NWCCD trustees approve reopening plan, emphasize flexible approach

Northern Wyoming Community College District will resume on-campus classes and activities at the start of the fall semester on Aug. 24. While the District plans to begin classes face-to-face, it has developed a highly flexible plan to protect the health of students, staff and the public while operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At their board meeting Tuesday night, NWCCD trustees approved the District’s plan for reopening presented by President Dr. Walt Tribley. The 20-page plan outlines a phased approach with specific guidance for students, faculty and staff.

According to Tribley, the plan is dynamic and flexible to allow college officials to respond quickly in the event of virus transmission on campus or increased community spread while limiting disruptions to education. Students can expect a mix of in-person, online and hybrid class formats this fall, depending on their area of study. The District will transition to more or less of each delivery method depending on local COVID-19 conditions and the advice of health experts. It will continue to align with local, state and national health guidelines and adapt as conditions change.

“By starting the semester face-to-face but also utilizing online and hybrid formats, both faculty and students will be prepared to pivot quickly should we need to switch to online delivery due local conditions,” said Tribley. “We plan to hold in-person classes as much as possible, but we must prepare for every possible scenario.”

The plan takes into account that each campus may operate somewhat differently based on local conditions. All NWCCD students, staff and faculty will be required to conduct daily self-administered wellness screenings, maintain social distancing, and use face coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible. In addition, on-campus housing at Sheridan College and Gillette College will be limited to single occupancy rooms and increased sanitation measures will continue on all campuses.

“We must all continue to take necessary precautions to limit the spread of the virus,” said Tribley. “Our goal is to keep everyone as safe as possible while continuing to provide top-notch educational opportunities, and we sincerely appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience in this effort.”

NWCCD will enter Phase III of their reopening strategy on Monday, July 20. This will mark the full reopening of campuses, including in-person class activity for students who were unable to complete spring 2020 class requirements due to the need to be in-person and/or utilize specialized equipment. While all offices and campus buildings will be open to the public, dining facilities will remain closed to the public during this phase. Outside events and activities will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

As the District continues their phased approach to reopening, they ask visitors to all campuses to adhere to posted safety protocols to protect the health of employees, visitors and communities. The full reopening plan can be viewed online at www.sheridan.edu/updates.