Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Belhaven University is committed to providing a safe campus environment balancing appropriate Covid-19 precautions with the dynamics of our learning community.

Links to most recent information are listed first. Because the guidance is regularly updated, check back often and make sure to "refresh" this page to make sure you are seeing the latest updates.

Students experiencing financial difficulties caused by Covid-19 may be eligible for additional help through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act:

Spring Semester 2022 COVID Plan

February 28, 2022
President's Letter to Traditional Student, Faculty and Staff

Friday the Center for Disease Control (CDC) modified their guidance regarding wearing masks indoors.  Our campus is in a “medium risk” county, and accordingly, the CDC recommends that wearing masks indoors be optional.

Beginning tomorrow, February 28th masks will be optional on campus, except in limited settings where masks will still be required:

  • Chapel - because of the large number of people attending (and we will be singing)
  • Performance Audiences - because the seating for theatre and dance is compact (performers will not be wearing masks)
  • Athletic team bus travel - because close confines make it smart for us to continue to wear masks while traveling.
  • If a faculty member requires masks in class/labs - please be cooperative and respectful.

Those who are high risk because of personal or family needs are encouraged to continue to wear masks indoors on campus (I’ll be wearing one the remainder of the semester).  An N95 or KN95 is the best protection.  And if you’re meeting with someone who requests masks, please be respectful of their concern and wear a mask.

Although our mask policy is changing, remember, Covid has not gone away.  We will continue to keep in place our COVID testing plan and I encourage you to continue to take precautions.  Of course, being fully vaccinated is the best protection to keep this deadly virus from causing a serious medical problem.  We will continue to monitor COVID outbreaks in our county and state and will alter our policy as guided by the CDC.

I can’t thank you enough for your cooperation during these past two years of COVID limitations.  You’ve all been great to work together to protect each other.

I’ve really missed seeing your smiles!

Dr. Roger Parrott
President, Belhaven University

 

January 3, 2022
President's Letter to Traditional Students and Parents

To: Campus Students
From: Roger Parrott
Re: Spring Semester COVID Plan

As the fall semester ended it appeared we had turned the corner with the pandemic.  For the spring semester we had planned to begin chapel and other large group events, and as soon as authorized by the City of Jackson, to lift the mask mandate.

These steps to reduce pandemic containment standards have been preempted by the dramatic surge of the Omicron variant of COVID.

  • The difficult news is that unlike the pattern of the pandemic we have experienced during the past two years, the current variant is hyper-contagious.
  • The positive news is that for most people, the symptoms are milder, recovery time shorter, and because the virus is spreading so rapidly, it is likely to dissipate nearly as quickly as it has gained strength.

Spring Covid-19 graphic

The rapid spread of the virus across the United States is unprecedented.  But the number of infections are projected to peak soon and quickly recede.  Although symptoms for most are milder, a high percentage of the population will catch COVID over these winter months.

STARTING THE SEMESTER ON TIME

We are carefully watching the progression of Omicron, but are planning to begin the semester on time, with our first classes meeting January 10th.  Chapel, RUF, FCA, the MLK Day event, and other large group meetings will be postponed until at least after spring break.  A determination about Arts performance audiences will be made in light of the specific venue and timing of the event.

PRECAUTIONS

The “formula” we successfully used to protect the campus in the past will not be as effective with the Omicron variant. However, important precautions can be taken individually:

  • A high quality well fitted mask is critical protection (KN-95 masks are the best option or another good choice is a surgical mask worn with a multi-layered fabric mask). We all need to be diligent about wearing a tight-fitting mask indoors.Experts report, “You can catch this Omicron variant if someone's mask is loose, or a person quickly pulls their mask down, or an individual enters an elevator in which someone else has just coughed.”  This variant is most often passed at indoor group settings – restaurants, gatherings, parties.
  • A previous case of COVID does not protect you from catching Omicron.  Being fully vaccinated, plus a booster shot, will dramatically reduce the severity of your symptoms, as well as your risk of death, hospitalization, and COVID-long complications.  We will be offering booster shots on campus during January.
  • Unlike earlier strains of COVID, broad-based tracking and testing will not be as effective in controlling this variant.  With Omicron people generally get symptoms three days after being exposed to the virus, rather than about four days with the Delta variant and five or longer with the original virus.  People are probably contagious sooner after exposure – and maybe even before they test positive.

COVID TESTING

  1. We will NOT require a negative test before returning to campus.
  2. The Federal government requires that all University employed student workers be tested weekly if not fully vaccinated.
  3. As required by the athletic conference or Department Chair, Basketball, Dance, and Theatre students will be tested weekly as following the same process as last semester.  We will not be testing athletes out of season, like we did this past fall.
  4. Symptomatic people MAY be tested on campus unless running a fever.
  5. Testing center is open: Tuesday, Wednesday,  and Thursday 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.
  6. Any student may voluntarily be tested at any time.  If you are concerned you’ve been exposed to COVID, use our testing center.  Local testing centers are now backlogged, and home tests are difficult to find.

QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS

  1. If you have COVID symptoms you must immediately isolate and get tested.  If you live on campus, report your symptoms to your RD who will help you make plans to get care and limit your risk of infecting others.  If you live off campus, do not come to campus.
  2. We will follow the newly amended CDC isolation standards:

NO SYMPTOMS

  • Those who test positive must quarantine for 5 days.

SYMPTOMS

  • Those who have been symptomatic, must quarantine for at least 5 days after the start of symptoms.
  • Following that period, you may return to campus 24 hours after no fever if your symptoms are resolving.
  • When you return to campus, a mask must be worn at all times inside for 5 additional days (even alone in an office on campus).

We will continue to assess and adjust our plans as the circumstances change.

God has wonderfully protected and blessed Belhaven University during the two years of this global pandemic.  Yes, it has been tough, but compared to most of the world, we’ve been extremely fortunate.

  • Don’t lose sight of God’s goodness to us.
  • Ask the Lord to give you another boost of perseverance.
  • Stay kind, because grace honors the name of Christ.
  • Continue to give your full effort to learn, grow, and serve.

Alleluia!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 

Dr. Roger Parrott                        
President, Belhaven University

 

Fall 2021 Updates:

Letter from President

BU Covid-19 Safety Requirements

Spring 2021 Updates:

January 8, 2021 - Video Explaining COVID-19 Testing Process for Belhaven students, faculty and staff

December 16, 2020 – Letter to Traditional-Campus Students and their Families Regarding COVID-19 Testing

Fall 2020 Updates:

December 9, 2020 – Letter from President concerning December Graduation

November 3, 2020 - Traditional-Campus Students - Letter about Spring Semester

August 15, 2020 - Traditional-Campus Students - Frequently Asked Questions

July 31, 2020 - The Belhaven Promise: Guidelines the Belhaven community is expected to follow.

July 31, 2020 - Letter to Adult, Graduate and Online Students (PDF): Important Fall Safety Guidelines

July 27, 2020 - Letter to Traditional-Campus Students from the President (PDF): Fall semester plans and exciting news for your educational future.

June 9, 2020 - Letter to Traditional-Campus Students from the President (PDF)

June 3, 2020 - Belhaven University announces plans for prospective students, student-athletes, adults, and graduate students to visit their respective campus for tours and individual appointments.

June 3, 2020 - CARES Grant and FAQ and Higher Education Emergency Relief Report

May 1, 2020 - Letter to Students from the President (PDF)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates