NCMC Board of Trustees approve applying for CARES Act funding to curtail expenses from COVID-19

NCMC Geyer Hall

The North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees approved the evening of Tuesday, July 28th applying for Grundy County CARES Act funding to combat COVID-19 expenses. A Return to Fall Plan was also presented.

NCMC President Doctor Lenny Klaver said the college could receive $89,000 in Grundy County CARES Act funding, which could be used for laptops for staff and COVID-19 testing. The county funding would be more specific for faculty and staff and would be separate from federal CARES Act funding.

In regard to federal CARES Act funding, Klaver reported $196,860 in grant money had been distributed to 391 students as of last Thursday, July 23rd in student aid distribution. Institutional and supplemental aid has included housing refunds, cleaning supplies, stipends for online learning courses, personal protective equipment, TurnItIn licensing, Respondus software and services, thermometers, masks, and other general supplies. The institutional and supplemental aid could be used for an information technology upgrade in the future or possible spillover for student aid if needed. The initial allocation for student and institutional aid was $446,019 for each. The initial allocation for supplemental aid was $43,632.

The Return to Fall Plan incorporates employee’s feedback and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Grundy County Health Department. It is a living document and can be adjusted.

It involves the entire campus and all sites being open for the fall as of August 13th. Campus buildings and departments will be open for public hours weekdays from 8 o’clock to 4:30. Public spaces and common areas will require social distancing and limited group size.

If an in-person meeting or event is required, social distancing of six feet or more between individuals should be upheld. Employees should continue to use MS Teams, email, phone, or other virtual tools for communication and meetings. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins will be accommodated when possible.

NCMC will allow students, prospective students, vendors, and visitors on campus, but they should practice social distancing. Prospective student visits will be limited to only two additional guests. Non-essential public and vendor visits are discouraged outside of recruitment efforts.

External or visitor group gatherings in internal buildings will be reduced to 25% of maximum capacity in each room. If 25% capacity cannot be achieved in one room, the groups will be split into additional rooms with remote screening using virtual venues. Outside gatherings will adhere to social distancing and spacing. External and visitor group gatherings will follow campus prevention measures.

Employees may continue to work remotely with supervisor approval if they have reasonable justification, allowing offices to remain open and services unaffected. Chief of Staff Kristi Harris noted that was a change from previous plans. Employees may work on campus, remotely, or a combination of the two. Employees will be expected to work a typical 37 and a half-hour week. They are asked to not work on campus if they are considered at risk for potential exposure to others for COVID-19.

Employees will be encouraged to practice recommended hygienic measures. Work environments will continue to be sanitized by custodial staff, including surfaces, restrooms, and common touch areas. Cleaning wipes and disinfectants will be available for employees to use for their work area and space. Hand washing soap and hand sanitizer will be available for employee and public use.

Employees are mandated to wear masks if they cannot avoid being in contact with others within six feet for at least 15 minutes. They are strongly recommended to wear masks inside campus buildings and while working in common areas. Employees do not need to wear masks in their personal office when they can remain six feet apart. Masks will be available for employees. Employees can contact Harris to request one be sent via inner office.

Thermometers will be available in each building to check temperatures. No personal health information will be stored or used in employee records.

Employees are encouraged to complete a daily symptom check. They are also asked to not share personal office items and to limit the transfer of paper from person to person. Those who have to share equipment and resources are asked to sanitize after each use.

Employee travel will be limited to only “very essential” meetings and obligations. Work-related travel outside of the NCMC service region will only be granted with prior approval from a senior administrator.

If an employee is probable or suspected to have COVID-19, the college will take preventative measures to attempt to control the spread and contamination. Individuals with signs and symptoms should be referred to a health care provider for evaluation on if testing is needed.

The college will take steps to isolate a case if a positive is identified among employees. Measures will also be taken to mitigate risks for exposure, and contact tracing will begin in conjunction with the Grundy County Health Department. If someone is asymptomatic, remote work may continue during the isolation period.

Close contacts with symptoms should self-isolate and be referred for testing and medical care. Close contacts without symptoms will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last potential exposure. The public health case investigator would determine the last potential exposure.

Harris said the Return to Fall Plan will be made public. She realizes NCMC cannot please everyone with the plan.

Klaver noted the college cannot stop the spread of COVID-19, but it can reduce it.

There was discussion about screening persons with thermometers at doors on campus, limiting the number of entries through doors, and faculty members requiring masks in their classrooms.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Doctor Tristan Londre said it would be cost-prohibitive to buy enough thermometers to have one at every door. There are several on campus now.

He noted there is no specific plan to limit the number of entries on campus because it might cause individuals to be closer together on campus. However, there is a plan to have one-way stairs in some buildings. He noted faculty members have been checking areas for proper distancing.

Harris said the college is asking persons to self-monitor.

Klaver said he expects some students and faculty will not want to wear masks.

Londre said if a student does not want to wear a mask in a class where it is recommended, the college will work to switch the student to an online session.

Harris commented the college does not want there to be battles. NCMC wants things to be positive.

A video is to be developed to talk about procedures NCMC is taking in regard to the pandemic.

Vice President for Student Affairs Doctor Kristen Alley submitted a report, which was read by Klaver. In the report, she said move-in on campus will be August 14th and 15th. It will involve precautions, such as masks, temperatures being taken, social distancing, and no guests outside of other residence hall students. One entrance and one exit will be used during the day.

Risk assessment forms were sent to students. There are plans to isolate or quarantine. There is also an agreement with Saint Luke’s for testing.

Alley noted NCMC is working with the health department for contact tracing. The campus had its first case of COVID-19. There have been other positive cases of online students and several close contacts.

Pell was disbursed for 2019-2020 totals $3,046,800 to 823 students. NCMC had received 1,749 Free Application for Federal Student Aid applications for 2020-2021 as of last week, which is down slightly from last year.

Green Hills Head Start Director Sue Ewigman reported an in-person in service is planned, and students are anticipated to return in August. Modifications will be made, including additional cleaning throughout the day. Playgrounds will also be cleaned.

Ewigman noted Head Start is working to follow guidelines. There is a possibility of closing if school districts close. Staff members who have symptoms of COVID-19 must visit a doctor.

Head Start is moving into the new Trenton building.

The cost of living adjustment and quality improvement grant funding was received.

Klaver reported fall enrollment is down by seven point seven percent in headcount and four-point nine percent in credit hours. He said the credit hours are what really counts in regards to funding.

The final week of summer classes maintains a decrease in enrollment from 2019. It was down seven point six percent in headcount and two-point three percent in credit hours.

Klaver said 279 students registered for on-ground for orientation, and 172 registered for online orientation this summer. That is slightly down from last year.

Forty-three NCMC Pirate athletes were recognized for academic excellence. Twenty-three were on the President’s List, and 20 were on the Dean’s List.

Klaver also presented artist renditions of the layout and exterior for the residence hall project.

The North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees approved several bids and purchases.

One purchase was for athletic insurance through Dissinger Reed of Overland Park, Kansas for the 2020-2021 sports year at $31,467. Secondary/accident insurance costs $26,980, and catastrophic/accident insurance costs $4,487. There was no increase in premium from the previous year. Vice President of Business and Finance Tyson Otto Dissinger Reed received quotes from five companies, and this was the lowest cost option for a $500 deductible plan.

The trustees approved paying Assessment Technologies Institute of Leawood, Kansas for testing supplies for the nursing programs for a total of $143,762.50. The funds would be split between the Trenton Practical Nursing and Associate’s Degree in Nursing programs, the online ADN program, the Maryville PN and ADN programs. Funds to support the purchases were budgeted.

The service contract with MoreNET was renewed for service from July 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2021 at $50,039.08. MoreNET provides internet services to the NCMC Main and Barton campuses as well as the North Belt Center. The Computer Operations budget will fund the cost.

Twenty-three mini computers and 11 monitors with power and video cable was declared as surplus property. The items are to be disposed of or auctioned in accordance with NCMC Board policy.

The trustees approved the Green Hills Head Start Self-Assessment Plan. The plan involves the program’s goals and objectives, assessment of progress toward goals, and determination of the appropriateness of goals and objectives. Head Start Director Sue Ewigman reported the entity was average or above average in all areas.

The 2021 to 2023 academic calendar was approved. It involves fall and spring sessions as well as spring and summer intersessions.

Resignations were accepted from Nursing and Health Sciences Administrative Assistant—Maryville and Online Aimee Riley, Trio Administrative Assistant Katherine Tabbert, and Cashier Rocel Wright. Riley’s last day of employment was July 16th. Tabbert’s last day was July 10th. Wright’s last day will be July 30th.

Erin Gardner of Saint Joseph was approved as associate director of admissions with a salary of $42,500 annually. She will begin her position August 3rd.

Zeb Cook and Madison Trump of Trenton were approved as adjunct instructors. Cook will teach applied technology welding courses beginning this fall. Trump will teach business courses beginning this fall.

For Head Start, Mercer County Home Visitor Tara Robbins’s resignation was approved. Jennifer Parsons was transferred from Bethany teacher aide to Bethany teacher. Parsons’s first day in the new position was July 13th.

The NCMC Board of Trustees set its annual tax levy hearing for the evening of August 25th at 5:25 preceding the regular August Board meeting. Otto mentioned state law requires the tax levy be set before September 1st.

A Year in Review report was provided to the board. Among the information included in the report, it said the board met 12 times in regular session during the 2019-2020 year. The board also met two times in special session and held a levy hearing.

The board entered into an executive session to discuss real estate.