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Coronavirus Update

 

Below are archived communications that were distributed to the College community regarding the coronavirus.

A Message from the Chancellor

Today, Northshore Technical Community College officially launched an on-line platform to deliver essential workforce training and education courses to our college community of learners during this time of instructional disruption. I am excited to report that this platform was designed with a focus on the needs of all learners. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to our dedicated faculty and staff and to our students for their continuous engagement in informing our decisions on how best to serve our mission.

The past weeks have been filled with challenge and uncertainty. Today marks a milestone for our college as we look to the future; a future filled with promise as our students continue their educational journeys centered on building a better life for them and their families. We look forward to following our students progress and most importantly helping each achieve personal goal attainment culminating in completion, graduation, and employment!

While we had to postpone our commencement ceremony at this time, we look forward to celebrating commencement when it is safe to gather. Over our 90-year history as a college, commencement and nursing pinning ceremonies have been and will continue to be important traditions of our college. They not only represent student success, but they also bring families together to celebrate the power of education. We will notify our college family the moment we are able to reschedule these important ceremonies. Thank you for your understanding as we have had to make hard decisions for the safety of our college family and most importantly the families of our students.

In the past weeks, college faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure our students and the communities we serve are informed and supported through this journey. Our college student affairs team has designed a comprehensive list of community resources for faculty, staff, students and family members. These resources can be found at  https://www.northshorecollege.edu/keeplearning/community-resources-for-students. For students with lack of broadband access, we have identified several hotspots on the Northshore which can be found at http://libguides.northshorecollege.edu/gatorlibrary.

Finally, our college campuses have responded to the needs of our communities by donating PPE from our health sciences programs to hospitals and first responders in the region and the use of our Mobile STEM Lab to one of our hospitals in the region for use. The needs of our first responders are paramount. To our students and former graduates currently serving in first responder roles during this pandemic, please know our college family is truly grateful for your heroism and support! Our strength and resilience during this crisis, in communities throughout the Northshore, is supported by the many former graduates of our college who are actively engaged in this emergency response. Student completion and employment has never been more important.

As we continue to work closely together to care for families and support one another, I ask all students, faculty, and staff to stay home and follow the strict guidelines provided by the CDC as well as state and local officials. While many of our training programs require skills demonstrations, we will only provide those opportunities in the future when safe to do so. Please take advantage of the on-line platform which has been carefully designed to serve all students in all disciplines. Keep Calm, Stay Home, and Keep Learning.

Sincerely,

William S. Wainwright, Ph.D.
Chancellor

Gov. Edwards Issues Statewide Stay at Home Order to Further Fight the Spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana.

https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/2427

A message from the Chancellor:

Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties: toughness

The resilience of students, faculty, and staff of Northshore Technical Community College has been incredible to observe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our student body and faculty and staff as we work collectively to advance learning and student support during this most challenging of circumstances.

The most important information we can provide to our college family is to heed advice by local, state and national authorities to not travel, not gather in groups, and to wash hands in addition to other CDC precautions. For this reason and as indicated in the communications provided to college students and faculty earlier this week, the college will offer on-line only instructional delivery to students beginning Wednesday, March 25th.

College officials understand that some students have limited access to technology and we will continue to work with students through alternate means to serve them on a case by case basis. However, the use of labs on campus will not be available at this time and will open when it is safe to do so. The college is closed to the general public at this time, however all essential college services will be operational through technological means including student services. Only essential personnel are allowed on campuses of NTCC at this time.

We will continue to monitor developments and comply with actions taken by our local, state, and national officials to prevent the spread of COVID 19. We also continue to receive guidance from regulatory boards providing even greater flexibility for students who are required clinical and skills demonstration. Due to this recent guidance, NTCC will not require students to complete clinical and skills demonstration at this time. In place of clinical at this time, on-line simulation will be provided, followed by on-campus simulation and training when it is safe to do so.

As described by our LCTCS Board Office in a recent communication, our college will provide clinical simulation in accordance with state and regulatory compliance at our campuses. Those students will be notified by faculty of schedules as they become available. “During this time of crisis, there is an unprecedented need to help provide additional training for healthcare and emergency personnel. As such, LCTCS colleges will work with local and state officials to implement safe in-person healthcare and emergency personnel training in groups of 10 or less with proper cleaning and disinfection before and after each training session.” LCTCS Board Office

Additionally, as we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the difficult decision has been made to postpone spring graduation ceremonies until further notice. We understand and respect the hard work and sacrifices students and families have made to get to this point, and we will honor this achievement at a later date when it is safe to do so. I want to assure our graduates that we will hold commencement in the future as graduation is fundamental to our mission.

The safety and security of our college family and the communities in which we live is paramount. Let’s work together to heed the advice of our state and local officials and the direction provided by the CDC as located on our website on our COVID-19 web page update. Together, we will be resilient!

Sincerely,

William S. Wainwright, Ph.D.
Chancellor

Below is a new statement from the Board Office regarding COVID-19. 

“Louisiana’s Community and Technical Colleges join Governor John Bel Edwards and other state and federal officials and health care professionals in encouraging all Louisianans to take the COVID-19 health crisis seriously. The most important information we can provide to the community is to heed the advice of local, state, and federal authorities not to travel, not to gather in groups of 10 or more, and to frequently wash hands in addition to other CDC precautions. Depending on college specific spring break schedules, beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, and Monday, March 30, 2020, all LCTCS colleges will offer online-only instructional delivery to students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. This includes extension sites, grant funded facilities, and other physical locations housing LCTCS employees. We understand that some students have limited access to technology, and we will do our best to continue working with students through alternate means to serve them on a case by case basis. However, because of the fluidity of this crisis and our unified efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, instructional labs on all campuses will not be available (for use by students) until it is safe to do so. 

During this time of crisis, there is an unprecedented need to help provide additional training for healthcare and emergency personnel. As such, LCTCS colleges will work with local and state officials to implement safe in-person healthcare and emergency personnel training in groups of 10 or less with proper cleaning and disinfection before and after each training session. Additionally, as we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the difficult decision has been made to postpone spring graduation ceremonies until further notice. We understand and respect the hard work and sacrifices students and families have made to get to this point, and we will honor this achievement at a later date when it is safe to do so.

Our college chancellors, faculty, and staff have done a tremendous job of responding to this crisis by taking swift and appropriate steps to protect students and others from the spread of this virus. These steps included standing up online delivery of instruction and making concessions to ensure student health, success, and completion remain our top priority. Last week, we implemented telecommuting provisions statewide for all employees. We will continue to monitor developments and follow the guidance of Governor Edwards, and the guidelines put in place by healthcare professionals as we work to do our part to end the spread of COVID-19.

Students and the entire community must know that their community and technical colleges are here to support them during this time. Our colleges are open for business in an online environment. The safety and wellbeing of our community and technical college family and the communities in which we live is paramount. For the latest college updates related to COVID-19, please refer to our college web pages and the LCTCS webpage.”

-          Louisiana’s Community and Technical Colleges

We have received several questions from students regarding NTCC's plan in response to COVID-19. Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18th, I will post a video with our Chancellor, Dr. Wainwright, to answer the questions that we have received so far. If you have a question that you would like me to ask during the video, please respond to this email by 11:00 AM tomorrow, Wednesday March 18th. We will record the video tomorrow afternoon and it will be uploaded to my youtube channel, emailed to you, and posted on our social media outlets. Please do not hesitate to respond with your questions and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Christy Montgomery, Ed.D, LPC
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
Northshore Technical Community College

A message from the Chancellor:

On Monday, March 16th, Governor John Bel Edwards took additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana. In addition to closing casinos, bars, and movie theaters and limiting restaurants to take out and drive through, further advisement to limit gatherings to no larger than 10 is effective immediately. Based on these expanded requirements, our leadership team has finalized plans to implement a college-wide Telecommuting Policy for faculty and staff. This policy will provide faculty and staff the ability to work from home while ensuring business and instructional continuity for the College.

While limited essential staff will be reporting to campuses each day at this time to ensure operational continuity, the policy will apply to the majority of the college. Faculty and staff are asked to contact their supervisors directly either by phone or email regarding any questions related to the policy. It is our desire that this extreme measure will provide our college family the flexibility needed to follow strict guidance from the CDC to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, while remaining engaged in advancing the College mission and serving students.

Understanding that some faculty and staff have unique challenges associated with technology and/or broadband access, supervisors stand ready to respond to technological needs to assist with full compliance with the telecommuting policy implementation. We sincerely hope that the rescheduling of Spring Break has allowed students, faculty, and staff to focus on the most important needs of family and preparations at this time. It is our desire to advance remote delivery of faculty forums by Division Monday, March 23 as planned. In preparation for faculty forums, please visit our Online Center of Faculty and Staff Excellence which will provide resources in support of continued development of remote delivery of on-line learning. Stay tuned for information later in the week from your supervisors regarding specific activities planned for Monday and Tuesday that can be accessed on-line.

Our college continues to develop and finalize plans to assist students with barriers associated with the impact of disruption of education and training. Our student services division will continue to respond to student questions with the goal of supporting students through this time of change and learning disruption. We are on track to deliver instruction to students via an on-line platform beginning Wednesday, March 25th. We anticipate student concerns regarding access to technology and we plan to engage heavily with students exploring all options to expand access. Faculty will play an important role in this effort by exercising continuous engagement with students as we implement remote platforms of learning.

As it relates to non-instructional staff and implementation of the telecommuting policy, supervisors will be in communication with employees on next steps in the coming days. I wish to thank our college family for their patience, flexibility and understanding during these times of change and disruption. I ask that you continue to visit our COVID-19 College Website at https://www.northshorecollege.edu/updates/index for the latest updates on our college activities as well as real time information from the Louisiana Department of Health and the CDC. I have every confidence our collective passion for our mission and our demonstrated resilience will carry us through these challenging times. Thank you for your unyielding dedication to our mission.

A message from the Chancellor:

In light of the progression of the COVID19/Coronavirus in the region, state and nation, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System has authorized college Chancellors to adjust college academic calendars as necessary to accommodate the Governor’s Executive Order. In that order, the Governor seeks to reduce the amount of face-to-face interaction the people of Louisiana have in an effort to mitigate the community spread of coronavirus. The changes in the academic calendar for Northshore Technical Community College have been made to serve the best interest of students, faculty, and staff.  A separate email from your College Provost, Dr. Daniel Roberts will outline the changes to the academic calendar as well as any additional important dates and reminders. Most notable changes include the following:

  • Northshore Technical Community College will be closed on Monday, March 16th, 2020. Emergency Leave will be granted to all employees.
  • Tuesday March 17, 2020:  Employees deemed essential by the College Chancellor & Vice Chancellors to the operations of the college are to report to work. Supervisors will be in communication with essential personnel. Remaining employees will continue to be on Emergency Leave. 
  • The 2019-2020 Academic Calendar will be revised to reflect the move of Spring Break to next week to accommodate students, faculty, and staff as a result of the K-12 school closures.
  • Nursing clinical courses will resume Tuesday, March 24th and remaining courses will resume Wednesday, March 25th.
  • Faculty development day will be Monday, March 23rd at the Lacombe Campus

Please continue to refer to email and announcements on our college website for continued updates as we collectively advance our plan. Thank you for your support as we work together to ensure the health and wellness of our college family and satisfy our mission in building pathways to prosperity for our citizens.

As many of you all have found out, the state has closed all K-12 public schools statewide effective Monday, March 16 through Monday, April 13.  As a result, the College will move our spring break holiday to the week of March 16 through March 20.  Students and faculty will not report to campus during March 16 through March 20.  The College will close on Monday, March 16.  All essential personnel as designated by supervisors will report to campus on Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 20.  All other employees will not report to campus March 16 through March 20.  The College faculty meeting originally scheduled for Monday, March 16 at the Lacombe Campus will be moved to Monday, March 23 at the Lacombe Campus.   All courses moved to an online mode of delivery will resume on Wednesday, March 25.  Courses not scheduled to move to an online mode of delivery will resume in a modified form on Wednesday, March 25, with clinical courses resuming Tuesday, March 24.  There will not be a spring break during the month of April. 

The goal of moving spring break to March is to give faculty, staff, and students time to adjust with the recent closure of all public K-12 schools across the state and reduce the number of weeks required for providing childcare for your children.  This information is an update to the plan that you received yesterday from College.  It is possible that as circumstances change our College’s plan could be change again.  We appreciate your flexibility and willingness to assist the College in serving students. 

Faculty report back to campus on March 23, and please work directly with your supervisor to make on-campus work hour adjustments during the K-12 public school closure.  Each on-campus work hour request will be handled on a case-by-case basis. 

Dates Action
March 16 - March 20 Spring Break - No Students/No Faculty
March 16 College Closed
March 17 - March 20 Essential Personnel Report Only
March 23 College Faculty Meeting
March 24 Clinical Courses Resume
March 25 Spring 2020 Classes Resume

 

A Message from the Chancellor

As information related to the spread of COVID19/Corona Virus continues to emerge, college officials are carefully monitoring updates from the Center for Disease Control as well as state and local officials. In response to the health and welfare of our college community, the College has begun the process of implementing its Instructional Emergency Disruption policy. This process includes working with faculty and staff to ensure continuity of instruction for students as well as college operations.

While college operations and classes will continue as scheduled Friday, March 13th, classes will be cancelled Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th as faculty and staff finalize plans for online delivery of instruction and alternate training schedules for unique programs of study to be officially launched on Wednesday, March 18th. It is important to note, that all efforts to modify instructional delivery and college operations are centered on ensuring quality learning environments for students as well as safe work environments for faculty and staff. College personnel will continue to engage in all CDC recommended protocols.

Where applicable, faculty will move to an online delivery model for courses. For programs associated with occupational competencies and clinical experiences, faculty will finalize instructional plans Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th. These plans will be communicated to students by program on Tuesday, March 17th. Being sensitive to the lack of broadband in some areas of the greater Northshore region, the College will ensure those students in need will have access at all college locations to dedicated computer labs for online learning and assessment with proper precautions taken for the health and wellness of students per CDC recommendations.

Preparing for alternative modes of instructional delivery and operations must be done so with a focus on the future and recovery post event. In an effort to plan for the future and effectively delivery necessary services to students, faculty, staff and external stakeholders, NTCC will sustain operations at each location. College leadership is working closely to determine essential support services specific to instruction, workforce training, student services, finance, and administration and sustaining commitments to external stakeholders. Departmental leaders are finalizing plans for operations and will communicate directly with personnel regarding staffing of essential services.

The college leadership team has and will continue to meet regularly throughout the duration of this unprecedented event. Information will regularly come from the Chancellor’s Office inclusive of updates from the Provost and the Divisions of Administration, Student Services, and Strategic Initiatives. Communication of timely and accurate information is paramount to deliver of the mission of our college. Our college family is committed to working tirelessly, innovatively, flexibly, and creatively to meet the needs of students, faculty, staff and stakeholders. Please continue to visit our COVID19/Coronavirus web page at https://www.northshorecollege.edu/updates/index for important updates and information from the CDC.

As a global community, we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus. Northshore Technical Community College officials are committed to ensuring the health and wellness of students, faculty and staff. College leadership remains highly engaged in monitoring and communicating the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Division of Administration (DoA). Earlier today, I had the opportunity to join regional leaders for an informational forum at North Oaks Health System with the latest CDC updates on the spread of COVID-19 and essential preventative measures to ensure the health and safety of citizens. For the most up to date information, please continue to monitor the latest news provided on the home page of our college website at www.northsorecollege.edu/coronavirus.

While preventative measures and consistent practices of sanitation are essential for persons and facilities, the college will also continue enhanced sanitation efforts included, but not limited to increased schedules of campus and classroom cleaning, added hand sanitizer stations, added signage with information to prevent the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus and regular updates from the CDC located at www.cdc.gov/COVID19  Additional guidance regarding self-isolation and communication strategies for students and faculty in the event of illness will be included in the college resources page provided on our website. College officials and faculty are also evaluating and updating existing emergency preparedness manuals as well as policies and procedures related to continuation of instruction in an off campus environment in the event of the continued spread of COVID-19.

It is imperative that faculty, staff and students make administration aware of any planned personal international travel to affected areas. The college reserves the right to require individuals who choose to travel to affected regions to self-isolate upon return. College related travel is currently being monitored on a case by case basis. There are currently no study abroad programs in progress nor planned for the near future.

As our global community continues to monitor the spread of COVID19 and work tirelessly to ensure the health and wellness of all citizens, NTCC will continue to provide updates to our college family.

Q: What is the current situation?
A: While the CDC now expect community spread in some parts of the U.S., the immediate threat to the
U.S. remains low. We are not seeing the same level of spread other countries are seeing. That said, it is
important to be prepared, which is what we have been doing since the outbreak in mainland China.

Q: What is the protocol in place for responding to a pandemic like COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 in many ways behaves similarly to influenza. The CDC recommends using the Pandemic
Influenza Preparedness plan as our model for the response because COVID-19 in many ways behaves
similarly to influenza. The Louisiana Department of Health has been working on our Pandemic
Preparedness Plan for the last 15 years, and we have been preparing for COVID-19 since early January
2020. The Governor directed the formation of a COVID-19 Task Force with representation from state
agencies and federal partners key to preparing for a COVID-19 outbreak to guide updating pandemic flu
and continuity of operations planning documents and advise the Unified Command Group.

Q: What have you been doing as far as monitoring people who may have been exposed?
A: Our first priority was to ensure we were monitoring any travelers who returned to Louisiana from
visiting China, where many of the cases have occurred, and especially Wuhan, the city that experienced
the largest outbreak. We touch base with those travelers each day and ask about their symptoms during
a 14-day period of observation. We are also ensuring that travelers know the destinations where nonessential
travel should be avoided.

Q: Do we have the capability to test?
A: We do have the capability to test for COVID-19 in-state. Providers should contact the Office of Public
Health Division's Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program (IDEpi). Testing is prioritized for individuals
that meet clinical and risk criteria.

Q: What’s the next major step in the Department’s plan for responding to an outbreak?
A: Mirroring the federal government’s response, we are moving from a ‘containment’ approach in which
we focused on restricting travel from the outbreak area in Wuhan city and Hubei province in China and
monitoring returning travelers from other parts of China, to a ‘mitigation’ approach in which we
anticipate and plan for person-to-person transmission in the community somewhere in the United
States and ensure state and local governments, health care providers, schools, businesses, and
community members are adequately prepared to take action to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We
don’t want people to be alarmed, but we do want them to be prepared. We also want businesses and
health care facilities to be prepared to make sure people are safe and protected so we can avoid an
unnecessary spread, including planning now for actions that can be taken to avoid the spread of
infections such as mandatory teleworking and canceling unnecessary large gatherings.

Q: What are you doing to make sure hospitals are prepared?
A: LDH has been working with Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA) and the ESF8 Network to prepare
hospitals for an outbreak and ensure they have the proper supplies needed as well as protocols are in
place for anyone treated who tests positive. We haven’t had any indication that hospitals don’t have
what they need on the supply side.

Q: Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?
A: Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of
catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to
different conditions and temperature is also low.

Q: Are you in regular contact with the federal government?
A: Yes. We are in very regular contact with the CDC and HHS; we’re currently averaging several calls per
week just with the CDC. In addition we have standing calls across state health departments and a
standing call internally in Louisiana. This is all very important so that we all have the latest data, are on
the same page, and can adapt our plans as conditions change.

Q: Should individuals and families have a plan if an outbreak occurs?
A: There are actions we all can take as individuals to be prepared for COVID-19. The same actions you take
to prevent the spread of flu put you in a good position for any respiratory illness - cover your cough,
wash your hands (especially after being in public spaces, shaking hands), stay home if you are sick, and
get your flu shot! Individuals and families should also monitor the CDC COVID-19 website for updated
travel advisories before making plans to travel internationally.

The Coronavirus is in the news and undoubtedly you have heard about it. While there are currently only 15 cases here in the United States, it is still a concern. The Coronavirus has sickened over 64,000 people worldwide and there have been at least 1,380 deaths.

While the coronavirus is a concern, the common flu remains active and should not be taken lightly.

The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 26 million flu illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths from flu. The CDC expects the flu season to last for several more weeks. In Louisiana, there have been some 68,000 flu cases reported this flu season.

Prevention

Flu:

  • Get the flu vaccine. It is not too late to be vaccinated.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcoholbased hand rub. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.

Coronavirus:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using facemasks.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV.
  • Facemask should be used by people who show symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus, in order to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Preventing both the Flu and the Coronavirus involve practical measures that we should all be taking. Washing hands, staying away if you are sick, disinfecting surfaces, and covering your cough or sneeze are essential.

Lastly, relying on credible sources for information is key. The CDC and Louisiana Department of Health provide updates regarding infectious diseases daily. Don’t rely on hearsay for your information regarding Flu or Coronavirus.

For further information, contact the CDC at www.cdc.gov or www.ldh.la.gov.