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Marianas Variety: Covid-19 testing required for NMC employees (June 30, 2020)

NORTHERN Marianas College is requiring its employees to undergo Covid-19 testing before they return to campus. After weeks of teleworking, NMC Interim President Frankie Eliptico said the college is gradually reopening and is allowing employees to return to campus in a phased manner.

NMC is slowly reopening and measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 are being implemented, he added. “Employees who are already back on campus have already been tested through the community-based testing initiatives by the Covid-19 task force at the airport facility,” he said. NMC has also been in discussion with task force chairman Warren Villagomez to arrange additional testing, Eliptico added.

NMC has 150 employees and about 1,200 students. Eliptico said although NMC students are not required to undergo Covid-19 testing before they return to campus in the fall, they are strongly encouraged to do so. For their part, NMC employees have been teleworking throughout the pandemic, and the college continues to operate fully through online and virtual formats. NMC will be opening the campus to students with appointments beginning this week. NMC summer semester classes are currently conducted in an online virtual format.

“We have strict requirements for being on campus,” Eliptico said. “Everyone has to wear a mask, to maintain social distancing and we ask the employees to sanitize their area frequently. We also ask anyone with flu or Covid-19 symptoms to stay home.”For students who have challenges in accessing the internet or have no devices, Eliptico said NMC is providing some assistance by lending some devices to those who need them.

In the fall semester, NMC plans to implement a “blended learning approach.” The college is identifying which classes will be offered in a virtual format, and which will be conducted through a blended format that includes an in-person component. “We will have classes primarily through a virtual format, but if there are components of the class — for example, a laboratory component — that involve hands-on or face-to-face requirement, then it will be accommodated in person,” Eliptico said.

NMC is still working on the details and will announce more information throughout the summer, he added. “We are looking at the semester offering class by class to make sure that we are maintaining the quality of the instruction, as well as the engagement of the student throughout the whole semester.”

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