The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us again of how connected we are – through technology, economy, and travel.
As a Christian community we seek to be faithful to our values and be responsible to the wide human family.
The decisions we make about campus closures and procedures are guided by the most up to date advice from public health professionals and others with appropriate authority. The welfare of our seminary community is foremost in our planning.
While “social distancing” is the recommended strategy to slow the spread of the disease, the practice of “social distancing” presents a spiritual and emotional challenge for a community centered around person to person formation and worship.
The loss of the physical community is a sadness to me and to staff and faculty who have great affection for each other and for students and visitors. I encourage us all to make an effort to stay connected with one another during a stressful time. Please reach out to your colleagues and family to offer and receive support.
The health, safety and well-being of the seminary community is paramount. Administration officials are continuously monitoring and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Austin Public Health (APH) and by fact- and data-based situational awareness in our community.
If you or someone in your household has been knowingly exposed to coronavirus or COVID-19, please contact Austin Public Health immediately at (512) 972-5000, followed by contacting Fred Clement, Executive Vice President via email or at (512) 439-0390.
- March 24: City of Austin issues ‘stay home ‘order
- March 24: Southwest commits to virtual and remote operations for remainder of the semester
- March 19: Gov. Abbott Announces Closure Schools, Bars And Restaurants, Limits Gatherings Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
- March 17: City of Austin closes bars, limits restaurants to pick up, bans gatherings of more than 10 people
- March 16: White House issues The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread.
- March 16: AISD, RRISD, Eanes and all Austin area schools have suspended classes until April 3
Southwest Response at this time:
- The seminary has closed its campus, except for essential operations, until further notice.
- Beginning March 30, the seminary will hold virtual classes online at their regularly scheduled times until the end of the spring 2020 semester.
- Southwest has shifted to a ‘satisfactory/unsatisfactory’ grading system for all classes.
- All students, faculty, and staff should remain complaint with the shelter-in-place order issued by the city of Austin on March 24th. Please be aware that the Southwest community includes persons at higher risk.
- Please refer to the CDC’s guidance during this time on how to protect yourself and your family.
Official Southwest Updates
As the best defense against the spread of coronavirus and other contagions, the CDC and DSHS recommend the following ongoing protective measures:
- Stay home when you are sick or have flu symptoms
- Cover cough/sneeze with a tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid sharing food, beverages, and utensils
- Avoid close contact with those who may be ill
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces
- Avoid unnecessary travel, especially to localities identified by CDC as being at high risk
- Get an annual flu shot
The seminary wants to invite us all to practice care and compassion in the spirit of Christ during this season of uncertainty. We may expand our physical distance out of desire to care for and protect each other; at the same time let’s continue to draw close in prayer, compassion, and checking in virtually with each other and our neighbors.