COVID-19 News and Information

wifi area at mtcc parking lots
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:
 
 
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
 
McDowell County
 
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.