Frequently Asked Questions
The information below is intended to serve as a helpful guide to new and returning as you make necessary arrangements to attend in-person, on-campus instruction for Fall 2021 classes beginning August 30, 2021.
Updated August 18, 2021
- If the text notification number indicated on-screen is your correct cell number, you need take no further action. Log out of Populi.
- If the text notification number indicated on-screen is incorrect, click on the link labeled “Stop receiving text notifications.” You will then be prompted to enter your current cell number. Enter your cell number and follow the code verification prompt thereafter to validate the registration of your cell number. After doing so, the “Text notification number” presented at the top of the My Settings screen will update with your cell number. If correct, then log out of Populi.
- If you have never registered your cell number, hover over and press the appropriate screen prompt to enter your cell number. Enter your cell number and follow the code verification prompt thereafter to validate the registration of your cell number. After doing so, the “Text notification number” presented at the top of the My Settings screen will update with your cell number. If correct, then log out of Populi.
What are policies for regathering as we begin the Fall 2021 semester?
On August 12, 2021, Dean Kittredge issued policies to guide our community through regathering as we enter the fall semester. You can find that announcement here.
What is the vaccination rate among the seminary community?
As of August 17, 2021, of our 200+ member community of students, faculty, and staff, approximately 97% are fully vaccinated.
100% of our full-time faculty and our residential student population are fully vaccinated.
How will classes be held in Fall 2021?
In-person, on-campus, indoor classes will resume. See below for masking and other behavioral guidance while indoors.
Will there be any online instruction?
All courses in the MDiv, DAS, and MAR degree programs will be entirely in-person with no online instruction.
Some courses in the MHC and MSF degree program will utilize a combination of in-person, online, and blended learning beginning Fall 2021. Courses designated “in-person” require 100% of seat-time to be fulfilled through in-person, on-campus classroom attendance. Courses designated “blended” require approximately 50% of seat time to be fulfilled through in-person, on-campus classroom attendance, and the remaining 50% of seat time is fulfilled through asynchronous online learning activities (i.e. viewing lecture videos, discussion posts, etc.). Courses designated “online” require approximately 50% of seat time to be fulfilled through synchronous remote class attendance (i.e. Zoom class) and the remaining 50% of seat time is fulfilled through asynchronous online learning activities.
Will we return to worship inside Christ Chapel?
In-person, on-campus worship resumes in Christ Chapel with communion (including the option of intinction), except as otherwise arranged by the dean. The Thursday evening service will be held outdoors on the Motte.
What are the masking requirements for those who are vaccinated?
Mask-wearing in all indoor places at all times is required of vaccinated persons, except while consuming food or beverage or when a single vaccinated person is occupying their private office.
Mask-wearing in all outdoor spaces is not required of vaccinated persons.
What are the masking requirements for those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated?
Mask-wearing in all places at all times (including in private offices and outdoors) is required of partially vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, except when consuming food or beverage.
Regularly scheduled mandatory COVID-19 testing is required for all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated persons.
Will we be required to wear face masks for in-person classes?
In view of the local increase in COVID-19 infection and hospitalizations, the seminary has adopted the latest mask-wearing recommendation of local and national health authorities. This means that all students will be required to wear masks for indoor classes.
Will my instructor be wearing a mask while leading a class? Will preachers be masked while preaching in Christ Chapel?
Instructors, preachers, and celebrants may unmask for presentation purposes only.
What about eating and drinking in class?
For the present, we are asking no food be consumed in classroom spaces. We understand some students are often taking classes during mealtimes, so please make necessary arrangements to eat prior to arriving or outside during the break time scheduled between classes. As soon as conditions improve, we will reconsider. For now, drinks with lids are allowed in classroom spaces and we recommended straws for ease with masking.
What happens if my professor gets COVID-19?
If a professor or a student in an in-person class is diagnosed with COVID-19, that person will quarantine for 14 days. Vaccinated students in the class do not need to quarantine, unless they develop symptoms. Unvaccinated students in the class are required to quarantine for 14 days. In all cases it is recommended that you get tested 3-5 days after exposure. The academic dean will make arrangements for the ongoing teaching of the class, and any infected students who are quarantining will be provided access to synchronous class sessions.
What happens if a student is diagnosed with COVID-19?
If a student is diagnosed with COVID-19 and has been attending an in-person class, or has otherwise been in attendance on campus, the seminary will notify all known persons at risk of exposure, advise per CDC guidance, and potentially change the modalities of gathering and/or learning, or reconfigure or reschedule the appropriate events.
I really want to be “in-person” no matter what—do I need to worry the seminary might revert back to “all-online” again?
The seminary values in-person learning and will do all we can to safely continue this practice. At the same time, we will be continuously monitoring the guidance of public health authorities and other qualified medical personnel to guide decisions about class meetings and other gatherings on campus. Changing conditions within our community or in the overall pandemic situation may require revisiting decisions about on-campus gatherings; students will be notified via email of any changes to individual courses or instructional formats in a timely manner.
If we go back to “all-online” for classes–how will I connect socially with my classmates?
The Motte and other outdoor spaces remain open and fitted with additional outdoor furniture. Using outdoor spaces is encouraged, with adherence to masking policies respective to one’s vaccination status.
I’m concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status–what precautions is the school taking to minimize risk?
If a student is diagnosed with COVID-19 and has been attending an in-person class, or has otherwise been in-person on campus, the seminary will notify all known persons at risk of exposure and potentially reconfigure or reschedule the appropriate events.
If I’ve had direct or indirect contact with a person diagnosed with Covid-19, what should I do?
If you or someone in your household is displaying symptoms of Covid-19, please get tested right away and if the result is positive, report that results to Fred Clement, Executive Vice President via email or at (512) 439-0390. Per CDC guidelines, people who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who has COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms.
How does parking work on campus for in-person classes?
All returning students have been issued a parking permit with their student mailbox key. Student mailboxes are located in the Weeks Center. New students will receive these two items at NSO. All students are permitted to use the regular lot (entrance accessed from 32nd Street) along with any spaces which do not have a reserved sign.
What will happen if I have to miss more than the allowed in-class meetings for COVID-related issues (household member testing positive or quarantine recommended)?
While our attendance policy remains in effect and unchanged, your faculty member and the academic dean will work with you to accommodate any extended illness.
With in-person classes, will the option to “Zoom in” still be made available?
No. The seminary has determined that in-person, on-campus attendance is the best approach to meeting student learning needs and students will be expected to adhere to the attendance policy in the syllabus for that course. Zoom will not be permitted as a substitute for required in-person attendance.
I received an exemption from the vaccine–will my decision to not get vaccinated be treated with respect and confidentiality?
The seminary will keep all employees’ and students’ vaccination status and underlying medical condition(s) confidential, except that in certain circumstances one’s vaccination status may need to be communicated to a member of the staff or faculty on a need-to-know basis only. As stated in its other policies, the seminary does not discriminate against its employees or students with regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age, disability and genetic information (including family medical history), or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. The seminary also accommodates disabilities and sincerely held religious beliefs to the extent required by law, and prohibits retaliation for any conduct protected by applicable law. Although an accommodation request may be denied if it poses an undue burden on the seminary or presents a direct threat to the health and safety of others, the seminary will not retaliate against any employee or student merely for requesting an accommodation. If you believe that you have been treated in a manner not in accordance with this policy, please notify the dean, academic dean, or executive vice president immediately.
What changes have been made to HVAC on campus to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread?
The filtering system on campus has been enhanced to use MERV-13 level filters. These filters are of the highest quality available for our system, are virus rated, and typical use is in hospitals or surgical theaters. The influx of fresh air has been increased to 50%, from 10%. This is the amount of outside air that the system mixes with the circulated air and redistributes.
Is the Booher Library open?
The Booher Library building is closed for renovation at this time. The library is operating out of the Deanery at 509 Rathervue Place. Students are welcome to drop by the Deanery Library before class or during class breaks. Please note, however, that masks will be required and students, faculty, and staff may be asked to eat in outdoor areas (such as the front porch or back patio.) For more information, visit the Library 2021 Operations LibGuide.
Will there be a meal plan?
Yes. A meal plan will be offered, serving individual meals for lunch on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and dinner on Thursdays. Meals will be served in Howell Dining Hall from the serving line and may be consumed at-table or outdoors. Participation in the Monday through Wednesday lunch meal plan is mandatory for all All MDiv, MAR, and DAS students taking 9 or more hours. For questions or to enroll, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m feeling anxious. Who can I talk to?
We recognize the anxiety and emotional strain that these circumstances may place on all of us. Remember that Seminary’s student and employee health plans offer comprehensive coverage for both physical and mental health care. If you’d like to speak with a counselor, therapist, or spiritual director who provides online services, consult the Counseling, Therapy, and Spiritual Direction Resources page (for students, faculty, staff, and loved ones) or the Seminary’s Employee Assistance Program. We also support and encourage self-care during these stressful times. Remember that sleep and exercise promote immune system capacity.
How will the seminary communicate with me?
All official academic and administrative notices and directives are communicated to students, faculty, and staff via email. In the event of a campus emergency, additional notification will be delivered to you via text messaging. Students, faculty, and staff are responsible for checking email at least daily. This Pandemic Operations website complements or is in addition to information we communicate to you via email. All members of the community will receive informational emails weekly, and should check Populi, and monitor email for other special announcements.
How do I ensure that my cell number is registered in Populi for emergency notification purposes?
We require that all students, faculty, and staff log in to Populi using your seminary email credentials to verify that your cellular telephone number is registered correctly in Populi’s text notification system. When you log in to Populi using this link and your seminary email credentials, you will be presented with the My Settings screen, at the top of which is labeled “Text notification number.”
Are visitors allowed on campus?
Yes. Visitors must adhere to the policies explained on the Southwest COVID-19 Response page. Individuals, programs, and groups are responsible for informing their invited guests about seminary’s policies. There are no visitor restrictions in seminary housing.
Are guest suites open?
Yes, subject to availability. Persons using guest suites must submit proof of vaccination at the time of booking. Exceptions may be made for persons with children under the age of 12.