October 30 UPDATE
To: NCMC Campus Community
From: Dr. David Roland Finley, President
Please see the link below re. yesterday’s Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) revised and extended epidemic order to contain the spread of COVID-19, as Michigan continues to see a surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Most significantly…. Traverse City Region (Region 6) Moves to Phase 4
Because cases are now at a high level statewide, the order treats all regions of the state the same. The Traverse City region previously had fewer restrictions due to lower COVID-19 rates and has now been moved into Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start system, joining the rest of the state.
The phases in North Central’s Re-Opening Grid, correspond to the MI Safe Start Phases. Therefore, the college is now following its Phase 4 protocols, which require the closing of the Student and Community Resource Center to the public (employees with appropriate social distancing and sanitization may still use; dormitory residents may also do the same). Those members of the public who have paid a fee to use the SCRC facilities will not lose their investment. The payment will be carried over to be used when the facility can safely reopen. For additional SCRC questions, please contact Dallas Culvahouse, SCRC director at 231-439-6321 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Further, the Iron Horse Café will be take-out service only.
In response to this latest development, questions may be raised about the college’s interpretation of the statement that “In-person work is prohibited if work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.” It comes down to the interpretation of the term ‘feasibly.’ This matter has been posed to the Governor’s Policy Advisor—Postsecondary Education & Workforce Development, Brandy Johnson, twice this summer. On both occasions, she confirmed that it is the employer’s judgement as to whether or not work activities can feasibly be completed remotely. With the exception of classes scheduled and approved to be taught online, it is the College’s position that it is not possible for work activities to feasibly be completed remotely based on our experience from last spring, and certainly not at Phase 4.
Should the conditions of the pandemic deteriorate (i.e. Phase 3 or lower), we would reconsider the question of ‘feasibly.’
Another question investigated was ‘What mode(s) of instruction are permissible in Phase 4?’ Per the MI Safe Schools Roadmap, ‘in-person instruction is permitted with required safety protocols.’
Let’s do be certain that we are doing all that we reasonably can to minimize the risk of infection within the College community. Per Dr. Meyerson, Medical Director of the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, “…we strongly encourage our community members to keep social gatherings to a minimum, maintain a 6-foot distance from anyone outside your household, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, and please stay home if you are feeling sick.”
Best smart, be safe, and stay healthy! Thank you.