25 Aug 2020

NWIC COVID-19 Update 08/21/2020

Winter quarter 2021:

·       First, for Winter quarter 2021, all classes will be distance learning only; there will be no in person, face-to-face instruction in winter quarter.  This decision was made based a recommendation from the academic leadership and departments and after consulting with Dr. Christina Toledo, Public Health Director/Director of Education, Lummi Tribal Health Center on Thursday, August 20.  Based on projected health trends, including the upcoming flu season, the Lummi Nation is not expected to move into Phase 4 of the reopening plan for at least another 6 months. 

·       NWIC courses are required to be offered distance learning only in Phases 1-3.  Currently, the Lummi Nation remains in Phase 2, which was extended to Friday, Sept. 4, 2020.  See attachment.


Spring quarter 2021:

·       As for the Spring quarter 2021, the final determinations will be made in October of whether courses will remain distance learning only/no in-person classes, or a combination of distance learning and in-person classes. 

Phased, Reopening Plan – Group One, tentative, Tuesday, September 8, 2020:


·       Group One—The tentative plan is working with identified buildings/departments/areas (generally called Group One) will return to campus to directly meet the needs and goals of new and returning students, and maybe former students, in September. Group One would include the Center for Student Success (admissions, financial aid, enrollment, advisors, etc.), IS/IT, Business Office, Maintenance/custodial; Eagle’s Market; Security; President’s Office; and HR.  The tentative goal is to have Group One return to campus on Tuesday, September 8 (Monday, Sept. 7 is Labor Day).   

·       Note, all areas above, with the exception of the Center for Student Success (CSS), Eagle’s Market, President’s Office, and Human Resources (HR) are currently essential staff—meaning, approved to work on campus up to 20 hours/week since March. However, the designation of “essential staff” will end on Friday, September 4, 2020 as well as emergency pay. 

·       All other employees have been working remotely since mid-March.  Right now, the essential staff allowed on campus comprises roughly 8% of NWIC employees/workforce.  This proposed expanded plan to have Group One work on campus, with a hybrid, staggered schedule (i.e., 20 hours on campus/ 20 hrs. remotely), would comprise roughly 25% of the workforce.  This is what is meant by a smaller, phased reopening—8% to 25%–rather than opening the College all at once.

·       Additionally, this plan also means that the doors of each building would be locked and any in-person interactions would be by appointment only.  The Lummi Public Health Team (LPHT)/Dr. Toledo will be scheduled to do a walk-through as a pre-step before reopening.  We also learned that all NWIC employees are eligible for COVID-19 testing at the Lummi Health Clinic prior to returning to campus. Testing details will be shared soon. 

·       Again, this is where the guidance from the LPHT is imperative in terms of making sure we are “move-in ready” – meaning, each area is safe to return with protocols—in order to provide needed services for students/community, while at the same time maintaining the health and safety of employees.  This tentative plan for Group One to return on September 8 hinges on the review and guidance from LPHT before implementation and Board review at the next meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 2. To be clear: if we’re not ready by Sept. 8 then we will adjust the date until we are ready. 


Residence Life Center/Dorms:

·       No decision has been made if the Residence Life Center/dorms will remain closed during Winter quarter 2021.  An announcement will be made when the details are determined. 


Additional details of this tentative reopening plan will be further fleshed out when the building templates are submitted and reviewed.  Please turn in your completed templates no later than Friday, August 28, 2020.


We appreciate all of your continued patience and support during this time. Please email us if you have any questions, concerns, or comments at pio@nwic.edu, thank you.