President's Message to the Students: Improvise, God Bless, Stay Well

Posted on March 24, 2020


First, I want to thank you for being such an incredibly cheerful and nimble group. Your academic career seems to have been transformed into a game of Simon Says commanded by an intoxicated sadist. And yet you have all adapted and kept your humor. Thanks for this. Being as soaked in the classics as you all are, I’m sure you can appreciate the exhortation from Clint Eastwood as Gunny Highway in Heartbreak Ridge – “improvise, adapt, and overcome.” That may be the official motto for 2020.

I did want to give you a quick progress report to let you know the lay of the land. You are all aware of the Emergency Order given by the Mayor on Friday restricting gatherings in Moscow. Although this order does not apply to educational institutions, we are still opting to keep classes completely online while we wait to get a clearer sense of what impact the Corona Virus will have on Moscow. Although I don’t yet have a certain schedule for the next seven weeks, I can give you a few pieces of information that will hopefully help you with your decision-making.

We will continue to hold classes online until at least the end of week four. If we were to return to in-person classes at that point, then we would also continue to keep open the option for attending all classes online. So if you need to return home now, but are concerned that you won’t be able to return to NSA should live classes resume, you don’t need to worry. You will still have the ability to take your classes and your finals online.

The Mayor’s order is in place until May 5, which would end the restrictions just right before graduation. However, if graduation cannot happen this spring, then we will reschedule a live ceremony for our graduates to coincide with the convocation ceremony at the beginning of the next academic year.

Please know that we are ready to work with you if you are sick, quarantined, needing to move home, etc. The offices are on a bit of a skeleton crew at the moment, with the upstairs open 9:00-4:00 weekdays. But if you have a question it is probably best to call or email.

God bless. Stay well. And please be sure that in all of this that you are not wasting this trial and that you are learning the lessons that God would have you learn. More than improvising, adapting, and overcoming, I do pray that you are learning to trust God, while laying your life down for your neighbor.

In Christ,

Ben Merkle

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