Returning to Campus - Faculty
Our goal this year will be to provide a safe environment for our students to learn, and our faculty to provide instruction. Limiting mobility around campus, especially during instructional hours where movement can be directed, will play a critical role in the containment and tracing of the virus when it reaches campus. We remain committed to placing prevention and containment measures in place to help ensure we are able to operate in a face-to-face learning environment for the duration of the school year. As you already know, faculty will play a critical role in the process and your patience and flexibility are both requested and appreciated.
We have included several important subject areas below to help us navigate the year. While we cover many important areas critical for starting and continuing classes, we anticipate more will arise as the year progresses. While we cannot plan for every contingency, we will do our best to provide clarity and decisive decision-making throughout the process.
We appreciate work faculty are doing to shape the minds - and futures - of the students who (among all the choices out there) chose Northwest Tech to pursue their education.
Return to Campus Task Force
Social distancing on campus will continue to play a critical step in the prevention and transmission of the COVID-19 virus as it remains one of the most highly recommended measures to take to stop the spread of the virus. Maintaining social distance on campus (maintaining more than a 6-foot distance) is required at all times as we work to maintain on-campus classes throughout the school year. This applies to all individuals on campus and across all facilities.
Office occupancy limits have been put in place in the administration building and employees are recommended to limit congregating. Additional supplies have been secured, and some already distributed, to place desk mounted shields to provide an additional barrier between employees and others.
During meetings, select appropriately sized rooms that allow for social distancing between employees to occur. Spread out while the meeting is being conducted to allow for social distancing.
In addition to lowering the overall risk of exposure, social distancing limits who, and how many, employees, and students will have to quarantine or isolate when a case develops.
We recommend employees continue to follow recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html
Social distancing in the classrooms will play a critical step in the prevention and transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Rather than a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to classroom layouts, we recognize that every classroom and every group of students will require the classroom to be configured in a way to maintain CDC recommended 6' minimum for social distancing. As faculty return to campus, and tables are rearranged, there should be consideration made for a 'teaching zone' in addition to the spacing of tables. Depending on program enrollment, alternate classroom accommodations may need to be made for instruction to continue. If that need arises, please contact Michael Zimmerman, Dean of Academic Advancement.
When students are out in the labs and shops, efforts need to be made to social distance and reduce student contact, so it will be important to develop lesson plans and projects that will accommodate the need for distance. We recommend employees continue to follow recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html
In order to reduce the number of students moving through classrooms around campus, students will remain in their program classrooms for general education courses. General education faculty will have the flexibility to rotate to the programs to provide instruction, or may opt to use Zoom to broadcast into the program classroom. Please accommodate general education faculty and students as we adjust to this new modality of learning.
We want to ensure students who are not feeling well DO NOT attend class. We are instructing students who are sick or have symptoms to notify their program faculty via email or text in the morning, and to notify the Sherman County Health Department via phone at (785) 890-4888 if they are experiencing COVID symptoms. In order to better monitor student health, if you receive notification from students that are ill, please also notify Mr. Showalter at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will help ensure there is an awareness of the illness and the need to conduct an initial screening.
If a faculty member becomes ill, please follow standard protocol and notify Michael Zimmerman, Dean of Academic Advancement, immediately so that we can work with Mr. Showalter and the Sherman County Health Department for an initial screening. This also allows us to adjust for the program needs so that instruction can continue or be modified while the instructor is absent.
We are working closely with the Sherman County Health Department to conduct screening and contact tracing. We anticipate some students will be experiencing higher levels of anxiety, and we want to ensure that lines of communication are clear and students don't attempt to self-diagnose and create unnecessary situations on campus.
Several programs may have specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements as required by OSHA, CoARC, MAERB, or other accrediting entities. Program faculty must follow the guidelines laid out by the accrediting bodies if they are more stringent than those of Northwest Tech or Sherman County.
The college will provide masks, sanitized wipes, and pump bottles with hand sanitizer for each student and employee as supplies become available. If additional PPE or COVID related supplies are needed in the classroom, please submit a request through the COVID Supplies and PPE Request Form, and supplies will be routed to you as soon as possible. If there are specialty items not listed that are needed, please contact President Schears to secure the items.
The custodial staff has been realigned to focus efforts on high contact surfaces, restrooms, and contact points on building and classroom doors. During this time, employees are asked to remain cognizant of the cleanliness of their general office area and building and are encouraged to take an active role in maintaining a clean area.
Cleaning supplies have been dispatched to each program, and if more are needed to help maintain clean surfaces, please complete the request form for more supplies.
New cleaning equipment has also been secured and processes implemented for daily disinfecting of contact surfaces, door handles, etc. around campus. Currently, much of this work is being done after hours when buildings are vacant.
We would ask faculty to implement assigned seating in the classroom. This is solely for the purpose of conducting contact tracing when we have a student become ill with COVID-19. It's far easier to conduct contact-tracing when we know who the students are sitting to the right and left of a student identified as having a positive case.
There have been limited changes this year to the academic calendar due to COVID-19. Please review the calendar below for updates about breaks, start and end dates for the semester, and more.
We will make every attempt to remain consistent with the currently published academic calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. For the latest calendar, please always reference the Academic Calendar site at: https://www.nwktc.edu/students/academic-calendar
Faculty have the flexibility to utilize Zoom to provide instruction for students who are out of the classroom due to COVID related illness. We encourage faculty members to utilize the “record” feature in Zoom on an as-needed basis to capture lectures and import into Moodle as needed.
The iPad has the capability to capture video for demonstration and lecture purposes and videos can be uploaded into Moodle course shells as needed.
Please communicate with IT if you have questions or concerns related to technology use.
It is important for faculty to spend time developing their Moodle shells to the fullest capability. In the case where a faculty member must quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19, this ensures there will be content available for students to work through during the absence. Similarly, in the event that a program must shift online for a limited quarantine period due to the virus, there will be course content available until we can resume normal instruction in the classroom and lab. Please continue to focus your efforts on developing quality coursework, demonstration videos, lectures, etc. in your Moodle shell.
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