Coronavirus (COVID-19)

May 19, 2020 April 2, 2020 Student Update March 27, 2020 Student Update March 16, 2020 Staff Update March 16, 2020 Student Update March 12, 2020 March 4, 2020 March 2, 2020

While recognizing that we are in an ever-changing environment, PNCA intends to return to in-person instruction this fall, including access to classrooms, studios and facilities. We are also monitoring the potential to resume instruction this summer if Governor Brown lifts her order for the closure of all colleges and universities, currently in effect until mid-June. Engaging various departments and expertise from within the college, PNCA will form an Expanded COVID-19 Planning Group to identify best practices specific to COVID-19 protocols to remain in compliance with the health and safety guidelines required by the State of Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority.

Even though we intend to return to in-person instruction in the fall, PNCA, like many of our AICAD colleagues and our neighboring colleges and universities, is developing contingency plans for the fall semester. Many options are being considered, such as delaying the start of the fall semester, blending remote and in-person classes, and adjusting class schedules to allow for greater physical distancing once students are back on campus.

This week, PNCA received a planning matrix tool issued by the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities which is currently under review by the Oregon Health Authority. This matrix has been issued as a reference tool to colleges and universities with proposed guidelines to inform the development of their contingency plans. These guidelines for the Phase One reopening of Oregon’s Colleges and Universities are still under review by the Oregon Health Authority and have not yet been approved. Phase Two guidelines are still under discussion within the Oregon Health Authority and the review process has not yet begun.

On March 23rd, Governor Brown ordered all colleges and universities to move to online instruction through at least June 13th. While PNCA has begun developing contingency scenarios, our plans will comply with Governor Brown’s emerging strategy to reopen Oregon and will be informed by guidance from the Oregon Health Authority. Currently, no date has been set by Governor Brown or the Oregon Health Authority for the Phase One reopening of Oregon’s Colleges and Universities.

Our priority is to assure the safety of our students, faculty and staff. PNCA hopes to announce the plans for the college’s fall semester by the end of June.

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PNCA has heard from students on Homeroom, by email and through social media, and we want to address some of the questions we’ve received so far.

First, we want to acknowledge the hard work that PNCA faculty and staff have been putting in over the last few weeks to find creative and effective ways to transition the curriculum into an online environment. This isn’t what anyone expected or wanted, but all of us here at PNCA have been going above and beyond to make these final few weeks of the semester successful for students.

Here are some answers to the questions we’ve been receiving:

Will the semester be postponed?

No, the last few weeks of the semester will not be postponed. Senior BFA students and second-year MFA students have been working toward a Spring 2020 graduation for years, and we are determined to support and celebrate their achievements. We are making plans for virtual thesis exhibitions and online events to acknowledge Commencement. Our intention is to hold a full and formal Commencement ceremony in December, too.

Also, we are adding a “pass/no record covid” option for those students who would prefer that to a traditional letter grade. We are also looking at extending the “Incomplete” period for students who want to finish their coursework beyond the end of the semester. Details about the grading option and “Incomplete” period extension will be announced soon.

Faculty and staff are working diligently to ensure a successful completion of this semester. Please contact your faculty, advisor, ASC, or Student Life if you need additional support.

Will there be any refunds?

Studio rental fees are being refunded at a prorated amount for BFA and MFA students who have been assigned studios. Locker fees will be refunded.

Also, payment plans have been deferred to allow students more time to pay on their accounts. Students with payment plans received a deferral form to complete and send back to Student Accounts. Students will be allowed to register for the fall semester if they have completed the form or their account is in good standing.

What about the students in Art House?

Students have not been evicted from Art House, and as a result, many are still living there. Art House is their home while they are attending PNCA. They have been asked not to gather in the common areas and to adhere to all COVID-19 best practices. The facilities manager has arranged for frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and surfaces. The RAs are still living in the building and planning safe and engaging activities for residents.

We have arranged for students in Art House to be able to order a meal from Ramona for delivery on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They have received a separate communication about this. Any student with a PNCA ID can get a free lunch from Yo.

What about additional mental health counseling?

Students who have used up their ten free sessions may appeal for additional free counseling. Speak to your PNCA therapist about this possibility.

Is the administration talking to other art colleges about what they are doing?

Yes, PNCA is in frequent contact with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), the Oregon Alliance of Independent College and Universities (OAICU), the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Does anyone at PNCA have COVID-19?

There are no confirmed cases of the virus associated with PNCA at this point, but you should still remain very careful. Continue to practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. The Oregon Health Authority has predicted that we have not yet seen the peak of the infection. We realize everyone is anxious right now. The immediate future is uncertain and we’re working hard to be flexible, accommodating, and supportive of students and the entire PNCA community.

Please take good care of yourselves and each other. Continue to send any questions and concerns to Student Life at studentlife@pnca.edu.

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As a result of the decision to deliver all classes online for the rest of the semester, PNCA is planning to issue prorated refunds of studio fees to both BFA and MFA students who had studios as part of their programs.

While the details are still being worked out, the refunds will cover the period of time from March 20 through the end of the semester (May 17). Once we have a better understanding of how COVID-19 may affect our summer operations, we will provide more information on summer access to studios.

Additionally, all students using PNCA’s payment plan system have been offered extensions on their payments. We hope the extra time will help students weather this economic crisis and still be able to register for fall classes.

Student Activity Fees will not be refunded, as Student Council and the Graduate

Council are still active and the fees comprise their budgets, but the councils can still determine how they wish to use their remaining funds to benefit students. The Technology Fee also will not be refunded, as it is being used to support the student experience during this highly unusual and demanding time.

We are doing our best to provide concrete answers and solutions as quickly as possible. Until further information is available, students with any questions or concerns should reach out to Student Life at studentlife@pnca.edu or Technology at helpticket@pnca.edu.

We have been monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and assessing PNCA’s response to this ever-evolving situation on a daily basis. Although we are not aware of any cases on the PNCA campus, I am writing today to announce that we are implementing operational changes to building, facilities and studio access, effective immediately. Safeguarding the health of the PNCA community and those with whom we come in contact is our first priority. To that end, PNCA will move classes online for the duration of the semester after spring break. We are also asking faculty and staff to make the necessary plans within their departments to work remotely by the end of this week.

Based in part on responses nationally and locally, the PNCA COVID-19 Task Force has concluded that the most responsible path forward is as follows:

BUILDING ACCESS

The 511 Building and the Glass Building will remain accessible this week (March 16 - 20) so that students can collect materials, works-in-progress, etc., that they will need to complete their work offsite. As of Friday, March 20 at 5 pm, both buildings will be closed to students. After Friday, if a student must access a building to retrieve something, please have them contact Jackson Seemayer in Student Life: jseemayer@pnca.edu.

Effective immediately, the 511 Building is closed to the public. Visitors must check in at the front desk and have an appointment.

PNCA’s 511 Building will remain accessible to faculty and staff Monday – Friday 8AM – 5PM, although we are asking that you work from home and only access the building if necessary.

CAMPUS SAFETY

Campus Safety will remain on duty during the rest of the semester. Please reach out to them with any concerns as you normally would at campussafety@pnca.edu.

ART HOUSE

Art House will remain open for its residents until the end of the semester. If you are an Art House resident and have questions or concerns, contact: gmurphy_reslife@pnca.edu.

LIBRARY

This closure also affects the Library. If you need physical library materials, please check those out this week. You will be able access online materials, as well as the ASC and Tutoring through virtual appointments. If you need to contact the library, please use: library@pnca.edu.

• Make an online ASC appointment here: https://calendly.com/pnca-support/remote-asc?month=2020-03&back=1. Make an appointment with our Writing Specialist here: https://calendly.com/pnca-support/asc-remote-writing-specialist?month=2020-03

PNCA STAFF AND FACULTY

PNCA staff and faculty will transition to working off campus wherever possible between now and end-of-day Friday, March 20. Individual department managers will be working with their teams to determine the most effective approach for their remote working situation. Please direct any inquiries to your manager or supervisor.

Today, the CDC recommended cancelling events with 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks and Governor Kate Brown strongly urged avoiding groups of 10 or more for the next 4 weeks. As well, Governor Brown has asked businesses to allow their employees to work remotely if possible and to honor the spirit of Oregon’s efforts to respond to this pandemic. We recognize that this will affect many PNCA programs and celebratory events, such as Community Education, Focus Week, Thesis Exhibitions, Commencement and the 2020 PNCA Awards Gala. We are engaged in conversations to develop alternative approaches to these programs and will continue to update you as details emerge.

While the majority of the faculty and staff will be working remotely, as a community we are committed to the ongoing operations of the college in support of a positive student experience during these unprecedented times. We recognize that this pandemic is causing major disruptions to our community, amongst our colleagues, and to our society, globally. I am both grateful to and impressed by the PNCA community’s dedication to our students and to each other, coming together in these times of unprecedented unknowns—all while continuing the forward momentum of projects in support of our students, academic programs, and the critical components of enrollment. Thank you all for what you do for PNCA and for everyone in the PNCA family.

I’m writing on behalf of the COVID-19 Task Force to let you know that we have made the difficult decision to deliver all classes online for the rest of the semester. We believe that this is in the best interest of PNCA students, faculty, and staff, our friends, families, and communities during this unprecedented time. We recognize that this is disappointing and will present some challenges.

This week, faculty are working hard to make plans for the online educational model that will start the week of March 30. We will share more about these plans as they evolve. For now, we want you to know that we will be responsive, attentive, and flexible to your needs. We will ensure that grading is done with thoughtfulness, care, and respect. PNCA Faculty are committed to your academic success and creative practice.

At this time we are determining how best to manage Focus Week and Thesis Exhibitions. We will let you know as these plans develop. Sadly, we will not be able to hold Commencement this spring. We are considering holding a ceremony at a later date once this current crisis has passed.

Please note that most staff and faculty will be working remotely. Please contact them via email.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

BUILDING ACCESS

The 511 Building and the Glass Building will remain accessible this week (March 16 - 20) so that you may work in the shops and studios, and collect materials, works-in-progress, etc, that you will need to complete your work off site for the next six weeks. Friday at 5 pm, both buildings will close for the rest of the semester.

After Friday, if you must access a building to retrieve something, please contact Jackson Seemayer in Student Life. jseemayer@pnca.edu

LIBRARY

This closure also affects the Library. If you need physical library materials, please check those out this week. You will be able to access online materials, as well as the ASC and Tutoring through virtual appointments. Please contact the Library at library@pnca.edu.

TECHNOLOGY Please use this week to make sure that you have the appropriate technology and Internet connection to access your online classes. Classes will be delivered via Zoom. If you aren’t sure how to use this platform, contact Technology (helpticket@pnca.edu) for support.

If you have a concern about your computer capability, please contact Technology immediately. They will help you find a workable solution.

STUDENT LIFE & MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING

Student Life will continue to offer a wide range of support for students, as well as access to our mental health counselors by phone, email or Google Hangouts. You can find out more by contacting the Student Life Office at studentlife@pnca.edu.

ART HOUSE

Art House will remain open for its residents until the end of the semester. If you are an Art House resident and have questions or concerns, contact gmurphy_reslife@pnca.edu.

CAMPUS SAFETY

Campus Safety will remain on duty during the rest of the semester. Please reach out to them with any concerns as you normally would at campussafety@pnca.edu.

Please continue to practice good hygiene and social distancing, and check Homeroom and the PNCA website for updates. Thank you for your patience and perseverance. Our creativity and support for each other will serve us well as we face this challenge together.

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In the best interests of everyone’s health and safety at PNCA and elsewhere, the PNCA COVID-19 Task Force has recommended the following:

Monday, March 16 - Sunday, March 22: Classes will be suspended to allow faculty time to prepare for online teaching. Shops, studios, libraries, computer labs, administrative offices, student services, and Art House will remain open so that students may continue to work on projects and assignments.

Monday, March 23 – Regularly scheduled PNCA Staff Holiday.

Monday, March 23 - Sunday, March 29: Spring Break (no classes); Shops, studios, libraries, computer labs, administrative offices, student services, and Art House will remain open so that students may continue to work on projects and assignments.

Monday, March 30 - Sunday, April 5: All classes online; Shops, studios, libraries, computer labs, administrative offices, student services, and Art House will remain open so that students may continue to work on projects and assignments.

Monday, April 6 and beyond: We will determine if classes remain online or resume as normal in consultation with state health officials.

PNCA will be cancelling all public events effective Monday, March 16 – April 13. Faculty and staff will use the time from now until spring break to develop alternative methods for delivering curriculum and managing operations which may involve running trial deliveries so that the faculty and student experience is as smooth and comprehensive as possible when we return from spring break.

All faculty and staff who are not ill and do not need accommodation (for themselves or their family members) are expected to report to work. Employees who are ill should not come to work. In some cases, a staff member may be able to work from home. Department directors have the authority to grant work-from-home days and approve flexible work schedules.

We understand that this communication will raise as many questions as it answers, and ask for your patience and support as we navigate this unprecedented situation together. PNCA is an exceptional place, with a foundational core of community and resiliency. I am confident that we will bring our collective skills and talents together to guide us through this difficult period.

Please recognize that the global spread of this virus is a fluid situation with new information surfacing daily. The COVID-19 Task Force is in daily communication with the Oregon Health Authority and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and we will continue to update the community as information becomes available.

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CRITICAL UPDATES

At this time, we have decided to suspend all non-essential PNCA-related international and domestic travel. We realize this will be disappointing to many of the. However, we believe this is a prudent course of action, and necessary at this time to optimize the health and safety of our community. We will continue to monitor the global situation and let the community know when the ban is lifted.

Also, the College is strongly encouraging all active searches to switch to Skype or another virtual platform for interviews rather than have candidates come to campus. Again, this is to protect the health and safety of all participants.

KEY REMINDERS

  1. First and foremost, please stay home if you feel unwell and do not return to campus until you are symptom-free for 24 hours.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and refrain from touching your face.
  3. Use hand sanitizer.
  4. Keep in mind that 80 percent of all COVID-19 cases are mild, so please take precautions to limit your interactions with others even if you don’t feel that bad.
  5. If you decide to seek medical attention, call your healthcare provider in advance so you don't inadvertently spread the virus.
  6. Please let your faculty or supervisor know you are sick.
  7. Faculty and staff are required to use PTO for any illness related absences. If you do not have enough accumulated PTO, please contact the HR Office at HR@PNCA.edu to explore available options.

How Are We Making Decisions

As you know, we are working closely with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to provide the most up to date information and guidelines. I am attaching the March 6th FAQ from OHA and HECC for your review. Here is an excerpt regarding campus closures:

"Colleges and universities are not expected to make decisions about suspending classes or canceling events on their own. They can seek specific guidance from local health officials to determine whether, when, and for how long to take these steps. The recommendation on class suspension and cancellation may change in terms of geographic scope or duration as the location outbreak situation evolves."

Reinforce Anti-Bias

Some individuals in our community and around the country are experiencing stigma and discrimination related to COVID-19. This includes people of Chinese and Asian descent, as well as some returning travelers and emergency responders who may have been exposed to the virus. Please reinforce the principles of respect and anti-bias, and do not make assumptions of risk based on race, ethnicity or country of origin. It is important to remember that the virus doesn’t discriminate. There are no specific cultural groups or people of a particular heritage that are more or less likely to get COVID-19 following exposure or spread it to others.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available. Please feel free to contact Darby Knox with any questions or concerns at dknox@pnca.edu.
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Dear PNCA Community,

Yesterday afternoon the COVID-19 Taskforce participated in a conference call with the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Director Dr. Dean Sidelinger and HECC President Ben Cannon to discuss the latest developments around the Corona Virus.

Here are some general facts and updates:

To date, there are three confirmed cases of Corona Virus in Oregon; eight people have tests pending; 115 others are being monitored, 227 have either completed monitoring or were determined to have no risk, samples for 18 patients await results, and samples for 29 patients have tested negative for COVID-19.

About 80% of people who are infected with the Corona Virus will experience mild symptoms. People with serious underlying medical conditions and the elderly may experience more severe symptoms and require hospitalization.

People returning from areas of known infection and those who have had contact with someone with a positive diagnosis for Corona Virus are being quarantined at home for 14 days. Quarantine occurs at the direction of the Oregon Health Authority.

Anyone experiencing mild symptoms should recover at home. You may return to work or school after you have been symptom-free for 24 hours. If you feel you need to seek medical attention, call your health care provider first and make them aware of your symptoms.

People are believed to be infectious while they are experiencing symptoms, which is why is it important to stay home if you develop a cough or a fever, and call your health care provider before you go to the office or clinic.

Frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer (60% alcohol content) are considered highly effective for preventing transmission. Also, keep a 6-foot distance from anyone who is sneezing and coughing. The virus can live on surfaces but only for one to a few hours.

PNCA has stepped up cleaning of door knobs, railings, counters, and bathrooms.

If you have any specific questions, please contact Darby Knox at dknox@pnca.edu. We will continue to receive updates from the Oregon Health Authority, and will share them as we do.

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Dear PNCA Community,

This weekend, Oregon state officials announced the state’s second case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19); both individuals are from Washington County, Oregon, a neighboring county to the college and possibly a third individual from Umatilla County, Oregon. Health officials are actively testing people for the virus.

In response, PNCA has convened a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) task force of PNCA college administrators to respond to guidelines and implement recommendations made by government and public health agencies, including the State Department and the CDC.

It is important to note that the immediate health risk to the general U.S. public and the PNCA community remains low. The risk to individuals is dependent on exposure. Close contact with someone already infected is required for someone to contract the disease. The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within six feet) via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

While this news is understandably concerning, we are assured the state and local authorities are responding quickly to these cases. Oregon Governor Kate Brown has set up a Coronavirus Response Team to interact with state and local health authorities, hospitals, community health partners, and school districts to coordinate preparations and potential responses to COVID-19. Information related to the virus is changing rapidly, and we will continue to update the community as details become available. You may also wish to check the Oregon Health Authority website at: www.oregon.gov.

As we continue to monitor this evolving situation, we ask that all members of the PNCA community remain focused on prevention. To help reduce the risk for getting and spreading viral respiratory infections, including the COVID-19, we share with you helpful information below.

Accessing Medical Care

Anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, which are fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, should immediately contact their healthcare provider. Students or any member of the PNCA community experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should contact a health care provider to arrange for a medical evaluation. We ask that anyone experiencing symptoms also notify Student Life, Art House, or Campus Safety staff so that we may assess how best to limit exposure by the campus community. Alternatively, members of the community may contact Darby Knox, VP for Student Affairs, at any time at dknox@pnca.edu or (585) 732-4538.

Prevention Strategies

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please refer to the CDC website. Local information can be tracked through Oregon Health Authority and Multnomah County Health. We encourage community members who are planning to travel for spring break or other reasons to closely monitor travel advisories through the CDC and the State Department.

For further information or if you have questions, please contact any of the following campus offices:

We continue to closely monitor the situation and will provide further updates to the community as necessary.