Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The spring 2022 semester is here and we will do our best to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) site provides guidance on COVID and the latest variants, campus conditions, current protocols and recommendations on masks, vaccines, testing, isolation, and quarantine. Please check this site often as conditions, recommendations, and guidelines may change frequently .

Updated 03/03/2022

Regarding COVID testing, effective immediately, Northeastern Junior College will no longer be randomly testing our unvaccinated students and employees. All random COVID testing is discontinued. Previous isolation and quarantine protocols remain in effect for students and employees who discover that they are positive for COVID or that they have been exposed to someone who is positive. To learn more about those protocols, please scroll down to the updates on this page dated 01/12/2022.

Updated 01/12/2022

Following the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the following protocols are being implemented at Northeastern Junior College beginning in the Spring 2022 semester.

The new CDC guidance shortens the Isolation and Quarantine periods, but adds a 5-day strict use of a “well-fitted” mask requirement. Because the COVID Rapid Tests are reportedly less sensitive to the Omicron variant, identifying symptoms and management of those symptomatic will be critical to limit NJC’s impact from COVID in Spring 2022.
 

  1. Students/employees who are symptomatic for COVID and/or who test positive shall isolate for 5 days.
     
  2. Upon completion of the 5 days of isolation, they will be permitted to return to class and work assignments, but will be asked to wear a well-fitted mask for an additional 5 days.
     
  3. A well-fitted mask is described as one that is at least 2-ply with a nose pinch to ensure snug fit. For students, a supply of approved masks will be available in the Northeastern Junior College Housing Office and the Office of the Vice President of Student Services.
     
  4. Athletes who test positive and/or are symptomatic will follow the same 5-day isolation period. If they are not symptomatic at the completion of the 5 days of isolation, they will be permitted to return to play or practice following the established return to play protocol. Mask will not be required during play and practice, but they will need to wear a mask in all other settings for 5 days following the isolation period.
     
  5. Employees who have symptoms and/or test positive for COVID should notify their supervisor and stay home, isolating at home for 5 days. Employees should contact Human Resources Director for information about requirements during COVID leave. Upon their return to campus, they will be asked to wear a mask for 5 days.
     
  6. COVID-positive and/or symptomatic students who reside on campus will be isolated on campus in designated rooms for 5 days. They will be asked to wear a mask for 5 days following isolation. Commuter students will need to isolate at home for 5 days. They will be asked to wear a mask for 5 days upon their return to campus.
     
  7. Instructors will work with students who must isolate.
     
  8. If a student shows symptoms, instructors and other employees of the college may advise the student of the protocols stated in this document.

 

The previously communicated protocols for random testing of unvaccinated students and employees are still in effect for Spring 2022 (See update on 12/02/2021).
Employees with questions should direct their questions to their supervisor and/or the Director of Human Resources. Students with questions should direct their questions to the Vice President of Student Services.

These guidelines are subject to change based on guidance from the CDC and the state and local health departments.

For exposures to positive COVID cases, here are the protocols:

  1. If you have been vaccinated, quarantine is not required.
  2. If you have not been vaccinated, either quarantine for 5 days and wear a mask for the following 5 days, or quarantine for 10 days, testing on day 5, if possible. If test is negative and you have no symptoms, then you may return to work and classes on day 8, no mask required.

Each classroom instructor has the right to require that students wear a well-fitted mask while in their classroom.

 

Updated 12/02/2021

Beginning Spring, 2022
COVID-19 Testing-Vaccine Protocol – Students

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Chancellor Joe Garcia has issued a statement that all CCCS students be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing to verify COVID-negative status effective at the start of the Spring 2022 semester. Northeastern Junior College (Northeastern) will comply with this directive and will immediately begin the processes necessary to be in full compliance well before the start of the Spring semester.

Introduction

The Colorado Community College System and Northeastern Junior College (Northeastern) continue to take steps necessary to ensure the health and safety of employees and students. CCCS and Northeastern continue to follow evidence-based federal, state, and local health and safety guidance. Our plans will be continually reviewed and amended as deemed appropriate during this ever-evolving time.

Evidence continues to show that the best defense against COVID-19 is masking, vaccination, and testing. Northeastern acknowledges that some employees and students have concerns and beliefs relating to the vaccines that result in their decisions to not be vaccinated and as such, Northeastern is not mandating or requiring the taking of COVID-19 vaccines and is allowing employees and students the choice of being vaccinated or engaging in testing when randomly selected for testing. All students who work on campus, attend in-person classes, access support services, or participate in other activities at our college will have the choice to provide results from regular COVID-19 testing or, alternatively, provide evidence that they are fully vaccinated.

The option selected by employees or students will have an impact on how Northeastern manages and continues operations during the period of time that COVID-19 and its variants impact our region, our society and our nation.

The operating procedures outlined below are designed to assure, in the best ways possible, the health and safety of students and employees while strongly demonstrating our commitment to ensuring our ability to keep the college open and preserve enrollment and our employment base. Northeastern will take steps toward ensuring the health and safety of students and employee. Northeastern will focus on maintaining a standard of providing rich and rewarding educational experiences and active student life programming.

Vaccinated Students

A student will be considered a vaccinated student upon proof of being fully vaccinated, meaning they have received the full dose (1 Johnson & Johnson or 2 Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations) of the vaccine and the appropriate amount of time (as specified by the vaccine provider) has passed since the required vaccine doses were administered.

Vaccinated students must provide proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Proof of vaccination status may be provided via:

  • A hard copy of the vaccination card. Vaccinated students may bring their vaccination card to Student Services. A copy of the card will be made and placed in a separate and confidential student file and the vaccination record will be entered in Banner.
  • A digital copy of the vaccination card, as found in the myColorado app, may be forwarded to Student Services.
  • In cases where the documentation of the vaccination status is questioned due to the condition of the hard copy or digital version of the vaccination card, Student Services will verify vaccination status through the stated provider of the vaccine.

Students claiming to be vaccinated, but failing to produce proof of full/complete vaccination will be treated as an unvaccinated student. Students that choose to not identify their vaccine status will be treated as an unvaccinated student.

Vaccinated students will not be required to engage in weekly COVID-19 testing.

When a vaccinated student is exposed or potentially exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 carrying individual, the student may continue to attend classes, as long as they do not experience virus-related symptoms.

Unvaccinated Students

While students may have legitimate exemptions from the vaccine requirement, all unvaccinated students, whether they have received vaccination exemption status or not, will be required to participate in random testing to verify non-virus carrying status.

Unvaccinated students may not claim an exemption from weekly COVID-19 virus testing.

Unvaccinated students are strongly encouraged to wear facial coverings while in the presence of others and during the process of being tested.

When an unvaccinated student is exposed or potentially exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 carrying individual, the student will be required to quarantine/isolate as directed by the guidelines established by the Northeast Colorado Health Department.

If an unvaccinated student decides to get vaccinated, the student may be vaccinated at any authorized vaccination site or healthcare provider of their choice and they may receive any of the vaccines currently available.

Randomized Weekly Testing of Unvaccinated Students

Random testing of unvaccinated students will occur weekly, with approximately 20 students being randomly selected to be tested each week using a randomizing app. The testing schedule will be determined and communicated to students via email.

Free local testing options available include:

  1. Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD)/Covid Check Colorado
    1. Fridays, 10:00am-2:00pm, 777 North 4th Street, Sterling, Colorado – free, drive through, PCR (polymerase chairs reaction) testing
    2. Pre-registration via: https://my.primary.health/l/cdphe  
       
  2. Northeastern Junior College will offer weekly testing through the Northeast Colorado Health Departments and COVID Check Colorado.
    1. Testing will take place on Tuesday’s between 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM in Walker Hall room 101 (specific location is subject to change)
    2. Pre-registration via: https://my.primary.health/l/cdphe
       
  3. As long as a supply of rapid tests is available, students may also be tested by Northeastern Junior College personnel in Student Services—either Tim Stahley (Director of Residence Life) or Trenton Schwarzer (Coordinator of Campus Safety and Security).

Students are encouraged to use one of the free NCHD testing sites or request a free BINAX testing kit from https://covid19.colorado.gov/covid-19-testing-at-home These tests should be administered in the presence of an approved Northeastern Junior College tester (Tim Stahley or Trenton Schwarzer).

Any personally purchased self-test will be conducted in the presence of Northeastern staff (Tim Stahley or Trenton Schwarzer).

An antibody test cannot be used in lieu of COVID testing for an unvaccinated person until such time this action is supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Unvaccinated students that have contracted the COVID-19 virus will be exempt from testing for 90 days from the date they contacted COVID-19, as recommended by the CDC. Students will need to provide proof of a positive viral test from the last 3 months to be exempt from testing until 90 days has passed.

Any student that is symptomatic or in quarantine will be tested separate of the randomized testing protocol.

Compliance

Students who choose not to undergo regular testing or submit proof of vaccination have the option of taking remote or online courses that do not require their presence on our campuses. Northeastern does not guarantee that all classes will be offered online or remotely.

Students will be considered to be non-compliant if they have not provided proof of testing within 10 days of being notified to test. Students who fail to comply with or complete the COVID-19 vaccination or weekly random testing will be subject to sanctions in accordance with the Northeastern Junior College Student Behavioral Expectations and Responsibilities Resolution Process, up to and including suspension from the college.

Students who submit fraudulent information regarding their vaccination status are subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Northeastern Junior College Student Behavioral Expectations and Responsibilities Resolution Process.

Communication

All communication with students related to COVID-19 vaccination requirements and randomized weekly testing will be conducted via Northeastern email. If and when a student tests positive for COVID, actions will be taken to identify those that may have been exposed to the infected student.

Confidentiality

Although steps will be taken to preserve each student’s confidential information, the college cannot guarantee a student’s privacy related to their vaccine status or testing due to the actions necessary under this protocol.

Timing of Implementation

Northeastern will begin the testing requirement of unvaccinated students at the start of the Spring 2022 semester, Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

Testing will occur each week with the exception of the week of Spring Break, summertime, and during extended college closures (i.e., Winter Break).

 

Updated 11/01/2021

Beginning November 15, 2021 all employees of Northeastern Junior College will be required to either show proof of the COVID-19 vaccination or participate in weekly random testing. The vaccination and testing protocols for employees have been approved by the Northeastern Junior College Leadership Team and have been shared with all employees.

Beginning with the Spring 2022 semester, students of Northeastern Junior College will be required to either show proof of the COVID-19 vaccination or participate in weekly random testing. The vaccination and testing protocols for students have been approved by the Northeastern Junior College Leadership Team and have been shared with all students and employees.

Updated 8/24/2021

Welcome to the Fall 2021 semester at Northeastern! We are excited to have you on campus and announce that all courses at Northeastern are running as normally scheduled.

At this time, wearing masks on campus and getting vaccinated is highly recommended. Individual faculty members may require masks to be worn while in their classroom. Students who require a medical exemption should contact Rochelle Lenox at Rochelle.lenox@njc.edu or 970-521-6727. Documentation from a physician noting the need for an exemption may be required.

Updated, July 30, 2021

Procedure for Administering COVID-19 Tests on Northeastern Junior College Campus
(for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022)

Athletics will continue to administer COVID-19 rapid tests to student athletes in the athletic training room in the Bank of Colorado Event Center. Athletics will determine the schedule for testing based on room availability.

Regarding unvaccinated persons exposed to a positive COVID case:

  1. If a student athlete has been exposed to a positive COVID case, or is symptomatic, athletics will administer the test for the student athlete.
  2. Non-athlete students who reside on campus will be tested by Tim Stahley, either in their room, or in Walker 101.
  3. Non-athlete students who reside off campus will be told that they can either be tested at an off campus testing site, or they can be tested on campus by Trenton Schwarzer in Walker 101 at an appointed time.
  4. If a college employee has been exposed to a positive COVID case, Jeri Estrada will oversee the COVID test in Walker 101.

The rapid test will be used. Athletics has approximately 1000 tests that they are making available for all testing stated above. Any person being tested will need to wear a mask to the testing location. While waiting for the results, a mask will need to be worn. The person administering or overseeing the test will wear a mask and gloves. Results of the rapid test will be submitted to Marci Henry for report purposes. Marci is our Laboratory Director for our CLIA Waiver which allows us to test on campus, thus she must submit testing results to the State.

Unvaccinated persons exposed to a positive COVID case will need to quarantine for 14 days from the date of the exposure if they choose not to be tested.

  • If they are willing to be tested, then they are to be tested on the 5th day from the date of exposure.
  • If they are NEGATIVE, then they can return to work/class on the 8th day from the date of the exposure.
  • If they are POSITIVE, then they must isolate—up to 10 days, from the date of exposure.

At this time, guidance from the Northeast Colorado Health Department states that vaccinated persons who have been exposed to a positive COVID case do not need to quarantine. Persons who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days or less are presumed to have antibodies, and do not need to quarantine regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated persons who previously tested positive for COVID-19 more than 90 days past should follow the guidelines of the unvaccinated.

Anyone who is symptomatic may be tested, regardless of vaccination status.

Additionally, faculty should request that students sit in the same seat in their classrooms. In the event that a student tests positive, only those students or others who are unvaccinated AND in proximity of the positive-tested student 6 feet or less for 15 minutes or more will be considered exposed. Continue to distance students as you are able.

If you feel sick, please do not report to work or class.


Jeri Estrada                       Jeri.Estrada@njc.edu             (970) 521-6730
Marci Henry                      Marci.Henry@njc.edu             (970) 521-6617
Ryan Reh                           Ryan.Reh@njc.edu                  (970) 521-6674
Trenton Schwarzer          Trenton.Schwarzer@njc.edu (970) 521-6683
Steven Smith                    Steven.Smith@njc.edu           (970) 521-6657
Tim Stahley                       Timothy.Stahley@njc.edu       (970) 521-6655
 

Updated, July 13, 2021

For the fall 2021 semester, Northeastern Junior College is requiring on-campus, residential students to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Students who opt not to be vaccinated must sign an exemption form, citing medical, religious, or personal reasons. The exemption form is available in the Housing Office, room 113 in the Hays Student Center.

If a residential student tests positive for COVID-19, they will be temporarily transferred to a residence hall floor set aside to isolate positive COVID-19 cases. Students who are or may have been exposed to positive cases will be quarantined in their assigned residence hall rooms. If they become symptomatic, they will be transferred to the isolation floor for a specified period of time, as recommended by the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

See the statement below for details about the health emergency being rescinded in Colorado. Unvaccinated students are permitted and encouraged to wear facial coverings. Students who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to get the vaccine. See below to find a location to get the vaccine.
 

Updated, July 1, 2021

Below is a recent information release from the Northeast Colorado Health Department.

June 24, 2021

Health Department Board Rescinds Public Health Emergency Declaration

Sterling, Colo – June 24, 2021:  In April, 2020, the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) Board of Health signed a resolution declaring a local public health emergency for the special district of the Northeast Colorado Health Department.  During their board meeting on June 23, 2021, the board rescinded the resolution.

     “The Public Health Emergency Declaration is no longer needed for our ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response,” said Trish McClain, Director of NCHD.

     NCHD’s health district includes Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma Counties.  While cases of COVID-19 have been declining in our six county health district, the Northeast Colorado Health Department is closely monitoring the Delta variant.   

     We do encourage anyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to consider getting immunized against the virus.  There are three COVID-19 vaccines that are available.  NCHD is currently offering the Moderna vaccine and the Mobile Vaccination Bus which travels throughout northeast Colorado offers the Pfizer and Janssen vaccines.  To register for either an NCHD vaccination clinic or the mobile vaccination bus you can go to our website to find a clinic near you: https://www.nchd.org/covidvaxlink. There are also other COVID-19 vaccine providers within NCHD’s health district: https://www.nchd.org/covid-19-vaccine-providers

     As we continue to monitor COVID-19 variants and their impact on other parts of the state and country, we want to remind everyone to please get tested and self-isolate if you experience any symptoms in order to reduce the spread of the virus.