April 22, 2020
Planning ahead more than a decade ago led to a timely discovery this month, a pattern of foresight NMC aims to continue through COVID-19 uncertainty.
A cache of stored personal protective equipment, including 400 N95 masks originally ordered in 2009 for the H1N1 flu pandemic, was discovered earlier this month by an employee filling food pantry orders. The supplies, which also included gowns and face shields, had been stored in the Osterlin building due to lack of space in the NMC Health clinic.
“I walked out of the food pantry door, and saw ‘N95’ on a sticky note,” said Katie Sommer (right), manager of NMC’s Office of Learning Services. “It was like a lightbulb going off. That word stands out these days.”
Sommer opened the cabinet with the note, alerted others of her discovery, and the supplies were promptly donated to Munson Medical Center.
At first glance a fortuitous coincidence, the discovery illustrates NMC’s strategic value of exhibiting foresight. The existence of the food pantry is another. Started in 2017, Sommer said last week was the pantry’s busiest ever — despite the fact that campuses are closed. Orders are called in or placed online, and picked up outdoors.
Food Pantry curbside pickup items“It’s a great resource and asset,” said Sommer. “I would venture to say the 15 families we’re supporting now are very grateful to whoever had that idea.”
Foresight is more important now than ever, with COVID-19 creating so much uncertainty. The college has already decided all summer classes will be offered online only. All student services including orientation and student success coaching, usually held on campus, are also being offered remotely.
“We’ve really challenged ourselves to see what different modalities we can offer our services in,” said Sommer, noting that Advising calendars have stayed as full as if face-to-face services were being offered.