Latest Update: September 14, 2021
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.
When will we be fully back on campus?
We are planning for a gradual return to campus. It is our goal to have all campus sites fully reopened no later than Winter Term of 2022. Online, hybrid (on campus and online) and fully on campus classes are being offered for fall term.
What do I need to do to come onto campus?
To come onto campus every day, you will need to:
- Fill out a Health Check Form (Unless you have completed verification with the college that you are fully vaccinated).
- You can find the Health Check Form and more information about these requirements on the Coming to Campus page.
- Wear a mask, whether vaccinated or not.
- After Oct 18, only fully vaccinated employees or employees with college approved exemptions can come onto campus.
- After Sept. 24, only students with at least one dose of their vaccination or approved exemption forms can come onto campus.
Are vaccines required for students and employees?
Yes, Pierce College declared itself as a vaccinated college on August 30, 2021. With that said, we are allowing time for students and employees to get vaccinated or apply for exemptions. Visit our Vaccinated Campus page for more information, including:
- Vaccination and exemption deadlines
- Instructions for verifying your vaccination
- Upcoming Pierce College vaccination events
- 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. However, people are required to self-certify that they have not experienced COVID-19 symptoms since their last campus visit using the Health Check form. Once you have completed verification with the college that you are fully vaccinated, then you do not have to fill out the daily Health Check form.
Do we need to wear masks if we have been vaccinated?
You must wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. This has been mandated by the governor.
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. They include contact information for people who have concerns or questions.
- Until the college verifies that individuals are full vaccinated, students, faculty and staff are required to self-certify via the college's Health Check form that they are not sick and have not experienced COVID-19 symptoms since their last visit to campus.
- 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?
Are you going to provide campus food service soon?
- Currently there is no food service on campus; however, we are looking at offering limited food service at both campuses in the fall.
- Limited food service means not every station will be open in the main café at both campuses, but the more popular stations such as the grill, deli, pizza and a large selection of grab ‘n go items may be offered.
- The coffee cart may open at the Fort Steilacoom campus cafeteria. If successful, we will consider opening the cart in the Olympic Building.
- The coffee section is part of the Puyallup campus cafeteria and will be open when the cafeteria is open.
- At this time, we do not know if we will be offering catering services in the fall.
- We will follow the restaurant guidance under the Healthy Washington plan.
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.
- There will be no tournaments for any NWAC sport until further notice.
- We are looking into allowing spectators to attend indoor and outdoor athletic competitions with capacity limits subject to the Healthy Washington Plan, county and local regulations and campus policies. Fans must follow safety protocols posted at the venue.
Can we rent out spaces to the community?
It is possible, if we receive and approve their safety plan. If we do rent out spaces, they will need to follow the Healthy Washington Plan’s Miscellaneous Venue Guidance (PDF).
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.
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 or Jeff Schneider. They 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.
Jeff Schneider, District Director of Campus Safety
Jose Nieves, District Health and Safety Specialist
Who can I talk to if I have more questions?
If you have questions concerning any of the above or think you may have been exposed on campus, you can contact District Safety and Health Specialist Jose Nieves at email@example.com.
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. All student services will be fully open in fall term.
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 ours 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 will meet on campus for fall term 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.
Can choir, band and orchestra meet on campus?
Choir, band and orchestra will meet on campus for fall term.
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.
- Many on-campus classes are already scheduled for fall.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 wears a mask, has been fully vaccinated or has an approved exemption with accommodations, and maintains a social distance of at least 3 feet from each other.
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.
Can we travel out of state for work?
Yes, if approved by the dean or director, and you still need to follow the CDC travel guidelines.