As we continue the preparations for welcoming back our students to campus in a new era of safety and precautions, it is not lost on me the recent attention given to the rise in Florida’s COVID cases. While others debate the nature of the rise whether from overcrowded public places, a lack of commitment to responsible social distancing practices, or the availability of increased testing, we at Beacon have been focused on what is transpiring in our region and how it impacts the reopening of the campus for students.
The COVID-19 emergency tested the fabric of Beacon and all American higher education as never before. I believe that we measured up remarkably well individually and as a community united. This letter includes two important announcements: (1) a decision on the summer and fall calendars, and (2) the College’s efforts to enhance academics and our “high-touch” residential undergraduate community.
As many of you know, President Hagerty appointed a task force to examine the impact of COVID-19 on Beacon College and develop recommendations for operating effectively and safely when re-opening the campus this fall. Accordingly, we have developed the following policy which is informed by recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College Health Association, Sodexo, and the best practices of colleges and universities around the country.
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. 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.
We greet you with the continuing good news that no member of the Beacon community has reported being stricken with COVID-19. The campus remains eerily quiet for this time of year, its stillness only occasionally interrupted by a small staff of “regulars” who perform the essential function of keeping the College well-maintained, clean, and operating. Whenever our collegians and personnel return, the campus will be ready, waiting, and welcoming. We have greatly appreciated the support and patience from students, parents, faculty and staff as the College works through the many complex first-time issues.
Certainly, as we have come to recognize over the past several weeks, no predictive muse has come forth to guide America’s colleges and universities in determining calendars and actions that can move our institutions forward with certainty. Each campus is making the best “real-time” decisions it can with imperfect and often changing data, and many audiences understandably are seeking attention and answers. One thing that has become clear since the March 27th announcement of the potential for a May on-campus “capstone” and a May 30th Commencement is that this scenario will not be realized.
When students, faculty, and our support professionals departed campus earlier this month for spring break, the College’s paramount responsibility was assuring that everyone without delay returned home safely. Between March 11-13, faculty, learning specialists, and other support practitioners integral to the holistic nature of Beacon’s academic and developmental experience prepared to deliver instruction and services remotely. Our decisions, then and now, squarely focus on ensuring that our students’ progress aligns closely with the learning experience they would have enjoyed had no emergency occurred.
We want to provide continuing updates on the College’s response to the COVID-19 emergency. Resumed instruction As of today, the College has put into place the essential components of a remote learning experience, including instruction, academic support, and counseling intended to allow students to continue making progress in their academic work. Course instruction formally will […]
The College, through its Critical Response Team, has over the past three weeks monitored, assessed and taken the actions necessary to safeguard our students and employees while maintaining the institution’s academic integrity amid an unprecedented national health emergency. We are glad to share that students and faculty participating in the Anthrozoology program in Puerto Rico […]
As the Spring Break is now upon us, we wanted to keep you updated on the College’s continued planning and actions with respect to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on Beacon’s operations. Today, President Hagerty met with key personnel who will be responsible for managing the many elements based upon the best interests of […]