BY RICHARD J. BAILEY, JR., PhD
Northern New Mexico College
Dear Northern campus and community,
When New Mexico announced its first cases of COVID-19 in March and the governor declared a state of emergency, Northern was the first to move to remote operations for the safety of our campus and community. This transition required the full commitment of our students, our faculty, and our staff to enable us to continue providing quality education online.
As we conclude our Spring semester, we know that our students are thinking ahead, and so are we. While New Mexico has come a long way in slowing the spread of COVID-19, the virus remains a threat to all of us. That is why, following the guidance of our governor, Northern has decided that operations for the Fall semester will continue online. Limited exceptions will be made for courses and activities that require on-campus presence, especially for programs like nursing that are essential for the wellbeing of our community.
This is not an easy decision, but ultimately, we recognize our responsibility to our students, our staff and faculty, and our surrounding community, several of whom belong to vulnerable groups. We have heard from our campus community that they want to know what to expect so that they can better prepare and make plans for the Fall.
Although we all miss interacting in-person and on-campus, this decision means that we can focus on educating and serving our students, and pay close attention to mitigation techniques for the limited number of students, faculty and staff that will occasionally need to operate on campus.
All of us are at work now and over the summer to ensure that our students have everything they need to succeed, including access to technology and clear information. As a continued demonstration of our commitment to the health and safety of our community, we are also in the process of ordering cloth masks and distributing them for free to our students, faculty and staff, which will allow you to protect yourself and others, while showing off some Eagle Pride!
I know that some of you may be tempted to change your mind about continuing or joining us as a student next semester. But, I also know that so many of you have already overcome challenges and obstacles, even before COVID-19, to be where you are today. My message to you is this: Northern will not give up on you, but please, don’t give up on yourself or your education. Although the future may be uncertain, education will help pave the way to better days ahead. We are committed to staying with you every step of the way.
I want to take some time to give a special thank you to our faculty, and make a request. It is because of your guidance and mentorship that our students succeed, and their experiences with you are often what keep our students in college. Nobody knows our students better than you do. And so I ask you to take some time to reach out to them, and let them know how important it is that they continue their educational journey.
Finally, I want to thank everyone on our Northern Team. While we still have some challenges ahead, I want to remind you that we are all in this together. We could not have come this far without you, and I value each of you and the contributions you make. If you have any ideas about how we can better serve our students and each other, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We need you!
Together, we can continue to be #NorthernProud, and #EagleStrong!