ASCC action plan for COVID-19 is in effect
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a Mar. 12th memo, American Samoa Community College President Dr. Rosevonne M. Pato announced the college’s action plan in response to the coronavirus epidemic, which has resulted in closure of many college campuses across the US.
Some in the community have questioned as to what action or plans ASCC has in place to address the local growing concern over COVID-19, as reports from the mainland show colleges and universities already implementing policies to address the spread of the virus.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online data, as of yesterday morning, shows 10,422 confirmed cases in all 50 states, Washington D.C, Guam and the US Virgin Islands. There are 150 deaths reported from across the US.
In her memo, which was also provided to the ASG appointed COVID-19 Task Force, the ASCC president outlined the college’s Action Plan, to “take effect immediately to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.”
All ASCC employees who have travelled through the ASCC travel authorization and are returning to American Samoa and to the college campus workplace — as of the issuance of the ASG’s suspension of travel due to the coronavirus and ASCC revised travel advisory — upon returning from travel will remain in self quarantine at home for the recommended 14-day period as advised by the Health Department.
ASCC employees will be issued administrative leave for this period of home quarantine, said Dr. Pato.
Employees who travel off island for “personal reasons” and returning home — as of the ASG travel suspension due to virus memo and ASCC travel advisory — will also be subject to 14-day home quarantine, as advised by DoH. These employees will take leave — annual leave or LWOP (leave without pay) — depending on their leave hours accrued.
According to Dr. Pato, all ASCC employees and students “have a responsibility” to report any off island travel — as of the issuance of the ASG’s suspension of travel due to the coronavirus and ASCC revised travel advisory — to their respective supervisor, instructor, or administrator and may need to be issued a 14-day self quarantine at home as advised by DoH.
According to the memo, all employees, students or visitors upon entrance on the campus may be subject to a routine check by identified staff for coughing, fever, or shortness of breath or other signs of possible symptoms of COVID-19 as indicated by DoH.
“IF positive response for these signs, the individual may be sent home and off campus,” it says, adding that any person who may be experiencing these symptoms should report it immediately and take steps towards social distancing.
The memo also outlined other precaution measures:
• avoid congregating in the halls at work;
• possibly reduce staff to minimal number that can provide services needed for work from home;
• encourage and implement teaching of good hygiene; and,
• encourage all to practice social distancing — limited physical contact.
For visitors to the campus, they should report to the Security Office at the entrance of the main quad area. Gates will be closed for employees and students after hours.
On the issue on sanitization, Dr. Pato has directed that all employees take necessary measures to provide a clean and sanitary environment. Furthermore, all janitorial and custodial personnel will do a thorough cleaning and disinfection of facilities on a regular basis throughout the day.
Staff in charge of equipment in the work area or class area — computer labs, etc. — will clean and disinfect equipment on a regular basis throughout the day. And the college will provide hand sanitizers, cleaning wipes and disinfectants in restrooms and areas of congregation such as classrooms and laboratories.