LRSC COVID-19 protocols for Fall 2021
Lake Region State College (LRSC) is committed to minimizing the risk and spread of COVID-19 and strongly encourages all students and employees to consider vaccination. LRSC does not require a COVID-19 vaccination for anyone and unless there is a possible exposure, testing, or close contact situation we do not verify the vaccination status of students or employees.
Vaccination is the leading prevention strategy to protect individuals from COVID-19 and to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Current COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States are safe and effective, widely accessible, and available to everyone at no cost.
LRSC continues to work closely with local public health units and ND Department of Health to increase vaccine uptake among students and employees. In cooperation with Lake Region Public Health, we have offered on-site vaccination clinics and have provided information about other community vaccination opportunities. LRSC will continue to promote vaccine trust, understanding, and confidence through various communication channels.
While vaccinated individuals are encouraged to monitor their symptoms and test after being exposed to someone who has tested positive, they are not required to quarantine.
To increase the number of vaccinated members in our campus community, like other institutions of higher education, LRSC has decided to provide a monetary incentive.
Institutions of higher education may use Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) institutional grant funds to provide reasonable incentives to current students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Specifically, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSA) [section 314(c)(1)], as applicable to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), and the American Rescue Plan (ARP), allows institutions to “defray expenses associated with coronavirus”. Providing incentives to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is allowable as a direct expense that the institution is incurring associated with COVID-19 and as a risk mitigation strategy to prevent the greater institutional expenses that would occur because of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.
The model of monetarily incentivizing vaccination is being utilized across the country (including in both Minnesota and North Dakota) and doing so has been approved by NDUS legal counsel. Vaccinations will continue to be voluntary for faculty, staff, and students.
The following individuals are eligible to apply for and receive a $100 LRSC Bookstore gift certificate:
- All LRSC degree-seeking students, including both full-time and part-time students, enrolled at LRSC for the fall 2021 semester.
- Early entry, dual credit, and collaborative students whose home institution is not LRSC are not eligible.
- All benefitted LRSC faculty and staff.
- Part-time faculty and staff who work and/or instruct on the Devils Lake campus.
- Part-time faculty at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and at the Mayville and Grand Forks Nursing locations.
To be eligible, the individual must have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the J & J vaccine no later than Monday, October 18, 2021.
- Three weeks between doses is required for the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks between doses is required for the Moderna vaccine.
- On campus vaccination clinics will be held September 20th, October 11th, and October 18th.
- Those choosing Pfizer on September 20th could receive their second dose on October 11th.
- Those choosing Moderna on September 20th could receive their second dose on October 18th.
Vaccination opportunities in Devils Lake are also available at Lake Region Public Health every Thursday, at Altru Clinic by appointment, and at some pharmacies.
Those who have received their vaccination will apply using a HEERF III Vaccination Proof request form which is an electronic process and submission. Paper forms will not be made available. LRSC will verify the vaccination through the state health department vaccination registry. Where LRSC is unable to verify, the applicant will be asked to provide proof of vaccination through their applicable state registry. As a general rule, COVID vaccination cards will NOT be accepted as proof due to ongoing fraudulent activity.
Only those individuals whose vaccination can be verified will be awarded the $100 gift certificate. The gift certificate is considered taxable income for all faculty and staff (including student employees) and will be processed accordingly.
Vaccinated faculty, staff, and students are not required to participate. The deadline for applications is Friday, October 22, 2021.
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (Guidance)
Any vaccine incentive program funded in whole or in part using HEERF grant funds must:
- Provide incentives reasonably proportional to the expected public health benefit (i.e., incentives expected to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated, or that motivate people to get vaccinated sooner than they otherwise would) consistent with the cost principles of the Uniform Guidance in 2 CFR part 200, subpart E.
- Include only allowable incentives under all applicable laws (e.g., incentives may not involve alcohol per 2 CFR § 200.423).
- Be offered only to currently enrolled students or institutional faculty and staff. While institutions of higher education may host vaccination sites that are open to the public and local community, HEERF dollars cannot be used as incentives for individuals that are not current students, faculty, or staff. If an institution seeks to provide incentives to those outside of its IHE community, it should consider whether such expenses may be allowable using state, local, or other federal funds.
- Not be used to recruit, advertise, or market the vaccine incentive program to prospective or unenrolled students and not be used to incentivize current or future enrollment decisions. See CRRSA Act section 314(d)(3).
- Only use HEERF institutional funds under the (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(3) programs and not use any HEERF grant funds that must be used to make emergency financial aid grants to students (i.e. Assistance Listing Numbers (ALNs) 84.425E and 84.425Q).
- Retain documentation to demonstrate how the vaccine incentive program is reasonably proportional to the expected public health benefit consistent with ARP section 2003(5)(a) and 2 CFR § 200.334.
- Take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to its program for limited English proficient individuals, by providing access to translated documents, interpreter services, or information in the individual’s primary language.
Fill out the Vaccination Proof form to receive your LRSC Bookstore gift certificate.
On August 18, 2021, Lake Region State College will welcome faculty, staff, and students back for another academic year. Some student athletes and resident assistants will already be on campus living in the residence halls, training, and attending practice.
New student orientation will begin on Saturday, August 21st. For most of the summer, COVID protocols and mitigation efforts were mostly suspended with mask wearing at the discretion of the faculty, staff, student, and visitor. We were able to enjoy face-to-face interaction and were able to break from the strict mitigation efforts that were in place last school year. The COVID threat has re-emerged in a significant way with the Delta variant. Dr. Wynne from the UND School of Medicine updated the NDUS presidents recently indicating that this new variant is two to three times more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
Many of the tools our community used to mitigate the spread of COVID last academic year are no longer available. A statewide mask mandate is no longer possible due to a change in the law and a new declaration of emergency from the Governor or an order from the County Health Officer would be necessary to require positive people to isolate and to require close contacts to quarantine. In addition, we can no longer take time off to quarantine or isolate without using annual or sick leave.
While these community-wide efforts are not in play, there are things individuals can do that can maximize their own personal safety. Lake Region State College intends to empower faculty and staff by giving them the flexibility and authority to require mask wearing in their work area, office, and classroom, while allowing faculty, staff, students, and visitors the ability to be mask optional in areas open to the public.
For the safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors, the following restart protocol will be in place effective Monday August 16, 2021. Failure to adhere to the requirements of this restart protocol will constitute a violation of the LRSC Code of Conduct (1500.05) and/or the LRSC Student Code of Conduct (800.30).
Section One: Lowering the Risk of Transmission: Mask Wearing and Physical Distancing
Students, faculty, staff, and visitors to Lake Region State College can greatly enhance our ability to offer a safer campus living and learning environment by making decisions that help the collective health of our entire community. Observing the distancing objective and wearing a face covering in the presence of others can slow the spread of COVID significantly and will allow Lake Region State College to keep more courses, programs, and services open and available to students. To achieve our goal of creating a healthy and safe environment, the following shall be required:
- When indoors, faculty, staff, students, and visitors shall choose whether or not they want to wear a mask. This includes when walking in hallways, when in common areas open to the public, when riding in vehicles, in the Learning Commons, in the New Horizons Computer Lab, and when seated in the dining room and student union.
- It is possible that students will be required to wear a mask in some classrooms but not in others. Masks must be worn in the classroom, science labs, CTE labs, and shops (i.e. auto, ag, wind) when the instructor has included mask wearing as a requirement in the course syllabus. Instructors must notify the Chief Academic Officer of the course name and number for any course where mask wearing will be required as a condition of attendance. Instructors may re-evaluate their decision to require masks or not require masks, at the semester midterm if the instructor includes such a provision in the course syllabus.
- Masks must be worn in meeting rooms when the organizer and/or supervising administrator requires masks to be worn.
- Masks will be worn at workstations and in offices at the discretion of the faculty or staff who works there. Look for the “mask up” sign on office doors, cubicles, and plexiglass fronted workstations; if you see the sign, please respect that employee’s decision to require mask wearing during your conversation.
- Masks will be REQUIRED at all times once you have entered the dining services area (Snack Bar) and when in close contact with dining center staff. Masks can be removed once you are seated.
- Masks are not required while practicing and/or competing in sports, while playing a musical instrument, when performing in a theater production, or participating in another like activity, unless the supervising administrator (theater director, athletic director, etc.) makes mask wearing a requirement.
- Mask wearing is required inside the LRSC Nursing Center. This includes hallways and classrooms and is applicable to students, staff, faculty, and visitors. Mask wearing is not required if a person is alone in a classroom or office.
II. Physical Distancing
- Faculty should make every effort to ensure compliance with physical distancing as a best practice by spacing desks and chairs as far apart as is practical, making disinfectant wipes available to use on desks prior to being seated, and making hand sanitizer available as students arrive for class.
- When the physical distancing objective can’t be met due to the number of enrolled students and classroom size, faculty should explore other options like rotated attendance, student scheduling adjustments, requesting relocation to a larger classroom or meeting room, and/or using technology to allow students to attend remotely.
- Because wearing a mask and utilizing physical distancing is helpful but does not provide complete protection from transmission:
- Faculty and staff should try to use other forms of communication whenever it is practical to do so. Other forms include utilizing the telephone to hold conference calls, using technology such as Teams, and using instant messaging or email. Faculty and staff may decline an invitation to attend an in-person meeting and request the organizer to allow for remote attendance.
- Faculty and staff may continue to eat in their office.
- During more impromptu encounters and when two or more people need to see the same information, faculty and staff should utilize a wall monitor, screen sharing, and/or printed copies. Do not huddle closely around the same computer screen.
- Meeting organizers should evaluate the number of participants, the size of the room, and the ability to see a presentation and hear the speaker in a socially distanced manner as relevant considerations.
- Staff who interact with others often should maximize the use of the wellness barrier. The wellness barrier allows for a face-to-face conversation while providing physical separation with clear Plexiglas.
Section Two: Testing, Tracking and Campus Restrictions
The LRSC Human Resources Director is designated as our official point of contact with the ND Department of Health. Faculty, staff, and students are expected to immediately notify the HR Director if they are positive for COVID, if they are symptomatic, or if they have a household member or roommate who is positive for COVID.
I. Testing: Lake Region State College will help coordinate with the ND Department Health so that testing is made available to our campus as often as is practical. General information about the number of positive cases known at LRSC will be posted each school day on the LRSC COVID Safe information page. LRSC will adhere to all confidentiality requirements that apply to faculty, staff, and students. Only that information that can be released will be released. The following preventative testing will be required:
- Due to the close contact nature of play, practice, and travel, all athletic team members (including players, coaches, and student managers) must undergo on-campus COVID testing each week (more often if directed to do so by the Athletic Director). Fully vaccinated members of the team may opt-out of testing if they attest to having zero symptoms consistent with COVID.
- Due to the nature of training and the number of hours per day the students in the Peace Officer Training, Wind Energy Technician, and Nursing programs interact together, program students and faculty must undergo COVID testing each week (more often if directed to do so by their program director). Fully vaccinated members of these programs may opt-out of testing if they attest to having zero symptoms consistent with COVID.
- Faculty, staff, and students who have COVID related symptoms or who are determined to be a close contact to another faculty, staff, or student must go on campus restrictions and have two consecutive day rapid tests (showing negative) or one negative PCR test. A fully vaccinated faculty, staff, or student may opt out of testing if they attest to having zero symptoms consistent with COVID.
II: Contact Tracing and COVID Tracking: Lake Region State College faculty, staff, and students shall cooperate with public health officials (or their designee) and the LRSC HR Director in any contact tracing effort to help identify persons who may be at risk.
III. Campus Restrictions: LRSC will impose campus restrictions on faculty, staff, and students, under the following conditions:
- If the employee or student tests positive.
- If the employee or student is a close contact of a household member or roommate who has tested positive, and the employee or student is not fully vaccinated.
- If the unvaccinated employee has symptoms consistent with COVID and is awaiting test results.
- If the employee is a close contact to a household member who is symptomatic and is awaiting test results and the employee or student is not fully vaccinated.
Students and employees who test positive will undergo campus restrictions for 10 days from the start of symptoms or from the date of their positive test if asymptomatic.
Students and employees who are a close contact of a household member or roommate will undergo campus restrictions for 10 days (which starts after they separate from the positive household member) unless they can produce two consecutive rapid test negative results taken no earlier than day seven or they can produce one negative PCR test result taken no earlier than day seven.
Employees and students living off campus will not be allowed on campus until their period of campus restrictions is over and they are asymptomatic. Should work or school materials be needed, permission to be on campus (temporarily) may be coordinated with the approval of the Human Resources Director.
Faculty and staff shall use sick leave or annual leave unless they can work/teach from home and are approved by their supervisor to work/teach from home.
Students living on campus, under campus restrictions, will be prohibited from leaving the assigned residence hall room (and nearest appropriate restroom) until their restriction period is over.
Should a student under campus restrictions who is living in the residence halls choose to leave campus, the student must wear a mask and leave/re-enter using the door to the parking lot that is nearest their room.
Students will be provided with the option to attend class using technology when such an option is available or must make other arrangements as agreed upon with their instructor.
Section Three: Travel and Off Campus Requirements
- Lake Region State College faculty and staff shall attend out-of-town training and meetings using technology whenever it is possible to do so.
- International travel is suspended, and no approval guidelines or process will be created until permission is possible.
- Out-of-state travel requires approval of the President.
- In-state travel requires approval from the appropriate Vice President.
- Students, faculty, and staff who work/learn at a location other than the main campus in Devils Lake must adhere to the more restrictive mask wearing and physical distancing requirements of the work location. For example, if Mayville State University has a more restrictive requirement than LRSC, a student or faculty member there must comply with MaSU’s requirement. If LRSC’s requirement is more restrictive, then the LRSC requirement must be met.
Section Four: Protocol Updates, Related Information, and Signage
Updates and changes in protocol will likely occur on a very regular basis. Emails will be sent out alerting the campus to this new information and to consult the COVID Safe information page of our website for detailed information. The Director of Community Relations will ensure campus signs and other informational displays are up to date with information regarding social distancing, face covering requirements, cleaning and hygiene techniques, and other related COVID safe reminders.
Section Five: Sanitizing Work Areas
The Physical Plant Director will make sure each classroom, office area, and meeting room has easy access to cleaning supplies, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer. Faculty and Staff must help take responsibility for keeping their work and teaching environment clean and disinfected. Custodial staff will clean and disinfect classrooms, meeting rooms, hallways, and common areas at least daily but will need help from all employees in keeping work areas and classrooms clean and disinfected during the school day.