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.
With the Monastic Community, 11 am – Basilica (limited seating)
Student Mass, 7:30 pm – Wheeler Center
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
Residence Life: Residencelife@bac.edu
Dining Hall: Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org or text 704-741-0254