The following message was sent to students and parents from Bethany Lutheran College President Gene Pfeifer on Thursday, March 12, 2020. More information can be found at blc.edu/coronavirus.
Dear Members of the Bethany Lutheran College Community,
I write with important news for you about Bethany’s campus action plan regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. I met this morning with our administrative team where we discussed the best and most responsible path forward for Bethany.
As you are aware, the situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus outbreak in our nation has been changing rapidly. Bethany Lutheran College has been monitoring the situation closely, and even though no known cases of COVID-19 have been detected on our campus, Bethany is taking the following action to protect our community’s well-being.
Effective today (March 12, 2020), Bethany will implement a one-week extension of spring break. During this one-week break extension, the Bethany campus will remain closed to all students. This means no classes, activities, athletic or drama practices, seminars, meetings, or any other events will take place on the Bethany campus.
Our actions, that I will outline below, are intended to help slow the spread of this virus. This campus closure does present challenges for some of our students—especially those who do not have anywhere else to live than on the Bethany campus. I will also outline some options for these students below.
- Spring break is extended one week. An announcement regarding a possible return date to campus will be made by Tuesday, March 17.
- Any student whose circumstances prevent them from traveling home (or to another safe, non-campus location) can petition to stay on campus during the closure. Please contact our Residential Life Coordinator, Renee Tatge, by Saturday, March 14 in order to make your appeal to stay on campus during the closure. Residence halls and the Viking Village will remain open only for permitted students.
- Dining Services will be open only for approved residential students. Hours will be reduced to limited meal times and self-service will be eliminated.
- All students currently participating in Bethany-sponsored travel during break (band, baseball, softball, travel canvas group) will be allowed to return to campus and gather their belongings but must leave the campus by Sunday, March 15 at 5 p.m.
- Faculty and staff are expected to report to work during the campus closure.
- Some employees may ask their supervisor about the possibility to work from home temporarily. Supervisors may contact HR about remote work options. Individual employees please work through your supervisors and do not contact HR directly.
- Practice good hygiene habits, follow social distancing protocols, and exercise your best judgement if you exhibit any signs of sickness.
I also want you to understand that this is our first step in determining the best path forward for Bethany Lutheran College and the remainder of the spring semester. You are all well aware that this situation is changing by the hour. As I mentioned previously, additional communication will be forthcoming on Tuesday, March 17. We will communicate with you as often as possible and as the situation warrants, and we will do our best to answer your questions as they arise. We will continue to follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in future decision-making.
Trusting in the Lord
While we will do our very best to make Bethany a safe place for our students and employees during these troubling times, I urge you to continue to look to the One who is in control of all things temporal and eternal. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)