COVID-19 Information and Q&A

The world-wide COVID-19 virus has made us more aware of the enemy of death that pursues us in this life. At Bethany Lutheran College it is our joy and privilege to proclaim the antidote to death through the message of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the grave. Trusting in Him we can live confidently in His promise, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). For this reason, God invites us to gather around His holy Word to remain in this faith. Our loving Savior commands that we obey those He has placed in authority over us for our good. Out of love and concern for our fellowman, Bethany is taking measures to protect the health and well-being of all on our campus, and pray that this virus will soon be eradicated and no longer threaten us.

Frequently Asked Questions and Information

Anyone with specific questions about how BLC is handling COVID-19 matters and reporting is encouraged to contact BLC’s COVID Coordinator at covid@blc.edu

The face mask policy at Bethany requires a face covering to be worn in any interior space on campus and outside when social distancing is not possible. This policy is in compliance with the Minnesota Governor’s Executive Order 20-81. This means you will be required to wear a mask, even in the public spaces of the residence hall. You may remove masks in your private room, when socially distanced outdoors, when grooming in the residence hall bathrooms, and when dining.

Updated – August 10, 2020

Bethany is modifying campus cleaning routines to include disinfecting with emphasis on high touch surfaces. The College has also invested in new electrostatic cleaning equipment to sanitize building interior spaces. There will also be sanitizing supplies available throughout campus for students, faculty, staff and guests to use. 

The College has placed sanitizer refills and disinfecting wipes in all common areas. We have developed a communication campaign about hygiene best practices, i.e., hand washing, face touching. Bethany will provide a basic hygiene kit to all employees and students at the start of the Fall Semester. Several public desks on campus will be fitted with Plexiglas shields. The College has procured touch-free hand sanitizers to be placed strategically around campus. Fleet vehicle sanitizing supplies will be available in the maintenance shop as well as the mailroom so any person returning to campus with a college vehicle, or leaving with one, will be able to wipe down interior and exterior touch surfaces. Bethany will continue to utilize student workers during the school year to clean when full-time housekeepers are not scheduled. All events on campus since March have been canceled allowing our building spaces to be deeply cleaned and sanitized by our housekeeping staff.  

Bethany’s HVAC system is fully automated and programmed to allow fresh air to be drawn in and expelled based on space occupancy. All filters are routinely changed in the major air handlers.

Bethany’s housekeeping staff is dedicated to keeping the residence halls as clean as possible. We are scheduling more hours to be used throughout campus for cleaning as well as using our new electrostatic machines to disinfect surfaces in public spaces including restrooms.

Updated – July 7, 2020

Bethany is committed to conducting its educational and student related undertakings in the best possible method during this pandemic. However, Bethany DOES NOT provide any assurance that such educational and student related undertakings (including athletic, fine art or any other student related activity, as well as student housing and dining services) will be conducted free of risk, including risks associated with COVID-19. Each student must make an independent determination regarding the risks and benefits of attending Bethany in any of its educational and student related endeavors. By attending and participating in those educational and student related undertakings, each student acknowledges that there are dangers associated with it and agrees to accept the risk of illness potentially caused by COVID-19 and/or other diseases.

All procedures and policies set forth in conducting its educational and student related undertakings, including housing and dining services, shall be subject to change based on any future guidance issued by the state government authority and/or related agencies (such as MDH, HLC, NCAA, etc.). Bethany expects that students (as well as employees) will adhere to the guidelines or requirements issued by Bethany and state governing authorities in connection with status as a student at Bethany whether on campus or other locations. Any student who fails to comply with such guidelines or requirements may receive sanctions, including a fine and up to dismissal from Bethany without a refund. Lastly, each student willingly agrees to comply with the stated and customary terms and conditions in regards to protection against infectious diseases as issued by Bethany and state government authorities.

Updated August 7, 2020

Academic and Classroom Information

No adjustments are planned at this time; however the College will closely monitor how we are able to limit the spread of the virus at Bethany.

Updated – July 7, 2020

The face mask policy at Bethany requires a face covering to be worn in any interior space on campus and outside when social distancing is not possible. This policy is in compliance with the Minnesota
Governor’s Executive Order 20-81. This means you will be required to wear a mask, even in the public spaces of the residence hall. You may remove masks in your private room, when socially distanced outdoors, when grooming in the residence hall bathrooms, and when dining.

Updated – August 10, 2020

Classrooms have been set up to accommodate students no less than six feet apart. Desks and chairs have been removed from classrooms to allow safe distancing for each learner and instructor in the classroom. Depending on room configuration, some larger lecture rooms will have seats marked available for use. Additionally, seating configurations have been designed to point in one common direction, much like traditional rows. Room arrangements with inward configurations have been removed from consideration indefinitely. 

Updated – July 7, 2020

You are always encouraged to connect with your academic advisor to discuss your academic plan, as well as other school and career oriented questions. We ask that if you meet with your advisor, please be prepared to wear your face mask, as in many cases, six feet of social distancing may not be possible in a professor’s office. If students feel uncomfortable meeting in person, video conferencing is always an option. Please schedule these meetings with your advisor as needed.

Updated – July 7, 2020

General Student Information

No, but we ask that you practice care regarding your contact with others for two weeks prior to arriving on campus.  If you or any of your family members or close contacts have symptoms of or are diagnosed with COVID-19, we ask that you not come to campus until you are clear to do so.

Updated – July 7, 2020

Yes, Bethany is planning to hold regular chapel services in Trinity Chapel, while observing social distancing. The Chapel seating will be arranged for social distancing. We are presently permitted to have up to 50% capacity, which would be around 210 worshippers. Other options are being considered including:

  1. Asking the faculty and staff to initially begin the year watching Chapel services online.
  2. Singing may be limited when in the sanctuary. We are hoping to hold outdoor Chapel on Tuesdays, weather permitting.
  3. Singing may be suspended, except by some chosen singers.
  4. Face masks will be required while in Chapel.
  5. No hymn books will be in the chairs, but we will publish a daily bulletin which can be recycled.
  6. Overflow seating will be available in the Honsey Hall viewing room. 

Finally, all of our Chapel services will be simulcast and archived in both audio and video formats. 

Updated – August 11, 2020

Staff members at both Bethany and its conference affiliate, the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC), have continued to monitor COVID developments throughout the summer with the health and safety of our student-athletes continuously at the top of the rationale used in all decisions. That data led the UMAC to postpone fall athletic competitive seasons for the Bethany-sponsored activities of men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball in late July. In late August, the NCAA further recommended member schools not compete in any fall sports. The UMAC followed that recommendation and postponed the cross country, golf, and tennis fall seasons shortly thereafter. Athletes in those sports will still engage with coaches in a variety of traditional settings this fall — practices, strength and conditioning, small-group and individual skill development, leadership, team-building, etc. Current plans would then feature a slate of UMAC regular season conference matches for those teams in the spring, along with the possibility of culminating post-season championships.

Bethany’s athletic administration and trainers, along with UMAC leadership, continue to assess various updates from a variety of medical outlets (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health, NCAA Sports Science Institute, National Athletic Trainers Association, American College Health Association) to determine the possibility of further modifications for the fall and upcoming winter seasons of basketball and indoor track and field.

Updated – August 24, 2020

All music ensembles including Concert Choir, Concert Band, Chamber Orchestra, Mary Martha Singers, Jazz Ensemble, Handbell Choir, Drumline, and Choraliers will be offered in the fall, and will follow CDC social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety of all participants. Concert Choir and Band plan to rehearse in Trinity Chapel, which allows for plenty of space.

Theatre events may look different than they traditionally have, but every effort is being made to create substantive theatrical experiences for both our students and audiences. As BLC continues to navigate the ongoing changes in the CDC and MDH guidelines, BLC’s commitment to excellence in performance will be maintained as we continue to innovate ways of bringing opportunities to our students and performances to our patrons.

We’re looking into alternative ways to effectively connect our students with professional artists. Stay tuned to Bethany channels for updates on new exhibition formats.  

A limited number of guests could attend an event with social distancing. Further precautions may include checking an audience member’s temperature at the door and wearing face masks. This is subject to change per CDC and MN Department of Health (MDH) recommendations. We plan to live-stream and record all music performances for viewing on a number of platforms.

Updated – July 7, 2020

Students should conduct meetings in the same socially-distanced manner as classes are conducted. Any student-led events will require approval. Students will work with their Faculty/Staff advisor to complete a safety and risk/reward statement. All events must receive final approval from the Vice President overseeing that respective area.

Updated – August 13, 2020

Yes, but students should be prudent about engaging in any off-campus events or activities, and do so in a small defined ‘pod’ of their usual associates whenever possible. Bethany will not restrict a student’s off-campus involvement in service and volunteer activities provided the activity is conducted in a manner that considers COVID mitigation practices and is in accordance with state or local guidelines.

Updated – August 26, 2020

Intramurals will take place with low risk (outdoor, higher spacing) sports. Each sport season will be assessed for risk based on the current recommendations from MN Department of Health and the CDC.

Updated – July 7, 2020

The Fitness Center in Luther Hall is currently open the following times:

  • Monday-Friday  – 7 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. 
  • Saturday – CLOSED
  • Sunday – 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Updated September 16, 2020

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.

Updated – July 10, 2020

Bethany’s Mayo Express Care Clinic will operate with normal hours in fall 2020. Anyone with questions about potential COVID-19 symptoms is encouraged to call their primary physician, or call Mayo’s COVID Phone Line at 507-293-9525. 

Updated – August 17, 2020

The college is making every effort to have events take place this fall, but students need to realize that many events may be significantly altered or canceled altogether if conducting them is not feasible in a COVID-19 responsible manner.

Updated – July 10, 2020

If you are feeling sick, you should take every precaution to prevent infecting others, go home or isolate in your residential space, and 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. Please follow the instructions of the health professionals. If you are asked to come in for testing, please alert the College as you must temporarily quarantine until the results of the test are returned.

If you test positive for COVID-19, students should be isolated according to CDC guidelines. Any residential student is encouraged to leave campus and recover elsewhere if at all possible.  Residential students who have nowhere else to recover will be isolated on campus. Student Services will offer limited services such as meal delivery, trash retrieval, etc. according to CDC guidelines.

Updated – July 7, 2020

Updated – July 10, 2020

For Fall 2020 only, Bethany’s refund policy is as follows:

  • Week 1 & 2 (through September 4): 100%
  • Week 3: 65%
  • Week 4 50%
  • Week 5 33%

After week 5 there is no refund for Tuition, Fees, and Room charges.

Information for International Students

Yes. Bethany’s continuing international students can maintain their active status in the United States.

Updated – July 23, 2020

New international students who cannot obtain a visa will be allowed to begin their studies online during fall semester. Bethany has the technology in place to allow first-year international students to attend in-person classes virtually until a visa appointment can take place. Bethany is awaiting further guidance from the government on whether you would be allowed to arrive in the United States in the middle of the semester, or if you would need to wait until spring semester.

Updated – July 23, 2020

Bethany’s HyFlex teaching model has the technological capabilities to allow you to attend classes virtually from your home country until you are able to return. Your lectures will be streamable live and also available by recording if your time zone is more than eight (8) hours removed from U.S. Central Time. If you are able to return to Bethany mid-semester, you may do that to begin attending these classes in-person. During fall semester, you will be able to maintain your active student status while studying online.

Updated – July 23, 2020

There is no quarantine required for students upon arrival at Bethany from another country.  We ask that all students practice care regarding your contact with others for two weeks prior to arriving on campus.  If you or any of your family members or close contacts have symptoms of or are diagnosed with COVID-19, we ask that you not come to campus until you are clear to do so.

Updated – August 7, 2020

Residence Hall Information

Bethany is waiving the two-year residency requirement for all students for the 2020-21 academic year. The College is requesting that all students who live close to campus (or have family who live near campus) consider commuting to campus.

Updated – July 7, 2020

Yes, only Bethany students will be allowed in the Residence Halls. No off-campus guests will be able to enter the BLC Residence Halls. 

Updated – July 7, 2020

Like the rest of campus, students are asked to remain six feet apart, wear masks when in public spaces where social distancing can’t be ensured, and adhere to posted room capacity limits. Students do not need to wear masks in their private residences (room or apartments).

Updated – July 7, 2020

If COVID -19 resurges, and Bethany is forced to return to only-online classes, students will be asked to move home. Anyone who cannot make it home due to travel restrictions or extenuating circumstances can petition the Residential Life Department to remain on campus.

Updated – July 7, 2020

Students who have been exposed to someone with coronavirus, but are not COVID-positive, will need to quarantine in their room according to CDC guidelines. Meals will be delivered to the student and he or she will have use of designated bathrooms.

Updated – July 7, 2020

No.  Bethany will not be permitting overnight guests in the residence halls during COVID-19 precautions.

Updated – July 10, 2020

Yes, you will see signs posted with maximum capacity recommendations to support social distancing in many community rooms. If you have any cold-like or COVID-19 symptoms, do not use the community spaces.

Updated – July 10, 2020

We encourage families to collectively develop a plan to prepare for the possibility of you becoming ill. 

A residential student who becomes ill with COVID-19 is encouraged to leave campus and recover elsewhere, if at all possible.  Self-isolating at home and away from campus protects all others living in the congregate setting of the res-halls.  Additionally, while the College will provide basic services to residential students, our services may not equal the care you would likely receive at home from family. The College does have limited quarantine and isolation spaces for residential students with no other options. 

Updated – August 7, 2020

In the event that the College must return to online-only course delivery during the Fall 2020 Semester (and students are asked to move out of the residence halls) pro-rated refunds will be issued. The process will be determined by two contributing factors: Each student’s financial aid award package and percentage of days not living or eating on campus.

Updated – August 18, 2020

Dining Center Information

Masks are required when entering and leaving the Dining Center. Masks may be removed while seated and dining at your table.

Updated – August 7, 2020

Social distancing signage (six feet apart) will be placed on the floor and arrows will indicate entrance/exit directions as well as traffic flow around serving stations. 

Congestion at the salad bar and demo/grill stations will be alleviated with the addition of pre-made salads that are ready to grab and go and pagers at the demo/grill station that will page you when your order is ready.

 

Updated – August 7, 2020

Bethany is adding alternative satellite serving locations in Honsey Hall and the Viking Village. Students on a meal plan can scan their IDs at these locations and receive one exchange meal consisting of an entrée, side item, desert, and bottled water. Both satellite serveries will be open over lunch from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM on weekdays. In addition, the Viking Village location will be open during dinner hours on weekdays.

Tables have been added in a socially distant manner to the Viking Village/Fireside room, the Lab, and outside. Students are welcome to take their food to these locations.

Updated – August 7, 2020

Tables have been placed six feet apart. A maximum of four persons may sit at a table. Please do not move tables or chairs.  Students may also take their meals out of the Dining Center in disposable containers. The Viking Village, The Lab, and outdoor spaces adjacent to the Dining Center all have tables and chairs that are, likewise, spaced 6 feet apart.

Updated –August 7, 2020

Please let the servers know that you will be eating outside of the Dining Center and your food can be served in disposable containers.  No personal cups or containers (including the BLC travel mugs and green boxes) may be brought into the Dining Center.

Updated – August 7, 2020

General public guests will not be allowed in the Dining Center until further notice. Campus guests of the Admissions Department must follow guidelines established for campus visits.

Updated – August 7, 2020

Faculty and Staff Information

All departments of the College now have the flexibility to work from home. The process to define how this work-from-home scenario is implemented for each department will be determined by the vice presidents and department leaders in consultation with their employees.

Beginning August 1, faculty may return to campus. While working on campus, anytime you are inside a building or walking between buildings, face masks will be required. However, if you are sitting in a stationary situation and at least six feet from the nearest person, you can remove your face mask.

The College has reduced the number of staff occupying office spaces to the extent possible. Workspaces have been reviewed and adjusted to maximize social distancing. Employees are expected to practice social distancing in office and shared workspace settings. Employees should not use one another’s office or related office furniture and equipment such as desk, phone, computer or chair. Signage, floor markings, and dividers have been placed in offices and some employees have been moved to new locations to help attain social distancing around campus. Seek out larger spaces, like the rooms in third floor of Luther Hall, for meetings that provide good social distancing options. 

Updated – July 7, 2020

For all employees, do not come onto campus if you are not feeling well. Your presence puts everyone at risk. If you have influenza-type symptoms, you should stay home.

Updated – July 7, 2020

Yes, but please seek out larger spaces, like the rooms in third floor of Luther Hall, for meetings that provide good social distancing options. 

Updated – July 7, 2020

All non-essential college travel, domestic and international, is suspended until further notice. A faculty or staff member who believes that he/she has an essential business reason to travel can seek approval through the divisional vice president.

Updated – July 7, 2020

Campus Emergency & Closure Notifications

The Bethany Lutheran College messaging system is a key component of the college’s emergency notification program. In the event of a campus emergency or closure, the College will send notifications through a number of communication channels including text, voice, and email messaging.