COVID-19 Update: Faculty
Latest Update March 25, 2020 6 p.m.
Connecting with a Doctor Virtually
Members can use LiveHealth Online at no cost until further notice, and cost-sharing for phone or video telehealth visits is also waived. You can download the free Sydney Care mobile app for a quick and easy way to evaluate symptoms. If needed, the app will connect you to a doctor through a LiveHealth Online video chat session or a Virtual Care text session (the first text session is free; additional text sessions cost $19) right from your phone. The doctor you connect with can help you understand whether you’re at risk for COVID-19 and let you know whether you need to visit a local healthcare provider in person for COVID-19 testing. You can also register/log in to anthem.com/ca and connect to LiveHealth Online.
If you need a COVID-19 test, it’s covered. Your Anthem health plan covers COVID-19 testing and the visit where you get the test with no out-of-pocket costs. If you’re diagnosed wit COVID-19, your Anthem health plan benefits apply to treatments.
Prescriptions and Mail-Order Pharmacy
Members can refill most prescriptions early. Anthem is relaxing early prescription refill limits, where permitted, for members who wish to receive a 30-day supply of most maintenance medications early.
Additionally, you should talk to your doctor about whether changing from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply is appropriate. You can get your 90-day supply through Anthem’s home-delivery pharmacy for most medications. Sign up online, or call the Pharmacy Member Services number on your ID card if you want to learn more.
Counseling services through our Aetna EAP benefit is free to all our employees and their families. Please visit this link for information on how to utilize this benefit. You may also request a televideo session instead of a face-to-face visit. If you would like to see a behavioral health provider under your Anthem medical plan, see instructions on how to find one in your network here. An office visit has a $30 copay on the HMO plan, $20 copay on the Deductible HMO and 20 percent coinsurance on the PPO plan for in-network services. Please see our HMO Plan Summary, Deductible HMO Plan Summary and PPO Plan Summary for more details.
March 18, 2020 3 p.m.
Every hiker knows the feeling of reaching the crest of a ridge and then discovering two ridges still looming above. Yesterday we confirmed that this path of remote learning is a much longer climb than we envisioned when we started the trail. Our decision to finish the full semester with remote instruction will certainly bring new challenges, and it will be inevitable that we will feel the absence of many things that make our final weeks with seniors memorable, including sports contests, research symposia, concerts, honors presentations, departmental celebrations, and many more. It is easy to count the losses.
So three responses. First, we can still find creative ways to affirm and commemorate our students' accomplishments. The Provost's Office welcomes suggestions from you about how we can celebrate our students through remote means in the weeks ahead. Second, we can find ways of being together ourselves. Starting next week, we will be offering some remote Faculty Forums. Your meals may need to be home-cooked and our "table talk" may be in Zoom chat rooms, but the presentations and conversations can be ways of caring for one another, breaking down the isolation, and nourishing our will to persevere.
And third, let's remember that our choices should not be about our losses but about our concern and compassion for others. Yesterday, Jeff Schloss called the attention of the Academic Senate to an article by Andy Crouch, who sees our social distancing less about self-preservation than about love:
Provost's Office "Drop-In" Hours
Now that your venture with remote instruction has begun, you may have identified a few challenges that need to be resolved. Or you may simply have questions about how certain practices or policies are being adapted for our new scenario. If you have questions about the academic program, issues related to our move to remote learning, or other matters that one of us in the Provost's Office might be able to help with, you can "drop in" to a Zoom office hour on Thursday (12:00-1:00 p.m.) and Friday (12:00- 1:00 p.m.). Patti and Eileen will be "in the office" at this time. Our chocolate supply is mostly depleted, but they will be happy to offer an encouraging word and useful information.
Zoom Tip of the Day
If you record your Zoom class, we encourage you to save it on your own computer and not on the Zoom iCloud. After you conclude your Zoom meeting, it will take several minutes to "process" the video. When it's done, you will find a new folder on your computer with several files all related to the recording: a video, an audio only file, a text file of the chat, etc.
Thanks to Kyndal Vogt in the library for creating a short guide to help faculty determine how to navigate fair use and copyright regulations as they post material to Canvas and make resources available to students. You will find the guide here
As President Beebe observed on the phone call last night, we have not yet made a determination as to whether Mayterm will be offered in person or through remote means, still, we want to be prepared. Manuela Long will be contacting faculty scheduled for Mayterm to discern whether they would interested in continuing with the course should remote learning be necessary.
Just a reminder that Scott Lisea has invited us to join in a remote chapel every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (today's speaker is former chaplain Bart Tarman) and to keep reading the promise of Psalm 91: "I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress. My God, in Him I will trust.'" See the link at www.westmont.edu.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Limited Dining Common Hours
8:30am - 10am | 11:30am - 1pm | 5pm - 6:30pm
At this time of heightened concern, it is important that each of us monitor for signs of respiratory illness and stay home if sick per CDC guidelines.
If you have been in close contact with an individual with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, based on guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), employees are required to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms. Staff members, please contact your direct supervisor.
If you have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or the symptoms seem serious or are of concern, EMAIL or CALL your health care provider for advice. (Do not go into a health facility without first contacting for advice). Consider using your Anthem Telehealth benefits.
For symptoms, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html.
At this time, there are no known reported cases of COVID-19 at Westmont. It is expected that all healthy staff will come to work.
If a case of COVID-19 directly related to a campus community member is confirmed, in cooperation with the local health department Westmont will immediately determine how best to address any increased risk and communicate to employees.
Staff should follow the college's guidance on travel and return to campus. Please speak with your supervisor regarding expectations and if there is an option to work remotely during a period of required isolation due to travel.
Employees should use accrued paid time off for the time they are required to remain at home related to COVID-19. Employees that are required to remain at home but do not have sufficient PTO should contact Human Resources by phone, or email to assist them.
Counseling services through our Aetna EAP benefit is free to all of our employees and their families. Please visit this link for information on how to utilize this benefit, you may also request to have a televideo session instead of a face to face visit..
If you would like to see a behavioral health provider under your Anthem medical plan, instructions on how to find one in your network can be found here. An office visit has a $30 copay on the HMO plan, and 20% coinsurance on the PPO plan for in network services. Please see our Anthem medical plan summaries located on the Benefits Information page for more details.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
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 and immediately throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Contact Esther Gilbert in Payroll
- Am I required to come into work if I believe I might have been directly exposed to COVID-19?
- Am I required to come into work?
- What do I do if I need to self-isolate for fourteen days due to business or personal travel?
- If I have to remain in quarantine, am I required to use my accrued leave?
- What are my options if I have additional concerns about my well-being or that of my family?
- What steps should I take to stay healthy per CDC?
- How will staff be paid if they are not able to submit their normal timesheet?
March 17, 2020- 9 a.m.
Office of the Provost
Remote Learning Update
Each day the Provost's Office is distributing a briefing to faculty with advice and support for the transition of classes to online learning. The messages identify some of the best short articles and counsel from remote learning specialists around the country, and offer webinars for our faculty helping them refine their remote teaching skills. There's advice about Zoom etiquette, videos about teaching methods, and updates about support services, like the Registrar's Office and the library. This morning's message reminds faculty that students will be reaching out to them to schedule advising appointments in anticipation of registration for fall 2020 courses. When students email the professors, the professors will schedule advising appointments and let them know their preferred form of remote communication (i.e., phone calls, Zoom sessions, etc.).
Michelle Hardley, our Registrar, is informing students today that the Records Office will remain open from 9:00 to 1:00 on Monday through Friday. Our Records Coordinator will be in the office each day, and other staff members will be rotating their presence or working remotely from 8:30 to 4:30. Registration will still take place on April 7-9 via WebAdvisor. Students will need clearance from their advisors before they can register. Registration for Mayterm 2020 is now open via WebAdvisor.
A Closing Prayer
On Sunday, in several remote church services, ministers read a "Prayer for a Pandemic," written for this moment by Cameron Bellm. We close with a few lines: "May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake . . . May we who settle in for a quarantine at home, remember those who have no home. As fear grips our country, let us choose love. During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen."
Faculty information addressing three questions:
-When will my student hear from faculty?
- What about internships?
- What about registration for classes?
March 13, 2020: New Music Department Faculty Update:
Dear Music Students and Music Colleagues,
Doubtless you have all received the messages from our administration detailing the circumstances of the college’s plans to move to online instruction through April 12. Doubtless as well you have lots of questions about how this affects our music making! I do not have all the answers right at this moment, but will be formulating plans over the next few days to assist with continuing instruction over the next month. Rest assured, instruction, practice, and learning will continue in this period of a temporary shift of methodology! You can always check the Westmont website for updates from official voices.
The full-time music faculty will be meeting on Tuesday afternoon to work out best practices going forward. I will communicate their recommendations to you after that meeting. In the meantime, here are things you can do to be productive:
- Orchestra members: Your music is all on the google drive or will be posted there shortly. We just received permission from Disney to put up pdf’s of Cinderella, so that will appear soon.
- Choir members: Deane Chapel is accessible if you need to pick up your folder. If you need anything sent to you, please let me know. We will do much of our learning by listening in the coming weeks, but you will also probably want your music.
- Private lessons: The music building is open if you need to come by and get music or instruments from your locker. If you are not returning to campus and need some music in particular, let me know and I will try to assist. You might also ask your private teacher first though. If you are cut-off from your instrument, see if a local school, music shop, or church can help temporarily with a loaner!
- Study: Can be done even in quarantine! I am sure you will be receiving assignments from your instructors for every class. Be disciplined in following up on those and on your general reading for each class.
- E-Mail: a relatively modern form of communication that most faculty members and some students still use. Communicate!
- Share ideas: I've created a Google Doc that will allow you to suggest ideas and post general concerns that will help us plan. You might consider using this instead of sending out individual emails for now to make things more efficient. If you have specific personal issues or questions, please feel free to email me directly at any time.
A separate email will be coming out soon to all those involved regarding our summer tours. They are still scheduled to happen.
Be safe, be well, wash your hands, and practice, in that order,
As you have learned today, Westmont is moving to remote instruction beginning Monday, March 16, through Monday, April 13.
All offices will remain open, and staff should report to work as scheduled. The college is taking additional measures to clean and sanitize all public spaces and areas. We’ll restrict access to communal spaces and residential living spaces, and we’ve canceled all college and athletic events through April 13.
If you have any questions about your schedule, please talk to your supervisor. If you or anyone in your household becomes ill, please stay home until you are all well. The CDC website includes specific information on symptoms.
See below for some frequently asked questions about the college’s response for employees.
The Westmont website will contain general, campus-wide updates, and posts will occur daily at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Please check the website regularly to keep up with the latest news and click on the link for staff.
As of today, there have been no reported COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County or Kern County. Our campus remains safe and clear as well. As you continue to research information regarding COVID-19, please be aware that numerous malicious websites prey on our fears, and before clicking on any links to information related to this outbreak, verify their veracity, and do your best to detect phishing scams in your inbox.
Thank you for remaining diligent and committed to your role. Your service makes a difference to our students, parents, friends and supporters of the college and we need you.
Please be well and safe and stay healthy.
Dear Westmont Community,
Each day presents new information about COVID-19, and we've been meeting and planning about the situation and will continue this evening so we can develop a careful and thoughtful plan addressing all the dynamics involved for our students, faculty and staff. We consider the health and safety of our community to be one of our top priorities.
We'll post information tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, at noon, about how we intend to complete the semester. Our announcement will include information about students returning to campus from spring break, the completion of our spring semester, and activities that correspond with these plans, including athletic events and Commencement. We'll specifically address each group on campus–students, faculty and staff– so everyone will know what to expect and how to plan accordingly.
We invite you to join us in praying for everyone affected by COVID-19 and for the health and safety of our Westmont community throughout the world.
On behalf of the Executive Team,