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What happens if Coronavirus comes to GRCC?

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Coronavirus health advisory posted in the emergency department at St. Joseph Medical Center in Orange, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

With the widespread virus infecting more people in the United States there is the risk that it could potentially make its way to the campus of Grand Rapids Community College.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing to The New York Times on Wednesday.

The Center For Disease Control is currently advising people not to travel to countries that are impacted, the main two being China and South Korea. However, if you’re planning on traveling to Italy, Iran, or Japan, they’re recommending postponing travel.

With the many study away programs this could impact some GRCC students plans to go abroad. In an email to The Collegiate Dave Murray, Communications Director, addressed these concerns.

“The safety and wellness of GRCC students here on campus and when traveling abroad is a top priority,” Murray stated. “GRCC’s Department of Experiential Learning does not have students studying overseas now, but there are study away opportunities planned for May. Campus leaders and faculty are closely monitoring the situation, and will continue reviewing plans up until that point to determine if there are potential restrictions or whether the college needs to consider alternative plans.”

This also opens the dialog of what could possibly happen if this comes to Grand Rapids, and how it would directly impact students on campus.

“GRCC and other colleges and school districts work closely with the Kent County Health Department, which would take the lead should there be exposure here in West Michigan, and issue recommendations for the college and others to follow,” Murray stated.

GRCC currently has a policy regarding communicable diseases. The policy states the following… 

“Upon receiving information from the Kent County Health Department about a communicable disease that poses a health threat to GRCC employees or students, Human Resources or Student Affairs shall provide information, as recommended by the Health Department, concerning such precautions as may be required. The Executive Director of Human Resources or the Dean of Student Affairs shall notify the President or his/her designee and other appropriate staff of this information.”

Previously GRCC has only closed once before due to illness, caused by the Influenza epidemic. GRCC was ordered to close by the Grand Rapids Health Officer from Dec. 17, 1918 to the end of January 1919.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated Thursday, March 5 to include information regarding a past shutdown GRCC experienced due to illness.