The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led Kellogg Community College officials to take additional steps to protect students and staff from the novel coronavirus.
Saturday, Vice President of Strategy and Communications Eric Greene announced several new operational changes and campus restrictions as part of KCC’s efforts to reduce and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“The undesired impacts on KCC’s operations are clear. Over the past month, the amount of required quarantining alone has accelerated, resulting in a reduced capacity, workload imbalances and heightened anxiety,” KCC President Adrien L. Bennings said in a press release Saturday. “Because we expect the current surge and its impacts on KCC to continue for the foreseeable future, we are taking several actions to reduce the human footprint on our campuses and prevent gatherings of groups. Our goal is for all of our Bruins to learn and work safely and with minimized risk of contracting this deadly virus.”
Changes include the halting of in-person instruction at the KCC Regional Manufacturing Technology Center in Battle Creek; discontinuing off-site clinical experiences for nursing students; restricting access to the general public at all five KCC campuses; and increasing KCC employee remote work.
However, all campuses remain open for limited student and employee access.
KCC is continuing to offer a variety of in-person, remote, online and telephone-based services.
In a press release Saturday, Greene noted that the seven-day average percentage of COVID-19 positive tests has risen to 14.3 in Branch County, 13.5 in Calhoun County and 13.0 in Barry County. KCC operates in each of those counties.
As of Sunday, the seven-day average of new cases per million had risen to 646 in Branch, 572 in Calhoun and 473 in Barry counties. That information comes from the State of Michigan’s COVID-19 data webpage at mistartmap.info.
The number of KCC students and employees that have contracted COVID-19 also has risen.
As of Nov. 10, KCC recorded 11 new cases in one week, tying a one-week record set the previous week.
KCC had its first positive case in July and has experienced a total of 63 cases, since. Although, 34 of those cases have occurred in the past four weeks.
“Local health departments have not documented an outbreak or cluster at KCC, which is a sign that our mitigation efforts are working to reduce the transmission of the virus from one person to another at the College,” Bennings said. “However, our institutional efforts haven’t stopped individuals from contracting the virus elsewhere and bringing it with them into our buildings.”
Even with the alterations, KCC’s fall semester is continuing on schedule.
Students are taking courses mostly online.
KCC administrators intend on beginning the Spring 2021 semester in a similar remote fashion when the semester begins Jan. 19.