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Information on COVID-19 / Coronavirus

COVID-19 FAQ for NMC employees

The following questions and answers include submissions from NMC employees. Please email publicrelations@nmc.edu with additional questions. 

New questions and answers were added below following an August 17 Faculty Council meeting.

  • What is a definition of close contact?

    • According to the CDC, close contact is defined as being in approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time. Other factors to consider when defining close contact include whether the individual was displaying symptoms (e.g. coughing, fever) and whether the individual was wearing a face mask.
    • Data is insufficient to precisely define the duration of time that constitutes a prolonged exposure. Recommendations vary on length of time of exposure but 15 minutes of close exposure can be used as a definition.
  • If an instructor or student learns that they have tested positive to COVID-19, what is the process for notification to others that may have come in contact?

    • The college works with the Grand Traverse County Health Department (GTCHD) on contact tracing. This process is important to comply with all privacy laws and to accurately communicate needed facts to others.
    • GTCHD will notify the college of any positive test results that involve any Grand Traverse County students or employees.
    • If an employee or student is not within GTCHD jurisdiction, we will work with the appropriate health department to confirm test results and conduct contact tracing.
  • If an employee or student wants to be tested based on potential on-campus exposure, who pays for testing?

    • The Governor’s May 26 new executive order will allow for individuals to be tested at community sites at no cost.
    • The community site in Traverse City currently is Northwest Michigan Health Services. They are taking appointments by phone at (231) 642-5292
    • You may also work with your individual healthcare provider to discuss symptoms and testing options. Most insurance companies will pay for the cost of testing.
  • Who is responsible for cleaning classrooms or labs?

    • Cleaning supplies such disinfectant spray, towels, wipes and gloves will be placed in all areas. Users should wipe down surface areas before and after use.
    • Example: a classroom is used for a staff meeting - employees should wipe surfaces prior to sitting down and clean once the meeting has ended. This would be the same for a class. Students should clean the area that they will be sitting in.
    • Computer labs: supplies will be in the room and users should clean space before and after use.
  • How do I order cleaning supplies for office area?

  • What is the protocol for elevator use?

    • If you are able it is recommended to avoid elevators and use stairs. If you are physically unable to use stairs it is recommended that only one person at a time use the elevator.
    • Signs giving this guidance will be placed by elevators
  • Will there be a protocol on bathroom use?

    • We are currently evaluating each of the bathrooms in our buildings. We may recommend not more than one person in a bathroom. We would have occupancy signs on the doors to notify individuals whether the restroom was in use.
  • Will there be marks on the floor to show social distancing? I.e. classrooms, bathrooms, how many stairs are 6 feet apart?

    • Yes we will be marking areas to designate what 6 feet distancing is. Areas that that may not be practical we will try to give some guidance on how to measure it in a visual way.
  • Will there be signs posted about no longer eating in classes?

    • In order to comply with social distancing and mask wearing requirements eating will only be allowed in certain areas of the college such as West Hall and then at appropriate distances.
  • With the hyflex model, what if 11 people show up but our classroom only holds 6?

    • To avoid this problem, students will need to work with their instructor to let them know beforehand which mode they will be using in a given class and limit the on-ground class to those who have been approved.
  • Can we require synchronous zoom sessions?

    • If a class is designated as a virtual class or a hybrid class where the class’ distance education part is virtual, then the students will know beforehand that their synchronous sessions are required. The synchronous sessions should be at the class time indicated in the schedule.
  • Since gathering in general sense is a problem, is there a convenient way to move classes outdoors when it is sunny?

    • Weather permitting, classes can be held outside. Social distancing and masks should be worn with this type of group gathering.
  • Will the bathroom hand blowers be disabled?

    • We will ask facilities to address this.
  • Where are departmental exposure control plans located? Can all plans be viewed in one place?

  • What type of PPE equipment will staff be given?

    • There will be disposable non-surgical mask available for staff. We will also be supplying one washable cloth mask to employees. Gloves will be available to staff in areas that they are needed.
  • Can there be limited use of computer labs with swipe cards?

    • In stage 2 of our plan, computer labs will not be available. We will continue to monitor and make adjustments to level of service.
  • Are there protocols for staff who go to other businesses?

    • The college cannot monitor what employees do at other locations. Employees should follow the protocols of the business that they are visiting along with state and CDC recommendations.

The following questions and answers came out of an August 17 Faculty Council meeting.

  • Will new room capacity numbers be posted?

    • They should be listed in R25.
  • If we have allergies that cause us to check off some of the COVID-19 self-check items, how do we handle this?

    • Existing Medical Conditions
    • If an employee has symptoms that may be attributable to an existing medical condition, such as allergies, the employee should not report to work and should either work from home (with supervisor approval) or use the Families First Leave ( request form).
    • In order to return to work, the employee who has continuous symptoms from the existing medical condition will be required to consult the employee's health care provider for a diagnosis and provide documentation of the existing medical condition prior to returning to work. The expertise of the medical care provider would determine whether or not this may be COVID-19 related. If the employee is referred for COVID-19 testing, negative test results would be required before the employee is able to return to work on campus.
    • Going forward, please answer the self-screening questions to evaluate symptoms, based on the employee's normal state. For example, if the employee has an ongoing cough as a normal state of health, the employee should report a cough only when there is a difference in the cough from the normal. (e.g. a more frequent, different quality, painful cough accompanied by new symptoms, fever or feelings of poor health, etc.)
    • This input will help the College make a decision on the health risk to campus for each employee with existing medical conditions.
  • Will there be a place on campus to be tested? Will we try to get access to the new Saliva test for employees?

    • Health Services will have some tests available for students who do not have transportation to a local site. We will not have a wide availability of testing. This is due to the capacity of Health Services. Saliva tests have not been approved by the FDA yet. If approved availability will be determined.
  • Will we have spring break?

    • The Reimagining Committee will resume on September 14th and will determine if any changes to the academic calendar will be needed.
  • Will there be testing for residential hall students?

    • They were not tested before they arrived. See #3.
  • Will there be additional hot spots for instructors with weak connectivity at home?

    • We have a pool that we have been trying to reserve for student use. Faculty can still use their office computers.
  • Will there be microphones in all classrooms?

    • Yes.
  • Some colleges have apps for COVID-19 self-checking. Are we thinking of having one?

    • Not at this time.
  • Will faculty have access to their offices to continue to teach after Thanksgiving?

    • Yes.
  • Will there be more laptops available for borrowing this fall for instructors?

    • We encourage faculty to use their office computers for their work if they are unable to do so at home. There are some laptops for special circumstances but that supply is limited.
  • If the science is starting to show that airborne transmission and ventilation are more key in re-opening (rather than surface sanitization), how agile is NMC in adapting to and accounting for that? Does NMC have any strategic plans to investigate enhancing airflow or filtration for F2F classes?

    • We have assessed all of our buildings and they meet the CDC guidelines for air exchange. We are currently working with several companies to determine if additional filtration is needed.