Happy Fourth of July.  We hope you have a safe and happy weekend.  Lots to report today!

At long last, we received the information from Washington State to prepare for reopening campus.  There will be a number of hoops to jump through to ensure everyone’s safety and to comply with some pretty far-reaching requirements from our state agencies. We have submitted the required COVID operations and mitigation plan and are awaiting the state approval.

Part of the new requirements will include mandatory PPE and Social Distancing during class for staff and students alike.  There are also restrictions on class size. We are adding practicals to try to accommodate all students within this school year. A few of our practicals have enrollments that already exceed what we will now be allowed so our office will be in touch to help you move to another date as needed.  We understand that this can be a tremendous inconvenience and we are truly sorry.   We will do everything we can to help and we appreciate everyone’s continued understanding.

Next week, we will be sending all students enrolled in upcoming practicals a packet to review prior to class.  It will outline the procedures we all need to follow including arrival check-in, hygiene and sanitation during class, animal interactions and a Covid-19 waiver that will need to be returned or brought to the first day of class.  Be aware that we cannot provide food or coffee/tea service like we ordinarily do.  Water will be provided but we suggest you plan to bring whatever food/refreshments you might need in your own containers or cooler.  Classes will be held in our covered arena so that we are outside and have ample room for proper physical distancing.  PPE will be available but we suggest you bring your own masks for your comfort and safety.  Each student will have their own work station.

CRITICALLY IMPORTANT INFO:

We are required to ask several questions regarding your health status each morning prior to class.  We are also required to ask you to take your temperature each morning before arriving on campus.  We will NOT be taking temperatures at class but we will be recording the information you provide.  If you have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees, you are required to stay home. A daily class attendance log of all staff, students, and visitors must be kept and retained for at least four weeks. The log must include the name, phone number, and email address of all staff, students, and visitors. Visitors are prohibited.  

Any staff or student coming to Washington from any state that is not contiguous to Washington must self‐quarantine for 14 days to become eligible to work or attend class in Washington.

(this last requirement is based on the honor system, so we ask that you choose how you will fulfill this request and we will simply be asking on the first day of class to confirm that you did so.  Not sure why the state thinks anyone from Idaho or Oregon is any less likely to be a potential risk compared to states that do not border Washington, but the wisdom (?) of our government is outside of my comprehension.)

It will be a new environment for all of us but our staff is committed to providing you the same quality instruction and experience that NWSAM is recognized for.  We appreciate your help in maintaining the health and safety of all participating.  If you have specific concerns after reviewing the packet next week, please feel free to contact the office by phone or email so we can help you prepare.

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility as we get back to work!  Have a safe and happy weekend!