March 26: Update from President Hensrud on Gov. Walz’s Stay Home Minnesota order

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As promised late yesterday afternoon, I would like to provide you with some additional information about how yesterday’s Stay Home Minnesota order by Gov. Walz will impact us here at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. This impact will ultimately be minimal, given the steps we have already taken to shift instruction to alternate modes of delivery and reduce the number of people on our campuses.

Most of the information I will share in this update you likely have seen before. So I want to use this message to reinforce the seriousness of the Governor’s order and the absolute importance that we abide by his request and stay home to the greatest extent possible until April 10. This increased response is necessary to allow our health care facilities time to prepare for the number of Minnesotans who will become infected with COVID-19, particularly those who will require ICU care. It is of critical importance that our number of infected neighbors does not overwhelm our health care system’s ability to properly treat and care for them.

Current Conditions Remaining in Effect

With this order in place, it is helpful to clarify some current conditions that will remain in effect once classes resume on March 30. In general, while we will continue to limit public access to our campuses, we have been deemed an essential service and our operations will continue. All employees who are currently working remotely will continue to do so. We expect to have between 70-85 students in our residence halls, all of whom have been granted emergency exceptions to remain on campus. They will continue to receive services from campus dining and the Student Center for Health and Counseling at reduced levels or on shortened schedules. The campus will still have support and services from the mail room, facilities staff and Public Safety. Chancellor Malhotra reinforced last evening in a message to presidents that the Stay Home Minnesota order does not impact our ability to continue limited in-person instruction as long as we practice physical distancing and follow proper cleaning protocols. All construction projects will continue, as construction has also been included as an essential service to the state.

Student & Employee Technology Needs Beginning March 30

Many students and employees have questions regarding access to technology once courses resume — including computers, Internet access and specialized software needed for certain courses. Employees who have not already done so should reach out to their supervisors, and your supervisors will work with IT to get the equipment or software you need.

If you know of students who need support, encourage them to use the Student Technology Survey on our coronavirus website:
https://www.bemidjistate.edu/coronavirus/student-resources/student-it-survey/

IT already has received more than 170 submissions from this survey, so please continue encouraging your students to take advantage of this resource.

Thank you once again for all the work you have done over the last two weeks. Starting Monday, our students will need us more than ever — and I know our campuses are up to the challenge.

Our top priorities remain protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and employees, and ensuring that our students complete their semesters. We are in this together.