Northwest University Update - July 13, 2021
Dear NU Community,
On Thursday, Governor Inslee released a proclamation with guidelines for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE), like Northwest. As most of us are aware, the infection numbers for COVID-19 have stopped dropping due to the new Delta variant. With high rates of vaccination and previous infection, our country has reached a substantial level of immunity, yet many people remain vulnerable, and as a result, the CDC and Washington state authorities continue to lay out guidelines and policies for higher education institutions to follow. We believe that we must operate within the guidelines for various reasons, ranging from our sincere concern to keep a healthy community to our need to honor our legal responsibilities.
I have said before that Northwest University will not require vaccination unless the State mandates us to do so. That reality has now fully emerged. But for students and employees who desire to be exempt from vaccination, there is good news.
The new Proclamation makes it clear that our best choice is to require the vaccine, yet at the same time, we will grant an exemption to anyone in our community who requests an exemption for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons. Taking this approach gives us more freedoms on campus and for the student experience. We are on record in our encouragement to take the vaccine, but as always, we will make accommodations for anyone who believes they should not do so. If we do not go through this process of requiring the vaccine and allowing exemptions, we will be required to monitor the status and behavior of all students more closely and to enforce compliance with social distancing and mask wearing more stringently. You can read the Governor’s full proclamation here to see the extent of the conditions imposed on institutions that don’t require the vaccine.
Anyone who is not vaccinated will still be required by the state to wear a mask when indoors on campus and not alone in a room. We will assert that requirement by posting signs around campus to remind everyone of this state requirement. Vaccinated individuals are also welcome to mask if they feel more comfortable—there will be no stigma with either option.
What this means for you? Before returning to campus (or as soon as possible if you are already on campus) please log into Eagle, click on My Profile, and update the My Health page by entering your COVID vaccination dates or claiming an exemption. If you are vaccinated, you will be required to enter the dates of each shot. If you are claiming an exemption, you may enter that information in the Eagle My Health portal as well.
We truly wish the pandemic were over and that we would not be required by the state to take any more safety measures, but that is not the case yet. Keep praying with us that this pandemic would end soon and that full normalcy can return.
Looking to Fall
• As we announced in May, there will be no remote-only students or faculty members in our campus based programs.
• In the Fall HyFlex will no longer be used regularly in classes. Instead, faculty members will record all classes through Panopto, allowing sick students and non-vaccinated students who are quarantining due to an exposure to remain up to date with class material.
• As in the past when faculty members are ill for any reason, they will cancel class or find a substitute. However, mildly symptomatic faculty who still want to teach and unvaccinated faculty members who are in quarantine will meet with their classes over Zoom.
• HyFlex technology will remain in place should there be a scenario that requires a campus quarantine. This would be an institution-wide decision. Individual faculty members will not have the option to use HyFlex for their classes.
• We won’t be using the #CampusClear app, but it is still important for all of us to be mindful to stay home if we have any symptoms.
Thank you for reading this document carefully and understanding both our words and our hearts. We love and respect every member of our community and would never want to violate your freedom to make your own decisions about COVID-19 and the vaccines that have been developed to prevent it.
As I think about COVID-19 and the pain and difficulties it has brought, my heart turns to what God said to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
I do not think God sent COVID-19 as a judgment on the world. But I do believe that the same God who promised Israel that he would see their repentance and hear their prayers and forgive their sins and heal their land has never changed. The same God who loved the world so much he sent the only Son of God into the world, not to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him—still loves the world today and longs to see men and women reconciled to him. The same God will see our repentance and heal our land if we call out to him. I hope you will all join me in prayer for a mighty wave of grace to bring us all into alignment with God’s saving, healing plan.