GRCC transitions to making face coverings optional as COVID-19 cases drop, calls for respect for those continuing to wear them

Student smiling, not wearing a mask.

Grand Rapids Community College is changing its campus face covering mandate, transitioning to a new phase of COVID-19 protocols allowing masks to be an option for students, employees and community members, a move in line with other employers and educators across the region.

“We are not declaring victory over COVID. Not yet,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “But we are in a better place, and we are entering a different phase, and adapting as we have done since March 2020. We will continue to work with the authorities and monitor the data and conditions.”

Face covering dispensers will remain stocked and available on campus.

“There are many people who will choose to continue wearing face coverings, and it is important for us to respect their decisions, and the reasons behind them,” Pink said. “We have been resilient. We’ve shown each other grace and patience throughout this pandemic, and will continue to do so.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Kent and Ottawa counties continues to fall. The Centers for Disease Control has adopted new metrics, and has moved the counties out of the high-risk category.

GRCC required face coverings in summer 2021 after the CDC added the counties to the high-risk category. Campus leaders said they would continue to follow data, and seek guidance from health authorities when considering face covering protocols. 

Masks will be required while riding public transportation, including the Sneden Shuttle bus route that connects the Main and DeVos campuses, following federal mandates.

Pink said the face coverings are just one tool in the college’s efforts to keep our campus community safe. Other changes set in place, such as distancing, increased air filtration, and plastic glass panels at some workstations, will remain. Classrooms will remain at 75 percent capacity through the end of the semester, and the college will continue offering classes in a variety of formats.

GRCC In the News 03/01/2022

New Grand Rapids initiative aims to give ‘at-potential’ minority teen boys a blueprint for success

2/28/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A group of West Michigan nonprofits are joining forces on a new initiative that seeks to close the gap on education, wellness and financial achievement for young men of color in Grand Rapids.

(This article is illustrated with a file photo of President Pink addressing high school freshmen in 2016.)

GV hosts Michigan Model Arab League

2/28/22 The Lanthorn (Grand Valley State University student newspaper)

This year the Michigan Model Arab League took place at the Eberhard Center on Grand Valley State University’s Pew campus in Grand Rapids. 

… The conference typically consists of GVSU, Aquinas College, the University of Michigan Dearborn, Grand Rapids Community College and other schools throughout the Midwest. 

Russia expert speaks at GRCC about conflict

2/28/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dozens filed into The Spectrum Theater at Grand Rapids Community College on Monday to learn more about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Fiona Hill, former U.S. National Security advisor, discuss Russian invasion at Grand Rapids event

2/28/22 FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — An expert on Russia who worked in the past three U.S. administrations made a stop in Grand Rapids on Monday. 

Former national security advisor calls for global rebuke of Russian invasion of Ukraine at Michigan visit

2/28/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The former national security advisor for the United States called for a global rebuttal against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s flex of power could set a dangerous precedent for other nations to invade countries they believe to have a claim over.

… Hill spoke about Russia’s invasion of Putin, and the long-term trends that built up to the current global conflict, in a presentation titled “Russia and the U.S.” for the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan on Monday evening. The event was held at Grand Rapids Community College’s Spectrum Theatre.

Fiona Hill speaks about Russian invasion of Ukraine

2/28/22 MLive

Former U.S. national security advisor Fiona Hill speaks to journalists at Grand Rapids Community College’s Spectrum Theater on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. Hill, who is an expert on Russia and has studied Vladimir Putin, spoke about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

(This is a photo gallery of the event.)

Wellness Champions: ‘Get on Track’ with your new resolutions

Two people walking on the indoor track.

Be a champion! GRCC is helping students and employees focus on all areas of health and wellness as we emerge together from the pandemic.

Wellness is a full integration of physical, mental and spiritual health. That includes physical health, but so much more. During the next year we’re also looking at emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental and occupational health, and how we all can work to help ourselves and each other.

There are many resources at GRCC to help all of these types of wellness. Each week, we’ll introduce you to people and places here on campus ready to support you on your wellness journey.

Many of us made resolutions or set goals to be more active and healthier at the start of the new year.

The Wellness Champions can help.

Get on Track is a new program for employees to get steps on the Hunsberger Arena’s indoor track in the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse.

There will be an open timeslot every week for employees to drop by the area’s indoor FFH indoor track and a Wellness Champion will be there to walk with them to encourage, motivate, and just get to know them.

Champions pledging to walk and talk include Provost Brian Knetl, Dean Eric Mullen, Interim Dean Bill Faber, and others. A schedule is available here.

The track is also available for walking during other times. It’s open from 6 – 10:15 a.m. and 12:15 – 1:45 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 6 – 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Fridays.

Angela Salinas, GRCC’s coordinator of Employee Events, Engagement, and On-boarding, said Get on Track supports increased physical activity, but also creates accountability and positive connections among employees.

Angela gets steps with supportive colleague Katie Pena, support professional for a number of Workforce Development programs.  

You can get some serious steps in the arena without worrying about ice and snow. Ten laps are equal to a mile.

Plus, every time you show up for a Get on Track walk, your name gets entered into a monthly drawing for a fun prize. 

Volunteers needed for 2022 Commencement

Dr. Bill Pink at 2021 Commencement.

Commencement is a special time for our GRCC family! Show your support for our graduates by volunteering to help make this time memorable for our students.

Commencement will take place on Friday, April 29 beginning at 7 PM (School of Arts and Sciences) and Saturday, April 30 beginning at 1 PM (School of Workforce Development).

Most volunteer positions will require you to arrive approximately 1.5 – 2 hours prior to the start of commencement.

Complete this quick form to let us know your interest in volunteering. We will respond with additional information and your specific volunteer assignment at a later date.