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Two employees and two students tested positive within two weeks; in-person athletics halted

PMG FILE PHOTO - There are four confirmed COVID-19 cases associated with Clackamas Community College.

A Clackamas Community College student tested positive for COVID-19, the college announced Wednesday in an email. This is the fourth confirmed case on a CCC campus.

The latest student who tested positive was on the Oregon City campus last week in Randall Hall and Training Center B. The student is currently following self-isolation protocols.

"For privacy issues, the college is not identifying which program is involved," said Tom Sonoff, director of college safety.

Fewer than 20 employees or students were present in the building the last time the infected person was in Randall Hall, and fewer than 10 were in the welding facility, college spokesperson Lori Hall said Wednesday in an email.

CCC is notifying individuals who may have had contact with the student and asking them to self-isolate for 14 days. Welding classes in Training Center B have been temporarily canceled.

This is the fourth in a series of cases associated with the college within two weeks.

The first, a college employee, was announced Nov. 6. in an email to CCC staff.

"The employee was exposed after the last time they were on campus, and there is no indication they were in contact with any students or employees," Hall wrote in the email.

College representatives did not say whether the employee was an instructor, custodian or other employee, or whether the employee worked at the Oregon City, Wilsonville or Harmony campus.

A second case came two days later. The college said it learned Nov. 8 that a CCC student at the Harmony campus near Clackamas Town Center tested positive for the coronavirus and that the student self-quarantined at home. The student was in the Harmony East building at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 5.

The third case was an employee on the main Oregon City campus. The college sent an all-staff email Nov. 13 to alert employees of a COVID-19 diagnosis for an employee in Randall Hall – home of the college gym, weight room and athletics.

"The employee was on campus this week in Randall Hall and stated they did not have close contact with any employees or students," Hall wrote in the email to staff. "The employee is currently following self-isolation protocols."

Sonoff said, "To our belief, they have not come into contact with any students."

CCC's sports teams moved away from in-person training after this third case.

"Given the new mandate by the governor and the increasing numbers in Clackamas County, we have paused face-to-face activities and will shift to online sports classes starting Monday for the next two weeks," said Jim Martineau, the college's athletic director, in an email on Nov. 13.

Martineau said that on any given day, 15-30 students are in Randall Hall at one time.   

"All students and staff wear masks inside Randall at all times (including while they are working out)," Martineau wrote. "All of our teams have been accessing Randall at different points each week to use the fitness center or training room."

Hall said after a confirmed case on campus, the college takes specific actions that include vacuuming floors, wiping down touchpoints, mopping all surfaces with disposable mops and spraying everything with a Clorox 360 machine. The college also provides increased fresh air flow and full use of personal protective equipment for cleaning crews.

"As we have heard from state officials, the recent surge in confirmed cases is being linked to social gatherings," Hall said. "As far as we know, none of the CCC confirmed cases came from contact with another person on campus."

Hall said there is not a specific number of confirmed cases that would trigger a campus closure.

"The safety of our students, staff and faculty is of utmost importance," CCC's President Tim Cook said in an email. "We require masks, staying six feet apart and require anyone who needs to be on campus to take a daily self-health check prior to coming to campus. We have modified occupancy in rooms, elevators and restrooms, as well as one-way directional signage to reduce proximity to others."

Like most in-person education in the state of Oregon, the college essentially shut down in March. Almost all classes went online for the spring term that started in April and continued online in the fall.

"Full programs are not offered on campus. There are some course sections offered by several departments in a face-to-face manner; all other teachings are online when possible," said Dru Urbassik, CCC's curriculum and scheduling director, in an email. "These face-to-face times are for situations where online learning is difficult to achieve."

Limited face-to-face offerings include lab times for some automotive, manufacturing, welding, health science and water and environmental technology courses, Urbassik said.

The testing center has had limited appointments available in-person, and the college student government has been giving away food boxes outside — in masks and by appointment only. But most of the college campus is quiet.

All positive COVID-19 cases in the college community are reported to Clackamas County Public Health. The college will work with Oregon Health Authority to identify those with whom the individual has been in close contact and assess the significance of the exposure.

The college asked the community to continue to follow safe practices that include basic health and cleaning habits to help prevent contracting and spreading illnesses. Students must complete the daily self-health checklist prior to coming on campus.

"We greatly appreciate our community's continued care for each other, and your willingness to navigate the many disruptions to protect the health and safety of our college," Hall said.

The college referred people to its Return to Campus webpage at clackamas.edu/return-to-campus, which has information and updates relevant for all community members. 


Laura Canida is the editor-in-chief at The Clackamas Print, Clackamas Community College's student newspaper.


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