AC Task Force creating Safe Start Plan

ADRIAN — Adrian College (AC) is well into the process of creating a “Safe Start Plan” to guide the opening of its campus this fall under various scenarios, according to College President Jeffrey Docking.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently released a MI Safe Start Plan that highlights a six-step process to open the state back up again and Adrian College is using that information to guide its campus opening plan.

“I have commissioned an active task force, led by Dr. Emily Kist, the College’s director of the Student Health Center, to develop safe practice strategies and create a comprehensive Preparedness Plan for each level of the State of Michigan’s Safe Start Plan,” Docking said.

The state is currently in Phase 3: Flattening, with case growth gradually declining. According to the state plan, Michiganders have already passed through Phase 1: Uncontrolled growth, and Phase 2: Persistent Spread.

The Governor’s six steps indicate that it won’t be until Phase 5: Containing, when live instruction in K-12 and higher education can take place.

Docking has indicated Adrian College’s campus intends to be open in August for the start of the fall semester, anticipating by that time the Governor will acknowledge the state has moved into Phase 5, where there have been continued lower case and death rates, and outbreaks are easily contained.

The AC Safe Start Plan Task Force has 16 members with six subcommittees, including: Students Affairs, chaired by Melinda Schwyn, Dean of Students; Academic Affairs, chaired by Andrea Milner, Vice President, Dean of Academic Affairs; Athletics, chaired by Michael Duffy, Athletic Director; Plant Services, chaired by Jerry Wright, Vice President, Business Affairs; Human Resources and Employee Affairs, chaired by Christina Corson, Human Resources Director; and Executive Committee, chaired by Dr. Docking, AC President.

The AC Safe Start Plan will include consultation, guidance and recommendations from organizations including the Center for Disease Control, the State of Michigan, ProMedica Health Care System, the Lenawee County Health Department, the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department, the Michigan Department of Education, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Council of Independent Colleges.

Kist noted that in the State of Michigan’s Safe Start Plan phases one through five still require social distancing and face coverings. 

Gathering sizes are increased in Phase 5, however, group sizes are still limited. The state has not provided a maximum number at this time. 

“I looked at the Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities draft playbook and I organized our task force preparedness document accordingly,” Kist said. “I think we can now further organize our plan very easily to match up with Governor Whitmer’s Safe Start recommendations, so we can be sure we’re hitting all the bullet points.”

Kist has been working with the Lenawee County Health Department and the College’s Medical Director, ProMedica Physician Aron Gornowicz, and Adrian College has already implemented several practices to successfully mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Adrian College has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus.

Docking has already enforced state recommendations for controlling the spread of the disease in the workplace. The state’s best workplace practices fall into five categories:

• Access control: Implementing best practices to quickly identify and catalog potential introductions of COVID-19 into the workplace.

• Social Distancing: Minimizing levels of close contact within the workplace to limit the spread of COVID-19 among workers.

• Sanitation/Hygiene: Increasing both the frequency and vigor of common cleaning practices as well as implementing new ones to reduce the amount of time COVID-19 can live on surfaces.

• PPE: Ensuring all employees have access to personal protective equipment to keep them from both contracting and transmitting the COVID-19 virus. 

• Contact Tracing/Isolation: Designing and imparting to employees the important procedures and protocol on what occurs if an employee is suspected to have and/or diagnosed with COVID-19.