COVID-19 Community Update – March 12, 2020
Dear Northwest University community member,
Greetings from a lonely campus! So much of the public discussion lately has been about "social distancing," and I can't think of anything more unnatural for the people of Northwest University. Our forte has always been the close relationships and social gatherings that makes Christian community thrive. While we urge everyone to listen closely to what the health authorities are saying about social distancing in terms of physical contact and personal space, at the same time I would urge everyone to stay in close contact with your friends and classmates on social media, text messaging, and (don't call me old) even telephone calls! Hebrews 10:24 encourages us not to give up the habit of meeting together, and even if we can't do that in terms of physical presence, we can stay in touch in other ways. We need each other at this time of uncertainty.
- Some students have asked why we aren't closing dorms and food service. Some of our students have no other place to go besides their residence hall room and no place to eat except the university cafeteria. We have a duty to serve them, and we plan to do so. Public Health—Seattle & King County has not asked universities to close their residence halls and cafeterias. If they should make that directive at some future time, we have a back-up plan to make sure everyone is housed and fed, but we believe keeping our residence halls and cafeteria open is the right course of action at the present time.
- We have also made arrangements with Clocktree, a HIPAA-compliant communications technology platform that will allow our staff to offer counseling to our students. If you are scheduled for counseling sessions, please check your email for more information. If you need to schedule a session, please call the Wellness Center at (425) 889-5282 to get more information.
- Several students have asked about how they can be sure to fulfill their Spiritual Life Credit. As I hinted in an earlier communication, I want to announce plainly now that all students will be given full Spiritual Life Credit this semester. Campus Ministries staff will keep posting new material to www.northwestudevo.com and on the NU Devo App, which is available on the iTunes Store and on the Google Apps Store. Chapel services will return when face-to-face classes resume, and students will be asked to attend faithfully with the credit requirement suspended until fall semester.
- Classes will continue to meet remotely until further notice. Students should expect their classes to meet on Zoom at the same time and day as their normal schedule dictates.
- Our athletic conference has cancelled all intercollegiate competitions and games for the next two weeks as of March 12.
- Many Northwest University employees are working at home now with the permission of their supervisors. We want to encourage all employees to observe the social distancing practices recommended by the CDC, including remaining out of congregate settings (public places such as shopping centers, movie theatres, stadiums), avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining a distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.
Keep washing your hands regularly, be serious about disease prevention, take care of the people around you, and don't lose your sense of humor. God is still on the throne, and normal lifestyles will return within a few months. Let's try to grow spiritually during this time of crisis so that when normalcy returns, we'll be better able than ever to make the most of it.
Joseph Castleberry, Ed.D.
President, Northwest University