Messages from Dr. Robert Martin
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Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Dear IAIA Community,
Happy New Year! I hope you had a peaceful, relaxing, and enjoyable holiday break.
As we prepare for the beginning of the 2022 Spring semester, the safety and well-being of our community continues to be the highest priority. Due to the highly contagious nature of the COVID Omicron variant resulting in a surge of positive cases, all classes will begin in an online format for the first two weeks of the semester, January 18–30. On January 31, in-person courses will switch from the online format back to in-person on campus.
For on-campus housing, students should reach out to Associate Dean JR Romero at [email protected] to schedule revised check-in dates. If travel arrangements, however, have been made already and students prefer the original check-in dates for Housing, new students can begin check-in at 8:00 am on Sunday, January 9, and returning students can begin check-in on Friday, January 14, 2022.
New Student Orientation will be online only, and a revised schedule will be sent out to new students, transfer students, and presenters.
Students should contact the IAIA IT Department at [email protected] to make arrangements for a laptop to be checked out or mailed by providing the IT Department with the following information:
Student ID #
Cell Phone #
In recognition of the tremendous amount of time needed for graduating students to complete their work and prepare for their graduating exhibition, IAIA will permit students enrolled in 22SP.ARTS452 to have studio access during the January 18–30 time frame. Access will be granted under the following conditions:
- Only students registered for the Spring 2022 ARTS452: Senior Project II class will be granted access.
- Students are required to register for studio access days/times using the Art Studio Reservation page in the IAIA Canvas Student Hub.
- Use of certain equipment may be restricted for students who have received training/clearance by the faculty responsible for the associated studio.
- No outside guests or visitors will be allowed in the studios.
Please note that IAIA will maintain existing COVID-19 protection protocols, including required mask-wearing, social distancing, and weekly surveillance testing. For more information on IAIA’s COVID-19 policies, please consult the COVID-19 info page.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact this office, Dean of Students Nena Martinez Anaya ([email protected]), Academic Dean Felipe Colon ([email protected]), or Human Resources Director Todd Spilman ([email protected]).
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Monday, November 29, 2021
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff, Faculty, and Students on Monday, November 29, 2021, from 12–1 pm.
Monday, October 25, 2021
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff, Faculty, and Students on Monday, October 25, 2021, from 12–1 pm.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff, Faculty, and Students on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, from 12–1 pm.
Presentation hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) and CCS Fundraising for Faculty and Staff on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 12–12:45 pm. Download the Building a “Culture of Philanthropy” Presentation.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff, Faculty, and Students on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, from 11 am–12 pm.
Dear IAIA Community,
The state of New Mexico has lifted capacity restrictions as we continue to make progress with vaccination rates and experience reductions in COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths. Given the progress made, I am pleased to announce that, after 16 months of closure, the campus again will be open to the general public—effective immediately.
Visitors and the IAIA community, however, are required to be compliant with the following COVID-19 protocols:
- Masks are not required to be worn indoors or outdoors by those fully vaccinated. Appropriate signage will remain posted. As a reminder, someone is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving either the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine dose or two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
- Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and practice social distancing.
If you are unvaccinated, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible by going to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) website at www.cvvaccine.nmhealth.org, where you can follow the steps to register and schedule an appointment at a location convenient to you. Thank you for keeping our community safe.
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Dear IAIA Community,
Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham lifted the indoor mask mandate (in most situations) for fully vaccinated persons in New Mexico on Friday, May 14, 2021. Effective immediately, the IAIA campus and museum will follow this change in the current Public Health Order and will no longer require masks to be worn indoors or outdoors by those who are fully vaccinated. Appropriate signage will be posted as soon as possible.
As a reminder, someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving either the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine dose or two weeks after receiving the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated, but would like to continue to wear a mask, may certainly do so.
If you have not been vaccinated yet, I encourage you to schedule a vaccination appointment as soon as possible, and remind your family, friends, and co-workers to do the same. To protect those who are unable to be vaccinated, it is imperative that eligible people get fully vaccinated as soon as possible—let’s put this pandemic behind us.
Please remember the following:
- Vaccines are safe. More than a hundred million people in the US have been fully vaccinated. Studies by the CDC, Johns Hopkins Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic, National Academy of Sciences, and countless research institutions both in the US and abroad have concluded the vaccines are safe.
- Vaccines work. Countries with high vaccination rates have experienced reductions in new COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations, deaths, and are reopening.
- It’s easier than ever to get vaccinated in New Mexico. Simply go to www.cvvaccine.nmhealth.org and follow the steps to register and schedule an appointment at a location nearby.
Let’s build a community of immunity that protects each other and keeps us safe.
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Friday, May 14, 2021
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Trustees and Staff on Friday, May 14, 2021, from 12–1 pm.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff, Faculty, and Students on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, from 12–1 pm.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff, Faculty, and Students on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, from 12–1 pm.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff and Faculty on Monday, January 11, 2021, from 12–1 pm.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff, Faculty, and Students on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, from 12–1 pm.
Opening remarks by IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin.
- New Mexico is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 virus cases. As a result, beginning Monday, November 16, and lasting at least until November 30, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and state health officials have issued an economic shutdown. Residents are directed to stay at home except for essential activities. The Governor also has reestablished a 14-day quarantine requirement for individuals traveling to New Mexico from out-of-state.
- IAIA has been in contact with the NM Higher Education Department to ensure we understand and are following the guidelines set forth in conjunction with the Governor’s Office.
- IAIA’s schedule of in-person classes has ended, but we still have students living on campus requiring access to facilities, WiFi connectivity, and other services. Faculty members will schedule access to studios and specialized equipment only for Fall Semester graduates.
- Effective November 16, Bon Appétit will provide carryout food service only.
- The Residence Center will remain open, but on campus students remain in place except for campus visits and trips essential to health, safety, and welfare.
Students living in the Residential Center are encouraged to remain on campus during the Thanksgiving Holiday break. If, however, plans call for travel home during the Thanksgiving Holiday period, I urge students to consider not returning to campus until the spring semester.
If students decide not to return to campus after the Thanksgiving break, they will be eligible for a prorated room and board refund for the two weeks occurring after the break. For example, if students are on the 14-meal plan and a room, they would receive a $535 refund. If they are on the 19-meal plan and a room, they would be eligible for a $628 refund. If students plan to take advantage of this option, they should contact Interim Student Life Dean Paul Moore to request the form to sign for the timely processing of their refunds.
If you require additional resources to assist with internet connectivity or other kinds of support in your home communities, you also should contact Paul Moore.
- Faculty, staff and students must follow all public health orders, executive orders, and COVID-safe practices, which include mandatory face coverings, proper social distancing, and frequent sanitizing of hands and shared spaces.
- All gatherings and activities are limited to groups of no more than five persons in an enclosed space or outdoor facility.
- IAIA will implement telework assignments when possible and limit in-person work to essential employees and functions. Essential operations shall be limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy of any enclosed space on the campus.
- Employees who may be at an increased risk because of age or underlying health conditions may request to telework. These requests should be submitted to the appropriate cabinet member who supervises their respective area.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should get tested as soon as possible and self-quarantine. Please call either the IHS COVID-19 Hotline at (505) 946-9200, or the NM COVID-19 Hotline at (855) 600-3453.
Question and Answer Section
Question and answer section from the meeting.
What will be done about students currently in the dorms?
Students may continue to live in the dorms until the end of the semester.
If a student travels for Thanksgiving, can they return to campus?
Students may return but are encouraged to stay home. If they elect to not return to campus until the spring semester, they would be eligible for prorated room and board refunds.
Is studio access still available? (The schedule is priority for seniors.)
The Studio Arts department is currently putting together a Calendly scheduling system for students to sign up for times to be in the studios. Due to the recent update from the State of New Mexico, we will be restricting studio access to senior students only.
COVID-19 sickened students
How can we show support? Can we send “care packages”?
Other New Questions for Spring 2021
Aid to Students
Will a tuition discount be offered in Spring 2021?
The tuition discount that was announced in the fall will remain in place for the entire academic year. Students should not expect any increase between the two semesters.
Help to Continuing Students Will assistance with Internet/WiFi be offered?
Can students keep loaner laptops between semesters?
Are more loaner laptops still available?
Yes. Eighty additional laptops arrived in October, but only six have been requested and issued.
Can we get pens for the Windows 10 laptops?
We will follow up after receiving more information.
Will online Student Jobs be available?
Yes, jobs will still be offered online. This semester we have 50 jobs filled, and 23 are online.
Is counseling available between Semesters?
Yes, counseling will be available. (Paul Moore)
How will we recruit new ASG officers?
Creative brainstorming sessions will be scheduled by the ASG focus group.
Can part-time students be nominated?
Currently, No. (ASG Constitution—new standards for the online campus. The current constitution only applies to in-person activities.)
Do we need new provisions in the ASG constitution for online clubs and activities?
The working group could be appointed to address and revise the constitution.
Prevention Director (newly vacant) Will a new Prevention Director be hired? This position was especially active in looking after the needs of LGBTQ2+ students.
Yes, paperwork has been submitted.
Retention Director Position (vacant since mid-August) What is the new hire forecast?
The primary goal when the job was vacated was to ensure there were no gaps with ADA services and Learning Lab services for students. The job was posted in October and is very specialized due to the ADA component. No applications have been received. All questions regarding ADA and Learning Lab should come to me.
Emailed Student Questions received by ASG Officers
Administration Building Upgrade
Is IAIA going to schedule their maintenance and construction on the school during breaks even though we’re in a pandemic and time in the studio is only four weeks?
IAIA always carefully considers the campus calendar and student needs when scheduling capital projects. The HVAC project was scheduled to start after graduation and be completed by late August. Unfortunately, The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant delays in the availability of work crews, units to be sourced, and transportation to get the units to campus. This pushed back the entire schedule by roughly four months. It is important to note that every other capital project that has been undertaken has been completed on time and with minimal disruption to the campus community. The pandemic was out of our control, but the project was still completed. The next large project on the horizon is the Research Center, and work for that will again commence in late May. The design team for that project consists entirely of people from the academic area, so that faculty are well-informed about what the timetable is and what disruptions may occur to any academic area. We always include stakeholders from impacted areas on our design teams so that every aspect of campus impact is considered.
Is IAIA Housing going to set up another quarantine plan/rooming system for any infected students who contract COVID-19 within housing?
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, we have a current plan to house and feed them.
Additional Financial Aid to Students
Did IAIA receive additional funds that could be distributed to students?
There is no new aid like we received last semester (CARES). We continue to assist students with Emergency Aid and the Pantry.
The school got all that extra money for this semester; what are they going to do with it that directly benefits the students or their classes, or even goes to Faculty and Staff checks? Where is the $232,00 going?
As part of the CARES Act funding that the college received during the 2020 spring semester, $171k was earmarked to go directly to students. These funds were distributed within 5 days of becoming available as part of a check batch that numbered in the hundreds. Other COVID-related funding has been used to cover costs directly associated with virus response, sustain the college’s overall operations, and supplement lost revenue from room and board, tuition, auxiliary revenues, and other areas. CARES Act funding expenditures that have impacted students include additional cleaning supplies, increased food packaging costs for the café, increased housekeeping and café contractor costs for more frequent cleaning, the purchase of additional laptop computers for student use, payments for internet access (including hotspots) at student homes, and assistance with transportation for students when they needed to return home.
Faculty Professional Development to Teach Online
Are the faculty being trained to teach online and use the sites and applications that students are expected to use?
The Distance Learning department has already conducted two faculty online course development trainings in Summer 2020 and has another scheduled for Winter 2020. Faculty are required to participate in the training to convert and improve their online delivery classes. Any specific issues that students have with online delivery should be directed to the professor and then to that department’s chair. As faculty make the transition to online instruction, there will be glitches and hiccups in the delivery. If professors are notified directly, they can usually fix the issues immediately and/or work with the distance-learning department to address the problems.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by Board of Trustees Chair Loren Kieve (Cherokee) for Trustees and Students on Friday, November 13, 2020, from 12–1 pm.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Faculty and Staff on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, from 12–1 pm.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Students on Monday, October 19, 2020, from 5–6 pm.
Before the end of this term, can a future town hall bring together the entire IAIA community?
Reporting and follow-up—Can the results and actions taken after a given town hall meeting be posted where students have access?
Are there any adjustments required by the latest state-level mandates in response to the current surge of COVID-19 cases in New Mexico?
Pursuant to the New Mexico Governor’s most recent executive order, the negative test quarantine exemption is no longer in effect. As a result, an individual arriving in New Mexico from a high-risk state must quarantine for a period of 14 days, or for the duration of their stay in the state, whichever is shorter, regardless of any negative COVID-19 test.
As of October 21, the list of high-risk states is as follows: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The New Mexico Higher Education Department has notified us that higher education institutions do not have limitations on classroom sizes for essential hybrid and in-person courses.
We will continue to monitor the Governor’s health orders and make modifications in our reopening plan and COVID-19 safe practices as necessary.
Who is responsible for enforcing the campus mask policy?
IAIA has a community based approach to enforcement of the mask policy. Everyone is responsible for reminding IAIA community members that masks are required and everyone must abide by the IAIA mask policy. However, enforcement is primarily the responsibility of the IAIA employee who oversees the space.
What penalties exist for breaking the IAIA mask policy?
Penalties vary case by case. Violations of the mask policy may result in verbal warnings, temporary removal from academic spaces, permanent removal from academic spaces, suspension, or expulsion. Violations of the mask policy are treated in the same manner as failure to follow any mandatory campus policy and will be addressed as delineated in the Student Handbook.
Are student workers responsible for enforcing COVID-19 safe practices?
Student workers are responsible for reminding people in their designated responsibility area of the mask policy and requesting that they abide by the policy. They are also responsible for contacting the faculty/staff member overseeing the area if someone is willfully not abiding by the mask policy. Student workers may also contact security if someone violating the mask policy refuses to comply with the requirement.
What cleaners are presently in use for routine cleanings of campus spaces?
As of September 23, the Facilities Department has been using Ecolab Peroxide Multi Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant, which is included on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approved disinfectant list. We changed to this cleaner because it is available in bulk and works with our automated sink system that allows for the precise mixing of the solution in larger quantities. The Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for the cleaner are available in the SDS books, located in all studios, and also in the SDS books kept in facilities, the cleaning closets, and at the entrance of the Dean’s office.
The cleaning product used prior to this change was Reliable V01478 Peroxide Multi-Purpose Cleaner & Deodorizer, which has disinfectant properties, but is not as strong as the disinfectant currently in use. The SDS on this cleaner are also available in the SDS books in all studios, the entrance to the Dean’s Office, the Facilities Department, and the cleaning closets.
The Fogger Machine uses a Grenadier Plus Fogging Solution, which is also on the EPA approved disinfectant list.
Is it possible the RAVE system could be used to notify the campus community about health-related events?
In addition to email, the RAVE alert system will also be used to update the community regarding health-related activities and events.
How does contact tracing work for students and faculty? What policy is in place?
Two areas on our COVID-19 web page include information about contact tracing, one from the IAIA COVID-19 Action Plan and one from the Exposure to COVID-19 page. Contact tracing for IAIA is secondary to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). If students test positive or believe they have been exposed, they should contact NMDOH, and NMDOH will conduct contact tracing. If we are notified of a lab confirmed positive case, we will contact the NM Environment Department and they may, depending on the situation, send out their Rapid Response Team. If a student tests positive and calls NMDOH and informs us, we can conduct limited contact tracing for the campus. We would ask the student to share with whom they have been in close contact and which campus areas they have visited. We would want to act even before the Rapid Response Team arrives, which will be in addition to actions they take.
What proportion of students are being tested? Is COVID-19 testing mandatory for on-campus, in-person students, and what sort of follow-through takes place when students don’t provide proof of test?
COVID-19 testing is mandatory for students and required for admission to the on-campus, in-person classes.
On-campus testing has been conducted multiple times during the semester and students have also reported off-campus testing results to Dean Paul Moore. In addition, students are required to have tested negative during the month of October.
Is COVID-19 testing mandatory for in-person faculty?
Faculty and staff represent a different status and cannot be legally mandated to be tested for COVID-19, but they have been strongly urged to be tested and most, if not all, have been.
What happens when someone on campus tests positive? What forms of support are provided?
Along with testing, if one tests positive, what is the process to help that person through the process, especially mentally. Some of the newer generation are overwhelmed by the negative side of this pandemic.
Who do they call on campus or would they even have an elder to talk to beyond our counseling?
The Counseling Program is available for support of students on or off campus. The Counseling Program also maintains a list of additional resources off campus to which they can refer students.
If students have been exposed to the virus or test positive, we have the capacity to quarantine them, deliver meals, and provide them with other services.
What happens if a student (or teacher!) gets sick?
If a student or employee exhibits any of the COVID-19 related symptoms or has been possibly exposed, we follow the New Mexico Department of Health guidelines, which state that one should contact one of the COVID-19 hotlines for advice, which may be to self-isolate, quarantine, or get tested. If there is confirmed exposure to one who has tested positive for COVID-19, contact tracing will take place and the spaces will be deep cleaned/fogged as an additional precaution.
Current IAIA Human Resources policy permits an employee to request working remotely due to COVID-19 concerns—e.g. an employee or family member is in a high-risk category. If a staff/faculty member must take time off due to COVID-related illnesses, they may use sick leave pursuant to current Human Resources policy. If a staff or faculty member exhausts their accrued sick leave, they also may extend their leave pursuant to the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
Students who must be absent due to COVID-related health issues may work with their faculty member to plan for the completion of the class within the semester or through an incomplete, if applicable.
What’s the policy if a teacher gets sick?
The department chair will identify a replacement instructor to complete the class as scheduled.
Can students still withdraw from courses if necessary?
The withdrawal deadline is November 2, which should take us through the end of eight-week, in-person classes. Students who are unable to complete a class after the withdrawal deadline due to illness may be considered for receiving an incomplete on a case-by-case basis.
Can students take time off from their program with guarantee of returning to resume studies for their degree plan?
Current policy allows for a student to take up to one year off and return to the program under the same degree plan. Exceptions to this policy, allowing a student to be approved for more than one year, will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Will flu shots be mandatory for students staying on campus?
Currently, we do not have a mandatory requirement for the flu vaccine, but we are urging on-campus students to be vaccinated.
Will on-campus flu shots be provided/facilitated?
We continue to seek a provider to conduct a flu clinic at IAIA, but IHS and others have replied they have a full schedule of community clinics and recommend that students be transported to one of them.
Once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, will it be required for students staying on campus and will a campus vaccination program be facilitated by IAIA?
We will strongly urge all students to be vaccinated and it will be facilitated by IAIA.
If campus closes, what happens?
If deemed necessary, Student Life will work with all students to support their transition home. Room and Board refunds are prorated.
What will happen in Spring 2021 if campus closes?
Course work will be transitioned to online delivery, utilizing the Canvas learning management system. If applicable, material kits will be provided to students to complete hands-on work. The Library, Gallery, and other academic support services will be available virtually.
Will students have access to studios after the end of their in-person course?
As soon as in-person classes end, students requesting access to studios must be approved by each individual department on a case-by-case basis. Seniors, however, will be granted priority status.
Will any access to studios be permitted during winter break?
Since faculty and staff will be on holiday break away from campus, there will be no access for students during winter break.
Can personal items be left in dormitory rooms if students expect to return for Spring 2021 Semester?
If you are preregistered, your remaining bill balance is less than $75, and you have discussed this with the Housing Director, you will be able leave personal items in the Residence Center.
Will students at family housing be permitted to stay between terms?
Families may stay in housing over the breaks.
Can students with no place to go, who won’t be taking in-person classes in the spring semester stay at family housing?
Emergency Housing requests can be directed to Housing Director Leslie Romero or Interim Student Life Dean Paul Moore.
Will students be granted summer studio time?
A decision will made during the early part of the spring semester whether studios will be open during the summer. Our preference would be to offer a robust course schedule in the summer to assist students in catching up and completing outstanding course work and credits.
What financial aid is available for part-time students?
The Pell Grant is prorated for part-time students upon registration. Most scholarships require full-time enrollment (at least 12 credits).
Work-study jobs are available for students who are taking at least six credit hours. The CIB scholarship pays $200 for students who are less than full-time. IAIA AICF-TCU is renewable for half-time students in Spring 2021 if they were awarded for the 2020–2021 academic year and meet the qualifying 2.0+ CGPA. IAIA continues with the Emergency Aid program and students apply at IAIA Dreamkeepers. The Pantry is also a resource and open daily with food, supplies, clothing, and food cards.
Will the 15 to Finish Program be adapted to pandemic circumstances?
At the end of the Spring 2020 semester, the 15 to Finish Program was approved for the following:
- four years with 100% tuition reimbursement
- five years with 50% tuition reimbursement
- six years with 25% tuition reimbursement
This allows for flexibility for situations in which students don’t finish in four years.
What happens with ADA accommodations (with the position change)?
There have been no changes with ADA accommodations. Students who qualify were issued the ADA memos by the first week of classes. ADA applications continue with no gaps or lag time.
Who should students go to for ADA accommodation help?
The process remains unchanged: students apply for ADA Accommodations on the ADA Accommodations web page. From here the ADA Office is alerted and contacts the student the same day of the request to begin the process. Nena Martinez Anaya oversees the ADA program and is the Retention Director and has been working with the ADA services at IAIA since 2006.
How long will the Retention Director position be vacant?
The position will be filled before the end of the fall semester.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Faculty and Staff on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Students on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.
IAIA President’s Convocation, August 27, 2020, from 11 am–Noon.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Staff and Faculty on Friday, August 7, 2020, from 11 am to 12:00 pm.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for Students on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, from 11 am to 12:00 pm.
Town Hall Meeting hosted by IAIA President Dr. Martin (Cherokee) for the IAIA Staff and Faculty on Friday, July 31, 2020, from 11 am to 12:20 pm.
Dear IAIA Community,
The COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted almost every facet of our lives, including colleges and universities. Thus, IAIA’s goal is to reopen our campus for students, faculty, and staff in a safe and effective manner. We will continue to prioritize the health of our community while preparing a dynamic and flexible educational experience that considers the realities of life during this pandemic. Accordingly, we must re-imagine the ways in which we deliver our academic programs, housing and dining services, extracurricular activities, gatherings, and events.
We know the 2020 Fall semester will be unlike any in our history, requiring flexibility, compassion, patience, and persistence. Each of us will be required to act conscientiously in ways that benefit our community because this pandemic has taught us that we are all in this together.
IAIA’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team continues to meet weekly to evaluate and discuss the college’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 health crisis, and updates our plans as required. Our Fall Semester 2020 Reopening Plan is based on the latest medical and scientific guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Mexico Department of Health.
Campus-Wide Guiding Principles for Reducing Potential Exposure to COVID-19
- Social distancing protocols will be required to minimize close contact—six feet or more in distance must be maintained when interacting with other people.
- Facial coverings are required in all public areas when social distancing cannot be maintained or guaranteed.
- Hand hygiene is required—frequent washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer.
- Use signage and other communications to remind students, faculty, and staff regarding the utmost importance of social distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.
- Protective equipment will be provided, e.g. face coverings, barriers, etc.
- Environmental cleaning and disinfection will take place several times daily, especially in high traffic areas and on high touch surfaces.
- Individual office spaces and desks cannot be shared, and maximum capacity will be reduced for conference rooms and common areas to follow social distancing protocols.
- Meetings in which social distancing cannot be maintained will require the use of virtual Zoom technology or other web-based video conferencing tools.
- Require all employees to self-assess before coming to work with symptoms related to COVID-19, and quarantining of those who have contracted or been exposed.
- Testing and/or isolation required for symptomatic students, faculty, and staff as well as those coming to campus from out of state or COVID-19 hot spots.
- If weather permits, encourage outdoor activities that are safer than indoor activities.
- Permit remote instruction/telework or make other reasonable accommodations for students and employees who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Work with the New Mexico Department of Health to ensure we are able to effectively respond to and control outbreaks.
- Campus spaces and buildings will be open only for official college or university business and will not be open to the general public.
- Protocols will be developed for communicating with students, faculty, and staff who have come into close/sustained contact with a person with COVID-19 and if cases are diagnosed in the IAIA community.
- Contingency plans will be developed for an on-campus outbreak, such as quarantine of students, meal delivery, and contact tracing on campus.
- Out-of-state travel is restricted and must be approved by the IAIA president.
- Classrooms and studios will be rearranged, and class sizes limited to permit social distancing, resulting in a reduction in the number of courses and overall student enrollment on campus. This may include changes to traffic flow, maximum capacity, or desk or chair arrangements.
- Modify the physical layout of classrooms and studios to permit students to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another and the instructor(s).
- Physical barriers are acceptable instead of, or in addition to, six feet or more of spacing between people.
- For settings with higher risk of spread—such as laboratories, computer labs, music/performance classes, and studios—implement enhanced measures such as greater physical distancing, physical barriers (e.g. clear plastic), increased fresh air ventilation, moving outdoors, and enhanced cleaning measures.
- IAIA has made the following adjustments to the course schedule to ensure the safety and health of faculty members and students for the Fall semester:
- Sixty-eight percent of courses will be offered exclusively on online.
- Twelve percent of courses will be offered in-person during the first eight weeks in an accelerated schedule. This will provide students who require access to studios and specialized equipment eight concentrated weeks to complete their hands-on assignments and work.
- Twenty percent of the courses will consist of a hybrid format—eight weeks in-person and on campus for selected studio arts and film courses with access to the studios and specialized equipment. The courses will then transition to online delivery for the second eight weeks.
Student Life Division
- Using social media and other communication strategies, the Student Life Division will collaborate with the Associated Student Government leadership to work with clubs to implement COVID-19 safe practices.
- Continue to research ways to engage students in campus life.
- Ongoing outreach to support student well-being through counseling, training, workshops, and seminars.
- Daycare services will reopen on August 10 to coincide with the Fall Semester opening.
Residence Center Housing
- In order to implement social distancing, The Residence Center will operate at 50% maximum capacity.
- Only one person will be assigned to a double occupancy room, but will be charged at the shared occupancy rate.
- Priority for space in the Residence Center will be given to seniors registered for on campus Studio Arts and Cinematic Arts Classes, followed by incoming new freshmen registered in on campus classes.
- The Residence Center common areas for both floors will be updated to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines with kitchens closed.
- The Residence Center communal bathrooms will be closed.
- Implement a policy regarding quarantine procedures applicable to both the Residence Center and the family housing apartments complex.
- Implement, as part of the initial application review and approval process, a screening measure that requires all incoming residents to identify alternative housing options in case the campus is required to close early due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
- Hall meetings, on campus laundry rooms, and van transportation will have sign-up lists to encourage social distancing.
- An Increase frequency of van transportation will be implemented to accommodate students.
Family Housing Apartments Complex
- Families, as defined in the 2019–2020 IAIA Family Housing Handbook, will continue to receive priority assignment status until the end of July housing application deadline.
- Vacant family housing units will be used to house two graduating senior students.
Student Success Center and Admissions
- SSC Lobby/Kitchen areas will remain closed.
- Learning Lab sessions be limited to four people and online sessions will continue.
- Summer Bridge Program, New Student & Transfer Orientation will be online.
Bon Appetit Café
- Will reopen to serve on campus students with COVID-19 safe practices in place.
- The café will be cashless and without self-service or buffet.
- Redesigned layouts for seating arrangements will permit social distancing.
- In cases of quarantined students, Bon Appetit will ensure that meals can be prepared and delivered in disposable to-go containers.
- Phased re-opening: staff returned to work in May in phase one, the second phase will begin in July when open to the public at twenty-five percent capacity, and in the third phase access will be available for interactive and interpretive areas as well as tours and school groups.
- In order to reduce staff exposure, hours will be limited to the public in the second phase.
- Delay scheduling of social gatherings, receptions, and openings until phase three.
- Expand digital footprint by creating online-only versions of previous exhibits, if possible.
- All touch screen devices will be disabled and covered with plexiglass.
- Hands-on exhibits will be roped off and inaccessible.
- Limit seating and showings in Helen Hardin Gallery.
- Signage will be placed throughout the museum to remind visitors of protocols.
- Online pre-purchase admission to the museum will be encouraged for all visitors.
- Timed tickets will be sold that are booked and purchased in advance.
- If ticket purchasers are ill with a fever or have other symptoms, the ticket price will be either refunded or honored at a future date.
- Face coverings required for staff and visitors within indoor spaces.
- Disposable face coverings will be available upon request and free of charge.
- Limit capacity in the museum to follow guidelines established by the New Mexico Department of Health.
- Request visitors refrain from touching gift shop items or the visitor information brochures unless they are acquiring the item.
- Display signage outside of building that lists protocols for the museum and store.
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Friday, May 1, 2020
Osiyo, hello, my name is Robert Martin, President of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). I hope this message finds you safe during these trying times.
On March 18, 2020, the IAIA Campus and Museum closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. With the abrupt closure of our campus and transition to online learning, your world has been disrupted. In addition to the stress caused by the Pandemic and return to your home communities, you may have struggled with privacy and competing priorities such as caring for family members and other responsibilities—thus impeding your focus on studies.
Another challenge for many of you has been the quality or lack of connectivity to the Internet. Coverage may be spotty or lost during virtual class sessions. We also know that you face financial challenges paying for food, gas, and other expenses. Your situation is not unique—other Native students are confronted with similar circumstances throughout the Southwest and the Nation, but we are committed to supporting your success this semester.
In addressing these concerns, we loaned laptops, identified local Internet providers and paid for enhanced services or increased data plans for cell phones. We will also continue to process applications requesting emergency student aid. Moreover, on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, we received $171,000 in Federal CARES Act funding earmarked for emergency student aid. By Friday, IAIA staff had processed 280 checks for students ranging from $700 for full-time students to $175 for students enrolled in three credits.
My hope is that you will complete this semester and the class of 2020 will graduate on time. I ask for your patience, persistence, and flexibility during these challenging times. Your safety and health are at the forefront as we develop plans to reopen the campus, scheduling events, and planning for the fall semester.
The 2020 Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for 11 am, Saturday, August 22, 2020. This is our best opportunity to bring closure for the graduating students and celebrate their successes. This date is at the end of the first week of the Fall semester classes and students will have returned to campus. We are especially pleased that Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Nation) ‘68, IAIA alumna and United States Poet Laureate, has cleared her calendar to be our keynote speaker and receive an honorary doctorate degree from the college. Pending the status of the Pandemic, we also will be developing a contingency plan for a virtual ceremony. Regardless of what occurs, the 2020 graduating students will also have the option of participating in the 2021 graduation ceremony as well.
The plans for the 2020 Fall semester follow along a continuum. On one end, is our preference is for a normal, face-to-face semester. On the other end of the continuum is to offer courses exclusively online—which is certainly not our preference. Falling along the middle of the continuum is an option offering two eight-week sessions in which students would enroll for the first session in two or three courses, requiring access to studio and specialized equipment. Students also would enroll in a second eight-week session in academic courses that could be completed on campus or in an online environment. Additional information will be forthcoming, but whatever is decided, flexibility and your safety will be highest priority.
Please reach out to your professor, counselor, academic advisor, the student success center, or other staff members for assistance. (Our student support programs are available remotely.) Please check our website for additional information. My email address is [email protected] Conversely, our faculty, staff, and administrators will reach out to you as well.
Remember, IAIA remains your college and we look forward to your return to campus. Together we will continue to empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures.
Be safe and well, Wado, and thank you,
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff,
IAIA is now in the second week of online delivery of our classes. Reports from faculty and students thus far have been generally positive, especially in terms of student attendance and engagement during the initial week. The Academic Division’s faculty members have made remarkable progress in transitioning to online delivery of their classes. This achievement reflects commitment to our students and their success.
Of course, we are continuing to encounter technical glitches and Internet connectivity issues. The Information Technology (IT) and Academic Technology (AT) staff are working diligently to address these issues. We have reached out to those students without Internet access, or who have other challenges with connectivity, and informed them to contact IT for support. Students who have had to purchase new Internet access or upgrade their service have been advised to submit their costs for reimbursement by IAIA.
I continue to be impressed with the rapid response of the faculty and staff to incorporate technology in offering classes online and working remotely. Understandably, we would all prefer to be at our beautiful campus with state-of-the-art buildings and equipment, but unfortunately, that is not possible at this time.
Working Remotely Extended—The New Mexico Department of Health has detected community spread in several New Mexico counties, including Pueblo and Navajo communities. The agency reports that, given the infectious nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus, it is likely many residents are infected but have not yet been tested or confirmed positive. New Mexicans have been instructed to stay-in-place by the Governor except for outings necessary for health, safety, and welfare. These additional restrictions have been enacted to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and reduce community spread. All businesses except those deemed essential have been ordered to close.
As a result, the IAIA campus and museum will remain closed and staff will continue to work remotely until at least Monday, May 18. I am grateful for the work of the Facilities staff to ensure continuity of essential campus and museum functions during this closure period, including mail delivery, security, and deep cleaning.
Hiring Freeze—As you know, with the campus and museum closed, IAIA implemented a temporary hiring freeze effective April 1, and until further notice. An announcement of the freeze has been sent to all applicants and posted on the website. Position descriptions have been removed, and no further applications will be accepted at this time. Once we reopen, positions will be re-posted, and applicants will be notified.
Two of our senior leadership positions, the Academic and Student Life Deans, were being advertised and will be affected by the hiring freeze. I am pleased to announce that Dean Charlene Teters has postponed her retirement during this critical period for up to six months or until we resume normal business operations. In addition, Paul Moore will continue as the Interim Dean of Students.
CARES Act (Phase 3 Emergency COVID-19 Response Bill)—To date, IAIA has received $78,000 in CARES Act funding to assist in responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There are three other sources of funding that have yet to be allocated to higher education institutions, including IAIA and the TCUs, which should be available soon. We expect to receive additional funding to assist in paying for increased levels of student emergency aid, building institutional capacity in delivering online learning, and offset losses in revenue due to potential decreases in student enrollment and forced cancellation of facilities rentals and events.
Communication—Please check out the #IAIATogetherApart website (togetherapart.iaia.edu) which now has more than 20 moving, inspirational, and insightful stories. Please consider submitting your own stories.
Student Emergency Aid—The Student Pantry has become an important resource for the more than 30 students housed on campus in the Casitas. We recently received many essential items from an extremely generous donor. The Student Success Center continues to dispense Emergency Aid to our students. To date, $51,200 has been awarded to 16 students for gas, food, and direct housing payments to landlords.
Postponed 2020 Commencement Ceremony—Given the level of uncertainty regarding when we will be able to return to some form of normalcy following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not yet proposed an alternative date for the postponed 2020 commencement ceremony. In response to the survey in which graduating students were asked about their scheduling preference for the ceremony, the students expressed an interest in holding the graduation exercises later, but that their safety and health should be of the utmost importance.
Staying Healthy—Remember, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call your health care provider, Indian Health Services, or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately at (855) 600-3453. If you have other questions or concerns, you can also call (833) 551-0518 or visit www.newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.
Thank You—Again, I express gratitude for your coming together as a community and rising to the challenge of transitioning to a virtual learning and working environment.
Stay safe and well,
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Tuesday, March 27, 2020
The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) has moved rapidly in the last several weeks to implement the college’s Emergency Response Plan to protect students, faculty, and staff from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Emergency Operations Center Team continues to meet on a weekly basis to update the plan. We have closed the campus, required employees to work remotely, transitioned classes for online delivery, extended our spring break by one week, and closed our Residence Center for the remainder of the semester. I deeply appreciate the commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm of faculty, staff, and students to implement these changes as quickly as possible. We understand that your success depends on our ability to adapt to this rapidly changing environment.
Campus Events—Due to the continued spread of the virus, the 2020 Commencement Ceremony, Powwow, and Alumni Reunion Dinner must be postponed. We are committed to acknowledging and celebrating this milestone accomplishment on campus as soon as possible, and will discuss options with the graduating students. Scheduled events on campus by external groups will be cancelled through the end of May.
Communication—During the past several weeks, we have heard inspirational stories from faculty, staff and students reflecting strength, persistence and creativity that should be shared with our campus community. Accordingly, the Offices of Marketing and Communication and Institutional Research are developing a webpage where students, staff, and faculty can share your thoughts and experiences. It would be a place where you could write about what you are doing and how you are coping. We believe that reading what others are going through will be supportive and facilitate a sense of community during this period of social distancing. The website wouldn’t address specific questions but would include a list of people and offices to contact for those seeking assistance. I’ll let you know when the site goes live.
Transition to an Online learning Environment—Spring break was extended by one week to provide faculty members additional time to receive training to transition to an online learning environment. One of the biggest challenges for an institution specializing in the fine arts is to deliver instruction online. Using Canvas, IAIA’s online learning management system, IAIA faculty have proven themselves to be flexible and creative in providing resources for you. For example, our advanced painting class professor, Char Teters, distributed to each of her students painting kits with canvases and a revised syllabus with lesson plans. Other studio arts classes are more challenging, e.g. sculpture and metal works. They, too, have identified resources and are collaborating virtually with colleagues from other universities and colleges who are confronted with similar challenges. Please remember that online classes begin Monday, March 30. I encourage each one of you to maintain communication and engagement with your professors. Given the uncertainty regarding the spread of the virus, I urge you to complete the semester rather than withdrawing or requesting incompletes.
Wi-Fi Connectivity—Wi-Fi connectivity may be a major challenge for a number of you returning to your home communities. Even though Comcast and other internet providers have announced they are making Wi-Fi and hot spots available for little or no cost, the question is whether their services are accessible to those of you who may live in rural and remote areas. Gaining access to the proper technology and equipment in your home areas is a potential obstacle to successfully completing online work. The Academic Division has surveyed students to determine the numbers without access to Wi-Fi connectivity and we are researching options for addressing this issue. If you haven’t responded to the survey, please do so as soon as possible.
Residence Center Closing—With the closure of the Residence Center, 11 students relocated to the Family Housing Casitas—a total of 31 students remain housed on campus. Student Life staff maintain contact with the students should they need transportation, food, etc. In the past week, the Student Success Center awarded 11 students with gas cards ($1,200), food gift cards ($800) and housing payments directly to their landlords ($600), for a total of $28,600.
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA)—MoCNA, also closed, is sharing its most recent exhibition, Indigenous Futurisms: Transcending Past/Present/Future, through a virtual environment designed by Senior Manager of Museum Education Winoka Yepa (Diné). This Virtual Reality (VR) space allows online visitors to tour the exhibition on their computer or phone.
Staying Healthy—As we practice sheltering-in-place and social distancing to curb the spread of the COVID-19, many of us are experiencing stress and social isolation. If you need assistance, please reach out to Interim Student Life Dean Paul Moore (Chickasaw) or the counseling staff.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call your healthcare provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately at (855) 600-3453. If you have non-health-related questions or concerns, you can also call (833) 551-0518 or visit www.newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.
Thank you and take care,
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Dear IAIA Community,
The world is now confronted by a pandemic crisis that requires evolving strategies to curb its rapid spread. It was only one week ago today that we made the decision to cancel both the AIHEC Student Conference in Albuquerque and the Basketball Tournament hosted by the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). That was quickly followed by last Wednesday’s determination to effectively close the campus after the one-week spring break and offer only online courses for the remainder of the semester. We encouraged students to travel home and not return to campus until the fall semester. These decisions were sad and disappointing for us all—but were necessary given the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, health officials were hoping for only a mild spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, but the best-case scenario will be at least a moderate increase. According to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, “We are where Italy was two weeks ago in terms of our numbers. When you look at the projections, there’s every chance that we could be Italy. Two weeks ago, there were 1,700 cases of coronavirus in Italy and the country had reported 34 deaths. Now, Italy is reporting an estimated 25,000 cases and more than 1,800 people have died.” There are about 3,800 cases reported in the United States and, so far, more than 65 people have died from coronavirus. Dr. Adams believes the trajectory of infections and deaths in the United States seem to be on par with Italy’s, but he says we are hoping to avoid Italy’s situation by “flattening the curve” of the pandemic. In other words, we should try to prevent and delay the spread of the virus so that large portions of the population aren’t sick at the same time and overtaxing our emergency rooms, hospitals, and intensive care units. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), says the United States still has a chance to reverse course if society heeds the public health warnings to practice social distancing for the next six to eight weeks and avoid gatherings of more than 50 people. The White House issued guidelines yesterday recommending we avoiding social gatherings in groups of more than ten people, avoiding eating in bars, restaurants, and food courts, and self-isolating at home.
Accordingly, we took additional social distancing measures yesterday by extending spring break for a second week to provide for an additional period of inactivity and give our faculty members more time to convert their courses to online formats. We also closed the studios, classrooms and computer labs, etc. for the remainder of spring semester and are requiring our employees to work from home until Monday, April 6. We also made the difficult decision to close the Residence Center in order for students to either return to or remain at home. It is expected that as the situation with the virus worsens, travel will become more restrictive and problematic for students to return home.
We also are encouraging students currently off campus to not return to campus. Regarding personal property left on campus, IAIA will seal the Residential Center rooms and students can return for their possessions when the current health crisis has passed. If an off campus student needs to return to pick up their property, they may do so until the end of spring break. Students may not return to stay in the dorms for any period other than to collect their possessions during spring break. IAIA Security or staff will provide access to dorm rooms upon request in order for students to retrieve their items. Students who have no home to go to will be relocated to the IAIA Family Housing casitas until the end of the semester. Students requiring funding for transportation or food should apply online for Emergency Assistance at iaia.dreamkeepers.org.
As we live through these unprecedented times and experience extraordinary change, please remember that your health and safety must be our highest priority. All of us must work together as a community to ensure our success in responding to this health emergency.
Thank you and take care,
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Monday, March 16, 2020
Dear IAIA Community,
I am announcing further actions that the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) needs to take to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff:
- Spring break is extended another week. Online instruction will start on Monday, March 30. All instruction will be online through the end of the semester. Studios, classrooms, and the computer labs will remain closed for the entire semester.
- Effective Wednesday, March 18 until Monday, April 6, the IAIA campus and IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) will be closed. IAIA employees who do not need to be present on campus or at MoCNA to provide continuity of services and operations are to telework from home until then. The appropriate cabinet members must approve requests for employees eligible to telework but who desire to work on campus or at MoCNA. Employees are not encouraged to work on campus or MoCNA unless there is a strong compelling reason.
- The Café, Library, Student Success Center, Fitness Center, offices, computer labs, studios, classrooms, learning lab etc. will all be closed.
- Students have until Friday, March 20, at 5 pm to vacate the residence center by returning home or relocating off campus. Students who are unable to immediately move off campus will be relocated to the IAIA Family Housing casitas until the end of the semester. Emergency Aid is available for students, including assistance with transportation and food.
- Employees will continue to be paid—the HR and Finance offices are able to process payroll remotely, and I thank them for developing this capability.
- Here are further guidelines for IAIA Staff and Faculty who will be working from home:
- Get in touch with your direct supervisor to plan what tasks you will work on during this time period.
- Share your contact information with your supervisor and co-workers.
- Stay in regular contact with your supervisor.
- Stay in regular contact with other staff and faculty to continue to do your work and help others to do theirs.
- Be on call and available during your normal working hours.
- Respond regularly to emails and phone calls.
- Discuss with your work group whether you should use online collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, or Skype.
- Take this opportunity to participate in online training or reading about your job duties.
- Specific details of your work-from-home situation will be worked out between you and your supervisor over the coming days.
- When we are practicing social distancing, it’s possible to feel a little cut off from everyone. Reach out if you need assistance.
- The decision to bring employees back to the campus and Museum on April 6 will be based on the existing public health situation in New Mexico at that time.
- Except for the one-on-one online curriculum development training, faculty should now work from home.
- Decisions regarding Powwow, Commencement, and other events scheduled for after April 6 has not been made.
Given the fluidity with the situation with the coronavirus, this office will provide regular updates. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. Take care of yourselves!
Stay safe and healthy,
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As you are well aware, the COVID-19 outbreak has now been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. Closer to home, three coronavirus cases have now been confirmed in New Mexico and the Governor has declared a public health emergency for the state of New Mexico. Unfortunately, the situation may worsen before it improves.
I have devoted a considerable amount of time over the past several weeks working to develop the Institute of American Indian Art’s next steps forward. I express gratitude to those who have provided input, including our Emergency Management Planning committee who is responsible for managing our response to this serious public health emergency.
Our primary focus is to continue to provide IAIA students and employees with a safe place to learn, live, and work. To that end, we think it is best to be as safe as possible and also as flexible as possible. Moving forward the following actions will be implemented:
- Spring break will take place as planned. However, we recommend that students and employees take great care in planning their personal travel, and consider not traveling out-of-state for the time being. As usual, the residence hall will remain open and there will be student activities.
- After spring break, all instruction will be online for the remainder of the semester.
- Following spring break, the residence hall, the casitas, and the Café will remain open.
- IAIA will remain open, with one exception—classrooms and studios will be closed, except for graduating seniors who receive approval from their advisors.
- Students can choose to finish out the semester either living at home or living on campus.
- Until further notice, we will cancel visits to the campus, e.g. Facilities rentals, Admissions office tours and visits, Continuing Education classes, and other guests.
- Small group meetings of students, faculty, and staff can take place during and after spring break, but large gatherings will be cancelled. We do not yet know if the Powwow and Commencement will take place—we will try to make that decision as soon as possible.
- Staff will come to work normally.
- School-sponsored out-of-state travel is immediately suspended for students, faculty, and staff. If you have mission-critical reasons for travel, presidential approval will be required.
As we all know, this is a fluid situation. While no one on campus is currently infected with coronavirus, that could change and the next phase of the plan would be implemented with additional actions. Online instruction will continue through the end of the semester. If you have any questions, please contact this office—we will be sending updates on a regular basis to the campus community. Another good resource is the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at cv.nmhealth.org as well as the coronavirus hotline at (855) 600-3453.
In conclusion, I encourage you to be respectful and kind to each other as we respond to this public health emergency together as a community. And, most importantly, we need to do our very best to help each other stay healthy—wash your hands frequently, capture those sneezes, maintain social distance, and if you are sick, please isolate yourself or remain home.
Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)