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Coronavirus COVID-19 Information, Updates & Resources


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As Trinidad State deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and its ramifications for our students, faculty, and staff, we want you to know that the college is operational. However, most instruction and support activity is operating remotely.

You will find the latest Trinidad State information about COVID-19 below, in addition to more detailed information about prevention tips and background on COVID-19.

  This page was last updated on May 22, 2020 3:45 PM  

Updated May 22, 2020 - 3:45pm

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I hope everyone is doing well on this beautiful Friday heading into the Memorial Day weekend. I want to share a few updates with you regarding the FY 20-21 budget.

As I mentioned in our Open Exchange meeting earlier this week, we are facing some significant budgetary challenges for FY 20-21. A few points I’d like everyone to be aware of include:
  • We are working right now on our budget for 2020-2021 which starts on July 1. The State Board will act on the College’s budget at their meeting on June 18.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic makes budgeting very difficult. Typically, the budget changes incrementally. That is not the case with budgeting for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Our budget planning involves projections about Federal CARES Act Funds, available State General Funds, and most importantly enrollment projections and the resulting tuition revenues. We are also planning, with your help, to curtail expenses as much as possible. It is critically important for each of us to evaluate each and every expenditure.
  • On Tuesday, the Governor announced that he awarded $450 million in Federal CARES Act funds to higher education. This funding must be expended in this calendar year for federally allowable uses.
  • On Wednesday, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) announced a 58% ($490 million) General Fund reduction for Higher Education for FY 21. Of this amount, $450m is considered a one-time reduction and $40 million an ongoing reduction. The JBC, which develops the State Budget on behalf of the General Assembly, is having to address a shortfall of over $3 billion.
  • Between funding from the State General Fund and the Federal CARES Act, we are hopeful the net impact will be a cut not exceeding 5 percent. This does not include tuition revenue, however.
  • The more important piece of the budget is student enrollment and tuition revenue. We must be focused on encouraging our current students to continue to completion, as well as making the case to prospective students that Trinidad State is the smart strategic choice.
  • Also, we must keep in mind the tremendous financial pressure Coloradans are facing with unprecedented unemployment numbers, and many businesses on the brink of closure. Financial strain is everywhere.
I am expecting an unstable budget environment while COVID-19 is with us, and anticipate it will continue to be very challenging for some time. Please know that our leadership team is working hard to minimize the impact on our people and the positive trajectory we are on as a college. As I know more information about our budget situation for the coming year, I will continue to update you.

Wishing you a safe and healthy Memorial Day weekend.

Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
Trinidad State Junior College

Updated May 13, 2020 - 3:55pm

Dear Students and Trojan Community:

I want to give you an update regarding plans for our Spring 2020 celebration of graduating students.  As you may recall, we surveyed all graduating students in late March when it became clear that because of COVID-19 restrictions, we would not be able to hold our traditional face-to-face graduation ceremonies on May 8.  Below are the results of that survey:
  • 147 responses were received.
  • Majority of students wanted an in-person graduation.
  • Next highest vote was virtual.
  • Majority wanted students to have the option to walk at the next possible opportunity.

The Graduation Committee has discussed a number of options as we have continued monitoring state and local restrictions around public gatherings.   We had hoped to hold a late summer in-person ceremony, but as we hear the governor’s phased approach to re-opening the state, it does not sound like large public gatherings will be possible by August.  In the interest of celebrating your hard-earned accomplishment sooner rather than later, we have come up with the following plans.
  1. A Graduation Gift Box – In early June, graduates will receive a special gift box from TSJC containing your cap and gown, diploma cover, the printed program listing all graduates, your cords and sash, special wishes from faculty and staff, a message from the TSJC president, other special surprises from SGA and the TSJC Educational Foundation, and an invitation to walk in the spring 2021 commencement.
  2. Sharing Your Photos - We would like you to share photos of yourself in your cap and gown, as well as pictures of how you are celebrating with your family and friends.  In your gift box, you will find instructions on how to share your photos with us.
  3. Social Media Celebration - TSJC will create a montage of student graduation photos, as well as faculty and administration video well wishes. 
  4. All graduates are invited to participate in-person at the Spring 2021 graduation ceremonies in Trinidad or Alamosa.  We will recognize our 2020 graduates separately, as you have earned your right to be recognized on stage in a traditional graduation ceremony.  We hope you will be able to join us!

Our goal is to mail your Graduation Gift Boxes by Friday, June 5, with the social media celebration coming soon thereafter – as soon as you begin sharing your celebration photos!

Please let me know if you have any questions.  We are so proud of what you have accomplished this year, and look forward to celebrating your success!

Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President 
Trinidad State Junior College

Updated May 1, 2020 - 4:37pm

Hello fellow Trojans,

As we enter a new month and a new set of state orders, I wanted to check in with you and let you know how these orders will affect Trinidad State.  I am also pleased to present some positive new information for students regarding the release of CARES Act funding, the Student Emergency Fund, and our plans for Summer and Fall!

Safer At Home

As you have likely heard, the governor issued a new set of Executive/Public Health Orders called “Safer At Home.” For details, see:

The summary states, “Colorado has been doing a great job following the Stay-at-Home order, and we must keep it up. The virus is still present in Colorado and can re-surge at any time. Everyone needs to do their part for themselves, their loved ones, and our community. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to protect our state and our community. Right now, we are in Level 2: Safer at Home. Coloradans are no longer ordered to stay home, but are strongly advised to stay at home. Critical businesses are open and non-critical businesses are operating with restrictions.

Specific guidance was issued for higher education institutions in order to resume in-person classes that cannot be taught online. As you know, all academic classes and many CTE classes were transitioned to remote instruction as of March 31. A few programs, including medical and law enforcement, were authorized to resume on the Valley Campus in April. TSJC has submitted plans to CDHE as required in this new phase, and will begin offering classes in the following programs on Monday, May 4:
Line Technician
Heavy Equipment

These classes will be required to follow strict requirements and safety precautions as outlined in the Governor’s Higher Education Guidance. Some of the requirements include:
  • All students and faculty will maintain 6-foot social distancing requirements;
  • Face masks will be required;
  • Classrooms and equipment will undergo regular deep cleaning;
  • Classrooms will have signage on hygiene and safety measures;
  • Classroom ventilation meets OSHA guidance;
  • Class sizes will be limited to no more than 10 individuals inclusive of students and instructor(s) at any given time;
  • Shared equipment will be limited where possible, and sanitized between each use with alcohol wipes;
  • Symptom screening will be applied using screening tool approved by local health department. Screening logs will be maintained for each student and faculty member for purposes of contact tracing should that become necessary.

Another part of the Safer At Home order allows non-critical businesses to have up to fifty percent (50%) of their employees return to in-person work in accordance with mandatory social distancing requirements and protocols. For faculty and staff, I want to let you know that our plan at TSJC is to continue with our current work-from-home arrangement (for those working remotely) for the duration of the Safer At Home order, which currently expires on May 27. Please check with your supervisor if you have questions, or if you feel you need to change your arrangement.

For Students

I am happy to report that the funding under the Federal CARES Act has been released, and students, you may now apply for up to $300 if you meet the eligibility requirements. The application form is now available under the student section of this page (see the next tab below).

In addition, the TSJC Educational Foundation has now raised over $23,000 for the Student Emergency Fund! We are extremely grateful to our donors who have stepped up to help our students during this crisis. You can apply for funding through this program by going to the same site mentioned above.

Regarding graduation ceremonies, we will make a decision by the end of May as to the possibility of an in-person graduation ceremony later this summer. Be assured, we will make sure you are mailed your cap/gown/cords and diploma as soon as they are ready.

Finally, I wanted to let everyone in our Trojan community know that Trinidad State is planning for classes to resume on campus in the fall with social distancing and safety precautions. Given the uncertainties ahead, our faculty and staff are preparing for multiple scenarios depending on the state of coronavirus and guidance from health and government authorities, and will adjust plans as necessary.

For this summer, all academic classes will be delivered remotely, with set times for “live” meetings with your instructor. Many CTE classes that were suspended during spring semester will be resuming instruction on campus beginning July 6, with all the safety precautions mentioned above.

Students, we can’t wait to see you back on campus this summer (for CTE) or this fall! Please register soon if you have not already done so! We will do our best to keep you informed as we learn new information. Please stay healthy and safe as we remain “safer at home” for the next month, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Rhonda M. Epper
Ph.D. | President

Updated April 22, 2020 - 1:05pm

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we approach the last couple of weeks of the spring semester, I want to again thank you for your patience and perseverance in moving forward during the COVID-19 health crisis. In last week’s Open Exchange for faculty and staff, I heard some excellent examples of how students and faculty are adapting to and coping with the change to online learning. One faculty member shared that he’s learning to use new tools that may become permanent fixtures in his courses going forward. As we are all learning more about technology-enhanced learning, we should continue thinking about how to optimize its use once we return to a new kind of “normal” at Trinidad State. Along these lines, I have a few updates to share with you.

Federal Stimulus Money for Trinidad State:

Trinidad State has been notified we will receive $1,038,406 in federal funding from the Congressional CARES Act to provide funding assistance as a result of COVID-19. Half of that funding ($519,203) will be released directly to students, and may be used for expenses related to college costs, as well as food, housing, health care, and child care expenses. Approximately 1,100 students will receive awards of up to $200 for Spring 2020, and future awards will vary by semester through Spring 2021. Students, you will be required to complete a form to request these funds. Watch your email for eligibility and further directions within the next few days.

The remaining $519,203 of CARES Act funding is to be used to offset operational costs incurred by the college as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. These funds have not yet been released by the U.S. Department of Education, but Trinidad State is formulating plans for how to allocate these funds toward the greatest institutional needs.

Student Emergency Aid Fund:

In my last message I announced that the TSJC Educational Foundation had started a fund drive to raise money for the Student Emergency Aid fund. I am happy to report that over $19,000 has been raised so far! We are grateful to the foundation and our many supporters throughout Trinidad and the San Luis Valley for stepping up to help our students through the challenging and destabilizing events of this semester. The federal stimulus money described above will provide well-needed initial relief to students impacted from COVID-19. However, we know the needs of some students will far outstrip the $200 allocation. As we move through the next few months, the TSJC Emergency Aid Fund will be able to step in and help fill the gaps by providing individualized student assistance based on need. The fund will provide essential and timely relief such as grocery cards, rent, utilities, or other expenses that could otherwise take a student off track from continuing their studies.

Students, we will be announcing the process and links for applying for both the Cares Act funding and Emergency Aid funding within the next few days.

Staying Focused on our Goals:

Finally, I just want to remind everyone that our five Centennial goals must remain squarely in focus, even as we navigate through the unknowns of the future. Students, you’ll note that these goals have you in mind: Students First! If you have registration, graduation or transfer questions, please contact Student Services. We are here to assist you.

The Centennial goals are 1) increase enrollment by 20%, 2) increase our graduation rate to 50%, 3) double our transfer rate from 100 to 200; 4) eliminate the completion equity gap; and 5) build reserves to support our facilities. With the forecast for the state budget looking stark for next year, we are budgeting conservatively. This is a time when we must examine our operations closely to find every efficiency possible, and also look for opportunities to promote our wonderful programs to students and families throughout our service area and beyond. I’m confident we will emerge from this crisis as a stronger college that is adaptable to our students’ and communities’ needs.

Sending you all my best as you complete the remaining weeks of the semester!


Updated April 13, 2020 - 8:18pm
from Lynette Bates

Dear Trinidad State students,

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused upheaval for all of us. We realize that you have experienced unanticipated disruption in your academic studies at Trinidad State. All this change has caused significant stress and your studies are likely competing with other high priorities in your life. Consequently, you may not be able to devote as much time to your studies and may prefer a Satisfactory (S), Unsatisfactory (U) or Withdrawal (W) grade option over a traditional A-F letter grade. This S/U option may not be ideal for some of you. Satisfactory is defined as a grade of C- or higher. Unsatisfactory is defined as a D or lower. Withdrawal will show on your permanent transcript. However, if you choose S/U or W, none of these options will impact GPA calculations.

Below are some details.

How long will S/U grading be available?
At this time, the S/U grading option is available for the spring 2020 semester only.

How will students request an S/U/W grade?
  • Instructors will issue an A-F grade for each student.
  • Each student will have different life circumstances and different needs for every class. You will have the option to request an S, U, or W grade for each class*. We strongly recommend you meet with your faculty member and advisor before requesting an S, U, or W grade.
  • Soon each of you will be receiving a second email with a simple form to complete and to return to the Registrar’s office for the S/U/W option.
If you do not make a request for the S/U or W grade by the deadlines below, the A-F letter grade assigned by your faculty member will be permanent.

What is the deadline for students to request an S/U grade?
For those courses ending on May 7th, students will have until May 18th to request a S/U grade. For those courses that will resume in May and July, you will have 10 days after the end of each course to submit a form for the S/U option.

What is the deadline for students to request a Withdrawal grade?
Students will have until the last day of the semester for each course to request a withdrawal. For those courses ending on the traditional semester schedule, the last day of the semester is May 7th. For those courses that will resume in May and July, you will have until the last day of each course to request a Withdrawal. A withdrawal may be preferable for some students who are not receiving a passing grade of C or above. What is the difference between “drop” and “withdraw”? If you drop a class before the census date, you will receive a tuition refund, and you will not lose College Opportunity Fund (COF) credits.

It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from classes if they stop attending. You can withdraw from courses for the semester you are enrolled in on the student portal. It is recommended that you speak with an advisor prior withdrawing from a course. It is important to check with the business and financial aid offices regarding any outstanding balances and/or financial consequences. If you are an online student, please contact the following:
Admissions Trinidad Campus 719-846-5625 or Admission Valley Campus 719-589-7026.

Will universities in the state accept courses with S grades?
Dr. Angie Paccione, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), sent a memo to all higher education institutions in Colorado on March 27, 2020. That memo provides guidance regarding S/U grading across the state. Related to transfer, the memo states, “institutions shall not deny transfer of any course with a S grade for the spring 2020 semester that would otherwise transfer with a C- or higher as part of the GT Pathways or a Statewide Transfer Articulation Agreement.”

For this spring semester, Withdrawal and Incomplete designations will not count towards your attempted credit hours.

The S/U is not available for Nursing (NUR) and Law Enforcement (LEA) coursework.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Evert Brown, Ph.D.

Dean of Instruction
Arts & Sciences

VC - Main 104D
(719) 589-7017

Keith Gipson

Dean of Instruction

Berg 210
(719) 846-5577

LoriRae Hamilton

Dean of Instruction
Health Sciences

Davis 118
(719) 846-5524

Jack Wiley

Dean of Instruction
Career and Technical Education

VC - Main 104C
(719) 589-7064

Updated April 3, 2020 - 5:24pm

Dear Trojan Community,

I want to congratulate everyone on making it through the first week of remote learning at Trinidad State! Our Faculty and Student Services teams are working hard to ensure students are getting logged into courses and understanding the support resources we have available. Students, you will be getting a personal phone call this week or next from a member of our Student Services team to check on you and make sure you understand the resources listed below.

Resources we have available:
  • Tutoring - We are offering virtual tutoring, with our own TSJC tutors being available through the Brainfuse platform (via D2L). Contact your instructor for details.
  • Tech Support(719) 846-5663 for the TSJC support desk or (888) 800-9198 after business hours
  • Laptops and Technology - If you are a student who is struggling with technology needs, we have a limited number of laptop computers that we can loan out for the duration of the semester. Contact the TSJC support desk for details.
  • Mental Health Counseling – short-term counseling by virtual appointment. Contact Ashlie Cogburn (
    • For immediate needs: Colorado Crisis Hotline 1-844-493-8255
    • Housing, Food, or other financial hardship – We have a Student Emergency Fund, and with support from the TSJC Educational Foundation, we will be launching a campaign to raise the amount of Emergency Funds available to our students. Contact Wilma Atencio (

Here are a few additional updates, some of which you may have already seen, but I’d like to ensure our entire college community is aware of them.
  • Pass/Fail Grading: Trinidad State will be offering a flexible grading option this semester only. Faculty will award grades using the standard A – F grading system, but students will have the option to change to a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade (our version of Pass/Fail) up until ten days after the end of the semester. Students should speak with their advisor about the potential implications of this decision. Watch for more details on this new grading option.
  • Graduation Survey: Thank you for participating in the Graduation Survey! The majority of responses we received indicate that students would prefer to hold an in-person graduation as soon as large public gatherings are permitted. The graduation committee will be meeting next week to identify next steps.
  • Resuming CTE Face-to-Face Instruction: On Wednesday, April 1, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) issued an updated public health order. This order clarified that colleges may provide in-person classwork for students in medical training fields only. As a result, the Academic Deans have identified the following schedule to resume CTE courses that require face-to-face instruction:
Courses that will resume face-to-face April 6, 2020
• Nursing
• Nurse Aide
• Medical Assisting

Courses that will resume face-to-face as soon as the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Orders are lifted, but no sooner than May 4, 2020:
• Line Technician
• Heavy Equipment

Courses that will resume face-to-face July 6, 2020
• Welding
• Automotive
• Dental Assisting
• Gunsmithing (4th semester only)
• Massage
• Cosmetology
• Diesel
• Aquaculture

Courses that will resume face-to-face August 3, 2020
• Gunsmithing (2nd and 3rd semester students)

For all students in the above classes, it’s important for you to remember that you should be checking in with your instructor. Even if your classes are not resuming face-to-face until a few months from now, your spring semester is not over. Your instructor may be giving you online assignments to complete between now and then. If there are any changes to the above, we will communicate as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind we get new information every day. Thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate through this crisis. The most important thing is that everyone in our Trojan community is healthy and safe, and students are moving forward with their education.

Wishing everyone a good weekend. Remember hand sanitizer, and according to the CDC, we should all be wearing masks in public. Also, I have started using the term “physical” rather than “social” distancing to refer to the recommended six-foot barrier. Now more than ever, we need physical distance, but strong social connections with our neighbors, friends, and loved ones.

Take good care, until next week. . .

Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
Trinidad State Junior College

Updated March 30, 2020 - 4:40pm

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

I want to welcome you back from Spring Break, and to the remainder of spring semester. This will certainly be a spring semester we will never forget! I want to begin by expressing my profound thanks to every member of the Trinidad State community.

Students: We understand this is not how you planned to spend the remainder of your academic year at TSJC. You may be anxious about your courses, the transition to online learning, and we are here to support you. Your faculty and instructors have been working tirelessly to make sure you have a little time to get acclimated to the new environment, and then to deliver the same high quality learning experience you have come to expect from Trinidad State. For your fully online classes, be sure to login and begin communicating with your professors. If you’re in a CTE class that is face-to-face only, we are on a temporary “hold” during the Governor’s Stay-at-home Executive Order. But you should check with your professor because many CTE classes are moving forward with online instruction. We hope to have a more definitive re-start date later this week for face-to-face CTE classes. All graduating students, please respond to the Graduation Survey, which will be sent out today. We want to know your preferences for celebrating your upcoming graduation from TSJC.

Faculty and Staff: I am grateful to each of you for your work, your patience, and your commitment to our Trinidad State community. We have asked you to push your boundaries, to change plans, and then change again. Some of you have supported our students who remain in the residence halls, or who simply need comfort, food, or a listening ear. Some of you have helped keep our facilities sparkling clean and safe. And many more of you are working from home to support students remotely and ensure our college can function administratively. Coaches are learning new ways to recruit “virtually.” And faculty are learning an entirely new way of teaching, and doing so with incredible agility and creativity.

I’m so proud of Trinidad State as we begin this new and unprecedented journey. Let’s all be patient with each other as we begin this first week back. That goes for students, faculty, and staff alike. We will endeavor to make this the best experience possible given the restrictions placed upon us. And no matter where you are, please continue to be vigilant with social distancing expectations and compliance with all state and local public health orders. We want all members of our community to stay healthy and safe!

Thank you, and best wishes for the remaining semester,

Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
Trinidad State Junior College

Updated March 25, 2020 - 8:03pm

Dear Faculty and Staff:

I wanted to share some updates and new developments from today. I apologize for the late message, but have been on the phone with the system office in trying to interpret the new developments.

  1. Governor Polis Stay-at-Home Order for the State of Colorado. At 4:30 pm this afternoon, the governor held a press conference in which he issued a statewide Stay-at-Home Executive Order, effective Thursday, March 26 at 6:00 am through April 11. See the full order here:
        a. Beginning tomorrow, all college employees must work from home unless you have been identified as “essential personnel.” The governor’s order includes definitions of essential personnel to carry out basic functions of the college. This includes, but is not limited to, facilities, security, payroll, human resources, those helping to support remote workers, and those helping to support remote instruction.
        b. If you have been identified as essential personnel, you will be receiving a letter from HR via email that will authorize you to travel to and from TSJC consistent with the governor’s orders. Please wait to hear from your respective VP regarding your schedule and when you are expected to be on campus.
        c. CTE classes and those that were scheduled to continue meeting face-to-face will be suspended until the order is lifted on April 11.
        d. All classes that are transitioning to online instruction will resume on Monday, March 30. CTE classes that can deliver instruction remotely may continue to do so.
        e. A limited number of students will be returning to the residence halls next week, and we will be issuing laptops to those students who do not have their own computers. Students will be moving from double occupancy to single occupancy rooms. More information will be forthcoming from Student Services regarding the support of students in our new “remote” environment.
  2. As of today’s report from CDPHE, there has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in our service area (Huerfano County).
  3. Faculty, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your dean or Lisa Cheney-Steen for assistance if you need help in moving your course content to remote instruction.
Thank you all for your patience and continued work as we do our part in tackling this pandemic, supporting our students, and supporting each other. We will get through this!

Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
Trinidad State Junior College

Updated March 20, 2020 - 10:47am

Dear Trinidad State Community:

Spring Break is traditionally a time to refresh and recharge from the stress and excitement of a higher education experience. It is also a time for renewal, as we look forward to May -- to warmer weather, to semester’s end, and to graduation. Unfortunately, things are much different this semester. COVID-19 has brought new challenges and normalcy has gone by the wayside. We are all a bit on edge as we consider the many unknowns before us. And yet, I have confidence that the legacy of Trinidad State will endure. As I walk the campus, speak with employees, and visit with students, I am encouraged that we are looking out for one another. I am confident that we can develop and adopt new processes to better serve the needs of students and employees, not just for the short-term of this current crisis, but for many years to come. I am confident that the communities of Southern Colorado, of which we are an integral part, will recognize and value the critical contributions we make to their economic and cultural fabric; and they will endeavor to support us as much as we will continue to support them.

A couple of updates and decisions from this week:

For Students

Commencement: In-person graduation ceremonies, currently scheduled for May 8, are cancelled. This is, of course, a difficult decision, but one that is necessary given the restrictions on large-group gatherings and to protect the health of our students, staff, and families. After spring break, we will be conducting a survey of graduating students to find out your preferences for an alternative way to celebrate your graduation from TSJC. Our Graduation Committee has been working on some ideas for a virtual celebration. We are also open to considering an in-person ceremony later in the year. Watch for a survey in your email the week of March 30. It’s important to remember that however we celebrate, you will still receive your certificate or degree as soon as it’s completed, and you will be a TSJC graduate!

Residence Hall and Dining Refunds: Students who check out of the residence halls before March 30 will be refunded six weeks of room and board to their student account. The business office will credit student accounts based on financial aid and scholarship awarded to the student. A pro-rated refund will be calculated for students who check out after March 30. To determine the status of your account, contact Ruth Blasi in the TSJC Business Office (719-846-5547,

For Faculty and Staff:

We are continuing with current plans to migrate as much instruction as possible to online delivery for the remainder of the semester. Please check out the faculty blog (, put together by Lisa Cheney-Steen, Jocelyn King, and other faculty. You will find some excellent resources and helpful hints for moving your courses online. Lisa is also available to help any faculty member or instructor who needs one-on-one assistance. The blog also has helpful hints for staff, such as how to forward your phone and use Webex for meetings.

At this point, the governor and CDHE are supporting the continuation of CTE classes that require hands-on learning – as long as the classes are small and can provide appropriate social distancing. As you all know, a number of our CTE programs are supplying the workforce that is necessary in a time of crisis: EMTs, public safety officers, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Line technicians are critical during natural disasters. Our state needs these skilled workers as quickly as possible, and will be counting on community colleges to retrain displaced workers and get them back into the workforce quickly. Kudos to many of our CTE faculty who have come up with innovative strategies to teach certain skills online. I am in awe of your creativity! We will continue to follow guidance from CCCS and state leaders on CTE, and will let you know if anything changes.

As I stated in my message earlier this week, staff are encouraged to work from home if at all possible. We will have minimal staff working on campus (housing, dining, facilities, security) with most student support and business functions moving to remote work. We expect a skeleton crew on each campus to be available to support students who are still here. Our IT staff has been conducting an inventory this week to determine technology needs of staff members working from home. Administrative Services has developed some forms, located in the Employee Portal, for you to document your work-from-home arrangement and track your time.

As you make your final preparations for spring break, please know that I appreciate all that you are doing – students, faculty, and staff alike. I am proud that our TSJC community is doing its part in preparing for and controlling the spread of COVID-19. And I am proud of all we have accomplished to make TSJC such a remarkable place. We will use this opportunity to find new and innovative ways to deepen the relationships that sustain us. And we will be a better and stronger college for it. Be safe, and stay healthy!

Dr. Rhonda M. Epper

Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
Trinidad State Junior College

Updated March 17, 2020 - 1:43pm

To the Trojan Community,

As we tackle COVID-19 together, please remember our top priorities are the safety of our community, both employees and students, and maintaining our educational mission. We must now come together as a community and help one another to remain calm and safe.

Day by day, we continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic, in concert with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Community College System. We are asking that you act immediately to reduce your risk. Do this by washing your hands with soap often, and by limiting close contact with others. Mid-terms are finishing up this week and we will be closed next week for Spring Break. We have a plan in place beginning on March 30 to teach as many classes as possible online, while still holding small face-to-face classes in areas that require hands-on learning. As we make the shift to online instruction, we will begin implementing more remote working arrangements for faculty and staff. Finally, we will continue to clean door handles, desks and other hard surfaces often, to limit as much as possible the spread of the virus.

For Students – Continuing Classes After Spring Break

Ensuring the continuity of your semester and completion of your courses is of paramount importance. Even as many of your favorite activities and sports have been cancelled this term, you mustn’t lose sight of your educational goals. We will do everything possible to minimize the disruption to your classes, but for most of you, some things will be changing after Spring Break. It is imperative that you contact your faculty/instructor to determine the post-Spring Break plan FOR EACH OF YOUR CLASSES. While most classes will be moving to online delivery, others may continue to require face-to-face instruction.

The residence halls and cafeteria will be open and all student services available to support you. Some of those services may be delivered remotely; for example, you may be talking to your advisor by phone or Webex. You may have heard that the governor of Colorado has ordered that all bars/restaurants (and theaters, casinos and gyms) close for 30 days other than carry-out. The attorneys for the governor and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment have informed the Attorney General’s office that this order is NOT intended to apply to campus dining halls. Our food service will continue this week as “grab-n-go” (given that arrangements were made after hearing the governor’s order last night), but when you return from spring break, we will resume regular meal service (with grab-n-go as an option).

Computer labs will be open on both the Trinidad and Valley campuses if you need equipment or technical assistance in completing your online courses.

For Employees - Working at Trinidad State

In doing our part to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, we are heeding advice from CDPHE, CDC, and elected officials to restrict group gatherings – advice that has grown more restricted even in the last few days. As part of this effort, we are encouraging employees to work from home wherever possible. Our goal is to maintain continuity of operations by keeping our office areas/departments open while operating with the fewest people on campus as possible. Vice Presidents are currently talking with their team members to determine technological needs, work processes, and rotating schedules to ensure minimal office coverage. We all need to think creatively about how we can support our students and our colleagues through this difficult time.

If you are unsure as to whether or not your job can be performed remotely, please discuss with your supervisor.

College Events

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, we are implementing new event restrictions. For the remainder of Spring 2020, no new events should be planned, all large events have been cancelled, and most events that are not central to our instructional mission have been cancelled. Regrettably, this includes student activities that have been planned for months. In addition, the NJCAA announced yesterday it has canceled all spring sports for 2020.

At this time, no decision has been made regarding graduation ceremonies. We are evaluating a number of options amid the changing recommendations regarding number of participants at group gatherings.

College or Personal Travel

With a limited number of exceptions, current travel restrictions are as follows:
  • Domestic travel for college business is prohibited to those states that have declared a state of emergency. (New Mexico is currently an approved exception.) International travel to countries identified as “Level 2 and 3” by the CDC is also prohibited. Please refer to the travel information posted in the TSJC Portal under the “Employee” tab for more details.
  • Athletic travel is suspended.
  • We are requesting that all individuals who travel for personal reasons from areas where there is a sustained outbreak self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. This protocol applies to students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
  • If You are Feeling Sick If an employee is feeling unwell (but able to work) with symptoms of cold, flu or fever they should work from home and call their health care provider if their condition worsens. Employees who are returning from a high impact area will need to self-quarantine for at least 14 days. Please check with your direct supervisor. When sick, employees should record their time away from work in the portal as usual. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Call your healthcare provider before showing up so that their office can take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

    If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources.

    Students: Please refer to the TSJC website “Health Alert” tab for updated information related to COVID-19. Do not hesitate to contact your instructors, residence hall staff, or Student Services as necessary for additional assistance or guidance.

    Support Resources

    We recognize that this rapidly evolving situation can cause anxiety and emotional strain and wish to provide you with us much timely information and support as possible.

    Faculty and staff: Resources are available for TSJC employees through the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program (CSEAP). Please refer to the website—; or contact Yvette Atencio, HR Director, TSJC—719-846-5538 for further information.

    Students: Resources are available for TSJC students through the Student Services BIT Team. Please refer to the TSJC website for contact information: or contact Ashlie Cogburn.

    This situation is rapidly changing, and we are adapting as quickly as possible. Remember to stay safe by washing your hands often and by limiting close contact with others as much as possible. I want to commend everyone for supporting one another as we navigate these uncharted waters. Please know that I’m doing my best to keep you informed, and that things may change. If they do, we will adapt, communicate, and move forward.


    Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
    Trinidad State Junior College

    Updated March 13, 2020 - 9:11am

    Dear TSJC Colleagues:

    I know that many of you are concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak and its possible impact on you, your families, your colleagues, our students, and our communities. Outlined below are several steps we will take immediately to reduce the risk of COVID-19 at TSJC. While we have not had any known cases of COVID-19 among students or employees, the recent spread in Colorado suggests that it is better to act now. We know that one of the most important ways to reduce risk is social distancing, which is guiding our plan. Spring Break is scheduled for March 23-27, and will not be extended. Classes will resume on Monday, March 30 as scheduled.

    Starting March 30, we will deliver coursework via remote/online delivery. Wherever possible, TSJC will transition to offering remote instruction to students. This may be done in a variety of ways that includes use of D2L or other means that are deemed appropriate by the faculty and their respective dean. Programs that need to continue to rely on face-to-face instruction for labs, etc., will continue to meet. Faculty and deans are encouraged to evaluate each class on an individual basis and plan accordingly to help decrease risk of exposure.
    • Faculty and instructors will begin preparing immediately to transition to remote/online delivery, and will receive training and assistance on both the Trinidad and Valley campuses.
    • Faculty and instructors will notify their students of the delivery format with specific instructions about their classes by March 27 – before students return from spring break.
    • Students and instructors who do not have home Internet access will be able to use computers located on campus in our computer labs and library.
    • Many of our classes are offered inside high schools as part of the Concurrent Enrollment program. We will work closely with school districts and high school administrations to coordinate that instruction through the best mutually agreeable instructional method.
    At this time, the College will remain open for business. We will continue to maintain student, instructional, and administrative services on our campuses at current levels, and we will begin evaluating for any necessary adjustments this week and next. All employees should continue to report for their regular schedule unless they are ill. If you are concerned that you have a health related issue that could put you or a family member at risk, please contact Human Resources and your supervisor for consideration of accommodations.

    Events and Gatherings: We recognize that many student and community events are scheduled on our campuses this spring. Using guidance from the governor and CCCS, we are restricting large-scale events based on several risk factors (number of attendees, indoor vs. outdoor, food service, internal vs. external). At this time, GIM/GRIP and a number of external events have been cancelled. We will continue to evaluate events on a case-by-case basis as the situation progresses. Regarding TSJC Athletics, we continue to monitor the NJCAA COVID-19 updates and will comply with their guidance unless state and local health officials direct a more stringent approach.

    Graduation: At this time, TSJC intends to hold graduation events as scheduled. However, we are evaluating options for social distancing, limited audience participation, and live-streaming.

    Travel: Please see the TSJC Portal for specific information on travel.

    These decisions are the result of thoughtful conversations with college leadership and our CCCS colleagues, and we do not take them lightly. We will continue to monitor the recommendations set forth from the Center for Disease Control and other national health resources, as well as work with our state and local public health officials to stay abreast of the rapidly changing nature of COVID-19. Thank you for your help in managing a challenging time. I think these steps will allow us to manage the risks posed by the current situation and continue to help our students succeed.

    Thank you,

    Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
    Trinidad State Junior College

    March 11, 11:42am

    Dear TSJC Colleagues,

    I’m writing to update you on new developments in response to COVID-19. This message will be short, as I just returned from two days of meetings in Denver with our CCCS Chancellor, state board, other community college presidents, other CEOs of higher education institutions in Colorado, Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

    Please be assured we are monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation in Colorado, the nation, and globe. I want to thank the TSJC Safety Committee for their continued work in anticipating, planning, and acting in the best interest of the college. In the past few days, they, and I, have been involved in learning more about the situation and developing and implementing strategies to proactively minimize the impact of this virus and protect our students, each other, and our communities, especially the most vulnerable.

    The most important message I would like to convey to you is that this is not a time to panic; it’s a time to prepare.

    As you may have seen in the news media, institutions of higher education across Colorado have been engaged in activating their plans for dealing with situations like this. Tomorrow and Friday TSJC and CCCS will have a continued series of communications and decision-making to position us to best minimize risk. In doing so we will be relying on experts from the federal, state, and local government and our medical community.

    Around 8:00 this evening, the governor of Colorado held a conference call with college and university CEOs, and issued guidance to higher education institutions. I will be reviewing these with our leadership team tomorrow. The governor’s general guidance is similar to that issued for schools districts, which is to remain open unless and until there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a student, faculty or staff member. Other guidance is to restrict large-group gatherings, implement social distancing, and prepare for temporary remote instruction where possible. He emphasized that colleges are expected to keep dormitories, food service, and student services open to ensure students’ needs are being met. The extension of spring break by one week was mentioned as a possibility by several institutions (providing an opportunity for faculty to prepare remote instruction), and will be discussed by our TSJC leadership team tomorrow.

    You can expect another email from me by Friday with more specific plans for TSJC. This will include more specific information on travel restrictions as well as employee leave. Please understand that the situation is fluid, so you can expect things to change and evolve as we continue our work in the coming days and weeks.

    Thank you for your continued safety practices and your care for our students, each other, and our communities. I appreciate your patience and cooperation. We will get through this together.

    With gratitude,

    Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
    Trinidad State Junior College

    March 6, 9:07am

    Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

    We’ve all been hearing a lot lately about the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The health and safety of Trinidad State students and employees is very important. So with that in mind, our Marketing and Communications staff have built a webpage where you can find information about the virus, and so that we can be diligent and proactive in our own efforts:

    Please visit this page if you have concerns or questions about the novel coronavirus – about preventing it, and about the work we are doing to update our emergency preparedness plans so that we are prepared should such a virus directly impact our communities. We will be updating this webpage as needed in an effort to keep everyone informed.

    Sincere regards,

    Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
    Trinidad State Junior College

    March 3, 11:02am

    Good Morning Everyone,

    I know that many of you have been following the news reports regarding the Coronavirus incidents in the US and around the world. I want to reassure you that TSJC’s leadership has been monitoring the situation, as well, and have discussed this issue with the college Leadership Team yesterday. We will be convening a meeting of our College Safety Committee to stay abreast of the situation and to review our emergency plans for situations just like this should an epidemic occur. In addition, the CCCS office also is monitoring reports and activity and will keep in communication with the presidents and safety officers.

    We will continue to keep you in the loop with our discussions, any needed plans, changes in operation and/or additional information regarding the virus as we move forward. In the meantime, please be mindful of the following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control. If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of either seasonal flu or Coronavirus, please call your closest County Health agency for further recommendations and screening. Please stay home if you are exhibiting symptoms. Faculty, instructors and staff, please communicate with your chair or supervisor if you are ill and not going to be able to come to campus, as well as utilize your D2L capabilities to communicate with your students. Students, you should stay in communication with your faculty if you must miss class.

    Please visit the CDC website for up to date information on Coronavirus (019-nCoV) and seasonal flu (influenza). This site also includes helpful information you may print or share in a variety of languages.

    From the CDC:
    The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to either virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)
    We are a very friendly college, and continuous interaction is a part of who we are. Let’s look out for one another by regularly washing our hands and staying home when we are ill. Thank you!

    Rhonda M. Epper, Ph.D. | President
    Trinidad State Junior College
    Updated May 1, 2020 - 2:15pm

    Trinidad State CARES Act Grant

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March 2020. It established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The funds are to provide financial assistance to Trinidad State Junior College students for expenses related to the disruption of caused by coronavirus.

    As a student of TSJC if you incurred expenses or hardships related to the coronavirus that disrupted your education, we may be able to help! This includes but is not limited to rent, food, childcare, healthcare or related expenses.

    The TSJC CARES Act Grant can help. $300.00 awards are available to assist with expenses related to the COVID 19 disruption. Please fill out the request form here. Funds will be processed through your BankMobile account.

    Eligible students include US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents taking on campus classes during the spring 2020 semester who have completed high school.

    CARES Act Grant funding is limited and will be distributed as soon as possible while the funds last. Applying for the funding early is strongly encouraged. If you are unsure if you are eligible, click here for more information.

    4/28/20 - 2:15pm
    Spring 2020 Semester Withdrawal Date Extended:
    The Withdrawal Date for the Spring 2020 semester has been extended to the last date of the individual class. This date will depend on the class in which the student is taking. For normal full semester classes, the last date to withdraw would be May 7, 2020. Students who wish to withdraw can do so on their Student Portal, by contacting their advisor via phone, or by calling 719-846-5664 or 719-589-7063 for assistance.

    4/28/20 - 2:05pm
    Student Emergency Fund
    The Student Emergency Fund is supported by the Trinidad State Junior College Educational Foundation, Trinidad State Junior College and the CARES Act.
    For more information and the application go to this website.

    4/28/20 - 12:10pm
    Satisfactory (S) / Unsatisfactory (U) Grade Request - Spring 2020
    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused upheaval for all of us. We realize that you have experienced unanticipated disruption in your academic studies at Trinidad State. All this change has caused significant stress and your studies are likely competing with other high priorities in your life. Consequently, you may not be able to devote as much time to your studies and may prefer a Satisfactory (S), Unsatisfactory (U) grade mode for Spring 2020 semester.
    3/26/20 - 6:02pm
    Trinidad State Students:
    Remember, your classes will resume with online instruction beginning March 30. We are excited to welcome you back “virtually” from Spring Break! Please be aware that the Governor’s stay-at-home order means there will be no face-to-face classes until April 13, at the earliest. This impacts students enrolled in Career and Technical Education classes, who were anticipating to return to campus on March 30. Please continue to monitor our COVID-19 updates on this website for further information.

    • May 8, 2020 in-person Commencement ceremonies are canceled
    • All athletic events – Canceled for the rest of the semester
    • Bookstore is CLOSED for in-person transactions until further notice - visit on-line at
      3/17 Adult Education’s Family Café – Canceled
      Safe Spring Break – Canceled
      Carry Out only at the cafeteria until further notice
    • 3/24 Homeless Forum - Canceled
    • 3/30 Many classes will transition to online
    • 3/31 Casino Night - Canceled
    • 4/6 Food for Thought Cuchara Mountain Park – Canceled
    • 4/7 Living in Future’s Past screening – Canceled
    • May 8, 2020 in-person Commencement ceremonies are canceled
    • Bookstore is CLOSED for in-person transactions through March 30th
      3/17 Exercise Room is now closed
    • 3/18 Safe Spring Break - Canceled
    • 3/30 Many classes will transition to online
    • 4/2 Casino Night - Canceled

    Trinidad State remains open while transitioning classes to online instruction

    Updated March 13, 2020 - 10:15am
    In the wake of COVID-19 Coronavirus cases rising in Colorado, Trinidad State has taken action early to mitigate risk with input from the Colorado Community College System and in consultation with health experts. Currently, Trinidad State will remain open and continue to carefully monitor the situation while at the same time move to reduce health risks by providing more online learning opportunities at our Trinidad and Alamosa campuses.

    “The health of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority,” said Trinidad State President Dr. Rhonda M. Epper. “One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 is to practice social distancing, and that guides our plan. In addition to transitioning many classes to online learning, we have increased attention on cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and have raised awareness about the importance of washing hands and staying away from others at the first hint of illness. We do not want to disrupt the learning process needlessly, but we are ready to change course should the coronavirus find its way onto one of our campuses.”

    Spring Break, the week of March 23, will happen as scheduled. When classes resume on March 30, as many classes as possible will be taught online. Faculty and instructors will prepare immediately for remote/online delivery. By March 27, faculty and instructors will notify their students how to access their classes. Those who do not have computer access at home will be able to use computers located in the libraries and computer labs on campus. By decreasing the number of students and faculty on campus, the college expects to reduce the chance of spreading illness.

    Programs, such as welding and nursing clinicals, that require hands-on classwork and face-to-face instruction will continue to meet on campus. For classes offered at area high schools, the college will work closely with those schools districts to continue instruction in the most efficient and safe way.

    Softball and Baseball contests scheduled in Trinidad this weekend have been canceled because of travel restrictions put in place by the visiting teams. “We continue to monitor the NJCAA COVID-19 updates and will comply with their guidance unless state and local health officials direct a more stringent approach,” stated Epper.

    Following guidance by the Governor of Colorado and the Colorado Community College System, TSJC will be evaluating large events on a case-by-case basis. The college has canceled a yearly event for Trinidad area middle school students that is normally held at the Trinidad Campus. Girls in the Middle (GIM) for girls and Guys Reaching Incredible Potential (GRIP) for boys introduces young people to careers in science-related fields. Other gatherings of large groups may be canceled as well.

    Trinidad State will continue planning graduation ceremonies, scheduled for May 8, 2020 in Trinidad and Alamosa. If there are changes the college will move quickly to notify students so family members will be able to modify their plans. As always, TSJC plans to provide a live stream on the internet for those who cannot attend in person.

    “We will continue to adjust our plans and make changes as we get more information,” said Epper. “We will balance the needs of students, faculty and staff, making every effort to teach students while at the same time striving to keep everyone safe.”

    CCCS Prepares Transition to Remote Instruction

    13 colleges take steps to mitigate spread of COVID-19

    Updated March 12, 2020 (Denver, CO) - 10:30am
    To ensure the health and safety of campus communities across Colorado, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) activated its emergency operations team focused on coordinating the system’s response with the CO Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the guidance provided by the Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    While there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) on any CCCS campus, preparation continues to receive the highest level of attention from college leaders and system administration.

    “The health and safety of our 125,000 students and 20,000 employees is our highest priority as we coordinate our response and take informed actions,” said Joe Garcia, CCCS chancellor. “Our thirteen college presidents and I are having regular, ongoing conversations and heeding the guidance of public health experts and the CDC.”

    Immediate actions taking place across all thirteen colleges include limitations on large group gatherings, implementation of restrictive travel policies, and the possible extension of Spring Break for students. Staff and faculty will utilize the extra time to transition appropriate courses from in-person to remote instruction and exams, and implement risk reduction plans tailored for each campus.

    Due to varying institutional size, location, and programming across CCCS colleges, some courses may not be appropriate to transition to remote learning, such as welding and nursing labs. To provide students with the opportunity to continue their educations in which they have invested so much time, money, and effort, while ensuring safety for students in these career and technical education programs, courses will be held in spaces that allow for adequate social distancing.

    “We are prepared for this fast-moving, fluid situation and are implementing appropriate plans at each of our colleges to keep our communities safe and avoid interference with student academic progress,” said Garcia.

    CCCS hopes to keep offices and colleges open, but also wants to ensure alignment with best practices to promote a healthy environment such as implementing plans to allow employees to work remotely and ensuring paid sick leave.

    Colorado Gov. Polis declares COVID-19 state of emergency

    On March 10, 2020, Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). The declaration will help ensure resources are available to the state to combat COVID-19.

    “Our top priority is protecting public health and our vulnerable populations which is why we are taking swift bold action. Our administration's response will be guided by the science and lessons learned from the countries and states that this virus arrived in first,” said Governor Polis. “We will continue to be proactive and work around the clock to protect public health and safety with an eye towards preventing the need for more drastic measures that result in social disruption.”

    “In order to slow the spread of the disease, some of the most effective measures we can take as a state is to test more people so that those who test positive can be isolated from the general population as we continue to stress the need for personal action such as staying home when sick, keeping their kids home when they’re sick and diligently washing your hands,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “We thank everyone who has been involved with this containment effort for their tireless efforts and work to ensure the people of our state are safe.”


    Prevention and well-being

    Prevention measures are similar to those utilized against the common cold and flu, which are currently circulating in high numbers in California. Those measures include frequent hand washing and avoiding touching face with unwashed hands.

    Trinidad State concurs with CDC recommendations in not recommending the use of surgical masks by people who are well. Those who are ill should consult a healthcare provider about using a surgical mask to reduce the spread of their illness.

    N95 respirator masks are recommended only for use by healthcare workers. These masks are not needed outside of healthcare settings.

    The college will be conducting more frequent cleaning in common areas and on commonly touched surfaces. Academic, dining and housing spaces are among those where elevated cleaning will be required.

    FAQs on prevention and well-being

    How can I help prevent illness?
    Prevention measures are similar to those utilized against the common cold and flu.

    Get a flu shot.
    We strongly recommend that everyone obtain seasonal flu vaccination. While it will not prevent COVID-19, influenza is currently in widespread circulation in the country, and initial symptoms can be similar to novel coronavirus. Any illness right now can increase anxiety and concerns.

    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    - 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 (e.g. door knobs, desks, phones).
    - If you can, avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
    - Stay home when you are sick.
    - Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Then throw the tissue in the trash and disinfect your hands.
    - Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    Should I wear a mask?
    Trinidad State concurs with CDC recommendations in not recommending the use of surgical masks by people who are well. Those who are ill should consult a healthcare provider about using a surgical mask to reduce the spread of their illness.
    N95 respirator masks are recommended only for use by healthcare workers. These masks are not needed outside of healthcare settings.
    COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019.

    The current evidence is that most cases (~80%) of COVID-19 appear to be mild. The most common symptoms include fever (38°C/ 100.4 °F) and respiratory complaints such as cough and shortness of breath.

    In more severe cases, infection can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. Those with chronic underlying medical conditions appear to be at high risk for serious complications.

    Runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea are less commonly present.

    The incubation period, or the time from which someone is exposed to their onset of symptoms, is most commonly reported to be in the 2-7 day range, but may range up to 14 days for COVID-19. This means that it could take up to 10-14 days for someone to exhibit symptoms after they are infected.

    Person-to-person spread is the primary source of transmission. Based upon available information, it appears that close contact with respiratory droplets from someone who is symptomatic (fever, cough) is the main source for transmission.

    FAQs on background of COVID-19

    What is COVID-19, also called novel coronavirus?
    COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019.

    Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that typically cause mild respiratory infections, although they can result in more severe disease, as seen in past years with SARS and MERS. This “novel coronavirus” is a strain that had previously not been found in humans, and its health impact is currently being closely monitored internationally, nationally, and locally, by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    What are the symptoms of the virus?
    The current evidence is that most cases (~80%) of COVID-19 appear to be mild. The most common symptoms include fever (38°C/ 100.4 °F) and respiratory complaints such as cough and shortness of breath.

    In more severe cases, infection can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

    Those with chronic underlying medical conditions appear to be at high risk for serious complications. Runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea are less commonly present.

    How does the virus spread?
    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that commonly circulate in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses have infected people, such as with MERS and SARS.

    The incubation period, or the time from which someone is exposed to their onset of symptoms, is most commonly reported to be in the 2-7 day range, but may range up to 14 days for COVID-19. This means that it could take up to 10-14 days for someone to exhibit symptoms after they are infected.

    Person-to-person spread is the primary source of transmission. Based upon available information, it appears that close contact with respiratory droplets from someone who is symptomatic (fever, cough) is the main source for transmission. It also appears that those who are infected may shed the virus through their bowel movements. Information about transmission is evolving and is being closely investigated by CDC and WHO.

    Recent data reports that at least a subset of cases may be contagious 1-2 days prior to symptom onset, although it is believed the degree of transmission is highest when someone has symptoms. It also appears that those who are infected can spread the virus through their feces/stool/bowel movements. Information about transmission is evolving and is being closely investigated by CDC and WHO.

    The CDC recommends that anyone experiencing symptoms (that are not expressly urgent) should use a form of telemedicine as their first point of care. Local doctors and emergency rooms do not test for Covid19, so it’s best to “talk” through symptoms with a health care professional before showing up in-person. The more contact a person has with “sick environments”, the more likely they will unwittingly participate in the spread of a disease. All medical carriers provide various telemedicine platforms.