STRATEGIC RESTART POLICIES & PROCEDURES
Maranatha will welcome students back to the campus this fall. We have all been looking forward to this since last March when campus instruction transitioned online. We thank God for His protection and for significant flexibility afforded by the State of Wisconsin for safely reopening. We also note with gratitude to God that the City of Watertown has been a safe haven from the worst effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, averaging just a handful of active cases since the pandemic began. We certainly want to do our part as good citizens to ensure the continued health of the entire community as we take the appropriate steps to reopen the campus this fall.
Cooperation by every member of the MBU family will truly prove that we are all STRONGER TOGETHER. This unified spirit will remind us of our common bond in Christ and our responsibility to one another.
UPDATE 7/30/2020: The administration has reviewed Governor Evers’ recent executive orders (here and here) temporarily imposing a requirement to wear face covernings while indoors in public locations and have begun the process of incorporating these new requirements into our Stronger Together plan for reopening the campus. We remain thankful to be located in Watertown – protected from the conditions that led the Governor to take this action. As further details are available we will update this plan with new information.
The administration and Maranatha’s Campus Health Task Force have developed this plan to address every area of operations. The plan includes the following elements prepared from best practices at colleges and universities around the country:
- Training for students, faculty, and staff in expectations and safe practices
- Frequent cleaning and sanitization of classrooms, residences, restrooms, and high-touch areas
- Maintenance of adequate supplies, such as PPE and cleaning supplies
- Support via remote instruction for faculty and students who are unable to attend class due to quarantine or illness
- Limits on the enrollment of courses and social distancing in classrooms, residence halls, and other areas across campus
- Designation of living spaces for separation/isolation of individuals residing on campus who display symptoms consistent with or have tested positive for COVID-19
- Transportation plans for sick students to essential medical appointments as needed
- Strategies for food service and dining operations to ensure compliance with all health and safety standards
- A plan for the safe resumption of athletics programs
- A plan for the operation of student services and activities
- Strategy for international travel
- Health screenings for faculty, staff, students, and visitors, and education on self-monitoring for symptoms
- Commitment to working with local and state officials to share and revise the restart plan as may become necessary
- Establishment of COVID-19 testing guidance and contact tracing protocols/reporting
- Limitations and special protocols for campus visitors
HEALTH & SAFETY
Upon arrival, all students (new and returning) will undergo an initial screening process. This will involve several routine questions about your health and any potential exposure you may have had in recent days. For students traveling from states or regions with higher levels of restriction, there may be some “culture shock” in adjusting to Wisconsin’s relative freedom. We must all show deference and extend grace to one another as expectations of “normal” recalibrate to the new environment of the campus.
New Student Orientation
Maranatha’s new student orientation, called JUMPSTART, will take place as scheduled and parents may attend as they normally would. Some limitations on access to the residence halls may be imposed. The format of JUMPSTART meetings will be modified to limit crowd sizes and allow for appropriate social distancing. Access to public offices for student services will be open and available but observing new protocols such as plexiglass shields, face masks for those working in food service or closer contact, and touchless transactions where possible.
Cleaning and Sanitation Protocols
The following custodial cleaning and sanitation protocols reflected upgrades and enhancements to the usual service routines performed by custodial department staff.
- Classrooms, laboratories, and common areas in main buildings are cleaned every evening.
- Restrooms are sanitized/disinfected mid-morning and mid-afternoon and deep cleaned every night.
- Dorm restrooms and bathrooms are sanitized/disinfected every day in the afternoon.
- “Normal” water fountains have been turned off and replaced by at least one bottle filler added to each dormitory and main building water fountain.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers have been added inside each dormitory entrance door.
- Disinfectant has been added to HVAC systems.
- Sneeze guards have been added to public service units where applicable.
- Self-service spray or wipes have been distributed for use in all offices.
- Overnight fogging or electrostatic disinfecting of every classroom and laboratory.
- Custodial staff are wiping all high-touch surfaces in main buildings twice per day.
- Self-service sanitizing wipes or spray have been added in each classroom and meeting room for students or employees to use to sanitize surfaces between uses by individuals.
- Self-service sanitizing wipes provided in all restrooms.
- Maintenance personnel will wear masks or face shields when entering student living quarters for necessary maintenance.
- Athletic facilities have special protocols discussed further in that section of the plan.
UPDATE 7/30/2020: The administration has reviewed Governor Evers’ recent executive orders temporarily imposing a requirement to wear face covernings while indoors in public locations and have begun the process of incorporating these new requirements into our Stronger Together plan for reopening the campus. We remain thankful to be located in Watertown – protected from the conditions that led the Governor to take this action. As further details are available we will update this plan with new information.
Campus Health Center Resources
Maranatha’s Student Health Center will be fully staffed and available to assist students this fall. The campus nurse helps students with assessing the need for access to local health care resources as well as caring for students recovering from illness and injuries. In response to COVID-19, the campus nurse has also been a primary point of contact for advising employees and students on testing and community resources.
COVID-19 Testing Availability
Watertown and the surrounding region have ample testing capacity to meet the needs of Maranatha’s campus. Free testing opportunities are regularly scheduled in the county even for those without symptoms. Returning students that do not have symptoms and have not had known contact with an infected individual will not be required to take a COVID test when returning to campus.
Training will be conducted for all employees and all students as part of in-service and the student orientation process. Education will be provided to encourage safe and healthy practices and to assess your daily health throughout the semester. Availability of resources will be reinforced throughout the semester.
As reflected in this plan, various changes have been implemented to encourage social distancing in order to limit the potential spread of the virus. Guidelines and markings should be observed to avoid large gatherings. While students may socialize, safe social distancing practices should be maintained including the six-foot rule. Large-group activities will be subject to various limits. Classes and other regularly scheduled meetings will incorporate rearrangements to seating to preserve social distancing as outlined in more detail below.
STRONGER TOGETHER PLEDGE
While every reasonably indicated precaution has been implemented to ensure the safety and good health of the Maranatha community, the characteristics of the COVID-19 virus and the nature of the college environment make it impossible for anyone to guarantee that you will not be infected. By returning to campus, you understand that you are assuming some risk associated with the activities you are voluntarily undertaking. By signing the pledge, you are simply acknowledging the fact that Maranatha is taking precautions to keep you as safe as possible, while you are assuming some risk and the responsibility when on and off campus to obey the personal hygiene and social distancing guidelines necessary to protect your health and the health of others.
Class Size Limits
On-campus courses for the fall semester have been limited in capacity to 50 students. The Registrar’s office has reassigned rooms for courses based on enrollment to maximize the physical distance between students. The “every other seat, every other row” method will be employed. Faculty are designing creative options to offer a variety of formats, ranging from in-person or hybrid courses to virtual or entirely online courses, if the necessity arises. These variances will afford students maximum flexibility and choice, and they are contingent on faculty needs and accommodations, as well as the prospect that government restrictions may change and necessitate adjustment for developing new safety protocols.
In-person Instruction and Support for Distance Learning
Students returning to campus place a high priority on face-to-face instruction. Campus students will have the full opportunity to attend face-to-face courses as scheduled. Should the need arise for special assistance or accommodation due to illness or mandated isolation following an exposure, support systems are in place to help students maintain academic progress. These include:
- MBU’s robust learning management system in place to facilitate hybrid and online learning
- Many classrooms equipped with fixed cameras and streaming capabilities for synchronous virtual participation and capture
- The Cedarholm Library provides extensive e-books and support services for distance education
Pursuant to the cleaning protocols further discussed elsewhere in this plan, classrooms will be cleaned on a regular cycle. High-touch surfaces like desktops, keyboards, lecterns, and remotes will be sanitized after every class.
Off-campus Instructional Activities
For those courses and programs requiring off-campus learning experiences such as nursing clinicals, student teaching and fieldwork, internships, and international travel, special arrangements have been made to support these vital activities to the greatest extent possible.
- Clinical placements and educational fieldwork opportunities are being scheduled for fall 2020 with appropriate changes due to COVID 19 like the wearing of PPE. At this time, hospitals, elementary and secondary schools, and other businesses have communicated a cautious but continued willingness to host MBU students as planned while making health and safety adjustments as indicated by each industry segment.
- International travel is still largely banned and U.S. passport offices are not processing new applications. Planned trips outside the United States for Global Encounters and nursing/medical missions have been cancelled through December 2020. Trips scheduled after January 1, 2021 will be maintained as scheduled and reevaluated as further information becomes available.
At this time, the U.S. State Department has limited international access to the USA to only essential travelers. Fortunately, students traveling to the United States from Canada and some other locations are considered Essential Travel and still permitted to enter the country. Maranatha’s admissions office will work with all international students to coordinate the issuance of student visas and navigate applicable State Department advisories and policies. Accommodations will be made for any international students unable to enter the country in time for the start of the semester to continue their academic progress via distance education to the greatest extent possible.
Mid-Semester Transition Contingencies
While MBU is not planning for any mid-semester transition to online-only classes or early termination of the fall calendar, should this be required the university has prepared contingency plans to accommodate such a change. For campus students, this would obviously not be the first preference, and the administration will continue to work diligently to preserve the safety and health of the campus operation, but we do recognize the many factors outside our control that could foreseeably mandate such a disruption. In that event, the faculty will endeavor once again to support a smooth transition to online instruction and the institution will work to maintain residential options and meet the needs of students who choose to remain on campus.
ATHLETICS & EVENTS
Maranatha looks forward to the return of Sabercats athletics this fall. Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country will compete this fall. Men’s and Women’s Basketball will begin their season later in the semester. Schedules and details are available as always on the MBU Athletics website: mbusabercats.com
MBU participates as a member of the NCAA Division III and the NCCAA Division II. Both organizations have published guidelines and protocols for the Return to Sport. The Athletics Department has a detailed and extensive plan that outlines the following:
- New protocols for initial health screening and observation of athletes returning for preseason training as well as phased-in physical activity guidelines to transition and acclimatize individuals to the stress and physical conditioning of inter-collegiate athletics in light of the loss of spring and summer physical and non-physical activities due to COVID-related impacts
- Ongoing monitoring and routine screening for symptoms before practice and team activities
- Mitigation processes to prevent infection
- Education of coaches, department staff, and student athletes
- Building and facility processes for sanitation and healthy practices in locker rooms, training rooms, the weight room, and other venues
- Processes for isolating and treating those with exposure and/or symptoms
Pursuant to local guidelines and recommendations, the number of spectators will be limited at home games this fall (particularly for indoor events.) Initial limits have been set at 50% capacity for events in the gym allowing household units to sit together distanced from other fans. Supporters at outdoor events must maintain social distancing. Outdoor bleachers will be marked for allowed seating. Wherever possible, competitions will be live streamed.
Fine Arts Events
Music and the fine arts are integral to the mission of Maranatha. While some adjustments to group size, physical spacing, and the number of attendees will necessarily be in order, singing and worship are central and indispensable to our faith. As such, if we are to fulfill our institutional mission to develop leaders for the local church, we must continue instruction in music and fine arts. In particular:
- Choir, Band, Orchestra and other music group directors will implement recommendations for smaller group practices and other strategies to protect the health of members but preserve the experience.
- Concerts and recitals currently planned will be maintained as scheduled to the greatest extent possible. Limitations on crowd-size and venue selection will be implemented pursuant to the university-wide protocols in place at that time.
- The fall play, Beauty and the Beast, will be presented as planned. The directors will work with members of the cast and crew to ensure a healthy practice environment. Appropriate limits on crowd sizes at scheduled performances will be implemented pursuant to the university-wide protocols in place at that time.
- Details of Alumni Weekend activities including the Friday Alumni Dinner and Saturday soccer and volleyball scrimmages can be found here: https://www.mbu.edu/alumni/alumni-weekend/
- The band tour traditionally undertaken during the fall semester will be scheduled as a series of concerts within driving distance to avoid overnight accommodations in private homes. The spring choir tours will be evaluated as further information develops regarding conditions and guidance in place at that time.
HOUSING & DINING
The dining room will be open and serving the full range of menu options MBU students have been accustomed to. Some adjustments are planned for in-room dining and food service. Pioneer College Caterers is implementing an extensive food safety plan that incorporates best practices from the food service industry in phases according to current information from health officials and government recommendations. Food service employees will wear PPE including gloves and face masks while preparing and serving food. The dining room will be arranged to allow for in-room dining with some social distancing in place. To-go options are universally available for students for all meals. Campus health personnel will arrange delivery for students in the Student Health Center or otherwise in isolation.
Maranatha’s residence halls are open and available to accommodate the needs of campus students. Limits have been placed on capacity to maintain the smallest number of roommates possible. Good hygiene and personal consideration of others are essential safeguards on student health, especially in shared space such as restrooms and common areas. Enhanced sanitation protocols will be in effect for restrooms and common areas. Cleaning and sanitation supplies will be available for students to properly clean and maintain their private dorm rooms.
In order to reduce potential transmission vectors, no visitors or overnight guests will be allowed in student dorm rooms. Some adjustments will also be made to the usual dorm devotions and collective activities to reduce the number of participants in close quarters and common areas.
To assist with hydration and student health, touchless bottle filler stations have been installed in every residence hall in place of water fountains.
CHAPEL, CHURCH & COMMUNITY
The evening services and special chapel services normally scheduled for the opening week of the academic year have been canceled.
Chapel at Maranatha is viewed as an integral part of the educational process. The values of the University, the ethos of Baptist fundamentalism, the morality and spirituality of biblical Christianity, the student’s development of a vibrant Christian life, and the identification of error and heresy are all topics of concern in the chapel program. Chapel attendance is more critical to the spiritual formation of a student than class attendance. The current circumstances and venue limitations do not allow for the routine chapel program the MBU community is accustomed to, but an alternative plan has been developed to maximize this vital hour and foster and support genuine spiritual growth within the student body. Chapel meetings will be livestreamed for the first time this year to allow those who cannot attend an opportunity to participate. While details are still being formulated, the following schedule will generally prevail:
- Monday & Tuesday: chapel in the gym with 50% of students assigned to attend each day
- Wednesday: small groups
- Thursday: student life workshops
- Friday: societies and student body meetings
Maranatha benefits greatly from the partnership of over 100 local Baptist churches in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. Our mission is focused on developing leaders for the local church and active involvement is an essential element of life and ministry. Over the past few months our partnering churches have experienced significant challenges and many are just now in the early stages of resuming in-person services. Some are still in a “livestream only” mode due to regulations at the county and city level. All those that have resumed services are still limiting capacity, have scaled back outreach ministries, and have reduced the number of unique weekly meetings. We must be sensitive to the needs and reduced capacity of our ministry partners as students return to Watertown.
The Student Life Office is coordinating with local church partners to determine their capacity to receive and serve students. Some have expressed interest in adding service times and activities to meet the spiritual needs of MBU students. These options will be announced to students at the beginning of the fall semester.
Off Campus Work
MBU is not placing any specific restrictions on students’ ability to work off-campus. Many employers are implementing health and safety protocols specific to their industries. MBU students must cooperate with those expectations as a matter of respect and testimony as well as continued compliance with their responsibilities under the Stronger Together Pledge regarding hygiene and social distancing.
The Watertown community has been a wonderful blessing to Maranatha since its founding. We want to make sure that as one of the area’s larger “operations” we continue to do our part to maintain a safe and healthy community. Students should be sure to comply with local businesses’ requests regarding social distancing, wearing face masks, and other health and safety protocols that may be requested. Because Wisconsin does not have a state-wide policy, businesses vary widely in what they expect of guests and customers. Some community events will be held on campus. MBU’s first obligation is to its students, so these events will be planned and coordinated to minimize interaction or interference with campus students.
In addition to the specific adjustments and protocols described above, all staff offices and student services functions have implemented adjusted procedures for the safety and health of employees and those they serve. This includes distancing of staff in pooled offices, wearing masks for food preparation (Old Main Coffee Shop) and the installation of plexiglass shields in public-facing offices and retail outlets like the bookstore and post office, and in the Library. Students should observe all signs for office occupancy and wherever possible interact by email or phone before visiting offices in person.
Anyone experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 illness must isolate themselves (see the Isolation & Recovery section below) and refrain from attending class, work, or any events until cleared by the campus nurse or their health care professional. Do not attend class, work, events, or the dining hall until you have been cleared to do so by the campus nurse. Dorm supervisors are available to assist resident students with questions. Many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are mild and similar to commonly occurring colds and allergies. Call the campus nurse and she will help you identify your symptoms and determine advisable next steps. The CDC maintains an online “self-checker” for individuals experiencing symptoms to assist with determining whether a COVID test is advisable.
According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or feeling feverish (such as chills, sweating)
- Mild or moderate difficulty breathing
- Muscle aches or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Vomiting or diarrhea
If you experience any of the following emergency warning signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Anyone experiencing or notified of a confirmed exposure to an individual infected with COVID-19 must immediately self-isolate and call the campus nurse. The campus nurse will guide you through the process of monitoring for symptoms and possible testing to ensure your good health and the health of those around you. She will also assist you in communicating with health care providers and the local health authorities for potential contact tracing.
An “exposure” to COVID-19 is defined for purposes of this policy as close contact with an infected person within 6 feet, without a mask, for greater than 15 minutes. The contact with the infected person must take place within the period from 2 days before their symptom onset until they meet the criteria for discontinuing home isolation.
Isolation and Recovery
MBU has identified specific living spaces reserved for individuals to self-isolate while being monitored following the onset of possible symptoms or a confirmed exposure. Students should be prepared to quickly move into an isolation protocol should the need arise. Under the circumstances of this pandemic, every individual must recognize the possibility that a disruption of this nature could occur within the semester. But we must trust the Lord to protect and heal as we continue to follow His leading. Should you be isolated, MBU staff will provide you with food and regularly check-in with you to ensure your needs are met. To the greatest extent possible, faculty will work with students to maintain academic progress in their courses.
Should an individual test positive for COVID-19, the best course for their recovery may be for them to temporarily return home until they are healthy. Upon clearance by their attending health care professionals and having met the criteria for discontinuing home isolation, a smooth return to the campus can be facilitated.
During the fall semester, the campus will be open for visitors. In order to reduce potential transmission vectors, no visitors or overnight guests will be allowed in student dorm rooms. All campus visitors must register with the Welcome Center and submit to a brief health screening. The Welcome Center is also available to answer questions and provide suggestions for overnight accommodations in the Watertown area.
- Visitors may attend classes where capacity allows for social distancing. The Welcome Center will publish a list of courses open to visitors.
- When visiting campus, guests should respect the campus health and safety guidelines and social distancing. Attendance at live sporting events and fine arts events may be restricted to ensure social distancing as articulated above.
- No one should visit the campus if they or a member of their household have recently experienced symptoms of COVID-19 or had a confirmed exposure.
- Official campus visitors may eat in the dining hall. Open dining for Watertown-area residents has been suspended to prioritize service for campus residents.
Refund Policy (Tuition, Fees, Room and Board)
In the case of students withdrawing from college either voluntarily or by dismissal, (except for military service), or moving out of a Maranatha residence hall, the following policies apply:
- During the first seven weeks of a semester, students will be prorated a refund of the Tuition and Comprehensive Fee as follows, according to the withdrawal date.
|during the first week||87.5%|
|during the second week||75.0%|
|during the third week||62.5%|
|during the fourth week||50.0%|
|during the fifth week||37.5%|
|during the sixth week||25.0%|
|during the seventh week||12.5%|
- After the first seven weeks of a semester, students are responsible for the entire semester’s tuition and fee charges.
- Room and board will be prorated as follows during the first twelve weeks of a semester according to the move-out date. Note that this policy reflects the fact that Maranatha makes commitments to food service providers and other fixed costs are incurred even if events lead a student to discontinue campus residency during the semester.
|during weeks one through four||75.0%|
|during weeks five through eight||50.0%|
|during weeks nine through twelve||25.0%|
- After the first twelve weeks of a semester, students are responsible for the entire semester’s room and board charges.
- Veterans under Public Law 89-358 will be refunded on a daily prorated basis.
- Academic, class, and program fees are non-refundable.
Academic Merit, BCM, Teacher Ed and Music scholarships – Per the applicable scholarship website pages, these scholarships require applicants to “live in a Maranatha residence hall” as noted under the section “Scholarship applicants must:”
- The student must be enrolled at the time of disbursement to have the awarded funds credited to his/her account.
- Moving out of Maranatha residence halls will result in a reduction of the scholarship award amount in the current semester utilizing the percentage applicable to the student’s prorated room and board refund.
Alumni, Christian Workers and Pastors scholarships – Per the applicable scholarship website pages, these scholarships stipulate “If the applicant does not live in a Maranatha residence hall at the time of disbursement, the scholarship will be reduced by 50%.”