Coronavirus (COVID-19) Announcements
See below for Northeast Community College's official communications in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
College Status: Northeast will return to regular college operations beginning with the Fall 2021 academic semester
July 31, 2020 4:50 PM
President Barrett outlines additional steps for the fall semester; face masks to be required in all college buildings.
June 16, 2020 2:29 PM
Northeast Community College is implementing strategies that will allow increased access to facilities and services. The College has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Leah Barrett, president, said Northeast will begin welcoming more employees and the public back to its main campus in Norfolk and extended campus operations in O’Neill, South Sioux City and West Point, and regional offices in Ainsworth and Hartington, beginning Wednesday, June 17.
“Members of the Northeast COVID-19 Recovery Team have been working diligently to create a three-phased business continuity plan that features guiding procedures that will allow us to begin to incrementally reopen our campuses. These procedures consider the health and safety of our faculty and staff, our students and the general public as we continue to confront this health crisis in the months to come,” Barrett said. “In order to accomplish the goals in the plan, it will take commitment and cooperation by everyone – similar in the way we have come together to continue to operate Northeast since the pandemic impacted our lives in March.”
Beginning June 17, limited operations will be offered in the College Welcome Center, the Lifelong Learning Center, and the Library/Resource Center/Hawks Shop on the Norfolk campus and at the extended campuses and regional offices. All other buildings will remain locked to the general public, except for those who may have instruction on-campus during the summer.
The fall semester at Northeast will begin a week earlier than originally scheduled. The August 17, start will allow the semester to end at Thanksgiving and is designed to reduce the risk of any health hazards associated with COVID-19 due to travel.
Barrett said the business continuity plan has been developed to provide students, faculty, supervisors and staff directions necessary to operate the College during Phase II.
“Over the past month, Northeast has been functioning under Phase I to prepare college facilities and develop procedures and processes to allow more people on campus. Under Phase II, operation protocols will focus on a limited number of employees and students on campus. Phase III will not likely be instituted until there is a vaccine and widespread treatments,” she said.
Barrett said Northeast Community College will be taking a proactive approach through a number of steps and processes to reopen. Supervisors are to work with their departments to manage their staff who will return to their offices. Employees will be allowed to continue to work remotely based on underlying health issues or other high-risk factors. Social distancing expectations will be in effect based on the local public health district Directed Health Measure in place at each Northeast location.
In addition, signage, extra hand sanitization stations, and plexiglass barriers for front line staff have been installed in the buildings that will open beginning next week. The wearing of face masks is encouraged when working with members of the public or if social distancing is not possible.
Teaching and learning will be divided among on-campus classes, scheduled distance learning classes (synchronous virtual learning) and online instruction. On-campus classes will abide by 10 participants or 25% occupancy of a room (whichever is higher) while maintaining social distancing of six feet between participants.
For the fall term, Northeast residence life facilities on the Norfolk campus will house less students than normal and spaces have been reserved in the student apartment buildings as isolation and quarantine areas for students who may become COVID-19 symptomatic.
Furthermore, events may be scheduled at each Northeast campus based on the local Directed Health Measure with no more than 10 individuals or no more than 25% of the normal occupancy of space (whichever is higher). And, the Athletic Department will continue to work closely with the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association to determine plans for intercollegiate athletic practices and competitions.
Barrett said Northeast Community College’s business continuity plan has been crafted with the best resources and information available and is based on guidance from local and regional health partners.
“As changes are made to the Directed Health Measures that affect these procedures, information will be shared with the college community. Until that time comes, we will have to continue to be nimble and flexible moving forward as we may never really know what COVID-19 has in store for us next.”
June 10, 2020 9:56 AM
Northeast Community College will begin the Fall 2020 semester a week early in order to end instruction by Thanksgiving. Classes will now begin on Monday, August 17, and conclude on Wednesday, November 25.
Many colleges and universities around the country, including others in Nebraska, have decided to start earlier in the fall and wrap up their semester by Thanksgiving. The adjusted schedule is designed to reduce the risk of any health hazards associated with COVID-19 due to travel.
Dr. Michele Gill, interim vice president of educational services, said the change in the start and end of the semester is designed to ensure the delivery of a quality educational experience for Northeast students.
“These changes are being implemented for everyone’s safety as we deal with challenges of COVID-19. Change is not easy as it often asks us to pivot quickly, but we know that our faculty all are up to the task,” Gill said. “I would like to thank every one of our instructors for their willingness to design their courses with adaptation in mind for the coming term.”
Instructors will work with their colleagues and academic deans to develop the appropriate social distancing and classroom safety protocols when close contact is required due to the nature of the skill being taught. Gill said changes in delivery of instruction will include moving from many traditional face-to-face classes to more online and synchronous online (virtual) classes, as well as reduced numbers of students and social distancing protocols in limited face-to-face classes.
“If a cohort of students is exposed to COVID-19 and require quarantine to suppress the spread, the adjustment in the schedule allows time between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays to complete the term,” Gill said.
The new beginning date, which is one week earlier than originally scheduled, is designed to help minimize any spread of COVID-19 during the peak flu season, said President Dr. Leah Barrett.
“We need to be proactive and take steps that are necessary should there be a second wave of the virus, which some health experts predict could occur this fall,” Barrett said. “This is one of many ways we can reduce the risk to our faculty, staff and students. By ending at Thanksgiving, students won’t come back en masse for finals, which could help curtail any potential spread of the virus.”
In order for the longer break after Thanksgiving, Northeast Community College students will have classes on Labor Day on Monday, September 7, and Fall Break on Monday, October 19, will be cancelled.
May 14, 2020 5:55 PM
President Barrett provides an update on College operations in the months ahead under COVID-19:
In late March, Northeast Community College adopted distance learning delivery of its courses for our faculty and students and allowed many other employees the option to work remotely in anticipation of a possible stay-at-home order as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Although the order was never issued, the College has been developing a plan to operate with a limited number of employees and students through the summer and is looking at additional measures for the fall semester.
We need to return to a more personal business approach based on a philosophy of academic excellence and the safety of our faculty, staff and students. As the pandemic progresses, Northeast Community College is evaluating various ways to resume some of the services on our campuses to accommodate the needs of our students and constituents. The Northeast COVID-19 Recovery Team has been working on designing a business continuity plan that includes facility adjustments and guidelines, practices and procedures to ensure that the College functions effectively and safely.
Since late March, buildings at all Northeast locations have been closed to the public. Under the new business continuity plan, there will be public access to a limited number of facilities beginning in June. Instruction over the summer will mainly occur in a remote format, with some students on campus in hands-on classes with social distancing in place. By June 1, academic departments will have finalized their course plans for the fall semester so that new students will know the instructional delivery format when they register for classes. This will include hands-on options, synchronous delivery and online delivery formats.
We want to take the next month to prepare our campuses to ensure everyone feels safe and is comfortable working in this new environment. This preparation includes placing partitions in frontline areas and make certain social distancing measures are in place for reception areas, service counters, and in open office areas. The College will also take additional measures to ensure classrooms and lab areas are reorganized by incorporating social distancing in the context of the learning environment.
Also, in June, Northeast Community College will bring a limited number of employees back to our campuses in a staggered or staged approach incorporating a combination of work from home and work in College offices. This method of work will likely be in place as the threat of COVID-19 persists, which could be for several weeks, most of the summer, and even into the fall. We will continue to seek guidance from state and area public health agencies which may mean an increase or decrease in the number of employees on site and the number of buildings open.
This has certainly been a challenge to plan for the months ahead not knowing how long the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 will last. What we look like on June 21 may be very different than September 1, but academic excellence and the safety and the health of our College community will be at the forefront of opening and in the management of facilities and the number of employees working on our campuses. We will need to be nimble and flexible as we progress through these uncharted times. However, I am confident our business continuity plan approach to reopening can bring some normalcy back into our lives.
Stay safe and stay strong, Northeast!
Leah A. Barrett,
April 27, 2020 11:56 AM
President Barrett updates faculty, staff, and students on how Northeast Community College continues to do its part to minimize the spread of the Covid-19 virus:
I cannot say thank you enough for your efforts and your courage over the past month. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives in ways that we could have never imagined.
The faculty and staff at Northeast Community College have stepped up to the challenge to ensure our students continue their education. As to the students, I am so impressed and inspired in your extra efforts to finish the spring semester. It is really incredible in what you have all accomplished. If you need assistance in finishing the semester, I encourage you to contact your instructor or advisor, or log on to the Northeast website at https://northeast.edu/Coronavirus/Student-Assistance for more information.
Unfortunately, this crisis is not over. Over the weekend we received word that the number of confirmed cases in the four-county-area that makes up the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health District (ELVPHD) continues to increase and has escalated substantially in just the past week. Other counties and communities in our service area may be at different stages in dealing with this pandemic, but we must make our decisions in the best interests of the entire college.
Statewide, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases is now more than 3,000. And as some areas of Nebraska have seen some directed health measures eased, that is not the case in portions of our service area. As Gov. Ricketts said Friday, “Just because we are able to relax some measures, does not mean life returns to normal.”
Northeast Community College must continue to do its part in order to stop the spread of the virus. Here are some of the ways we are working to help minimize the spread:
- College operations will continue remotely with all college facilities closed to the public until at least May 31.
- All previously scheduled events in the month of May have been canceled.
- Summer courses will be offered in virtual learning formats. Most of internships and cooperative experiences are still planned. If there are questions, students are asked to contact instructors and/or academic deans.
Planning for the Fall 2020 semester continues as options are explored to continue to protect the health and safety of our college community members. The Northeast Covid-19 Response Team is leading these efforts as we plan for the weeks and months ahead. Members of this group are working to ensure that we will operate in a safe environment in accordance with social distancing and other guidelines. The team will be sharing more information in the weeks ahead.
We continue to provide our thoughts, prayers, and grace to community members directly impacted by Covid-19. We also extend our sincere appreciation to healthcare providers and first responders who continue to deliver care and compassion during these trying times.
Northeast Community College is not alone in weathering this storm. Assist where we can, send virtual hugs, and follow health and safety guidelines.
Stay Strong Northeast!
Leah A. President
April 17, 2020 1:20 PM
President Barrett announces that Northeast Community College will host a virtual commencement ceremony in May.
March 31, 2020 3:45 PM
President Barrett extends her appreciation to Northeast faculty and staff as they continue to meet the mission of student success.
March 25, 2020 7:16 PM
Registration for summer classes previously delayed to open on March 30, will now open on April 6. Registration for fall classes is still scheduled to begin on April 14. The deadline to withdraw from a spring semester class has been extended from April 9 to April 24, 2020. The last day to withdraw from second eight-week classes will continue to be April 24, 2020.
March 20, 2020 10:53 AM
I have learned that Northeast Community College has been through major hailstorms that cause damage to buildings, significant snow events that closed campuses for multiple days and even the floods of 2019 that forced us to evacuate the Norfolk campus for 36 hours. While each were significant in their own right, none can compare to the magnitude of the challenge that has invaded our lives in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This virus does not impact our buildings or systems, it impacts our people, the most precious asset of Northeast. In my short time serving as President, I have witnessed how Northeast Community College is a family that cares deeply for one another. In times like these, families come together to help and support each other.
Below are several important updates that specifically address the safety and health of our employees.
By Monday, March 23, all Northeast building doors will be locked, and a sign posted on them noting the reason. The College phone number will be posted for the guest to call to connect with an office.
From the initial activation of Northeast’s incident command team, the goal has been and continues to be to minimize the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. Going forward, we want to reduce the number of employees on campus. We have several jobs that cannot be completed remotely. We will arrange for more employees to work from home to reduce the risk to individuals who will continue to be working on campus.
To support our employees during difficult personal times, Northeast Community College has generous leave policies. These will be combined with the new legislation that was signed by President Trump earlier this week: the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA. The leave for these purposes is "job-protected" meaning the employee must be restored to the same or equivalent position following the expiration of leave. Under this new legislation, leaves are defined as the following employee conditions:
- An employee needs to care for children under 18 because of school or childcare closures or unavailability of provider.
- An employee is ill or in a high-risk category, has been isolated or quarantined.
- The employee needs to care for family members who are ill.
- There is a federal, state or local authority that declares an emergency with respect to COVID-19.
Northeast will expand the definition of the College’s sick leave procedure to address these conditions. This will apply to all employees who have been employed for more than one year. For those who have been employed at the College for less than one year and those who are part-time, we will work closely with you following the requirements in the FFCRA to ensure you have job protection, partial salary, and benefits. More information will be provided as we review and implement the legislation.
As the uncertainty continues, the College is finalizing its business continuity plan that identifies essential functions from each division in order for Northeast Community College to continue to operate during a 30-90 day period if we are mandated to shelter in our homes by a federal, state or local authority.
Please check back to this website often. It contains information to many of your frequently asked questions.
Our faculty and staff are so vital to achieving our mission of student success. It is impossible to reach this goal without their dedication and commitment. I am so appreciative of all of their work and patience. I know it is not easy to live with so much unknown. We as a college are in this together. I look forward to a more typical day in the life of the college where we can celebrate the work of our most valuable resource. Thank you.
All the best,
Leah A. Barrett,
March 18, 2020 5:50 PM
All credit classes will move to an online format beginning Monday, March 23 and continue in this format through the end of the spring 2020 term.
Students who need to pick up personal belongings from building lockers and labs must make appointments with instructors to collect these items.
College housing and food service will be closed for all students except those who are unable to return to a permanent residence during the remainder of the spring term. Students will have until March 27 to move out of their rooms. Housing and meal plan refunds will be calculated based on the closing date of March 20.
In addition, all activities and events that were scheduled to be held at any Northeast location have been cancelled through the end of the semester. No decision has been made at this time on the May 16 commencement ceremony.