Update: Northwestern College has decided to transition to online course delivery for all traditional undergraduate classes effective Monday, March 23rd. All traditional undergraduate on-campus classes are canceled through Thursday, March 19.
The campus will reconvene online on Friday, March 20, at 10 a.m. for a required convocation. All instructors will offer their classes online starting Monday, March 23rd, through the rest of the semester.
While many colleges and universities have decided to extend spring breaks and gone to on-line courses to meet concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, Northwestern College of Orange City is going against that trend. College Director of Marketing and Communications, Duane Beeson says Northwestern has an earlier spring break and the students are back on campus. They are making contingency plans for a possible change.
“At the point that we are at now, we have advised faculty to prepare for the possible transitioning to online courses. So we haven’t made that decision yet, but we’ve told faculty that they need to give a plan for how they are going to deliver their courses for at least a portion of the rest of the semester online. And we are providing training that would need to get up to speed on that,” Beeson says.
Beeson says the only impact for students and faculty right now involves things happening outside the United States.
“We’ve suspended outbound international travel. So, any college-sponsored outbound international travel is suspended effective immediately through the end of June,” Beeson says. “So that includes some major things that typically happen on campus…including our summer of service mission program and our summer study abroad trip, so those are all canceled.” Beeson says they have followed the federal guidelines with some students on the international service teams.
“The CDC said the college should consider suspending international travel and bringing people home who are overseas — so for those two groups in Europe — we had them come back early,” according to Beeson. “Just the concern that as the outbreak was escalating quite a bit in Europe so that when it was time to come home they couldn’t find proper travel, they had to be quarantined.”
Beeson says they will adjust their plans as things change.
(By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)