The Navajo County Community College District Governing Board (DGB) has approved the final piece of Northland Pioneer College’s (NPC’s) fall 2020 operational plans. NPC’s plan to meet liability coverage requirements from its insurer was the primary topic during a special board meeting held Wednesday, August 5, 2020. The board also approved the purchase of laptop computers with the College’s CARES Act funding and college scholarship funds for use by qualifying students this fall.
NPC responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March by moving all remaining spring classes and all summer offerings to an online, virtual platform. NPC offices, campuses, and center locations have remained closed to students and to the general public, with all nonessential employees and faculty telecommuting in order to continue to provide College services remotely. The primary goal of this approach was to assist with community efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the College’s service area.
In late spring and summer, a college working group of faculty, staff, administrators, and current NPC students developed a fall operational plan for the College. The plan is based on CDC guidelines, and the best available advice and information from federal and state agencies and local health officials. The plan’s goal is to offer as many educational services as possible, while reducing risk to students, employees, and community members.
NPC President Mark Vest emphasizes, “We have a plan that offers as much as we can to as many students as we can, but this certainly will not be a typical academic year for NPC. NPC is committed to ensuring all students succeed. Safety is paramount. We believe we can offer effective learning and positive outcomes, while reducing risk as much as possible, with the plan we have in place. It won’t be like it was before COVID-19, and we may have to adjust and remain flexible based on changing conditions this year, but we are confident we can offer a quality education to students despite the challenges. We’re ready.”
Northland Pioneer College will follow local, state, and federal guidelines to resume limited face-to-face services as community health conditions warrant. The College anticipates that COVID-19 transmission rates will continue to fluctuate over time and that NPC will alternate between face-to-face and remote services accordingly.
Currently, all NPC campuses are CLOSED to the general public and will remain CLOSED until further notice. College campuses and facilities are OPEN for: students who are currently registered for fall semester classes, members of the public who wish to register for classes and those who have direct business with NPC offices (such as Financial Aid, Business Office, the Small Business Development Center, etc.).
NPC's fall '20 semester will include a blend of in-person and online classes. Roughly 25% of NPC’s courses will be offered in-person this fall. In-person classes will be offered for programs that require hands-on learning opportunities, such as Nursing and some Career & Technical Education courses. To reduce risks of COVID-19 exposure, these in-person classes will provide their lecture portions online, reserving the face-to-face time primarily for hands-on experiences. The other 75% of NPC courses this fall will be offered in a remote format via the Internet. To meet the coverage conditions set by its insurance provider, NPC must ask all students attending on-site classes or activities to sign a liability waiver.
To reduce risk and enable an environment where some on-site instruction is possible, NPC has established the following on-site protocols until further notice. Face coverings must be worn at all times when others are present. Individuals should maintain safe physical distance (6 feet apart) whenever possible both indoors and outdoors. All students and employees should wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer (when unable to wash hands). Prior to coming to any NPC location, students and employees are expected to conduct a daily wellness self-check for symptoms of illness and are asked to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms. In addition, NPC custodians will be cleaning common areas more frequently and cleaning supplies will be provided to employees to clean and disinfect their respective areas.
Registration for fall classes is open now and live on-campus instruction starts Monday, Aug. 24. Earlier this spring the District Governing Board reduced tuition to only $40 per credit hour through spring 2021 to offset the financial burden the pandemic has placed on current and potential students. NPC’s tuition remains the lowest in the state. For more information on the College’s fall 2020 course offerings visit www.npc.edu/class-schedule. To stay up-to-date on the College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic visit www.npc.edu/covid-19.