Emergency Preparedness | Thomas Nelson Community College

Emergency Preparedness

August 9, 2021

Dear Faculty and Staff, The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt throughout the Commonwealth, as well as across the nation, and within our service area. We appreciate the resilience, adaptability, patience, and professionalism that each of you has exhibited throughout this dynamic period. I appreciate your ability to improvise, adapt, and pivot quickly throughout these challenging times.

We continue to implement multiple protective, preventive, and mitigation strategies, designed to protect the health and safety of our campuses for you, your families, our students, and our visitors. Throughout the spring and early summer of 2021, cases of COVID-19 fluctuated but remained relatively low. Unfortunately, this past month, COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations began to trend upward again. In response to these trends, two additional mitigation strategies are being implemented at the direction of the VCCS Chancellor and the Governor:

(1) an indoor mask requirement for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors in college-owned or leased spaces, regardless of vaccination status, beginning August 9; and

(2) a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all state employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Both requirements must be followed in accordance with the guidance below. The mask mandate applies to all faculty, staff, students, and/or visitors entering a college-owned or leased facility.

Guidance Virginia Community College System Mask Mandate for Colleges in Areas of Substantial or High Community Transmission

Indoors: Effective with the opening of business on Monday, August 9, 2021, anyone entering a Community owned and/or leased facility shall be required to properly wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose upon entry and for the duration of their work assignment, business transaction, meeting, and/or visit. This includes all classrooms, laboratories, instructional spaces, libraries, student service areas, bookstores, meeting and conference rooms, lobbies, foyers, atriums, hallways, and elevators. This mask requirement does not apply to private offices where only one individual is present at a given time.

Outdoors: Students, faculty, staff, and/or visitors traversing our campus outdoors, are not required to wear a mask outdoors; however, we strongly encourage everyone to consider wearing a mask outdoors when in proximity to other people where physical distancing of six feet (6’) or greater is not possible. All employees and students are encouraged to provide their own masks for daily use. The College will make masks available for those who arrive to campus without one.

Don’t have a mask?  A mask will be available to any student, faculty, staff, or visitor in need of one.  College supervisors should CLICK HERE to order masks for your respective areas.

Note: As community trends change, the College is authorized to evaluate and determine if changes to the mask mandate may be necessary.

Commonwealth of Virginia Employee Vaccination Requirement

On Thursday, August 5, 2021, Governor Northam released Executive Directive 18, stipulating that Virginia will require state workers to show proof that they are fully vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 every week. The Directive takes effect on September 1.

What does this mean for each of us, as employees of the Commonwealth?

  • Executive Directive 18 extends to community college faculty, staff, part-time employees, and contractors who enter the workplace;
  • The new mandate requires disclosure of vaccination status by September 1, 2021;
  • Employees who are not fully vaccinated by this date or refuse disclosure of their vaccination status will be required to provide evidence of weekly negative COVID test results;
  • Executive Directive 18 includes an exemption for medical and religious reasons; those employees, if approved, faculty and staff must provide evidence of weekly negative COVID test results; and
  • Employees who fail to comply with the mandate may be subject to disciplinary action, in accordance with College, Virginia Community College, and/or Virginia Department of Human Resources Management policies and/or procedures.

Disclosure of vaccination status on or before September 1, 2021, may include one of three categories:

  • fully vaccinated,
  • partially vaccinated with the scheduled date of second vaccination,
  • or not vaccinated.

Faculty and staff seeking a religious and/or medical exemption are required to coordinate with Human Resources to ensure the appropriate documentation is available for review and consideration of exemption status.  Employees who are not fully vaccinated or who refuse to disclose their current vaccine status, must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and disclose weekly the results of those tests to the designated agency personnel.

** At this time, students are not required to be vaccinated.

Help Me Share your Questions and Concerns

Help Me Share your Questions and Concerns Guidance, mandates, and other COVID-19 information is rapidly changing, sometimes day-to-day. These rapid changes can create anxiety, uncertainty, and numerous questions. The College is interested in the questions and/or comments that you may have at this time. Please take a moment to share your questions and comments with us through the following link: https://tncc.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3rSrAqHrBbGUcUm.

Campus COVID-19 vaccine Clinics?

In collaboration with Riverside Health System, the College will offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics this fall.  The schedule and registration information can be found below. Note: The College is NOT collecting your registration information. This information is viewed only by the Riverside Health System and the Virginia Department of Health. There is no charge to receive the vaccine at either of these clinics.

August 17 at 3 – 6:30 p.m. - Hampton Campus – Hampton III, Building Room 746



August 18 at 3 - 6:30 p.m. Historic Triangle Campus – First Floor, Room 118


Follow-up vaccine clinics are scheduled for mid-September for first and/or second doses. Information regarding these clinics will be released after the August clinics are completed.

If you are not able to attend one of the above vaccine clinics, please visit the Vaccinate Virginia website for additional free COVID-19 vaccination locations, many of which are located at regional and/or local health department facilities on a rotating schedule.


Where may I get a COVID-19 test?

Free COVID-19 testing is also available at most of Virginia’s regional and/or local health department facilities on a rotating schedule.

Additionally, testing may be offered at your local pharmacy and/or healthcare provider; however, this testing may not be free, and you are encouraged to contact the pharmacy, your healthcare provider and/or your insurance company for more information regarding cost, prior to testing and/or scheduling an appointment for testing.

You can locate a COVID-19 test site through the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Test Site webpage.

I know that this is a great deal of information. I also want to share that new and/or additional guidance regarding COVID-19, best practices, recommendations, and mitigation strategies have been received from the Virginia Department of Health and are being formatted for inclusion in an updated version of the College’s “Return to Campus Plan.” You are encouraged to check the “Return to Campus Plan” frequently to ensure that you have the latest information.


Again, I would like to thank each one of you for your dedication and attention to helping to reduce or stop the spread of COVID-19. Remember to wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs and sneezes, physical distance when possible, and get vaccinated, if possible.

Together, we can make a difference for our campus and communities!



Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon






Learn more about each of the COVID-19 vaccines!

Campus Safety is Everyone's Responsibility: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING

College safety officials would like to remind everyone that the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are our top priorities. Also paramount to preserving our infrastructure is establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of student-centered, high-quality education and community health and safety.

Public safety and security is everyone’s shared responsibility. We advise, “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.” Report suspicious activity as well as suspicious email messages or other messaging to Campus Police using the 5W’s:

  • Who did you see?
  • What did you see?
  • When did you see it?
  • Where did it occur?
  • Why is it suspicious?  

Report suspicious activity to Thomas Nelson Police by dialing 9-1-1 from a campus phone or (757) 825-3511 from your cell phone.
Note: If you Dial 9-1-1 from your cell phone, your call will go to the 911 center nearest your location instead of Thomas Nelson police.

For non-emergency reports, reach campus police at (757) 825-2732.

Aided by the Department of Homeland Security’s Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, the “See Something, Say Something” campaign has identified indicators of violent and/or terrorism-related suspicious activity.

This includes, but is not limited to:
Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.

Some of these activities could be innocent. It’s important to consider the context of the situation. It's then up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation.
We can all help keep our campuses and communities safe by paying attention to our surroundings and reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement or a person of authority. Maintaining a sense of situational awareness not only may prevent violent activity, it may reduce and/or prevent illegal activity, human trafficking and/or other nefarious behavior and/or activities.
The "If You See Something, Say Something®" campaign respects citizens' privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties by emphasizing behavior, rather than appearance, in identifying suspicious activity.
Factors such as race, ethnicity, and/or religious affiliation are not suspicious. The public should only report suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or package in a suspicious or unusual location, or someone attempting to access a restricted area).
Please remember, we are an educational institution, it is not unusual to see backpacks, satchels and other bags located around campus, these should be considered suspicious packages ONLY if they appear to emit or display suspicious items or are located in an unusual location where you would not expect to find a backpack, satchel, etc.


Thomas Nelson Community College campuses and off-site facilities will be closed Monday, Aug. 3 beginning at 5 p.m. through Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 7 a.m., due to anticipated inclement weather from Tropical Storm Isaias.  Essential personnel should report as communicated by your supervisor. 

April 1, 2020 – In continuing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Thomas Nelson is stringently following state and local guidance to ensure the wellbeing of our community.

March 25, 2020 - Thomas Nelson continues to follow the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 and state and local guidance to mitigate community spread. Our priority remains the overall wellbeing of the Thomas Nelson community.

March 16, 2020 - As Thomas Nelson continues to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 to the College community, and following state and local guidance to mitigate community spread, the College is taking the following measures effective Tuesday, March 17:

March 12, 2020 - At Thomas Nelson, the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff and community is our highest priority.

March 11, 2020 - I hope you are enjoying your spring break. We wanted to take a moment of your time to provide you with a brief update regarding COVID-19, and Thomas Nelson’s preparedness and mitigation efforts.

March 5, 2020 - Since our last College-wide communication on February 27, the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases nation-wide continues to increase. We are not aware of any cases in Virginia at this time.

February 27, 2020 - Thomas Nelson officials are monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus termed “2019-nCoV.”  First detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019, it continues to expand in many areas of the world, including the Un

February 2, 2020 - Thomas Nelson officials are closely monitoring information regarding the respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”).  The direct risk coronavirus poses to the College remains low; however, this remains a dynamic and evolving pu