Latest Update: May 23, 2022
Find answers to your questions about our campus re-opening plans, including the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of everyone on campus. In addition to general information, we also have information specific to students and employees.
- General Information
- Campus Information
- Student FAQs
- Employee FAQs
- Visitor Information
- Contractor Information
When will we be fully back on campus?
We base our reopening plans on local, state and federal health guidelines. Online, hybrid (on campus and online) and fully on campus classes are being offered for spring, summer and fall term.
What do I need to do to come onto campus?
We are a vaccinated campus, so to come onto campus every day, you will need to:
- Complete our vaccine or exemption attestation process to register for in-person or hybrid classes this summer and fall. If you have already completed this process for a previous term, you are all set to enroll for summer and fall without having to repeat the process again.
- For detailed information, important deadlines and forms, visit our Vaccination Requirements page.
- Only fully vaccinated employees or employees with college approved exemptions can come onto campus.
- Students and employees with an approved exemption must still wear a mask indoors.
Are vaccines required for students and employees?
Yes, Pierce College declared itself as a vaccinated college on August 30, 2021 and all students and employees are required to provide proof of vaccination or submit a request for exemption. Visit our vaccination requirements page for more information, including:
- Vaccination and exemption information
- Instructions for attesting your vaccination or exemption status
- Frequently asked questions
Are temperature checks required before people come to campus?
Some select programs require temperature checks, but this is not required for most people coming onto campus.
Do we need to wear masks if we have been vaccinated?
Starting spring term, masks are no longer required but are encouraged. In certain places on campus, you may be asked to mask up. Please respect personal choices.
Do we need to wear masks if we have an approved vaccine exemption?
Students and employees with an approved vaccine exemption must still wear a mask on campus while indoors.
What are other ways the college helps us stay healthy when we are on campus?
- Signs at entry points let people know of their shared responsibilities to protect the campus community. They address proper hygiene and sanitation, physical distancing, use of personal protective equipment, and staying home if feeling sick.
- The college provides information to students, faculty, and staff on how to detect symptoms and avoid high-risk situations.
- The college can provide students, faculty, and staff with personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.
- High-touch surfaces are frequently cleaned by our custodial crew, however people may also clean their own personal areas prior to and after use. The college provides supplies for hand washing and cleaning.
- Students or personnel who have the virus, have been exposed to the virus, or who are showing symptoms of the virus may be required to self-quarantine or isolate according to public health guidelines. For more information, see the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department guide: COVID-19: Should you quarantine or isolate?
- Pierce College strongly encourages all of our students and employees to get tested for COVID-19 if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Find more information about COVID-19 testing near you.
Are the cafeterias open?
- Café: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (1 p.m. Fridays)
- Breakfast Grill: 7:30 to 10 a.m.
- Lunch Grill: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (1 p.m. Fridays)
Social distancing is encouraged in the cafeteria while dining.
What about athletics?
As an NWAC Washington member college we participate in practice and competition following the Healthy Washington Plan's Spectator Event Guidance (PDF) in conjunction with NWAC Health and Safety Policies.
What is the basis for Pierce College's reopening plans?
- We continue to follow these guiding principles in our work:
- Health & Safety
- Quality of Educational Opportunities
- Fiscal Impact
- All decisions will continue to be aligned with guidance from the Governor’s Office and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD). All reopening plans will be monitored and adjusted depending on:
- Needed guidance from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
- Current state of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Availability of COVID-19 vaccinations
- Schooling plans for K-12 students
- Availability of needed personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Availability of security and custodial staff
- In addition to the TPCHD, we follow the state’s Higher Education Reopening Plan (PDF), the Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery Guide (PDF) for state agencies and Pierce College's comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control, Mitigation and Recovery Plan (CECMR) (PDF) to guide how we will safely return to campus with essential instructional programming and student support functions in accordance with state regulations.
- Our Incident Command System team continues to meet twice weekly to plan our response to the constantly changing pandemic and guidance set forth by the state. The Return to Campus committee also meets regularly to evaluate our options to make recommendations for returning to normal operations in the safest way possible. Our Facilities team continues to work hard to ensure our campuses can safely accommodate students and employees as we expand in-person services.
How many Pierce College employees and students have been vaccinated?
Find facts and numbers regarding vaccinations on our Covid-19 Dashboard.
Who do I notify if I have tested positive for COVID-19? What happens if there is a COVID-19 exposure on campus?
Individuals involved in or having knowledge of positive COVID cases and exposures must immediately notify Jose Nieves. We will commence protocols and inform impacted people of next steps related to response, quarantine, and/or other necessary actions in line with institutional, local, and state guidelines. Students enrolled in online classes only do not need to report positive COVID-19 cases unless they came to campus for services such as computer labs, library, advising, etc.
Are Student Services available on campus?
Student Services like Cashiering, Financial Aid and Advising are available in person on both campuses as well as online.
Are Academic Support Services, like the Writing Center, Computer Lab and Tutoring Center, available on campus?
Yes, several academic support services such as the Writing Center, Computer Lab, and Tutoring Center are available on campus.
Are campus tours operating in person?
Yes, in-person tours are being offered on campus right now.
Are the Fitness Centers open to students and employees?
Yes, their schedule is posted on the Pierce College Fort Steilacoom Health Education Center webpage, and the Pierce College Puyallup Health Education Center webpage.
Are the Child Development Centers open?
Yes, their schedule and contact information is posted on the Child Development Centers webpage.
Can choir, band, and orchestra meet on campus?
Choir, band, and orchestra are meeting on campus following all of our safety protocols.
Are you still operating the Center for Global Scholars (CGS)?
- Yes, our campus housing is still open and currently houses 34 residents and two managers.
- Pierce College provides quarantine and isolation housing and services for people who live in the CGS.
- A staff member is assigned to be on-site at all times to monitor compliance with the safety rules.
What ventilation is used in buildings on campus?
HVAC systems are used within buildings to maintain fresh air and a comfortable temperature. They use fans to circulate air through ductwork and to individual spaces in a facility. Air temperature is modulated with heating or cooling coils to maintain consistent temperature and humidity. Air within buildings is recirculated to maximize efficiency and mixed with a percentage of outside air to keep it fresh. Temperature set points are set based on providing certain amounts of fresh air per occupant, data from built-in sensors, field measurements, and balancing.
Modern HVAC systems also pass air through a filter prior to distribution. Most of our HVAC filtration on campus are either MERV-8 or MERV-11 efficiency. This means that they are capable of removing coarse airborne particulates, but let most fine particles pass through. These filters remove particulate that has potential to cause damage to HVAC equipment. Changing filters to a higher MERV rating would increase the filtration capability of the system; however, most of our systems are not engineered to run with more restrictive filters. This would risk significantly diminished air flow and increased strain on HVAC equipment, potentially damaging systems components.
HVAC systems are also maximized for outside air intake in buildings where we have the capability. This would reduce heating and cooling efficiency and consistency, but increasing the amount of fresh air inside of our buildings. College Staff are actively monitoring all HVAC systems to ensure proper operation.
This supports the CDC recommendation of a layered approach to reduce the spread of disease and lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19. In addition to ventilation improvements, the layered approach includes physical distancing, wearing face masks, hand hygiene, and vaccination. To support this, the College has strategically placed hand sanitizer stands in the buildings, as well as stations for masks, sanitizing wipes, and gloves.
What should I do if I’m exposed to COVID-19?
If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, follow our exposure and quarantine guidelines.
What if I test positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms?
Find out what to do and who to contact if you test positive for COVID-19 in our exposure and quarantine guidelines.
When can I come back to work on campus?
We encourage employees to start coming back to work on campus right now. If you haven’t already, work with your supervisor or dean on this.
How will things be different for employees when we are fully back on campus?
Ongoing changes to our operations include expanded evening and online hours for student services. Opportunities for employees to telework will be dependent upon the nature of each position and the needs of students and each department, including needs for expanded online and hybrid instruction.
What if I have a high-risk health issue and do not feel it is safe to be on campus?
- In May 2021, the Governor’s previous proclamation regarding high-risk employees was replaced by a new state law, the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA).
- If you are included on the list of those who are at increased risk due to COVID-19, as defined by the CDC, and would like to request an accommodation under HELSA, please contact the Pierce College Human Resources (HR) office at email@example.com.
- If you provide HR with medical documentation showing you are high risk and need accommodation, the college will work with you to determine a reasonable accommodation.
Can we have on-campus meetings?
Yes, as long as everyone has been fully vaccinated or has an approved exemption with accommodations. Masks and 3-feet social distancing are no longer required, but are strongly encouraged.
Can we travel out of state for work?
Out of state travel must be approved by a member of the executive team. You will still need to follow the CDC travel guidelines.
How will faculty and staff be informed of an outbreak on campus?
We have a COVID-19 response plan that outlines procedures for contact-tracing and notification in the case of a COVID outbreak. An individual’s medical diagnosis is confidential information. Supervisors should not share medical information (including COVID test results) about one employee with other employees. (Same for student medical information.) College safety officials will notify employees or students directly if we learn they may have been exposed to a positive case while on campus.
What do visitors need to know before coming to campus?
Masks are no longer required indoors, but are encouraged. Please respect personal choices, and do not enter the building if you are feeling sick.
Download the Notice to Contractors/Consultants letter for complete information about COVID-19 vaccine requirements for Pierce College contractors.