Bethel administrators continue to respond to COVID-19. 

By Jaimee Hood and Makenna Cook

March 13 update

Bethel University’s emergency management team made a decision regarding plans for online classes March 13. 

Jay Barnes sent an email Friday afternoon regarding the university’s decision to hold all face-to-face classes virtually. 

The new plan will commence March 16 and is scheduled to end April 13 for those in College of Arts and Sciences. The university is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. These guidelines include, but are not limited to, promoting social distancing and lowering numbers of large group meetings over 250 people. 

The College of Arts and Sciences will have an extended spring break from March 14 to March 29. Virtual classes will be held March 30 through April 13. 

The College of Adult and Professional Studies will have virtual classes from March 16 through April 19. Bethel Seminary will have online courses from March 16 through April 12. Bethel University Graduate School will be held online from March 16 through April 12. 

In the university-wide email, Jay Barnes said these dates could be extended. Students should check email over break for updates.

Buildings and residence halls will remain open during these times, but the university recommends that students live at home. Those planning on staying on campus between March 16 and April 12 must register online. Dining hours will be held at limited times the first week, but continue regular hours the second week. Refunds for housing and meal plans will be talked about at a later date. 

All on campus gatherings of 100 or more people and university-sponsored travel is cancelled through April 13. 

If any student, faculty or staff member has been directly exposed to the virus, they should email covid-19@bethel.edu and self quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. 

Bethel Director of Communication Tim Hammer said this is an evolving situation. The latest updates on the university’s response to COVID-19 can be found online. Questions regarding these decisions or Bethel’s response can be addressed to the emergency planning team at covid-19@bethel.edu.

March 11 update

With the rising number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases worldwide, and Bethel’s scheduled spring break next week, university administrators have been faced with decisions on how to keep students healthy and safe. As of March 11, there are four confirmed cases of the virus in Minnesota.

On Monday, March 9 the university announced the cancellation of all international mission trips scheduled for spring break. Students who choose to keep their travel plans for spring break are encouraged to take extra safety precautions. If you are visiting a high risk area, a CDC level three notice, you must self quarantine for 14 days. This quarantine cannot take place in Bethel University dorms. The self quarantine mandate also applies if you are visiting a CDC level two risk area and show symptoms of the virus such as typically fever, cough and shortness of breath.   

An email update on Wednesday, March 11 announced that university-sponsored domestic travel for spring break, including music tours, athletic competitions and domestic mission trips will continue as scheduled. With the exception of these trips, all university-sponsored or funded international and domestic trips have been cancelled, effective through March 31. 

Bethel has yet to make a decision regarding the adjustment of on-campus classes after spring break. Students who are leaving campus for spring break were encouraged to bring course materials necessary to continue studies at home should the need arise. Faculty were also instructed to prepare for the possibility of continuing instruction online or remotely. 

A number of U.S. colleges have made the decision to cancel in-person classes due to the spread of the virus. Locally, the University of Minnesota announced March 11 that all in-person classes across the school’s five campuses would be moved online until at least April 1. The U of M is the first Twin Cities university to make the move online.

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