Need to Know: October Issue

   Campus Announcements | Posted on October 15, 2020

Oct. 15, 2020 | Andrews University Spring Semester 2021 Updates

Greetings, Andrews University friends,

We have just passed the first half of our fall semester’s journey through our studies and campus life as we together face the realities and risks of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to again honor and celebrate the hard work of each one of you in our community. We appreciate your commitment to testing, safety and mitigation measures, including daily use of the Campus Clear app, as you and we pursue new and careful ways to study, worship, eat and play together.

The results of those genuine commitments and even sacrifices are reflected in every part of our lives together this semester. Our new online COVID-19 Dashboard (see more details below) shows the results of our collective commitment to monitoring, testing and gathering together safely as a community here on our Berrien Springs campus.

With this October edition of our Need to Know newsletter, we want to share some important updates and details for the remaining weeks of this semester and some updates and details for the new calendar year, including our spring semester plans.

As we’ve noted before, at the foundation of our Andrews University journey this fall semester and into our future in the year to come is our foundational and joint commitment to a shared Covenant of Care that influences how we study and live together during the 2020–2021 school year.

Especially as we move into the cooler autumn months after these glorious and color-filled fall days, it’s important that we continue to embrace that Covenant of Care, including our shared personal commitment as Andrews University students and employees to take a moment each day to formally update our health status on the Campus Clear app.

Online COVID-19 Dashboard Launched
A new online Andrews University COVID-19 Dashboard provides ongoing updates on Andrews University COVID-19 testing and results for the approximately 2,750 tests administered so far on campus, beginning with the campus baseline testing on July 29, 2020.

The dashboard includes details on the 16 positive Andrews University cases reported as of Oct. 15 (positive cases reported to the University, including some from off-campus tests throughout 2020) and current details on isolation and quarantine numbers and status.

What is important to note is that although we have had 16 positive cases since September, to date and to our knowledge all of these cases have been through contacts off-campus and with individuals who are not Andrews University personnel or students. This speaks to the engagement of so many on campus to keep our community safe. However, it also indicates the extreme care that needs to be taken in following best mitigation protocols when all of us are off campus, including how we travel, how we worship and how we socialize.

The Andrews University Guide to Water Refills (& More)
An expanded list of Berrien Springs campus locations for water bottle refills, from A to U (the Administration Building to University Towers), is now available online.

Additionally, stations for your personal disinfectant bottles can be found in the following locations:

  • Lobbies of all three residence halls
  • Seminary Deans’ Office
  • Outside the Social & Behavioral Sciences office, second floor, Buller Hall
  • Chemistry office, Halenz Hall, Science Complex
  • Andrews University Bookstore
  • Airpark

If one of the small personal disinfectant bottles fails, students may exchange it for a new one at the Division of Campus & Student Life in the Campus Center, and faculty and staff may exchange it at the Employment desk in the Office of Human Resources, Administration Building.

You can also find additional details on best hygiene practices for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 here.

End of Fall Semester Details
A little over a month from now, on Nov. 24, fall semester exams and face-to-face classes here on our Berrien Springs campus will end. Depending on a student’s courses, any ongoing assignments or final projects after that date will need to be completed at the formal end date of this fall semester, Dec. 10, 2020.

Our year-end break will begin on Dec. 11 and continue through Jan. 10, 2021, the day before spring semester commences (see details on spring semester below).

Many of our on-campus residential students will plan to leave our Berrien Springs campus following the final day of in-person classes and fall semester exams on Nov. 24. Students who choose to leave campus on that date will be asked to follow the COVID-19 mitigation and travel guidelines outlined below and to also make plans to not return to our Berrien Springs campus until spring semester begins in January.

In our campus residence halls, some of our international students, and students who may have ongoing lab or in-person classes, will plan to remain on campus past the end of in-person classes on Nov. 24. For those who remain on campus, all of our current expectations for risk mitigation will remain, including travel limitations.

If you are one of those on-campus residential students who will be staying after Nov. 24, please ensure your residence hall deans know your specific plans for leaving. For those who cannot travel at all to their homes during the year-end break, your residence hall deans can also help you explore options for housing and meals during this year-end break.

Guidelines for Travel Outside of Michiana
Earlier this month, Andrews University shared a reminder on travel guidelines for individuals who travel outside of Michiana and need to use public transportation to travel, or are attending an event in an environment that does not allow one to physically distance. Such individuals will need to be tested for COVID-19 no sooner than four days after they return.

Those travel guidelines are important not only for activities this fall semester but also for each one of us as we plan our year-end travels.

For those who are unable to physically distance (less than six feet, for 15 minutes or more) during planned travel, either due to transportation method (in particular, by plane or other public transportation) or attendance at an event with larger groups of people, the University will expect those individuals to take the following steps:

  • Make arrangements to be tested for COVID-19 no sooner than four days (the minimum period for COVID-19 incubation before a test is considered valid) after your return to campus at your own expense, or at the first sign of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Those individuals should take additional precautions on campus until official negative COVID-19 test results are confirmed. These precautions include:
    • Not attending any campus-wide events
    • Only accessing Dining Services for takeout (no dine-in eating)
    • Coordinating and confirming potential options for remote work or classroom with a supervisor and/or faculty member/s

Spring Semester 2021 Updates
The official start for spring semester will be Jan. 11, 2021, as previously scheduled.

As we prepare for spring semester next January, all employees and students should resume daily reporting of their conditions on Campus Clear beginning Jan. 4. Additionally, any individuals who are accessing the campus during the holiday break should continue to use Campus Clear daily before they access the campus.

All employees and students will also receive COVID-19 testing before in-person instruction resumes in January. To accomplish this, University employees and local Andrews University students will be tested Jan. 6–8. Additional COVID-19 testing for all other students will be conducted Jan. 10–12.

All classes during the first week of spring semester, Jan. 11–15, will be offered remotely due to the ongoing employee and student testing up to and including Jan. 15.

Face-to-face instruction for spring semester will resume on Jan. 19, 2021.

With the ongoing risks connected with COVID-19 exposure and travel, there will be no spring break this year. However, we will have five mid-week breaks scheduled during the spring semester on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Complete details for those breaks will be announced in January at the beginning of spring semester.

Certainly, spring semester (and even fall semester!) has the potential to also bring winter weather to our Berrien Springs campus and southwest Michigan. If that is the case in the coming weeks and months of this school year, there may be “Snow Days” declared, however, with our current approach to this school year, those Snow Days will represent a switch to remote instruction for those days when winter travel to campus is not safe.

Our spring semester will end as previously scheduled, on May 6, 2021.

Final plans for an in-person or virtual spring Commencement weekend, May 7–9, 2021, are yet to be announced.

PLEASE NOTE: We’ll share additional details about these first weeks of spring semester, including testing dates, how we’ll honor Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents’ Day, further information and specific options for spring remote learning for those who can’t return to campus for in-person instruction, and plans and details for mid-week breaks in the early November Need to Know newsletter.

Tours & Conferences
Please also note that all in-person study tours, as well as in-person conference and convention attendance will remain suspended through the summer semester of 2021.

Instead, Andrews University will explore creative ways for virtual involvement for our students, faculty and staff to safely and meaningfully participate in off-campus events, conferences and other learning opportunities.

This announcement for the suspension of 2021 study tours is being made now so that students who had originally planned on a study tour in spring or summer semesters can work with their advisors to ensure they are registered for any alternate and additional needed credits to help assure timely progression to graduation.

Howard Performing Arts Center and the Andreasen Center for Wellness
Andrews University also remains committed to following the expectations of the state of Michigan, as they are now outlined by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The implications of capacity limitations in this Emergency Order mean that the Howard Performing Arts Center will largely remain closed to external groups for the 2020–2021 season. However, performances by our Department of Music will continue as state guidelines can be met.

Similarly, the Andreasen Center for Wellness will follow state guidelines. In this case, we are pleased that the Center has been able to open with controlled capacity levels. You can find updated information on the Andreasen Center’s operations here.

We want to once again sincerely thank our Andrews University community here on our Berrien Springs campus, and our friends and family around the world, who have shared in our commitment to ensure a safe learning and community environment for those studying here in southwest Michigan.

As we move into the final weeks of this semester and prepare for the holiday season ahead, we pray for God’s continued safekeeping for this community but also for our neighbors here in Michigan, the United States and around our world.

As you know, our aspiration to our Andrews University family to be “World Changers for a changing world.” continues to be only more urgent and deeply essential for this road we continue to share.

God bless,

Andrea Luxton

Christon Arthur