COVID-19 Updates

Tuesday, March 17

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents and Greater HBU Community:

Vigilance, flexibility and determined quality characterize our mission to educate our students at Houston Baptist University. As we learn in life, there are times when things are beyond our control and yet, reassuringly, never without God’s superintendence.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and prayerful support as decisions are made. Please know that our concern is focused on the welfare and safety of our students, faculty, staff, our HBU family and community.

Consequently, we will utilize digital tools necessary to continue this semester in the pursuit of our students’ education. Thank you for understanding the challenges before us and giving your best efforts to adjustments implemented in view of the coronavirus outbreak. We are committed to clear communication throughout this process and always the best welfare of our students and their families. Please regularly check this website for additional information in the days ahead.

It is important to note that there are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 on the HBU campus.


Alternative Delivery of Residential Classes
As stated in our announcement last week, students enrolled in residential classes will resume their classes remotely beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Remote delivery of residential courses will continue through the end of the semester. Final exams are also to be delivered remotely.  The learning management system (LMS), Blackboard, will be used as the primary means for delivering course content. Students who need to meet with faculty regarding concerns about their current spring 2020 classes are to do so remotely. Please continue to monitor your HBU email, Blackboard and this website for important University updates related to continuing and completing spring 2020 classes.

Announcements and training/instruction for faculty and students for using specific technologies will be posted in Blackboard.

Communication of Remote Delivery Specifics to Students
To ensure we are doing all we can to keep our students informed during this challenging time, each faculty member has been asked to communicate with students in each of their classes (through Blackboard) to clearly communicate expectations for each course. Please check Blackboard for this communication and guidance.

Remote Support for Student Success

To help ensure students receive appropriate services, the following will be available remotely:

Tutoring – Blackboard Collaborate will be used for online tutoring services. Appointment scheduling will continue to be made through Navigate or by emailing asc@hbu.edu. All tutors have been trained to provide virtual tutoring services. “How to” guides and videos for Blackboard Collaborate and Navigate are being finalized to help support students.

Advising and Student Persistence – Advising and success coaching appointments will be conducted by Zoom, telephone, or Google voice. Success Coaching Staff is available via email for any student questions. Any paperwork which must be processed, such as drop forms, can be completed through e-mail, utilizing scanning or pictures to obtain necessary signatures. Coaches will continue to utilize Navigate to connect with students to set up virtual appointments.

TRIO – Phone, Zoom, and Skype coaching appointments are available for TRIO students. In addition, Navigate, GroupMe, WhatsApp, and FaceTime may be utilized to remain in contact.

Career and Calling – Students may connect with Career and Calling through email, phone, Zoom, and Navigate.

Testing and Disability Services – Blackboard and Blackboard Collaborate will be used as the primary tools for testing and disability services support.

Health Professions Office – Students may connect with the Health Professions Office through email at hpo@hbu.edu. Dr. Taiya Fabre and Mrs. Amy Raimondo may also use Zoom and/or Navigate for pre-health professions advising.

Pre-Nursing – Students may contact the Pre-Nursing advisor Lisa Staha through email at astaha@hbu.edu and/or Navigate for pre-nursing student advising and communication.

Library – The Moody Library will be temporarily closed to the public. Limited library services, including electronic collections and reference services for phone and email question and answer for faculty, staff, and students will still be available. Circulation of physical collections and faculty reserve items will be limited to special requests only, as the physical space will be temporarily closed.

In person services will be limited and available to those students who do not have computer and internet access to connect remotely.


Student CLW Credits
A system of temporarily offering online “A” CLW credits to students has been set up through Spiritual Life. Spiritual Life will offer specific videos that may be watched as a replacement for the Wednesday and Thursday convocation gatherings. Once a video has been fully watched, Spiritual Life will receive notification from the system and will give the student credit for that convocation. Further details of how to access the video will for communicated to students directly from Spiritual Life.

Travel
For individuals who traveled internationally during Spring Break, Harris County has placed a 14-day quarantine on individuals returning to Houston. The return to work date would be the 15th day after return, providing you are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If you traveled internationally during Spring Break and are subject to mandatory quarantine, you must notify the University by registering here.

HBU has implemented Required Mandatory Reporting following international travel. HBU is requiring all students, faculty and staff traveling from or through any location that has been designated as Level 1, 2 or 3 by the CDC for COVID-19 since January 31, 2020 to notify the University by registering here.

Self-isolation requires that you do not come to campus including work, residence halls, on-campus apartments, residential classes, athletic events or other social gatherings until 14 days after leaving the Level 1, 2 or 3 country in question. Likewise, please avoid public places and gatherings in the community.

The 14-day clock starts on the day a person leaves one of those countries. You may only return to campus following self-quarantine after emailing COVID19info@hbu.edu and receiving written approval.

The University is working to accommodate the classes and work schedules for students and personnel who self-isolate or are ill.  More information about these accommodations will be posted over the next week.

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, it is important to consult with your medical provider, or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. Be sure to call in advance to inform the medical provider of your recent travel and symptoms. DO NOT report to the campus health clinic in the Hodo Residence Hall.

Commencement
The University is currently reviewing plans for Commencement Ceremonies and will publicize information upon confirmation of plans.

Campus and University Events
HBU is implementing the recommendation from the CDC to cancel all events and campus-wide gatherings with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. CDC is also recommending higher-risk populations to cancel gatherings of more than 10 people. Additionally, we will be consolidating meeting rooms to conference use only, due to classrooms being deep cleaned, disinfected and secured. Office the University Events and Conferences will be notifying individuals of room changes.

Moody Library and other computer labs on campus will be open to students who may need computer access to complete remote course work. Moody Library will be closed to the public during this time.

The University museums – Dunham Bible Museum, Fine Arts Museum and Galleries, Museum of American Architecture and Decorative Arts and Museum of Southern History – will be closed for the next eight weeks to ensure the continued health and safety of our HBU community and visitors.

Campus Visit Update
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is announcing the following updates for Undergraduate Admissions visits and events:

Campus Tours are cancelled until further notice. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions will remain open for walk-ins and appointments on a case-by-case basis.

  • Group Tours & Large Campus Events have been cancelled or postponed for the next eight weeks. This includes Admitted Student Receptions, Transfer On-Site Acceptance, Admitted Student Fridays, and Saturdays at HBU.
  • Husky Preview on April 4 will either be rescheduled for a later date this summer and/or offered in an online/remote format. These plans are being discussed and will be communicated at a later date.
  • Fall Pre-Registration on April 25 will either be rescheduled or conducted online, unless it is safe to host an event at that time. We will make this decision at a later date.
  • Financial Aid Appointments will still be conducted, however, we are encouraging families who scheduled in-person appointments to switch to phone appointments.
  • A Virtual Tour of HBU is available for you to view online. So, please feel free to visit the campus virtually at www.hbu.edu/virtualtour until campus visit events can resume.

Any specific questions regarding campus visits can be directed to campusvisits@hbu.edu.

Follow @hbuadmissions on Instagram for opportunities to join us for a Go Live Tour on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m., or on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. We are also offering online Husky Huddles (with HBU admissions counselors) via Instagram on Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

Changes to Telecommuting Guidelines
Yesterday President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to help protect Americans during the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a commitment to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 – or as epidemiologists say, “flatten the curve” – by exercising significant “social distancing” and expanding our telecommuting policy until March 31.

HBU Policy – HBU employees may work from home to the extent they are able to perform job functions remotely and with supervisor approval. After establishing a telecommuting plan with their supervisor, faculty and staff should complete the telecommuting request form to finalize the arrangement.

New recommendations to slow the spread include:

  1. Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
  2. 2.If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
  3. If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.
  4. If someone in your household has tested positive for the Coronavirus, keep the entire household at home.
  5. If you are an older American, stay home and away from other people.
  6. If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition – such as a significant heart or lung disease – stay home and away from other people.

These new guidelines build on the CDC’s recommendations to help prevent spread of the virus. Americans should continue practicing strict personal hygiene, including washing hands regularly for at least 20 seconds at a time and wiping down surfaces in the home regularly.

Even if you are young and otherwise healthy, you are at risk – and your activities can increase the risk of contracting the Coronavirus for others. Everyone can do their part.

Athletics
In accordance with NCAA and Southland Conference Policy, HBU has suspended all organized athletic activity through March 30, 2020. The university will re-evaluate conditions at that time.

Bradshaw Fitness Center
The Bradshaw Fitness Center is committed to our members’ health and well being. Based on recent guidance and advisories related to COVID-19, the Bradshaw Fitness Center will be closed beginning Tuesday, March 17, for the next 15 days. Once the Bradshaw Fitness Center is preparing to reopen, members will be notified.

Housing
Any students who have current assignments in HBU residence halls and apartment will not be allowed to reside in their residential assignment during the time of without approval from HBU’s Department of Residence Life.  Students who have residential assignments and feel they will need to remain in the residence halls, whether currently on campus or off-campus, are required to complete the HBU housing petition form. (NOTE: The petition is now closed. If you have questions or concerns about your housing, please contact reslife@hbu.edu.) Students who would be approved to reside in their residence hall must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The student is an international student who has no other residential option within the Houston and surrounding areas and is unable at this time to return to his/her home country
  • The student’s academic department has deemed their internship, clinical or practicum will continue and requires their on-site presence and s/he has accepted that arrangement.•
  • The student has personal circumstances preventing him/her from returning to their home including:
    • The student returning home represents a health/safety threat to the student or those at home
    • Returning home will prevent the student from accessing their courses remotely because of insufficient internet and technology capabilities
    • The student is an independent student
    • The student is part of the foster care system
    • The student lives in a different state and is not able to secure transportation to their home address

As a reminder, only students who meet one or more of the above criteria are allowed to stay in their residence hall assignment.  Should a student’s petition to stay on campus be approved, all HBU conduct and housing standards are to be adhered to with the additional understanding that social distancing precautions will be followed by the student, no gatherings outside of the residential hall rooms will take place, and no visitors from off-campus (including family, friends, HBU students who are commuters, etc.) will be allowed in the residence halls or apartments at any time.  All residents who are approved to remain in HBU residence halls and apartments during this time will be required to complete a housing petition stating the reason for staying in the residence halls, the length of time they expect to be in the residence halls, and their understanding of any and agreement to adhere to any regulations set for the safety of the campus.  Any student found to be in the residence halls at any time who has not completed a housing petition form and approved to reside in the residence halls during this time will be asked to leave campus.

We will not have a specific plan or answers related to unused portions of on-campus housing and dining plans for a couple of weeks.  We understand this is an important issue and will communicate with impacted students and families in the near future.

Students’ who have left items in the residence halls during spring break should not return, at this time, to retrieve those items.  In special circumstances, students may call the Department of Residence Life to request permission to retrieve items needed (such as academic materials).  Residence Life will then coordinate with the student the best time for the item(s) to be retrieved.

Food Service
Starting today (Tuesday), Dining Services on campus will transition to “grab-and-go” in the Baugh Dining Hall.  The following hours will be in place at the Baugh and the Husky Village POD:

Baugh Dining Hall

Monday – Friday

    • Breakfast 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
    • Lunch 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Dinner 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday

    • Brunch 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Dinner 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Husky Village POD

Saturday – Sunday
4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Social distancing will be strictly enforced for dining in Baugh effective this morning. Only one person per table with an empty table between. Students will be given the option of eating in the Baugh or taking food to go. The Baugh will be using the reusable container as much as possible and students should return these to the Baugh upon their next visit.

Social Distancing
HBU reminds students of the importance of social distancing. Simply stated, social distancing is keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people. It also means limiting nonessential travel from home, staying at home whenever possible, not attending social gatherings, and not attending crowded events such as dine in restaurants, sporting or concert events.

A Final Word
Take a moment to be quiet and pray. Remember the best-known Psalm in Scripture (23).

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters… Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for You are with me… Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Robert Sloan
President

© 2020 Houston Baptist University