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New department at Laredo College specializes in preventing the spread of COVID-19

Health and Safety Operations Center keeping staff and students safe while on campus
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 3:45 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Higher educational institutions continue to work on ways to keep their campuses safe during COVID-19, and that includes a local college.

“How do we stay safe? What resources are available?” These are just a few questions Laredo College has answered to their students and staff through the creation of a new department.

Laredo College opened the Health and Safety Operations Center earlier this month.

The center is a service for both staff and students focusing on preventing the spread of the virus in the college through creating action plans across many departments.

This comes after the pandemic affected two of the LC’s major programs: the athletics department and their childcare center. Both were suspended for a year.

It didn’t take long for LC to open the center and utilize the same staff from the departments that were affected by the virus.

HSOC is a staff of 17 that make up two teams, a contact investigations team that handles contact tracing after students or staff report they may be positive and a building assessment team that oversees every building. This includes those in the south campus, making sure buildings have enough hand sanitizer stations, and employees are properly socially distanced from each other.

The vice president for Compliance and Risk Management tells us about how the team makes plans.

“Because of where we are with the numbers in the city, we’re meeting on a daily basis,” said Doctor David Arreazola. “Almost constantly working towards solutions and looking out for problem areas looking out for any potential breakouts on our campus.”

The center provides resources to students upon request, like hand sanitizers and masks.

They also handle those in relation to the college, like visitors and vendors and put the same protocols as employees, which are completing a questionnaire and a temperature check.

Although many students may not be around since they are virtual learning, Laredo College still wants to prepare in case of an emergency.

When coming up with safety protocols, officials with the college say they consult with local health professionals.

Copyright 2020 KGNS. All rights reserved.

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