Northeast Community College decided not to release positive COVID case numbers, despite the virus spreading through campuses across the country.
“In general, we are not saying the name of students coming forward or staff,” said John Blaylock, executive vice president of Northeast.
Amanda Nipp, vice president of student services, said that generally Covid cases are self-reported at Northeast. From her understanding, when getting tested for the virus, health officials ask a series of questions, she said.
One of the questions on this self-disclosed survey asks if you’re a student. The student could then respond with saying they are a NECC student, or one could choose to not answer the question. Northeast Community College has a point person with the local health department. If a student or staff members decides to release this information, the health department may contact the school. This is partially for privacy reasons, and partially because of Northeast’s small population number.
Northeast Community College is only having 1/3rd of the student living on campus due to Covid-19. The rest of the 2/3rds are either taking classes virtually or online. While having only 250 students here on campus and the others taking classes online, the number of Covid cases may be misleading. If they were to release just the campus cases, this may become a privacy issue due to the small amount of people.
One of the many ways NECC is protecting student’s heath is by having less students on campus. Some students were curious how they chose who gets to live in the dorms. Blaylock responded by explaining it was the 1/3rd of the students who needed to be here most. Classes have been adjusted so students both learn and be healthy simultaneously. The students with in-person classes, who live more than a 100-miles away were chosen first.
Having a no visitors policy is another way Northeast is protecting students coronavirus. With this policy being in play, students say they have been feeling quite lonely said Tyler Ericson and Gracie Thofer, who are students on campus at Northeast. “It gets hard at times,” said Tyler, “because my best friend lives next door to me yet I can’t hang out with them. So close yet so far.”
Nipp said that with there being so many unknown questions about Covid-19, they decided to start the semester off very cautiously. The plan is to reevaluate the policy this month. She said that it was smarter to start cautiously and lighten the rules, opposed to not being cautious and regretting the decision.
Students health and safety is Northeast Community College’s biggest concern, Nipp said.