COVID-19 Community Update – March 24, 2020
Dear Northwest University community member,
Yesterday, Gov. Jay Inslee gave the long-expected order for Washingtonians to "Stay at home, stay healthy" for the next 15 days, starting on Wednesday. The order does not affect Northwest University very much at this time, since we have already shut down all offices on campus and requested every employee to work at home if their job allows it. As permitted in the governor's order, essential personnel, such as security, maintenance, and food services and a few others, will continue to come to campus to do their work, but will observe appropriate social distancing rules.
Students, whether on campus or back in their family homes or elsewhere, should be diligent as well about practicing social distance. Our Christian testimony is at stake. When people see us fraternizing too closely, they see it as defiance of the authorities and reckless endangerment of our fellow citizens. You do not want to be interpreted that way. Please show others you care by following these guidelines.
The library remains open for student use, as I mentioned in a note to students yesterday, although we have closed it to the public. We have similarly closed campus fields and athletic courts to the public, but students who follow social distancing rules may use them. (The rules don't prohibit being within 6 feet of each other, but rather, extended closeness, i.e. more than 10 minutes.) A word to the wise is sufficient.
We will now stop sending daily updates, but we will keep in touch regularly. We enjoy an awesome community, and we want to keep it active. Thanks to so many who have sent such kind notes of encouragement to me and my team. The students and parents and board members and donors of Northwest University make me incredibly proud by their responses to this challenge.
Psalm 24:23–24 asks "Who may ascend to the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his Holy Place?" It answers, "The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in idols and never tells lies." That's a good word for today! So, wash your hands regularly for intervals of 20 seconds, and sing "The Doxology" or "Amazing Grace" or "Create in me a Clean Heart (Psalm 51)" while you do it. You'll keep your hands clean, and you'll also purify your heart. You can wash your hands too much, so put some lotion on them to remoisturize them. But you can't really purify your heart too much. Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" So don't trust in idols—especially not the idol of money or success. Don't make an idol out of the world as it was before. Let the idol of "yesterday" go. Trust in the God for whom all times are now, who is "an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). And most of all, don't lie. Especially don't lie to yourself. The past wasn't as great as you might imagine it, and the same God who was with us yesterday will be with us tomorrow. You absolutely can make it through the struggles of today and tomorrow.
Joseph Castleberry, Ed.D.
President, Northwest University