Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates
November 23, 2020 | In-person classes will resume after Thanksgiving Message from President Christy for all students
Thank you for being RESPONSIBLE RAIDERS this semester. I’m very proud of you!
We will resume in-person classes after Thanksgiving
To put to rest any rumors you may have heard: We remain committed to holding in-person classes after Thanksgiving until the last day of finals—Dec. 17. We feel confident proceeding as planned because our number of students in isolation currently is 8—a very low number—with 32 students in quarantine. In addition, we assessed data from before and after fall break and did not see any spike in cases due to students visiting home or traveling to other locations. We anticipate and hope this will be the case for Thanksgiving as well.
Our goal is to finish strong and fulfill our commitment to in-person classes. We’re nearly there. For the remaining three weeks, our expectation is that you attend all classes in person (including your final exams) unless you have been advised by the Covid medical team to quarantine/isolate, or you have received written permission from the VPAA’s office for remote study due to Covid-related health circumstances.
During Thanksgiving break:
- Continue to complete daily screenings on Raider Check. If you develop symptoms, are exposed to a positive person, or have a pending test while you are home, note that on Raider Check and a member of our the Covid medical team will get in touch with instructions.
- Be a RESPONSIBLE RAIDER while off campus. Observe the three Ws: 1) wash your hands 2) watch your distance and 3) wear your mask. Most Covid transmission is happening in family settings, so do your best to protect your and your family’s health over the break.
I hope you find time over the break to rest, relax and reflect on all of God’s blessings. His mercies are new every morning—great is his faithfulness!
November 5, 2020 | Finishing the semester in person Message from President Christy for all students, faculty and staff
As I said in my recent video message, I’m so proud of the way we have worked together to protect our in-person campus experience. Doing so has been our priority since students first arrived on campus in August, and it remains our priority. So I want to assure you we intend to remain in-person through the end of the semester, resuming classes the Monday after Thanksgiving break and continuing through the last day of exams, Dec. 17.
I know other colleges and universities have made the decision to move online after Thanksgiving. Some of them have also forgone any other breaks this semester in hopes of avoiding post-break spikes in Covid cases. We planned our fall semester differently, knowing breaks like the one we had in mid-October are necessary for students’ holistic health. We’re pleased that our fall break did not result in an increase in campus cases. Based on that and other data we are tracking—as well as diligent adherence to our RESPONSIBLE RAIDERS behaviors—we are confident in our ability to finish the semester in-person as planned.
A few reminders as we head toward the end of this semester and anticipate the next one:
- Please continue to be a RESPONSIBLE RAIDER over Thanksgiving break, protecting yourself and your family and friends with as much hand-washing, mask-wearing and physical-distancing as possible.
- The spring semester has been altered slightly to begin on Monday, Jan. 11. In advance of your return, we’ll be asking you to resume your daily Raider Checks on Saturday, Jan. 2, and we encourage you to get a Covid test sometime the week of Jan. 4 to ensure you are healthy before returning to campus. Reminders will be sent to you during the Christmas break.
Thank you for your commitment to each other and to protecting our experience here together. I’m confident we’ll finish the semester strong—because we’re Raiders, and Raiders Stand Out!
October 30, 2020 | CARES Act Information about CARES Act disbursements
Northwestern College has completed the Department of Education Certification and Agreement (application) and received a total of $822,778 (student and institutional share) from the CARES Act.
In accordance with federal regulations, at least 50% of these funds have been distributed to students who incurred unexpected expenses when the semester was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $411,389 has been distributed to 771 students as of October 30, 2020.
Eligible students had to have filed a FAFSA for the 2019-2020 school year. Approximately 778 students met this qualification. Northwestern College then used a formula based on FAFSA results and travel distance from campus to determine the amount each qualified student would receive. Students whose study abroad semesters were interrupted were also evaluated as possible recipients. No application or action was initially requested of the qualified students to receive a CARES Act distribution. Consideration was given to student requests submitted to Northwestern College for expenses incurred in addition to the amounts calculated by the formula.
Download the institutional report here.
October 21, 2020 | Revised Quarantine Protocols Message from President Christy for all students
As the weather cools and we all spend more time indoors, observing our RESPONSIBLE RAIDERS guidelines is more important than ever:
- Wash your hands.
- Practice physical distancing.
- Complete your Raider Check, and stay home if you are sick.
- Wear your mask (correctly!)—especially in the caf’ and Hub. Eat quickly and then put your mask back on if you’re going to remain at your table to talk with friends.
Revised quarantine protocol
I know quarantine has been challenging, especially for students who’ve experienced multiple quarantines. Obviously, we care deeply about your physical health—and we care just as deeply about your spiritual, mental and emotional health. Members of the President’s Cabinet and Pandemic Recovery Team have reviewed several Covid-19 incubation period studies (including this one, this one and this one) that indicate the average time between exposure and first symptoms is 5-6 days.
Based on this data, we are revising our quarantine protocols to provide a pathway to a shorter quarantine for students who have been exposed* but are not exhibiting symptoms. (*Remember that if everyone is wearing masks, then exposure to someone with Covid does not require quarantine. Quarantine is only prescribed when one or both parties were unmasked.)
- If you have been exposed to Covid, you must quarantine for at least 7 days.
- Exposure is day 0; on day 5, you may take a Covid test.
- If your test result is negative, you may be released from quarantine as early as 11:59 p.m. on day 7 (or as soon after day 7 as you get your test results). (If you don’t wish to take a Covid test, you will not be eligible for early release and will need to remain in quarantine 14 days.)
- After you leave quarantine, you should continue to monitor your health closely. If you develop symptoms, you will need to quarantine until your symptoms subside or you get a second negative test.
Keeping our campus healthy depends on each of us continuing to do our part. Thank you for your commitment to being RESPONSIBLE RAIDERS so far. Keep it up so we can finish this semester strong.
October 2, 2020 | Revised Quarantine Guidelines and Masking Message from President Christy for all students
This week the Iowa departments of public health and education revised their quarantine guidelines to allow for no quarantine when COVID exposure happens among parties who were consistently and correctly masked. As a college, we are adopting this policy on a trial basis. Whether or not we continue this will rest on honest reporting and consistent mask use.
Revised quarantine guideline
Close contacts of COVID-positive cases will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly by the positive case and close contacts. The positive case must isolate. The close contacts should self-monitor.
- Self-monitoring entails close monitoring (using Raider Check) for COVID-19 symptoms over the subsequent 14 days, staying home if any symptoms develop, and working with our COVID Care Team for testing in the case of any illness.
- Household/residential contacts and contacts in health care settings will still have the 14-day quarantine recommendation.
What does this mean for our campus quarantine guidelines?
- Wear your mask as much as possible (correctly, covering both your nose and mouth). Essentially, try to wear it everywhere, on and off campus, except in your room, your residence hall bathroom, and while you are eating. This not only benefits your health, but it may keep you out of quarantine. Remember that neck gators and bandanas are not proper masks.
- You will not have to quarantine if you are in contact with a positive case if you and the positive case were both masked correctly the entire time. (This doesn’t apply to roommates, who still have to quarantine—even if you both wore your masks all the time.)
- You will have to monitor your health if you were exposed while wearing your mask to a positive case who was also masked, and you will need to report any COVID-19 symptoms via Raider Check.
What about students in quarantine now?
If you are in quarantine now, but were wearing a mask correctly during exposure to someone with COVID-19 who was also wearing a mask correctly, send a message to the COVID Care Team via Raider Check so the team can determine whether you are cleared to leave quarantine.
Take care of our COVID Care Team
Raiders, I am making a special appeal for you to be patient, kind and respectful to members of the COVID Care Team who are working nearly around the clock to ensure you get the answers, attention and care you need. To help them do their work, complete Raider Check daily, and respond to inquiries promptly and respectfully.
September 19, 2020 | Responsible Raiders Update Message from President Christy for traditional undergraduates
We are one month into our fall semester. I am so proud of all of you and how you are demonstrating your love for one another by following our RESPONSIBLE RAIDER guidelines.
You may know that there has been an increase in COVID cases in Iowa, including in Sioux County. This is affecting us too, and if you check the number of COVID cases on MyNWC, you’ll see we’ve experienced a significant increase in the number of students in isolation and quarantine since this Wednesday. One reason for this increase is a small, but contained, outbreak on one of our athletic teams. Another small cluster of cases stemmed from an unmasked gathering among residents of a wing on campus.
We anticipated these type of cases might happen, and we’re prepared to respond. We remain committed to staying on campus, learning and living together. So to bring our number of campus cases down and to protect that in-person college experience, we’re enacting additional temporary mitigation measures.
Additional Temporary Mitigation Measures
- Wear your mask in your residence hall except when you are in your room. (We are not preventing students from visiting other residence halls at this time, though that may change if infection rates climb or if this mask requirement in the residence halls is not observed.)
- Any time you are in close proximity to others, including outside, wear your mask.
- Maintain at least 6’ of physical distance whenever possible—both indoors and outdoors.
- Be responsible when you get together with your friends. Maintain physical distance and wear your mask. Given the rate of community spread in Sioux County, consider suspending trips off campus until our community numbers also decrease. When you do travel off-campus in a vehicle with others, wear a mask.
Using Raider Check
The COVID Care Team from Student Life has been working hard to respond to students in quarantine and isolation—thank you for your patience. Please continue to use Raider Check:
- Complete Raider Check screenings daily EVEN if you are in quarantine and isolation. This is the only way our COVID Care Team can monitor your health.
- Please use Raider Check (web-version) to respond to messages from our COVID Care Team. Our health care team uses Raider Check to send messages to you so the entire team can see what communication has occurred. You can read and respond to those messages under the notification button on Raider Check (see snip below). Those messages are also copied to your email as a courtesy, but please respond via Raider Check versus email.
Raiders Stand Out by Supporting Each Other
Being in quarantine or isolation is hard. We must lift up those members in our community in prayer. If you know someone in quarantine or isolation, reach out with a text or email, letting them know you care and are praying for them.
Remember, we are all in this TOGETHER. Faithfully following our RESPONSIBLE RAIDERS guidelines shows your love for each other and helps to protect your in-person college experience. Thank you for exceeding my expectations. Raiders stand out. Always.
September 10, 2020 | Responsible Raiders Reminders
- Be sure to report any COVID symptoms or exposure on Raider Check. (Don’t just tell a prof, coach or your RD.) If you report symptoms or exposure on Raider Check, a nurse from NWC’s Wellness Center will contact you via Raider Check messaging with instructions. (Be patient; you may not get an immediate response.) While you are waiting to hear from the Wellness Center, stay in your room and away from others. If it’s meal time, ask a friend to bring you a take-out meal.
- For testing, quarantine and isolation information and more, check out the COVID resource page on MyNWC.
- Wear your mask over your mouth and nose
- Wash your cloth masks regularly.
- Disinfect your cell phone routinely.
Raider Check available in the App Store
If you have an iPhone, you can download the Raider Check app here. Sorry, no android version yet. We are waiting for Google Play to release the app.
Questions with the app? See the Help Desk.
September 3, 2020 | Medical services and COVID-19 testing
The following is information about the medical services, including COVID testing, that are available through the Orange City Area Health System.
- If you are significantly sick with what may or may not be COVID symptoms, it is recommended that you make an appointment at the medical clinic, where a physician can assess your condition and determine what type of testing may be best.
- If you have mild symptoms that you suspect may be COVID-related or have been exposed to someone with COVID, you do not need to see a physician before obtaining a COVID test. Northwestern faculty, staff and students can receive free COVID testing through Occupational Health. Employees should contact Deb Sandbulte and students should contact Alli Den Boer for instructions on obtaining free testing.
- Medical Clinic: 1000 Lincoln Circle SE
- By appointment: physicals, wellness checks, immunizations (including flu shots), routine screenings, management of chronic conditions, prenatal care, laboratory, radiology/diagnostic imaging, diabetes education and management, medication management, behavioral health, sports medicine. A retail pharmacy is located at this campus. Antibody/serology testing for COVID-19 is also available for a fee
- Hours: Monday–Thursday 7:30am-8pm; Friday 7:30am-4:30pm; Saturday 9am-noon
- Call: 712-737-2000
- Occupational Health: Medical Building: 1000 Lincoln Circle SE – the building at the West end of the health system campus.
- Free COVID-19 testing is available for Northwestern students, faculty, and staff. Employees should contact Deb Sandbulte and students should contact Alli Den Boer for instructions on obtaining free testing through Occupational Health.
- Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-3pm
- Call: 712-737-5273
- Walk-In Clinic: 719 8 th Street SE (in the Holland Plaza)
- After-hour care for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries: severe cold or flu, serious earache or sore throat, fever, rash, minor cuts, burns, and sprains.
- Hours: Monday-Friday 5-9pm; Saturday-Sunday 1-5pm
- Emergency Room: Orange City Health System, 1000 Lincoln Circle SE (back of campus)
- Conditions which are serious or life-threatening, including chest pain, heart palpitations, stroke symptoms, difficulty breathing, broken bones, severe injuries.
August 17, 2020 | Fall 2020 Summary Guidelines for Life on Campus Message from President Christy for traditional undergraduates and parents
We are excited to begin classes in person next week! It will be so good to be together again. Northwestern faculty and staff members have spent countless hours this summer preparing for your return and figuring out how to keep everyone as healthy as possible. What follows is a summary of their work to give you an idea of what to expect as you move in and the fall semester gets underway. For more thorough information, visit the Fall 2020 plans webpage.
Raider Nation, we’re all in this together, and staying together depends on you doing your part to keep our campus healthy.
Pledge to be a Responsible Raider
- Complete the Raider Check app daily
- Follow Responsible Raider guidelines (wash your hands, wear your mask, physical distance, stay home if you’re sick)
- Follow the directives of NWC’s campus health services
- Take special care when interacting with vulnerable members of the community
- Observe “Raiders Wait”: Limit your exposure to the Orange City community through Labor Day by not attending large-group events, including church services.
- Notice, encourage, pray for and selflessly serve members of your Raider family
Avoid exposure by abiding by the 6/15 rule. Where possible, avoid being within 6 feet of another person for more than 15 minutes.
Wear your mask
- In classrooms
- At chapel and other Christian formation events
- In the cafeteria (and Hub and Common Grounds) until seated at a table
- In indoor common spaces, including hallways, lobbies and lounges (e.g., LC, Ramaker, RSC, VPH)
- While visiting an on-campus residence hall or apartment
- Wherever a MASK ZONE sign is posted
- Whenever someone asks you to
Raider Check screening. Once you’re on campus and when the app is available, you’ll need to download the Raider Check app and complete it daily (about 15 seconds). The app will display your photo and a colored, time-stamped bar, indicating whether you are free of COVID symptoms or exposure. More detailed information will be provided once the app is available for download.
- A green bar will be required for entrance to the caf’, fitness center, athletic practices, and may be required for other campus access as well.
- An orange bar requires checking with the campus health services. With an orange bar, you should stay in quarantine until you have been cleared. A red bar shows when you’re in isolation.
- Key employees will automatically be notified when a student has an orange and red bar (e.g. nurse practitioner, residence life, registrar’s office, coaches). Student privacy will be protected.
Testing and contact tracing. NWC staff will work with our public health organization if contact tracing is necessary. Students: If you are tested for COVID at a local health care facility, you must indicate campus as your home address to ensure accurate contract tracing.
Quarantine for symptoms or exposure. Students will quarantine in their rooms or at home (if it’s feasible and safe) for 14 days in cases of COVID symptoms or exposure. Students will be instructed on how to get meals during this period.
- COVID symptoms. If students exhibit symptoms, they should consult with campus health services. Students may need to be quarantined, and a COVID test may be recommended.
- COVID exposure. Students exposed (less than 6’ for more than 15 minutes) to someone who tested positive for COVID should quarantine for 14 days, even if subsequent test results are negative.
Isolation for a COVID positive test. Students who test positive for COVID will be required to isolate in campus isolation housing or at home (if it’s feasible and safe) until they are: fever free for 24 hours, other symptoms have improved, and it has been 10 days since initial symptoms appeared.
- Isolation housing is located in select Courtyard Village apartments and Fern Smith first floor south wing.
- Isolation rooms will be “Authorized Personnel Only.”
- Meals will be delivered.
- NWC’s health services and RDs will check in daily with isolated students.
- Isolation rooms will be stocked with a thermometer, NSAIDs, tissues, soap, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, bed linens, bottled water and toiletries.
- While our goal is in-person classes, all courses have been designed to be delivered online for students who are in quarantine or isolation.
- Classroom capacities have been adjusted to allow for physical distancing, and some classes have been moved to larger rooms. Professors will have seating charts to aid contact tracing. Desks have been moved and/or marked for appropriate physical distancing.
- Students and faculty are required to wear masks in the classroom. Any exceptions must be approved by an academic dean.
- Professors will be recording classes and using microphones to project while wearing a mask or face shield.
- Every classroom has supplies for faculty and students to self-disinfect their spaces/surfaces prior to usage.
CAMPUS HOUSING AND DINING
- Individual room capacities are restricted to the # of beds in a room/apartment + 4 guests.
- Off-campus visitors are not allowed in the residence halls or apartments.
- Visitors from other residence halls must wear masks.
- Lounges and lobbies are limited to 50% capacity.
- Personal items may not be left in common areas (especially bathrooms).
- Residence hall computer labs are set up for physical distancing; keyboard disinfectant is available.
- Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the buildings.
- The caf’ and Hub Raider Grille capacities have been reduced and tables are spaced 6’ apart.
- Creative Dining staff will serve food at stations instead of self-serve.
- The caf’ will be open extended hours to accommodate reduced capacities: Breakfast 7 to 9 a.m. | Lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Dinner 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- For at least the first 4 weeks, chapel will be held in the 4- court area of the RSC where chairs can be spaced 6’ apart. Pews in Christ Chapel are marked for physical distancing.
- Masks are required during chapel and other large group Christian formation activities.
- Students will utilize a new smartphone app called iAttended to track Christian Formation attendance.
- Temperature checks and verbal screenings of coaches and athletes will be completed prior to practice (or meetings, whichever comes first) each day.
- Coaches will split rosters in half and schedule staggered times for split-squad to dress for practice/conclude practice. “Contact” groups will be limited to 10-minute segments.
- Equipment and facilities will be cleaned after every practice/use.
- Locker room showers will not be used unless treatment by Athletic Training is needed. Raider athletes are required to return to their dorms/apartments after practice to shower.
- Multiple locations will be utilized for pre-practice taping/treatments.
- Masks will be worn during meetings, in the locker room, for travel and during athletic training clinic times. Staff/coaches will wear masks when interacting with student-athletes.
- National Championship tournaments for fall sports will be held in the spring.
- Guidelines for fan attendance at indoor games will be communicated at a later date.
MUSIC and THEATRE
- Seasons and shows have been adjusted to minimize exposure of students to the community. The first show of the season, a Shakespeare production, will be performed outdoors.
- Rehearsal locations have been adjusted so that students can maintain physical distancing.
- Audience capacities have been reduced to accommodate physical distancing and events will be livestreamed.
Audience and staff will wear masks during performances. Theatre students will wear masks during rehearsals.
Aug. 13, 2020 | CARES Act Information about CARES Act disbursements
There have been no changes in CARES Act reporting since the July 2 CARES Act posting.
July 27, 2020 | Plans for Fall 2020 Message from administrators for traditional undergraduates and parents
President Greg Christy and administrators Mark DeYounge (Christian formation) and Julie Elliott (student life) shared details about Northwestern’s plans for the upcoming fall semester.
July 2, 2020 | CARES Act Information about CARES Act disbursements
Northwestern College has completed the Department of Education Certification and Agreement (application) and received a total of $822,778 from the CARES Act. In accordance with federal regulations, at least 50% of these funds have been distributed to students who incurred unexpected expenses when the semester was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $411,389 has been distributed to 767 students as of July 2, 2020.
Eligible students had to have filed a FAFSA for the 2019-2020 school year. Approximately 778 students met this qualification. Northwestern College then used a formula based on FAFSA results and travel distance from campus to determine the amount each qualified student would receive. Students whose study abroad semesters were interrupted were also evaluated as possible recipients. No application or action was initially requested of the qualified students to receive a CARES Act distribution. In addition to the amounts calculated by the formula, consideration was given to student requests submitted to Northwestern College for expenses incurred.
June 15, 2020 | Plans for Fall 2020 Message from administrators for traditional undergraduates and parents
President Greg Christy and Vice Presidents Dr. Nate Phinney (academic affairs) and Julie Elliott (student life) shared details about Northwestern’s plans for resuming on-campus life and learning in August.
May 22, 2020 | CARES Act Information about CARES Act disbursements
Northwestern College has completed the Department of Education Certification and Agreement (application) and received a total of $822,778 from the CARES Act. In accordance with federal regulations, at least 50% of these funds have been or will be distributed to students who incurred unexpected expenses when the semester was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $410,071 has been distributed to 767 students as of May 22, 2020.
Eligible students had to have filed a FAFSA for the 2019-2020 school year. Approximately 778 students met this qualification. Northwestern College then used a formula based on FAFSA results and travel distance from campus to determine the amount each qualified student would receive. Students whose study abroad semesters were interrupted were also evaluated as possible recipients. No application or action was initially requested of the qualified students to receive a CARES Act distribution.
May 13, 2020 | Plans for Fall 2020 Message from administrators for traditional undergraduates and parents
President Greg Christy and Vice Presidents Dr. Nate Phinney (academic affairs) and Julie Elliott (student life) shared Northwestern College's plans for safely resuming in-person classes and activities on campus this fall.
April 14, 2020 | Room and Board Refunds Message from President Christy for traditional undergraduates and parents
I hope you and your loved ones are well and adjusting to these odd and uncertain times. Like you, we are still grieving the disappointments of a semester that changed abruptly. However, I’ve been heartened by the many stories I hear of how you are rising to the challenge of learning and creating community online. #RaidersStandOut!
Thank you so much for your patience and understanding while we worked through the room and board refund process. Guidance from state and federal agencies has been changing daily, and sometimes hourly.
How will my refund be calculated?
Refunds will be calculated individually by student, and several factors will be included in those calculations:
- Your move-out date. If you moved out by March 18, your refund will be based on 45 days of unused room and board (42.5%). For students who petitioned to continue living on-campus after March 18, room and board will be prorated from your specific move-out date.
- Your rate for room and choice of meal plan.
- Your amount of gift aid (scholarships and grants) you received from NWC and other sources.
When will I get a check?
Each student's room and board adjustment will first be applied to any outstanding balance on your student account. You can expect to see this adjustment applied to your student account by April 17. You will receive a revised bill via email and will also be able to view your revised bill via the billing information tab of MyNWC.
Second, any remaining credit will be refunded via check to you. Processing of refund checks (if applicable) will take 1-2 weeks; checks will be sent to your home address. If you have a Parent PLUS Loan, the check will be sent to your parents.
Can I just apply my refund to next semester?
Federal regulations do not allow us to hold Federal Title IV credit balances to be applied to a term in the following academic year, even with your authorization. If you want to apply the refund to next semester’s tuition, we recommend you make a payment toward the fall semester as soon as you receive your refund check.
If you have any questions, please call the business office at 712-707-7125 or email Mariah McKinney, Student Accounts Manager. You may also call the financial aid office at 712-707-7131 or email Financial Aid. Please be patient with us as we respond to your questions. We continue to strive to provide the best customer service we can.
This has been a very challenging time for all of us, and it is not over yet. I know some of your family members have experienced furloughs, reductions in hours at work, or even lost jobs as a result of COVID-19 and its impact on the economy. As you can imagine, the loss of nearly half a semester’s room and board revenue has had a significant negative impact on the college’s finances. Nonetheless, I’ve been inspired by our community’s resilience. For example, those whose workloads have declined with the absence of students are assisting other departments—like some of our coaches who have been working with our housekeeping and grounds staff. That kind of pitching in—seeing needs and meeting them—is inspiring. I hope you are being inspired by acts of courage, generosity and faithfulness in your homes and communities as well.
April 7, 2020 | Commencement 2020 Message from President Christy for students, faculty and staff
Last week we asked graduating students to complete a survey letting us know how they would like to celebrate Commencement 2020. We heard from over 50% of those graduating, who told us they want to hold an in-person Commencement in late July (first choice) or during Raider Nation Celebration (second choice). My leadership team and I spent a considerable time discussing the options and made the following decisions:
- Postpone May Commencement. It appears that an in-person graduation ceremony in early May is not going to be possible.
- Tentatively plan for Commencement on Saturday, July 18. The majority of survey responses indicated a preference for a mid to late July event. While no one knows yet how long we’ll need to practice social distancing, we planned conservatively, choosing the latest possible date within that preferred timeline. We do not have a schedule of events for the day but will develop one as the date grows closer.
- Plan a back-up date for Commencement during Raider Nation Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 20. Should the pandemic prevent us from gathering on July 18, we will go with students’ second preference, holding Commencement during Raider Nation Celebration (Homecoming). Again, we do not have a schedule of events for that weekend but will develop one as it grows closer.
We are eager to celebrate this milestone with graduating students, and will keep everyone updated as plans move forward.
March 23, 2020 | FAQs Online Message from President Christy for traditional undergraduates, parents, faculty and staff
Classes have begun online today. I’m so proud of our faculty for their hard work last week transitioning their classes online. Thank you to Drs. Phinney and Hoey and all the faculty mentors who helped make that happen as smoothly as possible. Convocation on Friday was a great community event and, I think, gave us a glimpse of what the remainder of the semester will be like. We’ve got this!
Convocation Slido Questions
Many of you asked questions using Slido during the convocation. I’m sorry we couldn’t address those live, but since that time, we’ve answered the most common ones on our FAQ page. Take time to check it out. And if there’s a question you have that hasn’t been answered, please email ResponseTeam@nwciowa.edu, and we’ll get you an answer as soon as we can.
Below were the top two questions asked during Convocation:
- Will I get a refund for room and board? On Friday, March 20, I met virtually with the presidents of Iowa private colleges to discuss this and other pertinent questions. Like other Iowa private colleges, we continue to wait on final guidance from the federal and state government about regulations regarding financial aid and student room and meal plan account adjustments. We want to make sure we are handling all student accounts consistently and in accordance with federal and state regulations. We have begun preliminary calculations and will be ready to move forward quickly when this guidance is received. Please be patient with us—we want to make sure we do this well.
- What about commencement? Commencement is a very important rite of passage for Northwestern College students, and we will do something for graduates and their families at some point. Our goal and desire is to host some kind of event—but given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation, we are unsure what that will look like. Please know that this is as important to us as it is to those graduating, and we will do our best to mark this important occasion and life accomplishment.
Facility hours changes
You may have heard that there has been the first case of a person testing positive to COVID-19 in Sioux County. This person is a male in his mid-60s (not connected to Northwestern College) and is in isolation at the Orange City Area Health System Hospital. This development makes it even more important that we as a campus community take every measure we can with social distancing and working remotely. To slow the growth of this pandemic on campus, in Orange City and the greater Siouxland area, I have asked every employee possible to work from home. Because of that, Northwestern offices are still in operation but are closed to the general public.
The Rowenhorst Student Center mallway and post office will now be open the same daytime hours of the Hub, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Hub will also continue to be open for students and employees from 5 to 6:30 p.m., serving in a grab-n-go or takeout format.
A reminder in this transition
The weeks ahead may be challenging for all of us as we learn new normals—working and studying remotely, building community in a new and different way, striving for compassion and service in the midst of overwhelming needs in the community. I want to remind you of who you are and the family you belong to:
We're Raiders and Raiders stand out.
We're called to be different—
and to make a difference.
and succeed in ways that matter.
Raiders lead. And serve.
We're smart. And strong.
Courageous. And faithful.
We achieve—not for ourselves
but because excellence
honors God and serves others.
For our careers.
For God's call on our lives.
Because we're Raiders.
March 22, 2020 | Employees: Please work from home for the foreseeable future
Message to faculty and staff
As I am sure you have all heard by now, there has been the first case of a person testing positive to COVID-19 in Sioux County. This person is a male in his mid-60s and is in isolation at the Orange City Area Health System Hospital. This development makes it even more important that we as a campus community take every measure we can with social distancing and working remotely. While we do not know, there are likely others who will test positive—and possibly people among our faculty, staff or students. Let’s do all we can to slow the growth of this pandemic on campus, in Orange City and the greater Siouxland area.
As I shared with the Pandemic Response Team and President’s Cabinet at the end of last week, we need every employee who does not absolutely have to be on campus to work from home. We have some employees in areas like residence life, maintenance and campus dining that have to continue to provide services for our students living on campus. I would like every other employee possible to work from home. Please coordinate details or any questions you have with your supervisor.
The Pandemic Response Team will be meeting first thing tomorrow morning via Zoom, and I will provide you with further updates as needed. Please set up your desk extension to ring to your cell phone/home phone during regular business hours (or the hours you typically work) to ensure continuity of service and work. If you do not already know how to do this, please submit a helpdesk call or email, and computing services will work with you to set this up. We want to continue to respond in a timely manner to colleagues, students, parents, alumni, friends and vendors.
Classes begin online tomorrow. My hope is the vast majority of faculty have made arrangements to do their work from home. Faculty, thank you for your diligent work in moving all your face-to-face classes to online classes not only for this week but also in the weeks ahead. And thanks to Drs. Phinney and Hoey and all the faculty members who have served as Blackboard mentors for colleagues. Great job everyone!
May God guard and protect our students, their families and each of us and our loved ones during these uncertain times.
March 20, 2020 | Convocation
We gathered as a community online at 10 a.m. this morning to mark the start of our altered school year. Dean of Christian Formation Mark DeYounge shared a message about the assurance that is ours in Christ. After he encouraged the Raider family, vice presidents Dr. Nate Phinney (academic affairs) and Julie Elliott (student life) shared information about online classes, chapel and discipleship groups (D-groups).
Members of the campus ministry staff are praying for students and their families. All are invited to submit prayer requests.
March 19, 2020 | FAQ Page Online and Convocation Reminder
Message to traditional undergraduates, parents, faculty and staff
As we prepare to begin online instruction next Monday, we have created a new FAQ page for students, parents and employees that will be managed and updated regularly.
- FAQ page
- Email general questions to ResponseTeam@nwciowa.edu
- Email academic questions to email@example.com
Remember: Required Online Convocation on Friday & Class Check-In
Students, we are excited to have you join us again in community this Friday at 10 a.m. (CDT) for required Convocation online. Join us here. After Convocation, you will be required to check in with your classes. Professors will track everyone who checks in and follow up with those who don’t to ensure we are all ready for online classes to begin on Monday.
In this time of turmoil and frequent changes, let’s remember Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Raider Nation, with God’s help, we’ve got this. Stay courageous and faithful.
P.S. I hope this YouTube video by psychology professor Dr. Laird Edman lifts your spirit. While preparing for Monday’s online-format classes, he tested his video-posting skills with a performance of “I Will Survive: Coronavirus Version” (lyrics by Missouri University of Science and Technology professor Michael Bruening). Thanks, Laird!
March 17, 2020 | COVID-19 Precautionary Measures
Message to traditional undergraduates, faculty and staff
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds today issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency. This action from the Governor is intended to slow the community spread of the coronavirus as much as possible as well as provide the context for local government and healthcare facilities to move forward with additional measures meant to meet the ongoing worldwide health crisis.
As we transition to an online format for traditional undergraduate courses, that means a few more changes in how we do our work.
Gatherings Restricted to 10 People or Fewer
Please be conscientious and restrict gatherings to 10 people or fewer while observing social distancing practices. If you want to learn more about social distancing, please see the New York Times article published yesterday “Wondering about Social Distancing?” by Apoorva Mandavilli.
HUB Open for Students and Employees Only
Until further notice, the HUB will serve grab-and-go and take-out meals to students and employees only.
No Prospective Students on Campus
Starting Wednesday, March 18, we will suspend hosting prospective students on campus. Red 101 and Raider Day visits have already been cancelled. The admissions team is working on a virtual visit website and will let you know when that is launched. In the meantime, please provide them with support by contacting prospective students remotely if they ask you to.
Noon Prayer Daily this Week
Let's be courageous and faithful by fasting and praying together as a Raider Nation family. Each day this week (M-F), we’ll fast from our busyness for 15 minutes and gather online to center ourselves collectively as a people of God. Please join us from noon to 12:15 here .
Remember: Required Convocation on Friday & Class Check-in
Students, please remember to join us Friday at 10 a.m. for required Convocation online. Join us here. After Convocation, you will be required to check in with your classes. Professors will track everyone who checks in and follow up with those who don’t to ensure we are all ready for online classes to begin on Monday.
Employees Working from Home
At this time, we are not requiring employees to work from home, but your supervisor may ask you to work remotely or to work flexible hours that minimize exposure but still ensure that offices are covered if necessary. Employees in roles that cannot be performed remotely should continue coming to campus, but when you are here, please observe social distancing guidelines by meeting with others only as necessary and when you do, keeping gatherings to 10 or fewer people.
If you are concerned about your health and the danger coronavirus presents to you or a vulnerable member of your immediate family, then speak to Human Resources about a work-from-home accommodation.
The workload of some staff members will decrease significantly now that our campus has far fewer students and visitors. If this is the case for your position, please speak to your supervisor or division VP about alternative campus roles you can fill. Human Resources is compiling a list of offices/departments that can use extra help.
March 16, 2020 | COVID-19 Updates and Message from President Greg Christy
Message to traditional undergraduates, parents, faculty and staff
In order to ensure you receive all your email communication, please white-list firstname.lastname@example.org.
Easter Break Adjusted
Given the reduced class schedule for this week, we plan to adjust Easter break. Classes will be held Thursday, April 9, and Monday, April 13. Campus offices will be closed and classes will not meet on Good Friday, April 10.
We are still discussing commencement and what that may look like—no decisions have been made.
Beginning this week, buildings will run an altered schedule through the end of semester. DeWitt Theatre Arts Center and the Korver Visual Arts Center will be closed. Ramaker Center, DeWitt Learning Commons, Zwemer, and the RSC offices and mallway will be open regular business hours Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.
Recreation Facilities Closed until Further Notice
Juffer Fieldhouse, RSC Fitness Center and Bultman Center will be closed until further notice. The RSC offices and mallway will maintain regular business hours.
President’s Cabinet and the Pandemic Response Team continue to meet regularly. We are working through many issues and ask for your patience as we communicate decisions to the community. In addition to making important decisions, we are also holding you—our students—before the Lord in prayer.
May the Lord bless you and keep you as you navigate these unchartered waters. We will miss you here on campus but we look forward to seeing you again in the future.
March 13, 2020 | Northwestern Transitioning to Online Classes
Message to all students, parents, faculty and staff
As you all know, we have been monitoring the global outbreak of COVID-19. Our highest priority is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of every member of our community. We are also working collaboratively with our local health system and the Iowa Department of Public Health as we seek guidance and contribute to the general welfare of our communities.
We have taken a number of actions to keep our community safe and have shared those actions with you in previous emails. The expanded Pandemic Response Team met again today to evaluate the current situation and made weighty decisions for preventive action.
- By the close of the day today, Friday, March 13, all traditional undergraduate on-campus classes and instruction are canceled through Thursday, March 19. The campus will reconvene virtually (online) on Friday, March 20, at 10 a.m. for required convocation. All instructors will offer their classes online starting Monday, March 23, through the rest of the semester. Follow-up information will come via email.
- All student activities, campus ministries and campus events are canceled by the close of the day tomorrow, Saturday, March 14.
- Normal campus operations will continue at this time. Faculty and staff are expected to work as usual. However, there may be some modifications to campus services and to work assignments. Faculty and staff needing accommodations for health reasons should contact human resources.
- Recreational facilities (Juffer Fieldhouse, RSC Fitness Center and the Bultman Center) will be temporarily closed beginning Saturday, March 14. Date to reopen and hours will be determined and communicated at a later time. RSC offices and the mall area will be open during regular business hours starting on Monday.
- Campus visits for prospective students will be available on a limited basis.
Current Graduate and Online Courses
If you are currently enrolled in any online courses, there are no changes. They will operate as previously planned with no break next week.
Residential students are asked to move out of the residence halls/apartments as quickly as is reasonably possible, but no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18.
- You will need to complete a check-out with your RA or RD prior to departure, and can do so as early as this evening.
- At the time of check-out, you will need to turn in your room keys and demonstrate that all personal belongings have been removed and that the room/apartment has been cleaned.
We recognize that there may be some students in specific circumstances whose situations may necessitate extending their on-campus housing. Circumstances could include students expected to stay in the area for practicum, student teaching, internship, etc., as well as those whose homes are in areas where there is widespread community transmission or travel restrictions and those living with someone who is immunosuppressed or has the virus. If any of these situations apply to you, petition to continue living on-campus beyond 5 p.m. on Wednesday by filling out a form here by noon on Monday, March 16.
Campus dining will remain open for regular hours through Monday, March 16. Food service will be available in the following weeks for those students who must remain on campus. Details will be sent to students remaining on campus.
Students who do not expect that they will have access to a personal computer, other device or Internet connectivity are encouraged to contact the helpdesk to discuss their resource needs and how the college may assist.
Chapel, Student Activities and Events
Effective by the end of the day on Saturday, March 14, we are suspending all on-campus events—this includes student activities, campus ministry gatherings and Christian formation events (chapel included). Reservations for external groups using campus facilities are being further evaluated. The Christian formation credit policy requirements are being suspended for this semester only, but we will continue to offer voluntary online opportunities to help the NWC undergraduate community grow spiritually and stay in touch with each other.
Required Online Convocation
We plan to live out our vision of Christ-centered work for the common good while being in community online. All traditional undergraduate students are expected to attend virtually (online) a livestream event on Friday, March 20, at 10 a.m. At that time we will worship together, share answers to questions and receive additional guidance for the transition to online instruction. Details and a link for joining the convocation will be sent at a later time.
We are discussing commencement, and will make and communicate a decision about that at a later time.
We realize that we likely have not addressed all of your questions with this email. Should you have additional concerns, please use the following emails:
- Campus Housing: Talk with your RD
- Student life/activities: Email Julie Elliott, Vice President of Student Life
- Online courses: Email email@example.com, and a dean or the VPAA will answer your question
- Computer Need or Technical Question: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- International students: Email Kevin McMahan, Associate Dean of Intercultural Development
- Other concerns: Email email@example.com
March 12, 2020 | Latest Coronavirus Updates
Message to all students, parents, faculty and staff
Northwestern College continues to monitor the risks associated with the coronavirus—now a global pandemic—in light of its mission and vision of preparing students for Christ-centered work for the common good. The college’s disposition at this time favors judicious decision-making within the context of guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health. It is our responsibility to do what is measured and necessary to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus both in our immediate and larger communities.
International Travel Suspended
Based on the rapidly changing global concerns for the spread of COVID-19, Northwestern is suspending all college-sponsored outbound international travel, effective immediately through June 30, 2020. This includes Summer of Service and summer study abroad trips. At this time, we are not suspending domestic travel.
Our students in Spain with Trinity Christian’s study abroad program will return in the next two weeks. Students who are currently out of the country on other college-sponsored travel are not being required to return at this time; however, we are assisting them if they would like to return. We continue to monitor closely those students and the countries they are in.
If you intend to travel internationally for personal reasons, please be aware that upon your return you may be expected to self-quarantine for 7 days or more at home prior to returning to campus. Please make your residence hall director aware of your plans so they can work with you. Faculty and staff, please work with your dean or supervisor.
Preparation for Possible Transitioning to Online Classes
While we hope that it will not be necessary to have our campus classes convene online like a number of other colleges have done, the faculty is fully engaged in preparations for this possibility. Attention is also being given to important exceptions to online delivery of courses, especially for students who are in programs leading to state licensure that require practicums or field placement hours. Faculty are actively communicating and working through areas of concern should this transition be necessary.
Continue to Monitor Your Health
As we have stated before, please actively monitor your health status, particularly if you have traveled recently:
- Should you experience the symptoms of COVID-19 please call your local health center, describe your symptoms and follow the health professionals’ recommendations regarding if you should go in or stay home. COVID-19 symptoms include: fever 100.4 degrees or higher, cough and shortness of breath.
- Students: Contact your professors to let them know if you are ill and cannot attend class. Please confine yourself to your room and notify your Resident Director that you are unwell.
- Faculty and staff: If you are unwell, stay home and follow standard procedures for an illness resulting in an absence from work.
We will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, the Iowa Department of Public Health and Orange City Area Health System. As you have seen around the country, this is a rapidly changing situation. We will make decisions and communicate them to you as quickly as we can. As a reminder, if we cancel any in-person classes or events, students will receive a notification via the Northwestern alert system, the entire community will receive an email with information from the President’s Office, and we will add the updates to this webpage.
March 9, 2020 | COVID-19 Update
Message to traditional undergraduates, parents, faculty and staff
There are now three cases of the coronavirus in Iowa, as well as reported cases in Minnesota and Nebraska. We are excited about your return to campus this week, but as you get ready to return from spring break, we ask you to carefully evaluate your health. If you are unwell, please delay your return to campus until you are feeling better.
If you have been traveling—whether overseas or within the U.S.—please pay close attention to your health status.
- If you are unwell, stay home and plan to return to campus only when you are feeling better.
- Should you experience the symptoms of COVID-19 please call your local health center, describe your symptoms and follow the health professionals’ recommendations regarding if you should go in or stay home. Symptoms include: fever 100.4 degrees or higher, cough and shortness of breath.
- Students: Contact your professors to let them know you are ill and cannot attend class. If you are unable to stay home, please confine yourself to your room and notify your resident director that you are unwell.
- Faculty and staff: If you are unwell, follow standard procedures for an illness resulting in an absence from work.
Members of President’s Cabinet, the Core Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Risk Assessment Team and the Pandemic Response Team continue to actively monitor any possible future cases of COVID-19 among the Northwestern population and notify the community appropriately. Should there be a need to cancel any in-person classes or events, the decision will be made by President’s Cabinet in coordination with CERT, the Pandemic Response Team, and the Iowa Department of Health. Students will receive a notification via the Northwestern alert system.
At this time, there are no other adjustments to the day-to-day operation of the college. We will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, the Iowa Department of Health and Orange City Area Health System and provide updates on this page as more information becomes available.
March 4, 2020 | COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Northwestern
Message to all students, parents, faculty and staff
There are no reported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iowa at this time and relatively few in the United States—the risk level to the Northwestern community is low. However, we care deeply about the well-being of our students, and we continue to monitor the news closely and to make plans should the situation change.
Overseas SSPs to Return Home Early. In light of guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that colleges consider postponing or canceling student foreign travel due to the rapid spread of the virus, and the associated travel logistic risks/variables, Northwestern’s Risk Assessment Team met Tuesday afternoon to begin the process of working to get our overseas Spring Service Partnerships teams home earlier than originally planned.
We are sorry that they’ll not be able to serve through spring break, but given the dynamic situation and the possibility of travel restrictions or other challenges in returning if the coronavirus outbreak would escalate in Europe over the next several days, we feel it’s wise to follow the CDC guidance at this time. The Amsterdam team will return on Thursday and the Dublin team will return on Saturday. Campus housing will be available to students if they are not able to go home or to another family member’s home.
Health Monitoring. Faculty, staff and students who have done any traveling over spring break—whether overseas or within the U.S.—are asked to pay close attention to their health status upon returning:
- If you are unwell, stay home.
- Should you experience the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, and shortness of breath), please call your local health center, describe your symptoms and follow the health professionals’ recommendations regarding if you should go in or stay home.
- If in Orange City, call the clinic at 712-737-2000.
Reviewing and Planning. Members of President’s Cabinet, the Core Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Risk Assessment Team and Pandemic Response Team met today to review the current global status and are coordinating with the Iowa Department of Health and the Orange City Area Health System.
We will actively monitor any possible future cases of COVID-19 among the Northwestern population and notify the community appropriately. Should there be a need to cancel any in-person classes or events, the decision will be made by President’s Cabinet in coordination with CERT, the Pandemic Response Team, and the Iowa Department of Health. Students will receive a notification via the Northwestern Alert system.
At this time, there are no other adjustments to the day-to-day operation of the college. We will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, the Iowa Department of Health and the Orange City Area Health System and provide updates as more information becomes available. We will add information on this webpage as warranted.
February 28, 2020 | Coronavirus Readiness Update
Message to all students, faculty and staff
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) a “global health emergency.” Northwestern’s Core Emergency Response Team has been monitoring Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization reports on the coronavirus since late January. As in past years for outbreaks like H1N1 influenza, Northwestern has deployed its Pandemic Response Team and Plan and continues to closely monitor CDC recommendations.
As of Feb. 28, confirmed COVID-19 cases have now topped 83,800 globally, and while 94% of them have been in China, the number of countries with infections has been increasing rapidly. South Korea has more than 2,300 cases while Italy reports 655. There have been 60 confirmed cases in the U.S., 43 of which originated on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. There have been no confirmed cases in Iowa.
We have been carefully observing the global health situation, particularly as it pertains to students traveling for Spring Service Partnerships. International teams are going to Dublin, Amsterdam and Mexico, and we have 9 teams traveling in the United States, including California. We continue to be vigilant in order to respond appropriately and in a timely manner to any situation that could risk the health and safety of members of the Northwestern community.
If you are traveling for spring break, please take time to evaluate your travel plans and the risk your destination may pose for the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control’s website, cdc.gov, is a great resource. Two particularly helpful webpages address prevention and treatment and what to do if you are sick with COVID-19. In particular, note these preventive actions that should be taken to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
February 6, 2020 | Coronavirus Readiness
Message to all students, faculty and staff
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus (2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease) a “global health emergency.” At this time, there are more than 24,500 confirmed cases globally. Most of them are in China, where 491 deaths have been reported, but 25 countries have reported cases, including the U.S., where there are currently 12 confirmed cases (none in Iowa). As part of Northwestern’s Core Emergency Response Team, and as in past years for outbreaks like H1N1 influenza, Northwestern has begun deploying its Pandemic Response Team and Plan and is monitoring closely the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After speaking with our community health professionals, we feel the threat to our campus is low at this time. However, we are monitoring the situation closely and making preparations should measures need to be taken to ensure the health and safety of members of the Northwestern community.
For more information about the coronavirus, visit cdc.gov.
*Note that the numbers here are based on information from the WHO and CDC at this time and are changing rapidly.
If you have questions about Northwestern's coronavirus response, please contact Duane Beeson, Director of Marketing & Communications and a member of the Pandemic Response Team.