Need to Know: Special Reopening Issue #2
July 28, 2020 | A Summer Celebration of Graduates and Final Preparations for In-Person Instruction
Greetings, Andrews University friends,
We are now only a few weeks away from when we will once again gather together as a community here on the Berrien Springs campus of Andrews University.
These final busy weeks of preparation for the resumption of in-person instruction on August 24 bring a number of new realities for our Berrien Springs campus and the Andrews University family.
As we have shared in earlier editions of this newsletter, those will include a variety of measures that will affect how we gather together as a community once again and how we will carefully prepare as we seek to assure safety for our University as we study, live, work, play and pray together on our campus.
In this Need to Know newsletter, we’d like to share a few highlights and confirmed details about some of these careful steps that are designed to help us best prepare for a safe return to in-person operations. We want to especially highlight important details about testing and our Covenant of Care, safe Dining Services operations, new processes for international students and more.
Virtual Commencement and Celebration of Graduates services
One important step to take as we prepare for our new school year is the annual summer graduation celebration. As with our spring semester graduation celebration, this summer’s graduation will also be celebrated virtually, with graduates, families and friends joining us literally around the world.
We hope you can join us for one, or many, of this weekend’s programs. Most of the services will be livestreamed, including our Baccalaureate service with Wintley Phipps, senior pastor of the Palm Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Florida.
You can find complete details on the weekend’s programs, including the Sunday Commencement schedule for our Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, College of Education & International Services, College of Health & Human Services, College of Professions and College of Arts & Sciences here.
“World Changers for a changing world” website
Our new “World Changers for a changing world” website remains the best single source of consistently updated information about the resumption of in-person instruction and the reopening of our Berrien Springs campus next month.
Among the resources on that page are our Framework for Reopening, key dates for fall semester, an archive of campus communication and relevant resources on COVID-19.
In particular, we want to highlight a few key details available on that site:
- Information on two final Zoom webinars this week for undergraduate students and parents and for graduate students
- A link to our Community Covenant of Care, a shared commitment for our entire Andrews University family here in Berrien Springs
- A link to the latest information on international student options for fall semester, whether international students are returning to campus or coming here for the first time
You’ll also find a wonderful new series of welcome videos that Tony Yang, our Chief Marketing Officer, and our Marketing & Enrollment Management team have created that help our students and our Andrews University family know that we are “resilient, adaptable and tenacious. We’ve never been one to back down from a challenge. We are problem solvers. We are fixers. We are World Changers.” We invite you to take the time to watch those if you haven’t seen them yet.
COVID-19 testing for our campus community
COVID-19 testing will be required for our students and employees as part of our shared Community Covenant of Care. If you haven’t reviewed it yet, please see the Statement of Responsibility that accompanies that Covenant.
Details on specific dates and online scheduling procedures and appointment times will be communicated directly to employees and students.
Dining Services/Bon Appétit prepares for safe dining options
Our team at Dining Services/Bon Appétit has been carefully preparing for our return to in-person instruction and a gathered community this next month.
Those plans include a rigorous array of service and sanitation measures that are designed to help ensure our students and employees can dine safely and comfortably. You can read the complete details about those plans, including employee training, prepackaged food options, contactless ordering options in the Gazebo and more, here.
A number of our residence hall students have asked questions about the cost of the meal plans for fall semester. As you’ll read in the letter referred to above, residence hall students are encouraged to use their meal plan for eating in the Terrace Cafe and the Gazebo from Sunday, August 16, through November 24.
Our 2020–2021 meal plan per semester is $1,850 and does not reflect an increase from 2019–2020 rates. For this fall semester, residents who leave campus on November 24 for the remainder of fall semester and who have up to $100 remaining on their meal plan will be eligible to receive up to $100 credited back to their student account.
The limited number of residents who will remain in the residence halls until the semester ends on December 10 will be able to use any remaining balance on their meal plan up to December 14 or add additional credit to their meal plan, if it’s needed.
Updates and next steps for our international students
While the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), issued new, restrictive fall guidelines for international students earlier this month, the U.S. government reversed those July 6 SEVP guidelines and returned to the more flexible March SEVP guidelines for international students studying in the U.S. this upcoming fall semester.
This reversal gives our international students more options, particularly in two significant ways.
First, as long as an international student has an active I-20 in good status, the student does not need a new I-20 with a special note about the fall semester as was previously required in the July 6 guidelines.
Second, international students who are not at our Berrien Springs campus can take online classes only and still keep their I-20 active and in good status.
Returning international students who will live with us on our Berrien Springs campus or community for fall 2020 will be able to take online courses only, with approved accommodation from the University (see #6 below).
International students who are away from campus this fall semester can take a full load of online classes and keep their I-20 active.
Because remote learning via online classes will be an option for fall 2020, most degree programs on our Berrien Springs campus will offer classes online in addition to in-person classes. If you are an international graduate student, please email your academic advisor to explore your online options for fall. If you are an international undergraduate student, you can check with your academic advisor about online options, or you can also email Aaron Moushon, the director of Explore Andrews, at email@example.com.
Finally, all of our English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) classes will be offered online through the Center for Intensive English Programs (CIEP) in fall 2020. For more information about these classes, please contact Luda Vine, the director of CIEP, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To review what steps Andrews University’s international students should now take, and how our Center for On-Campus International Student Services is preparing for these international students this fall semester, please read the July 24 letter from the Center’s executive director, Christian Stuart, here.
Accommodation for personal, health concerns for students and employees
Andrews University remains committed to make all reasonable attempts to accommodate any housing, learning, teaching or work assignment concerns you may have as a student or employee here at the University.
As you’ve seen in earlier announcements, we’ve asked Michael Nixon, our vice president for Diversity & Inclusion, to specifically address any accommodation concerns you may have as part of our University’s focus on the principles of Safety, Community and Inclusivity that will guide our reopening this August.
As a result, VP Nixon has been working throughout this summer to address any personal and health concerns our students and employees may have connected to COVID-19.
Students who have not yet documented those concerns may use this online form. You’ll have space in that form to specifically make requests about learning options and/or housing arrangements and to also share specific information and documentation on medical concerns. Please use your Andrews University username and password to access the form.
Faculty and staff who have not yet ented those concerns may use this online form. You’ll have space to specifically make requests about how you offer classroom instruction or meet your non-academic work expectations and to also share specific information and documentation on medical concerns. Please use your Andrews University username and password to access the form.
Requests for accommodations should be made in writing and online no later than Friday, August 7.
During these busy weeks of July, we had the chance to take a few minutes a week or so ago to visit Spectrum Health Lakeland as they unveiled and dedicated a permanent art installation that preserved images of the 500 luminary candles that we, along with fellow campus colleagues, lit at the Andrews University entrance on May 12. Those luminaries were lit to help honor National Nursing Week and to be a symbolic way to recognize and thank the healthcare heroes who have helped provide essential care for our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was a moving evening this past May, and that event, and now its permanent recognition in the hallway of Spectrum Health Lakeland, reminded both of us how complicated and amazing this year has been for our world, our country and our community—including our Berrien Springs Andrews University family.
We have navigated these often uncertain times, including moments of heartbreak and deep challenge, through the power of a collaborative community.
And the collaboration at the heart of it all is from the peace and perspective of God. Earlier today, we formally shared the theme for this year’s Faculty Institute: Building on Our Rock: Resilience, Reimagining and Retooling. That theme reminds us that as our University navigates the difficulty of a pandemic and planning for the 2020–2021 academic year, God is our Rock and our Refuge!
Thank you for your interest, your questions, your support and your prayers in these important final days of preparation for the 2020–2021 school year.
We are on the verge of a moment where we will again gather together in community—a moment we’ve been hoping and praying for since March of this year—to do God’s inspiring work, to be a University where “World Changers for a changing world” are educated and inspired for God’s calling in such challenging times as these.