Fall 2021 at North Country Community College
This plan is intended to provide our students, faculty, staff and the broader communities where we work and live, with our plan to reopen our campuses for the Fall 2021 semester. The plan is based on guidance from the State University of New York (SUNY), our local public health departments, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as to how to most effectively reopen our campuses. As with our previous response to the pandemic, our decisions are grounded in practices that place the health and safety of students and employees first and we believe that this document lays out a strategy to reopen our campuses safely in the Fall 2021 semester.
Effective, Aug. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19. As a result, the State University of New York policy requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all students who plan to be on campus during the Fall 2021 semester at all public universities and colleges, including North Country CC, is now in effect. This includes those taking courses on campus, accessing the library and learning assistance centers, and living in the residence halls.
All students who expect to be on campus in whatever form are required to:
Provide proof they have completed a full vaccine series (meaning that the student has received at least one dose of a single dose vaccine series or at least a second dose of a two-dose series) by Sept. 27, 2021 (NOTE: This period does not include the two-week window after completion of the series needed for immunity) OR
- Submit requests for an exemption based on medical or religious grounds by Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 to allow sufficient time for review.
- Allied health students (i.e., Massage Therapy, Practical Nursing, Associates Degree in Nursing, and Radiologic Technology) are required to be fully vaccinated. Without proof of vaccination, the college CANNOT guarantee a clinical placement for students, which could negatively affect one's ability to complete the program.
- NOTE: Healthcare workers in New York State, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities (LTCF), including nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings, are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, September 27, per State Health Department policy.
- Allied Health programs will be collecting vaccination cards from students as well. The particulars will come from each department.
- Currently, vaccinations are not mandated for employees, however, the college is encouraging and recommending that those who can, do so. Those who are unvaccinated will be required to be masked and maintain social distancing (see below for details) while on campus and in college buildings.
- To be considered “fully vaccinated” one must be 1) two weeks beyond receiving the second dose of a two dose COVID-19 vaccine series (i.e., Moderna and Pfizer), or 2) two weeks beyond receiving a single dose COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., Johnson and Johnson).
- The College is following the CDC universal mask guidelines for those who will be on campus in college-owned buildings. All students, employees, and visitors who will be on campus in college-owned buildings are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, except when in one’s personal room, office, or work location, when eating or drinking while seated, or engaged in athletic competition or practice (more details about athletics can be found below). Disposable masks will be provided at select entryways.
- For those who work in congregate offices where all parties are fully vaccinated and social distancing can be maintained, masks are not required while working in one’s office.
- Employees who are unable to safely wear a mask due to a disability (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act), may request exemption from this requirement from our Human Resources Director, Tara Smith at email@example.com or (518) 891-2915 ext. 1209. For students, that exemption may be requested through the NCCC Student Life/Health Records Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 891-2915 ext. 1204.
- When in outdoor settings, mask-wearing requirements will follow CDC guidance which notes fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask and unvaccinated individuals are to do so when unable to socially distance.
- New York State has retained social distancing guidelines of 6’ for those who are not vaccinated inside all College buildings and outside on any College property where social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Courses will be offered in various formats to accommodate student interest and the health concerns of student and faculty. These include in-person, online, and hybrid (partially online and partially in-person). Social distancing guidelines will continue to operate in classrooms, labs, and in other academic settings wherever possible.
- Instructors and students are required to wear masks when classes are being conducted in person.
- Because eating and drinking require taking one’s mask off and doing so raises the risk of transmission of the virus, they are not allowed in classrooms or other instructional or academic support spaces.
- Academic supports including those offered through the Learning Assistance Center (i.e., tutoring, study groups, testing accommodations) and the library will be offered in-person and through virtual settings.
- As with instructional spaces, food and drink are not permitted to be consumed in these areas, except in one’s personal office.
- Technology supports through the College’s IT Department will be available through both in-person and virtual means.
- On-campus/residential housing will be available on the Saranac Lake campus through the North Country Community College Association. The Saranac Lake campus food service will also be operating and food service options for Malone and Ticonderoga will be explored.
- Vaccination, masking, and social distancing protocols align with the College’s protocols.
- Intercollegiate athletics will resume beginning with Men’s and Women’s Soccer in Fall 2021, and games/contests will be available for the NCCC community and the public to attend.
- The College will be following the NJCAA COVID-19 Guidelines and Recommendations, Region III COVID-19 Return-to-Play Guidelines, as well as SUNY and county local public health guidance.
- COVID-19 testing, and screening protocols will follow the guidelines for all students (see below). As with all members of the college community, student-athletes are encouraged to participate in weekly surveillance testing for COVID-19 offered by the College.
- For student-athletes, masking and social distancing requirements will be dependent upon the most current guidance from SUNY, the NJCAA, and county public health officials. At this time, the following guidelines apply and are dependent upon whether practice or competition are taking place outdoors or indoors.
- Student-athletes are not required to wear masks during practice or competition nor will masks be required if one is on the sidelines or bench during practice or competition. If practice occurs indoors, the masking protocols for Indoor Practice and Competition apply (see below).
- Coaches and support staff will not be required to be masked during practice and competition.
- Spectators will not be required to be masked unless social distancing cannot be maintained.
Indoor Practice and Competition (Men’s Basketball and Women’s Basketball)
- Student-athletes will not be required to wear masks during practice or competition. Masks will be required if one is on the sidelines or bench during practice or competition.
- Coaches and support staff will be required to be masked during practice and competition.
- Spectators will be required to be masked, even if they are fully vaccinated and social distancing can be maintained.
- The Sparks Athletic Complex, including the pool and fitness center, will reopen to the campus community and the public in the fall semester, though at different times. Our first priority is to make sure that our students and employees are able to return safely. Once that is accomplished, we will be able to turn our attention towards doing the same for the public.
- We will continue to clean and disinfect high-touch areas daily. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the campus in various locations. We will continue to assess our cleaning and sanitation practices to include or retain those which have been found to be valuable.
- All members of the college community (i.e., students, faculty, and staff) are encouraged to conduct self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms and remain home and/or seek out medical assistance if signs or symptoms are present.
- From the start of the Fall 2021 semester until Sept. 27, 2021, mandatory weekly testing is required for any students on campus who have not been fully vaccinated.
- Following Sept. 27, 2021 (the date when all on-campus students are required to be fully vaccinated) students with approved exemptions must continue to participate in COVID-19 testing, and all other students are encouraged to participate in COVID-19 testing.
- The College will be conducting testing using the pooled saliva surveillance method at no cost to students.
- Employees, particularly those who are not fully vaccinated, are welcomed and encouraged to participate in pooled surveillance testing but are not required to. There is no cost for employees to participate in this testing.
- While our hopes are for an academic year uninterrupted by COVID-19, the possibilities of a resurgence of the virus exist. To that end, we have plans to respond and pivot to fully online operations should the need arise.
- Vaccine Clinics and Locations: For location information in New York State, visit this link
Mental Health Resources: For assistance with mental health concerns, visit this link https://www.nccc.edu/counseling/index.html.
Frequently Asked Questions: An FAQ page is included below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS):
1. If I decided not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, will I still be able to attend in person classes in the fall?
2. How do I submit proof of vaccination?
To be clear, not all exemptions will be granted. We will follow New York State guidelines for those exemptions, which are quite stringent.
4. Are medical exemptions different from medical accommodations?
Yes. A medical accommodation allows the student to remain on campus while they are in the process of receiving the vaccine. A medical exemption allows the student to remain on campus without being vaccinated due to medical or religious purposes. In both cases, students will be required to wear a mask and participate in weekly testing.
5. Am I required to wear a mask while on campus? Will masks be provided?
Yes. All students, employees, and visitors who will be on campus in college-owned buildings are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. This includes, but is not limited to, classrooms, hallways, learning assistance centers, libraries, restrooms and other common areas. Masks are not required while eating or drinking while seated, or engaged in athletic competition or practice. Disposable masks will be provided at select entryways.
6. Will COVID-19 testing be required for students during the Fall 2021 semester?
Yes. From the start of the Fall 2021 semester until Sept. 27, 2021, mandatory weekly testing is required for any students on campus who have not been fully vaccinated. Following Sept. 27, 2021 (the date when all on-campus students are required to be fully vaccinated) students with approved exemptions must continue to participate in COVID-19 testing, and all other students are encouraged to participate in COVID-19 testing.7. Is there a cost for COVID-19 testing?
There are no costs associated with the pooled saliva surveillance testing that the college offers. There may be costs associated with testing through one’s health care provider or local hospital. If you are concerned about the costs of testing from a provider off campus, it is recommended that you seek out that information before being tested.
8. Will COVID-19 screening be required for Fall 2021?
Yes. We will be continuing the practice of having our college community self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and refrain being on campus if any symptoms are present. We will not require electronic screening as we did in Spring 2021.
9. What should I do if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
In accordance with CDC guidelines, anyone experiencing symptoms should stay at home and contact their health care provider. If you have been taking classes on-campus, please contact your instructors.
10. How do I report that I have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to someone who has tested positive?
Please visit our incident reporting page and click "Submit a Report" to complete a COVID-19 disclosure form.
11. Are there additional vaccination requirements for students beyond what is expected for COVID-19?
Yes. New York State requires all college students enrolled in six (6) or more on-campus credits to be vaccinated against several diseases including measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). More details are located at https://nccc.edu/health-records/index.html
Do you have any additional questions? Please contact us using this form.
For more information on course offerings and delivery options for the Fall 2021 semester, visit www.nccc.edu/fall.