When the fall semester begins next week at Mid-Plains Community College it will look different from any other semester in history.
MPCC officials have spent months consulting with state and area health officials to prepare for the resumption of on-campus instruction. Classes were moved to remote formats in March to limit exposure to the coronavirus, and the hope is that won’t have to happen again.
“We will continue to make every attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said MPCC President Ryan Purdy. “In anticipation of the arrival of more than 40 international students and more than 20 states being represented on one of our campuses, compliance with the required safety precautions will be of the utmost importance for our campuses to remain open for the entire fall semester.”
Numerous safeguards have been put into place to protect students, employees and the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That includes staggering move-in times so that not all students arrive on campus at once.
Thursday is the day for new students to move to campus while returning students will be back on Saturday. All students will be contacted ahead of time to make sure they are not running fevers, are not showing symptoms of COVID, have not been exposed to someone with COVID and have not been asked to quarantine.
Once at the college, students will find that the dining halls, lobbies and lounges have been reconfigured to promote social distancing. Signs reminding them to social distance, wear masks, wash hands frequently and stay home if sick are posted throughout buildings at all campus locations.
Students will be required to wear masks covering their mouths and noses in all indoor public areas of the college when 6-feet of social distance cannot be maintained. That includes commons areas, restrooms, elevators, hallways, lobbies and outside.
Dining on campus will be one of the exceptions, however, students will be encouraged to eat in their dorm rooms. Guests will not be allowed to join them there.
Protective barriers in the form of plastic shields have been implemented at MPCC’s Welcome Centers, advising desks and other locations where there might be frequent face-to-face conversations.
All facilities will be disinfected daily, and hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms and public spaces.
As outlined in the governor’s Directed Health Measures (DHM) regarding travel, international students must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days and be symptom-free before they will be released to participate in normal campus activities.
The college has housing units set aside as quarantine spaces as needed for students who may test positive for or have been exposed to COVID-19.
Those students will continue to receive daily meals and regular laundry services, will go through a daily health screening and will have their mental health assessed throughout their stay. No additional fees will be charged.
More information about the college’s response to COVID-19 can be found online at mpcc.edu/mpcccovid-19update.