COVID Updates

BTC Is Committed To Making Our Campus Safe For Students and Employees 

Please see our updates tab for new information. All Students have an action required in order to attend BTC. See below.

Please review all steps on the Returning to Campus tab. We will be making updates on this page about our campus status.  

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

 

Vaccine Appointments:

PrepMod.doh.wa.gov. People without internet access may call 360.778.6075.

Local Testing Services and Information:  

TestDirectly.com

Whatcom County Health Department COVID-19 Testing

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Updates

  • September 21, 2021 Updated Vaccinated Campus Guidelines & Procedures

  • September 21, 2021 Updated BTC COVID Student FAQ

  • September 17, 2021 BTC Student COVID Illness Procedure

  • September 17, 2021 COVID Email Update to Students

  • September 17, 2021 Updated Vaccinated Campus Guidelines & Procedures

  • August 31, BTC Updated Vaccinated Campus Student FAQ

  • August 27, BTC Updated Vaccinated Campus Guidelines and Procedures

  • July 29, 2021 BTC is a Fully Vaccinated Campus

    Vaccinated Campus Guidelines


    Dear BTC Students,

    On Monday Aug. 2, 2021, BTC will become a Fully Vaccinated Campus under Higher Education Proclamation 20-12.4. All students coming to campus must have been vaccinated unless they have asserted a medical, religious, or philosophical exemption from vaccination.

    The proclamation requires that BTC implement a policy and procedure to verify the vaccination status of students. Each registered student coming to campus will be required to complete a self-attestation of vaccination status identifying whether they are vaccinated or exempted from vaccination for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons. Please complete this Vaccine Attestation online form as soon as possible.

    With Fully Vaccinated Campus status, the following protocols will apply to on-campus activities:  

    • Face coverings will not be required, except for those students with medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions from vaccination.
      • Employees may require any student to wear a mask during one-on-one meetings in employee offices.
      • Some programs/areas on campus may require masks.
      • Anyone, vaccinated or not, may choose to continue to wear a mask.  
    • Social distancing guidelines will be removed.  
    • The daily health attestation will no longer be required.  
    • Building check-ins will no longer be required.  

    These new guidelines manifest the shift in the statewide strategy for COVID-19 response from requiring restrictions on activity to encouraging vaccinations to reach community immunity. BTC encourages all students to get vaccinated.

    Given the recent increase in cases related to the Delta variant and CDC guidelines for masking, the Governor has stressed the need and recommended all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, consider masking indoors. Though masking is optional for vaccinated individuals, as outlined above, BTC encourages students to consider continuing indoor masking as recommended.

    If you are a current student, we recognize that all changes, even welcome ones, require an adjustment period. If you are a new or prospective student, we hope these new guidelines will create some clarity for your expectations of what Fall will be like and allow you to plan accordingly. 

    Here are links to the re-entry procedures and additional information:

    BTC's Fully Vaccinated Campus Guidelines

    Student FAQ for Fully Vaccinated Campus

    The Online Attestation Form

    Higher Education Proclamation 20-12.4

    CDC Guidelines Updated July 27, 2021

    If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to BTC employees or faculty. 

    Office of the President
    Walter Hudsick, Interim President
    Bellingham Technical College
    3028 Lindbergh Ave. | Bellingham, WA 98225

  • May 17, 2021

    Governor Inslee’s announcement of a statewide re-opening plan to begin on or about June 30 has not yet gone into affect and we have not yet been informed whether and how it directly effects higher ed campuses.  BTC is currently required to continue to follow the guidelines in Governor Inslee’s Healthy Washington plan. BTC students and employees need to continue wearing masks indoors and to adhere to social distancing regardless of their vaccination status. We will post new information as it comes. For the time being, all safety measures remain in place.

    COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS:
    Governor Inslee’s announcement of a statewide re-opening plan to begin on or about June 30 has not yest gone into effect and we have not yet been informed whether and how it directly effects high ed campuses. BTC is currently required to continue to follow the guidelines in Governor Inslee’s Healthy Washington plan. BTC students and employees need to continue wearing masks indoors and to adhere to social distancing regardless of their vaccination status. We will post new information as it comes. For the time being, all safety measures remain in place. www.sbctc.edu/resources/documents/coronavirus/covid-19-protocols-higher-ed.pdf

  • April 13, 2021

    This afternoon, Bellingham Technical College (BTC) received notification that an individual, who tested positive for COVID-19, had potential close contact with the Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences program. The individual was last on campus Thursday, April 8, between the hours of 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

    Having received this recent information, the Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences program will cancel the 7625-AQUA 195 Fisheries Practicum-B class on ground activities through Wednesday, April 21, with a planned return to on-campus instruction on Thursday, April 22.

    As recommended by the Whatcom County Health Department, we are asking all Cohort B Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences program students to take a COVID-19 test. Tests can be scheduled through your health care provider or through the health department approved website: testdirectly.com. Results are usually returned within 12-24 hours, often sooner. If a positive result is received, please notify Stella Gardiner at sgardiner@btc.edu.

    Note: If a Cohort B-Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences program student has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 there may be options for that student to attend class. These students must contact Stella Gardiner at sgardiner@btc.edu so that verification of the COVID-19 vaccination documentation can be made in order to approve and confirm an option.

    ·         If Cohort B-Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences programs students have questions about missed assignments or makeup work, students should contact their faculty. 

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

  • March 2, 2021

    This afternoon, Bellingham Technical College (BTC) received notification that an individual that tested positive for COVID-19 had potential close contact with the first year Machining program. The individual was last on campus Monday, February 22, between the hours of 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

    Having received this recent information, the first year Machining program will move classes online where possible, and cancel all on ground activities through March 8, with a planned return to on-campus instruction on Tuesday, March, 9.  BTC facilities will be sanitizing all locations that were in use, including classrooms, the shop, and shared facilities such as restrooms and hallways. All sanitation of space will follow the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) disinfecting protocols by using anti-viral chemicals that are EPA-approved for COVID-19.

    As recommended by the Whatcom County Health Department, we are asking all 1st year Machining students to take a COVID-19 test. Tests can be scheduled through your healthcare provider or through the health department approved website: testdirectly.com.  Results are usually returned within 12-24 hours, often sooner. If a positive result is received, please notify Autumn Kline at akline@btc.edu.

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

  • February 2, 2021

    This afternoon, Tuesday, February 2, 2021, Bellingham Technical College (BTC) received notification that an individual that tested positive for COVID-19 had potential close contact with the first year daytime Auto Technology program. The individual was last on campus Tuesday, February 2, between the hours of 8:00-11:00 AM.

    For maximum caution, the first year Auto Technology program classes have moved completely on-line through February 16, with a planned return to class on Wednesday, February 17.  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.

    As recommended by the Whatcom County Health Department, we are asking all first year Auto Technology students to take a COVID-19 test. Tests can be scheduled through your healthcare provider or through the health department approved website: testdirectly.com.  Results are usually returned within 24-36 hours.  If a positive result is received, please notify Stella Gardiner at sgardiner@btc.edu.

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

  • 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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Illness Procedure

Illness Procedure

Please see our Student Illness Procedure in the Updates Tab

WA State COVID19 Steps after Testing

View the above graphic in pdf format. Get more information: www.doh.wa.gov/coronavirus

 

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Student FAQs

To answer your questions about BTC becoming a Fully Vaccinated Campus please read the below Student Frequently Asked Questions updated September 21, 2021, and you can find the below FAQ document on our Updates page.

 MASKING

1.   Q: If we have mandated vaccines and are counting on them to protect us, why do we need masks as well?
A: Vaccines are the best protection against COVID-19. Due to the allowance of medical and religious exemptions, not all individuals on campus are or can be vaccinated; masking is an additional step necessary to protect public health. The governor has mandated indoor masking.

2.    Q: Who is responsible for ensuring compliance with masking requirements?
A: As has been the case since the start of the pandemic, faculty will ensure student compliance with masking regulation in their instructional programs as part of their classroom management responsibilities. Students who do not comply with masking requirements when directed by employees may be subject to disciplinary action. Faculty may involve their dean or director, or the Student Conduct Officer, if a situation is not easily resolved.

3.    Q: Will the College provide students who are unvaccinated with a KN-95 mask?
A: The college may provide KN-95 masks to students and employees with demonstrated financial need.

4.    Q: What are the rules about outdoor masking?
A: While outdoors in groups such as classes, study sessions, project work, or socializing, all individuals must remain masked. Individual employees and students outdoors at social distance may remove their masks.

5.    Q: What are the rules about drinking and masking?
Students and employees may briefly drink as necessary inside and out when socially distanced from others. Masks may be dropped or removed only when actively drinking and masks should be worn in between each drink (i.e., sip/swallow, etc.).

6.    Q: What rules apply to visitors, guests and contractors?
A: Every volunteer, contractor, and visitor to BTC locations must wear a face covering in compliance with the Governor’s Proclamation 20-25.

7.    Q: What are the consequences for not wearing a required mask?
A: Individuals who fail to comply with masking requirements may be subject to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct (if students). Visitors and contractors may be asked to leave campus.

VACCINATIONS

8.    Q: Can our campus require everyone to provide proof of vaccination, including, students and employees?
A: Under the Governor’s proclamation, students are not required to submit documentation, if vaccinated, and both employees and students are entitled to request medical and religious exemptions, except for special programs.

9.    Q: Is proof of vaccination required or can self-attestation information be verified?
A: For students, the self-attestation form does not require proof of vaccination, only the dates that shots were received. Immunization status may be verified with the Washington State Department of Health. Assertion of medical or religious exemption status by students will require additional documentation and accommodation.

10.  Q: Will online students be required to complete an attestation?
A: Online students who will never come to campus for any reason may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement through the online vaccination status attestation form. They will have to compete additional documentation.

11.  Q: Will the campus know what percentage of employees and are vaccinated?
A: Yes, the aggregate information about vaccination rates among students and employees will be made available.

12.  Q: How will we know who is vaccinated? Can we ask them?
A: Individuals are free to discuss their own status but should not ask others about their vaccine status. All individuals on campus will be masked at all times in public spaces.

13.  Q: Will instructors know which students are vaccinated? Will they ask students?
A: Instructors will be provided with class rosters that indicate which students have submitted a vaccination exemption but the information will not be shared any further. Individuals are free to discuss their own status but should not ask others about their vaccine status. All individuals on campus will be masked at all times in public spaces. 

14.  Q: What are the consequences for misrepresentation of vaccination status?
A: Individuals who provide false information on the vaccination self-attestation will be subject to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct

OTHER

15.  Q: What are the social distancing requirements now?
A: All instructional and service activities will keep a three-foot or greater social distance standard to the greatest extent possible. We understand that we may only be partially successful at this goal.

16.  Q: Are we still checking temperatures, completing daily health attestations, and checking in at building entrances?
A: The daily health attestation is no longer required for students or employees, no daily health checks will be performed, and building check-in stations have been removed except for areas where students co-mingle.

17.  Q: Will students and staff entering Settlemyer and the Library be checking in on each floor, or at the entrances of Campus Center?
A: Students will be checking in upon entrance to the Settlemyer Hall and Library space, not at the entrance to the CC building or on each floor.

18.  Q: What is recommended if someone feels sick?
A: Follow the respective COVID Illness Response Procedure found on the BTC COVID website page for students.

19.  Q: Do the new guidelines mean students can be on campus outside of class time and use the common areas?
A: Yes, campus is fully re-opening. The Library and tutoring center are currently ramping up on-campus access, and the Campus Center second floor study areas have been open for some time. Students can utilize campus as always, subject to the new protocols.

20.  Q: How does BTC share COVID updated communications with students?
A: Student email blasts go both to the students’ BTC addresses and to the personal email address that they provided before being admitted. BTC also sends follow up text messages as a prompt for students to check their email.

21.  Q: What if I have more questions?
A: All additional questions can be directed to covidquestion@btc.edu.

 

 

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Returning to Campus

Students, Employees and Visitors who plan to come to campus need to follow the Fully Vaccinated Campus Guidelines:

  1. Review updated as of September 21, Vaccinated Campus Guideline and Procedures

  2. Check the Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  3. Complete The online Vaccine Attestation Form

  4. Find Higher Ed Proclamation 20-12.5

  5. Find the CDC Guidelines Updated July 27, 2021

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