Neosho County Community College: NCCC Announces Masks Optional
Official Statement from NCCC President, Dr. Brian Inbody
Beginning Monday, March 7, 2022 at 5:00pm, the wearing of masks will be optional at all college-controlled facilities including the Chanute and Ottawa campuses. The college will remain in Level 4 of its COVID Response plan. Level 4 allows for visitors to use college facilities and in-person classes at full capacity. Formerly, masks were optional indoors with the exception of classrooms and laboratories. Today’s action lifts that exception and makes masks optional everywhere indoors.
“Our own internal data along with data from our service area and recent guidance from the CDC on transmission rates allows this change in protocol,” said Dr. Brian Inbody, President of Neosho County Community College. “We have seen low active positive cases over the past few weeks, often reporting only one or two cases, or zero.” Inbody and the Core Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the college made this decision in consultation with local health professionals.
Inbody states that protections are still in place. “The college continues to require random testing of unvaccinated residence hall students and required reporting of those who are positive so that we can better monitor the situation and react,” Inbody stated. “We continue to ask students, employees and visitors to monitor their health and not come to campus sick. We also recommend that if you suspect you might have COVID that you get tested.” Other precautions are still in place as well, according to Inbody. “We have installed air purifiers on all of our HVAC systems, which helps not only with COVID but other infectious diseases and allergens. And we will keep our hand sanitation stations out. Clean hands are always a good idea.”
However, Inbody stated that this might not be over. “We thought COVID might be waning during the summer of 2021, then here came Delta. When Delta started to go down Omicron brought us the highest COVID-positive numbers of the entire two-year pandemic. That’s when I caught COVID personally. But thanks to my vaccinations and booster it felt like a light head cold. Many have counted COVID out before only to have it come roaring back. We are going to continue to monitor the situation and take whatever precautions are needed to keep our students, visitors and employees safe.”
Inbody is grateful to all who have helped the college combat COVID. “We are very close to the two-year anniversary of the first meeting of CERT. I am so grateful to the members of the team who have had the awesome and terrible responsibility of trying to keep the college moving forward through a pandemic. Thanks also go to our Board of Trustees for their support as we tried to navigate through an ever-changing landscape. Our community partners have been great to work with such as Beckie Manahan at Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center and our local health departments in our service area.“
But most of the thanks Inbody reserved for NCCC employees and students. “I could not be more proud of our faculty, staff and administrators for their adaptation skills and patience as we moved through this terrible time. I’m also in awe of our students who carried on with their many learning achievements despite all of the protocols put in place to keep them safe. Everyone pulled together to keep the mission of NCCC moving forward and for that I am forever grateful.”
Spring Guides as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and other resources are available on the college website at https://www.neosho.edu/COVID19News.