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SBU adjusts fall academic calendar, makes other operational changes for Fall 2020

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University is making operational changes for the Fall 2020 semester to allow for on-campus instruction on all campuses.

“We will conclude on-campus instruction before Thanksgiving and utilize remote instruction for the remaining two weeks of the Fall 2020 semester,” said SBU President Dr. Eric A. Turner. “This will help to reduce student travel, ultimately reducing exposure to COVID-19.”

Academic calendar highlights:

  • The semester start date of Monday, Aug. 17, and end date of Friday, Dec. 11, remain the same.
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day (Sept. 7) and Fall Break (Oct. 8 and 9).
  • The last day of on-campus instruction on the Bolivar campus is Friday, Nov. 20, with remote learning from Monday, Nov. 30, through Friday, Dec. 11. Students are not required to return to campus until the beginning of the spring semester in 2021, but students may return to the residence halls after Thanksgiving Break.
  • Students on the Mountain View, Salem and Springfield campuses will receive information later this summer regarding the final two weeks of their semester.
  • Commencement for all SBU graduating seniors will be held on Friday, Nov. 20.

While the University has a goal of providing in-person, in-class instruction, some classes will have to utilize a combination of in-person and remote learning to be able to maintain appropriate physical distancing in classrooms. The University recommends each student bring a personal computer to facilitate online portions of classes and the remote learning period at the end of the semester.

“Academic deans and division heads are examining classroom schedules to maximize the number of classes meeting fully in-person,” said SBU Provost Dr. Lee Skinkle. “Specific instructional plans and classroom locations for each class will be posted by the faculty in Blackboard before the beginning of the semester.”

The University also is implementing multiple new health and safety precautions, including:

  • Providing each student with a self-care kit, including reusable face masks. Use of face masks in classrooms and other public spaces is strongly recommended.
  • 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 sanitization stations on all campuses.

More details regarding plans for Fall 2020 at SBU are online at This web page will be updated throughout the summer.

“As we look toward the fall and beyond, the university will look differently, but we do not approach it with fear and trepidation,” Dr. Turner said. “Rather, we approach it with the confidence in our Lord and a charted plan to get there.”

*Published: 6-18-2020