Daily COVID-19 Update: March 11, 2020

Dear Bereans,

I am planning on sending a daily update on the COVID-19 situation and decisions we are making as we respond to the changing situation.  I’ll be aiming for the early afternoon each day until there’s nothing more to add.

First, we are preparing a FAQ website.  Look for a link on the College home page, hopefully by the end of the day.  Once it is live, students may wish to inform their parents about the site, which will have information some families have been requesting, too.  I and all the other members of the administrative committee are doing our best to respond to all the questions we are receiving, but there are some inevitable delays.

One thing I should have emphasized in the first message yesterday is that our decision to close is NOT because we know about an active case of COVID-19 on campus.  Some people jumped to that erroneous conclusion.  Rather the closure is preemptive and precautionary, the decision being driven by the realization and if and when we do have a case, we will not be able to project the health and wellbeing of others on campus, students and employees, because of the difficulty of managing quarantine requirements.

I do want to reiterate and explain further a couple of points from yesterday’s message.

  • Students for whom it would be a hardship in any way to leave campus, may apply to stay.  (See the announcement below from Student Life.)
  • Students will continue to receive their student labor pay, whether or not they are able to work.
  • Faculty are working to ensure that each course can be satisfactorily completed, employing other means of instruction than in-class meetings.  This means that students in good standing who did expect to complete requirements for graduation in May 2020, should still be able to do so.  It also means that all students should have the opportunity to stay on schedule with their course work.

One additional fact, not mentioned in yesterday’s message, is that students who do complete graduation requirements will receive their Berea College diplomas by mail shortly after graduation would have occurred.

Please also know that it is very much our intention to still find a way to celebrate 2020 graduates in a public ceremony and celebration.  We will need to know more about the progress of COVID-19 illnesses in our region and country before we know when that can be safely done, but we may be able to share a tentative plan in the new future.

We have not yet been able to make decisions about summer school.  Again, we will need to monitor developments to determine whether we can safely offer summer courses.

Announcements from Student Life

  • (For students who wish to be allowed to stay on campus)  As was announced in residence hall meetings last evening by Area Coordinators students who wish to be considered for approval to stay on campus need to complete the form for that purpose.  Students who missed the meetings can still get the form from their Area Coordinator.
  • Also, Counseling Services is continuing with walk in hours from 9am-5pm (closed 12-1pm).

Announcement from Dining Service

Below are the hours for the week:

Dining Hall

  • Wed: Closing at 9 pm
  • Thurs: Closing at 9 pm
  • Fri: Closing at 7:30p

Saturday & Sunday

  • Breakfast 7:30 – 10:00 am
  • Brunch 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
  • Dinner 4:30 – 7:30 pm

(For those remaining on campus, reduced hours for Dining Hall will be shared later.)

Tres Hab

  • Wed: Normal hours
  • Thurs: Closing at 2 pm
  • Fri: Closed

Pinnacle Café

  • Wed: Normal hours
  • Thur: Normal hours
  • Fri:  Closing at 2 pm

On behalf of the Administrative Committee I want to thank everyone who is working creatively and diligently to make the many adjustments that are necessary to successfully navigate this set of challenges.

Warm regards,
Lyle Roelofs, President