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Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Ben Rogers, Associate Bursar Lindsay Stapley and President Dr. John Jasinski visited Northwest's cashiering office recently to see mitigation measures put in place at the University to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Ben Rogers, Associate Bursar Lindsay Stapley and President Dr. John Jasinski visited Northwest's cashiering office recently to see mitigation measures put in place at the University to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

June 12, 2020

Northwest putting COVID-19 mitigation measures in place in anticipation of returning employees, students


Northwest Missouri State University employees are beginning their return to campus, and buildings will soon reopen to the public as the University recovers from the effects of COVID-19 and prepares to begin its fall semester Aug. 19 with classes on the campus.

Northwest moved from shelter-in-place to restricted operations on May 18 by allowing a limited number of employees to resume work on the campus. The University transitioned to its second recovery phase – limited operations – on June 8 by allowing additional employees to return to campus through a workspace evaluation process.

Northwest anticipates reopening facilities to the public on Monday, June 22, and could return to full operations – with COVID-19 mitigation measures in place – by Thursday, July 15.

With a goal of protecting the health and safety of its students, employees and visitors, Northwest has adopted a guiding philosophy and framework during its phased return that consists of four themes – learning and success, health and safety, agility and viability.

“We will deliver curricular and co-curricular learning in a flexible manner with a continued focus on profession-based principles and a keen eye on student success,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski wrote to employees in May, outlining the University’s phased recovery plans. “Further, as an organization, Northwest will continue enacting an uninterrupted learning cycle as it continues to address health and safety, agility, and viability.”

Earlier this month, Northwest leaders saw a preview of how campus offices and classrooms will look in the fall during a walk-through of some campus facilities.

In the Administration Building, sheets of Plexiglas are mounted on service desks in high-traffic areas such as Career Services, the registrar’s office and the cashiering office. The 1/8-inch thick Plexiglas sheets are tall enough to shield an individual standing 6-feet, 5-inches.

University teams also are shifting office furniture and removing chairs, among other mitigation measures to create a safe distance where students and employees study, work and gather. While Facility Services teams installed Plexiglas barriers in some office areas to shield staffers working at desks, copy machines and other common areas, some mitigation measures have been easier to implement. For example, rolling white boards are being used in some areas as shields between desks. In the admissions office, a tall file cabinet was moved to create a safe space between workspaces.

“As we look ahead to the fall semester, I am confident that the countless hours of planning and preparation will provide our returning and incoming students with a healthy and safe environment to live, learn and succeed,” Brad Scott, Northwest’s assistant vice president for enterprise risk management, said. “Our planning teams have and will continue to tackle various scenarios and demands, including enhanced cleaning and disinfection of our campus facilities, public health protocols, addressing unique health concerns for vulnerable populations, and implementing a variety of personal and environmental mitigation measures to protect our campus community.”

While the measures taking place on the campus now are aimed at getting employees back to work on the campus, Northwest also is evaluating its classrooms and adjusting its academic calendar. Pending approval by the Board of Regents during its June 18 meeting, Northwest will begin its fall semester on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and in-person classes will conclude Tuesday, Nov. 24, ahead of Northwest’s annual Thanksgiving break. Under the proposal, students will complete final exams online during the week of Dec. 7. 

As students and employees return to the campus, Northwest is urging them to continue practicing prevention measures, including frequent hand washing, social distancing of at least 6 feet and wearing face coverings.

The University’s plans are aligned and consistent with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information about Northwest’s response to COVID-19 and its phased recovery process, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/alert/coronavirus.htm.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704