Northwest Technical College COVID-19 Back-to-Campus Plan

Back-to-Campus Plan for Dental and Welding Courses

Click to download complete plan (PDF)

Updated May 22, 2020

NTC is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty, staff, and members of our campus community. To ensure that, we have developed this Back-to-Campus Preparedness Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic utilizing guidance offered in Emergency Executive Order 20-40, Allowing Workers in Certain Non-Critical Sectors to Return to Safe Workplaces, April 23, 2020.  We are all responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our campus(es) and that requires full cooperation among students, faculty, staff and members of our campus community. Only through a cooperative effort, can we establish and maintain the safety and health of our campuses.

Campus leaders, supervisors, employees, and students are responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this Plan. NTC leaders and supervisors have our full support in enforcing the provisions of this policy.

The initial policy is if you can continue to effectively tele-commute/work remotely then that is the best course of action. 

We are serious about safety and health and keeping our student and employees safe. Your involvement is essential in developing and implementing a successful Campus COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Our Preparedness Plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines and federal OSHA standards related to COVID-19 and addresses:

  • Hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Engineering and administrative controls for social distancing
  • Housekeeping – cleaning, disinfecting and decontamination
  • Prompt identification and isolation of sick persons
  • Communications and training that will be provided to managers and workers; and
  • Management and supervision necessary to ensure effective implementation of the plan.

Screening and policies for those exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19

Employees and students have been informed of and encouraged to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The following policies and procedures are being implemented to assess workers’ health status prior to entering the campus and for employees and students to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms. All students will be asked to self-monitor for symptoms such as  cough or shortness of breath that is new or worsening or two of the following symptoms: temperature of 100.4 or above, chills, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, or loss of taste/smell. If any of the previously listed items are yes, then students are not allowed to return to campus until they have had no fever for 72 hours, other symptoms have improved, and at least 10 days have passed since first symptom appeared. Students must communicate with their instructors just as they would with any absence caused by illness. Students will not be discriminated against if COVID-19-type symptoms are reported and the student stays home.

Employees will follow the normal process of informing supervisors if they are sick or experiencing symptoms while at home or work.  Students should inform their faculty members and leave campus to return home.

NTC through Minnesota State and Minnesota Management and Budget has implemented leave policies that promote workers staying at home when they are sick, when household members are sick, or when required by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine themselves or a member of their household. Questions regarding leave and benefits should be directed to the BSU/NTC Human Resources office.

Accommodations for workers with underlying medical conditions or who have household members with underlying health conditions have been implemented. Be sure to work with your supervisor and the BSU/NTC Human Resources office to determine accommodations. Again, the approach is if you can continue to effectively tele-commute/work remotely then that is the best course of action. 

The policy of NTC is to follow Minnesota Department of Health and local health department guidance and direction on informing workers if they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 on campus and requiring them to quarantine for the required amount of time.

In addition, a policy has been implemented to protect the privacy of workers’ health status and health information.

All information gathered from the Questionnaire and Temperature Screening Procedure, including the alternative phone screening process, must be treated as confidential medical information. Specifically, the identity of individuals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, individuals’ temperature readings, individuals’ responses to the screening questions, the screening ledger, and completed Screening Forms must be kept confidential and may only be shared with agency HR staff, the agency safety administrator, and members of agency management with a business need to know, or others as provided by law.

The official copies of the screening ledger and completed Screening Forms are health records and must be kept by the agency HR office for at least one year; however, it is recommended to retain them for six years. The screening ledger and completed Screening Forms must be kept in a locked file cabinet or secure electronic file and must not be stored in employee personnel files.

When the screening shift is over, the screening administrator must provide all completed Screening Forms and the screening ledger to the agency HR office by secure transmission (hand delivery, confidential interoffice envelope, encrypted email). The screening administrator must destroy all extra copies of the records once the official copy is transmitted to the agency HR office.

Handwashing

Basic infection prevention measures are being implemented at our campus(es) at all times. Employees and students are being instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, but especially at the beginning and end of their time on campus, prior to any mealtimes, after blowing their nose, and after using the toilet. All visitors to campus facilities will be required to wash their hands prior to or immediately upon entering the facility. All work, restroom, and classroom places have hand-sanitizer dispensers available.

Respiratory etiquette:  Cover your cough or sneeze

Employees and visitors are being instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, in particular their mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands. They should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward. Respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters and supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available in work and classroom places. Faculty will provide a reminder to students when students initially return to campus during class.

Masks or cloth face coverings can be worn to help control infection from people who may be infected but are asymptomatic.  They may provide some limited protection from being infected if exposed.  Employees and students are required to wear a mask or cloth face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to enter the buildings and while on campus. Students will be surveyed before returning to campus to determine if they have masks already in possession and how many masks are needed which will be provided by NTC.

Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Masks or cloth face coverings can help with preventing your germs from infecting others – especially in situations where you may spread the virus without symptoms.
  • Masks or cloth face coverings should be marked to remind wearer what side is facing in and out.
  • Wearing a mask or cloth face coverings does not protect you from others who may spread the virus. So, even while you wear a mask or cloth face coverings, you still need to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, and practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of space between people.
  • People who are sick should still stay home.
  • We will use N95 masks during the stainless-steel welding activities and dental will use during their coursework.

Social distancing

Social distancing is being implemented on campus through the following engineering and administrative controls:

  1. If required to come to the campus consider the necessity of the visit, an appropriate time of that visit so as to limit the number of employees and students on campus at the same time.
  2. Employees and students are asked to maintain six feet of distance between colleagues and visitors
  3. Be aware of and avoid crowded spaces including break or lunchroom, elevators, and restrooms
  4. Cloth face coverings are required for spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  5. Dental students and faculty will use protective equipment such a gowns, gloves, face shields, etc. and procedures as part of the course experience. Faculty will provide instruction and will maintain compliance with proper use of equipment and following safety procedures.
  6. Welding students will use protective equipment and follow procedures including using the same gloves, welding helmets, and booth for the duration of the course. Faculty will provide instruction and will maintain compliance with proper use of equipment and following safety procedures.
  7. Dental students will enter the NTC campus through the exterior door closest to the dental area, in a single person, one at a time manner as called in by the faculty and use the sinks in the dental area to wash hands immediately. During breaks and lunch restrooms in the north end will be available, lunch will be allowed in rooms 259 and 261 to provide proper social distancing. It will be highly encouraged that students bring a lunch as a microwave and water fountain are available.
  8. Welding students will enter via the south door, use the restroom in the hallway just outside the shop to wash hands immediately, and lunch will be allowed in room 118. It will be highly encouraged that students bring a lunch as a microwave and water fountain are available.
  9. During the time on campus, student and faculty are to maintain social distancing, including during instruction as much as practical. For example, this may mean a weld is presented on a table with the student stepping back while the instructor examines the weld to provide feedback.
  10. Students and faculty with concerns or needing support should contact the academic dean so help can be provided.

Staff, students, and invited visitors are prohibited from gathering in groups and confined areas, including elevators, and from using other workers’ personal protective equipment, phones, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices or other personal work tools and equipment.

Housekeeping

Regular housekeeping practices are being implemented, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, equipment, tools and machinery, vehicles and areas in the campus environment, including classrooms, labs, restrooms, common areas, break rooms, lunch rooms, meeting rooms, and drop-off and pick-up locations. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted in high-touch areas, such as phones, keyboards, touch screens, controls, door handles, elevator panels, railings, printers and copy machines, credit card readers, delivery equipment, etc. Students and faculty are responsible for cleaning up as part of the instructional activities such as cleaning their own equipment and placing materials in the proper waste container.  Wipes and cleaning supplies will be available.

Communications and training

This plan was communicated via email to all employees and students and necessary training was provided. Additional communication and training will be ongoing as students arrive each day as part of the entering the building and provided to all employees and students who did not receive the initial training. Leaders and supervisors are to monitor how effective the program has been implemented by keeping the daily health screening documentation for at least one year after the end of the course. Employees and students are to work through this new program together and update the communication strategies and training as necessary.

This plan has been certified by NTC leadership and was shared and posted throughout the campus community on May 21, 2020. It will be updated as necessary.

Appendix A

Guidance for developing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

General

Handwashing

Respiratory etiquette:  Cover your cough or sneeze

Social distancing

Housekeeping

Operating Instruction on Campus Management and Cleaning to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Minnesota State, April 2, 2020

NEW – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html – April 28, 2020

Employees exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19

Training


MN State logoNorthwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, has prepared students for fulfilling careers in high-demand fields for more than 50 years. The college’s accessible, affordable, hands-on programs also help the region’s employers meet their ever-growing need for a highly skilled workforce. NTC serves more than 1,000 students with an excellent education, an open-enrollment policy and affordable tuition. Students may pursue nearly 40 degree, diploma and certificate programs in six distinct career paths. Classes are offered on campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities. For more, visit ntcmn.edu.