My dear Beacon Community,
I thought it important to update you on issues that I know are important to students and families, as well as the College’s employees. The Beacon community continues to be buoyed and blessed by the absence of any report from our undergraduates and dedicated personnel of a positive test for COVID-19.
Gov. Ron DeSantis ended the “Stay at Home” order for Florida residents except for three southern Florida counties. Additionally, Florida’s Phase I “Reopening” of some public and commercial locations commences Monday. The College is in the process of a “soft” reopening beginning Monday, with most of our personnel continuing to work remotely through the end of the month.
For our students, the College established the following policy to ensure that our reopening is well organized and fosters as smooth a transition as possible to the “new normal” on campus:
Prior to Friday, May 22, Beacon students are asked not to visit campus. However, students who intend to visit campus before May 22 for any purpose should seek and receive approval beforehand from the Office of the Provost or the Dean of Student Affairs. Effective Friday, May 22 through Sunday, June 21, students will be invited to return to campus for a short period to retrieve their belongings. To maintain safe distances during this move-out process, students must coordinate their schedules with the Housing and Residence Life teams. To do so, complete the Intent to Vacate Form located here: Intent to Vacate
Any further revisions to this policy will be updated as needed, with appropriate actions announced by the College.
Recognition of the Graduates of the Class of 2020
The Beacon community takes deserved pride in the accomplishments of each of our December and May graduates comprising the College’s Class of 2020. We share disappointment that our Commencement ceremonies must be postponed until October 9 and 10. Nonetheless, even if it is virtually, this is a time to celebrate with our graduating seniors the achievement of a lifetime. Over the course of the next two weeks, please expect to receive commemorative items that transcend the customary recognitions of the graduation milestone. We expect that these celebratory gifts will begin arriving at your home shortly after the May 8th close of the semester.
Student Refunds and Credits
Irrespective of the many troubling headlines about higher education this week alone, Beacon has charted its own course regarding student refunds/credits that is consistent with our mission, loyalty to our students, and a rational analysis of both economic and financial factors. At the time that the COVID-19 emergency assailed Beacon and all of higher education, we committed to safeguard both families’ hard-won resources and the College’s long-term sustainability. The College’s policy on refunds/credits now is nearing completion, while we await final federal guidance on the use of funds for which the College is eligible. On May 8, undergraduates and families will receive a letter describing the policy and process by which refunds and credits will be issued for both graduating seniors and returning students.
Colleges that have been rash or noncommittal in making refund/credit decisions have done so at their own peril. The complexities involved in the calculation of refunds/credits and the federal guidelines through which reimbursement decisions are made demand the care that Beacon has taken in drafting its policy, as it stands today for final review.
In all of this, the College’s stability is not in question. The Board of Trustees has taken every precaution to ensure that Beacon’s vision for the future remains unaltered. I feel the need to say this — given the media’s take on the current COVID-19-related climate in higher education.
As a final note, a farewell Zoom session for students has been planned for Wednesday, May 6 at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern time). Please look for a Zoom invite in your email from Dean Greenstein this Monday.
I wish you all a fine and healthy weekend and look forward to communicating with you again next Friday.