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Decision Triggers for Discussion of Closure, Partial Closure and/or On-Campus Reduction

To support the goal of student, employee and community safety, the NMC Reopening Committee has developed guidelines for monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and its potential impact. These guidelines cover most situations and will be revised as our understanding of COVID-19 changes. This is an evolving situation and NMC has many unique programs and departments. This document is designed to set out a broad, campus-wide view and may require adjustments to meet the needs of specific areas, in collaboration with the Reopening Committee. These guidelines are intended to decrease the risk of disease spread, but cannot eliminate all risk. We encourage NMC partners and affiliated organizations to consider these as well.

Decision Triggers: Key Points

  • A combination of community and campus criteria might lead to further campus restrictions, partial closure or full closure.
    • Community Criteria (Examples)
      • Government action that closes multiple businesses or services
      • Community’s decreasing capacity to support students in need of self-isolation support
      • Significant and sustained increases in hospital admissions
    • Campus Criteria (Examples)
      • Increases in positive symptomatic cases on campus higher than the regional rate
      • Inability to do sufficient testing due to supply chain issues
      • Campus clusters of multiple positive cases in one or more areas/departments/programs that overwhelm our ability to trace and isolate.


What triggers will result in a discussion of closure, partial closure or on-campus reduction?

In drafting these guidelines, a key resource is the American College Health Association’s (ACHA) Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era.

  • The high touch, highly interactive, mobile, densely populated living and learning environment typical of most campuses is the exemplar of a congregate setting with multiple risk factors for ready transmission of COVID-19.
  • Meticulous adherence to public health practices including hand hygiene, physical distancing, proper cough/sneeze etiquette, frequent disinfection of common and high traffic areas, symptom assessment and face covering in public is the campus’ new normal. This should be widely communicated to students, employees and all campus visitors.


Community Considerations

  • Action by the governor or other public official to close multiple businesses/services
  • Escalation of the Mi Safe Start risk level for region 6
  • Hospital admissions
  • Trends among sister institutions of higher education (IHE)
  • Upward trajectory of influenza-like illness (ILI) – when compared to traditional rates – and COVID-19-like syndromic surveillance within a 14-day period
  • Upward trajectory of documented cases or percentage of positive tests (with flat or increasing volume of tests) for 14 days
  • Hospitals unable to treat all patients without crisis care
  • Degradation of robust testing capacity in community including screening and contact tracing for symptomatic individuals

Campus Considerations

  • Student and employee absenteeism with focus on critical areas such as custodial (ability to maintain a safe, hygienic campus)
  • Increases in percent positives on campus
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages impacting ability to test and care for COVID-19 patients
  • Inability to adequately test for COVID-19 due to supply chain issues (e.g., collection kit, processing reagents)
  • Clusters (multiple positive cases in one or more areas/departments/programs)
    • If the activity from clusters overwhelms our ability to quarantine/isolate and contact trace
    • Number, location and type of cluster (cluster in a single hall versus multiple, widespread)
  • Upward trajectory of documented cases or percentage of positive tests (with flat or increasing volume of tests) for 14 days
  • Increasing cases of community transmission (no known source) in student population
  • Degradation of containment capabilities

Possible Actions

  • Advanced or heightened social distancing, cleaning
  • Short class suspension, department and/or building closure to clean/disinfect/contact trace in consultation with local health officials
  • Reduce the reopening stage level
  • Closure of residence halls
  • On-campus closure; full transition to remote learning