Despite the health and economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything at the Abbey has been going extraordinarily well. There have been no positive cases of COVID-19 within the Abbey community, thank God, and we are actively engaged in preparing for the Fall opening in order to lessen the chance of any occurrence in the future. Belmont Abbey College has made the decision to open its residential and commuter campus this Fall for in-person instruction.
The President’s Cabinet, which includes leaders and experts from every area of the College community, has created sub committees and working groups to plan and prepare for the Fall opening. One important aspect of our preparation has been the incorporation of guiding principles rooted in our Catholic and Benedictine mission and tradition. By employing prudent, reasonable, and practical measures along with the appropriate exercise of each member’s free will, personal responsibility, and concern for safety, I am hopeful that we can minimize the spread of the virus while continuing to live in, and build up, the community we have all come to love and cherish.
To this end, effective June 1, 2020, the College has established protocol and policy for the reopening of the campus. Belmont Abbey College will take reasonable precautions, abide by federal, state, and local government mandates regarding COVID-19 restrictions, and continue to monitor and respond to recognized health agencies regarding COVID-19 recommendations.
Students participating on Fall sports teams will move-in on August 11, 2020. Conference Carolinas, and its member institutions, are committed to playing a full conference schedule including championship games.
Orientation and new student move-in begins on August 14, 2020. Physical distancing will be incorporated into the various programs. Move-in procedures for new and returning students will incorporate physical distancing and other procedures to promote both safety and hospitality. There will be no more than two students assigned to a residence hall room. Dining services will be conducted in a manner to minimize virus spread including modifications to eating spaces, take-out services, and server-provided meals.
Evening classes will begin on Monday, August 17, 2020, and day classes will begin on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. Classrooms, laboratories, and library facilities will follow the College’s updated safety guidelines which include new flex classroom arrangements to increase physical distance while preserving instructional integrity.
Classes will be held on Labor Day, September 7, 2020. Fall Break (October 15th and 16th) has been changed to a regular class day on October 15th and a community service day on October 16th. Face-to-face classes will end on Friday November 20, 2020, and residential students will return home at that time. Classes held after the Thanksgiving break, beginning on Monday November 30, 2020, will be held remotely and include final exams which will conclude on December 11, 2020.
We will continue to update the community on a regular basis and notify students, faculty, and staff if any member of the community tests positive for COVID-19. Students or faculty members who may need specific accommodations for the Fall semester due to existing health or medical conditions should contact Dr. David Williams, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Staff members with similar requests should contact their direct supervisor. Reasonable accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis.
I am profoundly grateful to you and the entire Abbey community for your sacrifice, perseverance, and resourcefulness in overcoming the many challenges of living through a pandemic. You are what makes the Abbey a special place.
I look forward to seeing you on-campus very soon. You, your families, and all of your good work will continue to be remembered each evening during our family Rosary.