Although Michigan is currently recovering from a startling spike in COVID-19 cases, increasing vaccine availability and warmer days have me feeling a tinge of hope. I know the pandemic isn’t over, and in many ways, COVID-19 is going to be part of our lives from now on, but I’m thinking ahead to LCC’s transition to our post-pandemic normal.
First, regarding vaccines: All Michigan adults are now eligible, and I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated. I received both doses of my vaccine earlier this spring, and it went great. I still wear my mask and stay physically distanced, but I feel more confident knowing I am protecting not only myself, but those more vulnerable than me. LCC does not intend to require employees or students to be vaccinated, but I ask you to consider your community and the role you play in helping us achieve population immunity.
Regarding the summer semester: We are offering more face-to-face course options, while maintaining the full suite of creative online options developed during the pandemic. I encourage you to take a look at our offerings, and to encourage the students and potential students you know to do the same.
Additionally, we plan to begin some by-appointment, face-to-face student support services this summer, such as tutoring, counseling and academic success coaching. Supervisors in those areas will be working with employees to figure out schedules.
In the fall, we hope widespread vaccination will allow us to run approximately half or three-quarters of our courses in a face-to-face format. We will also continue to offer some face-to-face student support services. I would guess we will remain at a similar level of on-campus activity into the spring 2022 semester, but if local health and safety guidelines allow, we will certainly explore increasing activity.
Throughout the next year, we will continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines regarding contact tracing, quarantines, notification and suspension of activities following any positive case at any of our locations. LCC has always taken a people-first approach to this pandemic, and we will continue to value the health and well-being of our students, employees and communities above all else.
I have heard increasing questions over the past several months regarding our existing “work from home” procedure. I know many employees have found they enjoy working remotely, while others would like to return to the office as soon as it is safe. I don’t have any further details yet, but our Human Resources team is revising our old procedure to match our new reality, and will collaborate with our labor coalition leaders prior to implementation. For now, questions related to remote work should be submitted to your supervisor.
Finally, I need to add the caveat that is so important to all COVID-19 communications. What I have laid out in this message is my best guess of a roadmap, based on what conditions look like right now. As this pandemic continues to morph, we have to continue changing our plans to keep our employees and students safe. All decisions will be made in accordance with local, state and federal guidance, and with human health as our first priority.
I know the past 14 months have been hard on everyone, and I do not take lightly the energy you put into your work. As always, please do not hesitate to take advantage of our Employee Assistance Program for confidential, free support. Thank you for your continued dedication to this college and your service to our students.