COVID Updates

BTC is committed to making our campus safe for students and employees 

We will be making daily updates on this page about our campus status.  

Important: Updates and exposure notifications are for on-campus exposures and potential exposures only. 

Local testing services and information:  

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Updates

  • January 14, 2021

    This afternoon Thursday, January 14, 2021, Bellingham Technical College (BTC) received notification that an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 had potential close contact with the 1st year daytime welding programs. The individual was last on campus Wednesday, January 13, between the hours of 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    In regards to other welding cohorts; after discussions with program faculty and instructional techs, it has been determined that there was not contact between the individual that tested positive and any students or faculty from the 1st year evening program or either of the 2nd year daytime welding programs.

    Out of an abundance of caution, 1st year daytime welding program classes have been cancelled through Friday, January 29, with a planned return to class on Monday, February 1.  BTC facilities staff have sanitized all locations that were in use, including classrooms, the shop, and shared facilities such as restrooms and hallways. All sanitation of space followed the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) disinfecting protocols by using anti-viral chemicals that are EPA-approved for COVID-19.

    The College will continue to provide timely, accurate, and relevant information as it becomes available.   

    It is also important to recognize that this is a very stressful time. Please do not hesitate to seek support through BTC’s Counseling office if you feel you need additional assistance. Students can schedule appointments, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., including same-day appointments when available. Appointments for counseling can be scheduled by calling 360.752.8345 or emailing counseling@btc.edu.

  • December 18, 2020

    Winter quarter 2021 begins on Tuesday, January 5.  In order to support community health issues, instruction will be online for the first week of the quarter, and faculty are encouraged, to the extent possible, to also be online during the second week of instruction.   

    Here are the exceptions: 
    • L&I programs (HVAC/R & Electrician) may begin on-campus instruction on January 5 
    • The library will be distributing technology to students beginning January 5 
    • Assessment Center will be open by appointment only 
    • Bookstore employees will be working, but the store will be closed for in-person visits for students and other employees. Students may pick up materials purchased online by following guidelines on the Campus Store website.
    • Selected Administrative Services employees including Safety, Facilities, CISS & Business Office 
    • Individual exceptions will be granted in accordance with the current Campus Access Protocol - employees request and receive written approval from their supervisor to document the purpose for the visit, date, and specific building(s) to be accessed.  Click BTC Campus Access July 6+ for the entire document which is located on SharePoint. 

    New Mask Requirement:

    All students and employees are required to wear a multi-layer (3-ply) face mask when on campus. These can be disposable or washable but must be multi-layer. Bandanas, gators and open weave fabric are not approved face coverings. Masks must cover both the mouth and nose.  

    Multi-layer disposable masks will be available at each of the building check-in points. Masks are to be worn at all times while inside buildings in public spaces (e.g., classrooms, multi-person offices, restrooms, hallways, etc.). When outside, masks shall be worn at all times if there is not enough space to continually maintain at least 10 feet or more from others.
  • December 2, 2020

    BTC closed BTC’s Railroad Center for in-person instruction for the rest of the quarter and is moving all instruction online due to the November 23 exposure to COVID-19. 

    Anyone exposed during this time has been informed. 

    BTC will be cleaning this building in accordance with the protocols from the CDC, Washington Department of Health. 

    For additional information, visit the BTC Covid Updates web page. For information about what to do if you have been exposed, read this information from the Department of Health.   

    We know this can be a stressful time of year, and additionally so with a pandemic. If you are feeling sad, lonely or anxious, please reach out to BTC’s Counseling office for referrals and support. Here is that information: Students can schedule appointments, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., including same-day appointments when available by calling Brijean/scheduler at 360.752.8345 or emailing counseling@btc.edu.  

    We understand that you may have additional questions or concerns. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at any time. We will do our best to support you.

  • November 25, 2020

    Bellingham Technical College learned of a potential exposure in Morse Center. All impacted program classes were cancelled.   

    It has been determined that there was no exposure due to this incident and classes will resume Monday, December 7. 

    We know this can be a stressful time of year, and additionally so with a pandemic. If you are feeling sad, lonely or anxious, please reach out to BTC’s Counseling office for referrals and support. Here is that information: Students can schedule appointments, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., including same-day appointments when available by calling Brijean/scheduler at 360.752.8345 or emailing counseling@btc.edu.  

    We understand that you may have additional questions or concerns. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at any time. We will do our best to support you.

  • November 20, 2020

    BTC’s COVID-19 Response Team responded immediately to reports of a potential exposure in the Morse building and implemented campus and Department of Health protocols. It was determined that there was potential exposure on campus last Friday. Upon notice of the potential exposure Wednesday morning, November 18, Bellingham Technical College Morse Center was closed and all impacted program classes were cancelled with impacted students not returning to campus until Wednesday, December 2.   

    BTC has sanitized all locations that were in use, including classrooms, labs, and shared facilities such as restrooms. BTC’s sanitation procedures of spaces follows or exceeds the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) disinfecting protocols by using anti-viral chemicals that are EPA-approved for COVID-19.   

    All people who may have been in close contact have been notified of the potential exposure. BTC building check-in protocol helps ensure that we can enhance the Department of Health contact tracing to minimize further exposure.    

    We know this can be a stressful time of year, and additionally so with a pandemic. If you are feeling sad, lonely or anxious, please reach out to BTC’s Counseling office for referrals and support. Here is that information: Students can schedule appointments, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., including same-day appointments when available by calling Brijean/scheduler at 360.752.8345 or emailing counseling@btc.edu.  

    We understand that you may have additional questions or concerns. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at any time. We will do our best to support you.

  • November 16, 2020

    Thanksgiving Messages and Office of the Governor updates 

    Dear BTC Students: 

    Typically, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family, friends and other loved ones. For many, the season’s joys are bittersweet, and in this year of a pandemic amongst other regional, state and national events, this time of year may be more challenging for a greater number of us. 

    This holiday season, public health experts are urging all of us to celebrate only with the people with whom we currently live.  If you decide to host a Thanksgiving celebration, public health experts are asking that you celebrate outdoors, limit the guest list to no more than five people outside your household, and keep social interactions as short as possible.   

    The Department of Health’s Safe Gatherings webpage  offers helpful ideas on ways to celebrate safely and how to have conversations with friends and family about social events.  

    On Friday, November 13, Governor Inslee issued the Washington State travel Advisory which urges people arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, and limit their interactions to their immediate household. 

    On Sunday, November 15, the governor issued COVID-19 Guidance effective through December 14, to mitigate rapidly increasing COVID infection rates.  

    We know this can be a stressful time of year, and additionally so with a pandemic.  We recognize that many of our students are under tremendous stress. We encourage you to seek support through BTC’s Counseling office. Students can schedule appointments, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., including same-day appointments when available. You can schedule a counseling appointment by calling Brijean/scheduler at 360.752.8345 or emailing counseling@btc.edu

    Your dedication to your education and career goals are to be commended, especially under our current circumstances. We are here to support you as you continue your studies. 

     We wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season.  

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Returning to Campus

Students and Employees who plan to come to campus need to follow the below return to Campus requirement steps:

  1. Take mandatory one-time COVID-19 Training.
  2. Fill out mandatory health screening.
  3. Use the touchless check-in stations on campus.
  4. All students and employees are required to wear a multi-layer (3-ply) face mask when on campus.

    These can be disposable or washable but must be multi-layer. Bandanas, gators and open weave fabric are not approved face coverings. Masks must cover both the mouth and nose.  

    Multi-layer disposable masks will be available at each of the building check-in points. Masks are to be worn at all times while inside buildings in public spaces (e.g., classrooms, multi-person offices, restrooms, hallways, etc.). When outside, masks shall be worn at all times if there is not enough space to continually maintain at least 10 feet or more from others. 

     

If you are not a Student or an Employee, follow the Visitor requirements instead.

Pickups and deliveries

Anyone – students, employees, or visitors – picking up or dropping off at drop boxes, curbside stations, or loading docks does not have to complete campus health reporting or check-in requirements, but must still wear a facemask on campus, maintain social distancing and follow posted requirements.

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Protocols

Safety precautions to protect BTC students, employees, and visitors 

Under Washington states Campus Reopening Guide, limited instructional activity in lab settings is permitted, as long as safety protocols are followed. Protocols must include: hygiene; social distancing; and cleaning and sanitization. 

BTC’s campus is operating remotely allowing only students who are attending labs to come to campus. Most of the BTC campus remains temporarily closed to the general public, with the exceptions of the Library, Assessment Center, IMPACT!, and the Campus Store.  We are continuing to serve students and the community remotely

Safety & Cleaning Protocols 

  • COVID-19 cleaning protocols established 
  • Safety training conducted at all locations on the first day of returning to work/class, and weekly thereafter, to explain the protective measures in place for all workers and students 
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet of separation must be maintained by every person at all times 
  • Minimize interactions during class activities; ensure minimum 6-foot separation by physical barriers, and/or demarking floors with tape. Limit the number of students based on class size and activities to allow for 6-foot separation 
  • Furniture removed to ensure social distancing 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols established for campus Custodial crews continually cleaning frequently touched surfaces with disinfectants specifically approved by the EPA for use with COVID-19 

Campus modifications 

Access to Facilities 

BTC’s campus is open to students attending labs for their programs, and the following departments are open for by appointment only: Library, Assessment Center, IMPACT!, and the Campus Store.  The campus remains temporarily closed to the general public. We’re continuing to serve students and the community remotely.  

Students 

  • Unless you are enrolled in a class meeting in person for labs or are purchasing textbooks or supplies from the Campus Store, please do not come to campus. The Campus Store continues to offer free ground shipping on all orders.  

  • Follow building-specific entry and safety protocols, including face covering and health screening. 

Employees 

  • If you need to come to campus, contact your supervisor 

  • Complete Health screening prior to coming to campus 

  • Wear a face covering 

  • If someone at BTC on campus only is confirmed to have COVID-19 

  • After the college is notified about a student or employee who has visited campus in the last 14 days who has tested positive for COVID-19, BTC will provide timely information directly to those who have potentially been exposed. Other employees and students will be notified on BTC website—COVID Updates

  • BTC will not notify the campus community about suspected or possible cases or confirmed cases for individuals who have not been on campus within 14 days of the onset of symptoms or diagnosis. 

  • Areas of campus visited by infected individuals will be closed temporarily for cleaning. 

  • All notifications will comply with FERPA and other applicable laws that protect the privacy of BTC’s students and employees. No student or employee will be identified by name and messages will not contain information that could be used to identify them. 

  • BTC will continue working closely with the Whatcom County Health Department.  

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