March 18, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is closing its campuses to students and most employees to slow the spread of Coronavirus, but will continue providing education through distance learning and support services remotely.
The partial shutdown, effective at the end of Wednesday, March 18, will allow a very limited number of employees to remain on campus. Others will work remotely, while continuing to help with financial aid, advising and college support services.
GRCC is helping students without access to the technology needed for distance learning by offering a limited number of loaner laptops. The college also is temporarily boosting its free wifi to cover a DeVos Campus parking lot for students who have no web access at home.
The Student Life Office continues to stock a pantry to address food insecurity and is providing access to resources in Kent and Ottawa counties to help students with emergencies they might face during the crisis through the grcc.edu/gethelp website.
“Being relevant and responsive means we are completely committed to providing our students the quality GRCC education they expect and deserve,” President Bill Pink said.
“We are just as committed to keeping our students and employees safe as we face an unprecedented, evolving crisis. We will be innovative and creative as we provide instruction and services in different ways. We will come out of this stronger as a college and a community.”
The move, which affects the Grand Rapids and Lakeshore campuses, comes as state and federal authorities call for social distancing – limiting face-to-face interactions -- as an effective tool in mitigating the spread of the virus, also known as COVID-19.
GRCC suspended face-to-face instruction on March 11 until at least April 3 after consulting with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, county health and community experts, and higher education leaders across the state. The decision is part of an effort to protect the broader community and “flatten the curve” of infection.
GRCC’s campuses had been open for employees and small groups of students. Most classes have continued with students interacting with professors and each other through a wide variety of digital platforms.
“The work of this community college continues because our mission is so important,” Provost Brian Knetl said. “Faculty have responded in amazing, creative ways during this time. Many of our faculty and staff are experts in distance learning, and they are working closely with colleagues who may be trying this for the first time. We know students are working hard, and we want to see them complete their classes. We are here to help them.”
GRCC will continue to provide updated information on the college website: grcc.edu/coronavirus.
Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.