for the System Office staff. Also, don’t forget to take your COVID Safety and Awareness training, if you haven’t done so already. To register for this course, follow this registration link: https://at.ccconline.org/partners/cccs/. We ask that you complete the course before October 31, 2020.

On September 15th, the System Office and some of our colleges conducted our first CCCS Virtual Health Fair. Our healthcare vendors shared information about resources available to you and we have posted their presentation out on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) website, under Staff Resources: CCCS Virtual Health Fair Presentation. Another great resource for all of us is located on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) where resources and guidance are available in both English and Spanish: COVID-19 Information and Resources. For assistance in managing stress, you may also want to check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage: Coping with Stress.

Last but certainly not least, we’d like to acknowledge the work that our System Office Facilities staff has done on protecting, maintaining and cleaning our work areas, buildings and grounds during the pandemic. Thank you Custodial, Grounds, Maintenance and Safety!! If you would like to thank these departments and employees, we encourage you to send an email to either Makenna Becker (makenna.becker@cccs.edu), Administrative Assistant, or Cody Neuhold (cody.neuhold@cccs.edu) Director of Facilities, thanking the staff in the Facilities departments. They are going to post the emails in the Facilities Building and share the emails with the Facilities Staff.

Happy Friday everyone!!

Greg Busch and Laura DuClos


System Office COVID Update: Remote Work and other important information: August 17, 2020

Hello System Office Employees,

System Office leadership continues to monitor the COVID situation in Colorado. Our state of Colorado leaders continue to work and grow in learning how to co-exist with this virus and to keep it in check in our communities.

As you may be aware, on August 10, 2020, the Governor encouraged state employees who are able to work remotely to continue to do so through October 31st. Chancellor Garcia has asked all of us at the system office to do the same. Along with the state, we will continue to monitor the data and may extend that date at a later point in time. Any staff who are unable to perform their work remotely, or who prefer to work in the office, can still come into the office. It is up to you and your supervisor to determine if remote work is effective for your position. If you do start working in the office or change your remote/office schedule, work with your supervisor on what that looks like and then report to either Greg Busch or Laura DuClos so that we can continue to track and ensure proper social distancing and cleaning protocols in the utilized areas of our buildings.

CCCS Staff who come into the office must perform a self-assessment each day they plan on coming in, prior to their arrival. This includes taking your temperature and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html). Thermometers are available in each building for you to check your temperature at work. Stay home if you are ill in any way and call your health care provider if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Report any COVID-19 related systems or testing statuses to HR as soon as possible so they can work with you on available leave options.

We would like to remind you that the Governor’s executive order of August 14th requires Coloradans to wear face coverings so you must wear a face covering when you are in common areas and have it at the ready to put on if you encounter another person, while also staying at least six feet away from others. If you need an accommodation for the face covering, please contact Laura DuClos in HR.

School may be starting for children in your own family. Attached is the System Office Leave Management Options chart. If you require leave to manage your child’s education, due to a school schedule, closure, or other educational circumstances please reach out to Laura DuClos in HR to talk through your situation. Keep in mind that each situation is unique and HR will be your best resource for navigating your options.

The front door of our building will remain locked for now. However, school will be starting at CCA soon and we know students and visitors for CCA can easily become lost on the Lowry campus. As such, we will be adding additional signage to Building 959 to guide people to the correct location and/or provide the phone number to our front desk – where they can obtain further assistance.

Questions have also come up recently regarding travel for work. For right now, international travel is prohibited. Out of state travel will probably not happen due to most conferences and events being conducted remotely. There may also be budget concerns regarding out of state travel, so be sure to work with your supervisor on any questions surrounding this. For those who are required to travel to different locations within the state, this travel needs to be approved by both your supervisor and the business/organization where you will be working. You must wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), which includes a face covering, and practice social distancing. You will also need to identify local COVID-19 requirements at the remote location, comply with those requirements and ensure those requirements meet the minimum CCCS COVID-19 standards.

These are challenging and unprecedented times. Know that you have resources through the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program (CSEAP). Visit their website for more information on the free resources available to you: https://www.colorado.gov/c-seap.

As always, thank you for all that you do for our organization. This will be a challenging semester for all of our colleges, for both employees and students. Let’s focus on supporting them as best we can. Their safety and yours are top priorities when making our decisions.

If you have any questions or additional feedback please let us know. We hope you are well!

Sincerely,
Greg Busch and Laura DuClos


System Office Operations Plan Team Message to System Office Employees - COVID Update on Remote Work July 2020: July 23, 2020

Hello System Office Employees,

System Office leadership continues to monitor the COVID situation in Colorado. We are also listening to your feedback.

We need to continue to do our part to learn how to co-exist with this virus and to keep it in check in our communities. While there is still more to learn and we do not have all the answers, we understand the need for employees to plan ahead, as much as possible.

Through September 7, 2020, work that can be performed remotely will continue to be remote. Any staff who are unable to perform their work remotely, or who prefer to work in the office, can come into the office. It is up to you and your supervisor to determine if remote work is effective for your position. If you do start working in the office or change your remote/office schedule, work with your supervisor on what that looks like and then report to either Greg Busch or Laura DuClos so that we can continue to track and ensure proper social distancing and cleaning protocols in the utilized areas of our buildings.

CCCS Staff who come into the office must perform a self-assessment each day they plan on coming in, prior to their arrival.  This includes taking your temperature and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html). Stay home if you are ill in any way and call your health care provider if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Report any COVID-19 related systems or testing statuses to HR as soon as possible so they can work with you on available leave options.

Per the Governor’s executive order of July 16, you must wear a facial covering when you are in common areas and have it at the ready to put on if you encounter another person, while also staying six feet away from others. If you need an accommodation for the facial covering please contact Laura DuClos in HR.

We understand there are questions about what happens if you become ill, you have a high-risk health concern, or your child’s daycare or school continues remote or even closes. Attached (see Staff Resources) is a CCCS Leave Management Guide that provides an overview of different options available based on generalized situations. Keep in mind that each situation is unique and HR will be your best resource for navigating your options. Please reach out to Laura DuClos in HR to talk through your situation.

Chancellor Garcia has scheduled another town hall to provide updates, including information about our COVID response.  The town hall will be held via WebEx for System Office employees on July 29 from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. The meeting will be recorded and posted for those that may be unable to attend.

Thank you for your dedication and continued performance. We will provide additional updates beyond September 7 based on the information available in the coming weeks. Rest assured we will provide an appropriate transition period, with consideration for anyone’s needs for accommodations, when we do return to the office on a more regular basis. Your safety is of utmost concern in our decisions.

These are challenging and unprecedented times. Know that you have resources through the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program (CSEAP).  Visit their website for more information on the free resources available to you: https://www.colorado.gov/c-seap.

If you have any questions or additional feedback please let us know.

Sincerely,

Greg Busch and Laura DuClos

All-Staff Meeting - Let's Have Some Fun: June 11, 2020

Chancellor Garcia and staff provided an update to system office staff regarding CCCS’s response to COVID-19, implications of safer-at-home orders, budget impacts, as well as trivia games and new staff introductions.

  • Click here to watch the Town Hall recording. Video Password is: wReiYjn6

Virtual Town Hall with Chancellor Garcia: May 27, 2020

Chancellor Garcia provided an update to system office staff regarding CCCS’s response to COVID-19, implications of safer-at-home orders, budget impacts, and answered questions from staff.

  • Click here to watch the Town Hall recording. Video Password is: eJsSPKg3

Message from Chancellor Garcia - Rising to Challenging Times: April 17, 2020

Dear System Office Colleagues: 

The COVID-19 crisis continues to challenge and change our daily lives in ways none of us could have imagined. I want you to know that our Board has the utmost confidence that we have risen, and will continue to rise in the days and weeks ahead, to work through this crisis. During the Board meeting last week, each of our members expressed their appreciation of the way you are all supporting each other and our colleges, reflecting the spirit of community.

Share Your Work-from-Home Setup

It has been almost a month since the majority of us first made the transition to working from home. For me, it took considerable time to set up a workable space along with troubleshooting new technology. I applaud all of you for making this transition with grace while meeting evolving demands and without losing productivity. 

From my many WebEx and Zoom meetings, which I have now mastered hosting and joining, one thing is clear – you are all getting creative with your work-from-home (WFH) setups. Some of you have set up your office in a basement, piled high with boxes in the background while others have migrated to the kitchen table, the living room couch, or that rarely used guestroom. The combination of video meetings and working from home has given us a new lens for how we view each other as colleagues. And, the occasional appearance of a loved one or beloved pet is additionally heartwarming to see. Never feel embarrassed about the occasional sound of a barking dog or a child’s voice joining one of our calls. We’ve all been there and, although my kids are long gone, I love hearing and seeing yours. 

You are doing a tremendous job at figuring out how to work during these challenging times and I encourage you to share a photo of your setup using the Formstack link here*. I have had the pleasure of seeing only a few of you in your WFH environment and would love to see more! 

Branded Virtual Backgrounds

With so many video meetings and the popularity of virtual backgrounds on the rise, it was only a matter of time before our staff tinkered with creating branded backgrounds. If you’re looking to jazz up your background, feel free to download these from the staff resource section here: https://internal.cccs.edu/virtual-backgrounds/. The backgrounds are not mandatory to use.

Stay Connected to System News & College Updates 

Lastly, if you are on social media and looking for ways to stay up to date on news and announcements across our system, I encourage you to follow our channels that are updated daily.

Links to College Social Media Channels

We will continue to get better at staying connected in this new world of work while we keep our sights set on the future when we are able to be back together at the office and on campus.

*Don’t worry! WFH photos submitted by staff will not be shared with the public or posted to CCCS social media platforms. Photos submitted will be shared only amongst system office staff at future Town Halls or other staff events.

Virtual Town Hall with Chancellor Garcia: April 1, 2020

Chancellor Garcia provided an update to system office staff regarding CCCS’s response to COVID-19, implications of stay-at-home orders, budget impacts, and answered questions from staff.

  • Click here to watch the Town Hall recording. Video Password is: TownHall2020
  • Click here for the Town Hall Q+A.

Chancellor’s Message to System Office Staff – Stay-at-Home Orders and Advocacy Efforts: March 26, 2020

Dear System Office Colleagues:

Thank you for your phenomenal efforts and leadership in supporting our colleges and each other during this intense and unprecedented period. You are responding to issues that sometimes change hourly and have dedicated many, many long hours to ensure people have the information and resources they need.

Starting next week, our students will begin learning in a different setting. The majority of our faculty and instructors will teach remotely and most staff will continue to work from home. We are in a new world. Though this situation remains fluid, I want to emphasize our goal is the same, which is to continue to provide high quality instruction and other services to our students while doing all we can to keep them, our faculty, and our colleagues safe, and to play our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Stay-at-Home Orders

We have faced daily adjustments to our plans and our operations as different and often conflicting orders and guidelines have come down from federal, state, and local officials. This week alone, new stay-at-home executive orders came from Denver, Durango, Boulder, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, some western slope communities, and the Governor’s statewide order.

In alignment with the orders, we have scaled back our in-person workforce further to the fewest employees possible to maintain infrastructure and operations. At Lowry, security and a limited number of staff are providing essential operational functions. We have asked all others to continue to fulfill their professional responsibilities from home.

Advocacy Efforts at the Federal Level

I continue to have daily conference calls with our executive staff, college presidents and frequent calls with the Governor’s office, the Department of Higher Education, and the CEOs of all the other colleges and universities in the state.

Last Friday evening, I signed a joint letter with all other Colorado college and university CEOs to our congressional delegation to seek financial assistance as part of the federal response to the crisis. It now appears that higher education has been included in federal legislation intended to ease the economic repercussions of the crisis although the amounts that will go to colleges, the manner of distribution, and the role of the states are still taking shape.

As of this writing, Wednesday evening the Senate passed a compromise stimulus bill, with approximately $14 billion for higher education. The bill now heads to the House which we expect to pass later this week. To understand the nuances of the Senate’s legislation as it relates to higher education, I encourage you to read the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) summary article here: COMMUNITY COLLEGE DAILY Washington Watch: What the CARES Act holds for higher ed.

Stay Safe, Stay Connected

The way in which we now connect with each other to work and learn is vastly different than being together at the office and on our campuses. Yet, our distance does not change who we are as a community.  Please make every effort to stay connected to your colleagues using the technology available to us.  We are still a team, even if we are not all together in the same building.

Thank you, colleagues. I am grateful for your partnership and your resolve. I am confident that we will come through this together. While we experience every dimension of this extraordinary time, please take care of yourself and each other.

Message from CCCS HR to System Office Staff – Stay at Home Order: March 24, 2020

System Office Employees,

The City and County has issued a Stay at Home Order which goes into effect at 5:00 tonight through April 10. CCCS buildings will adhere to this order as part of the City and County of Denver. What this means is that if you have not been designated as an essential personnel you should not report to the office while the order is in place.

It is our expectation that unless otherwise approved for leave, or designated as essential, employees will work remotely. Please continue to work with your supervisors on remote work schedules and expectations and keep your supervisor informed of any leave you are using. Employees will need to continue to notify Human Resources of any requests for paid Administrative Leave (https://cccs-forms.formstack.com/forms/temporary_covid_19_work_accomodation_request).

If you have work in the office that is essential for your job, please make arrangements to get that before 5:00 PM tomorrow (Wednesday). If it is not essential please do not come to the office. After tomorrow you can work with your supervisors as needs arise.

Your Executive Team member has identified the individuals designated as essential. If you have been designated, you will soon receive a Letter of Access should you need to provide that information to law enforcement. Identified personnel should work with their supervisors on expectations for schedules and job requirements.

Per the order, essential personnel will include those that carry out one of the following functions:

  • Public Safety Personnel;
  • Law enforcement;
  • Security personnel;
  • Emergency management and response;
  • Public and environment health functions;
  • Responsible for carrying out functions minimally necessary to maintain the value of the businesses’ inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits; or
  • Responsible for carrying out functions minimally necessary to facilitate the entities ability of continuing remote work for the majority of its personnel.

We will send additional communications as our situation evolves. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to Human Resources at Covidnotices@cccs.edu.

Chancellor's Message to System Office Staff - Standing Together During the COVID-19 Response: March 19, 2020

Dear System Office Colleagues:

Together, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation as the global coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. During this time, I want to reach out to say I am grateful for every one of you as we respond to challenges affecting our colleagues, our institutions, our students, our friends and families, and our way of life. Thank you for holding our community together.

We are working almost around the clock to protect the health and safety of our employees and students, while continuing to provide access to high quality instruction for the rest of the current semester and beyond. With so many changes underway, I want to give you an update on where we are on a few important items.

Remote Work & Instruction

Thank you to our HR and IT staff for supporting the many employees who have already or are in the process of transitioning to working remotely – this is a tremendous undertaking and your hard work is greatly appreciated as we do our part to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. Although most employees will work remotely at least part-time, the System Office will remain open unless and until the Governor directs otherwise.

Across our colleges, many staff, faculty, and instructors have also moved to remote instruction and work. Our goal is to continue to provide in-person resources and other critical services to students, such as computer labs for those who do not have access to continue their studies online, as well as housing at our residential campuses where students have nowhere else to go. That means that some personnel will still report to work, although we hope to limit the amount of time they are onsite and the amount of direct contact they have with others.

Last week in our press release, we announced our shift to online/remote instruction for all courses, where possible. I want to acknowledge the hard work of Academic Affairs and CCCOnline staff for their tireless work in creating a digital toolkit and providing technical assistance to support our colleges in navigating the transition to remote or online instruction. For many of our CTE program offerings, remote instruction will not be possible because they require hands-on instruction and lab work, e.g., welding, machining, automotive and diesel technology, and many others.  In those cases, we are working to insure small class sizes, space for “social distancing” and all necessary precautions. 

Impacts to Large Meetings & Events

  • April State Board meeting: It is very unlikely that we will hold this meeting in person. If we do, it will be at the System Office rather that ACC.
  • April CCCS Student Excellence Awards: This event has been canceled and will not be rescheduled.  Awards will be presented by the individual colleges.
  • The Conference Center has been closed for all events until further notice.
  • College Commencements: We are exploring alternatives to traditional spring commencement ceremonies.  Options include “virtual” commencements, delayed commencements to the end of the summer term, or inviting spring and summer graduates to attend mid-year commencements in December.

Staying Informed & Reporting Measures

I have had, and continue to plan for, daily conference calls with our college presidents, with the Governor’s office, the Department of Higher Education (CDHE), and the CEOs of all the other colleges and universities in the state as we work together to identify the best ways to protect our students and our employees, to slow the spread of the virus, and continue high quality academic instruction.

We have also been asked to provide regular reports to CDHE on issues such as campus facility closures, commencement changes, and, most importantly, cases of presumptive positive COVID-19 test results for students or staff. 

The good news is that we have not yet had such a confirmation but the bad news is we expect that will change.  About 10-12 students or college staff have been tested and are showing symptoms but are still awaiting test results. In the meantime, they have been self-isolating and are staying off campus.  To date, no confirmed cases have been reported for system office staff. If any such cases arise in the coming days, we will follow the Governor’s facilities closure guidelines.

Resources for Staff

In addition to the rapid changes we are making, the temporary closing of school systems and the workplace modifications being made by many organizations and businesses can be stressful for our staff, faculty and instructors.

We have support in place to help you; I encourage you to use the resources listed below.

I am grateful for your consistent support of our mission and for your willingness to be flexible as we make adjustments to new ways of working and learning.

Message from CCCS HR to System Office Staff: March 16, 2020

System Office Staff,

Apologies for the late email. There have been several developments around COVID-19 since last week, including requests to limit large gatherings and recommendations to reduce social interactions in order to help prevent the spread of the virus. Please note that we are regularly updating the CCCS website with coronavirus information (https://internal.cccs.edu/coronavirus/). CCCS’ top priority is in serving students and providing the highest quality educational programming possible as well as insuring the health of our staff and communities.

This morning we asked the senior leaders at the System Office to support supervisors in working with employees to transition to remote work, where possible. This may include assigning special projects that could be different than your regular job duties. Our offices will remain open at this time and those who prefer to come to the office to work will be able to do so. Some teams may also work on a rotating schedule for employees reporting to the office. Please work with your supervisors to understand their expectations. With more employees working remotely there should be plenty of social distancing for those that do report to the office. Further, the facilities crew will continue to adhere to current CDC guidelines for cleaning office spaces.

Any requests to work remotely must be approved by your supervisor in advance of the transition. You will need to work with your supervisor on identifying any technology needs and clarifying expectations, including changes in schedules that may be necessary to manage child care or other needs. Attached you will find a document from IT on Tips for Successfully Working From Home. If you have any questions about this information or IT needs, please contact the IT Help Desk at support@cccs.edu or 303-620-4357.

Employees working remotely who are unable to fulfill their full time responsibilities (current or altered), due to non health related reasons such as child care needs, will be required to use sick or annual leave for any time they miss. Any employee with a health related reason to be out of the office should submit a Temporary COVID-19 Work Accommodation Request (https://cccs-forms.formstack.com/forms/temporary_covid_19_work_accomodation_request) for review by HR, even if you have already been granted approval from your supervisor to work remotely. This will help HR keep track of employees who may be eligible for administrative leave when they are unable to work remotely.

Any employee who has been identified by a health care provider as needing COVID-19 testing or anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should notify us immediately at COVIDNotices@cccs.edu. This email is being checked by HR staff and your confidentiality will be appropriately maintained. This notice will allow us to respond to any additional actions CCCS may need to take such as notifying employees of a case of COVID-19 or closing an office for extensive cleaning. Again, your personal information will not be revealed in these communications. Any employee who becomes ill with COVID-19 will be eligible for paid administrative leave.

We will need to track administrative leave usage. A tracking sheet for supervisors can be found on the coronavirus update webpage (https://internal.cccs.edu/coronavirus/). Supervisors can use this Excel document to keep track of this time and report that information back to HR. HR will send requests for this information at multiple intervals, depending on the length of this evolving situation.

If you have any questions for Human Resources regarding COVID-19 please email COVIDNotices@cccs.edu or call 720-858-2426. Using these formats rather than contacting a specific individual will ensure your questions are accessible to several HR staff so we can respond as timely as possible.

Thank you to everyone who has worked to help our colleges with transitioning to remote instruction and to help CCCS respond to COVID-19. Let’s continue to work together to support each other and check in with our colleagues even though we may not see them face to face.

Sincerely,

Christina Cecil

Chief Human Resources Officer

Media Release - CCCS Prepares Transition to Remote Instruction: March 12, 2020

To ensure the health and safety of campus communities across Colorado, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) activated its emergency operations team focused on coordinating the system’s response with the CO Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the guidance provided by the Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) on any CCCS campus, preparation continues to receive the highest level of attention from college leaders and system administration.

“The health and safety of our 125,000 students and 20,000 employees is our highest priority as we coordinate our response and take informed actions,” said Joe Garcia, CCCS chancellor. “Our thirteen college presidents and I are having regular, ongoing conversations and heeding the guidance of public health experts and the CDC.”

Immediate actions taking place across all thirteen colleges include limitations on large group gatherings, implementation of restrictive travel policies, and the possible extension of Spring Break for students. Staff and faculty will utilize the extra time to transition appropriate courses from in-person to remote instruction and exams, and implement risk reduction plans tailored for each campus.

Due to varying institutional size, location, and programming across CCCS colleges, some courses may not be appropriate to transition to remote learning, such as welding and nursing labs. To provide students with the opportunity to continue their educations in which they have invested so much time, money, and effort, while ensuring safety for students in these career and technical education programs, courses will be held in spaces that allow for adequate social distancing.

“We are prepared for this fast-moving, fluid situation and are implementing appropriate plans at each of our colleges to keep our communities safe and avoid interference with student academic progress,” said Garcia.

CCCS hopes to keep offices and colleges open, but also wants to ensure alignment with best practices to promote a healthy environment such as implementing plans to allow employees to work remotely and ensuring paid sick leave.

Message from CCCS HR to System Office Staff - COVID-19 Travel Advisory: March 11, 2020

Hello System Office Employees,

The weather is warming and we lost an hour as we sprung our clocks forward. And you may be excitedly thinking about your Spring travel!

In response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) issues, we would like to remind you that although you may not be in a high-risk category for COVID-19, one of your colleagues may be. We want to work with all employees to prevent exposure in the workplace where we can. We ask that everyone is respectful of this need and that employees keep their supervisors apprised of their travel plans and adhere to established Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) guidelines while the COVID-19 virus is active. You can keep up to date on travel advisors issued by the CDC here:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html and CDPHE here: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus.

Below is current information regarding system office employee travel outside of Colorado as of today. Information about COVID-19 is regularly changing and these guidelines are subject to change, potentially while you are on vacation. We will keep you informed of our requirements but we ask employees to maintain open communication with supervisors prior to and upon return from leave, before returning to the office. Supervisors should work with Human Resources on how best to respond to employees.

CCCS Sponsored Travel

Until further notice, CCCS has suspended sponsored international travel to countries that have been assessed at Level 2 or Level 3 by the CDC. This includes any required layovers in Level 2 or Level 3 areas, even if this is not your final destination. CCCS will also prohibit sponsored travel to areas of the U.S. that have declared a “State of Emergency”. Additionally, conferences and other events outside of these areas are cancelling on their own.  Should you have any CCCS sponsored travel, please monitor the status closely.

The Governor has issued a “State of Emergency” for Colorado but CCCS has not suspended in-state travel. For in-state travel, please work with your supervisors and use your best judgement.

Employee Personal Travel

You and your supervisor should work with Human Resources to identify the most appropriate response to your return to the office, based on the applicable CDC and CDPHE guidelines on quarantines and restrictions.

International Travel– If you are planning to travel to a country that has been assessed at a Level 2 or Level 3, you must disclose your travel plans to your Supervisor and Human Resources immediately. The CDC recommends quarantines when an individual returns from one of these countries and CCCS will not allow you back at work during the required quarantine period. Quarantine following your scheduled leave will be addressed as follows:

  • Where possible, you will be allowed to work remotely during the necessary quarantine period beyond the end of your scheduled leave.
  • For any time during the quarantine period you cannot work remotely, you can use sick leave.
  • If you do not have sick leave available, you can use annual leave.
  • If you do not have available sick or annual leave, and cannot work remotely, please contact Human Resources.

Domestic or International Travel, with exception to the Level 2 or Level 3 Countries – You should research the CDC travel advisory for your destination. Because risk assessments are changing rapidly, share your travel plans with your Supervisor and check in prior to returning to the office in the event new or revised advisories are issued.  If the CDC or CDPHE requires quarantine, CCCS will not allow you back at work during the quarantine period. Quarantines after your scheduled leave will be addressed as follows:

  • Where possible, you will be allowed to work remotely during the necessary quarantine period beyond the end of you scheduled leave.
  • For any time during the quarantine period you cannot work remotely, you can use sick leave.
  • If you do not have sick leave available, you can use annual leave.
  • If you do not have available sick or annual leave, and cannot work remotely, please contact Human Resources.

The internal CCCS website (https://internal.cccs.edu/coronavirus/) is being updated to include current information on COVID-19 and our guidance. FAQs will be posted on this site later today for your reference and updated as needed.   Please note that information about COVID-19 is changing quickly and our response to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) may change just as quickly.

Your safety and that of our students is a priority for CCCS and we want to work with you to do whatever we can to prevent the spread of illness in the workplace. We are actively monitoring and evaluating this situation and making timely decisions based on the most up to date information. Thank you for your cooperation in helping to maintain a healthy work environment, being considerate of your colleagues and their personal situations, and for your part in preventing the spread of illness in the workplace. Because of the seriousness of this situation, if it is identified you have violated this directive, you may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Remember, if you are sick please stay home. If you have any questions, or need to discuss accommodations due to your personal situation, please contact me or any of the Human Resources staff.

Message from Chancellor Garcia - COVID-19 Preparation: March 10, 2020

Dear CCCS Community,

I know that the developing news about Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has generated a great deal of concern throughout our communities and campuses and that many of you have legitimate questions about how we will continue to serve our students while doing all we can to protect everyone’s health and safety. I want to take this opportunity to provide an update on the steps we are already taking based on what we know now and what our plans are to respond to the rapidly evolving situation that seems to change hourly.

I am working closely with the System Office leadership team, including Greg Busch, CCCS Emergency Management Director, and our college presidents to address COVID-19.  We are also working closely with and taking guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CO Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in implementing the System and College emergency preparedness plans for potential pandemic incidents. Staff on the CCCS Executive Team are taking the lead in developing plans that fall in their various functional areas.  Specifically, the System is developing plans and guidance for continued academic instruction; official System and College travel guidance; personnel related questions; and IT support of students, staff and faculty.  This information will be refined, in collaboration with College Presidents and their staff, and you can expect more direct guidance and communications from your college leadership.

Please see the links below for the most current information about ways to protect yourself from COVID-19:

CDPHE             https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus

CDC                 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

We recognize this is a rapidly evolving situation and I ask that you watch for continued updates as the situation changes.  In our effort to provide you with real time information as it develops, you should expect to hear from me and/or your college president on a regular basis, perhaps as often as several times a week until the situation is resolved.  CCCS has made preparing for COVID-19 a top priority and we are committed to ensuring that our offices and campuses are safe for employees and students.

I do not intend to minimize the severity of the current situation, nor do I want people to be unduly alarmed.  As many others have said, the best thing we can do now is not to panic, but to prepare.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation, for sharing your ideas, and for working together in the best interests of our students and our college families and communities.

Message from Chancellor Garcia to System Office Staff - Update 1: March 6, 2020

Colleagues,

By now you have heard the news that there are two “presumptive positive” cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Colorado. CCCS is closely monitoring this rapidly changing situation. Our leadership teams here and across the system are examining developments and updating plans, including our pandemic and infectious disease preparedness plans. Our goal is to keep our employees and students safe through preparation, not panic.

I encourage you to stay informed and remain diligent in your personal care. Here are some helpful resources with current information about COVID-19:

As Spring break approaches and you are considering travel plans, you are encouraged to consult the CDC travel alerts (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) for the most up to date information. Keep in mind, it might be possible to travel to a destination, but not be able to return home if restrictions are implemented. CCCS will adhere to CDC guidance on quarantines and restrictions. If you travel to an area where quarantines are in place, you will not be permitted to return to the office during the established quarantine period so plan accordingly.

If you are sick, please stay home, even if it is just a head cold. We provide sick leave to assist you in resting and recovering when you are not well. If you are sick, consider telemedicine options to avoid healthcare environments. Human Resources has compiled the information below about our medical carriers various telemedicine platforms:

o   Anthem – Customer Service, 800.542.9402

o   Kaiser – Customer Service, 303.338.3800

  • Phone visit, 303.338.4545 to schedule
  • Video Visit, 303.338.4545 to schedule
  • 24/7 nurse line, www.kp.org, Appointment Center to schedule
  • Email, www.kp.org, log into your account to email your doctor

o   UHC – Customer Service, 877.283.5424

  • 24/7 nurse line, 866.402.0006
  • Virtual Visits, 877.283.5424 to schedule
  • Email, myuhc.com, log into your account to email your doctor

Rest assured we are taking this situation seriously and your safety and that of our students is our utmost concern. Stay informed, wash your hands, and don’t panic.

Message from Chancellor Garcia to System Office Staff: March 3, 2020

Colleagues,

I know many of you have been following the news reports regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) incidents, both globally as well as here in the US. The System Executive team met yesterday with Greg Busch, Director of Emergency Management, to continue to discuss our emergency plan preparedness should an epidemic occur. The college Presidents are communicating with their institutions and are having similar conversations and taking necessary actions to prepare for their response. We will continue to monitor the situation and update staff appropriately.

Should you have any specific concerns or questions (e.g. leave, accommodations, personal situation, etc.), please contact Laura DuClos, System HR Director, at Laura.DuClos@cccs.edu or 720-858-2449.

What You Need to Know

COVID-19 is a type of virus that causes diseases of varying severities, ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory disease.

How is it spread?

  • Through coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
  • Because COVID-19 is new, we are learning more each day about the transmission patterns and incubation periods.

What are the symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Severe Illness

What can I do (from the CDC)?

  • The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.  (Source:  Center for Disease Control)

The outbreak of COVID-19 is changing rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) are providing updated information:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html 

CDPHE: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus

If you have general questions about COVID-19 please call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email COHELP@RMPDC.org. Answers are available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and more.

Again, we will continue to monitor this situation and update everyone as necessary.

Academic and Student Affairs Information and Resources and Remote & Online Instruction Toolkit

This website has been created to support CCCS colleges in navigating remote or online instruction during the COVID-19 disruption and to answer frequently asked questions regarding academic continuity efforts. Here you will find:

  • Remote and Online Toolkit for instructors
  • FAQs regarding such matters as accreditation, financial aid, academic process, and much more.
  • Guides for instructors and staff
  • Contact information for 24×7 technical assistance, instructional design assistance, and consulting

CCCS College COVID-19 Updates

Below are links to CCCS College website pages pertaining to COVID-19.

External Resources

Our goal is to minimize the impact on our community by looking to our public health experts for guidance related to COVID-19. Here are some additional resources for your reference.