Health & Safety
FALL 2020 Campus Reopening Plan
This plan has been reviewed by the State Council of Higher Education and has been found to be compliant in containing the required components of the "Higher Education Reopening Guidance," which was developed in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health.
Health & Safety
Statesman Safe & Secure was created to assure that the safety of Richard Bland College students, staff and faculty is the top priority. While life on-campus will be different, the goal is to be safe and secure.
The Safe & Secure Taskforce oversees the plan for reopening and ensuring a safe environment at RBC adhering to Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC guidelines. Taskforce chair, Jeff Brown, Director of Campus Safety & Chief of Police, is in contact with the Virginia Department of Health (Crater Health District) weekly and if needed will move to daily reporting and evaluations of the campus environment. The Crater Health District rep (listed below) has visited campus several times to work with the Safe & Secure team.
Deborah E. Whitacre
VDH – Emergency Preparedness & Response
Crater Health District
301 Halifax Street
Petersburg, VA 23803
All RBC students (commuter & residential) will receive Safe & Secure COVID training at orientation or online. Training, conducted by the Student Success team, will occur prior to student move-in and the beginning of on-campus classes. RBC students, staff, faculty and community stakeholders will receive updates on the campus environment, new guidelines and regulations, scheduling and well-being. Communication tools include:
- RBC website
- Newsworthy e-blasts
- Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
- Digital signage on-campus
- News releases
All emergency notifications to the College community will be administered through RBCAlert. This comprehensive system consists of several notification technologies including:
- Text messaging
- Voice telephone messaging
- Outdoor siren and public address
- Webpage with servers on and off campus
- E2Campus desktop client for computers
- Social media
- Alertus Beacons
- Computer interrupt
- Email to registered users
- Flyers or similar posting
- Fire alarms
Emergency Notifications are defined as an alert notice provided to inform the campus community about a “significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and guests.” Emergency notifications are made by the Director of Campus Safety and Chief of Police. Emergency notification alert notice(s) may be posted on the College’s website and will be sent via email and text message.
Prior to activating an emergency notification, the authorized personnel will take into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification, and initiate the applicable systems. Additional information can be found at: http://www.rbc.edu/campus-police-safety-security/rbc-alert/.
As COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations change, the College will adjust plans as needed to protect the health and wellness of the RBC campus community.
All RBC departments including; Academics, Student Success, Facilities, Residential Life, Human Resources, Legal Services, IT, Safety, and Communications have developed specific plans to support the reopening of campus that adhere to Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC guidelines. Heading into the fall semester, RBC’s leadership team is confident that students, faculty and staff will be able to continue to work together, adapting to an ever-changing environment.
Shared Commitment to Health
Together as Statesmen, everyone has the responsibility to cooperate, respect and work together to keep the RBC community safe. Students, faculty and staff must wear masks indoors and in shared spaces, maintain social distance, practice good hygiene, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, and self-quarantine if necessary.
All RBC students (commuter & residential) will receive Safe & Secure COVID training at orientation or online. Training, conducted by the Student Success team, will occur prior to student move-in and the beginning of on-campus classes.
Staff and faculty will also receive COVID training online prior to the beginning of on-campus classes.
Everyone on-campus will be provided with a personal protective equipment kit. Classrooms, residential and other campus spaces have been modified to help protect health and safety.
Safety & Communications
- Campus police will continue to protect the well-being of students, staff, faculty, and guests at RBC while working closely with all departments to ensure adherence to all protocols, including:
- Established shutdown protocols based on recommendations from Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC
- Agreements established with VDH (Crater Health District), Patient First and Southside Regional Medical Center for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and related services, i.e. training, flu clinics/shots
- Disinfection equipment (foggers) purchased
- Ensure security of buildings, students and staff at all times
- Social norm campaign created to educate and serve as a reminder of the importance of the use of PPE and social distancing
- Informational signs and posters placed throughout campus
- Videos and social media platforms to share safe and secure campaign
Richard Bland College will provide personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to students, faculty and staff as they return to campus. These kits will include:
- Washable face coverings
- Hand sanitizer
- Information packets
Tracking, Testing, Tracing
In an effort to prevent COVID outbreaks and spread, Richard Bland College is working with the Crater Health District, Southside Regional Medical Center and Patient First for COVID-19 symptom tracking, testing and contact tracing based on the recommendations from Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC. With the goal of early identification and prevention of a second outbreak, the College is dedicated to keeping the RBC community safe and healthy.
All students, staff and faculty are required to self-monitor daily for COVID-19 symptoms, report any COVID symptoms to Human Resources, Student Success or Residential Life, and self-quarantine if necessary. IR Infrared Digital Non-Contact Thermometers are available throughout campus and the Statesman Touchless Temperature Check station located in the library for daily checks. Commuter students, staff and faculty must stay home if symptomatic or are running a fever of 100.4°F or above. Residential students with symptoms will be moved to dedicated rooms reserved for quarantine and self-isolation.
The College will refer symptomatic students, staff and faculty to the following fixed testing sites in the Petersburg area as recommended by the Crater Health District:
Central Virginia Health Services
(FQHC – FREE)
321C Poplar Drive, Petersburg
Monday morning: 10am – noon and Thursday afternoon: 1:30pm – 3:30pm
804-733-5591 to register – Drive thru
1200 West Washington St., Petersburg
Wednesday evenings from 6pm – 7:30pm
804-863-1652 Option 1 to register (FREE) – Drive thru
The College will track all students, staff and faculty reporting COVID symptoms, highly recommend that those with symptoms be tested for COVID and immediately report all positive COVID cases to the Virginia Department of Health (Crater Health District). Contact tracing will be provided by the Crater Health District for residential students and commuter students, staff and faculty living in the Crater Health District region. Contact tracing for those living outside the Crater region will be handled by the VDH Health Districts for each designated locality.
All decisions about implementing campus outbreak strategies (e.g., on-campus class suspensions, on-campus event cancellations, other on-campus activities) will be made in collaboration with VDH (Crater District Health) and CDC recommendations. Richard Bland College is prepared to take all classes online (as implemented in spring 2020) in the event of campus closure.
No Community Transmission
Richard Bland College will plan and prepare during this time by reviewing and updating emergency operations plans in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health (Crater District Health). Efforts to monitor absenteeism through “Dropout Detective” software will be used. Absenteeism reports will be filed on a regular basis and provided to learner mentors for follow-up action. Large increases in absenteeism will be reported to VDH (Crater Health District) to determine potential trends. Police and security personnel will serve as “hall monitors,” to walk academic buildings and grounds to ensure hygiene protocols are followed and supplies are sufficient.
Minimal to Moderate Community Transmission
Upward trends in absenteeism will be reported to VDH (Crater Health District). The Safe & Secure Team, in consultation with VDH (Crater Health District), will determine if gatherings should be canceled and if academic courses in-seat be modified or suspended. Other social distancing strategies, to include increased space between desks (over 6 ft.), Grab & Go only dining and additional heightened disinfecting will be implemented as needed.
Substantial Community Transmission
The Safe & Secure Team, in consultation with VDH (Crater Health District), will determine if there is a substantial transmission of COVID-19 within the college community. RBC will follow VDH guidance to administer the best course of action, which may include extended in-seat suspension, event cancellation and College shutdown. Strategic efforts to continue essential services will be implemented.
Fundamental Safety Measures
Members of the campus community must follow social distancing guidelines and preventative measures as recommended by Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC while on-campus. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Self-monitor daily for COVID-19 symptoms
- Stay home from class, work or other gatherings if you are symptomatic or are running a fever of 100.4°F or above
- Practice social distancing measures, remaining at least 6 ft. apart from others at all times
- Use face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19
- Clean and sanitize personal items such as phones, keyboards, desks and workspaces regularly
Richard Bland College has modified classrooms, offices and student residences to promote social distancing measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including:
- No more than six students per suite in residential buildings
- Classrooms rearranged to adhere to social distancing guidelines
- Seating in the library and café consistent with recommendations from Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC
- Sneeze guards installed across campus, including lab benches
- Residential Assistants (RA’s) and Residence Life Coordinators (RLC’s) trained to ensure that all recommendations from Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC are being followed in the dorms
- Campus gatherings limited based on Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC guidelines
- Educational campaign will be initiated to inform and prepare students, staff and faculty on how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19
Good Hygiene and Heightened Cleaning & Disinfection
Together as Statesmen, everyone has the responsibility to cooperate, respect and work together to keep the RBC community safe. The following cleanliness and enhanced sanitation measures have been initiated throughout the RBC campus:
- Students, faculty and staff must wear masks indoors and in shared spaces
- Everyone on-campus will be provided with a personal protective equipment kit at the start of the semester that includes:
- Washable face coverings
- Hand sanitizer
- Information packets
- Maintain social distance of at least 6ft. at all times
- Practicing good hygiene signs, hand sanitizer stations, and directional tiles installed in all buildings
- Training provided to students, faculty and staff on maintaining a clean environment
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, report any COVID symptoms to HR, Student Success or Residential Life, and self-quarantine if necessary
- IR Infrared Digital Non-Contact Thermometers located throughout campus and the Statesman Touchless Temperature Check station located in the library for daily checks
- Classrooms, residential and other campus spaces have been rearranged for social distancing and sneeze guards installed as needed
- Clean and sanitize personal items such as phones, keyboards, desks and workspaces regularly – all students, staff and faculty are required to clean personal spaces (including classrooms) on arrival and departure. There will be a 45-minute break between each class for cleaning to occur. Additional cleaning supplies available upon request
- Deep cleaning of all buildings will take place every Friday
- Contract with ServPro established to disinfect rooms of any student, staff or faculty who tests positive or exposed to COVID-19
Quarantine and Isolation
Residence Life staff will monitor residential students for adherence to safety and health standards determined by Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC. When residential students test positive or become symptomatic for COVID-19, they will be placed in separate housing. The College has dedicated rooms reserved for quarantine and self-isolation. An agreement has been established with Days Inn (Prince George County) to provide additional rooms for students requiring quarantine or isolation if needed. Students in quarantine or isolation will be monitored by staff and have meals delivered.
Agreements have been established with VDH (Crater Health District), Patient First and Southside Regional Medical Center for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and related services, i.e. training, flu clinics/shots. Students testing positive with COVID-19 will be isolated by VDH order.
Student Success will provide support and arrange for remote classwork. Commuter students who test positive or become symptomatic for COVID-19 will be required to remain off-campus and convert to all online classes.
Employees who test positive for COVID-19 are expected to isolate at home until they are symptom-free and test negative. Human Resources has informed all staff and faculty about COVID leave options and guidance.
Visitation and gathering guidelines established are consistent with Virginia’s Public Health Guidelines for Higher Education, VDH and CDC.
For Those Unable to Return to Campus
Students who are not able to return to campus due to vulnerability to COVID-19 including international students with travel concerns, are encouraged to work directly with their Learner Mentor and Student Success team for guidance and assistance in transitioning to all online classes.
Richard Bland College’s mission is to actively engage every student in the learning process and to deliver a consistently high-quality educational experience. Given the nature of current COVID circumstances, honoring this commitment to students will require additional effort and support from every member of the RBC team, employees and students alike. No one knows what the future holds, but RBC is and will remain committed to students and their success, even as the College makes every effort to safeguard the health and safety of the campus community.
Stigma regarding COVID hurts all by creating fear and anger instead of focusing on the disease. Anti-stigma training will be required for all students, staff and faculty prior to the start of fall classes. Training will be provided by Student Success and Human Resources following the anti-stigma guidelines developed by the CDC.
Importance of Being On-Campus
Richard Bland College offers an expansive academic menu of well-defined pathways and learning experiences leading to high-demand fields, and all radiating from a curriculum constructed on the soft skills that define the liberal arts experience: critical thinking, written communication, analytical reasoning, civic engagement and oral communication. A close connection between professor and student foster these qualities.
For many students, RBC is home. The campus provides a college experience and environment supporting one size fits one learning and access to critical services. Many RBC students want to return to in-person learning, but many students also need flexibility, just as faculty and staff do. Flexibility is complex, yet essential to managing the uncertainty ahead. Richard Bland College is committed to ensuring students that their academic journey is not interrupted, whether on-campus or online.
The RBC Safe & Secure team encourages you to review all current information available for Health & Safety, Students & Families, Faculty & Staff, Alumni & Friends, and Frequently Asked Questions. Guidelines and recommendations are changing, so please visit this site often to view updated information. If you have questions, please click the box below to submit.