Blackhawk Prepares for Possible Spread of Coronavirus
March 5, 2020
The College Leadership Team is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and planning for the College response in the event of the spread of influenza and/or coronavirus. The situation is constantly evolving and changing as more information is made available to the public. The current risk of coronavirus in our area is low; however, the College is ready to act.
As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shares more information about COVID-19, College Leadership is in contact regularly with the Rock County Public Health Department, Wisconsin Technical College System, K-12 partners, and other community public health and safety agencies. The College will respond to these and all public health threats following the guidance of the public health department and recommendations of the CDC. The safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff are always a top priority at Blackhawk.
In addition to working closely with local and state agencies, the College currently has elevated cleaning protocols to prevent the spread of germs. Classrooms feature many shared touchpoints where viruses can live long enough to infect others. It is critical to keep these shared spaces sanitized during peak influenza season. Therefore, wipes will be placed throughout the college and everyone is strongly encouraged to wipe down shared spaces; such as keyboards, mice, tabletops, etc. Wipes should be immediately disposed of in a trash receptacle.
The College will take every precaution to ensure that it maintains a clean and safe environment. Examples of the current plans for prevention include:
- Providing alcohol-based disinfecting wipes throughout the College.
- Placing displays throughout our campus reminding us to protect ourselves from the Flu or other seasonal illnesses
- Continual messaging to remind faculty, staff, and students to stay home if symptomatic
- Elevating/implementing ‘after each use’ sanitation of shared instructional equipment in the labs/classrooms/and common areas
- Initiating the flu season cleaning protocol for custodial and shuttle operations
Here are some things that everyone can do to slow the spread of germs and viruses:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If a cough or sneeze sneaks up on you and no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
If you are sick with influenza symptoms, it is recommended you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. You must take the time to recover and not spread illnesses to others. In the event of absences, please work directly with your instructor or supervisor.
If there is a confirmed case of coronavirus involving a Blackhawk student, faculty, or staff member, the College is prepared to close all campus locations. Closure cannot be site-specific due to the number of students and staff who travel between campuses. The duration of closure would be determined in cooperation with public health departments and CDC recommendations. In the event of temporary closure, all staff will follow their department’s business continuity plan. For faculty and students, all coursework will move online (where possible) via Blackboard to minimize the impact on our students. The College will also be prepared to extend the semester if necessary; especially for those students in hands-on courses or those who may not have access to technology off-campus. Faculty are preparing for the contingency. You must stay in contact with your instructor via Blackboard.
If the College closes, BTC will:
- Issue a SAFE Alert message (emergency notification system for BTC students, faculty and staff)
- Post information on our website (www.blackhawk.edu)
- Post information on Facebook (www.facebook.com/blackhawktech)
- Send notifications to the local media, but cannot guarantee coverage or listing. Please note: BTC is listed as Blackhawk Technical College, not Blackhawk Schools or Black Hawk Schools.
We will be sure to keep you all informed of any changes or develops that impact classes here at Blackhawk.
If you are interested in knowing more about the state or national response to COVID, here are some helpful links: