SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Evangel University released key points of its plan to reopen the campus to students in the fall, including requiring face coverings, increased sanitation measures, and implementing quarantine recommendations.
Called “Because We Care,” the university’s plan is designed to be fluid to protect students, faculty, staff, and community members as the pandemic continues to evolve. It is based on best health practices in keeping with local, state and federal guidelines.
The plan came out of the work of a university-wide task force that studied every aspect of Evangel operations and community life, including athletics, classrooms, dorms, food service, and student activities.
More than 75 members of the Evangel administration, faculty, and staff contributed to the effort.
“This is an incredible effort by the Evangel community, and the recommendations are all designed with the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff in mind,” President Carol A. Taylor, Ph.D., said. “I’m proud of the diligence of all involved in keeping our community and the larger Springfield community around us safe.
“As has been the case for the past 65 years, we want to be good neighbors.”
Highlights of the plan include:
- Requiring face coverings for everyone in public spaces, including classrooms. Every member of the community – faculty, staff, and students – will be given initial face coverings.
- Asking students to self-isolate for two weeks before coming to campus. International students will have the opportunity to self-isolate on campus.
- Eliminating self-service options, such as buffets, in campus dining facilities.
- Implementing social distancing measures across campus, including for chapels which will be re-imagined for the fall semester to provide students different ways to attend.
Implementing the plan
Evangel has already announced that the fall 2020 semester will be moved up, with classes starting on Friday, Aug. 21, and the annual fall break canceled. The changes will allow the semester to conclude before Thanksgiving, which will eliminate holiday travel to and from campus, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
The university is currently open to visitors by appointment. Visitors are required to check in, have their temperature taken, and wear a face covering. Those measures will continue in the fall semester.
The university has also worked diligently over the past several months, doing deep cleaning of all buildings, installing 500 hand sanitizing stations, and moving furniture and rearranging public spaces to meet public health guidelines.
Evangel continues to closely monitor the situation, and the university-wide task force, led by Dr. Michael Kolstad, vice president for university advancement, will continue to reassess the plan as needed.
“The bottom line is that we want what’s best for our community and have been working closely with local public health officials to take the best steps forward,” Kolstad said.
A summary of the task force’s report may be viewed at http://www.evangel.edu/coronavirus.
The university will kick off a campaign to encourage students, faculty, and staff to follow best health practices called “Because I Care” later this summer.
The campaign is based on the words of Christ found in the Gospels (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, and Luke 10:27) in which Jesus lays out the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The campaign encourages the Evangel community to show their love for one another through wearing a face covering and following public health guidance. The campaign commitment is below.
About AGTS & Evangel University
Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally.
Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,300 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.
The Evangel Commitment: Because I Care
In response to COVID-19, we embrace Christ’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves. That means that we will love our neighbors because we care.
Because I care for others and myself, I will:
- Wear a face covering in classrooms and public spaces
- Keep social distance in public spaces
- Wash and sanitize my hands regularly
- Stay home or in my dorm room if I don’t feel well or have a fever of 100.4 or higher
- Isolate or quarantine myself if exposed to the virus
- Follow my health care professional’s advice
- Pray for God’s protection
- Encourage others to do the same