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.
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.
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.
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:
- Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD)/Covid Check Colorado
- Fridays, 10:00am-2:00pm, 777 North 4th Street, Sterling, Colorado – free, drive through, PCR (polymerase chairs reaction) testing
- Pre-registration via: https://my.primary.health/l/cdphe
- Northeastern Junior College will offer weekly testing through the Northeast Colorado Health Departments and COVID Check Colorado.
- 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)
- Pre-registration via: https://my.primary.health/l/cdphe
- 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.
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.
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.
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).