At a press briefing yesterday afternoon, Governor Edwards announced new restrictions in response to increased cases of COVID-19 throughout the state. Beginning today, the state will return to a modified Phase Two of the Open Safely LA plan. You will find a copy of his proclamation attached to this memo.
To be clear, the day-to-day operational impact for Bossier Parish Community College is negligible. The return to the Modified Phase Two requires that indoor gatherings be limited to 50% capacity or not more than 75 people in one space (without permission from Dr. Sullivan). Much of the instruction and work done on campus during Phase Three meets these Phase Two requirements. However, our desire to nudge toward normalcy is likely to be thwarted by changing circumstances in this public health crisis.
The example of increased cases following Halloween is instructive and I believe we can expect the Thanksgiving holiday to exacerbate conditions such that the third surge will be longer and more impactful than the second. We should expect to see additional spikes in early/mid-December due to Thanksgiving and more in the weeks following Christmas. This causes us to reflect carefully on how to approach efforts around recruitment for the Spring semester and on our plans should we move back to Phase One before Christmas or in the New Year.
I have asked members of the Executive Council to work with their teams and supervisors to manage each department’s schedule on campus. It is important that we remain vigilant in our mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please remember that masks are required for all public areas on campus and we should be mindful of opportunities to clean our workspaces to help keep everyone safe.
I am working closely with the Executive Council to prepare for any future circumstance that may move us back to a more restrictive phase and we will continue to ensure the health and welfare of our personnel remains our highest priority. I will keep our College community abreast of developments and thank you for your patience and cooperation.