May 20, 2020
I want to take a moment to thank all of our faculty, staff, and students for their efforts this spring to bring the semester to a close through virtual instruction. I know this was a significant departure from the hands-on courses upon which Northwest Tech was founded, but they made an effort to adapt and overcome. The diligence and determination shown over the past three months were admirable, and a reflection of the work-ethic we seek to develop. As our admissions team spends time talking with prospective students, one question continues to rise to the top: “Is Northwest Tech planning to be open for in-person classes in August?” It is my feeling that the time has arrived to address the question head-on, provide some context for our decision, and continue preparations to get back to the business of educating our students.
Resumption of In-Person Classes
I am pleased to announce that we are moving ahead with our plans to teach in-person classes for the Fall 2020 semester on our campus in Goodland and our location in Gove County. We are planning to resume instruction on our previously scheduled date of August 10, 2020. The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff are the foremost concern for all of us, and we will be taking steps to return to campus in as safe a manner as possible in the fall.
We are building a task force of college employees, community members, and healthcare professionals to begin planning for the resumption of classes in August. The work of this task force will be to create as safe an environment as we can to provide the hands-on technical education that our students have come to expect.
Our decision to resume classes in the fall semester is a practical reality for our institution, students, and Northwest Kansas communities. Our students choose Northwest Tech because they desire a hands-on experience to learn essential trades that continue to be in-demand across our great state and nation. Every year, we train, graduate, and send students into business and industry across the region, many of which were already facing employee shortages before the pandemic. Failure to offer on-campus classes would have a ripple effect on students, employers, and the economy throughout our area that would be felt for years.
One size does not fit all in Kansas higher education. One of the advantages of being a small technical college with programs split between buildings across campus is our ability to adapt to the changing environment created by the pandemic. Many of our classrooms, shops, and facilities already allow us to be able to maintain appropriate social-distancing recommendations. When combined with other strategies we will be implementing, we will work to provide the safest educational environment we can.
We will move forward and continue our mission of training the next generation of technical professionals. Our students, employees, businesses, employers, and the regional economy can afford nothing less. Thank you again for your determination and dedication to Northwest Tech! We have learned many great lessons over the past few months, and I would contend that we have grown stronger as an institution in many ways. Together we will press on and work towards a brighter future!