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July 22 UPDATE

TO:   Members of the North Central Michigan College Community

FROM:   Dr. David Roland Finley, President, North Central Michigan College

Calendar year 2020 has brought unprecedented changes to our world that have already included a global pandemic and a renewed call for social justice.  We are reminded that change is the only constant, and North Central is a reflection of the larger world around us.

To achieve our mission of providing exceptional, accessible, and relevant higher education in this context, we must be ready to listen and adapt, always drawing upon our core values of integrity, excellence, stewardship, innovation, compassion, and inclusion.  It has recently been suggested that adaptability be added to this listing of values, and we are considering this possibility.

I thank those who’ve returned to campus and those who will soon return to campus, so as to best serve our students.   Much work has been happening behind the scenes in anticipation of the Fall 2020 semester.  I thank all who have been modifying our physical spaces for optimal safety and others who’ve been crafting operational plans to this end.

So as to provide greater clarity regarding expectations for Fall 2020, two planning documents will be presented to the Board of Trustees at its July meeting. The first is a six-phase Reopening Plan for the College, replacing the current four-phase plan.  This six-phase plan will align directly with the MI-Safe Start Plan developed by the Governor to re-engage Michigan’s economy, so as to eliminate translation confusion.  The second is an Instructional Plan which incorporates multiple course formats as per usual, including traditional face-to-face, hybrid, and wholly online courses.  As dictated by COVID-19 circumstances, we will be prepared to transition some or all courses to two other formats: flex courses (new) or remote instructional methods (utilized to complete the Spring 2020 semester).  Additional detail regarding both the Reopening Plan and the Instructional Plan will be shared following board approval.  Again, I extend deepest thanks to all those who have had a hand in crafting these plans, as well as those who will continue to provide input in the weeks ahead.

There were 573 COVID-19 positive cases state-wide on Tuesday, July 21.  This follows a dramatic drop in COVID-19 positive cases over the past eight days.  We are hopeful that the requirement of face masks, along with social distancing, diligent handwashing, and staying home when sick will make a positive impact.  For additional detail regarding state-wide trends, please see https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163_98173---,00.html.

Be smart, be safe, and stay healthy in the coming days.  To that I add, be kind, be caring, and communicate to each other during these trying times.  We’re all in this together.  By working together, we can create the best learning environment possible under these challenging circumstances.

As always, I thank you for your good work on behalf of the learners at North Central.