Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Attention 

Northeast State Community College and the Tennessee Board of Regents continue to coordinate with state and national officials in monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The situation is rapidly changing, so please refer to the resources and updates below.

  COV-19
Student Resources
  IT Contact
Information
 

  Face Covering
Procedures
   

TBR COVID-19 Weekly Case Report

Visit this link for the weekly TBR COVID-19 Case Report

About the data
TBR conducts a weekly survey of the 13 community colleges and the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology about active and recovered COVID-19 cases among each college's faculty, staff, students, third-party contractors, and short-term workforce training students.

These dashboards also include data about active cases rates among the total population in each college's county service region. Data on the total number of active cases in a county is based on the Tennessee Department of Health's daily reporting of active cases, available at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/data.html

How often are the TBR COVID-19 Case Report dashboards updated?
Counts of active COVID-19 and recovered COVID-19 cases at TBR colleges are updated on Friday of  each week.

This dashboard also pulls data each Thursday from the Tennessee Department of Health about case rates among the total population. More up-to- date and official reporting from the Tennessee Department of Health is available at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/data.html

How are active case rates calculated?
Active case rates at each community college are calculated as the total number of active cases among faculty, staff, and students divided by the total headcount of faculty, staff, and students.

Active case rates within a college's service area are calculated as the total number of active cases among the population of a region divided by the total population of the region.

Resources and Information

Messages from President Bethany Bullock

August 13, 2020


COVID-19 Screening Form

July 15

July 15, 2020

Northeast State employee tests positive for COVID-19

A Northeast State employee has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The employee was on the Blountville campus July 13 and 14. The employee's office suite and restroom have been deep-cleaned.

Employees within the department have been notified. All face covering and social distancing protocols were followed.

July 11, 2020

Northeast State reports first COVID-19 case

Northeast State Community College announced today that a student tested positive for COVID-19--the College's first reported case.

The student was diagnosed during a routine COVID-19 screening Friday, July 10. The student is quarantined at home.

Those persons who had direct contact with the infected individual received a phone call and an email on Saturday morning from the College, and have been instructed to quarantine at home for 14 days.

The student attended class at the Regional Center for Health Professions (RCHP) in Kingsport on July 6, 8, and 10. The College has closed the building and begun CDC-recommended cleaning procedures. Reopening for the RCHP is expected on Monday, July 13.

Face coverings and social distancing protocols were in place in the class.

The class instructor will email students with instruction and schedule details.

The majority of the College's summer classes are online, with most faculty and staff working remotely. Those persons approved for campus access must wear a face covering, practice social distancing, and complete a daily wellness screening.

May 12, 2020

Happy Graduation Day! I hope this message finds you safe and healthy. We are looking forward to a day of celebration and reflection on the accomplishments of the past semester – one we will never forget. We are proud of our graduates and wish them much success as they enter the workforce, transfer to a university, or apply their new lifelong learning skills to make a difference in our local communities.

I am writing with an important update about the College as we move into Phase II of our Operations Plan which will carry us from May 13 – August 23. Specific details about your unique reporting responsibilities and division operation plans will be communicated to you through your supervisor.  

EXPECTATIONS FOR PHASE II OPERATIONS

 Any person (faculty, staff, student, applicant, member of the public, contractor, etc.) seeking access to NeSCC campuses this summer will be screened with the CDC recommended COVID-19 questions. The screening must be completed daily. 

 Our IT Department and Campus Safety Department are developing an online form that individuals can complete using their devices before coming to campus or once they enter the Blountville Campus Welcome Center loop. If you cannot complete the form prior to campus entry, the staff in the Welcome Center will ask the screening questions as you arrive at the window. If your form has been submitted for the day, the person at the window will ask your name and find your form in the database. This database will assist with contact tracing in the event we have a case arise.

The following screening questions will be asked of everyone before granting access to campus: 

Do you have a fever (100.4 degrees or higher)?

Do you have a cough, difficulty breathing, or any other respiratory symptoms?

Do you have flu-like symptoms?

Do you have vomiting/diarrhea?

Have you had contact within 6’ for more than 10 minutes of a confirmed case of a person with COVID-19?

Have you traveled within 14 days to countries or other areas of concern, as noted by the CDC? 

Last week, we mailed a Northeast State mask to the home address of each employee on payroll this semester. This buff can be used as a mask while practicing social distancing. If you fold the buff in half, the Northeast State logo and bear will show. My mask (and others have also mentioned this to me) is a bit loose, so I use a rubber band or clip in the back to adjust it to a tighter fit. Please note this is not considered a "medical-grade mask" for protective use when social distancing cannot be observed. The recommended use of the buff is a mask with social distancing. (Employees whose work assignments prevent social distancing will be issued medical-grade masks.)

If you have not received your mask at your address on file in HR, please contact Dr. Stephanie Barham in the President’s Office at:  srbarham@northeaststate.edu.

The expectation is that any employee returning to work will wear a mask at all times while in the presence of another person. This is new for all of us: the spirit of the mask protocol is to balance the need to take extreme precautions to protect our community from a virus that causes death with a new normal of adjusting to working with our colleagues using social distancing and masks. The campus access screening and masks are systemwide TBR requirements. 

For more information related to the screening protocols and the NeSCC Interim COVID Policy, please visit our COVID website at:   https://www.northeaststate.edu/Campus-Life/Health-and-Wellness/Coronavirus/ 

Below are some key highlights of PHASE II operation protocols: 

  • Supervisors have been instructed to hold online meetings only. In the event online meeting access is not available, meetings shall not exceed 10 employees and include social distancing (at least 6 feet apart) and with all employees wearing masks.
  • Employees are expected to clean after their use of common spaces, such as suite office spaces and shared spaces accessed by multiple employees. Food and beverage waste is expected to be carried out by the employee who created the trash. Paper waste can be left in office trash cans for routine disposal. Your supervisor will share the location of common area trash receptacles made available for disposal of food and beverage waste. 

Thank you, in advance, for adhering to the protocols as we enter Phase II campus operations designed to keep our community safe. We know this requires additional effort and a higher level of conscientiousness on the part of everyone to make our protocols effective. 

I wish you a wonderful close to the Spring 2020 Semester and a happy and sunny start to our Summer 2020 term.

April 29, 2020

Phase 1 Reopening of Campus--May 4 through May 12

As the Tennessee economy begins to open back up, many of our employees have questions about returning to work on campus. Our Emergency Management Committee has been working on a phased reopening of the College to ensure the health and safety of all students and employees.

The first phase is planned for May 4 through May 12 and includes students who need help with finishing the spring semester as well as a select group of employees.

No student or employee with a fever or exhibiting signs of COVID-19 symptoms will be allowed on campus. There will be a screening process in place for persons coming to campus.

STUDENTS
Accommodations will be made for currently enrolled students who (1) need to complete hands-on labs and clinical or demonstration experiences; (2)  need access to campus for any reason to complete the spring semester; (3) need access campus to pick up a cap and gown during a drive-in event on May 5.

EMPLOYEES
Supervisors will notify essential employees about returning to campus and provide instructions. No employee will be required to return to work if there are concerns about doing so. Individual employees with questions about returning to campus should contact their supervisor.

Any returning employees will adhere to CDC social and safety guidelines. Employees are requested to wear masks (not necessarily in individual offices) and remain in their offices whenever possible. Masks will be supplied to employees, and cleaning supplies will be provided for use in appropriate areas.

Business casual attire has been approved for May 4 through August 14. Human Resources will be sending more details on the summer dress code and flexible work schedules.   
All meetings on campus will be held via Zoom or a similar delivery method.

Where possible, business with students should be conducted remotely. However, some in-person meetings with students may be needed. Any on-site meetings with students will be by appointment only, and students may be accompanied by only one approved adult guest.

The Elizabethton, Johnson City, and Kingsport campuses (except for the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing) will remain closed through May 12.

As noted previously, the college will offer all online classes for the summer terms, which start June 4 for first and full semesters. Intersession classes begin on May 13, and second-term courses start on July 6.

The Emergency Management Committee is now developing a Phase II operations plan for summer and needs your input. Please take a few moments to complete the following survey to help us assess employee needs as we return to on-campus operations: https://apps.northeaststate.edu/ie/surveys/comfort/.

Our plans are dependent on the progression of COVID-19 in our region, and the guidance from federal, state, and local officials.

The Sullivan County Department of Health's latest information can be accessed here: https://www.sullivanhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Revised-Public-Orderer.pdf.

It's amazing to think that only six weeks ago, we entirely transitioned to new ways of teaching and working. It's incredible how the Northeast State community has come together and adapted during these difficult times to serve our students and one another. Your patience, flexibility, creativity, and determination are much appreciated. Thank you all.

April 1, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

College to keep campuses closed through April 14--classes and student services continue online

Based on the latest state and federal coronavirus safety guidelines, Northeast State will keep its campuses closed through April 14. 

Northeast State will continue to hold classes and student services online during the remainder of the spring semester. With the exception of essential personnel, faculty, and staff will continue to work remotely through April 14. 

Students are encouraged to check D2L, Northeast State student email, and the College's website and social media for information and updates. A COVID-19 resource page is available at www.northeaststate.edu/health.

While we all yearn to return to a normal schedule, this extension to April 14 is designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all Northeast State students and employees, and keep the virus from spreading and putting a further strain on the state’s health care resources.

We appreciate your patience and trust these guidelines will keep our Northeast State community safe and secure. We will continue to assess the situation and will inform you of any schedule changes.

March 19, 2020, 6:30 p.m.

Campus operations schedule changes March 23 - April 3

As you know, we have all been challenged to do our part to slow the progression of COVID-19 and to "flatten the curve." There are numerous spring break travelers who will be returning to the region this Monday and we want to use all manner of precaution available to observe the suggested two-week social distancing period after travel, particularly to protect our maintenance, grounds, custodial staff and security personnel who must be physically present to complete their work duties and who will be cleaning all offices and providing security during the closure period.

Therefore, all Northeast State campuses will be closed with online services only March 23 - April 3.  We expect that employees will be able to resume their normal campus office operations after April 3; however, the situation is rapidly evolving.  While campuses are closed, employees will be working from home and will be available by phone or email to assist students. We will inform employees whether they will be able to resume their normal campus office operations after April 3.

 Additionally, the CDC continues to update the recommended number for social gatherings. In light of the rapidly evolving situation (from 100 to 50 to 10), we have made the difficult decision to cancel all events through the end of the semester, including commencement. The College will provide a virtual graduation ceremony using the creativity and ingenuity of our students, staff and faculty. If you have ideas for our virtual commencement, please send them to Jennifer Starling.

 If you need to access your office before the campus closure Monday, please plan to retrieve your items during the times provided below:

Friday, March 20         8:00 a.m.  - 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 21    8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 22      8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Thank you for all you are doing during this time to help keep our students, employees and community safe and healthy.  

March 18, 2020, 5:28 p.m.

CARES effort launched to provide emergency resources for students

As challenges of the current COVID-19 pandemic continue to grow, Northeast State is enacting its College Aid in Response to an Emergency Situation (CARES) effort.

The initiative will assist students and their families with campus and community emergency resources needed to complete their semester.

Areas of need include but are not limited to, food, transportation, childcare, Internet and computer access, and online D2L instruction.

The College’s resources are limited, so students are asked first to seek out community assistance. Those resources may be accessed at  https://www.northeaststate.edu/CommunityResourcesand at https://www.northeaststate.edu/COVID19Resources/in the COVID-19 Community Resources section.

 If students require additional help, they may submit their information to Northeast State CARES at  www.northeaststate.edu/cares.

Students may contact Erin Blevins, Coordinator of Scholarship Programs, at ecblevins@NortheastState.eduor 423.354.2507 if they are unable to submit a request for assistance online.

The College is also accepting donations for its CARES effort at https://apps.northeaststate.edu/upay/.

Donors may also make checks payable to the “Northeast State Foundation” and mail to Northeast State Community College, Attn. Megan Almaroad, P.O. Box 246, Blountville, TN 37617.

The Northeast State Foundation promotes and supports academic and educational scholarship, community service, and other programs offered by the College. The Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation and is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  Please contact Megan Almaroad, Coordinator of Advancement Operations, with questions at mlalmaroad@northeaststate.edu or 423.279.7630.

March 18, 2020, 5:06 p.m.

College to transition to online instruction for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester

In response to the coronavirus situation and to protect students, employees, and community, Northeast State will transition all face-to-face classes to online instruction for the remainder of the spring semester starting Monday, March 23.

Students should check the D2L learning management system for information about course assignments and check their Northeast State email, and the College’s website for further updates.

Students who have issues with technology or other concerns regarding access to coursework are asked to contact the instructor of the class by phone, email, or through D2L. If the instructor is unable to help resolve an issue, students will be referred to the appropriate office for help.

The College realizes students may be enrolled in a course or program in which hands-on competencies must be met. Northeast State officials are currently working with faculty to meet Center for Disease Control, State of Tennessee, and programmatic accreditation guidelines on the appropriate methods to meet course objectives.

Additionally, the College is researching best practices from across the state as well as among community college systems currently facing the same challenge. Northeast State will keep students informed as decisions are made to specific courses and programs.

Students are asked to monitor their Northeast State emails daily for updates and refer to the College’s COVID-19 webpage at www.northeaststate.edu/health for the latest information.

March 16, 2020, 8:15 a.m.

Work schedule information

Good morning. I hope this message finds you healthy. By now, your immediate supervisor has notified you if your position is designated as essential personnel. Essential personnel are encouraged to work closely with their direct supervisor to ensure there is an appropriate balance between completing work responsibilities and attending to personal health precautions. 

For all employees and given the circumstances, your productivity in the coming three weeks may not be as high as usual, particularly for those of you who have younger children or older parents in your care. If your care-taking roles limit your ability to work on campus, we have flexible options. For instance, required office hours for faculty can be completed online through D2L chats and by phone or web-conferencing with students. Staff office time and staff meetings can be completed through conference calls and emails. We are at work behind the scenes on a staff engagement D2L site where staff can log in for discussion forums as well as access links to HR training and video modules. Stay tuned for more information. 

The coming weeks will be a testament to our long-standing strength around student success. I have been communicating with foundation board members over the weekend to develop priorities and a process to award student emergency grants. We will be notifying students with an opportunity to apply for emergency grants. Please tell your students to be watching for the notification to apply for emergency grant funds. 

A survey of our students went out Friday to inquire about access to the internet and computers. Several students thus far have indicated they only have access via their phones; we will notify you of the final survey results when the survey closes. We are also inquiring with faculty and staff regarding their access to the internet and computers at home should an employee need to work from home.

I sincerely appreciate your efforts to help our students stay healthy and have access to high-quality education and support services. The 2019-2020 academic year has been quite a journey. #Let’sFinishStrong

March 13, 2020, 4:25 p.m. 

Coronavirus travel information

Several questions have been asked about travel. We have listed some general guidelines from the Tennessee Board of Regents.

As the coronavirus COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, we will update you when information becomes available.

  • No campus travel outside the state. This includes faculty, staff, and student groups.
  • TnCIS international travel is suspended through May 31. Institutionally-hosted international travel is suspended through May 31, and the institution’s notification to students regarding refunds should be sent to Dr. Heidi Leming at TBR for a record trail.
  • We will reevaluate all remaining summer international travel in 30 days.
  • No large group gatherings through end of March. We will re-assess in a week regarding April events.
  • Any student, faculty, or staff who travel on a cruise or to an area listed as Level 2 or 3 on the CDC’s COVID-19 travel advisories page must self-isolate for two weeks upon their return home. This includes classes. Faculty and staff are also required to notify their supervisors if they have been on a cruise or to an area listed as Level 2 or 3 on the CDC’s COVID-19 travel advisories page.

March 12, 2020, 5:45 p.m. 

Northeast State announces modified schedule

Northeast State Community College continues to monitor updates from federal and state public health officials regarding the rapidly evolving novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. As of today, Northeast State has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus.  

However, given today’s decision by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to declare a state emergency to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the state, the College is putting contingency options in place to protect the health and safety of the campus community.

Extended spring break for students
Northeast State will extend Spring Break one additional week for its students.

Traditional and online classes are being cancelled March 16-20 to give faculty time to prepare for two weeks of fully online learning from March 23-April 3.

Faculty will utilize the additional Spring Break week of March 16-20 to move all coursework online. Faculty will also prepare to continue with online instruction beyond April 3 in the event it becomes necessary.

Campus schedule changes 
The College’s campuses at Blountville, Elizabethton, Gray, Johnson City, and Kingsport will be closed March 16-20 for deep cleaning with hospital-grade products. Supervisors have identified essential employees and will inform them whether they are working on campus or remotely March 16-20.

Students should refrain from visiting campus, and to remain at home during the extended break and while classes are delivered remotely. 

Health Professions students doing clinical rotations are not required to attend their rotational sites during the extended break.  

Apprentices earning college credit at Northeast State through their jobs should follow the employee attendance policy set forth by their employers. 

Dual Enrollment students
Dual enrollment courses are dependent on the schedules of respective high school systems.

Financial aid information
Federal Work-Study students will not be impacted for the time being.

Campus activities
All on-campus extracurricular activities are suspended until further notice. All non-essential faculty, staff, and student travel is suspended until further notice. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Travel advisory
Any student, faculty, or staff who travel on a cruise or to an area listed as Level 2 or 3 on the CDC’s COVID-19 travel advisories page must self-isolate for two weeks upon their return home. This includes classes.

Northeast State will provide updates on plans and procedures as information becomes available. 

For more information, visit www.northeaststate.edu/health.

March 12, 2020, 8:11 a.m. 

Health and safety COVID-19 update

At Northeast State Community College, we take the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and community very seriously.  We continue to monitor the status of the COVID-19 Coronavirus and are following the guidance of both the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC.   

We understand that some employees may be concerned about the report of a confirmed case of the Coronavirus in our area.  In an effort to be proactive, we want to remind employees that the CDC offers the following advice to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like the Coronavirus:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/stop-the-spread-of-germs.pdf

Some individuals are at a higher risk for serious illness from this and other viruses, including older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions.  Employees who are concerned about their risk for exposure should contact the Human Resources Office.  We will work with the employee, their supervisor, and their doctor to determine what additional measures or temporary accommodations may be made to reduce their risk for illness.   

Under the current circumstances, and until further notice, any employee who is out sick for three or more days should submit a doctor’s note to HR releasing them to return to work.  Supervisors are required to notify HR of employees who call in sick for three or more days, whether the leave is for a personal illness or to care for a family member who is sick.   

Thank you all for your vigilance in preventing the spread of germs and for your continued commitment to meet the needs of our students and our community. 

March 4, 2020

Spring break travel message from President Bethany Bullock

As spring break approaches next week, we hope your time off is relaxing and restful.

 We know some students, faculty, and staff may be traveling either domestically or internationally and may have concerns due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

 If you have travel questions, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted information to ensure your health and the health of others. Also, you may visit the  Northeast State COVID-19 web page for news and updates specific to the College. 

The health and safety of everyone in the Northeast State community is our top priority. 

Enjoy your well-deserved break!

March 2, 2020

COVID-19 Message from President Bethany Bullock, 

Northeast State is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in coordination with federal, state, and local health and emergency preparedness organizations.

As of Feb. 28, no COVID-19 infections have been reported in Tennessee. There have been 61 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States. Although it’s difficult to predict every scenario, the U.S. Center for Disease Control expects the number of cases in the U.S. to rise.

As with any emerging threat, our knowledge grows with time. For now, we know that coronavirus is a respiratory illness and spreads much like influenza. Primary symptoms are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, which usually appear anywhere between two to 14 days after exposure.

 In most people, the illness produces mild to moderate symptoms that do not require hospitalization. However, just like with influenza, the elderly, people with chronic lung conditions, and those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk.

 We want you to understand the College has a team in place monitoring the situation and readying an emergency preparedness plan to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.

The situation is rapidly changing and as new information becomes available, the college will provide updates for the campus community, distributed through the president’s office, the college’s website, and social media channels. We ask our community to rely on official Northeast State information channels for updates.

For now, the CDC advises you to follow these preventative hygiene practices:

  •  Wash your hands often and carefully with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick AND do not go out in public when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue.
  • Use disinfectant wipes to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu vaccine. 

Students, staff, and faculty who have reason to believe they may have been exposed or have any coronavirus symptoms,  please visit the CDC website for guidance and additional information.

For up-to-date information and guidance, please visit these sites:

You may also visit the Northeast State COVID-19 web page for updates and information specific to the Northeast State campus community.

FAQs   

What is the Coronavirus?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

How many casses of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S.? 
The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
• fever
• cough
• shortness of breath

How does it spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Is there a treatment?
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help to relieve symptoms.

How do I best protect myself from contracting coronavirus?
 The CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Here are everyday actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

Travel Advisories