Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Positive COVID-19 cases reported
July 8, 2020
Gadsden State has received notice that two employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently quarantined and receiving medical treatment in accordance with public health protocols. The employees both reported positive COVID-19 results on July 7. One employee is based on the East Broad Campus while the second employee works on both the East Broad and Ayers campuses. In addition, two students have tested positive for the virus -- one on the Ayers Campus (reported July 2) and one on the East Broad Campus (reported July 8). Both are quarantined. Out of an abundance of caution and in our efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are notifying anyone who has come into close contact with the employee or the student and asking them to self-quarantine for the amount of time as recommended by their healthcare provider.
Health and safety remain our No. 1 priority. Gadsden State is following medical protocols from state and national health authorities and has implemented recommended guidelines in relation to social distancing, hygiene, travel and visits to the College. In addition, we are taking additional steps to attempt to ensure the cleanliness of all our facilities. While we hope and pray this will be the only positive test for COVID-19 within our college community, in the event there are others of which we become aware, we will use our best efforts to notify those we are able to determine have had contact with that individual so they may take recommended health measures.
COVID-19 Safety Statement
Dr. Deborah Curry
Dean of Health Sciences
June 25: Positive COVID-19 diagnosis
June 22: COVID-19 Testing Services
March 12: Letter from the President
March 12: ACCC statement on the Coronavirus
General COVID-19 FAQs
COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. The virus is spread mainly from person-to-person. It’s spread between people within about six feet from one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.
People may also contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes but, according to the CDC, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with others by practicing the 6-foot social distancing guideline.
- Stay home if you’re sick, except if you need medical care.
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Wear a face mask when in public and around others.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. Use EPA-registered disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Call your doctor if symptoms develop.
- Stay home unless you need to get medical care. Home isolation tremendously decreases the chances of spreading the virus.
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
- Avoid public areas. Do not go to work, school or public areas.
- Avoid public transportation.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your house. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Limit contact with pets and animals. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people with the virus limit contact with pets until more information about the virus is known.
- Wear a face mask if you are sick and are around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are unable to wear a face mask then people with you should wear a face mask if they enter your room.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Dispose of used tissues in a lined trash can.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
- Clean all high-touch surfaces every day.
- Monitor your symptoms.
- Stay at home until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to below. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
- Gadsden State has transitioned to online or alternative instruction for all courses until further notice.
- In an effort to limit possible exposure, all events on all of Gadsden State’s campuses have been cancelled until further notice.
- The Maintenance Team is practicing enhanced cleaning procedures in all buildings.
- All international and domestic travel has been cancelled and will be enforced until the spread of the disease has been decreased or contained.
- Gadsden State is practicing its Infectious Disease Policy (link policy).
- Gadsden State will communicate with its students and faculty on a regular basis through College email and Blackboard. Communications will also be posted on this webpage.
Technical issues should be addressed to email@example.com. You will be contacted by a member of Information Technology Services as soon as possible.
- Monitor your campus email account for official updates. Regularly visit gadsdenstate.edu/coronavirus.
- Posts will be made to Blackboard when appropriate.
- Updates will also post to Gadsden State’s social media platforms. Facebook: @gadsdenstate Twitter: @gadsdenstate Instagram: @gadsdenstatecommunitycollege
How much in CARES Act funds were distributed to Gadsden State for emergency student aid?
How many Gadsden State students have been deemed eligible to receive CARES Act funds?
2,496 students (62% of students enrolled in Spring Semester)
Who is eligible for CARES Act funds?
Students who meet all of the following criteria:
- Students working towards a degree or certificate at Gadsden State
- Students enrolled in at least one traditional (in-person) course on one of the five Gadsden State campuses
- Students who have a valid 2019-2020 FAFSA on file with the Financial Aid Office OR those who are eligible to apply for FAFSA
- Students who have a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) status
- Students enrolled at Gadsden State during the Spring Semester (with exception to those who exclusively attended Spring Mini I Term)
Who is not eligible for CARES Act funds?
- Students enrolled exclusively in online courses
- Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card holders)
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students
- Dual-enrolled high school students (ACE Institute)
- Students who do not have a valid high school diploma or equivalent
- Incarcerated students
- Students enrolled exclusively in Spring Mini I Term
- Students who withdrew from all Gadsden State classes as of close of business on March 16
Did Gadsden State determine the eligibility requirements?
No. The guidelines for eligibility were issued by the U.S. Department of Education.
How will students be notified about their eligibility?
Students who can expect a CARES Act check will be notified via email by May 15. The eligibility email will be sent to the primary email address the student has listed in OneACCS.
How will Gadsden State spend/disburse CARES Act funds?
Residence Hall Refunds – As of March 17, 71 students residing in Fowler Hall on the Wallace Drive Campus are eligible to receive funds. Dates the students left campus were monitored, and refunds were calculated based on a per day of cost for residence. Total spent on Residence Hall Refunds is $21,287.70.
Food Service Refunds – Using the same list of eligible students from Fowler Hall, 71 students will receive a partial refund for food service from the date of departure through May 8. Total spent on Food Service Refunds is $27,919.36.
Technology Grants – A total of 2,496 students have been deemed eligible to receive emergency financial assistance in the amount of $733 per student for a total of $1,829,568.
How will eligible students receive CARES Act funds?
A check will be mailed to the student to the address on record by May 22. Those eligible should log into myGadsdenState and verify their home address to ensure the check will arrive in a timely manner.
Are there guidelines/requirements on how students can spend CARES Act funds?
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COVID-19 FAQs for Students and Employees
No. Although the ADA prohibits discrimination based on association with an individual with a disability, that protection is limited to disparate treatment or harassment. The ADA does not require that an employer accommodate an employee without a disability based on the disability-related needs of a family member or other person with whom s/he is associated.
For example, an employee without a disability is not entitled under the ADA to telework as an accommodation in order to protect a family member with a disability from potential COVID-19 exposure.
Kim Cobb, director of Human Resources, is the designated COVID liaison for employees. She can be reached at 256-549-8236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelley Pearce, associate dean of Enrollment and Retention, is the designated COVID liaison for students. She can be reached at 256-549-8376 or email@example.com
Only the President or the designated COVID liaison listed above can ask for an employee’s COVID test results.
Information on a COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms is confidential medical information. Contact tracing does not require disclosing the name of the employee or the student. The employee or student may give permission to be identified to those who they have had close contact.
GSCC may send the employee or student home. CDC guidance and public health guidelines recommend temperature checks. Before taking any action to remove an employee or student from campus, we will attempt to determine their reason for refusing the temperature check. Our emphasis will focus on protecting the health and safety of everyone in the workplace and all information will be kept confidential.
Yes, to the extent possible. Information will only be shared with those that need to know. Information of a COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms is confidential medical information. The employee or student may give permission to identify them to those with whom they had contact. The College is required to report a positive COVID-19 employee or student to the Alabama Community College System for tracking purposes only.
Close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to specimen collection) until the time the individual is isolated. While masks may be worn, any close exposure for 15 minutes or more will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Close contact should be avoided.
No. At this time, deans are authorized to make decisions about flexible scheduling, modified staffing and telework. Each position has been reviewed to determine if productive telework is a feasible option. In-person attendance is essential for many positions, and COVID-19 is an extraordinary circumstance. After normal operations resume, telework may be approved as a temporary accommodation only after engaging in the interactive process provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Yes, a medical release or a negative COVID-19 test is required to return to Gadsden State campuses after 14 days from onset of symptoms or + COVID test AND 72 hours since resolution of symptoms.
Many more courses are being offered in an online or hybrid format. Online courses do not require any in-person attendance. Online courses can be asynchronous or synchronous. With asynchronous online courses, materials will be available in Blackboard, but students are not required to be online on specific days or at specific times. They can work independently on their own time schedule. With synchronous online courses, classes will be held online on specific days and at specific times. Students will be required to “attend” class virtually through Blackboard Collaborate.
Traditional hybrid courses allow the entire class to attend in-person one day a week and work online for the other class day. Split-hybrid courses divide the students in a class into two groups – one group attends one day a week and studies online for the other class day, and a second group attends on an alternate day. This allows for better social distancing. Students will be provided specific details shortly before classes begin.
Courses may also be offered via live-streaming video – where some of the students are attending in the classroom while others are watching the class live on their devices through Blackboard Collaborate.
All students in the in-person class will be notified that someone in their class has tested positive for COVID-19. Students will be reassured that CDC-recommended guidelines were followed during in-person attendance. All students wore masks and sat facing forward and at least six feet apart on all sides. All surfaces were cleaned in between each class. However, students will be provided with testing information in case they choose to get tested. The classroom will then be closed for at least 24 hours, cleaned and thoroughly disinfected before further use.
It is everyone’s personal responsibility to stay home and contact their physician if they are not feeling well with symptoms such as fever, cough, body aches and shortness of breath. If feeling well and getting out among others, it is everyone’s personal responsibility to wear a face mask, social distance six feet, wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer, and keep hands away from their face.
Because COVID-19 is spread by droplets from the nose and mouth, a face mask must cover both the nose and mouth to be effective.