Southeast appoints ‘healthy at work’ officer

Community colleges across Kentucky are appointing “healthy at work” officers to help ensure the health and safety of its students and employees. Billie Franks, the human resources director at Southeast Community & Technical College, will serve as officer for SKCTC’s campuses.

Franks said all 16 colleges within KCTCS have a healthy at work officer that meet weekly to get updates and discuss what works best for each college.

“Allen Layne, our safety and security manager, has taken a very active role in assisting me with compliance to the return-to-work plan. He is the ‘boots on the ground’ guy,” Franks said. “He has placed signage on all five of our campuses with instructions to the students on what door to use, where to go and how to be safe and healthy while on campus.”

Franks said she appreciates the willingness of employees like Layne, who are crucial to keeping the campuses safe and healthy, for coming together to help.

“Most employees are continuing  to work remotely, but for the employees that have to be on campus, very strict guidelines have been put in place to keep everyone safe,” she said.

Franks said her and her staff are using a COVID-KCTCS online training tool that is required of all faculty and staff before they can return to their campuses. In addition, employees are required to complete an employee check-in survey with health screening questions.

“They are notified by an automated email if they are approved to come to the campuses. We are requiring everyone to wear a mask, if they don’t have one, we will provide them one.  We are stressing social distancing and we have hand sanitizer at all the entrances to our buildings and throughout our buildings.”

Franks said she is tasked with keeping track of who has taken the online training and monitoring the employee check-in responses to “be prepared to assist the local health department with contact tracing if we have anyone that becomes exposed to the virus.”

She added she is also available to answer employees’ questions regarding the KCTCS return-to-work plan.

“Having a healthy at work officer is just one more way we are creating the safest environment possible for students and employees returning to campus,” said SKCTC President Vic Adams. “Health and safety are always our top priority, but because of COVID-19, we’ve had to become even more vigilant. We will continue to follow CDC recommendations and take direction from the state to ensure we’re doing everything possible to keep people safe.”

According to a press release from KCTCS, Kentuckians who want to stay healthy at home, can enroll in programs that transfer easily to universities. For those who want to go to work quickly, there are short-term programs that can be completed in just weeks.

More information on programs and enrollment can be found on college websites or at kctcs.edu.