NCMC Board of Trustees approve Pandemic Response Policy at busy meeting on Tuesday

NCMC - North Central Missouri College

The North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees approved a Pandemic Response Policy and several other items related to COVID-19 Tuesday evening.

The Pandemic Response Policy allows for 10 days of paid emergency leave to be made available immediately for current full-time employees who are unable to work due to needing to care for a minor and/or qualifying child if the child’s school or care facility has been closed or is unavailable due to a pandemic. The leave “would be used in conjunction with existing federal leave or personal/vacation/sick leave provided by NCMC.”

Full-time and permanent part-time employees will be paid as usual when the campus is on lock-down and operations continue remotely, except for units that can only operate via on-site employee presence. The policy says “other part-time employees will not be paid, as their work is not needed during a pandemic lock-down.”

The Pandemic Response Policy grants authority to the president to close the campus if needed due to an emergency. NCMC President Doctor Lenny Klaver noted he spoke to the Grundy County Health Department, and they do not anticipate having to close the college completely unless COVID-19 spreads quickly in the area. The policy would also give Klaver authority to assign employees to work from home to limit the number of individuals on campus but continue operations and the authority “to enact other student or personnel policies necessary to meet public health objectives.”

Klaver’s authority would not exceed 45 days without express board reauthorization, and any policies enacted as a result of the policy must be reported to the Board of Trustees as soon as possible.

The Pandemic Response Policy originally was written to give Klaver 90 days of authority, but Trustee Chris Hoffman said he thought that was a long time, especially if the president “got cross” with the board. Klaver said the policy was based on a template that went around to community college presidents.

Klaver said the campus will be locked down from on Thursday through April 13th with online instruction and services continuing operation remotely. Employees will work from home, except for employees whose operations can only be conducted on-site. Full-time and permanent part-time employees will be paid like normal. Fridays would be listed as holiday time on time cards and leave forms. Klaver noted questions should be directed to supervisors.

An announcement about reopening the campus or extending the lock-down is to be made on April 9th. Student Services is to monitor and respond to switchboard call messages as soon as possible. Klaver encourages inquiries to offices, faculty, and staff be made by email.

Other actions the board took regarding COVID-19 included the closure of Green Hills Head Start centers March 18th through 27th. The closure is to be reevaluated at that time. Klaver noted it is “very likely” the closure would continue.

A report submitted by Green Hills Head Start said its students have access to meals provided by public schools, and staff continues to have contact with students and families through social media, phone calls, and by delivering resources and activities to homes. The central office remains open, and the staff has the option of working from home. Head Start employees will receive wages and benefits during this time per federal guidelines. Training scheduled for staff has been canceled or postponed.

A four-day workweek was approved until the end of the spring semester in compliance with precautionary measures taken by NCMC involving COVID-19. Campuses and offices will be open Monday through Thursday from 8 o’clock to 4:30. A recommendation originally was for the four-day work week through April 3rd, but Klaver recommended an amendment be made for the rest of the semester.

In a report submitted electronically, Vice President for Academic Affairs Doctor Tristen Londre reported the transition to online-only classes has been smooth so far.

The board also approved the implementation of a summer four-day work week May 11th through August 7th. Office hours for the public will be Monday through Thursday from 8 o’clock to 4:30, and the Ketcham Community Center will remain on its standard summer hours.

Vice President for Student Affairs Doctor Kristen Alley reported residence hall check out has also been smooth. Checkouts have been staggered for social distancing, students were encouraged to bring only one or two helpers, and express check out is being provided. Eighteen students were left in Ellsworth Hall as of Sunday evening at 5 o’clock, and 12 were in Selby. The deadline to check out it Friday. Alley said international students have all made plans.

Graduation caps, tassels, and t-shirts will be sent to graduating students. Students are invited to vote for their favorite t-shirt and send a picture of themselves. The student with the picture with the most likes will receive a $50 gift card and hand sanitizer. Alley noted a Facebook page will be set up for families and friends to post “well wishes,” and a virtual commencement is to be developed with comments from the Student Senate president and others. NCMC will offer gowns for graduates to borrow if they would like to have pictures taken. The college is exploring other options as well.

The North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees approved tuition and fees as well as room and board for 2020-2021.

The per credit hour fee will be kept the same at $87 for NCMC in-district students and $148 for other Missouri residents. The per credit hour fee will increase by six dollars to $179 for other United States residents and international students. Online, outreach and course by arrangement fees will increase by $8 per credit hour to $170.

Nursing on-ground will stay at $152 per credit hour, and online will remain at $178. Nursing program fees for the initial semester will continue at $2,500 per semester, and the second semester and summer will stay at $2,100.

The student development fee and facility fee will increase by one dollar to $17 per credit hour. The technology fee will also go up by one dollar to $7 per credit hour.

Dual credit will stay at $100 per credit hour. Early college for the NCMC will remain at $12. Early college for out-of-district as well as online and outreach will still be $62 per credit hour.

NCMC President Doctor Lenny Klaver said the rationale behind the tuition and fees was to keep in-district and in-state the same. He noted the new software will be more costly for faculty to learn. NCMC is still toward the low end on costs in comparison to other Missouri community colleges.

The approved room rates reflect a two percent increase, and the board rates show a three percent increase starting with the Fall 2020 semester. A single occupancy room will be $4,965, and a double occupancy room will be $3,104. The 12-meal plan will cost $2,788, and the 17-meal plan will be $3,165.

Information provided by Vice President of Student Affairs Doctor Tristen Londre says the recommendation for the rates was based on a projected eight and a half percent increase in water rates with no increase planned for wastewater and a cost comparison of room rates at Missouri community colleges and the surrounding local market.

There is a projected increase of two point six percent in the Consumer Price Index and an anticipated three percent Consumer Price Index-Food Away from Home increase. NCMC will incur a contractual increase in board rates for 2020-2021 for services provided by Great Western Dining to reflect the Consumer Price Index and federal minimum wage increases.

The board approved a purchase of a new John Deere 1785 6/11 row planter with precision technology for the Barton Farm Campus from S and N Partners of Chillicothe for about $75,000 ($74,969.11). A formal sealed bid process was used, and this was the

only bid received. The funding for the planter is available through the 2019-2020 MO Excels Grant, awarded from the state.

Two additions were made to board policy. One regarded NCMC “maintaining procedures for determining and verifying…faculty credentials in compliance with Higher Learning Commission guidelines.” The other policy addition involved NCMC “maintaining procedures for assuring the instructional calendar including sufficient minutes of instructional time for assignment of credit hours in compliance with definitions, guidelines, and policies concerning credits, program length, and tuition established by the Higher Learning Commission, Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education, and United States Department of Education.”

The board approved several personnel items, including the retirement of Business Instructor Missie Cotton, effective May 9th, and an emeritus designation for her. Her title will be Professor Emerita. In a letter regarding her retirement, Cotton wrote this is her 30th year teaching and 25th at NCMC.

Academic Advisor/Recruiter and Dance Wave Coach Melissa Spencer’s resignation was approved. Her last day of employment will be March 27th. Cashier Rocel Wright was hired as interim Dance Wave Coach from March 30th to June 30th or until a permanent coach is hired.

Nicole Shell was transferred from Student Services Coordinator to full-time Academic Advisor at a $25,000 annual salary starting today (Wednesday). Jenna Stevens was transferred from Nursing and Health Sciences Administrative Specialist to full-time Director of Advising and Retention at a $40,000 annual salary beginning March 30th.

The board approved changing a position description regarding the staff at the North Belt Center of Country Club. A full-time support position will go from Administrative Assistant to Extended Campus Operations Specialist.

Jaylon Sybert was employed as an adjunct instructor for Food and Beverage Management courses and curriculum development at the North Belt Center beginning this spring. Chief of Staff Kristi Harris reported the curriculum for Food and Beverage Management is being developed, and the program has not yet been launched.

Full-time faculty were reemployed for 2020-2021, pending staffing reductions related to loss of state or federal revenue. Salaries will be determined later.

The board approved posting a full-time faculty position in Behavioral Health Support to begin this fall. Harris said the position would be new, but it will not be a new cost, as NCMC does not plan to refill the Business Technology position at this time. She noted the plan is to have the position at the main campus in Trenton.

Green Hills Head Start Policy Council Bylaws were approved for 2020-2021. The bylaws are guidelines for the operation of the Policy Council, which provides opportunities for parents to be involved in shared decision-making activities with the governing body.

The Green Hills Head Start report said it is working to finalize the previous five-year grant. Head Start has received notice of a cost of living adjustment increase and quality improvement grant, and the application is due by May 15th.

The rock is being put up on the front of the new Head Start Trenton building. The inside is also being painted.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Doctor Tristen Londre reported Therapeutic Massage’s launch was successful. Five students signed up for the first class, and several more have inquired if NCMC offers a full program. He noted that due to COVID-19, the Therapeutic Massage class cannot meet, and refunds are coming.

Vice President for Student Services Doctor Kristen Alley reported the scholarship deadline and returning student enrollment will begin April 1st. New student enrollment will start on April 15th.

Information was released on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Eight hundred 17 applications were received as of January 3rd, and 24% have been selected for verification. The number of applications is up by 62 from last year at that time, and the percent selected for verification is down by two percent.

The board entered into an executive session for real estate.