Fall 2020 Campus Restart Plan 
 
Fall 2020 Campus Restart Plan

 

North Country Community College is pleased to announce that SUNY has approved our Campus Restart Plan for the Fall 2020 semester. This approval allows us to move forward with our planning and publicly announce our restart plan for the fall.

Our Campus Restart Plan was developed by the college’s COVID-19 Task Force, using guidance and resources provided by the Governor’s Office, the state Department of Health, SUNY and our public health partners. We also drew on our experience in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic during the Spring 2020 semester, and our experience with delivering online education, which stretches back nearly twenty years. The following priorities, which we share with the larger SUNY system, helped guide our planning:

  1. Ensuring the health and safety of every individual
  2. Protection of our core areas of academic excellence
  3. Fulfillment of the college’s mission
  4. Sustaining academic programs and realizing operational efficiencies
  5. Responding to regional workforce needs

When the college begins the Fall 2020 semester on Aug. 31, classes will take place in a mostly online setting, with a few exceptions. There are classes where program/course-level learning outcomes are best supported by face-to-face instruction and will be permitted to run via an in-person format. These include select nursing, radiologic technology and massage therapy classes.

The following summarizes the most significant priorities, steps and protocols the college will implement in order to safely welcome employees and students back into college facilities.

This plan may be subject to further review and modification as new guidance is provided to the college by the Governor’s Office, the Department of Health and/or other appropriate New York State agencies.

 
Our Fall 2020 Campus Restart Plan
(click below to view each section)
 
We have the following elements in place for a phased reopening with a plan for mostly online instruction for Fall 2020: 
  • Staff will begin return to campus mid-to-late July 2020. All offices will follow physical/social distancing guidelines, will have barriers in place in high face-to-face traffic areas (e.g. counters), and will have social distance markings in place, where necessary. This will help us work out any bugs in the plan prior to students and faculty return.
  • Those faculty members who will be conducting face-to-face instruction in Fall 2020 will return in late August. The faculty have individual offices and the planned work spaces support social distancing guidelines.

All parties (students, faculty and staff) will be required to wear face masks whenever physical distancing protocols cannot be followed and in cases where they are sharing space with others (e.g. classrooms, labs, office space). When physical distancing can be maintained (e.g. outdoor settings) then they will not be required.

The College has secured and will distribute appropriate and reusable cloth face-masks for all employees and students. Distribution will be as follows:

  • Employees: through Human Resources.
  • Students: through their respective faculty members

Disposable masks will be provided by the College as well. These will be located at or near major entry points to the campus and in classrooms that are operating this semester.

Prior to returning to campus, employees who are working remotely will be asked to participate in a minimum seven (7) day isolation period to ensure they are asymptomatic and safe to return. Upon return, all employees will be required to complete a daily screening through the SUNY System’s Back-to-Work Screening Tool, which the College is planning to adopt. We have reached out to SUNY System for information and support and anticipate being able to implement this in the near future. Additionally, employees will be encouraged to participate in routine passive screening throughout the workday to self-assess for a fever and/or newly present symptoms indicative of COVID-19.  

Our plan is that most of our courses will be offered in an online format for Fall 2020, and, all courses will be delivered online for the first two weeks of the semester. During that time, students who will returning to campus for face-to-face instruction/support, will be asked to simultaneously participate in a minimum fourteen (14) day isolation period during those first two weeks of classes to ensure they are asymptomatic and safe to return. 

Upon return, students will be periodically screened for COVID-19 symptoms and encouraged to participate in routine passive screening during the school day to self-assess for a fever and/or newly present symptoms indicative of COVID-19.  For all students, with a special emphasis on those who are on-campus, we will be including screening as part of our calling campaign during the Fall 2020 semester. We anticipate doing so 2-3 times throughout the semester. Instructors will also be encouraged to infuse screening reminders to students as part of their classroom housekeeping at the start of each class. 

In all cases, if a fever and/or respiratory symptoms are present, students, faculty and staff are to:

  • Remotely report this information to the Student Life Office and their instructors (students) and to their direct supervisor and the Human Resources Office (faculty and staff).
  • Remain off-campus
  • Call their primary care provider for medical guidance.
  • If students and/or employees test positive, we will:
  1. Ensure that public health is notified so that proper contact tracing can be done
  2. Require a period of self-isolation/quarantine per public health’s guidance
  3. Notify those who may have been in contact with infected individual that there was a positive case and they may have been exposed, providing guidelines for next steps to take regarding self-monitoring, testing and isolation.
  4. For students, notify their faculty member that they may be away for a period of time and ask that they work with the student on making up lost work where feasible.
  5. For faculty/staff, notify their supervisor and work with them on a plan to continue their classes or fill-in for any duties they may miss out on fulfilling.
  6. Provide a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of areas where the student/employee were known to have been, above and beyond our normal cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

We have been working with our area health care providers and public health providers on testing and are assured that there is sufficient capacity for testing at this time at all our locations.

Prompts via social media, automated text messaging, and/or other communication will be sent to students, faculty and staff to increase awareness and adherence. Additionally, messaging to the College community, including postings across campus, encouraging the performance of a daily symptom survey for COVID-19 including a self-scan are being considered. Symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

Administrative controls such as a new health policy for students and employees to remain home if ill are in progress. This includes working with the faculty on modifying sick/absence policies for students who become ill or are required to be isolated/quarantined

The residence halls located on the Saranac Lake campus, operated by the NCCC Association, will be shuttered for the fall semester. Students could return to the residence halls in the spring, depending on the status of the pandemic. For more information, email association@nccc.edu.

Dining services will not be offered on any of the college’s campuses for fall 2020.

For Fall 2020, in a mostly-online setting, those classes where program/course-level learning outcomes are best supported by face-to-face instruction will be permitted to run via an in-person format. These include select nursing classes (including clinical lab and clinical practice), radiologic technology classes (including positioning, clinical lab and clinical practice), and massage therapy (including direct practice hours). Each of these are located in separate buildings. Social distancing guidelines will be followed.

  • With few other exceptions (possibly art studio courses) and some testing, all other courses will be offered in a remote setting.

  • Our Learning Assistance Centers will supplement online tutoring and study groups with limited face-to-face tutoring.

  • Our libraries will supplement the online catalog with limited face-to-face access of the library. There will be limited hours of operation, computer lab stations and other personal study stations will be separated by 6 feet, congregate study rooms/locations will be reconfigured to reduce the number of individuals able to use them at any given time and social distancing markers will be located at strategic points (i.e. check-out).

  • Our Computer Labs will be available in a limited fashion for student use. Stations will be separated by 6 feet and a limit on the number of users will be established.

  • Student Life activities will mostly be delivered remotely.

  • Deep cleaning of buildings took place in the second half of the Spring 2020 semester as we moved from a mostly face-to-face instruction format to a fully online format. Rooms that were vacated were then sealed and cleaning protocols focused on those spaces that continued to be occupied.
  • Our plan is to reopen slowly through the summer. We are encouraging individuals to work remotely until mid-July. For those employees able to return, we would begin to bring them back ensuring compliance with all PPE and social distancing measures and adding additional cleaning as needed.
  • That transition will allow us to assess the restart process and make any changes necessary to continue to facilitate a safe and healthy return of our employees and students. We would then prepare for the faculty’s return on August 24, 2020.
  • Cleaning plans and associated logs have been developed following CDC guidelines. This includes frequency of cleaning, types of products used, and disinfectant protocols. Additionally, we have developed plans for location and refilling of hand sanitizer units and wipes.

All athletic competition will be suspended for the fall semester. Decisions about winter and spring athletic programs will be made in the future based on the latest health and safety guidelines available.

At present, we are not planning to hold face-to-face extra-curricular programs or activities during the Fall 2020 semester. This includes intramurals and student performances. Any extracurricular programs will be delivered through online means, as they were in the second half of the spring semester. As we get further into the fall semester and the should conditions improve, we can then look to begin a further opening of the campus, including these sorts of activities into a face-to-face setting, following the guidance on doing so.

  • During the Spring 2020 semester, our Human Resources staff reached out to our employees to identify those individuals who were at heightened risk related to the novel coronavirus. This ensured privacy and confidentiality, while at the same time allowing us to take steps to help protect them.
  • We expect that some individuals among our college community (employees and students) may be reluctant to return to campus either to study or work. For some, the limitations may be related to anxiety surrounding the unknown, particularly without a vaccine, for others, they or their family members may have health concerns, including being immunocompromised or having respiratory illnesses, that would place them at great risk.
  • For students, many of those concerns can be put on hold through online/remote learning. For our employees, we will work with those who are vulnerable/ immunocompromised to maintain/find remote working arrangements.
General Protocols:
  • Custodial staff will be outfitted with appropriate PPE (masks, gloves) and encouraged to practice social distancing and hand hygiene
  • Cleaning and disinfecting will be completed with Prolink Broadband 14 and Clorox Wipes (or similar products)
  • Vacuums are outfitted with HEPA filters
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available in each location
Universal Cleaning Practices (applies to classrooms, residence halls, restrooms and other locations): To be completed minimally 1x/day
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas including door-knobs, light switches, push-bars, keyboards, desks and tables
  • Sweep floors, vacuum all rugs and carpets
  • Clean the windows
  • Mop classrooms
  • Vacuum/clean and mop stairwells and entryways
  • Empty and wipe down garbage cans
  • Check and refill gloves, wipes and hand sanitizers as needed
Restrooms
  • Clean and disinfect sinks, faucets, mirrors, toilets, urinals and hand dryers
  • Empty and wipe down garbage cans
  • Check and refill wipes and hand sanitizers as needed
  • Refill paper towels and toilet tissue as needed
  • Mop floor
Computer Labs/Copy Rooms
  • Clean and disinfect shared technology (keypads/keyboards) and other solid surfaces
  • Follow universal protocols

Spring 2020 proved to be a good training ground for us as within days we moved from a mostly on-campus to a fully online delivery of instruction and operations, with few exceptions.

In the event that a resurgence of the virus requires a ramping down of operations, we will follow these guidelines:

  • Our COVID-19 Task Force will be reconvened and engage in implementation of plans.
  • Academic Affairs will ensure that any instruction that is currently taking place in a face-to-face setting will be converted to online/remote learning wherever possible.
  • Academic Affairs will collaborate with our IT staff to ensure that the faculty and students are prepared to transition to a fully online platform.
  • Academic Affairs and IT will assure that all courses have a Blackboard presence prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Student Life will assist students with non-academic support needs related to the ramp down.
  • Human Resources will work with employees in the following ways:
    • Any employees with a heightened health risk will be assigned to work remotely, if they are not already doing so.
    • All non-essential personnel will be required to work remotely, if they are not already doing so.
    • Essential personnel will be allowed to work from campus if permitted by the Governor’s or Public Health’s orders, provided they do so with an abundance of caution.
  • Human Resources will communicate with our regional health care partners, including Public Health, to advise and gain input on our ramp down plans.
  • Human Resources will be available for faculty and staff to assist with items necessary in the transition.
  • Human Resources, including Payroll, will ensure that there is a timely distribution of paychecks and benefit payments.
  • Our IT staff will be engaged to ensure a timely transition of operations to fully online. This includes equipment, access to College programs, computer-based phones and other essential work tools.
  • Facilities staff will ensure that the campus is clean, disinfected and ready to be mothballed for a period of time.
  • Our Communications Director will send out timely communications to the campus community regarding ramp down planning and steps to be taken.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about our Fall 2020 Return to Campus Plan
 

When North Country Community College begins its Fall 2020 semester on Aug. 31, our classes will take place in a mostly online setting, with a few exceptions. We believe a mostly online delivery offers the best opportunity to put safety of our students and employees first, protect our core areas of academic excellence, and sustain programming through academic and operational synergies. Doing so, then allows for us to fulfill our mission, and continue to serve our regional workforce needs. We also know that our twenty plus years of online instruction and the creativity of our faculty and staff in engagement and support of our students, even in a remote setting, will continue to serve our students well. We have no doubt that they will find a top-notch learning experience and supportive community here at North Country even though they may not be physically with us.

However, there are classes where program/course-level learning outcomes are best supported by face-to-face instruction and will be permitted to run via an in-person format. These include select nursing, radiologic technology and massage therapy classes. 

When on campus, all students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face masks whenever physical distancing protocols cannot be followed and in cases where they are sharing space with others (e.g. classrooms, labs, office space).

The college has secured and will distribute appropriate and reusable cloth face masks for all employees and students. Disposable masks will also be made available.

The residence halls located on the Saranac Lake campus, operated by the NCCC Association, will be shuttered for the fall semester. Students could return to the residence halls in the spring, depending on the status of the pandemic.

All athletic competition will be suspended for the fall semester. Decisions about winter and spring athletic programs will be made in the future based on the latest health and safety guidelines available.

Dining services will not be offered on any of the college’s campuses for Fall 2020.

Prior to returning to campus, employees who are working remotely will be asked to participate in a minimum seven (7) day isolation period to ensure they are asymptomatic and safe to return. Upon return, all employees will be required to complete a daily screening through the SUNY System’s Back-to-Work Screening Tool. Further details on the tool and how to use it will follow.

All courses will be delivered online for the first two weeks of the semester. During that time, students who will returning to campus for face-to-face instruction/support will be asked to simultaneously participate in a minimum fourteen (14) day isolation period during those first two weeks of classes to ensure they are asymptomatic and safe to return.

Yes, social distancing guidelines will be followed in settings where there will be in-person instruction. 

Student Life activities will mostly be delivered remotely.

Our Learning Assistance Centers will supplement online tutoring and study groups with limited face-to-face tutoring.

Our libraries will supplement the online catalog with limited face-to-face access of the library. There will be limited hours of operation, computer lab stations and other personal study stations will be separated by 6 feet, congregate study rooms/locations will be reconfigured to reduce the number of individuals able to use them at any given time and social distancing markers will be located at strategic points (i.e. check-out).

Our computer labs will be available in a limited fashion for student use. Stations will be separated by 6 feet and a limit on the number of users will be established.

We expect that some individuals among our college community (employees and students) may be reluctant to return to campus either to study or work. For some, the limitations may be related to anxiety surrounding the unknown, particularly without a vaccine, for others, they or their family members may have health concerns, including being immunocompromised or having respiratory illnesses, that would place them at great risk.

For students, many of those concerns can be put on hold through on-line/remote learning. For our employees, we will work with those who are vulnerable/immunocompromised to maintain/find remote working arrangements. 

After consulting with our public health colleagues, we opted to not test students or employees during the semester. We lack both the human resources and financial resources to do so.

We will, however, ask employees and staff to continually engage in self-survey, passive screening self-monitoring of symptoms. If a fever and/or respiratory symptoms are present, students, faculty and staff are to:

  • Remotely report this information to the Student Life Office and their instructors (students) and to their direct supervisor and the Human Resources Office (faculty and staff).
  • Remain off-campus.
  • Call their primary care provider for medical guidance.

In the event that there is a suspected case of COVID-19, we will encourage the affected individual to contact their health care provider and follow their recommendations regarding testing.

In the event of a confirmed positive test, a period up to 14 days of isolation/quarantine will be imposed and permission to return will require a provider’s note indicating that the individual is no longer at risk or contagious.

All employees and students who test positive will be asked to provide that information to the College so we can take appropriate measures related to cleaning, disinfecting and keeping our community safe and healthy. For employees, those will be reported to our Human Resources Office, for students, to the Student Life Office.