Now more than ever community colleges are living up to their name as they serve their local communities and unite in fighting COVID-19. The North Carolina community college responses to COVID-19 have helped ease the PPE supply shortage, trained and educated frontline nurses and EMTs, provided volunteers for food banks and so much more.
Community colleges are an essential thread of American society that has proven again their ability to step up and serve those within the local community in unique and important ways.
Stanly Community College has canceled in-person classes while abiding by the stay at home orders. As a result, nursing programs have also gone online. The ventilators from programs that train students in respiratory care have ventilators that have been donated to Atrium Health Stany as a means to help fight the novel coronavirus. They have also gathered and donated personal protective equipment that they have on campus.
South Piedmont Community College has recognized the need for short term educational tools to help the many people who have lost their jobs or have found it difficult to educate their children in math. They are offering online courses at $5 a piece to help their communities at this time. Courses cover resume writing, tutoring children in math, upgrading computer skills, and more. These services will help boost their local economy and the overall well-being of those in their community.
As all colleges have moved to remote online learning, Robeson Community College has recognized that not every student has access to dependable internet to make online learning possible. To assist with this, Robeson Community College has created a parking lot with access to WiFi that is open to the public for use Monday through Saturday. The WIFi lot is open to the public and is closely monitored by campus security.
Alamance Community College has gathered and donated the essential N95 face masks, gloves, goggles, medical gowns, medical-grade swabs, shoe covers, and head caps. They also gathered and donated 300 surgical masks to the Alamance County Department of Social Service, 50 face shields, and 100 isolation gowns to Peak Resources Alamance Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center.
Blue Ridge Community College has set up one of the parking lots on campus to be a drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 while the campus is closed. The college’s emergency medical science, nursing, nurse aid, and surgical technology departments have all donated the personal protective equipment that was used for training purposes. All of these supplies were donated to Pardee UNC Health Care and Advent Health Ashville.
As all schools have gone to online learning, Cleveland Community College has set up various free WiFi hot spots in campus parking lots as well as a public school for the community to access while they are under the stay at home directive. This allows for students of all ages to continue their education online even if they do not have the internet at home. Cleveland has also gathered and donated necessary PPE to local agencies and hospitals. The PPE included N95 masks, isolation gowns, gloves, and face shields.
Ashville-Buncombe Community College has done a variety of things to help their local community during this crisis. The EMS department created a training video to educate first responders in COVID-19 prevention. Various departments gathered and donated what personal protective equipment they had in their departments to donate to local hospitals. This included 700 isolation gowns, 300 masks, 20,000 gloves, hand sanitizer, and wipes.
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute gathered personal protective equipment to donate to local hospitals that included gowns, gloves, masks, and more. They have also utilized the 3D printers on campus to create face shields to protect frontline healthcare workers. The school also hosted a blood drive while maintaining social distancing standards. They also loaned out 75 Chromebooks for students that need them while attending online classes.
Wake Technical Community College has stepped up to help fight COVID-19 in a variety of ways. They loaned a portable ventilator to WakeMed to use for COVID patients. Wake has also gathered and donated thousands of items of PPE from their departments including gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer.
While the campus is closed to in-person learning, Haywood Community College High Tech Center will be used as a large command post for Haywood County Emergency management during this crisis.
Fayetteville Technical Community College loaned four ventilators to Cape Fear Valley Health to use during the pandemic. They also gathered and donated thousands of PPE items to Cape Fear Valley Health to help alleviate the supply shortage, including face shields, N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, gowns, and hand sanitizer.
Wilkes Community College loaned six ventilators to local hospitals to use during the COVID-19 health crisis; two each to the Wilkes, Ashe, and Memorial Hospitals.
Western Piedmont Community College provided one emergency ventilator to Burke County Emergency Management to use during this time. They also gathered and donated 6,000 pairs of gloves, 200 surgical masks, 25 face shields, 80 isolation gowns, and 10 full PPE kits.
Every community college in North Carolina has stepped up in one way or another to help during this crisis, many donating necessary PPE for first responders and frontline healthcare workers. The North Carolina community college responses to COVID-19 have been nothing short of heroic. These colleges donated thousands of PPE items, loaned out ventilators, are providing free or very affordable educational courses for the community, and more. Community colleges are essential to every community they serve, not only as institutions for higher learning but also as institutions that help mobilize and gather people and supplies during a global crisis.
Know of another North Carolina college response to COVID-19? Let us know so we can recognize them for their great efforts!