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May 12 UPDATE

NORTH CENTRAL MICHIGAN COLLEGE ANNOUNCES RETURN OF FACE-TO-FACE INSTRUCTION IN FALL 

Dr. Finley's Zoom Interview with 7 & 4's Paul Steeno

TO: All NCMC Employees

Yesterday afternoon, I was interviewed by Paul Steeno of Channel 7&4. 

In short, he wanted to know what we’re planning for students in the Fall 2020 semester in response to COVID-19 pandemic concerns.  Paul began by asking about this semester…

I stated that we refunded the final seven weeks of room & board to students, and we also paid student-employees for the final seven weeks as if they had worked.  We wanted North Central students to focus on their studies and not worry about replacing their paycheck.  This strategy worked, with fewer students withdrawing from classes this year than last.  Being digital natives, our students have proven to be adaptable!

I then stated that we plan to deliver most classes face-to-face (F2F) in the fall, making adjustments for social distancing and good hygiene.  I also noted that this plan is a work in progress, and that we’ve developed the NC-ADAPT program to communicate this information out to the public. 

When asked, I shared that summer courses are being taught via remote instructional methods (online learning).  This is a result of the continued uncertainty associated with gathering in groups.

Further, we’ve shifted new student orientation and registration online, and we’ve developed videos to assist learners in completing this process.  A virtual campus tour is also under development.

Planning for the fall is broken up into three levels:  F2F, Hybrid, or Online (wholly)

  1. Face-to-Face (F2F) instruction would incorporate appropriate social distancing (with use of physical barriers where needed) and good hygiene.  I noted that the College has acquired a portable sprayer that thoroughly disinfect an entire classroom in about 15 minutes.  We would also work to reduce close encounters between individuals that are greater than five (5) minutes in length, and we would utilize facemasks when inside as directed.  Observance of the latest state and federal guidelines is a key aspect of this level.
  2. Hybrid course delivery could be implemented should this need arise.  As an example, courses could be taught on-campus one week, with the next week being delivered online.  In this manner, hands-on laboratory work could occur.
  3. Online (wholly) is our third option should there be a second wave of COVID-19 infections or any other similar parameters warrant.

I also noted that we would be looking at decreased density in the dorms and no gathering in the lobbies.  Similarly, the Iron House Café could be shifted to a ‘take out’ model only.

Regardless of which of these three levels is utilized, we will work in earnest to deliver a high quality education to our collegiate learners.

Finally, I shared that we expect a shortfall in state funding this year and next.  Via good planning, we’ll be able to withstand that shortfall this year, and we’re working in earnest to budget appropriately for 2020-21.

Thanks again for the good work that continues to occur remotely.  We’re finding creative ways to ‘get it done,’ and I commend you all.

Best regards,  David

p.s.  While I mentioned ‘physical barriers’ (see item 1 above) to Paul, please know that I did not say that they would be placed between students and faculty.  Rather, I was thinking about spaces where there are frequent people interactions,  i.e. Welcome Desk, Student Services reception, Administration Suite reception, Cashiers counter, etc.  Again, these plans are a work in progress, and we will strive to keep everyone safe and healthy.