Frequently Asked Questions
All faculty, staff and students are required to wear a face covering when on campus beginning May 11, 2020. Face coverings may help reduce the spread of infectious particles into the air when the wearer speaks, coughs, or sneezes. As such, everyone will be responsible for wearing face coverings combined with social distancing and hand washing to help maintain a safe and healthy learning and work environment.
Though CBC is working mostly under remote operations and is not open to the public, everyone on campus is expected to wear a face covering, including contractors, third-party vendors and other short-term visitors.
What qualifies as a face covering?
Face coverings may help reduce the spread of infectious particles into the air when the wearer speaks, coughs or sneezes. Examples of cloth face coverings include bandana, neck gaiter, homemade sewn cloth or mask.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cloth face coverings can be made of nearly any material you have available. Cloth face coverings should:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
- be secured with ties or ear loops;
- include multiple layers of fabric;
- allow for breathing without restriction; and
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
How to wear a face covering.
Face coverings are required to cover your nose and mouth. The CDC provides proper fit instructions, including the best way to remove a face covering to avoid spread of germs to your face. Remember, face coverings are only helpful when they are worn correctly and used in combination with other recommendations. You are still responsible for following social distancing rules (limiting contact and staying six feet away from other people), wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and cover your coughs and sneezes.
Can I make my own face covering?
Yes! You are encouraged to make your own face covering when possible. Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost using a variety of patterns. You don’t even need to sew! The CDC has provided tutorials on how to make cloth face coverings.
Looking for a super quick and easy way to make your own face covering? Although the narrative is in Spanish, this quick DIY video shows how to make a mask from a sock and paper napkin (requires scissors, but no other tools).
Will the College provide me with a face covering?
CBC encourages you to wear your own mask.
When/where on campus are employees required to wear face coverings?
Faculty and staff are required to wear a face covering on campus starting May 11, 2020. You must wear a face covering anytime you are working around others. If you are working alone or as the sole occupant of an area, such as your office, you do not need to have your face covered, unless you are coughing and sneezing.
CBC will provide each faculty and staff member with a cloth face covering for those who choose not to wear one of their own. If you choose to use a face covering issued by the College, you can pick one up at the beginning of your next shift, on Friday, May 8 or thereafter, on campus from the screening station.
When/where on campus are students required to wear face coverings?
Students are expected to provide their own face coverings and begin wearing them while on campus as of May 11, 2020. Students who do not have access to or means to buy a mask may ask for one at the health screening station prior to the first class period of the day. Again, there are a number of easy to make masks with little supplies, including one made from a sock with a pair of scissors (no sewing involved).
The College has available cloth face coverings for purchase at cost from the CBC Bookstore.
How do I care for a cloth face covering?
A cloth face covering should be machine or hand washed frequently to ensure it remains clean. Your face covering should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. Regular machine washing and drying is sufficient.
How do I safely remove a face covering?
You should wash your hands carefully before removing your face covering. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands again after removing the face covering.
Are there exceptions to wearing a face covering?
If you have a medical or disability-related reason why it is not appropriate for you to wear a face covering, contact your supervisor or instructor to document your situation and obtain an exemption from the requirement. Alternatives will be evaluated.
Also, if you are required to wear a higher-level of PPE for the performance of the work, such as in welding labs, clinicals or other health care settings, you are responsible for wearing the required PPE, rather than the cloth face covering.
What if someone isn’t wearing a face covering?
Politely inform the individual of the responsibility for wearing a face covering and notify Campus Security of the need to address the matter further where non-compliance continues. If you provide service to students or the general public, you are required to refuse service to individuals who are not wearing face coverings. If you are teaching a lab and a student refuses to wear a face cover, you should immediately send the student home.
What happens if I refuse to wear a face covering
Please know that failure to adhere to wearing a face covering as a mandatory protection will result in being asked to leave the campus, being declined service by any of our areas of operation and for students, the effect on non-attendance/absenteeism will be evaluated, along with applicable violations of the Student Conduct Code.
For faculty and staff, failure to adhere to wearing a face covering as a mandatory protection will result in being asked to leave campus, considered insubordination and violation of workplace safety rules, and considered for disciplinary action.
CBC will have more COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund available in the near future to help students who are presented with expenses due to the COVID-19 virus – no matter how large or small. These funds are intended to cover costs that might disrupt your education such as childcare, course materials, housing/rent, food/groceries, tuition, utilities, healthcare, technology and do not require repayment.
SARS-CoV-2 (Novel Coronavirus) is a virus strain that originated from China and traveled to the US from travelers from China and Europe. The disease contracted from the virus is COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019). It is of particular concern due to serious illness it can cause including pneumonia and death.
Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. In general, human coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands with viral load, touching an object or surface with the virus on it then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, and, in rare cases, contact with feces.
Individuals with underlying health conditions and of advanced age are particularly vulnerable to serious illness from the virus.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
If you have been notified by public health authorities that you might have been exposed, please follow instructions provided by the Department of Health and CDC .
- Get a seasonal flu vaccination, if possible. While it will not prevent the novel coronavirus, influenza is currently in widespread circulation, and initial symptoms can be similar to novel coronavirus.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home from school or work if sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Don't share food and drinks.
- Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
Please stay home. Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, we are asking all employees and students who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, to self-isolate and call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Do not return to campus for 24 hours after a fever has broken or other symptoms have ended – whichever is longer.
Additionally, for employees and students, please notify CBC’s Emergency Management
at 509-542-4777 as soon as possible, and before coming on campuses once they reopen,
if you are diagnosed, tested or suspected to have COVID-19 or if you have been directed,
recommended or asked to self-quarantine. Confidentially reporting exposures or potential
exposures will allow us to evaluate appropriate measures to keep our campuses and
Students are also advised to notify their instructors. Faculty members will work with students to provide suitable arrangements to make up for absences if they are sick or caring for someone who is ill. Employees are advised to notify their supervisor for any absenteeism and to evaluate leave options available to them.
All CBC campuses transitioned to remote operations on Wednesday, March 25, at noon following Governor Inslee’s statewide "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. The order has been extended and the campus will continue operating remotely with some exceptions for labs.
The College has decided to continue the current practice of mostly online instruction through both winter and spring quarter of 2021. We will continue to look for new opportunities to expand our hybrid course offerings and in-person services as conditions allow. However, students, faculty and staff should expect mostly online instruction to continue through spring quarter 2021.
Before remote operations, CBC’s Custodial Services team was taking proactive measures to support a safe and sanitary campus. CBC also supplied numerous hand sanitization stations in high traffic areas throughout campus and covered drinking fountains allowing water bottle fill stations to remain available for use.
Custodial crews are continually cleaning frequently touched surfaces throughout campus with disinfectants specifically approved by the EPA use with COVID-19.
Staff and students that are allowed on campus must:
- Complete COVID-19 Safety Training;
- Check in at the screening station;
- Wear a face covering;
- Maintain social distance; and
- Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
Additionally, COVID-19 Cleaning Kits with proper cleaning supplies have been distributed to faculty and staff for use on commonly touched surfaces.
We will continue to follow these practices to prevent the spread of illness, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All CBC services remain open but have transitioned to remote operations as of Wednesday, March 25, at noon following Governor Inslee’s statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. The order has been extended and remote operations will continue through spring quarter 2021.
CBC is continually evaluating the current COVID-19 situation and will make adjustments to campus operations based on recommendations from state and local health department officials.
While the campuses are operating remotely, general business operations, most student services and appointments will continue remotely. Visit our Available Services webpage for the most up-to-date information.
Students can now access support services and appointments online or via phone. Please check our Available Services webpage frequently for the most up-to-date information about student services.
- Washington State Department of Health
- Benton-Franklin Health District
- Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet
- World Health Organization
Your mental and emotional health are important to us. Students have access to our on-campus personal counseling service, C.A.R.E. Students can make an appointment free of charge by emailing counselingFREECOLUMBIA_BASIN or calling 509-547-0511.
Employees have access to an Employee Assistance Program, which can be accessed by calling 1-800-777-4114 or visiting the Washington State Employee Assistance Program website and using "columbiabasin" as the username to login.
Any student, employee, volunteer or contractor who is at all concerned that they may have or have been exposed to COVID-19 to call CBC’s Emergency Management at 509-542-4777 to talk confidentially about your concerns before coming to campus. The CBC COVID-19 Flowchart and Decision Tree will determine next steps regarding returning to campus.
Washington State Department of Health Contact Tracing Information Graphic is a great resource to understand when you should stay home and for how long.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has a webpage dedicated to when you can be around others based on different scenarios that involve COVID-19.
No, you are not required to quarantine when you arrive in Washington. However, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washington on November 13, recommending a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel and asks residents to stay close to home. Inslee joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. If you’re visiting Washington and do not plan to quarantine, please observe the following precautions for the duration of your stay:
- Limit close contact to a small group of people and avoid large crowds.
- Maintain a distance of six feet or more from people outside your household.
- Wear a mask or face covering in public.
- Watch for symptoms and take your temperature once or twice a day. Do not go out if you have symptoms.
- Keep a record of the places you go with times and dates. If you get sick, this information is crucial for tracking efforts.
Residents returning to Washington from another state or country should also follow the precautions above for at least 14 days. WA residents must observe requirements for face coverings and gathering size. Additional information can be found on CDC website regarding Domestic Travel During COVID-19.
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.
There are some key differences between flu and COVID-19. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. More information about differences between flu and COVID-19 is available in the different sections below.
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. This CDC page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.