Basic Assumptions for Returning to Campus

A guide to JBU's response to the pandemic

Basic assumptions for JBU’s response to returning to campus during COVID-19 pandemic. JBU has developed these basic assumptions to guide its response to the pandemic for our traditional, residential undergraduate program. We know that these assumptions could change as new information about the disease and its treatment emerges, so we will monitor and adjust these principles as needed.  However, we think that it is important to articulate and draw attention to these assumptions so that the JBU community will understand the rationale for our decision-making. 

Theological commitments

  • Even in a pandemic, JBU affirms that Christ is over all and he is the only true source of our hope, our health, and our mission.  We will pray for his protection, his wisdom, and his mercy as we make decisions.
  • JBU affirms that scripture calls Christians to love their neighbor, to be willing to sacrifice to meet the needs of those who are vulnerable, to care for the sick, and to respect those in authority.
  • JBU will expect people to speak to one another in truth, grace and love, and we will confess and ask for forgiveness when we fail.
  • JBU affirms that scripture calls Christians to hold each other accountable for right actions with grace, love and gentleness.
  • JBU makes all of our plans deo volente (if the Lord wills), recognizing God’s sovereign will and our limitations in understanding his ways.

Pandemic assumptions

  • JBU is in a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that is both a health and financial crises and that will likely be with us for at least most of the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • While anyone could be at risk, the people most at risk for death or serious complications in this pandemic are people over 65 and people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or immune suppression.
  • Gratefully, healthy college-age students are at a very small risk for death or serious health complications. However, they can become infected, can transmit the infection to others, and are more likely to be asymptomatic which could accelerate the transmission of the infection.
  • JBU will rely on public health information from reliable state and national government sources such as the Arkansas Department of Health (“ADH”) and the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) and from state and national educational organizations such as Arkansas Department of Education (“ADE”), the American College Health Association (“ACHA”), and the National Association Intercollegiate Athletics (“NAIA”) to respond to the pandemic.
  • JBU will follow all government requirements for responding to the pandemic, particularly guidance from ADH and Governor’s Hutchinson’s office since they have authority for public health in Arkansas.
  • JBU will never be able to eliminate the risk of infection and transmission during the pandemic, but it will take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk relying on information from ADH and CDC.
  • JBU recognizes that there is still a lot unknown about COVID-19, that information and recommendations may well change on how to respond best, and that JBU must continue to monitor and adapt its response as information changes.

Educational assumptions

  • JBU will make financial and educational decisions for the long-term viability of JBU’s mission, which includes serving students well in 2020-2021.
  • JBU accomplishes its educational and spiritual mission better with face-to-face education in a residential context, so JBU should take all reasonable steps to serve students with face-to-face education for as much of 2020-2021 academic year as possible.
  • JBU will have to change its “normal” operations on campus in order to mitigate the risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19.
  • In many cases, JBU will have to balance the mitigation of the risk of infection and transmission with the best ways to accomplish our educational mission. We will seek to make those decisions in reasonable, creative, transparent, and thoughtful ways relying on the guidance of ADH and CDC.