Santa Barbara City College has assembled a team dedicated to coordinating the school’s planning, preparation, and response to COVID-19.
The group of three medical professionals — Michael Yee, Dana Billings, and Timothy Fouch — will act as SBCC’s COVID compliance officers, response coordinators, and liaisons between public health officials and the campus community as the school prepares for the start of the fall semester on August 23.
According to a statement from acting Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications Victor Bryant, the team will be sharing information and updates through a newsletter that is currently being developed. This will include the latest campus safety guidelines and any news of on-campus events, like the school’s recent event where hundreds of registered students each received $100 cash for proof of COVID vaccination.
“More information is to come as it is being set up,” Bryant said.
COVID response coordinators are a new position at SBCC, but the position is becoming more common at other colleges and universities as the number of cases continues to rise across the country. The team of three was chosen as the district was conducting interviews, and the administration believed each candidate could bring something different to the table that would help the school navigate through the pandemic.
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Michael Yee is a registered nurse, Santa Barbara native, and graduate of both SBCC and UCSB who has worked previously at the college’s nursing skills lab. Most recently, he served as the director of nursing and infection control for Sansum Clinic. Yee will be in charge of coordinating vaccination and testing clinics on campus, acting as liaison to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, and directing the school’s compliance with federal, state, and local recommendations.
Dana Billings is a recent transplant to Santa Barbara originally from the Bay Area who previously managed contact tracing teams for Santa Clara County and Comcast. “I am excited to join the SBCC community to help with the COVID-19 response,” Billings said. “I look forward to developing partnerships with students, faculty, and staff to keep our campus safe.” Billings will manage the campus-wide contact tracing program, develop the school’s COVID-19 hotline and web portal, and create the COVID response newsletter.
Timothy Fouch is a registered nurse certified in both trauma and critical care who has spent a year in an intensive care unit looking after patients with severe cases of COVID-19, as well as traveling with his wife to care for their grandparents who had contracted the virus. “Having worked within inches of positive patients for some time, I have learned how to protect myself and those around me from this virus,” Fouch said. “I have also seen firsthand the therapeutic, calming effects of transparent, accurate, and consistent information delivered with sensitivity and patience.” Fouch will be the point of contact for faculty and staff, developing guidelines to ensure employees understand the policies and procedures for a safe return to campus, and helping with any human resources accommodations.
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