COVID-19 Community Update – March 16, 2020
Dear Northwest University community member,
America—and especially Washington State—has decided to fight back hard against COVID-19 to minimize its health impact on vulnerable people! That is a good and noble decision, and Northwest University is fully onboard with it. Unavoidably, this fight will require sacrifices from everyone. It is going to be very expensive, tightening everyone's personal budget and wreaking havoc on small businesses and institutions. But we trust in God to get us through this crisis, and we have decided to be as generous as we can with our people. When the virus has passed, we'll still have each other. Here are some updates:
- I just received word that we have our first confirmed case of novel coronavirus 2019 infection. One of our traditional undergraduate students tested positive for the virus. The good news is that the student has recovered and is feeling well. We cannot legally or ethically share the name of the student, but we are in the process now of informing everyone who shared a class or was a close associate of the student of their potential exposure. If you hear from us directly, you will receive instructions about what to do to safeguard your health. We will almost certainly have other cases over the following weeks and months, so let us pray that they will all resolve as well as this one has done. In general, you should self-quarantine if you have fever, cough, or shortness of breath or contact with a person who has been exposed to COVID-19. If you do self-quarantine, please notify the Wellness Center at (425) 889-5282. If you are an employee, you must also notify your supervisor and the Senior Administrator over your area. If you are a student, you should notify all your professors.
- Students and parents are naturally asking whether Northwest University will offer refunds for room and board expenses. Yes, we will provide prorated refunds, and we will announce options soon. We want to be as generous as possible to our students.
- Despite the closure of restaurants for dine-in services in Washington yesterday, the cafeteria will continue to prepare take-out meals for students who remain on campus as Governor Inslee's order permits.
As I have mentioned before, social distancing does not come easily in our warm Christian culture. Everyone should understand by now that we are choosing social distancing as a measure to "flatten the curve" of the COVID-19 disease. In other words, instead of having a huge number of cases in a short time and thus overwhelming hospitals and costing many lives due to limited equipment and resources, we are trying to spread the cases out over a longer time, giving hospitals a better opportunity to treat victims with the greatest possible individual care. Social distancing will save the lives of many of our most vulnerable family members and friends. So let's not waste this very costly moment. When in public, try to stay 6 feet away from people (never staying closer for more than 10 minutes). Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with warm water and soap. Disinfect surfaces routinely. Live like you are on a mission from God to save the people around you, because that's what this is.
We will be communicating more details as they emerge.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Joseph Castleberry, Ed.D.
President, Northwest University