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March 12 Update

MARCH 12 UPDATE

TO:   Members of the North Central Michigan College Community

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

I want to keep you as informed as possible about the rapidly evolving situation caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Thus far, the College has been following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for Institute of Higher Education that do not have COVID-19 identified in their community.

On Tuesday, March 10, two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in southeast Michigan.  These are the first two cases identified in our State.  With that announcement, Governor Whitmer declared a State of Emergency.  She spoke to all community college presidents on Wednesday, March 11, prior to a press conference, during which she outlined recommendations for mitigating the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We are monitoring and evaluating college operations based on the latest information and recommendations from local, state and national health experts and officials.  Measures that have been taken as part of the College’s immediate response plan include:

On-Campus Events

To ensure the safety of our students, employees and guests, and to comply with the recommendations set by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, we are canceling or postponing on-campus events that meet or approach the governor’s 100-person threshold for large gatherings:

  • March 13 Corrections Officer Academy graduation ceremony – CANCELLED
  • March 13 Luncheon Lecture, “Redistricting the New Way” – POSTPONED; additional information regarding a rescheduled date will be released when it is available.
  • The Northern Michigan Regional Home & Outdoor Living Show hosted by the Home Builders Association of Northern Michigan (HBANM) that was scheduled for March 13 and 14 has been POSTPONED.  More information on this event can be found at www.homeshowupnorth.com
  • March 15 Beekeeping for Beginners workshop -- POSTPONED
  • March 19 International Lecture, Global Citizenship -- POSTPONED
  • March 20 Luncheon Lecture, “Talking Trash” – POSTPONED; additional information regarding a rescheduled date will be released when it is available.

Campus Operations

Spring Break is being extended for NCMC students. It will begin one week earlier on March 23 and extend through April 5. A decision about whether to return to campus on April 6 will be made by April 3 and communicated to all affected parties.

Beginning March 23, external visitors to campus will be limited to only faculty, staff, students, prospective students, and authorized vendors and guests.

Face-to-Face Learning

Face-to-face classes will continue as scheduled at present, however we are closely monitoring this decision.  COVID-19 has not been detected in our community.  Our classes are small, and they are below Governor Whitmer’s 100-person threshold.  Finally, 15% of our students do not have Internet access at home (wired or wireless).  As such, it’s not as simple as putting classes online for these 350+ North Central students.  They simply do not have access to an education delivered in this manner, however, please know that this is a rapidly evolving situation, and planning is in process should the College need to cancel face-to-face classes for an extended period of time in favor of online delivery.

As always, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to exercise their best judgment in light of their personal health conditions.

Students with Symptoms or Potential Exposure

If you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, please stay home and contact the Vice President of Student Affairs VIA PHONE at 231- 348-6618 or rdeyoung@ncmich.edu for information about next steps. If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, please contact your health provider for information on next steps.

Employees with Symptoms or Potential Exposure

If you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, please stay home and contact the Director of Human Resources VIA PHONE at (231) 348-6837 or leckerle@ncmich.edu for information about next steps.  If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, please contact your health provider for information on next steps.

Administrative offices and services on campus will continue normal operations.

All employees of the College should report for work as usual unless they are ill.  As a precaution, the College is encouraging higher-risk employees to contact the Director of Human Resources to discuss potential accommodations for working remotely.

Personal Hygiene

Students and employees should follow CDC guidelines regarding personal hygiene practices that mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (or your elbow), then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are not sick wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.  The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.  
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Cleaning

Our Physical Plant staff has redoubled efforts to proactively clean and sanitize all areas of campus, including the Residence Hall, more frequently throughout the day.  Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in restrooms, computer labs and other high-traffic areas such as the Iron Horse Café.

Student and Community Center

SCRC staff has implemented an equipment sanitizing system for balls and rackets signed out for court play.  This applies to all equipment that is handled by multiple players, including tot toys, basketballs, pickleballs, pickleball paddles, Ping-Pong paddles and balls, volleyballs and soccer balls. 

Daily Use:

  1. No longer will there be bins of balls and equipment readily accessed by patrons.
  2. All equipment will be individually issued at check-in.
  3. Once returned, the rackets and balls will be placed in a bin marked “to be sanitized.”
  4. SCRC staff will clean and sanitize the equipment before reissuing.

Group Use:

  1. Tot toys and other equipment used by groups will be sanitized after use.
  2. Machines in our fitness center are cleaned after each use.

Residence Hall and Iron Horse Café 

The Residence Hall and dining services will remain in operation.  Students and staff are asked to refrain from congregating in common spaces like the cafeteria.  Nevertheless, patrons are encouraged to obtain their meal in the Iron Horse Café and then eat it in their dormitory room or office.

Symptoms of COVID-19

According to the CDC, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, shortness of breath.

We are coordinating our response with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.  More information on cases in the US is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html.

Continue Checking Here for On-Going Updates

To streamline communications moving forward, all students, faculty and staff are being directed to the North Central website as the vehicle for all Coronavirus updates as we know them. We will keep you informed as this issue evolves, working in earnest to respond in ways that ensure the health, safety and well-being of our college community.  Thank you.