North Central Texas College (NCTC) is extending its spring break by a week for its students because of concerns of COVID-19, or the coronavirus.
Chancellor G. Brent Wallace sent a letter Thursday outlining several decisions the college has made regarding the concerns.
The spring semester will resume March 30, but classes will be provided online only from March 30 to April 4.
The following is Brent’s letter:
Dear NCTC Family,
The health and safety of our North Central Texas College students, staff, faculty, parents, and community is a high priority. We want to keep you informed regarding the steps the NCTC COVID-19 Task Force is taking regarding the ongoing news around Coronavirus (COVID-19), and that we are monitoring the situation through reliable resources like the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and all of our local Emergency Management Officials.
We realize that with any new illness there is uncertainty and concern. We ask that you help partner with us and concentrate on the facts and preventative measures. While the risk is currently low in Texas, and there are no reported cases in our immediate area, we are taking all necessary steps to provide a healthy environment for our staff and students. The college’s custodial team members remain vigilant about regular cleaning and disinfecting.
As an employer, out of an abundance of caution, we are asking our students, faculty, and staff to be mindful of our community and self-report any family/self-travel to Level 1, 2 or 3 areas to the NCTC Recent & Planned Travel Survey. Again, if you do not feel well following travel to a Level 1, 2 or 3 area, we ask that you please stay at home. In such an event, please contact a medical professional and follow the medical professional’s advice, including any encouragement to self-quarantine for 14 days.
We realize many of us have plans to travel this Spring Break. It is highly likely that travel advisories from the CDC will remain in place, making international travel difficult. As of 3/11/2020, travel from Europe to the United States has been banned. If you are traveling, we encourage you to follow the recommendations on the CDC information for travel webpage. With current CDC guidelines, travel outside of the United States, or through any impacted region, has the potential to cause delayed entry back to the United States and would affect your return to the college. Given the rapidly changing public health situation, we urge you to take any necessary precautions in advance when traveling.
We are working closely with health agencies as more information becomes available, and if a confirmed case is brought to our attention, we will share that information with you. Any decisions that may need to be made regarding a change to college operations will be done so with guidance from the CDC, and/or local health officials. Our college has protocols in place for managing temporary closures should they be needed.
Please note that there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus on any of the NCTC campuses.
The College Administration has made the following decisions:
- Spring Break for students will be extended through March 29, 2020. The spring semester will resume on Monday, March 30; however, classes will be provided strictly in an online format for a one-week period from March 30 through April 4, 2020.
- NCTC Emergency Management and Administration will continue to monitor the conditions around COVID-19 during this time period, and a future decision will be made as to when face-to-face instruction can resume.
- Faculty should use the week of March 23 to March 27 to prepare for online course delivery beginning Monday, March 30. In addition, second 8-week classes will begin on March 30, 2020. Interim Provost, Dr. Bruce King, will send further details to the faculty.
On-Campus Housing, Dining and Activities:
- Residence halls and dining services, based on demand, will be open during the next three weeks; however, we ask students to determine whether their campus or permanent residence is safest.
- As students think about and make decisions on returning to campus, please consider the CDC’s criteria for people considered to be at higher risk, including older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions.
- All student and staff meetings and activities have been suspended until further notice.
- NCTC’s cleaning services have increased the frequency and depth of cleaning and disinfection in residence halls, dining room, libraries, and common impact areas.
- We encourage student and staff to exercise social distancing and cough etiquette. As recommended by the CDC, wash your hands thoroughly and often.
Faculty and Staff:
- If you or a member of your household falls into one of the high-risk groups as identified by the CDC, such that you may be advised by a health authority not to come to work, please contact Human Resources.
- We encourage faculty and staff also to exercise social distancing and cough etiquette. As recommended by the CDC wash your hands thoroughly and often.
- Although students will not physically be on campus for instruction, staff will return to work on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
- We remind you of the resources available, including virtual doctor visits through Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Employee Assistance Program. Additional information can be found on https://my.nctc.edu/.
- If you have traveled over Spring Break, either domestically or internationally, to areas with widespread, ongoing community spread of COVID-19, you should follow CDC guidance to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, please follow CDC guidelines.
- All college sponsored international travel for students, faculty and staff is suspended until further notice.
- All college-related domestic travel has been restricted to NCTC District Service Area only (Cooke, Montague, Denton, and Graham ISD) through May 1. Any mission-critical exceptions must be approved by the Office of Emergency Management.
Events and Athletic Competitions:
- Events, conferences and other large gatherings scheduled through the end of the spring semester are currently under review by the NCTC COVID-19 Task Force.
- All athletic travel and events are cancelled until further notice.
Finally, we encourage you to visit NCTC’s COVID-19 website at https://www.nctc.edu/coronavirus.html periodically for additional information and updates for the campus community.
This is a challenging time for our communities, but the health and safety of our NCTC family is mission critical for NCTC. We encourage each of us to be patient during this time as we work each day to mitigate the risks.
Faculty, Staff and Students should expect further communication from Lion Alert, email and text.
G. Brent Wallace, Ph.D.