BVU to Resume In-Person Classes for Fall 2020
BVU plans to resume in-person classes on campus for the Fall 2020 semester. We are coordinating with local, county, and state health officials to ensure that when we re-open our campus it will be as safe an environment as possible.
Dear current and future members of the BVU community:
Throughout these past few weeks, the Buena Vista University community has proven our resilience in tough times. We have spent the latter half of the semester apart, but I am proud of Beavers everywhere remaining strong, united, and supportive of one another. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought uncertainty across the higher education landscape, and as the 2019-20 academic year at BVU draws to a close, we turn our focus toward the future. And…it’s promising.
Today, I am happy to share that we plan to resume in-person classes on campus for the Fall 2020 semester. We are coordinating with local, county, and state health officials to ensure that when we re-open our campus it will be as safe an environment as possible. While we’re currently planning an online Orientation for new students, our faculty are preparing engaging coursework for face-to-face learning. Our staff are eager to plan student events and provide services in person such as Welcome Week, career planning and mental health counseling. Our coaches are scheduling practices and competitions. And our food service crew can’t wait to welcome you all back, too…trust me, our Director of Food Service, Ken Allen, misses you all.
During these unprecedented times, one thing has been clear: The personalized, community-oriented experience at BVU is key to building brighter futures, and we are committed to bringing our community back together. I know I’m not alone when I say I am excited to watch new students walk through the Victory Arch; celebrate at Homecoming (including 2020 Commencement!); and fill the residence halls, classrooms, and green spaces of our beautiful lakeside campus.
I realize that opening in the fall will present new challenges for all of us, but we ask that you have faith in BVU. I’m working with the Board of Trustees and campus leaders to engage in scenario planning in order to move forward with plans to reopening campus in the fall. These dedicated individuals, representing every department, will be working diligently to devise a plan that will bring us back together in August. As this situation is extremely fluid, we will continue working with health officials and follow guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health in order to meet our students’ needs and keep our community safe. We make these decisions with not only the BVU community in mind, but the entire Storm Lake community as well. We know that this is situation is ever-changing, and your health and safety are our top priorities.
I also want to take this time to remind you that campus will continue to remain closed to the public until June 30. We are working through a phased-approach to bring faculty and staff back to campus, while being mindful of social distancing protocols and CDC recommendations. We will share more information on returning to campus as it is made available. Although the foreseeable future is filled with uncertainties, please have faith and know that BVU is committed to providing our students opportunities to learn and follow their dreams and aspirations.
I cannot express how proud I am of everyone’s flexibility, resilience, and tenacity throughout the past few weeks. I miss you – each and every one of you. I cannot wait to welcome you back to campus this fall and seeing the BVU community reunited—stronger than ever. Let’s keep building, Beavers.
With faith and confidence,
Joshua D. Merchant, Ph.D.