March 25, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Rapids Community College has donated more than 70,000 pieces of medical and personal protection equipment, and faculty members are volunteering time and expertise to Spectrum Health and other local healthcare facilities and public safety departments as they confront the coronavirus crisis.
Area medical facilities are depleting supplies of filter masks, gloves, disposable gowns, protective eyewear, face shields and bleach wipes because of a surge in patients needing care. Supplies went to Spectrum Health, Holland Home and other healthcare providers.
GRCC Nursing faculty also are volunteering for shifts and assisting in other ways.
“Being relevant and responsive means working together with our community in times of need,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “Spectrum Health is a close neighbor and a partner. When our partners say, ‘We need help,’ we will be there to step up. I’m proud to see our GRCC faculty and staff mobilize to assist our all of our community during these unprecedented challenges.”
With GRCC suspending face-to-face instruction through the end of the semester, programs were able to donate their inventories of protection equipment. Programs also loaned medical equipment, including thermometers.
GRCC also offered Spectrum Health employees use the Bostwick parking ramp while students are away. That helps employees who usually must ride shuttle buses from far-flung lots.
“The support of our neighbors is incredibly important to Spectrum Health,” said Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Spectrum Health. “Grand Rapids Community College is generously providing free parking for our staff to be closer to our hospital as well as offering other solutions to help us care for our community. We are grateful for our partnership.”
Dr. Michael Vargo, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said faculty and staff in programs across campus immediately stepped up to meet the needs of healthcare systems, many of them partners with GRCC programs.
“GRCC recognizes both the tremendous commitment of our local healthcare system in responding to this crisis, and also the significant strain this has placed on front-line responders and their resources,” Vargo said. “We want to do everything in our power to support the good work of these outstanding members of our community."
GRCC’s Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences departments donated supplies, along with the Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Radiologic Technology, Dental and Medical Assistant programs. The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education and the Residential Construction program also supported the effort.
Michelle Richter, director of GRCC’s Nursing Programs, said the department loaned thermometers and donated more than 1,500 thermometer probe covers to the Grand Rapids Police Department. Several Nursing faculty members are also working shifts at hospitals and assisting with other roles as able, and as requests come in.
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.