Frequently Asked Questions from Parents

Update from Dr. Bill Thierfelder

To listen to the full meeting, click here.

Our Commitment to the Health and Safety of the Belmont Abbey Community

In March, Belmont Abbey College created the COVID-19 task force to address the day-to-day needs regarding COVID-19. The task force meets every morning at 8:30 am and communicates periodically throughout the day. Provost Travis Feezell leads the committee and updates the campus community every Tuesday on our COVID-19 status, updates, and any new guidance to ensure the safety of our campus. President Thierfelder provides updates every Friday. Follow us @belmontabbey on Instagram and Facebook to watch these video updates. Every faculty and staff member is enforcing the rules in their classrooms and throughout campus.

How many COVID-19 cases are there on campus?
As of August 31, our active positive student count was 56. We did see an uptick in cases late in the previous week – primarily attributed to residence hall contact and students congregating without masking or social distancing – but we have since stabilized. We also have a significant number scheduled for release from isolation. A release means according to CDC guidelines, the individual is no longer sick or contagious. Of those current positive cases, we have only 2 isolated on campus. With our campus population at roughly 1800 (students, faculty, staff, monastic community) we therefore have an infection rate of 3%.

What happens when a student tests positive?
We immediately conduct internal contact tracing to determine possible exposure to other students. With the uptick in cases, we are seeing a corresponding uptick in quarantines. The primary impetus lies in our residence hall configurations and our intention to immediately quarantine roommates and suitemates regardless of symptom presentation to prevent further spread of the virus. All our protocols in this regard adhere to CDC guidelines.

Any updates on delivering food to quarantined students?
We make meals available to quarantined students twice a day – 11:30 a.m. for lunch and 6:30 p.m. for dinner and the next day’s breakfast (continental). This week, we have implemented a touch-less pick-up for quarantined students. Students pick-up their food and get some fresh air. We have also instituted a text to solve solution for students who have issues with their meal’s freshness or quantity. Students simply text the number with their issue and the dining hall immediately addresses their concern. The number is 704-741-0254.

Building Community in a Time of Physical Distancing

Belmont Abbey College is providing many opportunities for the students to interact in a safe and meaningful way on campus. To address the mental and spiritual health of our students, we are constantly looking for ways to not only engage academically but also grow spiritually and emotionally. Our hope is that this experience, while difficult, will instill a sense of resilience in our students.

Is the Adoration Chapel open? What is the Mass schedule?
The Adoration Chapel is currently open from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm.

Sunday Mass
With the Monastic Community, 11 am – Basilica (limited seating)
Student Mass, 7:30 pm – Wheeler Center

Daily Mass
With the Monastic Community, Monday – Saturday, 11 am – Basilica (limited seating)
Student Mass, Monday – Friday, 7:30 pm – Haid Ballroom

Forging ahead with Athletic Competition– Creating Innovative Ways to Compete

Athletic competition is one of the most exciting parts of life at the Abbey. As we continue forging ahead during uncertain times, our goal is to provide competition in a healthy and safe way. Our sports teams are actively practicing, and we are in the midst of finalizing schedules consisting of intrasquad and, when possible, intervarsity competitions. Beginning September 17th, we will live-stream, via the Belmont Abbey Sports Network (BASN), three times per week.

How will Fall sports be slated in the Spring 2021 schedule — for a full season or a shortened season?
Prior to the cancellation of Fall Sport championships, the NCAA determined a reduction in the maximum number of permissible contests was necessary for all sports, regardless of when the championship segment was played, for 2020-2021. On average, these reductions represent roughly 20% of the previously approved “full” schedule. As all our Fall sports will compete in the Spring, concurrently with our Winter and Spring sports, we will navigate additional logistical challenges that may require further scheduling compression.

If the NCAA rules to cancel the 2020-2021 Fall / Spring Season, is there a possibility for the student athletes to be given the option of a “5th” year of play for their sport?
Yes. All Fall sport students, regardless of the program in which they participate, will retain (rather than utilize) a year of eligibility. The Abbey will honor this additional year of eligibility (Spring 2020) as precedent on a wholesale level and maintain the accompanying scholarship package. It merits mention that all students have the option, should they so desire, of not participating this year and retaining their scholarship.

Enhancing the Quality of Life at the Abbey

While providing an excellent education on campus, we continue to focus on improving the auxiliary services to ensure our students can focus on their studies and spiritual growth.

Have there been any upgrades to on campus WiFi?
Yes. We have taken steps to upgrade internet bandwidth on campus. Because of the increased demand, there have been nationwide and regional outages on the Zoom platform. If your student continues to have a problem, they can contact support@bac.edu for assistance. Many times, the issue is with a student’s computer and not the network. Our IT department can also usually fix these issues.

When will the temporary housing be open?
Our temporary housing is set-up and ready for occupancy. Unfortunately, the County office has experienced delays due to COVID-19 challenges so we continue to wait on the final permits from the Inspector’s Office.

When will the new residence hall be opening?
Our hope is that the new residence hall will open by the end of October.

What is the plan regarding the Thanksgiving holiday?
Our revised academic calendar remains unchanged. In-person classes will end the Friday before the week of Thanksgiving and students will return home. We will administer all exams remotely. Spring semester will start in January as scheduled.

Is there any way classes will go remote?
Our intention is to educate students on-campus and in-person. We will switch to remote learning only if an outside authority requires us to do so.

Are quarantined students able to get fresh air?
Yes. We have started a new procedure where quarantined students can leave quarantined at designated times, 7:00am-8:30am and and 7:30pm-9:00pm in addition to meal pick-up times.

How are you addressing mental health for students?
We have a counseling center with two counselors on campus that students can visit. They are doing safe, masked, socially-distanced in-person counseling but can also accommodate video sessions through a HIPAA compliant stream. Additionally, we have many others on campus who care about your children. Students can reach out to the Monks, staff, and faculty members any time. They can also help them through these challenging times. Our hope is that this COVID-19 experience will help build resilience in our students.

If your son or daughter is having issues related to one of the services on campus, here is the contact information they can use to get in-touch with our staff.

IT support: support@bac.edu
Residence Life: Residencelife@bac.edu
Dining Hall: Paul.reinecke@compass-usa.com or text 704-741-0254

Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 & Caring for Impacted Students

Update from Dr. Travis Feezell on September 2, 2020

Dr. Travis Feezell

Dr. Travis Feezell, Provost

Do you feel sick or know you may have had contact with someone positive?

Here are the steps to take:

  • Quarantine in your room (at least temporarily)
  • Email (baccovid19@bac.edu)
  • Wait until you hear from us
    • Wellness Center, or Urgent Care via virtual visit if you are symptomatic
    • Isolation, testing, quarantine, transportation, etc.
  • Please do not test on your own – report your questions to us via the email.

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

  • Isolation – If you have a positive test or are symptomatic we will place you in isolation until you recover. Your release date is based on the following:
    • Symptomatic – Release 10 days from onset of symptoms and feeling better
    • Asymptomatic – Release 10 days from your test and no symptoms
    • A contact tracing conversation will occur with our staff to determine who else you may have been in contact with while contagious.
    • Your isolation will occur either on-campus in your single-person residence if you have one, off-campus in a college-provided hotel, or at home.
  • Quarantine – If you have had significant exposure to a positive-tested person, 15 minutes unmasked less than six feet apart or used a shared living space such as a bathroom, we will quarantine you to reduce the chance of spreading the virus. You may have the virus unknowingly and could potentially spread it to others.
    • The quarantine duration is 14 days from last known exposure. You will not need a test unless you develop symptoms. Wait for a test order from the Wellness Center or another medical facility.
    • Quarantine will occur most often in your room or you may return home.
    • Medical recommendations assume close contact for suitemates, so a positive test in a suite will result in the whole suite quarantining.
    • We will notify your faculty of your quarantine.
    • We will also arrange for food, cleaning supplies for your room, mail delivery, and coordinate laundry times for you.

What are the quarantine guidelines?
We understand the stress of a quarantine, so in addition to attending classes remotely and keeping up with your studies, you should eat well, and get some exercise.

  • You will have the opportunity to leave your room for free time from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. – you must keep your mask on, social distance, and not congregate outdoors.
  • Meal time pickups for lunch and dinner 11:30 a.m. to 12:30pm for lunch and 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    • Beginning September 4, you must place your order for the upcoming three days. We will stop assuming a meal for every student and require the placing of an order to receive a meal.
    • Mail time – pickup at back door of mail room on Tuesdays and Thursdays and/or at meal pickup.

How will you release students from quarantine or isolation?

  • You will know your day of release early in your stay – we will contact you as that date nears.
    • Isolation: The Wellness Center will advise you of your release.
    • Quarantine – Student Life will request an attestation of health and based on that release you.

How are you addressing food quality in the dining hall?
Our college administration has taken several steps to address initial concerns with food quality including random quality checks and the establishment of a Text to Solve procedure. Students with a quality or quantity issue should text 704-741-0254 to address the situation.

  • In addition, you should get as much food as you like when in line, however if you decide you would like more get back in line and swipe again but it will not count this against your weekly meals total. We need to do this for tracking of need.

How will I get updates?

  • Things are shifting constantly – we need you to be updated and we are trying to reach you with as many channels as possible email, social media, postings around campus, so please pay attention to all of these for the latest updates!

How can every student help?

  • Your primary contribution is your compliance with all of our safety guidelines, social distancing, mask wearing, not gathering in large groups without caution, and simply doing your part.
  • This is your responsibility — the strategies we have instituted will only work if you are adhering to them. You will not get sick going to class or picking up a meal. You will if you are not adhering to the safety guidelines.
  • We will take disciplinary action against those who consistently violate our rules up to and including removing you from campus.
  • Be virtuous, be excellent, and follow through!

COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS FALL 2020

Effective July 17, 2020

As we prepare our community for a return to campus, there are a number of things we want you to know as we celebrate the opening of the fall semester. As you know, this landscape is ever-evolving, and there may be changes throughout the summer and fall. We ask for your grace and flexibility as we continue to strengthen our community.

More significantly, we have been in close and ongoing collaboration with the Gaston County Health Department and with the CaroMont Health organization. Our partnership with CaroMont in particular will provide us with access to necessary resources (testing, PPE, etc.) and updated pandemic information.

Download PDF.

Testing

Currently, the college does not plan to require testing of students or employees before arriving on campus. We will require testing (see below) when symptoms occur or when there is significant “close contact” with a positive tested community member. Close contact is defined as between individuals beyond fifteen minutes without social distancing or PPE.  Additionally, presently the college will not require students to quarantine upon arrival from other states or countries.

What to pack

Please bring with you: facial coverings (more than one, so that you can wash them frequently); hand sanitizer (check for recommended ingredients); thermometers, and sanitizing wipes if possible.

Orientation

Orientation this year will look a little different and we appreciate your patience. We will employ a hybrid model of online content and small group programming. Students will be receiving an invitation to our online orientation course by August 1. Please complete all modules prior to coming to campus. Orientation weekend (August 14-17, 2020) will primarily be done in small groups with appropriate measures and social distancing incorporated. We consistently hear from students that small group time is one of the most valuable components of the orientation process so it will be critical that all participants abide by all guidelines and procedures.

Moving-In

In an effort to limit the number of people on campus and ensure a smooth and safe move-in experience for our new and returning students, residential students may only bring with them two helpers. Additionally, all new students will be assigned a time for move-in and will be guided through the process by student assistants. All students and helpers must wear a facial covering during the move-in process. Guests will be asked to leave on Friday afternoon, after move-in is complete and orientation has begun, and by Sunday afternoon for returning residents. We understand that this is a momentous occasion for you and your family but we appreciate your understanding and cooperation throughout this process.

Symptom-Tracking    

In addition to good hygienic practices and social distancing, all members of the Belmont Abbey College community will be expected to use a mobile screening app that is being developed and finalized now. More information and an invitation to download the app will be coming shortly. 

In addition to general health care, this app will allow for EVERY community member to engage in a simple question-based health assessment/health attestation each day. Our Wellness Center staff will monitor those who may be experiencing COVID symptoms and communicate next steps for a more robust health screening if symptoms are observed. 

Social Distancing (6-Foot Minimum)

We are modifying shared spaces including classrooms, dining facilities, residence halls, and other building spaces with staggered seating and adding some physical barriers to allow people to operate in the workplace while still maintaining a healthy physical distance from colleagues, community members and visitors. The outdoors provides the best environment for congregation in small groups while retaining a healthy social distance. If socially distanced outdoors, you do not have to wear a facial covering, though usage is still recommended.  

Masking

Community members must wear a mask for indoor classroom activities, dining (when not eating), and other official gatherings, appointments, and meetings. Masks are also required in congregating areas (i.e., outside classrooms) when social distancing cannot reasonably be observed. The college does not require masking when traveling inside, to, and from buildings/classroom settings but strongly recommends its availability given that unexpected meetings may prevent the maintenance of social distancing and mass congregating may occur. Participants in individual office meetings may mask or not at the discretion of the participants given the context (meeting length, physical space, number of participants, etc.) of the meeting. Community members will gracefully accept the requests for masking as needed.

Increased Sanitization

We have implemented heightened cleaning measures to ensure the strength of our community. We will disinfect common areas more frequently and provide complimentary sanitization products (wipes, hand sanitizing stations, etc.) in our spaces including classroom buildings and residence halls. In addition, we are analyzing the feasibility of other sanitization enhancements including HVAC system filters and UV lighting.

Entrance/Exit

Some buildings will have designated entrance and exit points as well as traffic flow requirements to mitigate the close contact of community members. All students, faculty and staff are asked to follow these directions closely.

Behavioral Signage

The college will remind the community of new cleaning standards, capacity protocols, masking, and social distancing reminders with strategically-placed signage. These will be consistent cues to community members and guests that the well-being of our community depends on our individual responsibilities.

Classroom and Instructional Delivery
The semester will begin in August as scheduled, with Evening classes beginning on Monday, August 17th, and Day classes beginning on Tuesday, August 18th. 

Wherever possible and necessary, academic spaces will maintain appropriate social distancing guided by current local and state mandates. The classroom seating has been modified to accommodate this.

When classrooms are not large enough for adequate social distancing, students will be split into cohorts. One cohort will attend class in-person while the other cohort(s) attends remotely via videoconference (Zoom) on one day and switch the cohorts for the next day of class. Classroom technology is being upgraded in every classroom to facilitate the delivery of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. 

To minimize the risk of a renewed outbreak of COVID-19 in late Fall and to help minimize community exposure from off-campus travel, the semester’s academic calendar has been modified as follows:. 

  • Classes will be held on Labor Day and the College will be open.
  • 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 20th, and residential students will return home. Classes held after the Thanksgiving break, beginning on Monday November 30th, will be held remotely and include final exams which will conclude on December 11th.

Dining / Holy Grounds

In order to operate the Dining Hall in the safest fashion, the College will only be offering one meal plan option for the fall 2020 semester. The plan includes 19 meals per week and $200 Crusader Cash. Portion sizes will increase, and dining will allow multiple visits per meal period if desired, but if you have left the dining hall and returned an additional meal will be used for the return visit.

On a scale of least, mid, and most physically distanced, the semester will begin on a mid-level. Dining Services will arrange tables for effective physical distancing. We will eliminate self-serve stations and replace them with associate-served options. We will wrap or associate-serve desserts. 

The Dining Hall will offer dine-in seating for 80 people indoors and 48 people outdoors. Carry out meals, “text to order” options, and the accommodation of special diet requests will occur. Holy Grounds will offer dine-in seating for 40 people with mobile ordering capabilities.  Both locations will no longer accept cash, plus contactless transactions as a new payment method exist.

We have placed plexi-glass health shield barriers at all registers and points of service.  In addition to daily temperature and wellness checks, all associates will wear masks and gloves replacing them every 30 minutes or less. Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting will occur every 30 minutes. We will use only disposable cutlery and dishware.

Hours of Operation  

Location Hours
Dining Hall

Monday – Friday

7:00 AM – 10:30 AM

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

3:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Dining Hall

Saturday

9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Dining Hall

Sunday

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Holy Grounds Cafe

Monday – Friday

7:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Holy Grounds Cafe

Saturday and Sunday

Closed
Holy Grounds Grill

Monday

11:30 AM – 2:00 PM

(mobile ordering only)

3:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Holy Grounds Grill

Tuesday – Thursday

11:30 AM – 2:00 PM

(mobile ordering only)

3:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Holy Grounds Grill

Friday

11:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Holy Grounds Grill

Saturday

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Holy Grounds Grill

Sunday

Closed

For the fall semester, Belmont Abbey College will not allow outside guests in the residence halls, except for move-in and move-out purposes. Campus visitors may meet students in non-residential public or outside areas on campus, but are not permitted in residence halls at any time. Residence hall parlors, kitchens and other common spaces will either be closed or have occupancy limits posted.  Guests are defined as individuals not assigned to the specific living space (ie room, suite, or apartment). Visitors are defined as individuals not assigned to the specific living space and of the opposite sex. In addition, we are requesting students to not congregate or loiter in the rooms, hallways, breezeways, balconies, or common areas of the residence halls which could impede students’ ability to social distance in the shared spaces.

Residential suites will be treated as “family units” and residents of that suite can visit within it. Inter-hall visitation policies are suspended for the fall semester to limit the potential spread of the virus. Students looking to socialize should do so outside and within the guidelines of social distancing and masking.

At this time, lounge and lobby areas are available for student use. School-provided furniture and equipment has been arranged for social distancing and must be left in place. Additionally, students should observe the following social distancing guidelines:

  1. No more than 10 people in the common area
  2. Wearing a mask is strongly encouraged
  3. Maintain 6 feet distance between all individuals

Residential Bathroom Cleaning

Housekeeping staff are updating and implementing cleaning procedures in line with industry standards and CDC guidance. Housing staff cleans bathrooms and suite hallways each week day in the O’Connell, Poellath, Raphael Arthur, St. Benedict, and St. Scholastica Residence Halls. In the Cuthbert Allen Apartments, the bathrooms are cleaned once per week. Students are required to keep these areas free of personal belongings (no personal items should be left in the bathrooms on countertops, on floors, etc.) to allow for staff to thoroughly clean and sanitize the surfaces. 

Testing

Community members who through an exhibition of symptoms and health screening seem likely to have contracted the virus, must take a COVID test. CaroMont or Gaston County Health Department services will provide testing off-campus in most cases. Positive tests will require a self-isolation for 10 calendar days from the time of the test or 24 hours symptom free. Students with a positive test must self-isolate at home unless otherwise requested and granted to stay on campus.

Tracing and Follow-Up

Positive tests are automatically communicated to Gaston County Health Department. The GCHD then assumes the responsibility for contact tracing. In most cases, individuals who have come in “close contact” with a positive testing individual must also take a test. Close contact is understood as exposure for fifteen minutes or more without social distancing or PPE.

At its very core, Belmont Abbey College is a community committed to grace and love, guiding each other to be a blessing to one another, serving as stewards and vessels of the true, the beautiful and the good. We strive to order our minds and actions towards “the good of all concerned” (RB prol:47).  

 In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Belmont Abbey College encourages all students, faculty, and staff to live out this core and especially the Benedictine Hallmark of Discipline. Discipline here is described as a way of focusing energy and attention on what matters most. To this end, this agreement encourages a commitment in attending to the needs and health of everyone in our community while showing respect and care for those concerned about the transmission of the Coronavirus. 

As a vital member of our community, it is important that we honor commitments to one another for the good of each person and to the continued thriving of Belmont Abbey College. Thus, we encourage the following to ensure a safe and healthy environment:

  •     A commitment to follow appropriate hygiene practices
  •     A commitment to social/physical distancing in various settings
  •     A commitment to abide by requests to utilize masks 
  •     A commitment to continual self-monitoring for health

We are asking each community member to embrace this covenant so that our community may continue to prosper. 

Community members who have personal circumstances that place them or other members of their family at risk will be given the opportunity for an exemption from campus for the fall semester. Exemption requests for students should be directed to Tom MacAlester, Dean of Students; exemption requests for employees should be directed to Cheryl Trotter, Human Resources.

Tuition, Room and Board charges during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The existing refund policy as articulated in the College Catalogue will remain in effect for students withdrawing from the College.

  • Students withdrawing from the College during the Drop/Add period will not be charged tuition.
  • Students withdrawing from the College during the Drop/Add period will be charged Room and Board on a prorated basis. All applicable fees will remain.
  • Students withdrawing from the College after the Drop/Add period will be charged 50% of Tuition, Room, and Board during the five (5) business days following, and 100% after that. All applicable fees will remain.
  • Students withdrawing from the College, during the five (5) business days after the Drop/Add period, will receive a 50% reduction to any institutional award(s) on their account.

Due to the inherent risks during the Coronavirus pandemic and the mitigating measures taken by the College, students will be charged Room and board per its existing policy. In the event of (a) A transition to remote delivery of instruction combined with the closure of its housing and dining facilities; or (b) A mandated closure by local, state, or federal authorities, students will be charged Tuition, Room, and Board according to the schedule in its existing policy. Students will not receive a discount nor a refund of tuition for remote delivery of instruction.

Commonly Asked Questions

We will be testing any symptomatic members of the Belmont Abbey College community.

At this time, North Carolina does not have a mandatory 14-day quarantine for interstate travelers. We encourage those who will be traveling to campus to use the 14 days prior to the weekend of August 14 as a self-monitoring period. Should you or anyone planning to help you move to campus experience any symptoms, please do not come to campus until you are symptom free (please notify Residence Life should this be an issue for you).

We are working closely with CaroMont Health to provide testing to the Belmont Abbey College community. There are multiple testing locations close to campus that we can connect students to.

No. As in all cases, we will only be requiring testing of those who are exhibiting symptoms.

At this time there are no restrictions for students and other community members. However, in order to protect the campus community, students should be cautious when leaving campus and take care to maintain social distancing when they do.

In order to promote social distancing and comply with safety guidelines, visitation and guests are not permitted. Guests are defined as individuals not assigned to the specific living space (ie room, suite, or apartment). Visitors are defined as individuals not assigned to the specific living space and of the opposite sex. In addition, we are requesting students to not congregate or loiter in the rooms, hallways, breezeways, or common areas of the residence halls which could impede students’ ability to social distance in the shared spaces.

Housekeeping and cleaning staff will increase the level and intensity of nightly cleanings in the classrooms and classroom buildings.
Visitors and guests are not permitted at this time including parents unless absolutely necessary for moving in and moving out of the residence halls.

At this time, we will continue to abide by our current policies for withdrawal.

No, the College will not provide a refund for tuition as instruction will continue. The opportunities for completion of necessary coursework will occur.

No, due to the virus mitigating initiatives taken by the College, a refund for unused Room or Board will not take place.

Under the guidance from the Gaston County Health Department and CaroMont Health, masking can drastically reduce the level of transmission, especially if all parties are masked. With this in mind, masks will be required in all official operations of the College and where social distancing cannot be maintained. Our College contains high and low risk populations so it is critical that all members of our community care for the health and safety of one another through appropriate masking.

We recommend a computer with WiFi and webcam capabilities as well as headphones or headset (if roommate is Zooming in class as well so as to not disturb). We discourage the use/purchase of Chromebooks at this time given some of the limitations in relation to remote learning environments. For a complete description of IT information for students, please consult the IT Support website.

Yes, positive cases of COVID-19 will quarantine on campus or may choose to go home temporarily. Students and parents are encouraged to keep an open line of communication through the semester and establish a plan if they need to return home. The College does have some beds available for quarantine if home is not an option.

Yes, tutoring will be available both in-person (at a reduced capacity) and well as enhancements for remote tutoring.

Housekeeping and cleaning staff will be increasing the level of cleaning in residence hall bathrooms and shared spaces. As communicated from Residence Life, students are encouraged to bring their own cleaning wipes and products for their rooms. Cleaning of campus and personal spaces will take collaboration and personal responsibility.

No. A student who is exempted from fall 2020 will not be charged for room and board.

The College will adhere to the schedule in its existing policy in the event of a mandated shutdown that does not allow for remote delivery of instruction.  If the shutdown occurs during the drop/add period, students will:

  • Not be charged Tuition and
  • Be charged Room and Board on a prorated basis.

If the shutdown occurs during the first five (5) business days after the drop/add period, students will:

  • Be charged 50% of tuition and
  • Be charged 50% of Room and Board.

If the shutdown occurs after the first five (5) business days after the drop/add period, students will:

  • Be charged 100% of tuition and
  • Be charged 100% of Room and Board.

The College’s cost structure does not change in a hybridized format. The college has incurred additional costs to provide additional technology and training in this format; we have not added this cost to a student’s tuition.

The College has absorbed additional costs to add technology and other mitigating measures in its dining and housing operation.

Though we continue to encourage the use of masks as a mitigating strategy for transmission, masks are not required when using tents under the following conditions:

  • Social distancing is able to be maintained
  • Tent “walls” are not utilized

June 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues, Students, and Friends,

I hope you and your families are well.

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. 

RELEVANT FALL DATES (chronologically)

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.

God bless,

Dr. William K. Thierfelder
President

President Thierfelder
COVID-19 Principles and Protocols
Revised Academic Calendar 2020-2021

Belmont Abbey College COVID-19 Principles and Protocols

Welcome! As you join or return to the Belmont Abbey College campus for the Fall 2020 semester, we are mindful of the many blessings of community present at the Abbey. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reviewing our current operations so that students, faculty, and staff can return to campus in-person this August. We are so looking forward to seeing you!

This review and the following guidelines are built upon the Benedictine Hallmarks, concern for safety and the exercise of free will and personal responsibility.

Benedictine institutions have been challenged in many centuries, and the particular Hallmarks that guide us now in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are hospitality, stewardship, and conversatio.

  • Hospitality looks to serve the good (mind, body, and soul) of all who come to our campus community: how everything can best be arranged for all to flourish. This calls us now to take prudent actions in classrooms, residence halls, and playing fields to safeguard our individual and collective health while we continue the teaching, learning, and growth for which we all join together as a College.
  • Stewardship looks to the wise exercise of responsibility, not only over material resources but also in responsibilities to others. Maintaining the practices that limit the spread of the pandemic is a service given to everyone in our community, regardless of one’s personal risk from the disease.
  • Conversatio looks to the ongoing process of formation where each of us engages our specific situation and makes wise, though sometimes difficult, choices in the pursuit of excellence and virtue. In our present circumstances, prudent decision-making may call for different responses and actions from students, faculty, and staff to better enable our community to overcome the pandemic related challenges we face.

For this purpose, the College establishes the following protocol and policy effective June 1, 2020 until such time as conditions warrant its amendment or removal.

Belmont Abbey College will take reasonable precautions to renew operations in August, 2020. Belmont Abbey College will abide by federal, state, and local government mandates regarding Covid-19 restrictions. Belmont Abbey College will continue to monitor and respond to recognized health agencies regarding Covid-19 recommendations including:

  • Establish new on-campus protocols related to  cleaning procedures and accommodations for members of the College community  to reduce the incidence of the virus on  campus.  For example, the College’s Department of Maintenance and Facilities has increased daily physical cleaning of high touch surfaces and has added new hand sanitizer stations around campus. Further, the College’s dining services provider has implemented safety and service enhancements based on three alternatives that will allow for future changes in guidance from federal,state, and local authorities. 
  • Continue to communicate policy changes to the college community on a regular and consistent basis; and 
  • Notify students, faculty and staff as soon as possible if any member of the community tests positive for  Covid-19.
  • The College recommends the following basic prevention measures which may change from time to time as additional information and guidance from relevant agencies becomes available:
    • Frequent and thorough hand washing.
    • Anyone in the campus community with mild flu-like symptoms should self-isolate for two weeks. 
    • Follow respiratory etiquette by covering mouth and nose during coughs and sneezes.
    • Discourage the use of other individual’s phones, desks, or any other personal tools and equipment, when possible.
  • Community members including students who have been away for the summer, upon returning to campus in the Fall, will attest that they are not currently experiencing flu-like symptoms. A symptom check will be included in the on-campus process.
  • Community members who develop flu-like symptoms should self-monitor and self-isolate as is reasonably prudent in the short term. When symptoms occur, students should report that information to the Wellness Center; faculty and staff should report that information to their supervisors. Such information should be reported as soon as possible.
  • The College will fully cooperate with state and county monitoring practices for positive cases and will expect any community member to do the same.
  • A positive COVID-19 test will result in a communication being sent to close contacts of the student, faculty, or staff member to monitor them for symptoms. Anonymity of the person will be maintained as much as possible.

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, or his designee. Staff members with similar requests should contact their direct supervisor. Reasonable accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

  • The semester will begin in August as scheduled, with Evening classes beginning on Monday, August 17th, and Day classes beginning on Tuesday, August 18th. Classrooms, laboratories, and library facilities will follow the College’s updated safety guidelines.
  • Wherever possible, academic spaces will maintain appropriate physical distancing guided by current local and state mandates. When classrooms are not large enough for adequate physical distancing, students will be split into cohorts. One cohort will attend class in-person while the other cohort(s) attends remotely via videoconference (Zoom) on one day and switch the cohorts for the next day of class.
    • Classroom technology is being upgraded in every classroom to facilitate the delivery of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. 
    • Faculty or students who have been advised by medical professionals to remain in isolation should speak with Dr. David Williams or his designee to arrange for appropriate accommodations.
    • The College is not mandating the use of masks at this time, but individuals who wish to mask themselves may do so. Faculty members may request that their students wear masks.
  • To minimize the risk of a renewed outbreak of COVID-19 in late Fall and to help minimize community exposure from off-campus travel, the semester’s academic calendar has been modified as follows:. 
    • Classes will be held on Labor Day.
    • 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 20th, and residential students will return home. Classes held after the Thanksgiving break, beginning on Monday November 30th, will be held remotely and include final exams which will conclude on December 11th.

In preparation for a safe return of collegiate sports in the 2020-21 academic year, the Belmont Abbey College Department of Athletics has created several committees to assess and update athletic policies and procedures on an on-going basis. These working groups will monitor state and local mandates, NCAA and Conference Carolinas guidelines, and make recommendations to the Director of Athletics to improve current athletic policies and procedures at Belmont Abbey College. Additionally:

  • Fall sport move-in day remains August 11, 2020 as planned.
  • Practices and competition will resume  in-person and on a traditional basis beginning in August as NCAA and conference mandates allow.
  • Physical distancing will be implemented in training areas, treatment areas, and locker room spaces.
  • Enhanced cleaning of spaces will occur to minimize virus spread.

Since COVID-19 related developments remain fluid and guidance from federal, state, and local entities will continue to evolve on a daily and weekly basis, we will communicate any significant changes that occur. Coaches, athletic trainers, and staff will provide students with information and updates in the following areas: 

  • Student and Staff awareness, education, and training.
  • Pre-participation screening and risk assessment.
  • Isolation and quarantine procedures for affected individuals.
  • Athletic facility sanitation protocols
  • Daily athletics operations (home games, practices, workouts, etc.)
  • Travel for competitions and other athletics-related business.
  • Relative sport risk assessment and related sport-specific modifications.

As in other areas of the College, response to the pandemic will result in modifications to operations in Student Life offices and services. All members of the Office of Student Life are actively engaged in updating our 2020-2021 operations and procedures which include:

  • New student orientation activities in August
  • Residence hall move-in processes for new and returning students
  • Wellness Center (health and counseling) daily operations including updates to spaces, virtual screenings, appropriate communications, and community education
  • Large and small group activities and creative community building while being sensitive to physical distancing and the welfare of others.

As plans and guidelines evolve, we will update the College Community on both content and implementation. Additionally:

  • Orientation begins on August 14, 2020 as planned. 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. Rooms will be formatted to encourage physical distancing. Additionally, bathroom spaces will receive appropriate cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Dining services will be conducted in a manner to minimize virus spread including eating spaces, take-out services, and server-provided meals.
  • Clubs and other student activities will continue and will include physical distancing practices.