For the time being, it appears the measures taken by Neosho County Community College regarding positive COVID-19 cases has paid off. The school went from a high of nine positive cases with 64 students in quarantine, down to zero positive cases and only two in quarantine this weekend.
Still, NCCC President Brian Inbody, feels leery about the situation.
“I would like us to take credit for the lower numbers this week, but really it is a shared responsibility. NCCC has to provide as safe a learning environment as we can, while still functioning well, and students must make good choices to limit the possibility of exposure,” Inbody said Friday afternoon. “It’s great to see when all is working, but I know that there may well be days ahead when we don’t get this good of results. In fact, we are just beginning random COVID-19 testing of residents in the halls. We may see an uptick in cases again, but we will respond accordingly.”
Despite the early positive cases, Inbody is proud of NCCC’s response.
“The great news is that while we did have to ask many students and a few employees to self-isolate, we were able to adapt and allow them to keep learning or working,” he said. “I’m very proud of our faculty for all they did to accommodate the students on self-isolation so that they can keep up with what is going on in class via teleconferencing services. I’m proud that the technology is working, with one or two minor hiccups that have been addressed.”
Inbody added that they are confident they made the right decision by returning to face-to-face classes.
“I’ve actually had a few minutes this week to walk around campus, visiting with employees, which is another good sign that we are getting into a routine, albeit a different routine. The employees are VERY happy to have students back on campus. Most have expressed to me that the students are, for the most part, following the protocols we have lined out. All that I have talked to so far have told me that it was the right decision to reopen face-to-face classes,” Inbody said.
NCCC now has 10 weeks before they go to a primarily remote-learning environment.
“We have 10 weeks to go until Thanksgiving Break when we switch most face-to-face classes to remote instruction,” Inbody said. “Yes, I have a better feeling now that we will make it those 10 weeks than I did during our in-service week, and especially the first few days of classes. Back then we were seeing more reports coming in via our COIVD-19 reporting form and several positive cases found through our daily self-assessments and our athletic trainer-led assessments. Some people who reported their COVID status in the first few days were actually still on self-isolation from a positive test result from before college even started. So we had a backlog of reports come in the first week, plus the new ones that happened that week, too. It seemed like a lot. However, it started to settle down a bit.”