Southwest Baptist University announces blueprint for fall classes; face coverings required

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 5:38 PM CDT
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BOLIVAR, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) -

Southwest Baptist University’s revealed its plan for returning to fall classes. And the plan includes a masking policy.

“As we look ahead to the Fall 2020 semester, we still face many unknowns but are thankful for time to prepare for a variety of potential scenarios,” said SBU President Dr. Eric A. Turner. “This Bearcat Blueprint is an overview of current plans for in-person instruction on all campuses during the Fall 2020 semester.”

The Bearcat Blueprint provides details in the areas of health and safety; academics; housing, dining and campus life; COVID-19 positive case plan; and the Bearcat Blueprint Commitment — a summary of responsibilities for all students, faculty and staff.

“It is incumbent upon on all of us to make good choices, practice good hand-washing habits, and wear a mask,” Dr. Turner said. “While some might think these measures are unnecessary to the point of being oppressive, present realities of documented cases suggest otherwise.”

Face coverings required

Students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face masks or other coverings in classrooms and public spaces. SBU will provide each student and employee with fabric face coverings. Face shields will be provided for all instructors to facilitate effective communication for all students. This expectation: 

  • Ensures SBU is meeting or exceeding requirements of government ordinances in all the communities it serves.
  • Increases classroom capacity from 40 percent to 65 percent, allowing for an additional 157 classes to have the potential to be conducted completely in-person this fall.
  • Enables students to live the SBU mission by loving their neighbors and caring for the vulnerable just as Jesus taught.

Other plan highlights include:

Health and safety

  • Use physical distancing.
  • Follow basic hygiene procedures, including frequent handwashing.
  • Wear face coverings in community spaces.
  • Complete daily health assessments and temperature checks.
  • A COVID-19 case plan including quarantine and self-isolation guidelines.


  • Classes meet fully face-to-face when possible.
  • Some classes will use a blended in-person and online approach.
  • Modified academic calendar ends in-person instruction before Thanksgiving.
  • Online textbook ordering now available.


  • Scheduled check-in times for students living in residence halls. Only two guests allowed per student during move-in.
  • Physical distancing and face masks are required in community spaces.
  • Residence life activities will continue where adjustments can be made with appropriate health protocols.


  • Limited occupancy in Mellers Dining Commons with additional seating in the Student Union.
  • Multiple to-go meal options.
  • Staffed serving lines.

Community Life + Worship

  • A registration system will be used for students to sign up for in-person chapel services.
  • All chapel services will be available for viewing via livestream. 
  • The CLW point requirement is reduced for the Fall 2020 semester.

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