Coronovirus Bethany Update text over graphic image

Bethany campus closing until April 14

March 17, 2020

In my message shared to the Bethany community last week, John 16:33 was referenced. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The events of the recent weeks and days surely remind us that Jesus’ words regarding our earthly troubles are all too true. But especially in times such as these, remember the rest of what Jesus told us: He has overcome the world including its troubles, pain, and sorrow, and especially our condition due to our sinful natures. Our times are still in Jesus’ hands! He will never leave us or forsake us. He remains our light and our salvation. With Jesus for us, what shall we fear?

The Bethany Lutheran College Administrative Cabinet has been actively monitoring, and discussing daily to define the next steps for the campus in light of the fluid and ever-changing coronavirus situation.

Bethany’s plan going forward is designed out of concern for the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and the community. Our measures taken are meant to proactively control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, flatten the curve of viral contraction, and accommodate all those making plans as they relate to Bethany’s mission. The administration will continue to meet regularly to assess and adapt these plans as the situation warrants. With that focus, the following measures are being implemented at this time:

Information for Students

Academics: Bethany will continue with spring break until March 22, 2020. Classes will resume online on March 23, and will continue online until at least the conclusion of the Easter break, April 13. Students should realize and prepare for the possibility that on-campus instruction may not resume this semester. Please note that the administration will continue to monitor the situation and guidelines from state and national health officials, and will adjust these plans as necessary. Check your Bethany email inbox frequently for information and updates from Dr. Jason Lowrey, Vice President of Academic Affairs, as they become available. Watch also for information from your instructors regarding online class delivery.

Travel: Students wondering whether they should book a return flight should refrain from purchasing tickets at this point, or if you do purchase tickets also choose travel insurance in the event that we do not return to campus this semester.

Athletics: Bethany is a member of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The UMAC has cancelled all competition and championships, and the NCAA has cancelled national championships for Spring 2020. As of today, Bethany has decided to cancel the remaining spring athletic season, including all practices, competition, and non-traditional seasons and team activities.

Fine Arts: All art, drama, and music events scheduled to be held prior to the Easter break are postponed. Directors in consultation with administration may choose to determine alternative delivery methods for these events if possible.

Campus: Through the Easter break, the campus is considered to be closed to students. Weight rooms, gyms, library, academic buildings, computer labs, practice areas, and studios are all closed.  Students may only enter their own residence hall. All other residential halls are to be considered closed to student use.

Academic Services: Students may consult with library staff via email for academic research help. The IT help desk will be available for assistance and questions about online course access.

Residence Halls: Residential students who are unable to travel home, have extenuating circumstances, or who have jobs in the Mankato area may choose to remain on campus. Students must declare their intent to stay on campus using THIS FORM.  Only students who have declared their intent to reside on campus are permitted to be in the residence hall. There are no open visitation or guest hours until further notice, so students are only permitted in the residence hall in which they live.

Mail: If you would like your existing first class mail forwarded, please inform us by emailing the Bethany Bookstore. You may need to make arrangements to retrieve any packages already delivered to campus. Please modify your mailing address so that any future packages are sent to your home address.

Retrieving Your Belongings: All students’ FOBs will be active for their residence hall beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, 2020, to allow students to briefly stop back at campus to pick up items needed for classes and other essentials. FOB access will terminate at 12 noon on Friday March 20. If you can get by without returning to your room, we urge you to do so since extraneous travel is not advised. If you are traveling from a great distance, you may request to stay overnight. If you need to return to your room but cannot do so within the defined timeline, please email Residential Life to make other arrangements. Athletes who would like to retrieve things from their sports lockers should contact their coaches, fine arts students should contact Susan Harstad to retrieve their belongings, and science students should contact Glenda Bossow.

Dining Services: The College has modified dining times and format in the interest of student safety. There will be no all-day continuous access or late-night services until further notice. Self-service has been eliminated, and a number of offerings and service stations have been modified to protect from the spread of virus. Do not bring your BLC cups or any other food containers into the Dining Center. Pioneer Food Service will sanitize the Dining Center between meals. Weekday meals will only be available to pre-approved residential students at the following times.

  • Breakfast: 8 – 9 a.m.
  • Lunch: 12 – 1 p.m.
  • Dinner: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Student Health Services: The Mayo Express Care Clinic will be open as normal for the time being. They are located on the first floor of Luther Hall and their hours are 7:45 AM – 9:45 a.m. Monday – Friday. If you suspect you have COVID-19 symptoms, first call Mayo’s Mankato Eastridge Clinic at 507-594-6500. You may tell them you are a Bethany student and have access to our on-campus Express Care Clinic.

Counseling Services: The Christian Family Services (CFS) counseling center on the second floor of Luther Hall will be open periodically. They are also available to tele-counsel. Appointments can be made online or by calling 1-800-438-1772. If you currently work with one of the CFS counselors, contact them to make the appropriate arrangements for their continued services.

Student Paychecks: You may pick up your paycheck at the Business Office by Friday, March 20, 2020, after which they will be mailed to the student’s address that is on file.

Student Employment: On campus employment will be limited during this period of online learning. Currently, only Admissions and Advancement student workers are approved to work. Please contact your supervisor regarding specifics about your position.

Course Registration: Returning students please watch your Bethany email inbox for information regarding Advising Day and Fall 2020 class registration options.

Continue to Seek His Guidance

In closing this update, recognize that our Lord is the One who ultimately sets our daily schedules and plans. And as He allows these trying times to either continue or subside, we will adapt and change our plans according to His timing.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

To stay current with developments and the latest campus information, we ask that you monitor your BLC email and frequently visit Bethany’s web page on coronavirus at

Gene Pfeifer