With just a few more weeks of summer term left, we are already gearing up for reopening on campus classes and activities at Treasure Valley Community College. We are excited and cautiously optimistic to welcome back students to our residence halls and to in-person classrooms in-person. While we’ve announced this intention, I would appreciate your continued help to get the word out.  We also ask that you please visit our website for additional updates and information at www.tvcc.cc.

Again, TVCC will have in-person classes this fall. In order to make this happen, we are limiting class sizes to ensure physical distancing. Smaller class sizes will mean students should enroll and register early to make sure they have a seat in one of those classes. We are hearing from many students and their parents that they are still waiting to see how safe they feel coming back for face-to-face instruction. For those who want another option, we are adding more web and virtual classes to accommodate individual safety and scheduling needs.

I have shared previously, all of our decisions will continue to be guided by these priorities:

• Protect the health, safety and wellbeing of every member of our community, and contribute to the local and national efforts to reduce the spread of this virus.

• Base our decisions on health guidance from an authoritative scientific source – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oregon Health Authority, and our local partners at the Malheur County Health Department.

• Continue carrying out our academic mission as best as possible given the circumstances.

Each week we meet with representatives from across the College to discuss concerns and ideas about what we need to do to communicate, coordinate, and clean to ensure we can offer face to face instruction College-wide this fall. Concerns about cleaning classrooms, wearing face coverings, and other compliance issues are being developed, addressed, and drafted for review .

We know it will take a full-scale effort from our entire community for TVCC to be able to open fully this fall for students and the public. We are encouraging everyone to do their part. We support the Malheur County Health Department in their efforts to encourage everyone to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 so our local businesses will stay open.

As part of that support effort, I am also encouraging you to follow these recommendations from our Health Department:

Physical Distance: Be at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with. Stay home if you are sick. Stay close to home and avoid trips outside your community.

Protect Others: Cover your cough and sneeze with elbow or tissue. Avoid touching your face. Use face coverings in public.

Keep Clean: Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Frequently clean your work and living space, especially high touch places like doors and handles.

It is absolutely critical that everyone does their part to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for themselves and those who are most vulnerable in our County. And it is absolutely critical that we flatten the curve so students and their families will have confidence that it is safe to return to campus this fall.

We truly are all in this together and together we can protect our students, our businesses and our community.

Dana Young is president of Treasure Valley Community College. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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