Dear BJU Community,
I am so thankful for the prayers and support of our BJU community as we navigate the COVID-19 concerns and seek to make the best possible decisions for our students and families as well as the University as a whole.
In making decisions about how we respond to the coronavirus crisis, I have two primary goals—to protect the health and well-being of our campus family and enable each student to finish the academic semester successfully.
Here are key steps we have taken to date:
- On-campus classes are suspended, and beginning March 30, we will deliver classes online for the remainder of the semester.
- Spring break remains on the schedule for this week, but students will not return to campus when it ends March 29.
- Chapel will continue via livestream Mondays and Wednesdays at 11 a.m.
- All students have departed campus, and the residence halls are empty.
- A number of Greenville-area families have opened their homes to international students who need additional time to make travel arrangements, and we are most grateful. BJU is assisting these students as necessary.
- Room and Board has been prorated for residence hall students and will be credited to their account; it can also be used to reduce the cost of summer online courses.
- Campus offices remain open and operational departments are functioning as normal. However, employees who can perform their work remotely from home are doing so until further notice.
- On-campus events are cancelled through May 1.
- University-sponsored international summer mission teams and internships have been cancelled.
- Study Abroad trips to Italy, Israel and Portugal have been cancelled. Decisions regarding other Study Abroad trips scheduled for later in the summer will be made shortly.
As our students—some of them for the first time—are preparing to finish their courses online, I am especially grateful to faculty and staff who have banded together to support a revised teaching and learning environment. Faculty have adjusted syllabi and capstone projects and are preparing to teach from their offices and homes. Staff are providing resources and assistance to ensure both faculty and students are equipped technically for online learning. I covet the prayers of our university community for faculty as they maintain the high quality of a BJU education during the next few weeks and for students that they will adapt quickly to the change in their learning environment and finish the semester strong.
This change in the semester schedule that happened so unexpectedly has been difficult for our students, especially seniors. They have had to say goodbye to friends, faculty and staff before they were prepared to do so. Their campus activities have come to an abrupt end, and for many, summer plans have changed as mission trips and some Study Abroad programs have been cancelled.
A major question still to be answered is whether we will hold Commencement. Seniors and graduate students have worked diligently for years and have looked forward to celebrating their graduation with their families and friends. Right now, we are holding off on a final decision as we monitor the COVID-19 conditions. If possible, we would like to hold the ceremony for our 2020 graduates, either in May or later. We will communicate our plan as soon as a decision is finalized.
I will communicate with students and the university community frequently through the end of the semester. In addition to livestream chapels Monday and Wednesday, I will issue a short daily devotional video Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; continue my Highest Potential podcasts on Tuesdays; and issue other video communications several times a week. These will be available on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. BJU.edu also will feature daily updates and news.
As we continue through this time of uncertainty, let us rest in the ability of our omnipotent and omniscient God—who knows the end from the beginning—to strengthen and protect us. I challenge our BJU community to gain strength from the Word and live in a way that reflects our dependence on Him and our love for others.
Psalm 91:2 “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”
Visit bju.edu/coronavirus for the latest updates.