SHELDON—The coronavirus pandemic has impacted Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.
COVID-19 was one of the main topics of discussion Monday, March 23, during the regular monthly meeting of the college’s board of trustees.
The originally scheduled in-person meeting was replaced with a teleconference due to coronavirus concerns.
“Obviously, the big thing that has been happening here is the same as everywhere else — dealing with COVID-19,” said NCC president Alethea Stubbe.
“That is the reason for the change in our board meeting this evening to the teleconference — to remain socially distant,” she said.
The college’s campus has been closed to the general public except for necessary appointments.
“We’ve done that for the safety and health of our employees,” Stubbe said.
NCC events have been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Training, as far as continuing ed — some of that’s been postponed, some canceled,” Stubbe said.
She noted all classes at NCC have moved to being online only through April 13.
“Our ability to do online is second to none,” Stubbe said. “I’m confident that students will be served as well as they could.”
Faculty members underwent training March 18-20 to move as much of their coursework as possible to online only.
“Obviously, some hands-on learning cannot be replicated in the online learning environment,” said John Hartog, NCC’s vice president of student and academic services.
“The faculty worked very hard on this,” he said. “I want to commend all of our faculty for really just getting behind this massive project so that we could be ready.”
In addition to recognizing the efforts of faculty members, he applauded the college’s administration for “really moving just a monumental task forward.”
“It has fallen to us, I believe, in these times of uncertainty to rise above our circumstances and to do our best to achieve great things for the good of those who are around us,” Hartog said.
He noted moving to online-only classes has impacted every area of NCC and many other colleges and universities across the country have done the same with their courses.
“I would like to highlight the excellent work that everyone is doing at Northwest Iowa Community College — for the good of our students, for the health and safety of our service area — so that our mission can be accomplished and we can move forward, we hope, with strength through this very difficult time of uncertainty facing our world,” Hartog said.
Mark Brown, NCC’s vice president of operations and finance, noted the college still is operating despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“In an event like this, bills need to be paid, revenue needs to be received,” Brown said. “That will move on here without skipping a beat.”
He said there are NCC employees working on campus and from their homes.
“I appreciate all the flexibility that our staff has shown and I think we’re going to learn something from it,” Brown said.
Stubbe also expressed her gratitude to all of the college’s employees and to the board of trustees for its guidance.
“Things are difficult, but not impossible,” Stubbe said. “Because of the success and service and core values that we have, everyone rallies around and figures out how to get things done for our students, for our communities, for our businesses and for our own employees.”