DATE: September 1, 2020 at 5:22 pm
TO: Faculty and Staff

FROM: Dr. Richard Nelson, President

As we begin the fall semester at Nicolet College, I want to offer a huge thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to be sure we’re ready to help students enroll, engage and transform their lives. Hardly a day goes by without another batch of news headlines about the serious problems other colleges and universities are encountering as they try to reopen. I am confident we’ll not be among them. On the contrary, I look ahead with optimism because of your collective effort to reimagine, reinvent, and redesign your work so that we can deliver high quality, high value educational programs and services without putting anyone – employees or students – at undue risk.

It’s been just over six months since my first “COVID Update” was posted on February 28th. The first suspected case of community transmission of the new coronavirus had just been reported and there were less than two dozen confirmed cases in the U.S. Sadly, much has changed in terms of case numbers, lives lost, and human misery, and the poor, marginalized, elderly, immune-compromised and otherwise vulnerable have suffered more than their share. But on a positive note, we know so much more about how to reduce the risk of transmission. We have the ability to keep each other safe while we cheer on researchers everywhere who are working furiously on vaccines and therapeutics.

We can’t eliminate COVID-19, but we can do a lot to make our environment unfavorable to transmission, and none of it is particularly difficult or burdensome. If we’re true to our College values, if we “believe in the worth and dignity of the individual’” and if we “commit to treating each person with kindness and respect,” then I believe we are obliged to do what we can to reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 into our community and passing it to others. That’s why:

  • Our campus reopening is limited to F2F instruction and services deemed essential, or for which no comparable remote delivery alternative exists.
  • We’ve marked and modified campus facilities to help maintain physical distancing, the factor experts (including Mayo) cite as being the most important in stopping COVID transmission.
  • Hand sanitizing stations and dispensers have been placed all over campus.
  • An elevated cleaning and disinfecting regime is scheduled every night.
  • Fewer people will be in shared airspaces at any given time, and when we’re in shared airspaces, we’ll wear masks as recommended by the American Association of Medical Colleges, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association and so many others.

Making good decisions is about looking after each other and keeping their best interests in mind along with our own. As we show success in that, we can gradually bring the kind of atmosphere and the range of activities our beautiful campus was built for. Thank you once again for honoring our mission and values, and for making Nicolet a shining star of the Northwoods.