Updated 8:46 a.m. Monday, January 18, 2021
Continue to check this page for the latest updates regarding COVID-19-related changes
and operations plans. All information is subject to change based on health regulations
and COVID-19 activity in each community where SBU operates a campus. These plans are
developed in consultation with guidance from local health departments.
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Frequently Asked Questions
As the University works through its COVID-19 response, our mission remains at the
forefront of our decision-making process: Southwest Baptist University is a Christ-centered,
caring academic community preparing students to be servant leaders in a global society.
Christian distinctiveness: The world is watching how we, as Christians, are responding to the pandemic. We must
not live in fear, but rather place our hope in Jesus Christ. We must choose love and
respect for our neighbors.
Compassion and care for others: SBU is a caring community. Scripture teaches that all individuals are worthy in the
eyes of God. Therefore, we will honor and serve one another in love. For the Bearcat
Blueprint to be successful, the entire campus community must commit to caring for and
respecting others. We have a tremendous opportunity to follow Christ’s example of
loving our neighbors.
Student and employee wellness: The University must take every feasible action to ensure a safe and healthy campus
environment. We expect to have some positive cases of COVID-19 on our campuses. Our
goal is to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus among students, employees and
guests on our campuses.
Maintain academic excellence: As an academic community, SBU pursues excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Students
will be prepared to meet the challenges of a global society through the integration
of Christian faith, liberal arts, research and professional studies.
Maintain the college experience: Social and spiritual development are an integral part of the Bearcat experience. Students should
be provided intentional opportunities to grow spiritually, intellectually and emotionally.
Guidance from government and health officials: The University will follow all requirements related to COVID-19 provided by any government
agency; consult the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control; and work
closely with local public health agencies to guide decisions made regarding the health
and safety of the Bearcat family and local communities. If the guidance varies among
the four communities SBU serves, some aspects of the Bearcat Blueprint may vary by
Bearcat Blueprint Commitment
"Love your neighbor as yourself." — Matthew 22:39
The success of the Bearcat Blueprint for in-person classes during the Spring 2021
semester depends on each Bearcat doing your part by following the expectations listed
below. We likely will have positive cases of COVID-19 on our campuses, but our community
can work together to minimize the spread of the virus and create the safest environment
Expectations of all students, faculty and staff while on campus
- Practice physical distancing.
- Wear a face covering.
- Follow basic hygiene guidelines:
- Wash your hands often.
- Use hand sanitizer.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Do not attend classes or other campus events when you are sick.
- If missing class due to illness, contact your instructors to arrange for making up
- Complete daily self-assessments.
- Obey quarantine and isolation guidelines and instructions provided by an employee
of SBU or local health agency.
- Abide by these guiding principles:
- We will love and respect each other (Matthew 22:39).
- We will live not with fear but rather with hope in our Lord's unfailing love (Psalm
- We will persevere and build character (Hebrews 12:1).
- Additional expectations may be established as circumstances may require.
Health and Safety
Extra health and safety measures being taken on all campuses for Spring 2021 include:
- Requiring face coverings to be worn by students, faculty and staff in classrooms and
- Requiring all residential students to complete a health questionnaire before arriving
- Providing new students with a care kit, including reusable face masks and thermometers.
- Providing faculty with face masks and clear face shields for use in classrooms.
- Requiring temperature checks and health questionnaires.
- Increasing sanitization of facilities, including cleaning classrooms between sessions.
- Installing plexiglass shields at various points of contact around each campus.
- Installing temperature screening systems on all campuses.
- Installing additional hand sanitizing stations on all campuses.
Every Bearcat — whether living in a residence hall or off-campus — can help mitigate
the transmission of COVID-19 within our community by utilizing these basic hygiene
Each new incoming student will receive a Bearcat Care Kit with items to assist with
the procedures outlined below. Kits will be distributed in the residence halls for
students living on-campus. All other students will receive information later about
how to pick up their Bearcat Care Kits.
The kit will include:
- Two SBU-branded washable face coverings
- Health supply kit
- Health education information
Additionally, students with a meal plan will receive a card to redeem for Green Box
to-go meals from the cafeteria.
- Wash your hands often: Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public
place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Use hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at
least 60% alcohol. Sanitizer stations will be placed in community spaces on all campuses.
- Avoid close contact: Physical distancing of 6 feet between yourself and others is expected both indoors
and outdoors. Furniture in classrooms and community spaces will be arranged to promote appropriate
physical distancing. Do not move furniture from its designated location.
- Cover coughs and sneezes: Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the
inside of your elbow.
- Obey quarantine guidelines: Follow all quarantine instructions provided by campus officials or local health authorities.
A face covering is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Face coverings
are worn out of respect for others.
Requiring face coverings is one way we are coming together to protect each other’s
health and safety in every way possible. This expectation:
- Students, faculty and staff will wear face masks or other coverings in classrooms
and public spaces.
- SBU will provide each student and employee with fabric face coverings at the beginning
of the semester.
- Face shields will be provided for all instructors to facilitate effective communication
for all students.
- Remember: A face mask is not a substitute for physical distancing but is an added
layer of protection.
- Ensures we are meeting or exceeding requirements of government ordinances in all the
communities we serve.
- Increases our classroom capacity from 40% to 65%, allowing for an additional 157 classes
to have the potential to be conducted completely in-person this fall.
- Enables you to live the SBU mission by loving your neighbors and caring for the vulnerable as Jesus
Example SBU face mask:
To help identify potential cases of COVID-19 in the earliest stages, students and
employees are expected to self-monitor by recording symptoms and temperature readings
daily. Recording this information will help you if you test positive or have been
in direct contact with someone who tests positive and need to provide information
to health center employees conducting contact tracing.
Many free mobile apps are available in the Apple and Google app stores for smartphones
to assist with recording this information.
Each building will have contactless thermometer stations, and residential students
will be given a thermometer at the beginning of the semester.
What to do if you think you are sick:
- Stay home.
- If you live in a residence hall room, immediately notify your Resident Assistant or
- Notify your professor immediately to make arrangements for completing missed coursework.
- Contact the SBU Killian Health Center at (417) 328-1888 for further instructions.
SBU’s facilities staff has added new protocols and disinfectants to further ensure
the cleanliness of all facilities. These include:
- Hand sanitizer stations in every building.
- Cleaning frequently used surfaces, such as handrails and doorknobs, at least twice
- Cleaning classrooms in between use.
- Use provided cleaning supplies for cleaning prior to and after using equipment or
technology in community spaces.
Before Arriving On Campus
- COVID-19 reporting: Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 and/or a positive COVID-19 test within 14 days of
arrival on campus must call the Killian Health Center at (417) 328-1888 for further
guidance before arriving on campus.
- Sign up for a move-in time for residence halls on the Bolivar campus: Unless instructed to arrive early, new and returning students may arrive Sunday,
January 17, through Tuesday, January 19, from 2 to 6 p.m. You may bring only two guests
to help with move-in. You and guests will go through a brief health screening. You
will receive an email to your SBU email address with more information by January 6.
If you do not receive the email, please call (417) 328-1885.
- Sign the Bearcat Blueprint Commitment: All new incoming students will be required to sign the Bearcat Blueprint Commitment.
More information about how to complete this process will be sent by email before the
start of the fall semester.
- Two weeks before arriving on campus: We suggest you limit travel and social exposure and closely monitor any changes to
your health. If you experience any of the symptoms known to be a possible indication of
COVID-19, reach out to your healthcare provider before you arrive on campus.
Testing for International Travelers
Anyone flying internationally will be quarantined upon arrival to the Bolivar campus
and required to be tested for COVID-19. Upon a negative test result, residents will
go to their assigned housing assignment location.
Individuals with underlying health conditions or who have other factors believed to
make them at high-risk for COVID-19, may request accommodations according to existing
procedures. Employees should contact the Office of Human Resources at (417) 328-1513.
Students should contact the Office of the Provost at (417) 328-1598.
In the Classroom
Our goal is in-person, in-class instruction. We are planning for as many courses as
possible to meet in classrooms where appropriate physical distancing is possible.
In cases where physical distancing is not possible, we have developed options for
a combination of in-person and online class sessions. In all cases, most of the instruction
will be in-person.
Log in to the Blackboard Learning Management System after January 18 for details about
the courses in which you are enrolled. The syllabus will include course delivery details.
Fully Face-to-Face Instruction
Assigned classroom is large enough to accommodate faculty and all students enrolled
in the class while maintaining appropriate physical distancing between desks.
All classes determined not to be able to meet fully face-to-face will utilize one
of these two options, to be determined by the faculty member teaching the course.
Option 1: Hybrid Instruction
- Roster is equally divided into two groups for seated course attendance on alternating
- Online instruction can be completed at any time within a timeframe specified by the
instructor. Online content is provided through the Blackboard Learn LMS.
Example Class Schedules:
Option 2: Hyflex Instruction
- Roster is equally divided for seated course attendance on alternating days.
- On each day of instruction, half of the class will receive content live in the classroom
and half of the class will receive content live through an online medium, such as
Zoom video conferencing. Methods of instruction will be swapped the next class period.
- Additional supplemental content may be provided through the Blackboard Learn LMS.
Example Class Schedules:
Term start and end dates remain the same, and Spring Break remains in the calendar
for Spring 2021.
However, the academic calendar does remain subject to change at any time. We continue
to monitor COVID-19 caseloads within SBU and the broader communities where our campuses
are located and will make adjustments if needed as we follow local, state and federal
guidance. Especially as you consider making plans for Spring Break, please do so knowing
you may have to cancel or adjust your plans.
Key dates in the academic calendar for WinterFest and Spring 2021 include:
• January 2-19 — WinterFest seated and hybrid courses meet
• January 20 — Spring classes (seated, hybrid and online) begin
• March 15-19 — Spring Break
• May 14 — Last day of classes
• May 14-15 — Commencement ceremonies
Download Academic Calendar (PDF)
Some interactive learning components, such as science labs, music lessons, healthcare
clinical experiences, internships and student teaching, present some unique challenges
for the Spring 2021 semester. We are working diligently to review these learning experiences
and offer creative solutions. Details will be posted in your Blackboard courses by
January 18 as part of the syllabus.
If you enroll in a face-to-face course, you are expected to attend all face-to-face
class sessions unless you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or other health-related
- You should not attend class if you are not feeling well.
- You are responsible for notifying your instructor of your absence and completing all
We strongly recommend each student bring a personal computer for completing coursework in
between in-person class sessions. The University recommends the use of a Windows PC or Apple computer. A Chromebook
may not be the best choice for many disciplines. However, computer labs will be open
for use by students who do not have a computer. Cleaning supplies will be available
for students to clean computers before and after use.
The SBU Campus Store inside the Goodson Student Union is open with increased safety measures and operational
Student are encouraged to order their textbooks online as soon as possible. With only 10 customers allowed in the store at a time, advanced
ordering will expedite your textbook retrieval once you are on campus.
- Bolivar campus: Choose to have the books shipped to your house before arriving on campus or to have
the books held for you to pick up on campus.
- Springfield, Salem and Mountain View campuses: Have the textbooks shipped to your home address. On-campus distribution is not available.
- Winter Hours (now through January 15): 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Spring Term Hours (beginning January 18): 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Extended hours on January 20-22: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Curbside service: Available for online order pickup only by calling (417) 328-1530.
For more information, contact the SBU Campus Store at bookstore@SBUniv.edu or (417) 328-1530.
Order textbooks online
Covid-19 Case Plan
Any student on any campus who tests positive for COVID-19 should immediately notify
the SBU Killian Health Center at (417) 328-1888.
In consultation with governmental health agencies, we have developed these guidelines
for when we have a positive COVID-19 test on any of our campuses.
SBU’s nurse will coordinate contact tracing with the appropriate local governmental
- Testing protocol: Anyone being tested for COVID-19 must quarantine until receiving a negative test result
and being symptom-free. If the test is positive, the individual must follow self-isolation
- Testing availability: The Bolivar and Springfield campuses have rapid-testing available for students with
symptoms of COVID-19.
- Bolivar campus: On the Bolivar campus, free rapid testing is available for students on the Bolivar
campus who have COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is available by appointment only by calling
the SBU Killian Health Center at (417) 328-1888. A positive test result requires a
10-day isolation period before being released to resume normal activities. With a
negative rapid test result, you will be referred to the Polk County Health Center
to schedule an appointment for the next day to receive a free PCR test. If this test
confirms the negative test result, your quarantine period will end. If you do not
follow-through on the second test, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days
from the first date of symptoms.
- Springfield campus: If you have symptoms of COVID-19, schedule an appointment online for a free rapid test.
- Mountain View and Salem campuses: Work directly with your local health department for testing.
- Self-isolation: Anyone testing positive will be required to self-isolate. Students living in residence
halls are encouraged to leave campus, but a self-isolation facility is available for
residential students without other options.
- Quarantine: Anyone who has been in direct contact with a person who has tested positive will
be required to quarantine for 10 days. You will be required to continue taking your
temperature twice a day and monitoring for symptoms for the remainder of the traditional
14-day quarantine period. Students in quarantine are not allowed to be on campus,
unless living in a residence hall.
- Contact protocol: “Direct contact” with someone who tests positive is defined as being closer than
6 feet of each other (or 4 feet if both individuals are wearing face coverings) for
more than 15 minutes.
- Residence hall quarantine procedures: Students living in a residence hall are encouraged to go home during the quarantine
period but may stay in their residence hall room but likely will transition to a designated
quarantine room. They are not allowed to leave the room. Meals will be delivered to
the student’s room.
- If one roommate has had direct exposure to the virus, the roommates will be separated
during the quarantine period.
- If both roommates have been exposed, they may quarantine together.
- If one roommate tests positive, the positive person will be required to self-isolate
and the other person will be required to quarantine, as outlined above.
- From quarantine to self-isolation: If a student in quarantine in a residence hall starts showing symptoms or tests positive, the
student will need to follow the self-isolation procedures outlined above.
- Testing for asymptomatic early release from quarantine: You may be released from quarantine due to direct contact if asymptomatic and with
a negative test result on the 7th day of quarantine. This testing IS NOT available
at SBU. Testing options in this case on the Bolivar campus include:
- Calling the Polk County Health Center at (417) 326-7250 to schedule an appointment
for testing. Cost is $60.
- Scheduling a virtual appointment through Citizens Memorial Healthcare to receive a doctor’s order for testing at the
CMH COVID testing site, which is open from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Cost
is $25 for a virtual visit plus the cost of the test.
- In either of these scenarios, you will need to provide a copy of your negative test
result to both the Polk County Health Center and the SBU Killian Health Center.
- Self-monitoring: Any student should self-monitor for symptoms during the quarantine period. If symptoms
appear, contact the SBU Killian Health Center at (417) 328-1888.
- Daily monitoring: The local governmental health agency will call anyone in self-isolation or quarantine daily and
will notify the individual when the quarantine or self-isolation period has ended.
Housing, Dining and Campus Life
This section applies to undergraduate students on the Bolivar campus only. While some
components apply only to students living in residence halls, many apply to all students,
regardless of their housing location.
The Office of Residence Life is facilitating move-in time scheduling and will provide
instructions in an email sent to residents by January 6. Each student is allowed up
to two guests. Face coverings are required.
New and returning students will move-in beginning Sunday, January 17, through Tuesday,
You will receive information from the Office of Residence Life with details on how
to set up a move-in time. If you have not received an email regarding this by January
6, contact the Office of Student Life at (417) 328-1885.
- Face coverings are required when in a community space within the residence hall. Face
coverings are not required in your own room. Be respectful and use face coverings
when visiting other rooms or hosting guests within your assigned room.
- Physical distancing is required in community spaces, and each space will have posted
occupancy limits. These spaces will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
- You must make a reservation for using community kitchens in residence halls.
- Residence life activities will continue where we can make adjustments with appropriate
SBU continues to work closely with Fresh Ideas, the University’s food service provider, to implement
protocols providing a safe dining environment.
Changes to the dining experience include:
- Limited dining hall occupancy — With COVID-19 procedures in place, the occupancy limit in Mellers Dining Commons has
been reduced to 216. You are asked to limit your time in the cafeteria to 25 minutes
- Green Box — Each student who has purchased a meal plan will receive a card inside their Bearcat
Care Kit for a dining hall Green Box for to-go meals.
- To-go lunches — Pre-packaged lunches will be available for pick-up at the Sports Café from 11 a.m.
to 1 p.m. each day.
- Face coverings — You are required to wear a face covering inside the cafeteria except when you are
sitting and eating.
- Self-service stations — You are required to use gloves when using the self-serve ice cream station, salad
bar or condiment pumps.
You still will have many of the same food options served by Fresh Ideas staff:
- Culinary Expo serving traditional entrees
- Chef’s Table serving oriental entrees
- Deli Bar with build-your-own deli options
- Pizza Station
- Bearcat Grill serving a variety of grill entrees
- Dry Foods Bar with cereal, breads, etc.
- Dessert Station (self-serve using gloves)
Because seating in Mabee Chapel is limited to comply with occupancy limitations as
outlined by local governmental health authorities, several changes are being made
for chapel attendance during the Spring 2021 semester.
In-person attendance requires pre-registration
A pre-registration system will be used for students to sign up for in-person Chapel
services. A link to the registration app is on the student portal. Registration will
be on a first-come, first-served basis, and we ask that all students register before
entering Mabee Chapel.
All Chapel services will be available for viewing via livestream for personal enrichment
and participation in the important discussions on brokenness, race, anxiety, and politics
we will have during chapel this fall
- No CLW points will be given for watching the livestream.
- Links for each Chapel service’s livestream will be available in the CLW section of
the MySBU portal.
- You must be logged in to MySBU to view the livestream.
CLW point policy for Spring 2021
Students will receive 11 “free” CLW points, meaning that students will only need to
acquire 14 points to reach the 25-point total for the semester.
In addition, two CLW points will be given for each chapel service attended in person.
The number of points a student may earn through other CLW categories will remain unchanged.
Therefore, students may attend seven chapel services during the semester to earn 14
points or combine chapel attendance with other CLW point options (small groups, etc.)
to reach 14.
More information regarding CLW points is available in the CLW Handbook posted on the
Other CLW point options for Spring 2021
On-campus small groups, community service through pre-approved organizations, short-term
mission projects (as available), and other special interest opportunities for CLW
points will be available throughout the semester as usual.
The Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center is open with extra precautions in
place in response to COVID-19. Find the most-current information on the Wellness Center page on the SBU website.
For more information, contact the Meyer Wellness and Sports Center at bbeckham@SBUniv.edu or (417) 328-1411.
Events and Gatherings
Campus life activities will continue where we can make adjustments with appropriate
health protocols. We also will be increasing the number of events and activities we
offer throughout the semester.
Status of outside events events hosted by outside organizations being held on campus
will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
All sports will operate with a reduced competition schedule in accordance with NCAA
and GLVC rules and guidelines. All decisions related to athletics will follow NCAA
and GLVC guidance as it becomes available. Game day operations plans are developed
in compliance with GLVC and local health department guidelines.
Planning for the Unexpected
While the University strongly desires face-to-face, on-campus instruction for the
entire Spring 2021 semester, new developments throughout the semester could cause
the University to change approaches. University administration is planning for various
Residents of Polk County, Missouri may use the Community Connections Resources Helpline
by calling (417) 777-7411. This helpline is a resource for those needing help finding
supplies or connections, or who have questions about living needs. It is not an information
line for COVID-19.
CARES Act funding distribution to students
Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education
Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), Southwest Baptist University has received $1,150,794
in funding to provide emergency financial aid grants for students experiencing financial
hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Funds will be awarded to eligible
students on all four campuses who have demonstrated the greatest need as determined
by the FAFSA. In the initial round of distributions, Southwest Baptist University
identified a pool of 1,537 eligible students who have been adversely affected by the
COVID-19 related disruptions to normal campus operations.
Application process for additional funding
Anyone who was a student during the Spring 2020 semester and meets the following guidelines
is eligible to apply for an additional Emergency Financial Aid Grant award of up to
- Title IV-eligible
- Was enrolled in a non-distance learning degree-seeking program during the spring 2020
- Estimated family contribution (EFC) of $20,000 or less for the 2019-20 academic year
- Must have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus
that were not covered by the first round of Emergency Financial Aid Grant awards
- Applications must be received by August 21, 2020
Funds are limited for the second round and only those students with exceptional circumstances
will be considered. You will have to provide a brief statement of your current financial
need as it relates to disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
The application is available for download on the MySBU Portal. For more information,
Cares Act Information
SBU Updates Archive
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