Vax deadline moves up for COCC staff; students set to return Jan. 3rd

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Central Oregon Community College will return to modified in-person learning when classes resume next week, but it will not require students to get COVID vaccination boosters.

COCC employees, however, will have to get vaccinated by February 9th, more than a month earlier than the college had initially expected when it notified staff about the requirements last month.

President Dr. Laurie Chesley updated COCC staff about the changes this week, saying the new vaccination deadline date was mandated by OSHA. 

“A team of your colleagues is working expeditiously on details for the future implementation of the vaccination requirement for COCC employees (including how to report your vaccination status, request any eligible exceptions, provide proof of weekly test results if necessary, etc.),” Chesley said in her email.

As for the students’ return to class, the winter term will look like the fall with about half of the college’s classes being offered in-person. 

Room capacity will be capped at 50% or 100 people – whichever is smaller. 

Masks are still required indoors at all four of the COCC campus.  

But unlike at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, boosters will not be required for students returning to campus. 

Vaccinations have never been required for COCC students as a whole, but in cases where students’ successful program completion is dependent upon their:

  • Participation in (and/or instruction in) clinical or practicum hours at off-campus or on-campus locations, and/or Close contact with actual patients/clients.
    • These programs include: Addiction Studies, Dental Assisting, Early Childhood Education, Licensed Massage Therapist, Medical Assistant, Nursing, Nursing Assistant, Paramedicine and Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Pharmacy Technician, and Veterinary Technician.
  • All Wickiup Hall residential students for the 2021/2022 academic year.

“COCC’s vaccination policies are subject to change and the College’s leadership will certainly consider requiring boosters in the future,” said Jenn Kovitz, COCC’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “In the meantime, COCC has been actively encouraging both students and employees to get boosted as soon as they are eligible.

“We are also in talks with our local public health authorities to offer additional free, on-campus COVID-19 vaccination and booster clinics in early 2022 in order to help make boosters as accessible as possible to our student and employee populations.”

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