COVID Protocols for Instructors

Dear Instructors,

With Spring semester underway and the prevalence of the omicron variant in our region, we’re experiencing an increase in reported COVID-19 cases in our campus community. In an effort to maintain a safe learning environment and improve the efficiency of contact tracing, we’d like to review our current protocols for what to do when a student or instructor tests positive:

If a student tests positive for COVID-19

  • Report all positive (student) cases through NMC’s Red Flag incident reporting system:
    • Check “Health Concerns” in the questions section. 
    • Please include:
      • The best contact information for the student (cell and/or email)
      • The room number of your class
      • The time class met
      • Any other information related to unusually close or lengthy contact with additional students (i.e. lab partner)
  • Please ask the student to contact NMC Health Services to expedite reporting and follow-up.
  • To maintain student privacy, we strongly discourage notifying an entire classroom if a student in your classroom tests positive. 
  • Health Services is responsible for contact tracing, focusing on close contacts since they are most at risk. Should the instructor choose to notify an entire class of a case in their classroom, it’s very important not to identify the student who tested positive. Exclude their name and other personally identifiable information.
  • If Health Services is made aware of or discovers a student case before an instructor, they will notify the instructor as soon as possible. 
  • If Health Services identifies multiple classroom cases, they will notify the instructor and arrange a meeting to assess the need to pivot to virtual instruction or cancel for a period of time.
  • Instructors should contact Health Services immediately (via the Red Flag process outlined above) if multiple student cases are discovered by the faculty member first. (Please note this process will be discussed and refined at the Reimagining Committee meeting scheduled for 1-24-22.)

If an instructor tests positive for COVID-19

  • The instructor should notify their supervisor and Human Resources (include Hollie DeWalt and Mark Liebling).
  • Coursework may be temporarily cancelled, adjusted or shifted online at the discretion of the instructor during quarantine (generally 5 days unless symptoms persist).

Rapid testing resources

  • Health Services provides free rapid testing services for all students. 
  • Health Services also provides testing services to faculty and staff who experience on-the-job exposures. Due to limited resources, testing services are not available for employees who are exposed elsewhere in the community. 
  • Free COVID-19 rapid-testing sites near you can be found here and are also available through

Please also note the dates and locations of potential campus exposures are posted to NMC’s COVID-19 dashboard by 4 p.m. weekdays.

Thank you,

Troy Kierczynski
Vice President of Finance & Administration
Administrative Services
(231) 995-1147 |

Trustees elect new officers

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College trustees on Wednesday elected new officers for 2022.

Rachel A. Johnson was elected chair, Laura J. Oblinger vice chair, Kenneth E. Warner treasurer and Andrew K. Robitshek secretary.

Johnson was originally appointed to the Board November 14, 2016, to fill a vacancy. In November 2018, she was re-elected to serve the remainder of the vacancy term and in November 2020 was elected to serve a six-year term expiring in 2026.

Release date: JANUARY 19, 2022

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Associate Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

Trustee meetings will be livestreamed beginning Jan. 24

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College’s Board of Trustees will begin livestreaming its regular meetings on the college’s YouTube channel beginning with this month’s Jan. 24 meeting.

The board unanimously approved adding the livestreaming option at its December 20, 2021 meeting with the goal of increasing transparency, accessibility and convenience. Participants wanting to make public comment may do so in-person at the meeting. Video of the meetings will continue to be posted to the college’s YouTube channel after the meetings.

The board usually meets the fourth Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The 2022 calendar is available here.

Release date: January 14, 2022

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Associate Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

Embrace the Dream Team

Hawk Owl Helper logoEmbrace the Dream graphicThanks to the Embrace the Dream team for their excellent work creating a program of events that aligns with the new DEI area of NMC’s strategic plan and celebrates Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month: Amanda Clark, Amy Pflughoeft, Brandon Everest, Jason Dake, Jeff Cobb, Jeremy Heinlein, Lisa Thomas, Lori Hodek, Meg Young, Sally Smarsty andTony Jenkins.

For a full list of activities, including dates, times and locations that you can copy directly to your Google calendar, check out the Embrace the Dream calendar. 

COVID testing for NMC employees

COVID-19 rapid testing through NMC Health Services is only available to employees who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 while on NMC’s campuses or performing NMC duties.

Media Mentions for January 17, 2022

The following college events and stories have appeared in the media recently. We want to share your media involvement too. Please send information about your NMC-related interview or appearance to If possible, please include a link to the piece and information about where and when it was used.

Please note access to some stories may be limited by paywalls set up by the media outlet. This includes the Traverse City Record-Eagle, which limits free clicks to five per month. You may also read Record-Eagle articles in the print edition at the NMC Library.

NMC Announces First DEI Hire
The Ticker, January 11 (more…)


Kudos to the Testing Center staff and especially Katy Knight for the end-of-the-semester flexibility and for providing great service to our students.

Kudos to Dan Goodchild for his work in managing all of the moving parts of the Tech Division while still managing the Construction Program. He has jumped right into this role!

Kudos to Nick Nissley for the wonderful and restful holiday break!

Experts suggest maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” increases positivity for yourself and for others. Please encourage your colleagues by submitting a KUDOS. Let them know you appreciate their hard work and are thinking of them!

Welcome Our Newest Hires

    • Tasha Williams — Adjunct Faculty Clinical Nursing Instructor
    • Tim Nielsen — Adjunct Art Visual Communications
    • Amy Keen — Adjunct Obstetrical and Pediatric Nursing Instructor
    • Emily Kruse — Student Success Coach
    • Eden Bedore — Lobdell’s Assistant
    • Joy Stehlik — Assistant Controller
    • Kori Wickham — Custodian
  • Terri Scarlett — Custodian
  • Caitlin White — Switchboard Operator
  • Jessica Parker — Math Instructor
  • Kevin Marquardt — Creative Director
  • Taylor Guarnaccia — Marketing Director
  • Tiffany Siladke — Resource Development Assistant
  • Luis Uribe — Supplemental – Food Service
  • Anna Wagner — Ceramics Instructor
  • Jennifer Kennedy — Adjunct Faculty Nursing Instructor
  • Mark Dunham — Student Employee – Construction Technology Assistant
  • Andy Braden — Student Employee – Video Editor
  • Ellie Dake — Art History & Art Instructor Adjunct Faculty
  • April Dehring — Supplemental – Food Service (Back of House)
  • Amy Potes — Supplemental – Bookstore Assistant
  • Jared Moelaart — Supplemental – Food Service
  • Mahli Braak — Student Employee – Business Academic Area Office Assistant
  • Paul Sonner — Adjunct Faculty – Violin Instructor
  • Tyler  King — Adjunct – Flight Instructor
  • Luke Kruppe — Adjunct – Flight Instructor

Internal Promotions

Amy Klei in Information Technology was recently promoted to Senior Programmer Analyst Architect, and Laurel Forton-Lead in Student Services was promoted to Accounting Assistant. Congratulations on the promotions!

New regulations for access to coverage on over-the-counter COVID-19 tests

Good afternoon,

The recent regulation that provides that the cost of over-the-counter-at-home tests be covered by health insurance providers came as a surprise. Our provider, Priority Health, is still working out the details for how this will be implemented for NMC and other employers Priority serves. The guidance we have at this time is “please advise members to keep a copy of their receipt and UPC code for any purchases of FDA approved at home COVID19 tests purchased from 1/15 on.”  We have been informed that Priority is working on a point-of-sale solution in order to provide us a better customer experience.  

We (HR) will provide updates to you as the situation progresses and information becomes available.  Thank you!


Mark Liebling
AVP of Human Resources
1701 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 995-1342

Northwestern Michigan College

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New regulations introduced for access to coverage on over-the-counter COVID-19 tests for Commercial Group and Individual Market members.

To expand Americans’ access to COVID-19 testing, new regulations were introduced by the Biden-Harris Administration this week. Beginning January 15, 2022, individuals with private health insurance coverage or covered by a group health plan who purchase an over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test (FDA approved) will be able to have those test costs covered 100% by their plan or insurance as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as long as the emergency order remains in place.

Important to Note: The new regulations do not solve the nationwide shortage of COVID tests and the strain on the healthcare system, including pharmacies.

What is covered under the regulations?

  • Insurance companies and health plans are required to cover at no cost to the member 8 individual over-the-counter at-home tests per covered individual within a 30-day period without a prescription from a health care professional. This means a family of four, all on the same plan, can purchase up to 32 of these tests covered 100% by their health plan per month.
  • COVID testing ordered by a health care professional when the test is medically necessary to diagnose and treat a patient’s symptoms continues to be covered 100%, with no member cost sharing applied and no limit to the number of tests.
  • Workplace mandated testing is not covered.

How will this coverage work for Priority Health members?

  • Priority Health is working on solutions including point of purchase with no upfront member out-of-pocket costs; however this is in partnership with our Pharmacy Benefits Manager, Express Scripts Intl (ESI) along with their network of pharmacies and will not be operational immediately.
  • In the meantime, we’re also developing a direct member reimbursement solution that we’ll communicate more details soon.

Who is this for?

  • All Individual Market and Commercial Group members, including self-funded and grandfathered. If an employer does not have pharmacy benefits through Priority Health, they’ll need to work with their Pharmacy Benefits Manager separately.

When can members start to purchase over-the-counter Covid tests for no cost?

  • Coverage starts on at-home tests purchased as of Jan. 15, 2022. We anticipate availability of tests will still be limited based on the nationwide shortage and strain on the healthcare system, including pharmacies.

How will members know about this solution?

We are carefully reviewing and evaluating the new regulations to determine impact and implications. We’ll continue to keep you updated as we know more and finalize solutions.

‘MLK: A Musical Celebration’ Jan. 17

MLK: A Musical Celebration posterBuilding Bridges with Music presents ‘MLK: A Musical Celebration’ Monday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m., featuring the Motown Legends Gospel Choir, a thirteen-piece vocal ensemble with original members of The Miracles and The Contours and special guest saxophonist Laurie Sears performing spirituals, civil rights era songs and some Motown hits. Also featured are the NMC Children’s Choir Cantus and the NMC Chamber Singers under the direction of Jeffrey Cobb, Joe Wilson on dobro and Kevin Larose on tuba.

The City Opera House event is sold out, but a free simulcast will be held at the Dennos Museum Center’s Milliken Auditorium and a free livestream will be available here.

Per NMC campus policy, safety measures at the Milliken Auditorium include masking for all attendees, as well as following any state-mandated guidelines.

This event is part of NMC’s Embrace the Dream celebration of MLK Day and Black History Month.

Welcome to Spring Semester 2022!

Good morning NMC community and welcome to spring semester 2022!

A new year and a new semester always fills me with the sense of possibility that new beginnings bring us! I am excited to be back together working toward our common goals — transforming student lives and enriching our community — even if we’re not physically together right now. Regardless, we are united in our commitment to learning and our shared success. We’ve learned new things about ourselves over the past two years. For instance, I am a ‘people person’ and love the energy I feel from seeing and engaging with our students and employees on campus. But even when I can’t see you as often as I’d like, I have discovered that I can still feel that energy that connects us all as an NMC community. That is what lies at the heart of NMC Next — our new strategic plan that includes a new Mission, Vision, Values and Learner Experience pledge that we drafted together over the past year. That common sense of purpose inspires me everyday I wake up — to serve you and our mission. I can’t wait to share NMC Next with you after the Board of Trustees meets to approve the work later this month. While I am not sure where the pandemic will take us next, I am confident that we will continue to be connected as an NMC community, with a clear purpose, and a plan to help us move forward towards our shared vision of ‘what’s possible’.

Please remember to take care of yourself, your classmates, colleagues, friends, family and neighbors. Know that we are all here to help each other succeed. NMC is a special place and I am so grateful I get to share it with you.

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College | 231.995.1010

Northwestern Michigan College

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COVID-19 updates & reminders

As we begin the spring semester, we’d like to provide you with updates and reminders regarding COVID-19 safety precautions. Our goals remain the same as they have since the pandemic began in March 2020: Keep our campus community safe while limiting the disruption to learning.


  • NMC’s requirement that everyone wear face masks while indoors on campus continues into the spring semester. We highly recommend students and employees use N95 or KN95 respirators.
  • N95 or KN95 respirators will be made available for the campus community at the following designated locations during regular business hours:
    • Main Campus – Health Services (LB106)
    • Aero Park Campus – Parsons-Stulen Welcome Desk (PS104)
    • Great Lakes Campus – GLMA front desk or GLCI faculty suite
    • University Center – Extended Educational Services suite (main entrance)
  • Surgical masks are provided at the entrances to all buildings and signage also informs students, faculty and staff and visitors.
  • This video shows how to properly wear a face mask and other simple COVID precautions.

Cases on campus reporting:

  • As announced in December, cases on campus will be reported via the COVID-19 Dashboard and no longer through campuswide emails. Links to the dashboard may be found on the NMC homepage, MyNMC page (top left corner) and in every issue of the Intercom and Student News email.
  • A flowcharts for what to do if a student tests positive has been updated with the newest CDC-recommended quarantine criteria (generally, reduced from 10 to five days). The chart is available on the MyNMC page (top left corner) and on NMC’s COVID hub page.
  • NMC will monitor cases on campus and take further action as necessary, such as the temporary shift to online learning that occurred for both Maritime and Law Enforcement programs in the fall semester.

Vaccination and testing:

Vaccines remain the best protection against COVID-19, especially against severe illness. Vaccines are widely available for ages 5 and up.

  • NMC will host a free vaccination clinic from 1–4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24 in the Innovation Center. Visit to find other locations.
  • Testing is available by appointment from NMC Health Services if you are having symptoms or were exposed. Call 231-995-1255. Find other testing locations here (scroll to get tested if you have symptoms).
  • We are awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court decision on vaccination and testing requirements for employers. NMC has been working with legal counsel to ensure the college remains in compliance with state and federal requirements. NMC is developing a system to obtain employee vaccination status so we will be ready to proceed when the requirements are confirmed.

Other resources: is NMC’s hub for all COVID information. Please use the feedback form found there if you have questions.


Release date: JANUARY 13, 2022

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Associate Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

Sabbatical & Professional Development Leave Priorities

Dear colleagues:

It is encouraged to link your sabbatical and professional development leave proposals to one or more of the college strategic goals listed below, which have been presented to the Board of Trustees for their approval at their meeting on January 24, 2022, and/or the college mission.

Faculty Sabbatical Leave Requests – Faculty must submit endorsed requests electronically to the Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE) by January 17, 2022.  Endorsements required: three peers and the appropriate academic chair. The application form can be found here. Download the Guidelines/Criteria for Faculty Sabbatical Requests here.

On February 15, CIE forwards the applications to the Vice President for Educational Services, for prioritization by ESIMT.

Staff Sabbatical Leave – Salaried staff must submit endorsed requests to Mark Liebling, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, by January 31, 2022.  Endorsement required: appropriate executive staff officer.

The Associate Vice President of Human Resources will review staff applications in consultation with executive staff by March 1, 2022.

Final Disposition of Sabbatical Requests – By April 11, 2022, the Vice President for Educational Services will submit faculty recommendations and the Associate Vice President of Human Resources will submit staff recommendations to the President’s Office to include as a consent item on the Board agenda at their April 25, 2022, meeting.

Professional Development Leave Requests – Faculty must submit endorsed requests electronically to CIE by February 15, 2022.  Endorsement required:  the appropriate academic chair. Staff requests should be reviewed as a part of annual goal planning. For both faculty and staff, professional development activities may only be approved as funds are available and budgeted for this purpose.

For more information regarding sabbatical and professional development policies and procedures see Staff HR Policies D-753.00, D-753.01, D-753.02, and D-753.03 and Faculty Chair and Faculty Collective Bargaining Agreements Articles XVII and XVII.

Any additional questions can be addressed to Human Resources (ext. 5-2612) or the Center for Instructional Excellence (ext. 5-1046).

Strategic Goals

Future-Focused Education
Enhance offerings through flexible academic pathways, innovative instructional delivery models and relevant, hands-on educational experiences to empower global learners for the future.

Student Engagement and Success
Develop and deliver comprehensive support services, robust engagement opportunities and a vibrant collegiate experience to foster learner success, goal completion and employability.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Cultivate an inclusive environment that fosters a sense of belonging and delivers equitable opportunities so all are able to thrive and succeed.

Community Partnerships and Engagement
Enhance collaborations that advance community engagement, economic and workforce development and innovative opportunities for lifelong learning.

Institutional Distinction and Sustainability
Leverage distinctive programs that strengthen institutional sustainability and expand global connections for our learners and communities.

President’s Office
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI
Phone: (231) 995-1010