District cancels travel until August over COVID-19 concerns

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An email survey questions the ability to work from home.

Illustration by Sergio Medina

By Noah Alcala Bach


Alamo Colleges announced that it is suspending all district-funded travel outside San Antonio in response to concerns over the coronavirus.

The travel restrictions are in place until Aug. 31 but will be re-evaluated in May.

This includes travel for student organizations and sports teams.

Janae Johnson, director of college services, said the district is also preparing for the possibility that some classes may be canceled and some campuses may even be shut down.

She added that one of the top priorities if the district couldn’t operate fully because of public health concerns is that there is “no undue harm to any faculty, staff, or student.”

Thomas Cleary, vice chancellor of planning, performance and ITS, emailed surveys March 4 to employees and students concerning their ability to work from home.

The district also plans to update the emergency procedure and has added a multicampus task force in case someone at one of the colleges comes into contact with COVID-19.

“We’ve actually been discussing this since the initial cluster of cases popped up in China. We’ve been watching it as it’s got ever closer, and now it’s here on our doorstep,” Johnson said. “We have our levels that we’re going through. It’s almost like a choose your own adventure, like OK, so if these things happen these are the things you’re supposed to do, if these things happen these are our plans. So that’s roughly what it is.”

Local officials declared a public health emergency for Bexar County after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a formerly quarantined patient who tested positive for COVID-19.

Johnson said district officials meet daily with the Metropolitan Health District.

 A memo sent from the district March 2 to students and staff said Alamo Colleges is working directly with the CDC and “other official sources.” 

Johnson also added that people traveling over spring break should be aware of any reported coronavirus cases in the places they visit and take extra precautions to ensure they don’t bring COVID-19 to district colleges.


1 Comment

  1. This letter is in response to the article by Noah Alcala Bach entitled District cancels travel until August over COVID-19 concerns, March 5.
    I am glad to find that the district is involved in discussions in response of the COVID-19.
    It would seem that our representatives in congress and The Whitehouse should have been more responsive concerning COVID-19 in China.
    Maybe they could learn a lesson or two from Janae Johnson, director of college services, who had led the charge in the district; by following the virus from China to “landing on our doorstep.”
    Now as a community we will have to deal with not only the recent victims of the COVID-19; but now another ship will be docking soon this week delivering another 90 people from Texas and surrounding areas.
    I am hoping that after the cruise ship passengers survive their 14 day quarantine, our City of San Antonio representative’s will not have their request be ignored again.
    The city does not need potentially contagious people out in the public. The risk is too high.
    Linda Owens

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