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Northeast prepares to operate in the months ahead under COVID-19

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NORFOLK — In late March, Northeast Community College adopted distance learning delivery of its courses for its 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,” said Leah Barrett, president.

Northeast operates its main campus in Norfolk with extended campuses in O’Neill, South Sioux City and West Point, and regional offices in Ainsworth and Hartington.

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

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 handson 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 handson options, synchronous and online delivery formats.

Barrett said Northeast is working on plans now to operate safely in the months ahead.

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 its campuses in a staggered or staged approach. This method of work will likely be in place as the threat of COVID-19 persists.

In addition, the College will provide facemasks to all staff and faculty and encourage them to wear them. A group of employees plans to set up a sewing room to make masks for all employees who have a desire to wear one - or they can wear one of your own.