The reception to returning to in-person classes at the Northern Marianas College has been very positive so far, said NMC president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero on Monday. NMC resumed in-person classes last week, Nov. 8 to 12, after closing for 10 days in accordance with an Oct. 29 directive by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres that closed in-person classes at all schools in the CNMI after the recent discovery of community cases of COVID-19.
Even with the resumption of in-person classes last week, Deleon Guerrero said the college still exercised some flexibility, citing the possible unease felt by some students and employees and the unmet childcare needs of others.
“The reception has been very positive. Last week we exercised flexibility because we understand that some students and employees may still be a little uneasy, and also we have students and employees whose children are enrolled in [the Public School System] and may have childcare issues. So last week we were very flexible in terms of allowing some instructors to keep their face-to-face classes online and allowing some employees to telework,” said Deleon Guerrero.
The goal this week is to fully transition back to in-person classes, according to Deleon Guerrero, but telework may continue for some instructors who continue to have unmet childcare needs.
“This week we are trying to fully transition back to face-to-face classes. It’s only Day 1, but from what I understand, face-to-face classes are continuing…and [for] a few employees we are continuing to extend that flexibility because of the announcement from PSS that they’re going to reopen [in-person classes] on the 29th,” said Deleon Guerrero.
He added that the NMC community has not been linked to any community cases since reopening, but assured that even in the event of a case at the college, it has the mitigation protocols necessary to keep all at NMC safe.
“It’s going very smoothly. We haven’t heard of any positive cases involving the NMC community, but even if we do we’re very confident in our mitigation protocols, we’re very confident in the fact that all students that are attending face-to-face classes are vaccinated, and we’re very confident that over 90% of employees are already vaccinated, and we’re on track to reaching 100%,” he said.
Deleon Guerrero also clarified that online learning still exists as an option for NMC students and that more than half of NMC’s courses are online.