Spring 2022 Outlook

Feb. 14, 2022 -- President Pemberton's update regarding face coverings

We have been appropriately guided by science and safety throughout the pandemic. I am proud of what we have accomplished and how we have navigated these crazy times together. As I mentioned previously, a number of things are very different now than they were a year ago:

  • Vaccines and boosters are safe, highly preventative in terms of severe illness associated with COVID-19, widely available – including at our own on-campus clinics – and free.
  • N95 and KN95 masks are available and free and LC State has received authorization to become a mask distribution center for the campus community via the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. This means we now have KN95 masks available on campus. (See distribution information below and this CDC article regarding the protection effectiveness of these masks).
  • PCR (Vault) tests continue to be available on campus, and free rapid tests can be ordered via COVIDtests.gov; as well as through insurance reimbursement for individuals who purchase them (We have verified that Costco has rapid tests in stock and our own campus supply is on order and will be arriving soon).

As the above illustrates, the tools we need for individuals to keep themselves, their loved ones, and each other safe are readily available. So, drumroll… mindful of our strong campus vaccination rates, and having reviewed infection rate data regarding Lewiston City wastewater analysis and trends, conferred with Public Health, and sought insights from St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, we believe we can test drive a mask optional/recommended protocol beginning Friday, Feb. 18. Here’s what that means:

  • Wearing face coverings continues to be allowable and is recommended, especially for individuals who are not vaccinated and boosted, per the 2-out-of-3 guidance.
  • Mask-optional means that employees may require masks be worn in their classes and/or offices at their discretion. We are a campus community and, as such, caring for our community members must remain our priority. The rationale for the Feb. 18 start is to allow time to communicate discretionary expectations via the Monday Message, the Student News email, class announcements and canvas course shell postings, etc.
  • We will monitor infection rate data, and should rates spike in response to this test drive and/or another virus variant surge, we will reinstitute the face covering requirement.
  • As always multi-data point monitoring will be ongoing with updates communicated weekly via the Monday Message.

Cynthia L. Pemberton, Ed.D.
President


Jan. 7, 2022

The fall 2021 semester brought several changes to Lewis-Clark State College’s response to and general management of COVID-19. As vaccines became more widely available, the college hosted some on-campus vaccination clinics and, through the semester, the number of vaccinated faculty, staff, and students increased. Free COVID-19 test kits were widely available to the campus community and hundreds of members of the campus community used them. Our campus-based active COVID-19 cases leveled out shortly after the semester began, which coincided with regional case counts. As we continue to track regional, state, and national data and, based on the best scientific information we have, we will implement protocols for the spring 2022 semester that are consistent with a moderate risk level. The recent surge of the omicron COVID-19 variant and the potential exposure our campus community has had to this variant during the winter break has led us to decide that we will start the spring 2022 semester with an indoor face covering requirement. Consistent with past practice, we will continue to monitor national and local data, information sources and recommendations, as well as consult with our colleagues at Public Health regarding our COVID-19 protocols. We'll provide an update on face covering requirements the first of February; and plan to review and reconsider every week to 10 days thereafter.

Classes and Instruction
As always, LC State offers courses through a range of modalities (in-person, hybrid, online, synchronous remote, etc.) to meet the needs of our students. That said, our commitment to offering live, in-person instruction while implementing necessary safety measures remains a top priority. Live/in-person instruction will remain our norm.

Face Coverings
LC State will maintain an indoor face covering requirement as described above. This means face coverings must be worn in classrooms, lab settings, offices, and other indoor spaces. Students, faculty, and staff are expected to carry a face covering when on campus.

COVID-19 Screening
Vault testing kits supplied by the State of Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will be used for weekly surveillance testing beginning in January as we launch the semester. These quick and easy saliva tests can be self-administered with the results reported to the individual and Idaho Public Health. Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of illness should consult their medical provider or use these test kits to determine whether they have COVID-19. LC State will continue to expect people who have symptoms of illness to stay home (or in their campus residence) until they have tested negative for COVID-19 and/or have seen improvement in their symptoms. Participation in some campus events (e.g., athletics) may also require individuals to be tested. These kits will remain available to students and employees (at no cost to them) throughout the semester or as long as supplies last.

COVID-19 Reporting Line
LC State will continue to support a COVID-19 reporting line. Students who have symptoms of illness or who have tested positive for COVID-19 are expected to call 208-792-2002 or email [email protected] to get assistance and directions on when to return to classes, campus jobs, and/or campus events. Employees should call Human Resource Services for assistance.

Vaccines
The college is NOT requiring students to be vaccinated as a condition of enrollment. However, some of our partner agencies – sites that provide internships, practica, apprenticeships, or clinical opportunities – may require vaccinations. While LC State’s commitment to our students and education mission is unwavering, altering the requirements of our partner agencies is not within our purview. Students (as well as college employees) are STRONGLY encouraged to get fully vaccinated. This includes receiving all recommended vaccine doses, boosters, and additional primary shots for people who are immunocompromised. The campus vaccination rate is a key statistic that may enable the college to implement a mask-optional approach later this spring. Vaccination clinics are still available at Public Health – Idaho North Central District. We anticipate hosting some vaccine clinics on campus through CHAS Health. A schedule will be published on the Coronavirus Resource Page shortly after the semester begins and once details are finalized.

Campus Events
The college will continue to offer face-to-face, in-person events along with a number of virtual programs and events. Having several ways to offer these services will enable more students to participate. Plug in to these events and stay updated on opportunities throughout the semester by downloading the Do More app and following the event calendar.

We’ve heard our students who, in vast numbers, challenged us to find ways to continue offering face-to-face classes and even expand the number of them. We know the ongoing pandemic roller coaster has been and is hard, frustrating, maddening, and even exhausting. Be assured that we remain committed to our campus community, its health, safety, the vitality of our education mission, and to you, our students. So, here’s to 2022 and our path forward together. We look forward to seeing you in January. Stay strong, Warriors. Stay strong.

Sincerely,

Cynthia L. Pemberton, Ed.D.
President

Andrew T. Hanson, Ph.D.
Sr. Vice President/Vice President for Student Affairs