NCMC response to flu concerns

North Central Michigan College is monitoring and evaluating college operations based on the latest information and recommendations from local, state and national health experts and officials regarding mitigating the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

On 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, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a State of Emergency.  On March 11, the governor spoke to all community college presidents prior to a press conference, during which she outlined recommendations for mitigating the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Several preventative measures have already been taken as part of North Central’s immediate response plan.

On-Campus Events

To ensure the safety of students, employees and guests, and to comply with the recommendations set by Gov. Whitmer, North Central is 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 has been extended for North Central 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 the college is 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 North Central students do not have Internet access at home (wired or wireless).  As such, it is not as simple as putting classes online for these 350+ students.  They simply do not have access to an education delivered in this manner; however, 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.

Personal Hygiene

Students and employees have been instructed to follow CDC guidelines regarding personal hygiene practices that mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Cleaning

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 Resource Center (SCRC)

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:

Tot toys and other equipment used by groups will be sanitized after use.

Machines in our fitness center are cleaned after each use.

Residence Hall and Iron Horse Café

The Residence Hall and dining services will remain open.  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.

Next Steps

The college is coordinating its response with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

To streamline communications moving forward, the North Central website will be the vehicle for all Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates.  The college will keep the public informed as this issue evolves, working to respond in ways that ensure the health, safety and well-being of our college community.

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