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Do not forget the important amidst the urgency

The last few months I have been thinking a great deal about the balance between the urgent and the important. Initially the thoughts were centered around the impact COVID-19 has on the ability to focus on what is important when we are consumed by what is urgent.

The battle between urgent and important intensified on Aug. 10 when the derecho storm joined COVID-19 on our urgent agenda.

The hours immediately following the storm, at Iowa Valley we focused on urgent items.

We checked to ensure everyone was safe and cleared storm impacted areas.

We gathered towels to stop the water in the hallway from seeping into additional rooms.

We worked with our insurance provider to hire a restoration team and roofing contractor while the storm was still raging.

We manually cleared leaves and other debris from roof drains to release pressure on undamaged roofs to prevent additional damage.

We provided food to our students living in housing.

All were urgent tasks which needed to be done.

While the urgent work continues to present itself, in the days following the storm and throughout the pandemic, we also addressed the important work.

We focused on student success and adjusted our academic calendar, allowing the majority of our Marshalltown Community College students an extra week to prepare for the start of classes.

We partnered with K-12 partners to allow counselors and students more time to register our youngest students for college credit classes.

We continued our design work on construction projects supported by voters in November 2019, including understanding the intersection between our planned projects and our new damage.

We prioritized faculty learning and collaboration in preparation for the fall semester.

We collaborated with local and state partners to address our community needs, including providing space for judicial services, housing recovery workers, hosting TestIowa and welcoming hundreds of utility trucks to our parking lots.

As our recovery from the storm and our battle with COVID-19 continues this year, I am committed to balancing the urgent with the important, but I know I will need to remind myself to find time for the important.

And I encourage all of you to take a breath occasionally and reflect on what is important and focus on those things for a moment. The urgency will pass but the important shall remain.

——

Kristie Fisher is the Iowa Valley Community College Chancellor

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