- Q: Why is Beacon resuming on-campus instruction and activities for the 2020 fall semester and the summer session preceding it?
A: Our decision to return to on-campus programming in all arenas of college life, in as timely a manner as planning and safety allow, is based on the following learnings from working with our students:
- Although learning is a life-long process, college years are distinct and require uninterrupted training for skills and habits to be fully developed. Being distant from our campus and its close-knit community further delays a return to important routines and practices for our student population;
- However valiant the effort, no level of remote learning can replace the high-touch learning environment that markedly differentiates Beacon; and,
- Students have universally expressed in our many remote interactions with them since March their desire to return to their friends and their community while noting their discomfort at being away from the community.
Ultimately, our undergraduates are best served when embraced by an on-campus community and we are taking every precaution to allow the safe and holistic return of our collegians. Students will return to a campus community dedicated to their wellness, with enhanced physical distancing and a focus on hygiene and continuous sanitization of offices, classrooms and public spaces.
- Q: Will protective masks be required on campus?
A: Yes; protective masks will be required in all public spaces on campus. The College will have a limited supply of masks, and thus encourages students and staffers to gear up with a supply of disposable masks or a reusable cloth mask.
- Q: What preliminary precautions will be taken to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff?
A: In addition to mandatory facial coverings, all individuals will be required to complete a contact tracing survey and for the first two weeks of the semester have their temperature checked.
- Q: How will physical distancing be managed on campus both in classes and socially?
A: The number of attendees for in-person courses and for activities will be limited to maintain a safe physical distance. Chairs will be removed in the dining commons, classrooms, and other public spaces to ensure proper physical distancing, when appropriate.
- Q: Is the Beacon staff and faculty receiving specific training for COVID-19?
A: Yes, prior to the summer session and student orientation/fall semester calendars, all campus employees will receive formal training on the College’s applicable COVID-19 policy and any policy updates. We will continue to review and update our new COVID-19 measures as conditions change.
- Q: What ongoing precautions will faculty/staff be taking to ensure the health and safety of everyone on campus?
A: Faculty and staff members will be expected to wear protective masks in all public areas, practice extra sanitation measures in the classroom, keep an eye on student health and make sure students are aware of campus wellness resources.
- Q: How does the college intend to remain in regular communication with parents throughout the semester?
A: Updates will be placed on our website and shared in the College’s social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. Additional announcements will also be shared by email from President Hagerty or a member of Beacon’s senior staff.
- Q: Are there contingency plans in place if COVID-19 cases spike and students cannot return home due to restrictions in their home state?
A: Yes. The College will assure that students are safely and properly cared for, housed and fed.
- Q: Will students be able to attend remotely classes that traditionally occur on campus?
A: Yes, remote learning is available for the summer session and fall semester of 2020 under either of the following two circumstances:
- On-campus students will have remote access to course instruction from their residence or other quiet, comfortable setting, and may be requested to do so at certain times to support the College’s physical distancing protocols, (other requests for remote learning will be considered on a case-by-case basis) and
- Students who attend the College for the summer session, but who are not resident or commuting undergraduates, may take their courses remotely.
- Q: How does the college plan to reduce density and maintain appropriate distancing as students go to and from classes?
A: One-way traffic will help reduce density during classes. Arrows will be placed on entry points and students will follow the arrows to exit the buildings.
- Q: To keep with physical distancing, will some students have to take their courses online even though they are on campus?
A: Twenty-five percent of our classes have five or fewer students. Forty-five percent have 10 or fewer students. With the largest classes, implementation of a hybrid mode of instruction may be needed. Remote options will be planned and available in the event of a spike in local infections or to support vulnerable students and staff, or students in quarantine or isolation. We will also limit the number of attendees for large in-person courses. Chairs will be removed to ensure proper physical distancing, when appropriate.
- Q: If so, what will be the process to determine which student should go remote?
A: Students will alternate days for remote learning.
- Q: Will there be changes in attendance and excuse policies? If so, what will those changes be?
A: Students will still be expected to attend courses at the same time the course is meeting in-person. If, for health reasons, the student cannot attend, the student will need to be in touch with the school nurse, learning specialist, and the provost.
- Q: Do you have plans for accommodating courses such as dance and fitness that do not easily lend themselves to physical distancing?
A: Dance classes are small so physical distancing will be easy to accomplish. Many of the fitness classes utilize outside space.
- Q: Do you have a plan for bringing in substitutes for faculty and staff who fall ill or are asked to self-quarantine?
A: Our writing center staff, librarians, and career development staff fill in for absent professors as needed. Other professors and department chairs also help in the absence of others.
- Q: For classrooms where some students are in-person while others are connected via Zoom, how will the students who are learning virtually be assured of receiving the same attention needed to reinforce learning?
A: All professors will have a tripod, camera, and microphone to help improve the learning environment for those learning virtually. Classroom activities or the application of knowledge will be used and applied to both the learning in class and remote learning.
- Q: Where will on-campus Zoom instruction take place? In students’ rooms? In groups elsewhere?
A: Students most likely will be learning in their rooms when not in the classroom. Our community educators will make sure the students are available for learning and our technology team will assist with technical issues. Group meetings will be scheduled to orient and assist students in becoming proficient with the Zoom and the Canvas application. Individual assistance will be available as needed.
- Q: What considerations are in place to reduce the risk of exposure in student housing?
A: Below is the list of considerations to reduce the risk of exposure in housing:
- Single resident per room when possible. (Most new students will have a private room). Students still must share common areas and restrooms.
- Students will be asked to commit in writing to a cleaning rotation or schedule with their apartment mates. The judicial process will be used if necessary, to enforce the frequent cleaning schedule. Open training with the life skills educator will be available or required for students who may have difficulty abiding by all hygiene standards. Routine room inspections will be used to monitor cleanliness and safety.
- Students are expected to wear cloth face masks in common areas.
- Signage will be posted regarding proper hand hygiene and students are expected to follow the recommendations.
- Hand sanitizer will be available in common areas of the dorms.
- Cleaning by Beacon staffers will be conducted in all common areas and high-touch surfaces throughout the day.
- Restrictions will be placed on events and social activities based on keeping six feet for physical distancing.
- Seating will be reconfigured in common areas to ensure proper physical distancing.
Restrictions will be placed on building access by non-residents (students not living in the building).
- Q: Will you provide directions, supplies, reminders, etc. for students to sanitize shared spaces and bathrooms in suites and apartments?
A: Yes, there are reminders about cleanliness posted across campus. Housing staff will also remind students of the importance of maintaining clean and sanitary personal spaces. Families are reminded to provide students with the traditional cleaning supplies.
- Q: How will the move-in process proceed?
A: We are currently looking at several options and will have a decision by July 10.
- Q: What is the policy regarding outside guests in student housing?
A: There will be restrictions on building access by non-residents (students not living in the building).
- Q: Will there be a laundry attendant to monitor laundering facilities?
A: The residential directors will monitor the laundry rooms.
- Q: How will campus dining work?
A: Dining hours will be expanded to provide ample time for all students to dine. Also, dining, chairs will be placed at appropriate physical distance space and buffet-style dining options removed. Tables and chairs will be cleaned between use during all dining periods. To-go items also will be readily available.
- Q: What considerations are in place for students not on the meal plan?
A: There is always an option to purchase meals individually.
- Q: If students are asked to confine to campus are there food options in the evenings, after 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.? Weekends?
A: Yes. Meal services will be available to assure that any quarantined student has three meals available every day.
Our dining operational hours are:
Breakfast: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Dinner: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Brunch: 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Dinner: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- Q: What is the protocol for monitoring occupancy during mealtimes?
A: Tables and chairs will be arranged to assure proper physical distancing. Dining hall occupancy will be limited to the number of chairs set out and the number of students in the dining hall will be monitored.
- Q: Will there be signage and floor markers for physical distancing for waiting lines?
A: Yes. There are signage and floor markers in place to indicate proper physical distancing.
- Q: Will there be COVID-19-inspired changes to student extracurricular activities? If so, what kind of experiences can students expect?
A: Popular extracurricular events will be offered in the Student Center and Sports Field with physical distancing.
- Q: Will students be required to complete a pre-participation student questionnaire with full transparency regarding COVID-19 diagnosis, recent current illness suggestive of COVID-19, current restrictions (isolation or quarantine, and or current symptoms)?
A: Students will have already answered COVID-19 questions to be in housing and in their academic classes.
- Q: Will there be alternative sporting/recreational options available for at-risk students?
A: All students can have access to the Fitness Center and can attend in non-peak hours. Students also can schedule an individual appointment with the personal trainer.
- Q: How will parent visits to campus (especially from COVID-19 hot zone states) and student trips home be managed?
A: Governor Ron DeSantis’s executive order implementing Phase 2 of Florida’s COVID-19 response enables students to travel to Florida for any work, programs and activity approved by their educational institution. Beacon has extensively examined this situation and has produced a comprehensive plan and protocols for students, staffers and visitors designed to maintain a healthy campus. We will survey students upon returning, monitor their health conditions, require students to wear masks and maintain appropriate social distancing.
- Q: Will the college reduce non-essential travel?
A: The college currently is limiting nonessential travel for faculty, staff, administrators, and students.
- Q: What is the campus visitor policy?
A: All campus visitors will be required to check in at one of four designated locations, undergo a temperature check and wear a protective mask.
- Q: What is the protocol for isolating and monitoring students who contract COVID-19?
A: See Beacon COVID-19 policy: https://www.beaconcollege.edu/covid-19-information-center/
- Q: What considerations are in place for high-risk, health-compromised students?
A: High-risk, health-compromised students will have the option to work from their apartment or dorm room. They will check in with the nurse on a regular basis.
- Q: What is the protocol for students for accessing medical treatment and testing for COVID-19?
A: As soon as a student begins feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 he or she should visit the campus nurse. The student should wear a face mask while visiting the nurse, who will assess the student’s condition. Should the student require additional medical attention, the nurse will accompany the student to the hospital. Parents will be contacted, and the nurse will also assist with after-care instructions and transportation back to campus.
- Q: Are there any punitive consequences (both for staff and students) for non-compliance to policies and guidelines?
A: We are making physical distancing and the wearing of masks a mandatory community standard.
- Q: In the event of an imminent hurricane, what is the plan for physical distancing while hunkering down with students on campus?
A: Our two newest housing units, RAP and R2, are considered hurricane-worthy so students will hunker down within their own rooms. Depending on storm severity, students within the other housing units may also be able to stay within their own apartments. If they are not able to remain in their own apartments, Beacon Hall and the Student Center will act as shelters, as they have ably served in recent years.
- Q: Will there be refunds if students must return home due to an outbreak?
A: As in 2019-20, the financial implications of a change to the room and board calendar will be considered and handled fairly.
- Q: Where can I go for more information?
A: Please consult the Beacon COVID-19 policy: https://www.beaconcollege.edu/covid-19-information-center/