Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates


Vernon College Plan for Fall semester 2020

Most of the following health protocols were recommended by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for reopening various campus operations for fall 2020. This checklist is based on health protocols included in: (1) The Governor’s Report to Open Texas (April 27, 2020) and the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas (updated June 3, 2020); (2) COVID-19 Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education (updated May 30, 2020) and other information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); (3) Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era (May 7, 2020) provided by the American College Health Association (ACHA); (4) Preliminary Guidance for Resuming In-Person Instruction at Postsecondary Education Institutions and Adult Education Programs (June 3, 2020) provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education; and (5) COVID-19 Checklist for Campus Housing Professionals (May 6, 2020) provided by the Future of Housing Work Group assembled by the Association of College and University Housing Officers - International (ACUHO-I).

As Texas continues to reopen the economy and Vernon College plans for the fall semester, each employee and student must take personal and social responsibility seriously. Avoid crowds, practice social distancing everywhere, including campus, wash hands frequently, and monitor your temperature. As a place of employment, Vernon College can only assist with your health and safety approximately one-third of each day. As an educational institution, we provide safety measures for students only 3-4 hours per day. Each employee and each student must understand their personal and social responsibility for their health and safety as well as the health and safety of their friends, family, and co-workers the remainder of each day.

Employees and students are strongly encouraged to be cautious and to stay home if they encounter the possibility of COVID-19 or are feeling sick and feverish. Employees should notify their supervisor, seek medical attention, and prepare to quarantine if necessary. Students should self-report to the Vice-President of Student Services, seek medical attention, stay off campus and away from classes, and prepare to quarantine. Students should contact each faculty member by email to make arrangements for class expectations.

Students at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 will be advised to consider their risk before deciding whether to return to Campus. The decision will solely be that of the student, although we may advise such students to remain at their permanent residence taking courses remotely. Faculty and staff at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 will be guided by existing Vernon College policies and CDC guidelines.

Health Protocols for Students, Faculty, Staff, and Campus Visitors

Each primary entry into a Vernon College building will have signage indicating that employees, students, and campus visitors are certifying by entry that they:

  • have not been determined to be actively infected with COVID-19,
  • do not currently have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19 as listed on the CDC’s website,
  • have not been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 14 days, and
  • have not returned from international travel or traveled through an area with state or local travel restrictions that mandate quarantine upon arrival home in the previous 14 days.
  • will adhere to college recommended social distancing and safety protocol to:
    • maintain 6 feet social distancing from other employees, students, and visitors
  • wear a face covering
  • wash hands frequently for 20 seconds
  • cover coughs and sneezes
  • monitor temperature
  • Consistent with applicable law and privacy policies, have students, faculty, and staff report if they have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days, in accordance with health information sharing regulations for COVID-19 and other applicable federal and state privacy and confidentiality laws, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • If the employee or student fails to meet any of the criteria listed above and cannot certify themselves:
  • employees must self-report to their component Vice-President
  • students must self-report to the Vice-President of Student Services,
  • employee should not report to campus/workplace,
  • students should not report to campus/classroom
  • should follow current CDC guidance regarding self-quarantine or self-isolation, and
  • will only be allowed to return to campus/classroom/workplace if cleared to return by their healthcare provider and consistent with CDC guidance.
  • Information will be/has been disseminated through various media sources for all students, faculty, and staff on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory
  • Signs will be posted in highly visible locations that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs (such as properly washing hands and properly wearing a face covering).
  • Dusty R. Johnston will be the primary COVID-19 liaison responsible for communicating and coordinating with the local health department, local emergency services, and local health care providers. This coordination will be ongoing and should include prompt, coordinated responses to COVID 19 and other emergencies. Dr. Johnston’s contact information is:
  • 940-552-6291 2200

Health Protocol to return to any on-campus activity for any student, faculty, staff, or campus visitor with new or worsening signs or a positive test for COVID-19:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications); and,
  • The individual has improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • In the case of a student, faculty, staff, or campus visitor who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 who has not been evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID- 19, the individual should be assumed to have COVID-19, and the individual may not return to on- campus activity until the individual has completed the same three-step criteria listed above; or
  • If the student, faculty, staff, or campus visitor has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to on-campus activity before completing the above self-isolation period, the individual must obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative


  • Provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test

Vernon College will not allow a student, faculty, staff, or campus visitor with known close contact (see Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure) to a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 to return to the on-campus activity until the end of the 14-day self-quarantine period from the last date of exposure.

Faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to work remotely or take sick or another appropriate leave in accordance with Vernon College policies and guidelines. They will place themselves in self-isolation as determined by local health officials at the time of testing, returning to campus only after cleared to return by their health care provider and consistent with CDC guidance. Quarantine or self-isolation must be taken seriously and will be monitored as necessary.

  • Vernon College recommends all individuals wash or sanitize their hands upon entering the reopened campus operation and all individuals maintain at least 6-feet separation from other individuals. Additional measures such as face covering, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness, sneeze guards, other physical dividers, and sanitation are encouraged, particularly in smaller air spaces in which a number of individuals will be spending time
  • Students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors are required to wear non-medical grade face-face coverings while on campus for any reason and at any location. (See Face-Cover Protocol below)
  • Vernon College will notify faculty, staff, students, families, and the public of campus closures and any restrictions in place to limit COVID-19 exposure (e.g., limited hours of operation).
  • Have a policy in place for how the institution will respond if a student, faculty, staff, or campus visitor begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 (see top of Page 2 of this document) while in class or on

Face-Cover Protocol

  • Face coverings are to be worn by students, prospective students, and visitors while on campus for any reason and at any location
  • Students may remove face coverings while eating in the dining hall, VC Café, or student lounge if social distancing of 6 ft. or more is possible
  • Various career and technical program skill development training classes may require face coverings to be removed for certain activities welding
  • Face coverings are not required in parking areas or outside the buildings
  • Face coverings are to be worn by employees
  • In hallways
  • When engaging students or others even from behind plexi-glass shields, except the campus telephone receptionists
  • In congregate areas
  • Employees may remove face coverings when at their desks if in an office setting that allows for social distancing of 6 ft. or more
  • Face coverings are not required of faculty while lecturing in the classroom or lab
  • Face coverings are not required of switchboard receptionists seated behind barrier shields
  • Students with documented health issues that are negatively impacted by wearing face coverings must contact Student Services and carry a copy of the document with them while on campus.
  • Employees with documented health issues that are negatively impacted by wearing face coverings must contact Human Resources
  • Employees and students must provide their own face coverings. 
  • CDC guidance for face coverings

Facility Protocols for Reopened Campus Operations

Vernon College will

  • Regularly and frequently clean and disinfect any touched surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, chairs, and restrooms in accordance with CDC guidelines (see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility) and have sufficient disinfecting supplies to maintain hygienic standards.
  • Thoroughly disinfect (multiple times per day) items (e.g., desk or workspace) that come into contact with students, faculty, staff, or campus
  • Make hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water, or similar disinfectant readily available to all
  • Ensure students and employees are aware to be cautious in “high” close quarter spaces, such as elevators, hallways, and bathrooms.
  • Reduce exposure in common areas by closing drinking fountains, utilizing door-stops, reducing furniture in gathering

Protocol on Preparing for When Someone Gets Sick

Advise Sick Individuals of Home Isolation Criteria

Sick faculty, staff, or students should not return to in-person classes or campus facilities, or end isolation until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation.

Isolate and Transport Those Who are Sick

  • Provide notice that faculty, staff, and students should not come to the campus if they are sick and should notify institution officials (e.g., designated COVID-19 liaison) if they become sick with COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Separate faculty, staff, and students with COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath). Individuals who are sick should go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on how severe their symptoms are, and follow CDC Guidance for caring for oneself and others who are sick. Institutions should follow CDC’s Guidance for Shared or Congregate Housing for those that live in IHE-operated
  • Establish procedures to allow for safely transporting anyone who is sick to their home or to a healthcare facility. If you are calling an ambulance or bringing someone to the hospital, try to call first to alert them that the person may have COVID-19.

Clean and Disinfect

Close off areas used by a sick person and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting.

  • Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible. Ensure safe and correct use and storage of cleaning and disinfection supplies, including storing products securely away from

Notify Health Officials and Close Contacts

· In accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, Vernon College will notify local health officials, faculty, staff, and students immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FERPA, and other applicable laws and regulations.

· Inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home or in their living quarters, self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.


Preparing for Instruction

  • Use physical distancing plans for each course, such as staggered or rotating schedules and seating spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • The number of individuals assigned to classrooms or auditoriums will be limited by space. On-site face-to-face classes will be limited. Some classes will be taught in a hybrid or blended methodology as determined by the Vice-President of Instructional Services, Dean of Instructional Services, and Division Chairs in consultation with faculty.
  • In addition to face-to-face instruction, online delivery through Canvas, Office 365 Teams, and other alternative methodology will be utilized to provide instruction and to assist students.
  • Special arrangements and precautions will be required for students and faculty engaged in clinical programs (e.g., nursing, allied health, athletic training, student teaching, etc.). Arrangements and precautions are unique to the program and guided by the program’s accreditation as well as medical and public health guidance. Program directors and coordinators should provide oversight of these arrangements.
  • The instructional component of Vernon College will have contingency plans for rapid return to online instruction if an increase in local infections requires physical distancing. Face-to-face classes will have a Canvas component for supplemental instruction to assist students and to enable a swift transition to online courses if necessary.
  • Dual credit will be delivered via Face to Face, online, hybrid/blended utilizing Office 365 Teams in consultation with individual ISDs.


Preparing for Student Services

  • Ensure testing center sanitization and social distancing protocols.


  • Ensure testing center schedule and hours of operation.


  • Strongly encourage all students to register online when possible


  • Ensure staffing of Health Center and hours of operation


  • Ensure social distancing protocols in Testing, Advising, Academic Coaching, Mentoring, Admissions, Registration, Financial Aid, Career Services, Veterans Services, and Early College.


Preparing for Reopening Residence and Dining Facilities

Vernon College will:

Space Accommodations

  • Limit occupancy in gathering areas of the residence hall and dining hall to ensure social distancing.
  • Reconfigure dining facilities and operations to ensure that students, employees, and visitors are 6-feet apart.
  • Ensure that strategies and interventions implemented do not prohibit access for students with disabilities.
  • Ensure all space accommodations follow ADA laws and

Dining Halls

  • Food service will resume/continue with a greater emphasis on take-away options, barriers between cashiers and customers, minimized reliance on buffets (self-service), maximized safeguards where self-service is unavoidable, and limited seating, consistent with the accepted standards in place at the time.
  • Require all dining facility staff to wear face coverings and gloves at all times while working and interacting with the public, practicing physical distancing whenever possible.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces throughout the workday. Make a hand sanitizing station available upon entry.
  • Since an individual cannot eat and drink while in a face covering, it is strongly suggested that face coverings be worn during movement in the facility and removed when sitting and dining.
  • Provide meals in to go trays only and use plastic utensils
  • Limit the number of individuals dining in a single facility at one time by alternating student and employee groups schedules. Possible approaches include:
  • Access control: Once the target number is reached, patrons are only allowed to enter when another diner leaves.
  • Cohort dining: Established dining times admitting a specific group of diners.
  • Physically spaced (6-foot) floor markers for waiting lines outside and inside the facility.
  • Appropriately spaced and limited numbers of tables and chairs per table.
  • Consider eliminating buffet-style self-serve food and salad bar.
  • Non-disposable food service items used will be handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.
  • Provide condiments only upon request, and in single use (non-reusable) portions.
  • Arrange food delivery to students in isolation or quarantine.

Residence Halls

  • Vernon College will conduct weekly wellness checks of residents including temperature checks.
  • Provide guidance to residence hall students for cleaning protocol of residence halls consistent with CDC guidance.
  • Decisions about residence hall capacity will be made following the guidance provided by the CDC for Living in Shared Housing and Shared and Congregate Housing, and the COVID-19 Checklist for Campus Housing Professionals provided by the Future of Housing Work Group assembled by the Association of College and University Housing Officers - International (ACUHO-I).
  • Encourage social distancing and urge residents to wear face coverings in any public shared spaces, except for roommates in individual dorm
  • Communicate regularly with residents on the seriousness of COVID-19 and make them aware of institution policies and protocols related to COIVD-19.
  • Remind students not to congregate in communal
  • Consider any special needs or accommodations for special-needs populations or populations most at-risk for COVID-19 who need to take extra
  • Students living in the residence halls will be prohibited from day or overnight visitors in their rooms as much as is practicable. Residential living students will also be strongly encouraged to limit off-campus activities for duration of the semester to limit exposure to those they visit elsewhere and limit the exposure they may bring back to the residence hall. If students do leave the residence hall and suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19 the student will be required to report this exposure to the Residence Hall Director and/or coach and may be required to place themselves in self-quarantine for a period of time in accordance with current CDC guidance.
  • Reserve four residence hall rooms to quarantine exposed individuals or confirmed cases. Reidents that are exposed or confirmed will have their emergency contact notified. Residents that test positive for COVID-19 will be expected to return to their permanent residence as soon as possible.
  • Develop protocols for quarantine and containment for students living in residence
  • Residence hall students will be made aware prior to move in, in writing, that in the case of a Wilbarger County outbreak of COVID-19 or a shelter in place order issued by the State of Texas, residents may be ordered to vacate the dormitories in 24-48 hours and return to their permanent housing.


  • Ensure that ventilation and exhaust systems are properly operating and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as
  • Open windows if possible.

Bathroom Facilities

  • Provide guidelines to residence hall students for the use and cleaning of bathrooms consistent with CDC guidance.
  • Reinforce the practice of 6 feet social distancing, or other physical distancing strategies, when using bathroom facilities, including showers, sinks, toilets, and

Additional Protocol

Campus Student Activities

  • Activities such as clubs, lectures, study sessions, intramurals, etc. that occur face-to-face will observe the limitations on the size of gatherings established by local public health authorities, and based on Vernon College guidance and the space used. All face-to-face co-curricular activities will be expected to observe the precautions recommended by local health authorities at the time to limit the spread of, and exposure to, COVID-19 (e.g., physical distancing, face coverings).
  • Vernon College will provide face-to-face co-curricular activities as much as is practicable and safe. Field trips and other experiential learning activities will occur where possible. All of these activities will be expected to observe the precautions recommended by local health authorities at the time to limit the spread of, and exposure to, COVID-19 (e.g., physical distancing, face coverings).


  • Vernon College supports the resumption of athletics in the 2020-2021 academic year, although timing and format will depend on an ongoing evaluation of conditions and direction from the NJCAA and conference leadership as well as guidance from the NIRA.
  • Vernon College will conduct weekly wellness checks of all athletes including temperature checks.
  • Vernon College athletic programs will follow closely guidance provided by the NJCAA in the following documents:
  • Path for Sports 2020-2021
  • Health and Safety Recommendations
  • Sports Procedures 2020-2021


Use of Facilities by Outside Groups

  • Use of college facilities by outside groups will be limited and must be approved using already established Vernon College approval processes. Use of facilities by outside groups should only be approved if the use advances the mission of the College. Safety requirements and recommendations established by local health authorities and Vernon College policies in effect at the time of the event should be observed (e.g., gathering size, physical distancing, face coverings, etc.), and visitors will certify they have not been determined to be COVID-19 positive, do not have COVID-19 symptoms, and have not been in the presence of anyone they knew to be COVID-19 positive in the last 14 days.

Visitors to Campus

  • Vernon College will limit external guests to those considered critical to the mission of Vernon College as approved by the President or designee. All visitors should be expected to observe safety requirements and recommendations established by local health authorities and Vernon College policies and guidelines in effect at the time of the visit (e.g., meeting size, physical distancing, face coverings, etc.) and declare they have not been determined to be COVID-19 positive, do not have COVID-19 symptoms, and have not been in the presence of anyone they knew to be COVID19 positive in the last 14 days.

On-site Registration

  • Detailed information will be provided by the Registrar’s office which will include plans for entering the building, self-screening, social distancing, sanitization, etc. for all functions associated with the on-site registration process.



Revised 8-3-20

vernon college logo

Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 6 p.m. // Friday - 8:00 a.m. - 6 p.m. 
  • Vernon Campus
    4400 College Drive
    Vernon, TX 76384
  • Century City Center
    4105 Maplewood
    Wichita Falls, TX 76308
  • Skills Training Center
    2813 Central Expressway East
    Wichita Falls, TX 76302
  • Seymour Learning Center
    200 Stadium Dr
    Seymour, TX 76380