Gavilan College had several more incidents of the novel coronavirus reported last week, bringing the case count up to 12 since the start of the pandemic in March.
Jan Bernstein-Chargin, public information officer at Gavilan, sent out a mass email to students and staff on Dec. 7 to alert them that three students had tested positive for Covid-19. She said the students were last seen at the Gilroy campus or San Martin site on Dec. 4, but the incidents do not appear to be related.
“Gavilan College has identified everyone who may have been in contact with these individuals and is reaching out to them directly, with instructions for testing and follow-up,” she said.
Bernstein-Chargin said they’re only able to share limited information. She added that they are seeking guidance from local health officials and other public health authorities on how to handle the situation.
Bernstein-Chargin mentioned that the facilities involved are being sanitized and will not be used again this semester.
The rising number of Covid-19 cases in Santa Clara County also forced Gavilan to cancel its Drive-in Graduation Celebration. They had planned to have 122 graduates in the class of 2020 celebrate their recent accomplishments with the crossing of the stage event on Dec. 19 and 20.
Superintendent/President Dr. Kathleen Rose issued a newsletter Dec. 8 to alert students that the restrictions made it impossible to put on a show.
“Please know that we explored every possible option before coming to this decision,” Rose said.
Health officers in five Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara County, announced last week that a new stay-at-home order was implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, requiring most nonessential businesses to close all indoor and outdoor operations.
Rose told students to keep an eye out for a package in the mail sent by the school and the Associated Students of Gavilan College.
“At this point, we don’t know when we will be able to schedule a traditional graduation ceremony again but when we do, hopefully May 2021, the Class of 2020 will be invited to participate,” she said.
The majority of the fall semester classes and services were offered entirely online. The distance learning model will continue for the 2021 spring semester.
The school sent out a reminder to students that they need to protect themselves by wearing a mask, maintaining a six-foot distance from others and washing their hands frequently.
Gavilan officials also recommend students to avoid indoor spaces with people outside of their own household, limit travel and follow public health guidelines. Covid-19 testing sites are available in Santa Clara County: sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/covid19-testing.aspx; and San Benito County: hhsa.cosb.us/public-health/covid-19/.
Gavilan College will still have activities on campus and Covid-19 protocols are still in place. They’ve implemented deep cleaning procedures including disinfection of shared surfaces that are frequently touched such as desks, doorknobs, railings and phones.
“We will continue to follow these procedures,” Bernstein-Chargin said.