Letter from President Pollard

November 24

Dear JBU Parents,

Greetings from JBU on the last day of the fall semester — and what a semester. We weren’t sure that we would make it to this day, but we are deeply grateful to have experienced God’s sustaining grace and mercy. Thank you for your prayers and for how your students have responded to the challenges of going to school in the pandemic. We may learn of a few more positive cases over the next couple of days, but here are our final fall semester COVID-19 numbers as of noon today.

End of the Semester COVID-19 Numbers



                        Cumulative positive cases this semester: 43

                        Current active cases: 7

                        Cumulative recovered cases: 36 

                        Cumulative students quarantined as close contacts this semester: 116

                        Current students quarantined as close contacts: 27


                        (12 employees that tested positive and recovered before the semester are not included below)

                        Cumulative positive cases: 12

                        Current active cases: 4

                        Cumulative recovered cases: 8

                        Cumulative employees quarantined as close contacts: 39

                        Current employees quarantined as close contacts: 4

We know of universities our size that have experienced these numbers in one week. We are so grateful for God’s protection so that we could carry out JBU’s mission in person for the entire semester with so little disruption. Praise the Lord. 

Activity Highlights from the Semester. None of us knew what to expect this semester, particularly what sort of activities that we could offer, but here are a few highlights. 

  1. Worship on the Quad and Chapel Groups. We were only rained out twice all semester for Worship on the Quad, and students responded well to the small-group format for our chapel program. If you would like to view the final all-school chapel service, you can find it at this link: https://use.vg/aPAq7B
  2. Intramurals. We tried all sorts of new sports such as softball, pickleball and disc golf, and we had more students participate in intramurals (almost 500) than we had in the fall of 2019.
  3. Music and Theatre. Our musical theatre students held a Concert on the Quad, and our theatre students wrote and performed an original comedy about home life in the pandemic, “We Got Cookies” (which you can see athttps://use.vg/ni5Q4p) The Cathedral Choir, Jazz Band and Red Steps will also be performing a virtual version of our 78th annual Candlelight Service, December 10-12 (for details, see jbu.edu/candlelight).
  4. Student Events and Activities (SEA). Even with the pandemic limitations on large-group activities, SEA hosted a range of creative events, including movie nights, Flannel Fest, Kickball Tournament, Chalk Art Festival, Laser Tag, Trivia and Bingo nights, hikes, Spy v. Spy, and Tea with SEA. Over 2,000 students participated with an average of 10-15% of the total student body at a SEA event every weekend.
  5. Eating outside in great weather. Students have truly enjoyed eating outside in our three tents and at our twenty picnic tables. God has given us spectacular weather this semester, with only one week of cold rain.

Spring Semester Reminders.

  1. Spring Class Registration. We realize that the compressed semester was hectic for many students, particularly some of our first-year students who were scheduled to register for classes as they were preparing for the final weeks of class. Registration remains open throughout December and January, so check with your student and encourage them to complete it. If you have questions, please contact Registrar@jbu.edu.
  2. JBU-at-Home winter classes. We already have about 250 students signed up for one of our special, four-week, online January courses. They are mostly taught by our full-time faculty at a reduced tuition rate. Registration is still open for many of those courses as well. https://www.jbu.edu/jbu-at-home/winter-classes/
  3. Financial Aid. We realize that some families are facing financial hardship because of the pandemic. JBU may be able to help. Please contact finaid@jbu.edu to see what might be available.
  4. Spring Semester Calendar. We plan to start the spring semester on Monday, February 1, and complete exams by Thursday, May 20. We have not set a spring graduation date, but we expect that it will be Friday or Saturday of that week. We will have a mini spring break from Thursday through Easter Sunday, April 1-4.

JBU faculty, staff and students have worked incredibly hard over these last 15 weeks to serve one another as a community. I know that everyone is tired, but I also know that there is a great sense of gratitude for what has been accomplished. 

Thank you for entrusting your student with us and for praying for JBU. We wish you and your family all God’s blessings and his continued care during this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. We look forward to seeing students back on campus again in February, and we pray for God’s wisdom and favor for researchers and government officials as they pursue effective and safe vaccines and treatments to respond to this pandemic (d.v.).  Let us all remember to “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).

All God’s blessings,

Dr. Charles W. Pollard
President, John Brown University