Frequently Asked Questions: Spring 2021 Plans

View answers to frequently asked questions regarding Southwest Baptist University's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and campus operations plans for the Spring 2021 semester. The updated Bearcat Blueprint provides the detailed plan for the Spring 2021 semester.


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, a majority of the instruction will be in-person.

Review Academics information of the Bearcat Blueprint plan

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. 

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. 

Our deans and division chairs are working diligently to determine specific course delivery methods for each course. Your faculty members will communicate course-specific information through the Blackboard Learning Management System closer to the start of the semester.

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. 

The Spring 2021 semester is scheduled to begin January 20 and end May 14. Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for May 14 and 15. More details will be shared closer to the events.

Download academic calendar

Health & Safety

Yes. A face covering is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Face coverings are worn out of respect for others. 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 Fall 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.

Requiring face coverings is one way we are coming together to protect each other's health and safety in every way possible. This expectation:

  • 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 more 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 taught us.
  • Sign the Bearcat Blueprint Commitment, an outline of your responsibilities for helping the in-person fall semester to be successful. (New students for Spring 2021 semester only.)
  • Sign-up for a move-in time, if living in a residence hall.
We suggest you begin to limit travel and social exposure and closely monitor any changes to your health beginning two weeks prior to your return to campus. 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.

Extra health and safety measures being taken on all campuses for Fall 2020 include:

  • Requiring the use of face coverings and physical distancing in classrooms and public spaces.
  • Requiring all residential students to complete a health questionnaire before arriving on campus.
  • Providing each student 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.

Review the Health and Safety section of the Bearcat Blueprint plan

Students, faculty and staff are asked to sign the Bearcat Blueprint Commitment, acknowledging the role and responsibility we all have in maintaining a healthy and safe campus environment.

Learn more about the Bearcat Blueprint

In addition to our standard cleaning and disinfection protocols, we are adding new protocols to further ensure the cleanliness of all facilities. We already use a cleaning product daily that includes a disinfectant that kills 99.9% of germs. Throughout campus, we are adding the use of a Protexus disinfecting sprayer that uses electrostatic delivery and Purtabs disinfectant to kill germs and viruses.

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 health agency. 

  • 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 procedures.
  • Testing availability: On the Bolivar campus, same-day testing is available through the Polk County Health Center. On all other campuses, students should work directly with their 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. 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. 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. 
    • 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. 

The Bolivar and Springfield campuses have rapid-testing available for students with symptoms of COVID-19. On the Bolivar campus, same-day testing also is available through the Polk County Health Center. On all other campuses, students should work directly with their local health department for testing.


The first person to contact is the student. The student receives all information via a phone call from the SBU Killian Health Center and an email from Residence Life. This email includes all pertinent information about the quarantine.

For health-related questions, please contact the SBU Health Center at (417) 328-1888. This can include questions regarding quarantine dates and what to do if symptoms progress or reside.

For on-campus food-related questions, contact Fresh Ideas at

For off-campus residents or residents without meal plans, contact Student Life at (417) 328-1885. 

Options for students living on-campus:

  1. Go home during the quarantine or self-isolation period. This is the preferred option.
  2. Students who are not able to return home will be transitioned to a designated residence facility or a room designated for use by students in quarantine or isolation.

Options for students living off-campus:

  1. Go home during the quarantine or self-isolation period. This is the preferred option.
  2. Stay in off-campus housing, having no contact with roommates.

Students living on-campus must complete a form (link provided in an email sent to the student) providing information to assist with food preparation and delivery. Meals will be delivered daily during dinner, including breakfast and lunch for the next day. The meal delivery includes a hot dinner, continental breakfast, and a cold lunch.

Questions or concerns about meal deliveries for students living on-campus should be directed to Kevin Blankenship with Fresh Ideas at

Students living off-campus may order groceries online and pickup at stores offering a curbside delivery, such as Woods Supermarket or Walmart. 

Yes. Packages should be addressed to the location where the student is in quarantine or self-isolation. 

SBU Killian Health Center and Residence Life staff check on students daily when they are in isolation or quarantine.  

If a student begins experiencing symptoms in quarantine or if symptoms worsen in isolation, the student needs to call the University Health Center (417-328-1888) or 911 immediately. 

Yes. Student Life is emailing professors as soon as they are informed by the SBU Killian Health Center that a student has been quarantined or isolated. 

When in self-isolation or quarantine, DO:

  • Stay home or in designated housing as instructed
  • Follow instructions given by your local health care professional
  • Stay in your own bedroom
  • Use a private bathroom if available
  • Keep in contact with friends virtually
  • Monitor for symptoms
  • Clean high-touch surfaces — phones, remote controls, sink, toilet, countertops, doorknobs, and light switches
  • Keep your medical appointments
  • Go outside for fresh air and exercise
    • Keep social distance of six feet or more between yourself and others
    • Wear a face covering
    • Avoid crowds
    • Avoid driving or riding in a vehicle with others
    • Enjoy the time outside
  • Order any prescription medications online
  • Order groceries online and pick up at stores offering a curbside delivery, such as Woods Grocery and Walmart

When in self-isolation or quarantine, DON'T:

  • Do not attend seated classes, work or other public areas until isolation or quarantine time is completed
  • Do not share common living areas such as the kitchen, living rooms or TV areas
  • Do not have visitors, go on dates, or hang out with others
  • Do not use public transportation
  • Do not share personal items with others
  • Do not enter any campus buildings
  • Do not go through a drive-thru for food or drinks
  • Don't make hair, manicure, pedicure or barber appointments; these are examples of non-essential appointments

Campus Services

Call the ITS Help Desk at (417) 328-1702 or send an email to Contact the Help Desk if you are not able to access SBU resources such as MySBU or Blackboard. Students who do not have technology available for online course delivery should contact their professors.

The SBU Campus Store inside the Goodson Student Union is open with increased safety measures and operational changes.

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.

Follett Discover helps you determine what books you need. Select "Launch Follett Discover" within the Blackboard LMS and choose "Purchase All Materials." This link will take you straight to the SBU Campus Store website, where you can choose to purchase your textbooks.

  • 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.

Store Hours:

  • 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 or (417) 328-1530.

Order textbooks online

All libraries:

  • Library seating is limited.
  • Study room capacity is limited; reservations are strongly recommended. (Reserve a study room online.)
  • All computers, surfaces, and spaces must be cleaned after each use; please be patient while library employees clean and sanitize.
  • Librarians are available for online appointments via Zoom. (Schedule a virtual appointment with a librarian.)
  • All checked out items will be quarantined for three business days and these items will be backdated before being checked in; no overdue fines will be charged while these items are in quarantine. Some items may be unavailable due to this quarantine process.
  • Course reserves can only be checked out to users who agree to wear a mask and gloves while using the item in the library.

Bolivar Library:

  • All items must be returned to the book drops (except equipment, which can be returned at the Circulation Desk at the front of the Hutchens Library).
  • All items that are handled within the library must be placed on the carts at the end of the shelves; they must be quarantined before being touched again.

Springfield Library:

The Meyer Wellness and Sports Center is open. Visit the Wellness Center page for current operating hours and guidelines.
The Killian Health Center office is open by appointment only. Please call (417) 328-1888 to schedule an appointment. You will be asked about your symptoms, recent travel and any known exposure to someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 case. The Killian Health Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. After-hours phone messages will be returned promptly. 

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, pre-packaged to-go lunch options, and face covering requirements.

More information about housing, dining and campus life

Campus Events

Because seating in Mabee Chapel is limited to comply with occupancy limitations as outlined by local governmental health authorities, a registration system will be used for students to sign up for in-person chapel services. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Students will receive two CLW points for each Chapel attended in-person. All chapel services will be available for viewing via livestream. 

Effective for the Fall 2020 semester, the CLW point requirement is reduced to 14. Additional opportunities for CLW points will be available. Further communication will be provided by the Office of Spiritual Formation. 

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.
We are planning to hold in-person ceremonies on Friday, May 14, and Saturday, May 15. This is subject to change based on local health guidelines.

Financial Information

Call the Office of Financial Aid at (417) 328-1822 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Call the Cashier’s Office at (417) 328-1523 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Residence Life

Students may move-in to residence halls from Sunday, January 17, through Tuesday, January 19. To help with social distancing, each student will schedule a check-in time and can bring only two family members/guests. Residence Life will communicate directly with students regarding the process for selecting a check-in time.

Review the Housing section of the Bearcat Blueprint plan

We prefer for students to travel home during any necessary quarantine period, but we have a designated on-campus facility for potential quarantine use.


  • In-person visits are being conducted with extra health and safety precautions in place.
  • Individual virtual visits are available.
  • Schedule your visit at

We are still accepting students for our Spring 2021 classes, and financial aid is still available. Applications can be submitted online at any time.

Apply now!

SBU understands getting transcripts and/or taking the ACT/SAT is a struggle right now. To assist, SBU is temporarily moving to test optional and self-reported high school GPA for all admission. However, to potentially improve academic scholarship eligibility, students may elect to take the online CLT test

Please contact your admissions counselor if you have questions or concerns. 

More questions?

If you have a question not answered above, please use this form to ask SBU.