COVID-19 News and Information

wifi area at mtcc parking lots
October 2, 2020
 
Fall Semester 2020 COVID 19 Protocol-updated
 
Purpose:
 
The following guidelines are established to allow MTCC to safely serve students on campus following guidance from the governor, public health officials, and the North Carolina Community College System.
 
Objectives
·        Protect the health and safety of the college’s students, faculty, staff, and visitors
·        Advise employees and students of protocols for being on campus
·        Establish a response procedure for incidents of direct and indirect contact with COVID-19
 
Protocols for Being on Campus
 
All students, faculty, staff, and visitors share in the responsibility to maintain a safe environment at MTCC.  As directed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services everyone on campus is required to abide by the three “Ws”
 
 
WEAR
·        All students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be required to wear a cloth, disposable mask, or facial shield where social distancing is not possible as well as in any meeting or class with ten or more individuals.
·        All students, faculty, staff, and visitors should provide their own masks, but the College will have a limited supply of cloth and disposable masks available as back up. Individuals needing a mask may acquire one in Student Services.
·        Individuals with health conditions that prohibit the wearing of a mask, and where no other form of personal protective face covering or equipment is suitable based on their health condition, should contact:
Human Resources at (828) 652.0618 if the individual is faculty, staff, or visitor.
Student Services at (828) 652.0645 if the individual is a student.
 
WAIT
·        Please maintain 6 feet of physical distance while on campus
·        Common areas, such as the cafeteria will have reduced seating
·        The number of building entrances will be reduced while maintaining code compliance.
·        Classrooms, to the extent feasible, will be arranged to allow for social distancing.
·        Plexiglass shields will be placed in reception and other work areas.
·        Everyone should avoid close contact with one another.
 
WASH
·        Signage throughout campus will remind students, faculty, staff, and visitors to wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
·        Housekeeping will be cleaning high touch areas (door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, countertops, bathrooms) daily.
·        Faculty will be cleaning chairs and desks in between classes when feasible.
·        Cleaning supplies will be available as needed/requested. Students may be asked to assist with wiping down desks and work stations before and after use based on classroom activities.
 
Wellness Check
All students, faculty, and staff are expected to perform a self-wellness check prior to coming to campus using the following screening tool:
 
 
 
Non-Health Care Worker* Symptom Screening Checklist
1.       Have you had close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) in the last 14 days with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or has any health department or health care provider been in contact with you and advised you to quarantine? 
 Yes
 No
 
2.       Since you last worked, have you had any of these symptoms?
  Fever
  Chills 
  Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  New cough
  New loss of taste or smell
 
3.       Since you last worked, have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  Yes
  No
 
If a worker has been diagnosed with, has symptoms of, or has been exposed to COVID-19, they should go home, stay away from other people, and call their doctor or local health department
 
If a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 based on a test or their symptoms or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they can return to work when they can answer YES to ALL three questions:
  Has it been at least 10 days since you first had symptoms?
  Has it been at least 1 day since you’ve had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine)?
  Have your other symptoms improved?
 
If a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 but does not have symptoms, they can return to work when 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 test, assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test. 
If an employee has had a negative COVID-19 test, they can return to work once they have no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines and have felt well for 24 hours.
 
If a person has been determined to have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, they can return to work 14 days since the last known contact, unless they test positive. In which case, criteria above would apply. They must complete the full 14 days of quarantine, even if they test negative.  **

·        Anyone exhibiting a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be asked to leave campus.
·        Anyone who feels sick should stay home.
·        Violation of protocols may result in appropriate disciplinary actions in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and/or terms of employment with MTCC.
·        Health Science students will continue to be screened by MTCC personnel prior to entering the classroom.
*Worker (faculty/staff), Student, Visitor
 
**According to the McDowell County Health Department a person who has come in contact with COVID-19 should test 5-7 days after the contact. If that test is negative, the person may return to work immediately if the employer allows.
 
Procedures for Incidents of Direct or Indirect Contact with COVID-19
 
As per the Centers for Disease Control close contact with COVID-19 is defined as:
Less than 6 feet away from someone COVID-19 positive for more than 15 minutes.
 
Student Guidance
1.      Students must notify Dr. Penny Cross, Vice President for Learning and Student Services (pacross09@go.mcdowelltech.edu 828.652.0645) immediately to report COVID-19 suspected or confirmed diagnosis. Dr. Cross will inform the appropriate Dean.
2.      Students should not communicate COVID-19 suspected or confirmed diagnosis to other students or employees.
3.      The VP and Deans will review the information provided, as well as guidance provided from the McDowell County Health Department, and advise the individual as to the action to be taken.
·        If the student is on campus when the initial contact is made and if it is determined that the student should leave campus, and if the student does not have transportation to leave immediately, the student will be directed to wait in a designated area.
·        The Dean will follow up with faculty regarding the status of the student as well as other exposed students.
·        The Dean will contact appropriate individuals for class area disinfecting.
4.      The Director of Human Resources will follow up with other exposed faculty and alert supervisors of any quarantine requirements.
5.      In order to comply with HIPAA and FERPA no employee shall discuss any medical information with another employee or student.
 
August 11, 2020
 
MTCC Students
 
MTCC staff and faculty expect to welcome you to fall semester on August 17.  Currently, we are planning for a mixture of face-to-face (few), hybrid, and online classes. MTCC plans to have in place in every building; hand sanitizer in hallways, soap, water, and paper towels in restrooms, disinfecting supplies in each classroom. All who enter our buildings will be expected to have a face covering, wash or sanitize hands frequently, and to refrain from coming on to campus if experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
 
MTCC buildings have had a thorough cleaning utilizing disinfection practices. Classrooms will utilize a wipe-in wipe-out process. Through our planned professional development, faculty and staff will receive further training on handwashing and use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). MTCC is making every effort to protect faculty, staff, and students from COVID-19.
 
What Students Can Expect Upon Return to MTCC
In order to participate in face-to-face classes and receive academic and student support services, students must comply with the following guidelines:
 
. Complete a self-assessment by reviewing the COVID-19 symptoms listed on the signage at the entrance of each building.
. After the self-assessment, if you have symptoms, do not enter the building.  Call or email your instructor for next steps.
. Handwashing is advised upon entry to buildings, and frequently thereafter (soap and water are considered primary hand-washing practice). Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available (sanitizer stations will be filled, but sanitizer is not considered a replacement for soap and water).
. On the first day of class, students will review procedures that best ensure a safe and healthy learning environment. 
. Face coverings will be expected for anyone who is within six feet of another person (please bring your own face coverings).
. Face shields and/or barriers will be provided as available and deemed necessary by the college and/or program.
. Physical distancing will be employed to the extent possible in accordance with local and state guidelines. 
. Some programs may require safety protocols that exceed the general expectations and requirements listed above. Each class syllabus will address individual class requirements.
 
 
Compliance
. Students who require variances to this guidance will be referred to Student Services using normal accommodation processes.
. Students who refuse to comply with these expectations are subject to the Code of Student Conduct and may be dismissed from classes and referred to Student Services. 
 
Students Who Are Sick or Diagnosed with COVID-19
. It is imperative that students monitor their health and avoid coming to campus and seek medical attention if sick.
. Students who become sick while on campus should leave promptly and seek medical attention.
. If diagnosed with COVID-19, students should immediately notify the appropriate Dean:
 
Mrs. Judy Melton, Dean of Arts and Sciences 828.652.0647
 
Mr. Stacy Buff, Dean of Career Technical Programs 828.652.0663 
 
As our knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, college expectations and requirements will be revised based upon state and local guidance.  Notice of changes to this guidance will be sent via email to student accounts and posted on the MTCC website under COVID-19.
 
The college also is preparing backup plans in the event the pandemic requires a return to online instruction. Those plans will be communicated by deans and department chairs.
 
August 6, 2020
 
MTCC Plan
Fall 2020

Plan A-currently instituted 8/01/2020

1) Online courses continue as planned.

2) Blended/Hybrid classes continue as planned-while ensuring physical distancing/masks/hand sanitizer use.

3) Move Face-to-Face to hybrid. Faculty should plan to use Open LMS for student assignments with, as feasible, synchronous learning required.
a. Assigned seating required in each class.
b. Cleaning Protocol in place in each classroom. Provide wipes or paper towels/spray cleaner. Faculty using the room will need to clean the room.
c. Cap seated sections-determine space in room.
 
4) Syllabi to reflect pandemic instructional requirements i.e., face coverings, physical distancing, and hand washing/use of hand sanitizer. All should stay home if sick.
 
Have in place:
1) Require face coverings at all time when in buildings. MTCC will provide a limited number of face coverings.
 
2) If student/faculty unable to wear face coverings ensure 6 feet of space.
 
3) Provide physical distancing floor/seating markings in waiting and reception areas. Limit density of people in school facilities to no greater than 50% maximum occupancy.
 
4) Mark 6 feet of spacing to remind students and staff to always stay 6 feet apart in lines and at other times when they may congregate.
 
5) Frequent and continuous facility cleaning
 
6) Close COVID-19 exposed areas temporarily for a professional cleaning.
 
7) Keep soap and hand sanitizer dispensers filled.
 
8) Tape off seats/rows where feasible.
 
9) Limit face-to-face meetings (ZOOM/Collaborate).
 
10) Communicate frequently with our internal and external stakeholders about COVID 19 issues.
 
11) Protect privacy of students, visitors, faculty, and/or staff if infected or exposed.
 
12) Require an ADA Accommodation sheet for faculty requesting to have all online courses.
 
Plan B-instituted if NC moves back to Phase I Opening Plan
All courses move completely online except essential programs (CTE and Health Sciences) with a high number of lab/clinical hours.
 
July 30, 2020
 
From Ryan T. Garrison, Interim President
 
As we prepare for fall semester, the safety of MTCC employees, students, visitors, and the communities we serve is our highest priority. Guidelines and safety protocols have been put in place and are designed to mitigate and manage the risks associated with COVID-19. I want to thank you all in advance for doing your part in following these guidelines and leading by example.
 
Beginning Thursday, July 30th, we will follow these guidelines and safety protocols:
 
Face Coverings- We have recommended face coverings up to this time, however beginning Thursday, July 30th, face coverings will be required in all college buildings including classrooms, labs, and public places. Face coverings will also be required in outdoor spaces on campus where appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained. This guideline is in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings will be required for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors while on campus inside and outside of buildings where appropriate physical distancing cannot be maintained.
 
Exceptions:
Face covering exceptions include private offices or individual study rooms, where social distancing can be maintained. Instructors are not required to wear face coverings while teaching if social distancing can be maintained. Individuals are not required to wear a face covering when they are not in close contact with someone else, such as walking along in an outdoor location, or while eating or drinking and practice safe social distancing. Individuals may also remove their face covering at the request of law enforcement or security. Some programs may preclude the use of masks in which wearing a mask becomes a safety issue (ex. Welding), however social distancing must be maintained in these circumstances. Face coverings are not required if you have a health condition that prohibits you from wearing a mask. Please notify your supervisor should this be an issue. If you have a concern for your area please contact your appropriate Dean.
 
Social Distancing - Social distancing requires at least six feet of physical space between individuals and should be practiced in all campus areas.
 
Hand Washing - Wash hands thoroughly throughout the day. In addition, hand sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the campus in high-traffic areas in all buildings.
 
*Due to the rapidly changing situation, guidelines are subject to change as additional information becomes available.
Employees and students should not come to campus if they are sick, experience COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns please contact your appropriate Dean.
 
Note: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure is defined as being in close contact (less than 6 feet for greater than or equal to 15 minutes) with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms.
 
Again, due to the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, guidelines and protocols outlined by the CDC and NCDHHS are subject to change and those changes will be communicated to all of you.
 
I want to thank you in advance for your cooperation and support of following these safety guidelines and protocols.
 
June 23, 2020
 
College Update: COVID-19 Exposure Mitigation and Exposure Notification Protocols & Responsibilities
 
McDowell Technical Community College has maintained a commitment to keeping its students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for the protective measures you have taken to lessen the risk of transmission in our work and learning spaces. These measures become more and more critical as restrictions are eased. Despite faithful compliance and attention to those standards, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of transmission given what we know and do not know about the virus.
 
In an effort to maintain transparency in McDowell Tech’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the following will outline the responsibilities of College administration, College employees, and public health officials to lessen the risk of transmission and the steps each must take if there is an exposure of COVID-19 at one of our locations.
 
Responsibilities of College employees
Stay home when sick. 

Wash or sanitize hands immediately upon entering buildings and frequently throughout the day.

Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.

Cover coughs and sneezes.

Clean personal work stations upon arrival and departure with particular emphasis on frequently touched surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, and control panels for equipment and machinery, and keyboards. 

While not required, employees may wear face coverings while at work. 

Ensure all classes and meetings are conducted using social distancing guidelines.

As appropriate and directed by your vice president, keep visitor logs in order for the College to provide information to public health officials for contact tracing. 

Follow all preventative measures and cleaning protocols outlined by your supervisor relating to a specific area (offices, meeting rooms, classrooms, and labs) including posted classroom cleaning procedures to be completed by classroom instructors. 

Keep emergency contact information up to date with the Director of Human Resources in the case of serious illness while at work. 

If you experience symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19, you must exclude yourself from campus/work immediately. Contact your healthcare provider and McDowell Technical Community College Director of Human Resources. 

If you are self-monitoring for COVID-19 at home or have been confirmed to have COVID-19, you must report that information to the Director of Human Resources and the public health officials in your county of residence. 
Disclose to the Director of Human Resources, and self-isolate if you have traveled out of the country.

Responsibilities of College administration
Provide cleaning supplies in easily accessible areas for faculty and staff. 

Establish a Response Team for immediate response to suspected or known exposure (College President, Vice Presidents, Deans, Human Resources Director, and Facilities Director).

Make regular communication with employees and provide educational resources about COVID-19. Reinforce the “stay home if you are sick” message on a regular basis. 

Inform local public health officials immediately when notified about any suspected or known exposure and follow the guidance provided by public health officials.

Protect the privacy of employees, students, and visitors. If there is exposure at one of our locations, the College will not release the names of any individual employee, student, or visitor who is infected or exposed.

Disclose relevant information as directed by local public health officials regarding known exposures at a McDowell Technical Community College location. This notification will occur via email from the President or designee. McDowell Technical Community College location is defined as McDowell Tech main campus, Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center, and Ford Miller Employment and Training Center.

Close exposed areas temporarily for professional sanitation, outside of the regular COVID-19 sanitation practices that have been in place since March 10. 

Responsibilities of public health officials
Guide McDowell Technical Community College if a known exposure occurs at one of its locations.

Perform contact tracing and notify individuals who may have had “close contact” with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, and provide appropriate guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case. Close contact can occur in the following situations: 1) caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case, and 2) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on). Close contacts would be quarantined for 14 days since the exposure as outlined by the CDC. Read more about quarantine and isolation here.

I hope you find this information helpful. I encourage you to review your responsibilities regularly and contact your supervisor or the Director of Human Resources if you have any questions. Your health and safety are a top priority and we will continue to work as a team to navigate through the pandemic.
  
Dr. John Gossett
President
 
May 26, 2020
 
Additional COVID-19 Resources:
 
Recognizing the symptoms of COVID-19 
COVID-19 Information and ways to avoid spread of the virus
Workplace, school and home guidelines to prevent spread of the virus
NC Department of Health and Human Services' COVID-19 Information Page
 
Food Assistance:
 
The MTCC Food Pantry is here to assist all current MTCC students and their families. Students may come by the school to pick up food, but please email me Kim Ledbetter at kims@mcdowelltech.edu or Julie at jpadgett@mcdowelltech.edu before you come. Please include the number of people in your family, any food allergies and when you would like to pick up your food.
 
Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have a need. We will gladly help you and your family.
 
 
May 21, 2020
 
McDowell Technical Community College has signed and returned a certification and agreement form to receive an allocation of grant funds under the CARES Act HEERF program.  We will use the CARES Act HEERF funds to provide the mandated amount of $263,988 in emergency financial aid grants to students. For more information, visit CARES Act/HEERF under Tuition and Financial Aid. 
 
April 14, 2020
 
Registration begins April 20th for Summer and Fall Classes. Advising will take place by phone or email this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. To apply, visit https://www.mcdowelltech.edu/apps/pages/admissions .
 
March 24, 2020
 
Status of McDowell Tech Operations
 
Until further notice, most MTCC classes, services, and operations will transition to an online format. The health and safety of our students, employees, and visitors remains our top priority.
 
We ask that anyone who has a fever or other symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or who may have been exposed to people who have COVID-19, please refrain from coming to any McDowell Tech location, including NC Works and Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center. Please call 828.652.6021 if you have questions. MTCC is currently on spring break and essential staff will return to campus on March 30th.
 
McDowell Technical Community College will adopt the following changes effective March 30th:
 
·       100% online courses will continue as scheduled.
·       All hybrid courses will change to 100% online.
·       Most face-to-face classes will transition to an online format. Hands-on labs will be suspended for now.
·       Students in a Public Safety or a Health Science program should check their college email for further instructions.
·       All college-sponsored events and activities have been cancelled until further notice.
·       These changes impact students, faculty, and staff. Please check your college email regularly for specific details on these changes.
 
COVID-19 Resources
 
North Carolina Community College System
https://www.nccommunitycolleges.edu/covid-19-response
 
McDowell County
https://www.mcdowellcares.com/
 
McDowell Technical Community College
We have expanded our (free) WiFi area to better serve our students and the community. See photo to left.
 
March 14, 2020
 
Very important message from Dr. John Gossett, MTCC President (8:22 pm):
 
In the ever-changing environment which we are living through, things seem to be changing at an increasing rate. The world is facing an unprecedented challenge of which we have rarely seen. Your Leadership Team at MTCC has spent the weekend staying abreast of latest data and information from reliable sources (CDC, WHO, NCDHHS) and have taken direction from SACSCOC, the System Office and Governor concerning the health and well-being of you and our students.
 
This afternoon (Saturday, 3/14) the Governor declared all K-12 school systems to close for two weeks. As a result, we have made the following decisions:
 
- Spring Break will begin Monday, March 16th and continue for two weeks through the 27th.
 
- All classes (credit, non credit, HRD, Adult HS, CCP) will be canceled during this time.
 
- Faculty and staff will be allowed to work 1/2 a day on campus with the flexibility to take work home the other 1/2 where applicable. This will give faculty and staff time to prepare for the remainder of the semester as well as to aid in social distancing.
 
- Because they are self-contained, the Daycare will remain open as scheduled.
 
We will work with the appropriate agencies to help determine the completion of the semester once we return. When we return the expectation will be that online course will remain online. Hybrid courses will convert to a completely online methodology. Courses with substantial lab/shop/clinical hours will remain as is. We will take these next two weeks to discuss with the faculty our concerns about converting face-to-face course sections to completely online sections. I know that is easier said than done and do not want to put our faculty or students in a situation where completing the semester is unattainable.
 
Again, your health and safety is our major concern. While this is inconvenient for us all, these steps are in the best interest of the school, the county, the state and the country. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.