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CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

Maranatha Baptist University takes the health and safety of our students and employees very seriously. Read below—the latest administrative updates concerning the coronavirus (COVID19)—including a Q&A section and links to helpful information.

LATEST MBU CORONAVIRUS NEWS

Recent Updates from Dr. Matt Davis, Executive Vice President

Tuesday, May 26, 11:00 AM

At this time, reports indicate that 84 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 161 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive.

As of May 21, the Department of Education is no longer enforcing any requirement for students to be Title IV eligible in order to receive the CARES Act grant assistance. The MBU Student Emergency Relief Grant is still accepting applications. No FAFSA is required! The Department has made it clear that lost wages may not be included in the calculation of an award. Other expenses related to the disruption in campus activities (such as travel, technology, childcare, and healthcare) may be used to calculate the amount. The Financial Aid office is working with applicants to secure needed details to maximize the award to each eligible student. Your cooperation helps a great deal toward that goal!


Tuesday, April 28, 4:30 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 42 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 32 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive.

Today, MBU received confirmation of receipt of a first installment of funds from the U.S. Department of Education for the CARES Act grant. The MBU Financial Aid office has received over 125 applications for assistance so far and will be communicating with applicants regarding the status of their requests. The Department’s guidelines impose significant eligibility criteria and require that institutions verify these criteria prior to distributing any funds under the program. Your prompt response to any requests for additional information will help to speed up the determination of award levels and distribution of approved funds. Applications are still being accepted.


Friday, April 24, 5:00 PM

The federal government has allocated funds through the CARES Act to assist college students. The grant is earmarked to address “the pressing financial need of students due to the disruption of campus operations from coronavirus.” A block grant of specified funds has been allocated to Maranatha, and the university has been given discretion to determine recipients and appropriate amounts according to the guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Education on April 21, 2020.

Maranatha’s grant application has been approved, but MBU has not yet received any funds. Student applications will be accepted immediately, but no awards or distributions will be made until the grant is funded. The Scholarship Committee will consider applications weekly on a first-come, first-considered basis until funds are depleted.

Apply now: https://www.mbu.edu/finances/emergency-relief-grant/


Wednesday, April 22, 4:00 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 35 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 20 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive.

Yesterday, the Department of Education provided guidance that will release additional funding to assist MBU students with emergency relief grants. The CARES Act contained a provision that provided a defined amount of money for each college & university and earmarked 1/2 of the grant for the institution and 1/2 to be distributed by the institution as grants to its students. When the program was first announced, no details or instructions were provided. Earlier this month, MBU decided to apply its institutional portion of the grant to reimbursement for refunds given for room & board for those who left campus in March. Now that we have further guidance on the Higher Education Relief Fund, we can announce the creation of a Student Emergency Grant fund available to MBU students. This fund will provide emergency financial grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. Once approved and awarded, grants will paid to students directly in the form of ACH (e-check), pre-paid debit card, or a paper check (not a credit on your school account.) By law, only main campus students as of March 13 will be eligible. (Some additional restrictions apply.) The maximum grant award is $6,195. To participate, students will complete a brief online application to request a grant. The form will be active on the MBU website later this week. Applications will be considered weekly by the Scholarship Committee on a first-come, first-considered basis until funds are depleted. While MBU has not yet received its grant from the Department of Education, we are preparing the application and the approval process so that we will be ready to begin distributing funds as soon as we have them in-hand.

Another exciting development is the creation of a separate scholarship fund to assist students with the cost of attending next fall. We have already received significant commitments to the fund and will continue soliciting partners to help students financially stay on track toward completing their education at MBU. More details on this fund will follow in the days ahead.


Thursday, April 16, 6:30 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 24 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 19 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive.

Today Governor Evers has extended his Safer at Home (SAH) directive until at least May 26. I will admit that this is somewhat puzzling, since the original order was set to expire on April 24 and by all accounts Wisconsin’s experience with COVID-19 has fallen far below the predicted modeling in every way. The rational basis for extending the order more than a month remains elusive, and I am certain the future will hold much debate and perhaps further adjustments as other voices have their say. The new order preserves the ability of universities to conduct essential functions and support distance education. MBU will continue its work-from-home protocols with modifications as directed to designated units by the administration.

Unfortunately, this extension effectively cancels all planned events, sports, and gatherings planned for the month of May. Pursuant to the order, “individuals may not engage in team or contact sports such as by way of example and without limitation, basketball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, or football, as these activities do not comply with Social Distancing Requirements.”


Monday, April 6, 4:30 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 14 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 15 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive.

The Academic Affairs office announced this morning that to protect the health and safety of our students, their families, and the MBU faculty and staff, this year’s in-person Commencement Exercises have been canceled. In its place, a live-streamed service to honor the Class of 2020 will take place on Thursday, May 7, at 7:00 p.m. This event will allow the university family to reflect upon the goodness of the Lord despite our changing circumstances and celebrate what God has done in the lives of our graduates. Similar to countless universities around the nation, this difficult determination was made in response to input from our Campus Health Task Force and university leadership, as well as state and federal authorities. Since no one can predict the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, MBU will ensure our graduates are publicly acknowledged for their accomplishments at the end of the spring semester. More specific details about the May 7 live-streamed service will be forthcoming.

Essential Workers

Today I’d like to especially thank those essential workers providing support to the campus operations. While most of the faculty and staff are working from home, some functions cannot be performed remotely. We are taking every recommended precaution to protect the health of those providing assistance. But we literally could not continue to function at this level without them. These trying times have placed a significant burden on all of our operations. I am especially thankful for those serving on campus in the following vital areas:

  • Cedarholm Library (support for online learning)
  • Post Office
  • Building Maintenance
  • Grounds
  • Capital Improvements
  • Custodial Services
  • Student Life & Food Service
  • Campus Health Center
  • Security
  • Kiddie Kampus
  • Transportation Services
  • Human Resources
  • Business Office
  • Financial Aid


Tuesday, March 31, 5:00 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 11 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 10 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive at this time.

MBU’s first livestream chapel this morning was a tremendous blessing. Tune in Thursday morning at 9:15 for the next chapel event!

Today I’d like to highlight some of the areas that MBU has been placing extra emphasis to support students academically through this unexpected transition to online delivery. As we’ve said before, MBU is in an excellent position to facilitate this transition due to our long history with online education. Almost every faculty member has taught an online or virtual course and that experience has helped us avoid the near-panic evidenced at many other institutions in the last few weeks. The following units have been working extra hard to support students with online learning:

Cedarholm Library

  • The library continues to provides access to over 200,000 eBooks and 22,000 digital journals.
  • ​Staff are on-hand to provide digitization services for the 100,000+ books and physical journals.
  • If anyone needs assistance searching for obscure resources library staff are just an email away to ensure that you are connected with what you need.
  • In this time library staff have also been collaborating with faculty to accommodate traditional course reserves with the transition to online instruction.
  • Email library@mbu.edu for assistance.

Online & Distance Learning

  • MyMaranatha classroom support to help faculty add pages, edit assignments and redesign their courses.
  • Tutorial videos and instructions for Zoom support.
  • One-on-one training sessions with faculty.
  • Immediate availability to answer faculty questions and provide help.
  • Email online@mbu.edu for assistance.

Information Technology Department

  • Personal training on how to set up and use Zoom.
  • Creating many new class playlists for recorded lectures and linking them into classes (on-going).
  • Tech support, upgrading network infrastructure, and resolving network issues.
  • Email support@mbu.edu for assistance.

Academic Success Center

  • Academic Success Tutors are continuing to tutor their clients through video conferencing complete with screen sharing and interactive white boards.
  • Tutors are also helping clients transition to being online learners with suggestions for keeping on schedule and staying organized.
  • Email academicsuccess@mbu.edu for assistance.

Thank you to all the faculty and staff for their diligence and heart to help our students through this difficult transition!


Monday, March 30, 6:30 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 10 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 8 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive at this time.

Some have asked about the timeline for updated billing statements relative to the transition of the semester to the online format. The general answer to the question is that yes, MBU has been analyzing student accounts on an individual basis. While this might seem like a fairly straightforward question, it is actually complicated by two important factors: 1) institutional scholarships that have a residential requirement, and 2) the potential availability of federal and state financial assistance directly applicable to student obligations. These federal and state bailout opportunities have the potential to provide substantial help for students – but their details are not yet readily available. In order to maximize each student’s benefits, we need to see the details of these programs before we make any billing adjustments. We hope to have more information to share later this week.

This week I want to highlight some of things happening behind the scenes to support Maranatha’s students through this crisis. Today, I’d like to introduce you to the members of the Campus Health Task Force.  This team has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to review every possible contingency and scenario related to COVID-19 and the health and safety of our students and employees. The Campus Health Task Force was formed by the Campus Safety Committee as a specialized focus-team earlier this year. Since that time, this team has worked to keep me and the rest of the administration informed of developments within the healthcare community, political realm, higher education trends, and countless other avenues of consideration. We could certainly not have navigated this transition without the steadfast input and professionalism of these wonderful and dedicated leaders on campus. Their policy and process recommendations have directly contributed to the safety and health of every member of the Maranatha family. I thank God for the wisdom and contribution of these team members!


Friday, March 27, 4:00 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 6 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 6 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive at this time.

Earlier today I shared a weekly update video to Facebook. Professors have been working hard all week to prepare courses for Monday’s start to the online transition for the remainder of the semester. And next Tuesday Dr. Marriott will preach in our first virtual chapel of the semester.


Thursday, March 26, 4:00 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 5 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 3 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive at this time.

Guidelines for Returning Students

A small cohort of students will be returning to the MBU campus this weekend to reside on campus the remainder of the spring semester. The Campus Health Task Force has established guidelines for this group of students and articulated a careful protocol to screen and process their reintegration into the campus community. The health of our student body and MBU personnel is a primary consideration as we seek to enable students to complete their semester with a minimum of disruption to their ability to succeed academically. The full cooperation of every individual is necessary to ensure the safest possible environment for the MBU family.

  • The Student Life Office will communicate the time and location for returning students to check-in.
  • All returning students must undergo a health screening by MBU personnel prior to re-entering the residence halls.
  • The Campus Health Task Force is reviewing the details of each student’s reported travel and sorting individuals according to the following guidelines.
  • The Student Life Office will coordinate dorm room assignments and stipulate any temporary restrictions necessary based on the unique circumstances of each individual.
  • Students planning to return should take special care to remain at home and avoid public interactions and gatherings as well as travel to locations identified on the growing No Travel list.

Resident Student Reminders

All resident students must comply with the Governor’s “Safer at Home” order which prohibits social gatherings in private homes. “All public and private gatherings of any number of people that are not part of a single household or living unit are prohibited.” MBU dorm supervisors and staff are organizing activities and opportunities on campus. Outdoor activities are encouraged.


Wednesday, March 25, 5:00 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 5 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 3 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive at this time.

No other updates of note for today.

From the Bible study I’m preparing for tonight, consider this challenge:

Before God changes our circumstances, He wants to change our hearts. If our circumstances change for the better, but we remain the same, then we will become worse. God’s purpose in providence is not to make us comfortable, but to make us conformable, “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). Christlike character is the Lord’s goal for each of His children.


Tueday, March 24, 2:30 PM

At this time, reports indicate that 4 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 2 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive at this time.

Governor Evers issued an order through the Wisconsin Health Department today that purports to restrict travel within the state. According to the order, “All individuals present within the State of Wisconsin are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence” from 8:00 a.m. on March 25 until 8:00 a.m. on April 24 or as superseded by a future order. The 16-page order contains NUMEROUS exceptions that should allow MBU to operate along the basic lines that we have been drawing throughout this unfolding situation.

Students may remain in residence on the campus. Dormitories are specifically included in the definition of “residence” contained in the order (§1). Students should avoid congregating anywhere else on campus and should maintain strict social distancing guidelines whenever outside the dormitory environment.

  • Students may travel as needed to go to work (on or off campus), acquire necessary food and supplies, visit local parks or engage in outdoor activity (§11C), or seek medical or other services allowed under the order.
  • On campus, students may use outdoor spaces to exercise or relax. However, the order specifically prohibits all team or contact sports such as games of basketball, soccer, or football. Please avoid the game fields and observe any other announcements from the Athletic Director regarding appropriate spaces for outdoor activities on campus. Indoor fitness facilities and the main gym are closed until further notice. State parks and trails are open and have waived entrance fees this month although playgrounds are closed.
  • Within the residence halls, students may use the large gathering spaces for entertainment. No non-resident, outside guests are allowed to enter the residence halls. In all these activities, the social distancing guidelines must be observed. Anyone that has health questions or develops symptoms should avoid contact with others and contact the Student Health Center immediately.

Food service will continue without interruption according to the same modified program we have used for the last few days. The local health department has approved our request to allow students to eat their meals in the dining room as long as social distancing guidelines are observed.

MBU operations will continue for the duration of this “safer at home” period with most office functions performed on a work-from-home basis to the greatest extent possible. The order provides broad authority for colleges, which it defines among the “Essential Business and Operations” exempted from the order’s prohibition. Section 13Y exempts “Higher education institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions as determined by the institution.” The administration has directed all personnel to work from home if at all possible and will continue to monitor developments and consider exceptions. The order allows for short visits to pick-up and drop-off equipment, supplies, and academic materials. At this time, MBU administration designates the following functions as essential functions:

  • Academic support for distance education including Information Technology personnel supporting computer hardware and network infrastructure maintenance; course registration and SIS support of the Registrar’s office to the extent such work cannot be performed at home; essential faculty research and/or course preparation that requires laboratory demonstration as part of virtual learning; library services in support of distance and virtual learning (although the library itself must remain closed to patrons). Library staff will continue to respond to research requests via email (library@mbu.edu). To the extent possible, faculty will prepare lessons and perform coursework from home rather than MBU classrooms or campus offices.
  • Communications Office functions that cannot be performed from home including support for virtual instruction and messaging to MBU constituents. Video production and high-bandwidth tasks may require use of the MBU campus and infrastructure. To the extent possible, such functions will be performed on a work-from-home basis.
  • Student Recruitment & Admissions functions requiring access to paper files and daily mail. To the extent possible, such functions will be performed on a work-from-home basis.
  • Development and Alumni Services functions requiring access to daily mail and the preparation of mailings. To the extent possible, such functions will be performed on a work-from-home basis.
  • Business Office and Financial Aid functions requiring access to paper files and specialized systems to maintain compliance with federal and state requirements, the preparation of the audit, and ongoing budget considerations. To the extent possible, such functions will be performed on a work-from-home basis.
  • Campus Post Office
  • Facilities management, custodial services, building maintenance, grounds maintenance, and construction/repair projects on campus.
  • Residence Hall supervision
  • Campus Health Center
  • Campus Security
  • Human Resources functions requiring access to paper files and daily mail. To the extent possible, such functions will be performed on a work-from-home basis.
  • Transportation Services functions to repair and maintain vehicles needed in support of other essential services.
  • Kiddie Kampus childcare functions with special priority for families of workers in health care, emergency services, and other essential services.

We look forward with anticipation to sunnier days – literally and figuratively. Please direct any questions you have about implementing the above guidelines to your dorm supervisor, direct report, or VP. I will be happy to work with them as needed on any clarifications that need to be made more generally.


Monday, March 23, 4:00 PM

The campus is VERY quiet today!

Governor Evers has announced that tomorrow he plans to sign an order he is referring to as “Safer at Home.” The order will ask everyone to remain at home and reduce all unnecessary travel. Travel for essential needs or to provide essential services will be allowed. Colleges are considered part of the critical infrastructure sector of the economy and MBU will continue to provide for the housing and food service needs of students that remain on campus. All other offices and functions will be closed while staff comply with the order. We will know more about the specifics of the order once it is published tomorrow.

Students on campus need to practice strict social distancing and avoid congregating in groups of any size. This is a difficult thing to ask – and even more difficult to obey. But we must do our best.

Stay tuned for some exciting productions in the works! MBU is blessed to have so many talented musicians – and we’re working on some exciting projects to bring together a virtual performance or two. You won’t want to miss these!

A final note for the day: God’s word confronts us with an important question in Romans 8: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Aren’t you thankful that Scripture doesn’t leave us hanging without an answer!? “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Meditate on every word of that statement and secure this truth for yourself today. Allow the Holy Spirit to calm your heart and clear your thoughts. Rest in Him today and when the sun rises again tomorrow – perhaps on different plans than you had last month – thank God again for His unfailing love and faithfulness.

Monday, March 23, 10:00 AM

At this time, reports indicate that 2 positive cases have been identified in Jefferson County as well as 2 positive cases in Dodge County. We are not aware of anyone in the MBU community that has tested positive at this time. In Wisconsin, our local health care providers are reporting they have a good supply of test kits. Statewide, the WI Department of Health reports that test results are coming back positive at 6.11% – a rate significantly lower than the national average of around 10% according to the Surgeon General.

This week MBU personnel are working from home if at all possible. Essential functions are continuing on campus to support those staying in the residence halls. All offices are closed to public traffic. Use direct email to contact faculty and staff or email switchboard@mbu.edu if you do not know who to contact for assistance.


Friday, March 20, 3:30 PM

This afternoon I shared a video update on Facebook. We will post these at least every Friday to let you know what’s going on. One of the highlights this week is an announcement that following Spring Break we will resume our chapel schedule. Every Tuesday and Thursday we will livestream a chapel session with special music provided by faculty & staff as well as those students who are remaining on campus. While we cannot, for the time being, assemble an audience, we know it is important to provide spiritual encouragement for our students and the MBU community. This will also give us a chance to finish the series in 1 John.

Governor Evers issued a new order expanding the previous mass gatherings order. Thankfully, this time it doesn’t impact MBU operations too much.

President Trump led a press conference today and announced a few relevant legislative and governmental updates:

  • The US Department of Education is waiving all standardized testing requirements for K-12 schools nationwide.
  • Federally administrated student loan penalties and interest are being waived and payment obligations suspended for at least 60 days.
  • The filing deadline for personal taxes has been extended to July 15.
  • The President again called for Americans to suspend all non-essential travel.

I was particularly encouraged by the President’s observation that this crisis has revealed “the true greatness of the American character.” May we continue by God’s grace to exemplify the virtues of love and generosity of spirit as we interact in new ways with those in our community.

Friday, March 20, 12:00 PM

As states continue to announce shut-downs and shelter-in-place orders, some may be wondering about how MBU is determining what services should remain open during the next two weeks in particular. Colleges and universities are considered part of 16 of the nation’s critical infrastructure services, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These sectors are “considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof,” the Homeland Security Department said. Specifically, higher education institutions are considered to be part of the government facilities subsector.

MBU’s campus will be operating similar to its summer and winter closure levels of activity, meaning that only a few core services will continue at this time. The primary difference is that office staff are working from home wherever possible.

MBU has suspended all on-campus operations with the exception of those that are essential and cannot be conducted remotely. Those services include:

  • Health-care services and corresponding support.
  • Classroom and laboratory instruction for remote learning will continue through the end of spring semester. Deans and chairs will determine what on-campus essential support may be needed.
  • Student housing and dining services
  • Building systems and custodial services, although at reduced levels
  • Research laboratory safety
  • Emergency response, such as campus security, fire, emergency medical services and environmental health and safety
  • Emergency management
  • Custodial services will continue to operate at reduced levels, but surfaces in common areas continue to be sanitized regularly.
  • Building systems
  • IT services associated with on-site support of campus IT infrastructure and remote learning
  • Human resources, finance and counseling services will continue, but primarily remotely.
  • The Student Life Office continues to offer counsel and support services to students via distance technology.

Friday, March 20, 10:00 AM

At this time, Jefferson County has reported its first positive case of COVID-19. According to reports, the individual has been isolated since the test was sent in several days ago. The health department is personally contacting all individuals who had recent contact with the patient. This development, though not surprising, underscores the importance of everyone remaining isolated for the next two weeks and observing all healthy practices to prevent further spread. MBU personnel have been advised not to travel unless absolutely necessary and to work from home to the greatest extent possible while maintaining essential services on campus.


Thursday, March 19, 6:30 PM

At this time, there are no confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus in the Maranatha community or in Dodge or Jefferson counties in which Watertown is situated.

Today (so far) has been free of changes to government guidelines. Progress! Saying goodbye to many of our students has made today difficult, but we are thankful to have the means to continue their education via distance learning. MBU has been a recognized leader in online education, and our faculty will ensure students have the opportunity to succeed academically.

In compliance with our government leaders’ recommendations, MBU faculty and staff are transitioning to work-from-home as much as possible over the next two weeks. As such, the MBU switchboard will not be operating. Those seeking information should rely primarily on email. If you need assistance reaching an office or individual, email switchboard@mbu.edu and we will make sure you are connected with someone on duty to assist you. Direct lines to key offices will be answered during office hours.

  • Admissions 920-206-2327
  • Business Office 920-206-2316
  • Development 920-206-2325
  • Facilities 920-390-2820
  • Financial Aid 920-206-2318
  • IT Help 920-206-2322
  • Library 920-206-2375
  • Music Prep 920-206-2391
  • Online & Distance Learning 920-206-2323
  • Registrar 920-206-2342
  • Security 920-285-9316
  • Seminary 920-206-2324
  • Health Center 920-206-2384

This morning Dr. Marriott recorded a special update video.

 

And finally, in the “silver lining” category, the Dean of Women asked me to share the fact that according to legend, Rapunzel met her future husband while quarantined!


Wednesday, March 18, 7:00 PM

At this time, there are no confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus in the Maranatha community or in Dodge or Jefferson counties in which Watertown is situated.

Today was the final day for face-to-face classes. Faculty have met for a final time with all students to review expectations for completing the semester online. The Academic Affairs office has been working very hard to support the transition efforts of faculty and ensure that no one’s academic progress is disrupted. Students are cleaning out their dorm rooms and many will begin traveling home tomorrow and Friday. All-in-all, it has been a tearful day, but also a day to celebrate God’s goodness in the midst of trials and to be thankful for the wonderful relationships we have established.

The president, the governor and our local authorities have asked us to limit in-person contact as much as possible and allow all non-essential staff to work from home if at all possible. We are applying that principle throughout all operations for the next two weeks.

The food service changes will remain in place as announced in yesterday’s update. All meals will be served to-go and eaten outside the dining room. Please do not congregate in the lobby. DC 202 and other rooms may be used. Please dispose of clamshells in the large trash cans outside the checker stand rather than classroom wastebaskets.

Cancellations

  • All in-person classes and extra-curricular activities (Wed. @ 5 p.m.)
  • Gatherings, assemblies, and group meetings of 10 or more. (Group meetings should be conducted via Zoom whenever possible.)
  • Until further notice, Music Prep and college private music lessons (moving to virtual format where possible) for the next two weeks.
  • All indoor athletic facilities and exercise facilities closed per the governor’s order until further notice
  • Students may not attend class in person until further notice. Faculty may continue teaching virtual classes at regular times, but students may not attend in person.

Travel Guidelines

  • Students traveling home should travel directly to their final destination and minimize public interactions en route.
  • Any student leaving campus for spring break and planning to return to campus must avoid locations on the No Travel list: http://bit.ly/NoTravel2020
  • Faculty and staff are hereby advised NOT to travel away from their home area next week. Any who disregard this notice may be required to self-quarantine for two weeks following their return before returning to work. (This applies regardless of whether your destination is on the No Travel list.)

Some good news to close today’s update: the Chamber Singers concert is about to start (recorded earlier today) and I’ve heard that Frozen 2 and the Star Wars movie are being released early – so at least we have that going for us!

Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful and cooperative spirits. Most importantly, thank you for your prayers.


Tuesday, March 17, 5:30 PM

At this time, there are no confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus in the Maranatha community or in Dodge or Jefferson counties in which Watertown is situated.

This afternoon Dr. Davis attended a meeting with the Watertown mayor and emergency response team for updated guidance. The full-text of the governor’s new executive order was delivered and discussed. As of 5:00 on Wednesday, colleges are ordered to close all face-to-face instruction and extracurricular activities. This fits exactly the plans MBU put in place on Monday with only slight modifications. (The Chamber Singers’ concert will be filmed tomorrow afternoon for a delayed livestreaming at 7:00 p.m.)

Food service has been modified as follows:

  • No self-serve lines – all food will be plated by food service personnel behind the counter.
  • To-go service is strongly encouraged
  • No more than 10 people may assemble in any confined space – checker personnel will control access
  • No community/public service

The Governor’s order also extends the K-12 closures indefinitely.

Kiddie Kampus remains open.

Tomorrow, graduating seniors are invited to a drop-in reception in Burckart Hall for a photo opportunity between 9:15-10:00 a.m. Dr. Marriott and Dr. Davis will be in full regalia (we never miss a chance to wear full regalia!) While we are uncertain at this time what form Commencement will take this year, this will give us an opportunity to meet with presumptive graduates in-person and communicate to them how proud we are of their accomplishments and to pray together for God’s continued blessing and leading in their lives. The Alumni Association will also be giving information and a gift to each graduate.

At this time, Music Prep individual lessons will continue. Group lessons have been suspended for the semester. Contact the Music Prep office for further details.

A closing thought: I often rehearse to myself the first few verses of Psalm 91 during trying times. The Lord is by no means surprised by these historic events, and He is by no means limited in what He can accomplish through them – and through US if we will yield ourselves to Him in the midst of this trial. I suppose some of our Hebrew scholars can confirm for me whether COVID-19 qualifies as a “noisome pestilence”, but I have no doubt the Lord will “deliver us” from this crisis as we run to Him and surrender ourselves to be used for His glory.

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.


Tuesday, March 17, 2:00 PM

At this time, there are no confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus in the Maranatha community.

Students have been working to make and implement plans for the transition to online. Student Life Office personnel are compiling information for individuals who wish to stay on campus. We are so thankful for the sweet spirit of unity God has given throughout this difficult process.

The “No Travel” list continues to be updated: http://bit.ly/NoTravel2020 Please note, for students planning to return to campus after spring break, changing planes at an airport in a city on the list will NOT affect you ability to return to campus if you stay on the airport grounds.

Governor Evers has just issued updated guidelines for gatherings and is asking that the group size be limited to ten. An exception is made for educational institutions. As details are clarified we will update our campus plans and issue further instructions for meals and small groups.

In light of the transition, several recitals and concerts will be performed ahead of schedule this week. Everyone can tune in via livestream!

  • Hannah Tesreau, Tuck Everlasting, 7:00 p.m., Tuesday
  • Dan Peal, 1:00 p.m., Wednesday
  • Chamber Singers, 7:00 p.m., Wednesday
  • Melissa Rhine, 7:00 p.m., Thursday

MBU Transitioning to Online

Monday, March 16, 2020, 5:30 PM

In consideration of the new guidelines from Governor Evers and the recommendations this afternoon from President Trump it has become infeasible for MBU to maintain normal campus operations for the spring semester. Based on these realities together with the recommendations of the Campus Health Task Force and the Academic Unit Leaders, this afternoon the Executive Council decided that MBU will be changing all classes to the online format for the remainder of the semester. The campus will remain open for students who wish to stay and complete the semester. But all students will be allowed to leave campus following check-out procedures on Thursday.

Please carefully review the following information which will help you make a wise decision and implement an orderly transition. With your help, we can minimize the disruption to your academic progress.

At this time, there are no confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus in the Maranatha community. With the approach of spring break, however, and the possibility of an inter-state travel ban being openly discussed at the highest levels, we do not want to risk our students’ ability to travel home. By announcing this decision today, we are giving you time to make some important decisions and to prepare and implement a smooth transition to distance instruction.

THIS WEEK:

  • On-campus classes will continue as scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday. These will be important final in-person opportunities for your faculty to give you vital information on how the transition will affect you. Do not miss class unless providentially hindered!
  • All chapel services for the week are cancelled. No further large-group (>50) activities will be taking place.
  • Please continue the healthy practices and sanitation protocols we have been observing as well as “social distancing.” Anyone with a persistent cough or fever should check in with the Student Health Center immediately.
  • Meal service adjustments are being implemented beginning with dinner this evening. To-go boxes will be used. No more than 50 students at a time may eat in the dining room (please do not linger once you have finished eating.) At this time, we can no longer serve outside guests. Employees should not eat in the dining room this week in order to make room for our students.
  • As of this evening, the Chamber Singers are still planning to perform a home concert by livestream on Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. (There will be no live audience.) The morning chapel concert has been cancelled.
  • All dorm students must complete the check-out process by Friday at 5:00 p.m. Those who decide to stay on campus (whether through the spring break or returning after spring break) will be moving into a designated men’s dorm or women’s dorm. Students who elect not to return to campus following spring break should move their items into dorm summer storage or take everything with them when they leave. Your dorm supervisors will have further information for you on the check-out process and collecting information about your choices (see below).

The faculty will use next week’s scheduled spring break to prepare for the online transition, and distance-formatted classes will “resume” on Monday, March 30.

YOUR CHOICE:

  • Stay on Campus: if you choose to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester, you will have access to the MBU network to work on your online classes, access to the Library and faculty assistance as well as student support services, etc. Food service will also continue. Normal student life events will not be taking place such as daily chapel, spring athletic events, or the spring play. Campus work opportunities and private music lessons may also continue. We understand that international students and others may not have many other options, and we want to make sure you know that we will continue to do everything within our power to maintain a safe and healthy campus for you should you choose to stay.
  • Leave Campus: if you choose to leave campus, you will be responsible to keep up with your academic coursework. This will require a stable and reliable internet connection on your end to access MyMaranatha and the various videos and other learning activities your faculty are preparing. You must also provide an approved proctor when required by faculty. You are still a full-time MBU student, so you must approach this with serious dedication and plan to devote as much if not more time each week to your studies. A process is under development for students leaving campus to apply for a credit of a portion of the semester’s room & board charges, giving individual consideration to pro-ration of institutional scholarships and other fees on a case-by-case basis.

No doubt this transition will raise many questions. We will all work together to provide reasonable answers. The semester schedule will remain on track for final exams to take place May 4-6. It is too soon to know how this will impact Graduation ceremonies.

Maranatha Baptist Academy has suspended its operations in compliance with the Governor’s order. The Kiddie Kampus childcare facility will remain open as a part of the community’s critical infrastructure and support plan.

We know that this dramatic change of plans will cause some turmoil and disruption to your life. Our hearts break for our graduating seniors especially as this is certainly not the experience you had in mind for your last semester of college. We love you and remain committed to your academic success and development into the leader that God wants you to be “to the Praise of His Glory.” We will remain available to you for personal discipleship, and in the days to come we will develop creative ways to maintain our sense of community. We will continue to pray for you and rejoice as we see the Lord provide in these extraordinary circumstances.

Psalm 46 has been a particular comfort. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea… Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

-Dr. Matt Davis, Executive Vice President


UPDATES from MBU ADMINISTRATION

Friday, March 13, 2020, 5:00 PM

This has been a very eventful day. When we are absorbed in a crisis it is easy to become extremely self-centered and anxious. A faithful Christian sees the Lord working in every trial of life and seeks to bring God glory through serving others. What could you do secretly to show God’s love by serving someone else today? “Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving unseen. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains for honor and recognition.” (R. Foster)

World Updates

President Trump declared a national health emergency to free up budgeted disaster relief funds and mobilizes FEMA to direct federal aid to the states. No travel bans or restrictions have been issued.

Governor Evers exercised his statutory authority to order the closure of all K-12 schools in the State of Wisconsin from March 18 until April 6. Maranatha Baptist Academy will observe this schedule. Further information will be emailed directly to school families.

The Higher Learning Commission cancelled its Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.

MBU Updates

  • Dr. Davis met today with representatives from the Student Body Council and Dorm Supervisors for feedback and an opportunity to review upcoming adjustments and options. The support of the student body and general cooperation have been outstanding as we work together for the best possible outcomes.
  • Chapel for Monday, March 16, has been cancelled. Further information about chapel later next week will be announced as those plans are finalized.
  • Students should limit non-essential travel to public areas outside the Watertown area this Saturday. Avoid areas like Madison where several active cases have been reported.
  • Most area churches are making schedule adjustments this weekend. Stay tuned to information from your local church and please cooperate with those instructions. Student Life expectations for church attendance will simply mirror those of your church’s requests. (If your church goes to a livestream format, cancels Sunday School or mid-week services, etc.) The Madrigal Choir concert at Calvary in Watertown is scheduled to continue as planned Sunday evening at 5:00 PM.
  • Faculty and staff at-risk for health concerns are being accommodated as needed and excused from larger group gatherings.

Friday, March 13, 2020, 11:30 AM

The City of Watertown has issued new guidance for businesses, educational institutions, and faith communities. No cases of coronavirus have been reported in the Watertown area. Local healthcare facilities are stocked with test kits and now have the capability to process tests on-site. MBU is closely following the relevant guidelines and recommendations. Of note, “there is currently no recommendation to close worship sites in the United States in response to COVID-19.” We have been asked to consider limiting large group actitivites of over 250 people and today we are working to implement that recommendation. Further adjustments will be announced soon for impacted events such as daily chapel.

Athletic competition cancellations continue to roll in. The Athletic Department has established a webpage specifically to track updates to the schedule. Follow the “action” at mbusabercats.com/covid19.

MBU continues to welcome visitors to the campus. However, residence hall housing for guests will not available for the remainder of the semester. Local hotels and the MBU Guest Suites are available for overnight accommodations. No outside rentals of campus facilities will be allowed through the month of April.

The Student Life Office is reaching out to local partnering churches today concerning any schedule or attendance adjustments or limitations they may be making and MBU will accommodate any changes with regard to student and employee attendance expectations.


Thursday, March 12, 2020, 4:00 PMEvent Updates

Wisconsin Governor Evers has declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus. This is an administrative step that allows for the flow of government resources and preventative measures and does NOT indicate the presence of an outbreak in the state. MBU is complying with all the health department guidelines and closely monitoring health department recommendations for implementation and application to MBU. No cases have been reported on campus or in the Watertown area.

The CDC has issued specific guidance for higher education institutions. MBU is closely monitoring the recommendations and implementing all protective measures. Of note, the CDC is NOT recommending colleges and universities close.

The MBU administration has been in contact today with Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland to coordinate local support. We are very thankful for the support of the city and the steps of preparation taken by our local health care providers.

The Wisconsin Board of Nursing met today with the academic heads of the state’s nursing schools to review academic requirements for clinical service. A petition is being prepared to ask the Governor’s office to waive some requirements that could be in jeopardy due to the coronavirus response of local hospitals. All parties have pledged full cooperation. No disruption to the academic progress of nursing students is anticipated.

Based on the Wisconsin health department’s recommendations, upcoming public performances of Beauty and the Beast will be limited to 250 seats. All regularly scheduled performances are being maintained at this time. Tickets go on sale generally starting Monday, March 16, for performances running April 16-25.

A host of changes are taking place to spring athletic schedules. The most up-to-date information can be found, as always, at www.mbusabercats.com and on twitter follow @mbusabercats. The following important updates impact this week’s action:

Spring Break: Dorms on campus will remain open through spring break. The administration is waiving the usual dorm fee. To accommodate students on campus, meal service WILL be offered (lunch and dinner) in the DC. The cost to stay on campus, inclusive of meals is $80. The Student Life Office will circulate a survey tomorrow collecting information on spring break travel. For many students, staying on campus may be the safest and best option. Students are advised NOT to travel to parts of the country where outbreaks have occurred. Anyone traveling internationally over spring break will NOT be allowed to return to campus for the remainder of the spring semester.


Thursday, March 12, 2020, 10:56 AM—MBU’s Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

This is an update on the current status of MBU’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. We love our students and want you to know that your health and security are a top priority. As President Trump made clear last night, this is a serious and somewhat unprecedented matter. Yesterday alone, dozens of colleges and universities announced closures and other drastic measures, including the University of Wisconsin’s Madison and Milwaukee campuses. I’m sure later today you will hear of others making similar decisions. The NBA suspended its season and March Madness is now cancelled.

The situation is changing rapidly. Early on, MBU assembled a Campus Health Task Force that meets regularly, chaired by the Dean of Students and made up of myself and representatives from Student Life, the Science and Nursing faculty, Student Health Center, and Athletics. A larger team made up of additional members from our food service, custodial, academy, and other affected departments is also meeting as needed. The task force is analyzing guidance from experts associated with all the major government and industry authorities. MBU’s emergency response plan includes contingencies that help frame our options and protocols that guide our decisions.

At this time, MBU is not making any changes to the academic calendar following spring break. Every community and city is different, and we are blessed to be located in Watertown. The local authorities and hospitals are prepared with testing and quarantine capabilities. No cases or suspected cases have been reported in our area. This could change and we are ready to respond quickly if it does.

MBU has made some lesser adjustments. Last night, in consultation with Dr. Marriott, Dr. Ledgerwood, and Dr. Harrison, we made the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming Chamber Singers choir tour. We recognize the incredible amount of work and preparation that went into the tour, and we know the Lord will honor that preparation and the heart of service that motivates all of our efforts. Additional adjustments are being considered as new information is available.

Last week, Dr. Garza-Madrid helped us understand the science behind this disease. The word “pandemic” has now been publicly used and we understand what that term indicates. We will not be ruled by fear or anxiety. We trust God to protect us as He always has in His sovereign power. And we have also implemented a series of sanitation protocols to maintain the health of our campus community.

These include education in healthy practices; increased custodial efforts and frequency in high-traffic areas, classrooms and residence halls; health center access and availability for testing and quarantine if necessary; cancellation of certain functions and events; and preparation for accommodating those who may be affected to ensure no one’s academic progress is impeded.

Warmer weather and the availability of more wide-spread testing should help bring this under control and help us avoid a major disruption to your semester. If, however, the Lord should lead in that direction, MBU has the capability and the faculty are prepared to provide alternative formats for you to complete your coursework remotely.

Spring break presents a particular challenge. No one should travel internationally over spring break. We will have further instructions very shortly that will help us collect information and track everyone’s travel over the break. Please be prudent and make adjustments to your plans as warranted. Do not go to an area where an outbreak is underway. Take some time right now to consider changing your plans if you are traveling somewhere other than your home. It could affect your ability to return to campus and complete the semester. (Any student unable to return to campus for health reasons will be accommodated.)

Please continue to pray for the administration. We are very thankful for your support and encouragement.

Dr. Matt Davis
Executive Vice President BS, JD | Corporate Counsel

Please continue to read the Q&A sections below to learn details about any changes for our campus and learn more about our ongoing efforts to respond to this virus.

Maranatha Baptist University takes the health and safety of our students and employees very seriously. Read below—the latest administrative updates concerning the coronavirus (COVID19)—including a Q&A section and links to helpful information.

LATEST MBU CORONAVIRUS NEWS

Recent Updates

Tuesday, March 17, 5:30 PM

At this time, there are no confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus in the Maranatha community or in Dodge or Jefferson counties in which Watertown is situated.

This afternoon Dr. Davis attended a meeting with the Watertown mayor and emergency response team for updated guidance. The full-text of the governor’s new executive order was delivered and discussed. As of 5:00 on Wednesday, colleges are ordered to close all face-to-face instruction and extracurricular activities. This fits exactly the plans MBU put in place on Monday with only slight modifications. (The Chamber Singers’ concert will be filmed tomorrow afternoon for a delayed livestreaming at 7:00 p.m.)

Food service has been modified as follows:

  • No self-serve lines – all food will be plated by food service personnel behind the counter.
  • To-go service is strongly encouraged
  • No more than 10 people may assemble in any confined space – checker personnel will control access
  • No community/public service

The Governor’s order also extends the K-12 closures indefinitely.

Kiddie Kampus remains open.

Tomorrow, graduating seniors are invited to a drop-in reception in Burckart Hall for a photo opportunity between 9:15-10:00 a.m. Dr. Marriott and Dr. Davis will be in full regalia (we never miss a chance to wear full regalia!) While we are uncertain at this time what form Commencement will take this year, this will give us an opportunity to meet with presumptive graduates in-person and communicate to them how proud we are of their accomplishments and to pray together for God’s continued blessing and leading in their lives. The Alumni Association will also be giving information and a gift to each graduate.

At this time, Music Prep individual lessons will continue. Group lessons have been suspended for the semester. Contact the Music Prep office for further details.

A closing thought: I often rehearse to myself the first few verses of Psalm 91 during trying times. The Lord is by no means surprised by these historic events, and He is by no means limited in what He can accomplish through them – and through US if we will yield ourselves to Him in the midst of this trial. I suppose some of our Hebrew scholars can confirm for me whether COVID-19 qualifies as a “noisome pestilence”, but I have no doubt the Lord will “deliver us” from this crisis as we run to Him and surrender ourselves to be used for His glory.

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.


Tuesday, March 17, 2:00 PM

At this time, there are no confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus in the Maranatha community.

Students have been working to make and implement plans for the transition to online. Student Life Office personnel are compiling information for individuals who wish to stay on campus. We are so thankful for the sweet spirit of unity God has given throughout this difficult process.

The “No Travel” list continues to be updated: http://bit.ly/NoTravel2020 Please note, for students planning to return to campus after spring break, changing planes at an airport in a city on the list will NOT affect you ability to return to campus if you stay on the airport grounds.

Governor Evers has just issued updated guidelines for gatherings and is asking that the group size be limited to ten. An exception is made for educational institutions. As details are clarified we will update our campus plans and issue further instructions for meals and small groups.

In light of the transition, several recitals and concerts will be performed ahead of schedule this week. Everyone can tune in via livestream!

  • Hannah Tesreau, Tuck Everlasting, 7:00 p.m., Tuesday
  • Dan Peal, 1:00 p.m., Wednesday
  • Chamber Singers, 7:00 p.m., Wednesday
  • Melissa Rhine, 7:00 p.m., Thursday

MBU Transitioning to Online

Monday, March 16, 2020, 5:30 PM

In consideration of the new guidelines from Governor Evers and the recommendations this afternoon from President Trump it has become infeasible for MBU to maintain normal campus operations for the spring semester. Based on these realities together with the recommendations of the Campus Health Task Force and the Academic Unit Leaders, this afternoon the Executive Council decided that MBU will be changing all classes to the online format for the remainder of the semester. The campus will remain open for students who wish to stay and complete the semester. But all students will be allowed to leave campus following check-out procedures on Thursday.

Please carefully review the following information which will help you make a wise decision and implement an orderly transition. With your help, we can minimize the disruption to your academic progress.

At this time, there are no confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus in the Maranatha community. With the approach of spring break, however, and the possibility of an inter-state travel ban being openly discussed at the highest levels, we do not want to risk our students’ ability to travel home. By announcing this decision today, we are giving you time to make some important decisions and to prepare and implement a smooth transition to distance instruction.

THIS WEEK:

  • On-campus classes will continue as scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday. These will be important final in-person opportunities for your faculty to give you vital information on how the transition will affect you. Do not miss class unless providentially hindered!
  • All chapel services for the week are cancelled. No further large-group (>50) activities will be taking place.
  • Please continue the healthy practices and sanitation protocols we have been observing as well as “social distancing.” Anyone with a persistent cough or fever should check in with the Student Health Center immediately.
  • Meal service adjustments are being implemented beginning with dinner this evening. To-go boxes will be used. No more than 50 students at a time may eat in the dining room (please do not linger once you have finished eating.) At this time, we can no longer serve outside guests. Employees should not eat in the dining room this week in order to make room for our students.
  • As of this evening, the Chamber Singers are still planning to perform a home concert by livestream on Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. (There will be no live audience.) The morning chapel concert has been cancelled.
  • All dorm students must complete the check-out process by Friday at 5:00 p.m. Those who decide to stay on campus (whether through the spring break or returning after spring break) will be moving into a designated men’s dorm or women’s dorm. Students who elect not to return to campus following spring break should move their items into dorm summer storage or take everything with them when they leave. Your dorm supervisors will have further information for you on the check-out process and collecting information about your choices (see below).

The faculty will use next week’s scheduled spring break to prepare for the online transition, and distance-formatted classes will “resume” on Monday, March 30.

YOUR CHOICE:

  • Stay on Campus: if you choose to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester, you will have access to the MBU network to work on your online classes, access to the Library and faculty assistance as well as student support services, etc. Food service will also continue. Normal student life events will not be taking place such as daily chapel, spring athletic events, or the spring play. Campus work opportunities and private music lessons may also continue. We understand that international students and others may not have many other options, and we want to make sure you know that we will continue to do everything within our power to maintain a safe and healthy campus for you should you choose to stay.
  • Leave Campus: if you choose to leave campus, you will be responsible to keep up with your academic coursework. This will require a stable and reliable internet connection on your end to access MyMaranatha and the various videos and other learning activities your faculty are preparing. You must also provide an approved proctor when required by faculty. You are still a full-time MBU student, so you must approach this with serious dedication and plan to devote as much if not more time each week to your studies. A process is under development for students leaving campus to apply for a credit of a portion of the semester’s room & board charges, giving individual consideration to pro-ration of institutional scholarships and other fees on a case-by-case basis.

No doubt this transition will raise many questions. We will all work together to provide reasonable answers. The semester schedule will remain on track for final exams to take place May 4-6. It is too soon to know how this will impact Graduation ceremonies.

Maranatha Baptist Academy has suspended its operations in compliance with the Governor’s order. The Kiddie Kampus childcare facility will remain open as a part of the community’s critical infrastructure and support plan.

We know that this dramatic change of plans will cause some turmoil and disruption to your life. Our hearts break for our graduating seniors especially as this is certainly not the experience you had in mind for your last semester of college. We love you and remain committed to your academic success and development into the leader that God wants you to be “to the Praise of His Glory.” We will remain available to you for personal discipleship, and in the days to come we will develop creative ways to maintain our sense of community. We will continue to pray for you and rejoice as we see the Lord provide in these extraordinary circumstances.

Psalm 46 has been a particular comfort. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea… Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

-Dr. Matt Davis, Executive Vice President


UPDATES from MBU ADMINISTRATION

Friday, March 13, 2020, 5:00 PM

This has been a very eventful day. When we are absorbed in a crisis it is easy to become extremely self-centered and anxious. A faithful Christian sees the Lord working in every trial of life and seeks to bring God glory through serving others. What could you do secretly to show God’s love by serving someone else today? “Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving unseen. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains for honor and recognition.” (R. Foster)

World Updates

President Trump declared a national health emergency to free up budgeted disaster relief funds and mobilizes FEMA to direct federal aid to the states. No travel bans or restrictions have been issued.

Governor Evers exercised his statutory authority to order the closure of all K-12 schools in the State of Wisconsin from March 18 until April 6. Maranatha Baptist Academy will observe this schedule. Further information will be emailed directly to school families.

The Higher Learning Commission cancelled its Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.

MBU Updates

  • Dr. Davis met today with representatives from the Student Body Council and Dorm Supervisors for feedback and an opportunity to review upcoming adjustments and options. The support of the student body and general cooperation have been outstanding as we work together for the best possible outcomes.
  • Chapel for Monday, March 16, has been cancelled. Further information about chapel later next week will be announced as those plans are finalized.
  • Students should limit non-essential travel to public areas outside the Watertown area this Saturday. Avoid areas like Madison where several active cases have been reported.
  • Most area churches are making schedule adjustments this weekend. Stay tuned to information from your local church and please cooperate with those instructions. Student Life expectations for church attendance will simply mirror those of your church’s requests. (If your church goes to a livestream format, cancels Sunday School or mid-week services, etc.) The Madrigal Choir concert at Calvary in Watertown is scheduled to continue as planned Sunday evening at 5:00 PM.
  • Faculty and staff at-risk for health concerns are being accommodated as needed and excused from larger group gatherings.

Friday, March 13, 2020, 11:30 AM

The City of Watertown has issued new guidance for businesses, educational institutions, and faith communities. No cases of coronavirus have been reported in the Watertown area. Local healthcare facilities are stocked with test kits and now have the capability to process tests on-site. MBU is closely following the relevant guidelines and recommendations. Of note, “there is currently no recommendation to close worship sites in the United States in response to COVID-19.” We have been asked to consider limiting large group actitivites of over 250 people and today we are working to implement that recommendation. Further adjustments will be announced soon for impacted events such as daily chapel.

Athletic competition cancellations continue to roll in. The Athletic Department has established a webpage specifically to track updates to the schedule. Follow the “action” at mbusabercats.com/covid19.

MBU continues to welcome visitors to the campus. However, residence hall housing for guests will not available for the remainder of the semester. Local hotels and the MBU Guest Suites are available for overnight accommodations. No outside rentals of campus facilities will be allowed through the month of April.

The Student Life Office is reaching out to local partnering churches today concerning any schedule or attendance adjustments or limitations they may be making and MBU will accommodate any changes with regard to student and employee attendance expectations.


Thursday, March 12, 2020, 4:00 PMEvent Updates

Wisconsin Governor Evers has declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus. This is an administrative step that allows for the flow of government resources and preventative measures and does NOT indicate the presence of an outbreak in the state. MBU is complying with all the health department guidelines and closely monitoring health department recommendations for implementation and application to MBU. No cases have been reported on campus or in the Watertown area.

The CDC has issued specific guidance for higher education institutions. MBU is closely monitoring the recommendations and implementing all protective measures. Of note, the CDC is NOT recommending colleges and universities close.

The MBU administration has been in contact today with Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland to coordinate local support. We are very thankful for the support of the city and the steps of preparation taken by our local health care providers.

The Wisconsin Board of Nursing met today with the academic heads of the state’s nursing schools to review academic requirements for clinical service. A petition is being prepared to ask the Governor’s office to waive some requirements that could be in jeopardy due to the coronavirus response of local hospitals. All parties have pledged full cooperation. No disruption to the academic progress of nursing students is anticipated.

Based on the Wisconsin health department’s recommendations, upcoming public performances of Beauty and the Beast will be limited to 250 seats. All regularly scheduled performances are being maintained at this time. Tickets go on sale generally starting Monday, March 16, for performances running April 16-25.

A host of changes are taking place to spring athletic schedules. The most up-to-date information can be found, as always, at www.mbusabercats.com and on twitter follow @mbusabercats. The following important updates impact this week’s action:

Spring Break: Dorms on campus will remain open through spring break. The administration is waiving the usual dorm fee. To accommodate students on campus, meal service WILL be offered (lunch and dinner) in the DC. The cost to stay on campus, inclusive of meals is $80. The Student Life Office will circulate a survey tomorrow collecting information on spring break travel. For many students, staying on campus may be the safest and best option. Students are advised NOT to travel to parts of the country where outbreaks have occurred. Anyone traveling internationally over spring break will NOT be allowed to return to campus for the remainder of the spring semester.


Thursday, March 12, 2020, 10:56 AM—MBU’s Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

This is an update on the current status of MBU’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. We love our students and want you to know that your health and security are a top priority. As President Trump made clear last night, this is a serious and somewhat unprecedented matter. Yesterday alone, dozens of colleges and universities announced closures and other drastic measures, including the University of Wisconsin’s Madison and Milwaukee campuses. I’m sure later today you will hear of others making similar decisions. The NBA suspended its season and March Madness is now cancelled.

The situation is changing rapidly. Early on, MBU assembled a Campus Health Task Force that meets regularly, chaired by the Dean of Students and made up of myself and representatives from Student Life, the Science and Nursing faculty, Student Health Center, and Athletics. A larger team made up of additional members from our food service, custodial, academy, and other affected departments is also meeting as needed. The task force is analyzing guidance from experts associated with all the major government and industry authorities. MBU’s emergency response plan includes contingencies that help frame our options and protocols that guide our decisions.

At this time, MBU is not making any changes to the academic calendar following spring break. Every community and city is different, and we are blessed to be located in Watertown. The local authorities and hospitals are prepared with testing and quarantine capabilities. No cases or suspected cases have been reported in our area. This could change and we are ready to respond quickly if it does.

MBU has made some lesser adjustments. Last night, in consultation with Dr. Marriott, Dr. Ledgerwood, and Dr. Harrison, we made the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming Chamber Singers choir tour. We recognize the incredible amount of work and preparation that went into the tour, and we know the Lord will honor that preparation and the heart of service that motivates all of our efforts. Additional adjustments are being considered as new information is available.

Last week, Dr. Garza-Madrid helped us understand the science behind this disease. The word “pandemic” has now been publicly used and we understand what that term indicates. We will not be ruled by fear or anxiety. We trust God to protect us as He always has in His sovereign power. And we have also implemented a series of sanitation protocols to maintain the health of our campus community.

These include education in healthy practices; increased custodial efforts and frequency in high-traffic areas, classrooms and residence halls; health center access and availability for testing and quarantine if necessary; cancellation of certain functions and events; and preparation for accommodating those who may be affected to ensure no one’s academic progress is impeded.

Warmer weather and the availability of more wide-spread testing should help bring this under control and help us avoid a major disruption to your semester. If, however, the Lord should lead in that direction, MBU has the capability and the faculty are prepared to provide alternative formats for you to complete your coursework remotely.

Spring break presents a particular challenge. No one should travel internationally over spring break. We will have further instructions very shortly that will help us collect information and track everyone’s travel over the break. Please be prudent and make adjustments to your plans as warranted. Do not go to an area where an outbreak is underway. Take some time right now to consider changing your plans if you are traveling somewhere other than your home. It could affect your ability to return to campus and complete the semester. (Any student unable to return to campus for health reasons will be accommodated.)

Please continue to pray for the administration. We are very thankful for your support and encouragement.

Dr. Matt Davis
Executive Vice President BS, JD | Corporate Counsel

Please continue to read the Q&A sections below to learn details about any changes for our campus and learn more about our ongoing efforts to respond to this virus.

Trusting God During Coronavirus—Philippians 4:6-7

Dr. Marcos Garza-Madrid, MBU science faculty

MBU COVID19 Q&A

What has been MBU’s response to the virus so far?

The situation is changing rapidly. Early on, MBU assembled a Campus Health Task Force that meets regularly, chaired by the Dean of Students and made up of executive vice president Matt Davis and representatives from Student Life, the Science and Nursing faculty, Student Health Center, and Athletics. A larger team made up of additional members from our foodservice, custodial, academy, and other affected departments is also meeting as needed.

The task force is analyzing guidance from experts associated with all the major government and industry authorities. MBU’s emergency response plan includes contingencies that help frame our options and protocols that guide our decisions. Daily updates are provided on this page and shared on MyMaranatha.

What changes are being made to MBU’s academic calendar?

  • All in-person classes and extra-curricular activities (Wed., 3/18/20 @ 5 p.m.)
  • Gatherings, assemblies, and group meetings of 10 or more. (Group meetings should be conducted via Zoom whenever possible.)

What changes have been made for MBU traveling groups and teams?

  • Chamber Singers choir tour has been cancelled
  • All summer ensemble tours have been cancelled. Notifications are pending to host churches and ministries.