Letter about Required Testing - Jan. 15

COVID-19 Covenant

January 15, 2021

Dear JBU Students and Parents,

Greetings from a very quiet JBU campus! I hope you have been enjoying the extended time of rest after a very busy semester. For the 260 students taking a winter term class, we hope your studies are going well.

We have some important things to communicate for the spring semester. We are grateful for a successful fall semester of in-person classes, but we also recognize that the spread of COVID-19 has recently increased dramatically. In Siloam Springs the number of active cases per 10,000 residents has tripled in recent weeks (from 35 new infections per 10k to 105 new infections per 10k). In addition, while local hospitals in Northwest Arkansas still have some capacity, they are serving record numbers of COVID-19 patients. We feel confident that our COVID-19 protocols on campus (masks, physical distancing, isolation, etc.) will continue to be helpful, but we want to get the best possible start to the semester.

With that in mind, we are requiring all students, faculty and staff to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to the start of the spring semester. Tests must be taken on or after Monday, Jan. 25, and results must be provided to JBU by Friday, Jan. 29, at 2 p.m. If you have been approved to return to campus early (i.e. resident assistants, orientation leaders, international students, etc.), please work with your supervising staff member for additional information on the timing of your test. This includes graduate and online undergraduate students registered for in-person classes this spring.

We prefer PCR tests because of accuracy but will also accept an antigen “rapid” test. We ask students to use their JBU login to upload proof of their negative test results no later than Friday, Jan. 29, at 2 p.m. We will take appropriate precautions to secure your private health information. Our ITS department is creating an online tool that will be available on Monday, Jan. 25 at jbu.edu/uploadresults.

We expect that there will be some tests available for local students at JBU when we conduct tests for faculty and staff the week of Jan. 25. Students will be able to sign up for those tests starting Jan. 21 on a first-come, first-served basis. Please watch your JBU email for details on registering.

If your test comes back positive, please email Lea Hart, coordinator of student COVID-19 care, at lhart@jbu.edu to discuss when you can return to campus and online class participation.

This is a continuation of our guiding principle of “Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Love JBU.” By requiring students to test prior to arrival, we hope to minimize the number of infected students who arrive and then have to return home to isolate within a short period of time. (Love yourself.) Testing will also help limit any initial spread given recent CDC studies that show that nearly half of COVID-19 transmission comes from asymptomatic people. (Love JBU.) Additionally, we want to do our part to protect the community of Siloam Springs. (Love your neighbor.) 

If students have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days and can provide dated test results, they do not need to be tested prior to arrival. Please email the dated test results to nurse@jbu.edu unless nurse Rhonda already has your diagnosis recorded from the fall semester.

We understand it may take some time for you to find a local testing site, so we are communicating with you via several avenues to give you as much lead time as possible. If you have questions, please see this FAQ.  

To ensure that you receive other important information regarding the return to school:

We look forward to the return of our students and a spring semester of rich learning opportunities, spiritual growth and COVID-19 appropriate social activities. 


Julie Gumm ’95

Director of University Marketing & Communications