Moving Forward – NWCCD’s Response to COVID-19
NWCCD is taking steps to protect our students and employees while operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We have contingencies and alternatives in place, knowing the situation is fluid and can change rapidly. We will remain in compliance with Wyoming Public Health and Safety Ordinances and will continue to consult local health officers regularly as we move forward.
Updated Campus Health Guidelines
- Masks / face coverings will be optional.
- Social distancing is recommended whenever possible. If unable to maintain a distance of six feet for 15 minutes or more, masks are recommended but not required.
- Plexiglas shields that were installed in response to COVID-19 safety protocols will remain in place for now. Some signage, including floor stickers, will be removed.
- Internal and external events at all NWCCD locations will continue to follow capacity limitations and food service guidelines as recommended by the most recent orders from Governor Gordon.
- Any event and/or meeting which includes members of the public will continue to require exception requests filed through our Office of Risk Management, and will require approval from the President and possibly local and state Departments of Health.
- Official college travel will continue to require proper exception request permission.
- If you are feeling ill or experiencing any COVID-19 symptom, we ask that you stay home. All campus procedures regarding instructions for if you are feeling ill and/or are awaiting a COVID-19 test result will continue unchanged.
If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19
If you have or develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself immediately and contact a health care professional. If you are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms of illness please do not come to campus.
If you are a student, notify the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Sarah Aksamit, who will assist you with next steps, 307-675-0123, email@example.com.
If you are an employee, contact Human Resources for further guidance, 307-675-0571, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates from NWCCD President, Dr. Walter Tribley from March – June 2020
June 9, 2020
I am pleased to share with you that we will be starting Phase II of our plan to reopen our campuses on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. This means we will be inviting current and future students to our campuses to meet in-person with college personnel regarding fall registration.
Appointments are recommended, but not necessary, and services will remain available over the phone or through a Zoom appointment as well.
On each campus, visitors will only be able to enter through main entrances, indicated by signage, and social distancing will be required at all times. Enrollment counselors will maintain a six-foot distance from visitors, and face coverings will be optional. Hand sanitizer will be readily available to visitors, and spaces will be cleaned between use.
In-person services available beginning Wednesday include:
- Business Office
- Placement Testing
- General Enrollment Questions
Once again, I thank you for your patience. We must continue to support each other and to focus on meeting our goals. Please continue to follow all recommended safety guidelines to help keep our campus communities as safe as possible as we move forward.
June 1, 2020
We continue to look at the ways in which we operate in light of the continued COVID-19 emergency. Our commitment to providing quality education for all is as strong as ever. We are taking steps to protect our employees and those we serve and are reopening our campuses in a phased approach over the coming weeks.
While our academic year will look a bit different, we’re eager to welcome students back to campus this fall.
Here are a few important updates regarding our fall semester:
- ALL CLASSES, including in-person and regularly scheduled online classes, will begin one week earlier than originally planned. This means classes will start on Monday, Aug. 24,2020.
- In-person instruction will conclude prior to Thanksgiving. The last day of in-person classes will be Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.
- Students will be able to travel home over Thanksgiving break and finish any additional class requirements online after the break. The official last day of class for the fall semester will be Dec. 10, 2020.
- These adjustments are necessary in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially during peak cold and flu season.
- In addition to this adapted fall schedule, other safety measures will be in place for fall semester, including social distancing and increased cleaning protocols.
As we move forward, we are preparing for an entire academic year where concern over COVID-19 affects our educational programming. We are looking at ways to operate residence halls and dining facilities safely. We are exploring how to offer student events in new ways, including virtually. Smaller classes will likely need to be held in larger rooms to allow greater physical distancing, which in turn may require scheduling changes. Other events, gatherings and activities may need to be modified or reduced in size to mitigate transmission risk. And, we’ll all be asked to take steps as individuals to protect our community, such as staying home if we don’t feel well.
While these seem like big challenges, we will navigate them together. I continue to be amazed and thankful for the innovation and passion shown by our employees.
Students, we can’t wait to welcome you back to campus this fall!
April 8, 2020
I know as this health emergency continues, we are all experiencing a little fatigue of one type or another. While I cannot directly affect or help with many of the challenges you each face, I CAN help a tiny bit with the reality which is e-mail fatigue.
You have my word, I will only be reaching out via email when I have critical items that are new or different from some item that has been previously shared.
Today, I have a few of these items to share:
Spring 2020 Classes
- Online classes are by and large going very well. Keep it up!
- All classes that still require face-to-face instruction and/or the use of equipment or space on campus WILL have opportunities to finish. We can think of it as an “Extended Session.” This special class time, or session, cannot begin until the restrictions set by Governor Gordon are lifted and we are able to safely proceed. The details may differ class-by-class or program-by-program. Instructors will provide details to all students enrolled in their classes.
Summer 2020 Classes
- All summer classes will be online, and will begin on or after June 8, 2020 and end no later than Aug. 14, 2020.
- Registration for summer classes is open now!
Fall 2020 Classes
- Registration for fall classes is also open now. Students must make an appointment with an advisor to create an educational plan.
- Fall classes begin Aug. 31, 2020. (This date was changed to Aug. 24, 2020. Read the June 1 message above.)
Thank you, once more, for your commitment to education, your dedication to your friends and family, and your willingness to forge ahead.
April 5, 2020
In just a few weeks, virtually every one of us has completely changed how we live our lives due to COVID-19. As you prepare to begin your courses again tomorrow, please take some time to plan out your new daily routine and establish goals for the remainder of the semester. In order to be successful during these challenging times, it is more important than ever to have clear expectations and a set schedule.
One goal that applies to all of you is to successfully complete all of your courses this semester. If you are a member of the Class of 2020, you have your eye on completing your degree or certificate and starting your career or transferring to another college or university. Yes, COVID-19 has made this more difficult, but you will be successful as long as you keep your goals at the forefront of everything you do each day.
Please know that you do not have to do this alone. Even though our campuses remain closed until further notice, faculty and staff are working remotely to support you in every way possible. Our Writing Centers, Library Services, Tutoring and other services continue to be available to you… just in a slightly different way. For details about how to access all of the support services available to you, please visit our Student Support Services, Spring 2020 page (you must login to access).
We are here to help you succeed. Our staff and faculty care deeply about you and are always available if you should need anything. Please take care of yourself, reach out often, and take advantage of support available.
March 26, 2020
We are all working in a fluid and unusual time. The information we have changes quickly, and we are doing our best to stay true to our educational mission. In a press conference yesterday, Governor Gordon issued a plea for the people of Wyoming to stay home whenever possible. His full address can be found here. While he stopped short of issuing an executive order, his message is clear. We must all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, which means remaining at home unless absolutely necessary.
In light of this directive, we must alter a few of our plans.
- All courses moving forward utilizing online tools will begin as planned on Monday, April 6.
- Any face-to-face portion of classes requiring students to travel to campus will remain on hold until these restrictions have been lifted. Students can still expect to hear from their instructors no later than Friday, March 27.
- Residence halls will remain closed until these restrictions have been lifted.
- Those on-campus students wishing to move out of their residence hall will be allowed to do so once the restrictions are lifted. More information will be communicated from Campus Life and Housing personnel.
- Our campuses will remain closed, except for limited personnel, until further notice.
I also want to share with you that anyone with a meal plan this semester will be receiving information regarding a prorated refund through our NWCCD Business Office. We appreciate their flexibility and willingness to work with us during this unprecedented time.
Our partner for bookstore operations, Follett, has been equally understanding. They are offering a number of extended services to our NWCCD campuses to help during this transition, including:
- Extended rental book return date,
- Prepaid return labels for all rental books,
- Online buyback, with prepaid return labels, and
- Up to seven free eBooks per student.
Details regarding both the meal plan refund and bookstore offerings will be emailed to you and can be found on our website. If you have a chance, please share your gratitude with the employees of these companies who, like us, are facing adversity during this difficult time.
Again, I would remind you to continue to check your college email and/or our www.sheridan.edu/updates page. Together, we will endure these hardships.
March 25, 2020
During this uncertain time when so many things are beyond our control, we often find ourselves reaching for those things which we CAN control. Not only are we watching and reading grim headlines regarding the spread of COVID-19, we are also learning daily the long-term toll this may have on many aspects of our world, including the economy.
I write to you today to share two important decisions which affect our NWCCD community.
First, I am pleased to share with you that we are committed to paying our part-time employees and part-time student-employees that have a regular on-going schedule this semester, even if they are unable to work. For those able to work, even if hours are limited, you will be paid based on average hours worked prior to the closure (unless, of course, you’ve worked more hours). We are committed to this through the end of this fiscal year (June 30, 2020) for employees and through the end of the semester (May 22, 2020) for student-employees.
The people in these roles are important to the fabric of our District, yet these positions are the ones which have no paid sick leave or time off of any sort. At a time when hardships are everywhere, we are hopeful this will help.
The second decision I would like to share with you today is in regards to our commencement ceremonies. You may have guessed we will be unable to hold these celebrations at our regularly scheduled dates and times in early May. We will be postponing all commencement ceremonies, but are committed to rescheduling them at the end of our Fall 2020 semester.
For those of you set to graduate at the end of this semester, let me emphasize that the lack of an in-person May commencement ceremony does NOT mean you are not graduating. We will share with you information about how you will apply for graduation and receive your diploma. It also does NOT change the incredible achievements of the Class of 2020. I am immensely proud of every one of you.
Thank you. Please know that there continues to be many, many individuals at NWCCD that care about you.
March 23, 2020
I hope you are taking care of yourselves and your families during this time of substantial uncertainty. Since extending our spring break, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has modified and lengthened the suggested timeframe for canceling all mass gatherings. In order to continue prioritizing your health and safety, we have made the difficult decision to complete our spring 2020 semester utilizing online and other alternative teaching methods starting Monday, April 6, 2020.
- Approximately 75% of our courses are either already online or they are the type of courses that can successfully transition to an online environment.
- Another 20% of our courses can move to a hybrid model, utilizing online tools for content delivery, but still requiring limited clinical, lab, or other face-to-face instruction.
- Another 5% of our courses require face-to-face and/or the utilization of specific equipment in order for students to successfully accomplish the necessary learning outcomes. These courses will either wait until it is deemed safe to begin or will design an alternate method, in small groups or individually with an instructor (following social distancing guidelines), to safely accomplish learning objectives.
This was not a decision we made lightly. We believe deeply in the value of face-to-face teaching and learning. However, we are committed to doing our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 virus and keep everyone as safe as possible.
Students will receive instructions from individual faculty members regarding details about their specific classes no later than March 27, 2020.
Any student in need of internet access, a computer, or other accommodations should check their College email for more information and/or communicate this to your instructors.
Students who were living in residence halls will receive further instruction from Campus Life and Housing in the coming days. I appreciate your patience as we continue to work through details.
While all of these steps are important and necessary for the health of our communities, I know they add to the huge amount of stress and uncertainty you all must be feeling. I am immensely proud of all of our students and employees at NWCCD. You are living through a potentially life-changing event, and you are doing it with grace and resilience.
March 20, 2020
Today marks the end of our regularly scheduled spring break. As we move into our extended time away from campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want you to focus on your health and remember to reach out to your friends and family often during this difficult time, even if only remotely.
You may have heard Governor Gordon’s message yesterday, supporting all efforts to limit group gatherings and announcing a two-week closure of all public places. I’m sure you have growing concerns about what this situation will mean for you academically, professionally, and personally.
We are all in this together, and we stand behind our commitment to help you successfully complete the classes in which you are currently enrolled and reach your educational goals. As I continue to work closely with my Executive Team and members of our Emergency Management Team to determine our next steps, I will keep you informed.
Please continue to check your email, www.sheridan.edu/updates, and my President’s Page on MyNWCCD for the latest notifications and information.
March 17, 2020
Last Thursday, March 12, 2020, our College District, including Gillette College, Sheridan College, and Sheridan College in Johnson County, announced that we will remain closed through April 5, 2020. We hope to reopen on Monday, April 6. However, the impact of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) on our region and state may require us to modify our timeline. Please check www.sheridan.edu/updates regularly for the latest information as this situation evolves.
This difficult decision was made to protect your health and that of our employees, as well as the communities in which we serve. We all must do our part to help what epidemiologists refer to as “flattening the curve.”
At the same time, we continue to focus on our mission: education. As your community college, we play a vital role in providing access to education to everyone who wants it. We partner with local business owners and managers to train employees. We meet you, our students, where you are, and we help you reach your educational goals.
Our focus on student success has not changed, even during this uncertain time. We recognize the disruption that “hitting pause” on our semester is causing you, your family and your employers. During this extended break from all regular classes and activities, our faculty and staff are working hard to prepare creative delivery methods to continue to be able to provide instruction, even if in-person classes are not possible.
We commit to doing everything within our power to help you successfully complete the classes in which you are currently enrolled.
It is impossible to know, at this time, if our decisions will have the desired effect of helping to contain the spread of COVID-19. As we navigate the coming days and weeks, please know that your community college will remain steadfast in our commitment to your education.
Remember, our faculty and staff are here to support you as you continue your educational journey and meet these new challenges with grace, patience, and persistence.
March 12, 2020 – 7:00pm
Much has changed over the last 24 hours, including the first case of COVID-19 in Wyoming, specifically being reported from Sheridan County. There is much to consider regarding how we best proceed. We care very much about your health and safety and we are committed to your academic success.
To that end, we have decided to extend Spring Break through April 5, 2020. This means our campuses, including residence halls, will be closed to all classes and activities. Campus Life and Housing will be working with individual students who may have extenuating circumstances requiring them to remain on-campus. All college-related travel is also cancelled during this time.
This important step will allow us time to prepare for alternate delivery options as needed, to assess the impact of this pandemic on our colleges, and ultimately minimize impacts to our local healthcare personnel and healthcare facilities. We all recognize that some classes will more easily adapt to online, video, or other creative delivery methods. At this time, we are hopeful that with the three week time-period with most of our campus population off-site, we will be doing our part to help reduce the severity of the spread of COVID-19 and can begin normal operations sooner rather than later.
Please know that I recognize this decision will impact you in many ways. I am sure you have many questions. What about graduation? When will the semester end? At this point, I can tell you we intend to hold graduation on the regularly scheduled dates and times. As to the end of the semester, it may end up being variable, depending upon your program, but I am anticipating a two week extension at the end of our currently published calendar. We will work to answer these questions more definitively over the coming days.
We are also working to put together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that will be posted to our website: www.sheridan.edu/updates. This list will grow, so please check there first should you have questions.
I feel it important to repeat our commitment to your education. We will get through this semester together.
I’m looking forward to your healthy and safe return.
March 12, 2020 – 2:00pm
We are continuously monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak. As we anticipated, there have been many changes in the last 24 hours. Please know that one of our students and one of our faculty members were placed under quarantine today for a minimum of 14 days.
We are in contact with local and state healthcare officials and incorporating information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help determine our best course of action. We are keeping the safety of our students, employees, and communities at the forefront of our decision-making, however our core mission is education and we will do everything possible to ensure students reach their goals.
Official updates will be posted to www.sheridan.edu/updates regularly. I encourage you to check this page.
The NWCCD Crisis Management Team has been meeting regularly and will meet again at 5 p.m. today to discuss next steps. All college-sponsored trips, domestic and international, have been canceled. We are considering extending Spring Break in order to take advantage of this time to prepare, assess, and ultimately help mitigate the spread of the virus to the extent possible.
We will communicate further this evening or in the morning. As we navigate the next few weeks, we will continue to focus on everyone’s safety and student success.
March 11, 2020
We are continuing to monitor the spread of COVID-19. We encourage you to continue to practice preventative measures suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many of you are likely planning to travel home or to other locations over Spring Break. Please be aware of the risks and ensure you bring all essential items with you that you might need if you are not able to immediately return, such as medications, laptops, and academic materials.
Again, If you are ill, please stay home. If you have symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, please contact a healthcare provider for advice. Please do not immediately return to campus if you are experiencing symptoms, especially if you knowingly came into contact with anyone infected with the COVID-19 virus.
If this happens, please know we are committed to your academic success. Please work with your teachers to ensure your opportunity to continue your education in the event that you are ill. This might mean working online remotely, it may involve alternate assignments, and could even include extended deadlines beyond the end of the normal semester. However, you must communicate with your instructors to make such arrangements (or other arrangements) and then successfully complete the work that your instructors assign.
You may not think COVID-19 is likely to seriously affect you if you are young or healthy. Please remember that you are a member of a larger community and could spread it to those with compromised immune systems or to older or other higher-risk people. There is no vaccine or cure available at this time. The infected person’s immune system must win the battle.
We ask everyone to consider the safety and health of our entire community. Best wishes for a safe spring break and remember, “Be aware, wash with care.”
March 6, 2020
There are few changes at the Colleges of NWCCD regarding the coronavirus outbreak since my communication to you earlier this week. I am committed to providing you with regular updates on this topic.
At this time, the Wyoming Department of Health considers the risk of infection from the virus to be low. However, it is probable that cases will start to emerge. Further, many of you are from other states or other countries in which the infection rate may be different. Many of you are traveling outside of the State of Wyoming for Spring Break. Please exercise practices that will reduce the possibility of becoming infected while you are on one of our campuses and on Spring Break (frequent hand washing, wiping down common surfaces, and staying away from people who are symptomatic, as possible). What we are attempting to do is to limit the amount of people at NWCCD that become infected. We will continue to monitor this, and safety will continue to be our number one priority. Please know that we are taking steps to increase safety while implementing our core mission: your education.
We are committed to being flexible with all infected students, should our students become infected. We want you to be successful in and out of the classroom and to fulfill your obligations to loved ones and to your employers. As mentioned in my earlier email, please continue to take preventative steps to protect yourself from illness. If you become ill on Spring Break, you should stay away from campus until it is safe for you to return. We will support your decisions, but you must communicate with your instructors, coaches and club advisors regarding your attendance status. They are committed to your success, and this will require your participation and communication.
Again, please expect to see an email update from me weekly. There may be additional communication, as needed.
I am so proud of our students. Please be safe and return from Spring Break ready to take the next steps in your higher education.
At NWCCD, the health and safety of our campus communities is our number one priority. We are committed to providing our students, faculty, staff and communities with the most up-to-date information possible regarding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check this page regularly for updates.
There will be several safety precautions in place for all students and employees as outlined on this page. These guideline include
- Self-screening for symptoms daily.
- Wearing face coverings when social distancing is not possible, including in certain classrooms. Please provide your own mask.
- Social distancing, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Reduced density in on-campus housing and dining.
- Additional precautions and limitations to on-campus events and activities.
Campus Life and Housing, as well as clubs and organizations, will continue to provide both virtual and in-person activities. Social distancing will be encouraged and masks will be required if social distancing is not an option.
All residence halls have been converted into single rooms with shared restrooms. Residence Life will modify the move-in schedules and reduce density through staggered and extended move-in times.
A modified way of providing food service will be implemented in the dining hall to facilitate social distancing.
*Note: on-campus dining will not be available at Gillette College.
Yes, all classes will begin August 24th in their “regular” format (online will be online, fact-to-face will be in-person), and plan to finish online after Thanksgiving. This means the last seven instruction days of the semester will be fully online, using distance technologies. This will reduce the risk inherent with students leaving campus during the semester, then returning from other locations where COVID-19 may be prevalent. Specific details will be shared by instructors throughout the semester regarding post-Thanksgiving instruction.
*Note: All in-person classes have developed plans to move to alternate delivery, including online, if conditions warrant.
Similar to the fall semester, the District plans to begin “regularly” (online will be online, face-to-face will be in-person), and prepare to “flex” or switch to online if conditions warrant. Important dates, including a possible inter-session, will be announced soon.
Given that this school year will pose unique challenges, if you decide to attend remotely from home or elsewhere, please contact your advisor or the enrollment office at 307-675-0100 (SC), 307-681-6001 (GC). They can review the options for remote learning to fit your educational goals.
Our faculty are developing plans to allow for safe and adapted science labs, music instruction, theater, and tech studies. The District will adapt experiential and active learning to the campus’ COVID-19 safety standards, while remaining focused on academic excellence and meeting learning outcomes. Instructors will communicate any changes in these specialized courses directly to students.
On behalf of NWCCD President Walter Tribley and the NWCCD Crisis Management Team, the Office of Risk Management will begin sharing regular updates via email with all current students and employees. These messages will provide important health-related updates, safety reminders, and helpful resources.
In the event an NWCCD employee or student tests positive for COVID-19, notification will be sent to all official college email addresses within 24 hours of learning of the positive case. Due to federal regulations, the District cannot disclose the identity of an individual who tests positive.
Contact tracing, or notifying those individuals who have been in close contact with a positive case, is conducted by Sheridan, Campbell or Johnson County Public Health departments depending on where the positive case occurred. If you do not receive a phone call or email from a Public Health Officer, you were not identified as having close contact. A close contact, defined by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated.
Travel outside Wyoming will be discouraged, but not prohibited. Students and employees are asked to exercise personal responsibility for the good of the community in making travel decisions.
District-sponsored travel outside Wyoming must be mission-critical and approved by the appropriate vice president.
Our College District has implemented safety measures to limit the risk of COVID-19 to our students, employees, and visitors as much as possible. We sincerely appreciate everyone doing their part to keep campuses and communities safe. Full compliance with these guidelines is required by all NWCCD employees and students. Guidance regarding conduct and compliance can be found in the NWCCD Employee Handbook and the NWCCD Student Code of Conduct.