The saying “Safety is everyone’s responsibility” resonates now more than ever. From our students to our faculty to even our vendors who visit NHTI, we’re all the eyes and ears of the college, recognizing when something doesn’t seem quite right. And, with the omnipresent lens of COVID-19, keeping each other safe takes on an even greater community responsibility. It means getting vaccinated if we are able, staying home when we feel ill, and wearing masks if we are in close contact with others.
This past year, our security team, led by our director of safety and security Jay Wovkanech, put in place several safety measures that assisted us in avoiding a COVID outbreak on campus. Class capacity reductions, single-occupancy residence halls, social distancing, masks, and remote work and services were some of these measures. Additionally, as a system of community colleges, we developed and implemented a COVID-19 Student Social Compact that focuses on the togetherness of protection with all of our behaviors impacting the outcome of our well being. The saying “We are all this in together” has become our mantra and our steady compass.
To prepare for emergencies, NHTI follows the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC, using data and guidance from the experts. We have our county on speed dial and have favorited the county webpage for vaccine and virus updates. We know the importance of communicating with our constituents regularly, having published 46 campus-wide memos and counting.
For ongoing prevention for the many incidents that could occur in such a small community where students live on site, NHTI also follows the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM), which is a prevention model for our safety initiatives. This model establishes three distinct committees:
- Education, chaired by the vice president of Academic Affairs
- Crisis Management, chaired by the director of Safety and Security
- SCAN, chaired by the vice president of Student Affairs
Each committee has a distinct goal to prevent dangerous incidents from happening on our campus through education, crisis preparation, and training and student behavioral intervention and care. In this model, we ensure we are all keeping our students, faculty, staff, and community as safe as possible.