Archive of Important Notices
These notices have been retained because they still contain helpful, relevant information.
Precautionary Notification: Legionnaire's Disease Remediation
April 29, 2010
A College of the Canyons employee has reported to the college’s human resources department having been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease. Legionnaire’s disease is NOT contagious. It is contracted from water that has the Legionnaire bacteria in it.
A second employee has reported the possibility of having been exposed to Legionnaire’s bacteria and is awaiting medical test results. Both employees work on the third floor of Seco Hall.
The college is following guidelines established by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to deal with the issue. Part of our response is to thoroughly inspect the area to see if there is an identifiable source of the Legionnella bacteria that causes the disease. If the bacteria is found in the building, we will follow guidelines for eradication.
At this time, we have no reason to believe that floors 1 and 2 of Seco Hall or any other student or employee area on campus are of concern.
Below are links to Q&As that address common questions and concerns, as well as valuable and relevant information from both OSHA and the CDC:
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA): www.osha.gov
Important Information About the H1N1 2009 Flu Virus
Updated October 26, 2009
As the novel H1N1 (earlier referred to as "swine flu") outbreak threatens to grow in the United States and internationally, College of the Canyons urges all students and staff to take precautionary steps to safeguard their health and prevent the spread of this virus.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, Foothill-De Anza Community College District and ToucanEd have produced a 10-minute pandemic-prevention video targeted at students and faculty, offering facts about pandemic flu and tips for prevention. The video, in both standard and closed-captioned versions, can be viewed by clicking here.
There are everyday actions you can take to stay healthy.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective if you rub your hands together until they are dry.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• Influenza is thought to spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
• If you get sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Stay home until you have no fever for 24 hours (without using ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc. to lower your temperature). If you are 18 or younger, do not use aspirin to treat fever.
Know the symptoms.
• H1N1 symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
• A significant number of people who have been infected with novel H1N1 flu virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.
• The high-risk groups for novel H1N1 flu are not the same as for seasonal influenza. H1N1 flu has a greater impact on younger people, so the first groups targeted to receive the new H1N1 vaccine will be children 6 months to 24 years of age, pregnant women, caregivers of children, and health care providers. Once these groups are vaccinated, others will get the vaccine.
• People at higher risk of serious complications from seasonal flu include people age 65 and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), and people who are immunosuppressed (e.g., taking immunosuppressive medications, infected with HIV). Many people are in high-risk groups for both seasonal and H1N1 flu, so they will need both types of influenza vaccine this year.
Get your seasonal flu shot as soon as it is available.
• The H1N1 flu vaccine is not scheduled to arrive at clinics until mid-October at the earliest.
The CDC is monitoring the situation and providing frequent updates:
Links to additional Information:
Advisory: College Does Not Endorse Door-to-Door Solicitors
September 24, 2009
College of the Canyons officials have received notice from some local residents that solicitors, representing themselves as COC students, have been going door-to-door in Santa Clarita Valley neighborhoods allegedly selling magazine subscriptions and claiming that sales will help them defray the high cost of college textbooks.
The high-cost of textbooks has been at the center of a multi-year debate about the skyrocketing costs of going to college and has been the topic of numerous press reports locally, statewide and nationally.
College of the Canyons wants community members to know that it discourages its students from going door-to-door for any reason and residents need to know that this activity is not endorsed by the college in any way.
Advisory: Be Cautious of Spiders at Canyon Country Campus
August 3, 2009
The Situation: There have been a number of sightings recently of tarantulas and black widow spiders at the Canyon Country campus. While we don’t mean to alarm anyone, we do want to both advise and educate everyone about this development.
We are likely seeing more spiders now that the campus is becoming more established and, as the temperature rises, these creatures generally become more active.
As always, we try to live harmoniously with the wildlife that call the campus their home, but we must be cautious with the spider population.
There are hundreds of tarantula species found in most of the world's tropical, subtropical, and arid regions. They vary in color and behavior according to their specific environments. Generally, however, tarantulas are burrowers that live in the ground.
Most tarantulas would rather retreat than attack, but they will bite if they feel threatened. Like all spiders, their bite is venomous. While the toxicity of most tarantula bites is like a bee sting, some people are highly allergic to the venom and a bite could prove to be very painful or even fatal.
Many people find tarantulas interesting and like them for pets. However, we urge everyone to avoid contact with them and leave them to their natural habitat.
Black widows are spiders identified by the colored, hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomens. They are generally non-aggressive and bite only in self-defense, such as when someone accidentally touches them.
We urge everyone to exercise caution when sitting at outdoor tables and benches. If you see spider webs, be extra cautious. We are working on cleaning up webs and encouraging our spiders to relocate to areas where human/spider interactions will be minimal.
What You Can Do:
If you encounter a tarantula or a black widow spider on campus, please contact the switchboard immediately and report its exact location. In the case of tarantulas, our staff will remove them and release them into a safer location in the hills. We have also notified our pest service to help us deal with the situation and ensure the safe handling of all spiders on campus.
Door-to-Door Solicitors are NOT Raising Funds for College
September 10, 2007
College of the Canyons officials have received notice from local residents that door-to-door solicitors, representing themselves as COC students, have been attempting to fraudulently solicit donations in support of a non-existent campus newspaper.
According to one resident’s report, last week two young men were seen and heard going door to door in the Valencia Northbridge neighborhood identifying themselves as “poor COC students,” before asking residents to subscribe to a “new COC Sunday newspaper.”
The solicitors claimed that the proceeds would go toward helping students purchase new books and school supplies.
COC officials want community members to know that College of the Canyons never raises funds through door-to-door sales or solicitation.
“Somebody is trying to take advantage of the good reputation the college has built, and that’s something we can’t accept,” said John McElwain, COC managing director of public relations and marketing. “These people are not agents of the college in any way. This is not the way the college raises funds on any level.”
"This is the second consecutive year that we have received reports of door-to-door solicitations,” said McElwain, “and residents need to know that these activities are not college sponsored.”
College of the Canyons does not raise funds for any program via door-to-door solicitation. To the best of our knowledge, the young people who are soliciting donations on the college's behalf are not College of the Canyons students. They are doing so without the college's authorization. Neither the college nor any College of the Canyons program is benefiting in any way from these activities, which appear to be a deceptive and fraudulent ploy to sell magazine subscriptions.
Residents who have, or may, come into contact with these solicitors are asked to contact the SCV Sheriff’s Station at (661) 255-1121 and file a report on the incident.
Snake Encounters Increase on Campus; Please be Cautious
August 22, 2006
We've had a number of snake encounters recently at College of the Canyons, which is home to a number of different kinds of snakes, most of them benign. Occasionally, these encounters involve rattlesnakes.
This time of year is typically when snakes have offspring, and we frequently see both large and small snakes for a relatively short period of time. This year has been particularly hot, and with the construction on campus, it is expected that snakes are looking for other places to live.
As always, we try to live harmoniously with the wildlife that calls the campus their home, but we must be cautious with the snake population. It is a good rule of thumb to consider all snakes we encounter as potentially dangerous, to leave the snakes alone, and to call the switchboard immediately if we encounter a snake on campus. We have people on staff who are very experienced in identifying and handling snakes. We'll have them take care of any situations on campus.
We encourage you to follow the link below for additional information specific to rattlesnakes.
Take Precautions to Avoid Contracting West Nile Virus
May 30, 2006
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has reported that mosquitos infected with West Nile Virus have been found in Santa Clarita, Northridge and Chatsworth. Last year, that didn't happen until July. To prevent human cases from occurring, the district urges residents to take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites, especially between dusk and dawn. People should wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when they're outside from dusk to dawn. West Nile is spread to humans from the bites of infected mosquitoes, which catch the disease by biting birds that carry the virus. There is no specific treatment for West Nile, which can be fatal in extreme cases. If you run across a dead bird, call (877) 747-2243. Don't pick it up or touch it. Check to be sure there is no standing water where mosquitos can breed around your home or neighborhood. Make sure your window screens are in good repair.
Fewer than one out of 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito get severely ill. In most cases people who are infected never become sick or have only very mild symptoms that include fever, headache, nausea, body aches and a mild skin rash. The virus can, in rare cases, cause encephalitis and death. The elderly are most at risk for severe cases of the disease. There is no specific treatment for West Nile Virus. In a serious case, an individual may be hospitalized to ensure good supportive care.
Safety Tips Should You Encounter a Cougar or Mountain Lion on Campus
For many years, our campus has been visited periodically by the real-life version of our campus mascot, the California cougar. Usually, this occurs in the late spring, but the heat, construction in the area, wildfires, changes in the natural food pattern, availability of water and other factors make predicting their arrival and length of stay difficult.
Recently, fresh tracks were found on the west side of campus near Interstate 5, and a runner spotted a "big cat" in a tree near the cross country trails.
While this may seem alarming to those who are new to this part of the country, over time we have learned to have a healthy respect for these magnificent creatures and try to get along with them as best we can by giving them their space.
Typically, cougars visit our campus late at night and in the early morning hours searching for food and water. When the campus springs to life with cars, machinery and noise, these visitors are usually well back into the hills. However, to be on the side of caution, we are passing along some safety and informational tips should you have an encounter with a cougar:
- If you encounter a cougar (a real one) on campus, please notify the Security Department immediately.
- Never approach a cougar, especially one that is feeding or with cubs.
- If you come upon a cougar, stay calm. Talk firmly to it and move slowly. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation, so give it a way to escape.
- Stop. If it is safe, back away slowly. Do not turn your back and do not run. Running will stimulate the cougar's instinct to chase and attack. Face the cougar and stand up straight.
- Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms and open your jacket if you're wearing one. If small children are with you, pick them up so they will not panic and run.
- If the cougar behaves aggressively, throw stones or anything you can reach without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly.
- Fight back if the cougar attacks. Unlike with bears, "playing dead" does not work. Cougars have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have successfully fought off lion attacks using such objects as rocks, sticks, clothing, garden tools and even their bare hands.
- When you hike in mountain lion country, go in groups and make plenty of noise to avoid surprising a lion. Keep children close and within sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they encounter one.
Important Facts About the West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that has been found in parts of Asia, eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The virus was first detected in the United States in 1999 in New York City. The majority of people and animals infected with the virus will experience no symptoms, or a mild to moderate illness. In rare cases, the virus can cause a more serious condition called encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, according to the California Department of Health Services.
The elderly are at a higher risk for disease caused by WNV. In 2003, a total of 45 states detected WNV activity and more than 9,300 human cases, including more than 240 deaths, were reported. In 2003, WNV was detected in mosquitoes, wild birds, sentinel chickens, and a horse in six Southern California counties. Three human WNV cases were also reported from Southern California.
Many people who are infected with WNV have no symptoms. Approximately 15 percent of individuals who are infected develop an illness with fever, headache, nausea, body aches, skin rash, or swollen lymph nodes. In a smaller percent of individuals infected (<1%), a more severe illness (e.g. viral meningitis or encephalitis) may develop. These more severe illnesses often require hospitalization. The time between the mosquito bite and the onset of illness, known as the incubation period, ranges from 5 to 15 days in humans. Of the 9,300 confirmed human cases of WNV in the U.S. in 2003, 3 percent died. The elderly and immunocompromised are particularly susceptible to severe illness caused by WNV. There is no specific treatment for infection with WNV, although supportive care is important.
To decrease exposure to mosquitoes and the infections they may carry:
- Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and dusk.
- When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts and other protective clothing.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to label instructions.
- Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding.
- Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
West Nile Virus Information and Dead Bird Reporting:
Call toll-free: 877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473)
Helpful Tips for Victims of Identity Theft
General guidelines to help minimize the effects of identity theft.