COVID-19 Prevention | Response

SWCC COVID-19  Re-opening Plan Document #8
February 1,  2022

Current Status: Effective March 14, 2021, per VCCS Chancellor DuBois, individuals may choose whether or not to wear masks while on campus, in buildings, or at events. Screening guidelines and symptom/exposure reporting remain in place (detailed below). Cleaning guidelines remain active as detailed in Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols.

The mission of Southwest Virginia Community College is to provide quality educational and cultural enrichment opportunities for its community. We have a calling to fulfill this mission while at the same time providing the safest possible environment for our students, faculty, and staff. While things don’t look the same as they have in the past, the College will continue to provide the highest possible educational opportunities to the communities of Southwest Virginia. This document provides some guidelines for this work.

General Guidelines

All decisions related to the reopening plan and the pandemic response are under the purview of the College President.  To assist in the creation and implementation of policy, the President has named the College’s Administrative Cabinet, which is comprised of both faculty and staff, to serve as the COVID-19 Advisory Team.

Until such time as the College President suspends the "Re-opening Plan," the College will continue to operate under its guidelines.  Adaptions may be made as directed by the College President.

Southwest Virginia Community College will implement a short-term response plan if a COVID-19 infected person has been confirmed to have been on campus within the last five days.  In the event of a known positive case, the following actions will be taken:

The Facilities Director shall determine if closing the building or parts of the building is necessary.

Monitoring the situation to determine if longer term closures are necessary.

Complete the DOL form via VDH if more than two people test positive in a 14 day period.

Employees will be notified of actual or potential exposure within 24 hours.

The CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation will be followed.  The current CDC guidelines may be found here:

SWCC’s executive staff will be responsible for communicating  with students, faculty, staff, and local communities in a reasonable fashion.  This responsibility shall include all information involving short and long-term disruptions of service and incidents of possible COVID-19 exposure. The following guidelines will govern communication surrounding the pandemic:

All communication must adhere to the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  In circumstances where a confirmed case has been on campus, the college must take reasonable steps to maintain the confidentiality of the student, faculty or staff member.

All communication must be approved by the College President and may be disseminated internally by any executive staff member or externally by the Director of Strategic Communications.

All communications will be posted and archived on the College’s COVID-19 response webpage.

The guidelines contained throughout the Re-opening Plan are based upon the most current information that the College has.  Should new information become available, the plan will be revised.  All changes to the plan will be emailed to College employees and posted on the COVID-19 Response page for students and members of the community.

To assist with this information gathering, The Office of Institutional Research shall compile a report each day that reviews total cases and new cases in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, and Tazewell County.  It shall also include the total number of new cases for the states of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee. It shall be sent to the Senior Staff and COVID-19 Advisory Team each day in order to allow for the surveillance of local health conditions.

Screening Guidelines

Faculty, staff, and students who come to campus should ask themselves the following questions each day:

Do I have new or worsening onset of any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, chills, body aches, fatigue, headache, loss of taste/smell, eye drainage, congestion that cannot be attributed to another health condition?

Have I been directly exposed to someone being tested for COVID-19 or who has symptoms compatible with COVID-19? And/Or Have I been directly exposed to someone being tested for COVID-19 or who has symptoms compatible with COVID-19, when I was NOT wearing CDC-recommended PPE while in a health care setting?

Have I been told by a health professional that I have tested positive for COVID-19?

If a student, faculty, staff member, or guest to any of SWCC’s sites answers YES to any of these screening questions, that person must stay home and not come to campus. Furthermore, he or she should take the following actions:

Any student who reports a suspected or confirmed case or who answers “YES” to a health screening question will be required to report that information to the Dean of Students.  The dean will then refer the student to the Health Department in the student’s county of residence.

If an employee answers “Yes” to any of the above questions, they must contact their immediate supervisor and the Associate VP for Human Resources either via telephone or e-mail. The Associate VP for Human resources can be reached at or 276.964.7389. The employee will be referred to the Health Department in their county of residence.

The contact numbers for each health department are as follows:

Buchanan County: 276-935-4591
Russell County: 276-889-7621
Tazewell County:  276-988-5585
Dickenson County: 276-926-4979

Additionally, if a student or employee develops any of these symptoms while on campus, they must leave campus immediately. People who have reason to believe that they are infected with a contagious disease of public health significance have an ethical and legal obligation to conduct themselves in accordance with such knowledge in order to protect themselves and others.

A daily email reminder of this requirement will be sent to all students and employees each day.

Guidelines for Students

Students will find that classes are available in several different modes: online with regular meeting times, online without regular meeting times, part online and part face-to-face, hyflex, and fully face-to-face.

Students who show symptoms of COVID-19 must avoid coming to campus and should see a health care provider as soon as possible.

It is inevitable that some students will contract COVID-19, despite the prudent precautions undertaken by the College.  Each student must educate his or herself to the risks involved in class attendance and make decisions accordingly.  Any student in a high-risk group, should consider taking only online courses until the crisis passes.

International student considerations (i.e.COVOD-19 travel health risks, CDC returning travelers guidelines):

The Office of the Registrar serves as the point of contact for all International Students. Southwest Virginia Community College adheres to the guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which is a unit within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that oversees the F-1 international student visa program. However, because of the changing array of travel restrictions, students should refer to their local embassy’s website through the U.S. Department of State for any updates about visa issuance. Also, the Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) websites provide information about current travel restrictions to the United States.

Additionally, any individual - student, employee, contractor, or visitor - who has travelled internationally must remain off campus for 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. and should follow CDC guidelines regarding staying at home and monitoring for symptoms.

Expectations for Online Teaching

Consistent practice in course design and management are helpful for students in an online environment.  As more classes transition online and faculty who have never taught using a distance format prepare for this mode of instruction, a list of best practices and expectations has been provided.  While each class is unique, faculty are expected to adhere to these guidelines unless modifications are approved by their dean.


  • Post a minimum of 2 Announcements each week – consider one at the beginning of the week to remind students of due dates and expectations, and another near mid-week to clarify any information needed and/or encourage your students.
  • Review students that have not logged-in each week and use the early alert tool in Navigate to email them/notify a Success Advisor.
  • Respond to students within 24-48 hours, or by the end of the day on Monday if they message you over the weekend.


  • Upload in the “Syllabus” tab. (If copying from another course please ensure that your Syllabus is up-to-date.)

About Your Teacher:

  • Provide your contact information, preferred communication method, etc. on this tab.

Weekly module format:

  • Even if units run for multiple weeks, plan the class weekly, beginning each module on the same day each week.
  • Use scaffolding and sequencing to determine your content grouping. Do not close modules once they are completed – they should be left open for students to review as needed to support their learning.

Discussion Board:

  • Use an introductory discussion board to introduce yourself to students and require them to introduce themselves appropriately. This should be due and graded before the last day to drop a class to help inform your communication with Admissions regarding student participation.
  • Respond to each student and consider requiring them to respond to 2 peers.


  • Post all graded assignments in Canvas even if the assignment is in class.
  • Provide grade and feedback to student within a maximum of one week after due date.

Due dates:

  • Create assignments and quizzes in Canvas and use the due date setting. This auto-populates the Syllabus tab and Course Calendar for the students.

Best Practices to Consider:

  • We do not recommend using the Canvas Inbox system for your preferred method of contact as it operates independent of the email system. VCCS student email through MySouthwest is the preferred method for the institution. However, non-protected information can be communicated through other means.
  • Consider holding virtual office hours using Zoom or phone. Post those in the About Your Teacher tab.
  • Review your course in “student view” to ensure that course layout flows in a consistent and logical format.
  • Use Discussions to increase student engagement by creating opportunities for student-to-student interaction, and student-to-instructor interaction. This will also nurture an open and supportive community.
  • Check that all of your links or uploaded course files work correctly. These can be compromised during course copies and due to other technology errors.
  • Use Canvas Studio and Zoom to create short video lectures and announcements for your students.
  • Make sure your assessments link clearly to your learning objectives and allow for different learning styles and demonstration of mastery of the content.
  • Include different types of activities and assessments in order to promote learning achievement and increase engagement, motivation, and self-efficacy. (i.e. Don’t do all multiple-choice or all essay or all project-based assessments.)
  • Make sure that any materials you use meet digital accessibility requirements. Be mindful of the ability to adapt materials based on accommodations needed by students with disabilities.
  • Know when to ask for help! You are the subject matter experts, so be sure to reach out to the Director of Distance Learning and Canvas Administrator to let us help identify the best technology tools and resources to build your courses.

Department of Labor and Industry Addendum

1.     Positions at SWCC have been classified according to risk as follows:

a.     High Risk: Clinical Instructors, Clinical Coordinators, Program Heads for medical programs

b.     Medium Risk: All remaining positions at SWCC not mentioned in the high-risk category

2.     Per our re-opening plan, any employee who is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is not allowed to report to work or must leave work immediately if they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and must notify their supervisor and HR of their symptoms. Any reports of a medical nature related to COVID-19 received by SWCC will be kept in a designated medical file for the employee, subcontractor, contract employee, and/or temporary employee in a locked location. An individual may request to review their medical file.

3.     The VP of Finance and Administration or their designee will discuss with subcontractors and companies that provide contract or temporary employees about the importance of employees or other persons who are known or suspected to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus of staying home before any work begins on campus. Any discussions with the aforementioned individuals will be documented and kept on file in the office of the VP of Finance and Administration.

4.     Employees will be allowed to return to work based on the current CDC symptom-based recommendations and direction from the Cumberland Plateau Department of Health.