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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

May Paul’s words to the Philippians give us encouragement and peace as America faces the Coronavirus crisis, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

East Texas Baptist University’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) has been closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the United States on a daily basis. The Coronavirus global pandemic that we currently face in our country is the gravest public health crisis in the last century, and the rapid rate at which it has developed and spread across the globe has led to uncertainty. ETBU is striving to take proactive measures that are in the best interest of the health and safety of the University community. 

Our hope and prayer has been for the ETBU Family to reunite on campus this semester; however, based on the recent developments regarding Governor Abbott’s statewide Stay-at-Home order this past Monday and other community-spread areas with similar shelter orders where ETBU community members are presently located, ETBU has made the decision to continue online learning for all courses over the remaining 6 weeks of the Spring 2020 semester. As we make difficult decisions, our focus remains on the importance of protecting the entire University community and ensuring the strength and stability of ETBU’s Christ-centered mission to develop Christian servant leaders. 

Board Plan Credit

Board Plan

Credit Amount

7-meal

$588.88

14-meal

$820.54

19-meal

$907.14

COVID-19 Credit

In addition to this board credit and in accordance with financial aid policies and practices, ETBU will provide all on-campus residential students with a special COVID-19 credit for housing and residential services in the amount of $400. If the housing and/or meal plan adjustments result in a credit balance on the student account, the student will be provided a refund. Those who receive a refund may choose to apply it toward their Fall 2020 semester bill. Students will be required to clear their account balances, less any credits or refunds, with the Business Office. If you have any questions regarding this process, email businessoffice@etbu.edu.   

Move-Out Process

In order to give us time to effectively manage the move-out process for students who are not presently on campus, ETBU will maintain restricted campus access to permit only those who have been living on campus during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are currently residing away from campus, you will need to schedule a check-out time between April 13-26, 2020. A separate email from the Office of Residence Life regarding this move-out process with sign-up date and time options will be sent to all campus residents on Friday, March 27. Due to the community spread across Texas and Louisiana, if you are currently NOT residing at ETBU, prior campus admittance through the health screening process will NOT grant you campus access until your scheduled move out time.

Housing and Campus Services

Our first priority is the safety of our students. We will continue to provide housing for those residential students who have been residing on campus during the Coronavirus crisis period of March 9 through today or who have 12-month residential lease contracts at University Park Row Houses and The Oaks on Grove Townhomes. We encourage students currently residing on campus to return to their permanent residence, if at all possible. Students currently residing on campus who choose to return to their permanent residence, must schedule a time with the Office of Residence Life or their Resident Director to move out.

Due to the limited number of students utilizing the dining services at Bennett Student Commons, Sodexo will cease offering food service on Friday, March 27, after the evening meal. If you have transportation or food needs and are currently residing on campus, please reach out to the Office of Residence Life at reslife@etbu.edu or 903.200.1159. The following services will remain open:

Jarrett Library Hours (After hours support is available through “Ask a Librarian”)
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Mail Services at Ornelas Student Center
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.  

ETBU is working on your behalf with our vendors to provide relief during this national emergency. The University leadership has negotiated with our food service contractor, Sodexo, to provide a credit for meal service according to your individual board and/or flex plans.  Along with the board plan credit, if applicable, students will receive the remaining balance of any unexpended Spring 2020 flex dollars. 

We look forward to the time when we can again welcome everyone back to our Home on the Hill. We are hopeful that many of you will return to campus for the May 2020 Mini-Terms, which are set to begin Monday, May 11. We must remain flexible and understand that this date is subject to change based on conditions and governmental regulations at that time. Recall that there is no tuition charge for mini-term enrollment. Complimentary housing for the May Mini-Term period will be provided to students who desire to reside on campus. This complimentary housing does not apply to residents of University Park Row Houses or The Oaks on Grove Townhomes. All complimentary housing locations and assigned classrooms will be professionally cleaned and sanitized to offer a healthy and safe living-learning environment.

Let us have faith in the Lord Jesus and place our trust in God’s redeeming plan. With the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to face adversity as a body of believers and model perseverance and love to this fallen world. We will emerge on the other side of this season as a stronger, more united ETBU Tiger family.

FAQs

Employees
  • ETBU will operate with essential on-campus personnel, who have completed the required health screening. Divisional vice presidents will communicate to essential personnel instructions for reporting March 16 - May 1.
  • Other ETBU employees may be assigned to work remotely from home. Individuals with underlying health conditions or in at-risk populations for COVID-19 should work from home and not access the ETBU campus. Divisional vice presidents will communicate to employees their assigned remote work responsibilities.
  • Faculty and staff who need access to their office, even temporarily, will need to complete ETBU’s health screening survey.

Specific information for students, faculty, and staff will be sent out via email as updates warrant. Thank you for your diligence in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus in our nation, region, homes, and on the ETBU campus.

Please continue to pray for the health and safety of our ETBU community.

    WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SICK OR FEELING ILL

    If you are sick or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent your illness from spreading to people in your residence and our community.

    1. Please seek medical attention to identify and address your illness.
      Students Please report your illness to Dr. Heather Hadlock in the Office of Student Life at 903.923.2319 or email at hhadlock@etbu.edu.
      Employees Please report your illness and absence to your supervisor or to Tara Bachtel in the Human Resources Department at 903.923.2119 or email tbachtel@etbu.edu.  
    2. Please stay at home or in your student campus residence room until you are well.  
    3. Remain at home or in your campus residence, if you have a sick family member in your home or a sick roommate in your residential unit.  
    4. Give sick members their own room, if possible, and keep the door closed. Have only one person care for sick individuals.
    5. Consider providing additional protections or more intensive care for household members over 60 years old or those with underlying health conditions.
    6. Report absenteeism or reports of illness of employees or students.  
    7. Faculty will report all students absent from class to the Office of Academic Success at 903.923.2076.
    8. Supervisors will report all absent or sick employees to Tara Bachtel in the Human Resources Department at 903.923.2119 or email tbachtel@etbu.edu.
    9. Students report any student whom you believe to be sick to Dr. Heather Hadlock in the Office of Student Life at 903.923.2319 or email at hhadlock@etbu.edu.  

    Check out the CDC’s website, for more information about what to do if you are sick.

    ETBU CLEANING and PREVENTATIVE PROCEDURES

    The ETBU Physical Operations Department conducted extensive cleaning of all main campus buildings during Spring Break. As ETBU did prior to Spring Break, we are following our standard cleaning practices with the use of EPA-approved, hospital-grade disinfectants in public restrooms, classrooms, and offices. We have enhanced our overnight cleaning procedures. During Spring Break, we expanded the use of the disinfectants throughout campus, which includes: 

    1. Cleaning all classrooms including tables, desks, chairs, and door knobs. 
    2. Cleaning lobbies, restrooms, and hallways.
    3. Disinfectant fogging large areas such as Baker Chapel, Dean Healthplex Fitness Center, Maxwell Strength Center, and athletic locker rooms.

    ETBU will continue these cleaning measures but encourage students and faculty to utilize the disinfectant wipes provided in classrooms to sanitize their assigned or selected seat prior to each class. Please continually use the University-provided hand sanitizers placed throughout campus. 

    We are working with Sodexo, ETBU’s food services provider to strengthen health screening for cafeteria and restaurant staff. Sodexo will ensure cafeteria and restaurant staff practice strict hygiene. Disposable gloves will be worn by all food services personnel handling food.  

    elbow bump

    How to Take Care of Yourself

    Practice social distancing and adjusted personal contact 
    1. Restrict physical contact. No handshaking, hugging, etc. Use other non-contact methods of greeting. 
    2. Restrict sharing of drinks, food, drinking glasses/cups, eating utensils, towels, clothes, or any personal items. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. 
    3. Strive to maintain three to six (3-6) feet of space between individuals.
    4. Use only your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc.
    5. Open doors with your closed fist or hip, try not to grasp the handle with your hand.
    Defer or cancel domestic and international travel

    CDC recommends travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship and non-essential air travel

    1. ETBU is requiring the disclosure of information from students, faculty, and staff, as well as the travel of any individuals that live in your household, about personal international and/or domestic air travel. 
    2. To reduce spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, ETBU will enforce a 14-day restriction from the ETBU campus for any ETBU faculty, staff, or student who traveled to a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 country during Spring Break (March 6-15) or later, until further notice.
    3. Cancellation of all University-related air travel for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

    View the most up-to-date travel advisories on the CDC’s and State Department’s websites.

    Practice healthy hygiene habits
    1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating or preparing food; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after contact with animals or pets; before and after routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g., a child or elderly person).
    4. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    5. Practice cough/sneeze etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (bent elbow).  Do not cough or sneeze directly into your hands or into the air.

    From the CDC, view tips for how prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

    Communications to the ETBU Community

    Tuesday, March 31, 2020 | Student COVID-19 Update | Students

    Students,

    I want to thank you for remaining flexible as we navigate the ever-changing, and evolving Coronavirus situation.  During this time of physical separation from the University, please know that we are praying for you daily and that we miss your presence and activity on campus.  As we continue to adapt to this new, temporary way of life, I want to provide answers and reminders to some commonly asked questions.  To keep you informed throughout this time where you are away from campus, we have a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 updates and frequently asked questions (FAQs). 

    Chapel Credit
    We know that you have been faced with a variety of unexpected changes over the past couple of weeks and may be feeling the stress of completing your course work for the semester in some new ways. As a Christ-centered institution, ETBU values the worship experiences we have as a University community in Chapel. I hope you have taken advantage of the opportunity to worship with the ETBU Family the past two Mondays through our virtual online chapel services.  If you have not, you can watch them by clicking here.  In an effort to reduce some of the stress you may be feeling, all students will receive Chapel credit for the Spring 2020 semester

    Commencement and Senior Rings
    Seniors, as President Blackburn has communicated in a prior email, East Texas Baptist University is committed to proceeding with a Commencement ceremony. After the Coronavirus spread flattens and we are given a recommendation of release from guidelines on events with large-sized audiences from the CDC, we will celebrate the 2020 graduating class of ETBU with all the pomp and circumstance we can muster. 

    I know many of you also have questions about your senior rings.  When ETBU receives the senior rings from Jostens, these will be mailed directly to you at your home address. 

    Louisiana/Texas Border Executive Order
    Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order to limit travel across the borders between Texas and Louisiana.  With this order, in conjunction with Louisiana’s Shelter-in-Place order, we recommend that ETBU students not travel back and forth across the state line.  As outlined in Governor Abbott’s Executive Order, individuals can be fined up to $1,000 for violating this order.  Travel across the border will be allowed for commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions.  Individuals crossing the border from Louisiana to Texas will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

    If you are a resident of Louisiana and are currently at your home, we ask that you do not cross the state line or return to the ETBU campus at this time. This order will affect the timing of the residence hall move-out process.  Students, who are currently residing on the ETBU campus and are from Louisiana, should not be traveling back and forth between their home and the ETBU campus. We welcome you to stay in your residence hall if you are currently on campus.  If you choose to go ahead and move-out of your residence hall and return to your home in Louisiana, please contact your resident director.  Upon the lifting or changing of this travel restriction, we will work with Louisiana students to schedule a time for you to return to campus and collect your belongings from your residence hall.

    Heather Hadlock, Ed.D.
    Vice President for Student Life
    East Texas Baptist University
    903.923.2320 | hhadlock@etbu.edu
    www.etbu.edu

    Monday, March 30, 2020 | ETBU Prayer & Praise | ETBU Family

    ETBU Family,

    Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

    ·      Today, we ask the God of mercy and miracles to move mightily among us, granting us hope and healing. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

    ·       Please find attached a quick guide to Prayer Walking. Amid the cumbersome aspects of social distancing, perhaps you are discovering fresh motivation and more opportunities to walk and pray. I hope you find this resource to be helpful. 

    ·      If you would like to receive daily text messages which include Scriptures to read aloud, please reply to this email with your cell number, and we'll set our hearts on common ground (in strikingly uncommon and holy ways) as we claim the Lord's promises together.

    Saturday, March 28, 2020 | Family Call to Prayer | ETBU Family

    This morning my thoughts were with you as we remain separated in our physical presence here on the Hill. I was delighted to see a small group of students contained in the confines here on campus last night. Their unity and joy in fellowship encouraged me as I feel such isolation from the broader University Family. But we know that the Spirit that lives within all of us unites Christians in fellowship through the connectivity we have as God’s children and servants of Jesus Christ.

    In my quiet time today, I turned to a familiar passage from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. His letter was sent with Tychicus to strengthen and encourage the church in this major city in the Roman Empire in A.D. 60. Paul’s intent was to teach believers how to nurture and maintain unity of the church.

    Paul exclaims that in our Christian walk, we must recognize the constant battle we face against the powerful and evil forces of the devil. To withstand his attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His spiritual armor and weaponry to protect us in the battle of light over darkness, good over evil.

    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

    Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

    Ephesians 6:10-18

    Paul proclaims that the whole body of the Christian believer must be armed and uniformed for the attacks that ensue—the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet for the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit are the weaponry Christ Jesus empowers in us to stand firm in the wake of war with evil. We must be aware and prepared for the devil seeks to destroy the body of Believers and the work of Christ through His followers. Although we are assured of victory, we must be fitted with God’s armor for engagement in the struggle, because Satan is constantly battling against those who are on the Lord’s side. God’s armor protects us from the darkness waged and the fiery darts flung by Satan. We can be confident and trust in God with the provisions for battle we have been given by the Holy Spirit within us.

    Paul concludes this passage that the war against darkness and evil cannot be waged without “praying in the Spirit on all occasions.” We are to lift our requests and petitions to the Lord. Paul warns us to be alert and to be vigilant as we pray for protection and victory for ourselves and as we intercede for fellow Believers.

    Today, we are in a battle against a dark force we cannot easily identify, see, or fight. I am convinced that if we do not confront and combat the pestilence that plagues our world through the Coronavirus crisis with the armor God has given us and call on the power and blood of Jesus to eradicate this disease, then we have missed the reality of the clash between the beautiful world and the magnificent beings God created for His glory and the darkness, disease, and death Satan has manufactured in his attempts to destroy our hope and derail us from following God’s plan for our righteousness.

    As I listen to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Tony Fauci, and Dr. Deborah Birx among others leading our government in the war against COVID-19, I return to President Trump’s early call for the nation to pray and his most recent plea of “how great it would be if we could all be in church on Easter Sunday,” which was met with much criticism and rebuke from the media, medical pundits, and opposing politicians. Yet in President Trump’s attempted offer of a glimmer of hope for our nation and the world, I saw the mystery in his notion that we would celebrate Easter and what that Sunday morning 2000 years ago brought us in spiritual healing and eternal life through the Risen Savior.

    This morning, I reflected on earlier times in our world when leaders called on people not only to pray, but to truly acknowledge the One True God, to humble themselves, to seek His forgiveness, and to praise and worship our Heavenly Father—from whom we now know the mystery of the Gospel as God sent His Son to the world to save His children from all the evil and darkness that Satan can muster in his hopeless fight against the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

    Think and reflect with me when non-Hebrew kings of other nations called their people and the Israelites to worship God and what happened...

    CYRUS

    In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build a temple for Him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of His people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’ ”

    2 Chronicles 36:22-23

    NEBUCHADNEZZAR

    Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

    Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

    Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants! They trusted in Him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

    Daniel 3:19-29

    KING OF NINEVEH (ASSYRIA)

    Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened.

    Jonah 3:1-10

    We are blessed with the knowledge of God given to humanity to create medicine, technology, and therapies that have confronted illness and disease over the past century, yet in this era of the most innovation of all time, we stand in the midst of a new plague that is raging across our nation, debilitating and devastating our lives. With the hope of containment strategies and protocol treatments to limit the time of infection and the painful effects of Coronavirus, we await the creation and manufacturing of a vaccine for immunity and protection from this disease.

    Returning to President Trump’s calling the nation to prayer on March 15 and his hopeful appeal to fellowship in churches on Easter Sunday morning on April 12, I ask us as Believers in the God of mercy and miracles, to follow Paul’s call in Ephesians 6 to “stand firm” in our faith and to “keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

    With hope and trust in the Lord’s promise from His command and covenant with Solomon and His people in 2 Chronicles 7:14, will you and your family humbly and faithfully join me united in an intercessory call to prayer as we seek the face of God every day at 7:14 a.m. and every night at 7:14 p.m., asking the Lord for His forgiveness of our sins and His miraculous healing across our nation? Will you please consider committing twice daily prayer for spiritual and physical healing?  

    When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among My people, if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

    2 Chronicles 7:13-15

    May God be glorified, “Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard (Psalms 66:8).” May the name of above all names, Jesus, be proclaimed as He declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).”

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    JBB
    J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University

    Friday, March 27, 2020 | Move Out Instructions | ETBU Students

    Residents,

    I trust you have read President Blair Blackburn’s email regarding the extension of online learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.  The purpose of this email is to explain and outline the move-out process referenced in Dr. Blackburn’s email.

    At this time, ETBU will maintain restricted campus access, allowing only those students who have been living on campus during the COVID-19 crisis to remain on campus.  If you are currently staying off campus, you will not be able to return to campus prior to the April 13-26 move-out dates.

    Students currently on campus:
    Students who are currently on campus are encouraged to move-out and return home, if possible. If moving home is not an option, we welcome you to remain on campus through the conclusion of the Spring 2020 semester.  You must email your Resident Director to notify them of the date you plan to move out or to request to remain in campus housing.  Upon check-out, your Resident Director will provide you with your checkout form.  You must return this form and your room key to your Resident Director before you leave campus.

    Students currently off campus: 
    Due to the current circumstances of the community spread of the Coronavirus and the multiple shelter-in-place orders across the state of Texas and beyond, students who are currently off campus will not be able to return to campus to move out of their room until the designated move-out period.  Please understand that we are not allowing any new people who are not already on campus to return for any reason until April 13.  This process allows us to manage the number of students in the residence halls and practice social distancing guidelines.

    University Park and The Oaks Residents:
    University Park and Oaks on Grove Residents will be able to remain in their apartment due to the 12-month housing agreement.  Please email reslife@etbu.edu to let the residence life staff know if you will be in your residence or if you are staying home.  If you choose to move out, please sign up for a time here.

    Move-Out Process for April 13-26:
    Move-out time slots will be available in three-hour increments each day between Monday, April 13 – Sunday, April 26.  The number of residents able to sign up for each move-out time slot is limited to five(5) per residence hall.  Available time slots will be 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  You can sign up for a move-out time on the ETBU Intranet Page.  Click here, login with your ETBU email and password and then scroll down to the section titled Forms and Documents and click on Sign Up for Move-Out Times.

    For the safety of your fellow ETBU Tigers and their families, please do not come if you or your move-out helper(s) are symptomatic of illness according the CDC.

    When you come to check out:

    • Bring your own packing, moving, and cleaning supplies.
    • No more than two people may come to help you move out.
    • In Centennial, if you use the elevator, please limit usage to one family at a time.
    • Your check-out envelope, which includes your checkout form and move out instructions, will be placed in your room prior to your arrival.
    • When you have vacated and cleaned the room, please make sure you have checked off all of the steps listed on the move out instructions document.
    • Place your key in the check-out envelope and drop the envelope in the box outside the RA Office in the lobby of your residence hall.
    • There will be no room inspections upon check-out. However, egregious or intentional damages to the room may be charged to the resident’s account.  Failure to return your key will result in a $25 fine.
    • Overnight stays will not be permitted during the move-out process. You must move-out during your selected three-hour time slot.
    • Stop by Campus Services in the Ornelas Student Center to pick up your mail.  You will need to make arrangements with vendors/companies to change your mailing address.  ETBU is not able to provide mail forwarding services.

    If you have any questions about the Move-Out process, please contact Residence Life via email at reslife@etbu.edu or call the RD-on-Call at 903-200-1159.

    We are praying for you and your families during these days of much change and unknowns.  We miss you here on the hill.  It is much too quiet without you.  The Student Life staff looks forward to the day we can welcome you back to your “Home on the Hill.” 

    May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May his face shine upon you and bring you peace!

    Blessings,

    Heather Hadlock, Ed.D.
    Vice President for Student Life
    East Texas Baptist University
    903-923-2320 | hhadlock@etbu.edu
    www.etbu.edu

    Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Academic Reminders and Temporary Policy Change

    Students,

    When I was six my family went to the opening of Disney World. I remember two things from that visit. I lost my Mickey Mouse hat looking out of one of skyrides and my parents would not buy me another one. Yeah, my parents were tough, too.  I also remember the It’s a Small World ride. I really did not get it that day but I was amazed by the beautiful costumes and how different each culture was….but there was this song repeating over and over about this small world. In the mind of a child, it looked big, even huge. Today I understand more completely how small our world is and how we are in this together – environmentally, economically, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. What I mean to say is, we as your faculty are in this with you. You are not alone, and we relate to the concerns and challenges you are facing. We want to support you and challenge you to work hard and finish strong.

    Academic Support

    • Tutoring – Faculty are providing virtual tutoring during their office hours.  If you need tutoring, please contact your faculty member directly to set this up.
    • Textbook Access – If you left your textbooks on campus, most are available electronically.  The bookstore has partnered with RedShelf to help provide access: https://studentresponse.redshelf.com/  Also, if you are concerned about returning rentals to the bookstore, you will be able to return books via US mail to the bookstore as soon as the term is over by printing free shipping labels.  In order to print your free shipping label, wait for the rental reminder email that is sent 14 days before your rental due date. The email is sent again 7 days, 3 days, and the day of your due date. This email contains a link to generate a free return shipping label and packing slip.  Students who are on campus, may return their textbooks in person, but should call the bookstore ahead of time to make arrangements. 
    • Study Skills and Managing Online Assignments – It can be overwhelming to try to keep up with online assignments.  Our Academic Success staff are still here to help with academic coaching, study skills, and online access tips.  If you are struggling to keep up, please email academicsuccess@etbu.edu.
    • Internet Access – If you are struggling to keep up because you have inadequate or no computer/internet access, please email academicsuccess@etbu.edu
    • Registration for Fall Classes – If you have not yet heard from your advisor about registration for fall, you need to change your major, or you have questions about registration, please email academicsuccess@etbu.edu

    Pass/Pass D/ No Credit Policy

    In the past few weeks the University family has faced unprecedented challenges.  In recognition of these challenges, our faculty have approved the following temporary policy change. Undergraduates will have the opportunity to change any of their spring course grades to Pass/Pass D/No Credit once all grades have been entered.

    • At the end of the spring 2020 semester, faculty will submit course grades based upon the grading scale in their syllabi. There are no changes here.
    • Any course is eligible to be converted to Pass/Pass D/No Credit based on student election. 
      A grade of A, B, or C can be changed to Pass.

    A grade of D can be changed to Pass D or No Credit.

    A grade of F/XF can be changed to No Credit.

    • Courses for which Pass/Pass D/No Credit is earned by the student will not count toward GPA calculations. Please note that some course prerequisites and degree progression standards require a specific grade — for example, a “C” — for progression. The University will allow a grade of “Pass” to satisfy these requirements. However, a grade of “Pass D” at the end of the spring 2020 semester will not allow a student to progress forward for courses that require a “C.” Students could also decide to take No credit in a course where they received Pass D.
    • We strongly encourage students, who are seeking licensure/admission to professional program (teacher education), or graduate school, to have serious conversations with their respective dean, academic advisor, and/or department faculty regarding implications for future plans. A “Pass” may not be sufficient for admission or qualification for these programs. Students preparing for or in the nursing program will remain in their current letter grading system and are required to meet with their advisor if they choose to convert a course to Pass/Pass D/No Credit to discuss implications for acceptance into or progression in the nursing program.
    • Graduating Seniors will have between May 12 - May 15 at 5 p.m. to identify those courses for which they would like to convert their assigned grade to a Pass/Pass D/No Credit.
    • All other undergraduate students will have between May 12 and May 22 at 5 p.m. to identify those courses for which they would like to convert their assigned grade to a Pass/Pass D/No Credit.
    • Faculty will submit all grades including graduating seniors on Monday, May 11 at Noon according to the grading scale in their syllabi.
    • While GPA may not be affected this semester should a student chose to apply this policy, progress toward a degree will be impacted when students receive No Credit and may impact a student’s academic or financial aid standing. 
    • This policy only applies to spring 2020 for undergraduate students.

    On May 12, you will receive and email with a link that guides you through the process of converting your grades should you decide to do this.

    Be Safe and Stay Tiger Strong!
    ts

    Monday, March 25, 2020 | Presidential Update | Campus Community

    Online Learning Extension through Spring 2020 Semester

    ETBU Campus Community, 

    East Texas Baptist University’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) has been closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the United States on a daily basis. The Coronavirus global pandemic that we currently face in our country is the gravest public health crisis in the last century, and the rapid rate at which it has developed and spread across the globe has led to uncertainty. ETBU is striving to take proactive measures that are in the best interest of the health and safety of the University community. 

    Our hope and prayer has been for the ETBU Family to reunite on campus this semester; however, based on the recent developments regarding Governor Abbott’s statewide Stay-at-Home order this past Monday and other community-spread areas with similar shelter orders where ETBU community members are presently located, ETBU has made the decision to continue online learning for all courses over the remaining 6 weeks of the Spring 2020 semester. As we make difficult decisions, our focus remains on the importance of protecting the entire University community and ensuring the strength and stability of ETBU’s Christ-centered mission to develop Christian servant leaders. 

    Please understand that, at this time, there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among ETBU students, faculty, staff, or University community members. However, we are following the recommendations of the federal, state, and county government authorities as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we are hopeful that by taking every precaution necessary, we can help minimize the impact of the Coronavirus on our nation and around the world.

    Students, I encourage you to carry on pursuing your academic studies and vocational pursuits with the same excellence and integrity that you always demonstrate.

    ETBU is working on your behalf with our vendors to provide relief during this national emergency. The University leadership has negotiated with our food service contractor, Sodexo, to provide a credit for meal service according to your individual board and/or flex plans.  Along with the board plan credit, if applicable, students will receive the remaining balance of any unexpended Spring 2020 flex dollars. 

    BOARD PLAN CREDIT CHART
     

    Board Plan

    Credit Amount

    7-meal

    $588.88

    14-meal

    $820.54

    19-meal

    $907.14

    In addition to this board credit and in accordance with financial aid policies and practices, ETBU will provide all on-campus residential students with a special COVID-19 credit for housing and residential services in the amount of $400. If the housing and/or meal plan adjustments result in a credit balance on the student account, the student will be provided a refund. Those who receive a refund may choose to apply it toward their Fall 2020 semester bill. Students will be required to clear their account balances, less any credits or refunds, with the Business Office. If you have any questions regarding this process, email businessoffice@etbu.edu.   

    Our first priority is the safety of our students. We will continue to provide housing for those residential students who have been residing on campus during the Coronavirus crisis period of March 9 through today or who have 12-month residential lease contracts at University Park Row Houses and The Oaks on Grove Townhomes. We encourage students currently residing on campus to return to their permanent residence, if at all possible. Students currently residing on campus who choose to return to their permanent residence, must schedule a time with the Office of Residence Life or their Resident Director to move out.

    Due to the limited number of students utilizing the dining services at Bennett Student Commons, Sodexo will cease offering food service on Friday, March 27, after the evening meal. If you have transportation or food needs and are currently residing on campus, please reach out to the Office of Residence Life at reslife@etbu.edu or 903.200.1159.

    In order to give us time to effectively manage the move-out process for students who are not presently on campus, ETBU will maintain restricted campus access to permit only those who have been living on campus during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are currently residing away from campus, you will need to schedule a check-out time between April 13-26, 2020. A separate email from the Office of Residence Life regarding this move-out process with sign-up date and time options will be sent to all campus residents on Friday, March 27. Please allow me to be clear: due to the community spread across Texas and Louisiana, if you are currently NOT residing at ETBU, prior campus admittance through the health screening process will NOT grant you campus access until your scheduled move out time.

    We look forward to the time when we can again welcome everyone back to our Home on the Hill. We are hopeful that many of you will return to campus for the May 2020 Mini-Terms, which are set to begin Monday, May 11. We must remain flexible and understand that this date is subject to change based on conditions and governmental regulations at that time. Recall that there is no tuition charge for mini-term enrollment. Complimentary housing for the May Mini-Term period will be provided to students who desire to reside on campus. This complimentary housing does not apply to residents of University Park Row Houses or The Oaks on Grove Townhomes. All complimentary housing locations and assigned classrooms will be professionally cleaned and sanitized to offer a healthy and safe living-learning environment.

    I want to extend my most sincere thanks to ETBU’s leadership for their wisdom and courage, our Board of Trustees for their unwavering support, and to all of our devoted faculty and staff, who are graciously working through new challenges as we continue to deliver high-quality, Christ-centered education to our students. We lift up those who are on the frontlines of health care, battling the Coronavirus every day.  We thank the Lord for our law enforcement, other emergency medical service providers, and government officials.

    Let us have faith in the Lord Jesus and place our trust in God’s redeeming plan. With the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to face adversity as a body of believers and model perseverance and love to this fallen world. We will emerge on the other side of this season as a stronger, more united ETBU Tiger family.

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    JBB

    Sunday, March 22, 2020 | Virtual Chapel Service | ETBU Family and Friends

    ETBU Virtual Chapel Service | Tomorrow, Monday, March 23, at 10:00 a.m

    ETBU Family and Friends,

    Just a reminder that we will join fellow ETBU Tigers and University friends for a Virtual Chapel Service tomorrow, Monday, March 23, at 10:00 a.m. We will be broadcasting student-led worship and an encouraging message from ETBU’s Dean of Spiritual Life, Dr. Scott Stevens. I look forward to uniting with you in worship and fellowship through technology.

    In preparation for worship in the morning, Dr. Stevens offers this word of encouragement,

    “One word that describes the current state of our world is disruption. In business and other fields, disruption can be beneficial because it leads to innovation. Universities, students, faculty, businesses, health care providers, and churches are certainly having to innovate because of COVID-19.

    King David also dealt with his fair share of disruption. Facing the stress of being hunted down by a jealous King Saul, David pretended to lose his mind to protect himself from an enemy (2 Sam. 21:1-15). But even in the midst of his struggles with King Saul, he was able to pen the following,

    ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in Him! You who are His holy ones, fear the Lord, for those who fear Him lack nothing.’ Psalm 34:8-9.’

    As we seek to navigate our current reality I encourage you to turn to the Lord, to try Him—to taste and see that He is good and that He is worthy of your trust and your worship. When we feel anxious His Word reminds us that He is our refuge—a strong and safe tower. In addition, when we fear (reverence, respect) the Lord, He provides for all our needs.

    How are you dealing with our current disruption? Though it proves we are not in control, it also reminds us that our loving God is, and has always been, on His throne.

    Father, thank You that You are our refuge and that You provide all we need. For a wonderful song based on Psalm 34 from Shane & Shane, listen here."

    To join us tomorrow morning, March 23, at 10:00 a.m., watch our ETBU social media accounts for a link to this special time of worship among family and friends of ETBU.

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    JBB

    J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University 

    Friday, March 20 | Presidential Update | ETBU Tigers

    The ETBU Family is Here for You!

    ETBU Tigers,

    I want to thank you for remaining flexible and patient as East Texas Baptist University navigates the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We understand that you have had to make some major adjustments to your daily routines, your social patterns, and your study methods. For so many students, not being at your Home of the Hill gives you feelings of displacement and disconnection. Please know how much we miss seeing and hearing you, and we cannot wait for your return to your campus home at ETBU.

    As a reminder, the ETBU campus remains open to all students, faculty, and staff, who have been reviewed by the ETBU Health and Safety Task Force, and have been granted access to campus. If you intend on returning to campus prior to April 6 and have not completed a Health Screening, please take a moment to fill out the Health Screening Survey. It can take up to 24 hours to receive a response, so please don’t wait until the last minute. With the volume of Health and Safety Task Force reviews conducted about 15 hours per day for the last seven days, ETBU will not be reviewing surveys over the weekend. If you submit the Health Screening Survey after 4:00 p.m. today (Friday), you will be reviewed on Monday, March 23.

    Campus housing is open to students, who have been approved to return to campus. Please note that the Dining Hall in Bennett Student Commons is providing meal pickup/to go packages (no dine-in) for brunch from 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., daily.  As an additional service to resident students on campus, who do NOT have a Board plan through the Dining Hall, a generous donor has enabled ETBU to provide you with complimentary meals each day during the brunch and dinner periods at the Dining Hall.  I know that travel to the grocery store can be challenging for some students and at times, there are limited food items in supply at stores, so hopefully this complimentary provision for non-Board students, who are on campus, will give you the meal support you need. To use the Board service at the Dining Hall, simply present your ETBU ID and sign in at the front counter for our records. 

    Jarrett Library is open to students, who need access to library resources, weekdays from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Additionally, we have academic support services, counseling services, Internet connectivity, and computer labs available to students during this time. Students needing academic support services may email academicsuccess@etbu.edu for assistance. Students seeking counseling services may email counselingcenter@etbu.edu for online individual counseling.

    Our custodial staff is working diligently to continually sanitize all open public spaces in campus buildings every day, including Jarrett Library and computer labs. I encourage you to continually sanitize or wash your hands. Be sure to sanitize your computer station or study area with the sanitizing wipes we have in Jarrett Library.

    As you figure out your new routines and decide what’s best for your physical and spiritual health, as well as your academic success, remember that your University Family is here to support you through this wearisome situation in our nation. I have reflected upon ETBU’s mission as a Christ-centered institution during these daunting days. Regardless of the crisis facing us, ETBU stands firm in its mission and continues to be poised in preparing you as a Christian servant leader in your calling to God and humanity. The seeming chaos of the current time can feel fast-paced as you scroll through your social media feeds. The truth is, as we encounter remoteness and separation, we have been given the gift of time. Time with family, time to study, time to reflect, time to read God’s word, and time to pray. We should be using this gift to commune with our Lord, to deepen our relationship with Jesus. ETBU’s priority is not only to prepare your mind and body for the future. We want to guide you in preparing your heart for the days ahead and the path God is directing you to follow. I encourage you to use your time wisely over the next couple of weeks. ETBU remains faithful to be a sacred place dedicated to educating you in your field, and even more, we want to support and challenge you in your pursuit of Christ. 

    Please know that I am fervently praying for the health and safety of our ETBU community and for the protection of your families. We look forward to joining together for a virtual chapel service on Monday, March 23, at 10:00 a.m. Find a link on our social media accounts to participate in this special time of worship as a University family.

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    JBB

    March 19, 2020 | Worship | ETBU Family

    WORSHIP | Join the ETBU Family for a Virtual Chapel Service | Monday, March 23 at 10:00 a.m.

    ETBU Family,

    Our nation and the world are facing a time of unprecedented disruption. Millions of Christians around the globe are unable to physically gather in worship, which is a major component of our Christian faith. Although we are constrained physically, let us not be constrained spiritually. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus looked ahead to a new day when He would be present among His followers not in body, but through His Holy Spirit, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.”

    Especially during this national emergency and period of social distancing, I am grateful to God for the blessing of modern technology that allows for the virtual “gathering” of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is of the utmost importance that the ETBU Family remains connected as we do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19; however, it is of greater importance to continue seeking the One who redeems, restores, and heals.

    While we may be unable to assemble together in Baker Chapel of the Rogers Spiritual Life Center, I invite you to join your fellow ETBU Tigers for a Virtual Chapel Service on Monday, March 23, at 10:00 a.m. We will be broadcasting student-led worship and an encouraging message from ETBU’s Dean of Spiritual Life, Dr. Scott Stevens. I look forward to personally sharing with you as well.  

    Tune in and learn about the new opportunities we have as a Tiger Family to boldly proclaim the Gospel as we ”Shine the Light” from wherever we may be during this time.

    As we prepare our hearts for worship, let’s mediate on Psalm 63:1-5, where David was hiding from his enemies in the Desert of Judah. David was extremely lonely, and he longed for a friend he could trust to ease his seclusion as he cried out his soul’s thirst for the Heavenly Father. David expressed his deep desire for God’s presence, provision, and protection. No matter if you are at home or here on campus, our desire should be for God to satisfy our hearts and to overflow His comfort and peace.  

    “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

    ‭‭To join us on Monday, March 23 watch our ETBU social media accounts at 10:00 a.m. for a link to this special time of worship as a University family.

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!
    JBB

    Dr. J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University

    March 18, 2020 | Presidential Update | Campus Community and Graduating Seniors

    Presidential Update | Spring 2020 Commencement Announcement

    Dear ETBU Graduating Class of Spring 2020,

    I am writing to you today to ease any concerns or worries regarding the status of ETBU’s Commencement ceremonies for Spring 2020 graduates due to the Coronavirus. On Monday of this week President Trump expanded guidelines for social distancing of no more than 10 people in social settings for the next 15 days and along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established guidelines of events with no more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

    I pledge to all members of the ETBU Graduating Class of Spring 2020, families of upcoming Tiger graduates, and the University community, East Texas Baptist University is committed to proceeding with a Commencement ceremony. The passage in Hebrews 10:24-25 inspires me in this commitment, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We believe in the importance of celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates, acknowledging how the Lord has moved in your lives throughout your time on the Hill, and commemorating the start of new paths as you pursue your God-directed vocational callings.

    Spring 2020 Commencement scheduled for May 9, 2020, will be postponed until we can set an appropriate date in 2020. After the Coronavirus spread flattens and we are given a recommendation of release from guidelines on events with large-size audiences from the CDC, we will celebrate the 2020 graduating class of ETBU with all the pomp and circumstance we can muster. Despite when we hold Commencement, your appropriate degree will be conferred and transcripted upon degree completion with all the rights and privileges appertaining to your degree. 

    Because of the social distancing guidelines that serve to “flatten the curve” and mitigate the spread of the evolving COVID-19 situation, ETBU respectfully requests new graduates and their families to please understand our rationale for delaying Commencement for the health and safety of our campus community. However, no matter the steps we have to take, I want to reassure the University community that we fully intend for the ETBU Graduating Class of Spring 2020 to get their much-deserved, hard-earned recognition and opportunity for a jubilant celebration.

    During this period of uncertainty, I am reminded of the scripture from 1 Peter 5:6-9, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 

    East Texas Baptist University stands firm in the faith that God’s truths will be proclaimed during this time of anxiety and fear. We will carefully observe what happens in the coming days and weeks with the crisis facing our nation. With hope and trust in the Lord’s plan, ETBU will do everything we can to commemorate your milestone achievement of obtaining your respective bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

    I look forward to the celebration!

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University

    March 17, 2020 | ETBU on KETK | ETBU Community

    ETBU on KETK-Tyler NBC News regarding COVID-19

    ETBU Family,

    I was honored to join an esteemed delegation of East Texas leaders including Congressman Louie Gohmert, Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes, Texas State Representative Cole Hefner, Tyler Junior College President Dr. Juan Mejia, and Green Acres Baptist Church Pastor Dr. David O. Dykes tonight on the KETK-Tyler NBC Affiliate evening news regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

    I was able to share with the East Texas listening audience about the resiliency of our faculty and staff to swiftly and seamlessly move to remote online learning to ensure our students’ educational success. Highlighting ETBU’s strength and stability, I explained the University’s commitment in striving to provide ETBU students with safe, sanitary, and secure campus housing options with access to academic support, library services, Internet connectivity, and quality food services during this national emergency.

    What an honor is it to serve alongside such dedicated faculty scholars and staff—you all are models of sincere servant leadership! Thank you for shining the Light of Christ through your devotion to our students!!

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    Blair

    J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University

    Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | Nurses Station | Campus Community

    Adjusted On-Campus Nurses Station Hours and Location

    For those of you on campus,

    The University will be providing a Nurses Station in Honors Hall located in Jarrett Library. This station will be open each day from 10:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. Should you become concerned about symptoms that you are presenting, please come by to have your temperature checked, take a ten-second breathing test, and to answer a few assessment questions. This is available for your convenience. Feel free to stop by as a precautionary measure.

    Those who, during spring break, traveled outside of the United States (including Canada) to a community-spread state like California, New York, Florida, Washington, or a community-spread area in Texas like Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, or Houston, we ask that you come by every other day (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for well checks. 

    If you should show symptoms (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath) at any point, please go see your health care provider and notify stayhealthy@etbu.edu.

    Remember, it can take up to 24 hours to process your Health Screening Survey. Meaning, please do not attempt to come on to campus until you receive your campus admittance email.

    Thank you for your cooperation and support as we take proactive steps to keep our ETBU Family healthy,

    ETBU Health and Safety Task Force

    Visit www.etbu.edu/stayhealthy for updates.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | Presidential Update | Faculty and Staff

    Presidential Update for Faculty and Staff | COVID-19

    Dear ETBU Faculty and Staff,

    With President Trump’s Monday afternoon announcement of expanded guidelines to constrain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) for the next 15 days, ETBU is following the President’s orders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to work from home, wherever possible.

    As fellow Americans, we have a moral and civic duty to do our part to “flatten the curve” by exercising significant social distancing, such as avoiding social gatherings in groups of 10 or more people and limiting discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits, including eating at restaurants or food courts. I regret this order impacts our weekly chapel services, church fellowship, Sunday school, and worship services. Yet we know from Psalm 100:1-5‬ that God invites us to enter joyfully into the presence of the Holy Spirit,

    “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”

    ETBU, brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus, we know we can worship God anywhere, anytime, and certainly in the midst of despair from this pandemic—shout praises to the Lord for God alone is worthy to be worshiped.

    God has called us to be a Christ-centered institution that is committed to integrate faith and learning. Whether in the classroom on campus or through the Internet, our mission has not changed. We are here to proclaim God’s truths to our students and to teach those truths through our disciplines and through our model of servant leadership. As I shared earlier today, we are extending online instruction in all Spring semester classes through April 5. Faculty, thank you for giving more of yourself—time, talents, and teaching— combined with technology to ensure our students’ effective learning! We are hopeful and planning to return to in-person classes on campus at ETBU on Monday, April 6, which is 21 days from today, so we are going above and beyond the President’s 15 day guidelines.

    During the period from March 17 to April 5, ETBU will continue to limit access to the ETBU campus to only those campus community members, who have completed the health screening survey and received confirmation of admittance to enter the ETBU campus. To reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, ETBU faculty and staff members should work remotely from home unless we have assigned you as an On-Site Critical Care employee, who must perform crucial and necessary duties on campus for the University’s required operations and services.

    The Divisional Vice Presidents and Supervisors have communicated to our employees regarding duties and assignments. Most full-time staff will continue working as Virtual staff through April 5. Only designated On-Site Critical Care staff are permitted access to the campus on approved days and at scheduled times and must work in their assigned office or area. On-Site Critical Care staff, please sanitize offices and work spaces including door handles, desk surfaces, computer keyboards, phones, equipment, tools, vehicles, etc. before beginning work responsibilities. To be clear, do not come to the ETBU campus unless you have been assigned to work on campus. Otherwise, if you need something from your office or workspace, please contact University Security at 903.923.2323 to arrange for securing these items. You may also call me for support at 903.923.2222.

    This commitment to our staff is a step of faith during the adjusted work period over the next two weeks. We are trusting God for our provision, and I believe that God is entrusting us with stewarding His provision. I am praying for God’s resolve and healing, and asking Him to bless ETBU’s faithfulness to place Christ as ETBU’s cornerstone.

    The Lord showed me in Isaiah 54:7 that sometimes we feel like God has abandoned us, “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion, I will bring you back.” You may feel similarly with the COVID-19 situation, but as the Lord told Joshua in 1:9 He will not leave us nor forsake us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” As I read in the earlier passage of Isaiah, I felt encouraged tonight that the Lord through this pandemic might grant us an opportunity for growth, for broader outreach, and for even greater impact. Isaiah 54:2 states, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.”

    Let’s be the Light for our campus and our community as we care for our students and their families, and as we share the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Please continue to check the ETBU website and social media for updates regarding any changes and developments in our EOP as we monitor the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you for your faithful commitment to serving our students and praying for God to heal our land and the American people of the Coronavirus.  Please ask the Lord to draw people to trust Christ Jesus as their hope in the midst of this pandemic.

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    Blair

    J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University

    Monday, March 16, 2020 | Operational Plan | Campus Community

    COVID-19 | Updated ETBU Operational Plan for March 16 - April 5

    ETBU Campus Community,

    East Texas Baptist University’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) is closely monitoring the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the United States. We are working diligently to ensure the health and safety of our University community.

    Upon President Donald Trump’s announcement this afternoon, Monday, March 16, ETBU will extend all Canvas online learning through Sunday, April 5. This is a rapidly changing public health situation, and we are striving to meet and exceed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions in our state and area during this national emergency. At the present time, ETBU plans for on-campus classes to resume on Monday, April 6. Students, please login to Canvas and continue to communicate with your professors.

    As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among ETBU students, faculty, staff, or University community members, and there have been no COVID-19 cases reported in Harrison County. Based on this updated Emergency Operational Plan (EOP), anyone currently living on campus with approval through the online health screening survey needs to be aware that only essential University Operations will be open for the health and safety of our entire campus community.

    Campus services provided from today through Sunday, April 5 will be:

    • University Security
    • Food Services at Bennett Student Commons (Please note that Chick-fil-A and The Republic will be closed through Sunday, April 5.)
    • Educational Resources at Jarrett Library
    • Mail Services at Ornelas Student Center

    We encourage students to consult with your families about where is best for you to reside during this period. Student housing and food services board operation remain open and available for students, who need to remain on campus. ETBU recommends that campus resident students, who choose to reside on campus during the Coronavirus crisis, should follow President Trump’s request and the CDC guidelines to limit discretionary, non-essential travel. 

    Bennett Student Commons Hours
    Daily (Sunday - Saturday)
    Brunch 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    Dinner 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

    Jarrett Library Hours (After hours support is available through “Ask a Librarian”)
    Monday - Friday
    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    Mail Services at Ornelas Student Center
    Monday, Wednesday, Friday
    1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.  

    Information regarding full-time and part-time staff work responsibilities will be sent via separate email from their Divisional Vice President or Supervisor. Faculty will receive communication from the Provost’s Office. 

    Thank you for your diligence in mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus in our nation, region, homes, and on the ETBU campus. For continued updates on ETBU’s EOP in regards to the Coronavirus, visit www.etbu.edu/coronavirus.

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    JBB

    Sunday, March 15, 2020 | Nurses Station Hours | Campus Community

    Nurses Station Hours 

    The University will be providing a Nurses Station in Edwards Conference Room located in Rogers Spiritual Life Center. This station will be open each day from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Should you become concerned about symptoms that you are presenting, please come by to have your temperature checked, take a ten-second breathing test, and to answer a few assessment questions. This is available for your convenience. Feel free to stop by as a precautionary measure.

    Those who, during spring break, traveled outside of the United States (including Canada) to a community-spread state like California, New York, Florida, Washington, or a community-spread area in Texas like Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, or Houston, we ask that you come by every other day (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for well checks. 

    If you should show symptoms (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath) at any point, please go see your health care provider and notify stayhealthy@etbu.edu.

    Remember, it can take up to 24 hours to process your Health Screening Survey. Any submitted after 6:00 p.m. today will not be processed for campus entry tomorrow morning. Meaning, please do not attempt to come on to campus until you receive your campus admittance email.

    Thank you for your cooperation and support as we take proactive steps to keep our ETBU Family healthy,

    ETBU Health and Safety Task Force

    Sunday, March 15, 2020 | Presidential Update | Faculty and Staff

    March 16-March 22 Work Period

    Dear ETBU Faculty and Staff,

    Thank you for your support in ETBU’s Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) as we strive to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on campus and in the Marshall community.

    During the period from March 16 through March 22, ETBU is advancing social distancing practices—a conscious effort to limit close contact with people, thereby reducing community transmission of COVID-19. We are limiting access to the ETBU campus for many reasons, the most important of which is to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. By having fewer people on campus, we decrease the potential health risk to the larger community. In order to reduce the likelihood of surface transmission from one person to another, we have intentionally chosen to limit departmental representation as On-Site or Virtual.

    As the Divisional Vice Presidents and supervisors have communicated to our employees, you have received notice regarding duties and assignments. All faculty are teaching through remote learning on our Canvas platform. Most full-time staff are working as Virtual staff. Certain employees, who are designated as On-Site staff are permitted access to the campus and must report to their assigned office.  We will observe causal dress among the On-Site staff this week.

    We have several hundred students, who have chosen to remain on campus during this period with our provision of housing, food service, internet connectivity, computer access, library services, academic success support, and security.

    Additionally, we are temporarily taking as many buildings off-line as possible. By closing buildings, limiting access to buildings, and reducing the number of employees on campus, we both encourage social distancing and maximize our ability to clean and sanitize our facilities.

    Remember, ETBU Family members MUST complete a Health Screening Survey to be considered for campus entry. This requirement includes all faculty and staff, contract service providers, and students. Following the completion of this survey, you MUST AWAIT a review and response from the ETBU Health and Safety Task Force before you are granted access to enter the ETBU campus. Be advised, your health screening assessment results may take up to 24 hours. Note you will not be permitted into ETBU unless you have been granted an admittance sent to you by email from the ETBU Health and Safety Task Force.

    While there are no confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Harrison County, we have implemented these plans in an effort to further protect you and the campus community from infection of the virus. You can review the details of ETBU’s Emergency Operation Plan at www.etbu.edu/stayhealthy.

    Please continue to check the ETBU website and social media for updates regarding any changes and developments in our EOP as we monitor the COVID-19 crisis.

    Thanks to all of you for making adjustments to your normal teaching and work routines in order to best serve our students in this national emergency.

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    Blair
    J. Blair Blackburn
    President 
    East Texas Baptist University 

    Saturday, March 14 | Presidential Update | Faculty and Staff

    Presidential Update | Faculty and Staff

    Thank you for your support in ETBU’s stringent efforts to help mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on campus and in the Marshall community. We recognize the anxiety and disruption caused by these changes in institutional operations and the modifications to our normal way of life and liberty which we enjoy as Americans, Texans, and ETBU Tigers.  

    We appreciate your patience, flexibility, contributions, and compliance in following the University’s new policies and protocols for remote learning for our students through Canvas and for modified campus access during this national emergency.

    I am writing to remind you that ETBU remains open for business to our campus community. Your divisional vice presidents and supervisors have been communicating to all full-time and part-time professional staff concerning your job duties and location assignments during the period of March 14-March 22. All employees regardless of designated work location are on-call and may be given additional duties. ETBU Family members must complete a Health Screening Survey to be considered for campus entry. This requirement includes all faculty and staff, contract service providers, and students. Following the completion of this survey, you must await a review and response from the ETBU Health and Safety Task Force before you are granted access to enter the ETBU campus. 

    Please fill out the Health Screening Survey to be considered for access to the ETBU campus. Please note, if you plan to come to campus for any reason, including your work assignment, you must have completed this survey and received an admittance order. We are screening members of the campus community as quickly and thoroughly as possible for your health and the health of your own family. Be advised, your health screening assessment results may take up to 24 hours. Although health is paramount in this pandemic, I know you may have financial concerns.

    While there are no positive COVID-19 cases in Harrison County, we have implemented these plans in an effort to further protect you and the campus community from infection of the virus. You can review the details of ETBU’s Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) at www.etbu.edu/stayhealthy. ETBU’s proactive preparations for a crisis situation have enabled the institution to be a resilient and agile university, which provides the adaptability to ensure the continuity of operations and student learning.

    We will continue to provide the campus community updates regarding any changes and developments in our EOP as we monitor the COVID-19 crisis.

    Fellow faculty and staff, please remember, being healthy and staying healthy is a personal commitment and a community effort. We appreciate your partnership in keeping our ETBU Family and the Marshall community as safe as possible. Thank you for your cooperation and commitment as we navigate these new processes. 

    Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

    J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University 

    March 11, 2020 | Presidential Notice | Campus Community

    Presidential Notice

    ETBU Campus Community,

    East Texas Baptist University’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) has been monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the United States on a daily basis.  Our ERT is continually reviewing COVID-19 information, directives, and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), White House Task Force, National Institutes of Health, and World Health Organization.

    As the institutional representative for ETBU, I participated in the Texas Department of State Health Services state-wide Coronavirus conference call for college leaders, county/city officials, and health care leaders yesterday. Today, I also represented the University in a Harrison County Coronavirus prevention and procedures meeting with county/city officials, hospital leaders, and college/university presidents. We are working together to ensure collaborative efforts to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and to identify response protocols should Harrison County have an infected COVID-19 individual or community spread.  

    Confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the world, United States, and Texas continue to rise. See CDC information here. See Texas Department of State Health Services here. Health officials advise that more cases of the virus will be identified as testing kits are becoming more readily available in cities in our state and across the nation.  

     With the evolving situation, ETBU has been advised by national and state health officials to develop policies, protocols, and procedures which delay and slow the virus. Instituting the following new measures at ETBU along with previous University guidelines will hopefully aid in mitigating the spread of the virus in our area.  

    UNIVERSITY EXECUTIVE ORDERS FOR PROTECTION FROM CORONAVIRUS 

    Effective immediately, ETBU is implementing the following University Executive Orders as a part of the institution’s Emergency Operation Plan (EOP):

     1.     Practice social distancing and adjusted personal contact
    a.    Restrict physical contact. No handshaking, hugging, etc. Use other non-contact methods of greeting.
    b.    Restrict sharing of drinks, food, drinking glasses/cups, eating utensils, towels, clothes, or any personal items. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
    c.       Strive to maintain three to six (3-6) feet of space between individuals.
    d.      Use only your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc.
    e.      Open doors with your closed fist or hip, try not to grasp the handle with your hand.

    2.    Avoid large crowded places and events
    a.    Suspension of Chapel through Wednesday, March 25, 2020, for the two weeks following Spring Break. Four (4) credits for Chapel will be given to all undergraduate students for these missed Chapel services.
    b.    Cancellation of all University-related participation in professional seminars and conferences for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.
    Currently, the University plans to host the Miss ETBU Pageant, the Toby Athletic Awards event, Tiger Day, Spring 2020 athletic sport competitions, and Spring 2020 Commencement services.

     3.    Defer or cancel domestic and international travel – CDC recommends travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship and non-essential air travel
    a.    ETBU is requiring the disclosure of information from students, faculty, and staff, as well as the travel of any individuals that live in your household, about personal international and/or domestic air travel. Access ETBU’s travel disclosure form here. (deactivated)
    b.    ETBU community members traveling internationally will be asked to complete a phone health screening survey before returning to campus. Click here to schedule your travel-related health screening interview time.
    c.     To reduce spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, ETBU will enforce a 14-day restriction from the ETBU campus for any ETBU faculty, staff, or student who traveled to a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 country during Spring Break (March 6-15) or later, until further notice.
    d.   Cancellation of all University-related air travel for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

    View the most up-to-date travel advisories on the CDC’s and State Department’s
    websites.

    4.    Practice healthy hygiene habits
    a.       Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    b.      Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    c.       Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating or preparing food; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after contact with animals or pets; before and after routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g., a child or elderly person).
    d.      If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    e.      Practice cough/sneeze etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (bent elbow).  Do not cough or sneeze directly into your hands or into the air.

    From the CDC, view tips for how prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SICK OR FEELING ILL

    If you are sick or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent your illness from spreading to people in your residence and our community.

    Please seek medical attention to identify and address your illness.

    • Students, please report your illness to Dr. Heather Hadlock in the Office of Student Life at 903.923.2319 or email athhadlock@etbu.edu.
    • Employees, please report your illness and absence to your supervisor or to Tara Bachtel in the Human Resources Department at 903.923.2119 or email tbachtel@etbu.edu.  

    Please stay at home or in your student campus residence room until you are well.  
    Remain at home or in your campus residence, if you have a sick family member in your home or a sick roommate in your residential unit.  

    Give sick members their own room, if possible, and keep the door closed. Have only one person care for sick individuals.

    Consider providing additional protections or more intensive care for household members over 60 years old or those with underlying health conditions.

    Report absenteeism or reports of illness of employees or students.  

    Faculty will report all students absent from class to the Office of Academic Success at 903.923.2076.

    Supervisors will report all absent or sick employees to Tara Bachtel in the Human Resources Department at 903.923.2119 or email tbachtel@etbu.edu.

    Students report any student whom you believe to be sick to Dr. Heather Hadlock in the Office of Student Life at 903.923.2319 or email at hhadlock@etbu.edu.  

    Check out the CDC’s website, for more information about what to do if you are sick.

    ETBU CONTINGENCY PLANS

    ETBU is committed to completing the Spring 2020 semester as scheduled. The University will continue to watch the evolving Coronavirus situation and will make adjustments as the situation warrants. ETBU may amend campus activities to minimize the threat of the Coronavirus to our institution. 

    ETBU has developed contingency plans for the option of shifting to online classes for the remainder of the seven (7) weeks of the Spring 2020 semester. Every faculty member is working with the Provost’s Office and the Online Education Department to ensure ETBU is well prepared for this contingency completion plan should we decide to implement online delivery of teaching/learning. Faculty have been trained to conduct courses via online or alternate delivery, if necessary.

    Contingency plans currently include completing the Spring 2020 athletic sport seasons as scheduled. There is no scheduled air travel for athletics for the remainder of the semester, but all regular season away game travel will be on charter buses and vans. These vehicles will be sanitized prior to each travel use. 

    ETBU CLEANING and PREVENTATIVE PROCEDURES

    The ETBU Physical Operations Department is conducting extensive cleaning of all main campus buildings during Spring Break. As ETBU did prior to Spring Break, we are following our standard cleaning practices with the use of EPA-approved, hospital-grade disinfectants in public restrooms, classrooms, and offices. We have enhanced our overnight cleaning procedures. During Spring Break, we expanded the use of the disinfectants throughout campus, which includes: 

    1. Cleaning all classrooms including tables, desks, chairs, and door knobs. 
    2. Cleaning lobbies, restrooms, and hallways.
    3. Disinfectant fogging large areas such as Baker Chapel, Dean Healthplex Fitness Center, Maxwell Strength Center, and athletic locker rooms.

     ETBU will continue these cleaning measures but encourage students and faculty to utilize the disinfectant wipes provided in classrooms to sanitize their assigned or selected seat prior to each class.  Please continually use the University-provided hand sanitizers placed throughout campus. 

    We are working with Sodexo, ETBU’s food services provider to strengthen health screening for cafeteria and restaurant staff. Sodexo will ensure cafeteria and restaurant staff practice strict hygiene. Disposable gloves will be worn by all food services personnel handling food.  

    ETBU CALL TO PRAYER

    Please pray for the ETBU Family’s and the Harrison County community’s protection from the Coronavirus. We pray the Lord’s protection over the medical personnel, who are administering treatment to individuals infected with the virus in the United States and abroad. We ask God to give their hands precision and direction. Pray for wisdom for the decision-makers in our national, state, and local governments as well as leaders of the White House Task Force, National Institutes of Health, CDC, and World Health Organization as they strategize the best plans of action. Keep the scientists, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies in your prayers as they search for treatment and prevention options. We pray for God to pave the way for each of these groups to work together toward virus containment and effective vaccines.

    Keep praying, carry on, and wash your hands!

    Dr. J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University 

    March 3, 2020 | University Response | ETBU Community

    Coronavirus Update 

    ETBU Community,

     The University is working to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff with the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In response to the virus, governments, businesses, and organizations worldwide are implementing protection protocols and travel requirements.

    The Coronavirus situation is evolving rapidly and all travelers, especially in or around the countries most affected by COVID-19, need to be aware of the possibility that new travel restrictions, transportation cancellations, or periods of required isolation could be implemented while travelers are overseas. If you travel out of country during next week’s Spring Break or beyond, you may be delayed from re-entering the United States, and unable to return due to these evolving restrictions.

    New Travel Disclosure Required of the ETBU Community
    ETBU is asking for the disclosure of information from students, faculty, and staff about personal or professional planned international and domestic air travel during Spring Break and through May 2020 to help provide guidance, public health information, address concerns, and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in the state and in our East Texas region.  Providing this information will enable the University to advise anyone affiliated with ETBU with timely travel information and advice on getting back to the U.S. after international or domestic travel should there be changes in travel restrictions or the status of the virus around the world and here in America.

    View the most up-to-date advisories on the CDC’s and State Department’s websites.

    Click here to disclose your travel information. (deactivated)

    Self-Quarantine after Returning to the U.S. from Abroad
    Anyone traveling to a CDC designated Level 2 or 3 country will be required to self-quarantine off-campus for a period of 14-days before returning to East Texas Baptist University.

    In my last email, I called for several actions on your part as well as informed you that ETBU has canceled all University-related travel to CDC Level 2 or 3 countries through mid-May at this point. We currently have mission trips scheduled for Israel in mid-May and for Scotland in late July.  At this time, we are monitoring the CDC restrictions on travel to these countries and are hopeful that the spread of Coronavirus will dissipate by these dates. 

    Please continue to practice healthy hygiene to prevent the spread of other infections. If you have any symptoms of illness, immediately see a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment protocols.

    Personal Preventative Measures (*From CDC)

    There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
      • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
      • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
      • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

    For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website. For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

    East Texas Baptist University Preventative Measures
    The University is taking proactive strategies to prevent the spread of infections across the campus.  These measures include:

    • Placement of disinfectant wipes in all classrooms.  We encourage students to use these wipes to disinfect desk and table surfaces as well as keyboards in computer labs.
    • Placement of hand sanitizer in classrooms and major public spaces on campus.  Please use the hand sanitizer to regularly clean your hands. 

    Please pray for the ETBU Family’s protection from the Coronavirus. We pray the Lord’s protection over the medical personnel who are administering treatment to individuals infected with the virus. Give their hands precision and direction on what to do. Pray for wisdom for the decision-makers in the government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they strategize the best plan of action. Keep the scientists and researchers in your prayers as they search for treatment and prevention options. We pray for God to pave the way for each of these groups to work together toward quick results and effective vaccines.

    Thank you for your continued diligence in keeping ETBU a safe and healthy work environment.

    Dr. J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University 

    March 12, 2020 | Coronavirus Update | Campus Community

    ETBU Operational Plan for March 13-22 

    ETBU Campus Community,

    East Texas Baptist University has implemented a number of policies and protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I write to thank you for your patience and support as ETBU thoughtfully and prayerfully develops operational plans for the continuity of the Spring 2020 semester. In collaboration with health care and infectious disease consultants, ETBU has determined to move all courses online for the week of March 16-22. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 conditions in our state and area during this period. At the present time, ETBU plans for on-campus classes to resume on Monday, March 23. The ETBU campus will be open to only University community members beginning Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 22. Anyone (faculty, staff, or students) who returns to campus prior to March 23 will be required to undergo a health screening before coming on to the ETBU campus and/or into the Marshall Grand. Students, faculty, and staff, who were on campus during Spring Break, will be required to undergo this health screening as well. Click here to access the Health Screening Survey.

    CLASSES (MARCH 16-22)
    Faculty are prepared to move to online course delivery. Students should login to Canvas and communicate with their professors about course assignments for this coming week. Should a student have difficulty with Canvas, help is available 24 hours/7 days a week through Canvas Support Hotline and Chat Canvas Support. Active participation this week will demonstrate attendance and provide assessment opportunities for the course material. Students should not hesitate to contact their faculty for assistance via ETBU email or Canvas email. Academic Success and Jarrett Library will be open 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. each day of next week to provide assistance as well.

    RESIDENTIAL HOUSING AND DINING SERVICES (MARCH 13-22)

    • All campus residential housing will remain open to resident students who have been screened. We encourage students to determine whether their ETBU residence or family home is the safest location for them.
    • Access into the central ETBU campus will be limited to East Avenue. ETBU community members will be required to show University ID and will be checked by University Security personnel for health screening verification.
    • Dining services will be provided through Bennett Commons Dining Hall beginning Sunday, March 15 at 5:00 p.m. Chick-fil-A and the Republic in the Ornelas Student Center will continue regular operating hours. These dining service locations will be open only to members of the campus community who have completed a health screening.

    CAMPUS ACTIVITIES AND CAMPUS SERVICES

    • Campus activities have been suspended until further notice.
    • Dean Healthplex Fitness Center, Maxwell Strength Training Center, and Hamilton Game Room in the Ornelas Student Center will be closed.
    • Jarrett Library will be open from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. After hours support is available through “Ask a Librarian.”
    • Campus Services in the Ornelas Student Center will be open for mail delivery and pickup.
    • Campus visits for prospective students have been suspended until further notice.

    ATHLETICS

    • Home Tiger Softball series on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 and Acrobatics & Tumbling match on Saturday, March 21. Access to these competitions will be restricted to essential University and athletic personnel. No fans nor families of student-athletes will be allowed to attend Softball games and AT match. Competition can be viewed at www.goetbutigers.com.
    • Spring practices for Fall sports have been suspended until further notice.
    • In-season sports (Golf, Track & Field, Tennis, Baseball, and Softball) practices will continue as scheduled.
    • Maxwell Strength Training Center will be closed to all student-athletes until further notice.

    EMPLOYEES

    • ETBU will operate with essential on-campus personnel, who have completed the required health screening. Divisional vice presidents will communicate to essential personnel instructions for reporting March 16-22.
    • Other ETBU employees may be assigned to work remotely from home. Individuals with underlying health conditions or in at-risk populations for COVID-19 should work from home and not access the ETBU campus. Divisional vice presidents will communicate to employees their assigned remote work responsibilities.
    • Faculty and staff who need access to their office, even temporarily, will need to complete ETBU’s health screening survey. Specific information for students, faculty, and staff will be sent out via email as updates warrant. Thank you for your diligence in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus in our nation, region, homes, and on the ETBU campus. For continued updates on ETBU’s Emergency Operation Plan in regards to the Coronavirus, visit www.etbu.edu/coronavirus. May Paul’s words to the Philippians give us encouragement and peace as America faces the Coronavirus crisis, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. Please continue to pray for the health and safety of our ETBU community. J. Blair Blackburn President East Texas Baptist University
    February 26, 2020 | Update on Coronavirus | ETBU Community

    Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

    ETBU Family,

    I am writing this afternoon to share with you information I have collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the status of the Coronavirus (COVD-19). Also included are reports from various American news sources. 

     Regarding ETBU’s response to the Coronavirus, the University has no international trips planned for spring break this March. A planned ETBU Global Education Department international recruiting trip to Asia this spring has been canceled. Global Study & Serve and Tiger Athletic Mission Experience (TAME) trips scheduled for May and summer 2020 are under review by University leadership as we evaluate the spread of the Coronavirus in countries to which ETBU is planning to conduct study abroad and athletic missions trips.  If you are planning a trip outside of the United States over the next couple of months, we would appreciate your sharing your travel plans as the University seeks to take precautions for protecting the ETBU Family from infection of the Coronavirus.  

     U.S. health officials issued a strong warning about the Coronvirus on Tuesday. COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from the mild, such as a slight cough, to the more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no vaccine yet for the virus.

     Until now, health officials said they hoped to prevent community spread in the United States. Following community transmissions in Italy, Iran, and South Korea, American health officials believe the virus may spread across the United States. Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Tuesday the threat to the United States from Coronavirus "remains low." The Trump Administration has requested $1.25 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC’s Kelly Evans on “The Exchange” Tuesday evening, "We have contained the virus very well here in the U.S."

     "Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Tuesday at a news conference. Messonnier added that Americans should channel their concern about the virus into preparing for its arrival.

     What May Happen (*From CDC)

    More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and transportation industry may also be affected. Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. Non-pharmaceutical interventions would be the most important response strategy.

    CDC Response (*From CDC)

    Global efforts at this time are focused concurrently on containing the spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of this virus. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. The public health response is multi-layered, with the goal of detecting and minimizing introductions of this virus in the United States so as to reduce the spread and the impact of this virus. CDC is operationalizing all of its pandemic preparedness and response plans, working on multiple fronts to meet these goals, including specific measures to prepare communities to respond to local transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. There is an abundance of pandemic guidance developed in anticipation of an influenza pandemic that is being repurposed and adapted for a COVID-19 pandemic.

     CDC Recommends (*From CDC)

    While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:

    • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. Continue to practice protective measures such as hand-washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, minimizing mouth, nose, and facial contact, and staying home from work when sick. 
    • If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for people who recently traveled from China and have a fever and respiratory symptoms.
    • If you are a healthcare provider caring for a COVID-19 patient or a public health responder, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
    • If you have been in China or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow the spread of this virus. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient.
    • For people who are ill with COVID-19, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.

    Non-pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) are actions, apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine, that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like pandemic influenza (flu). NPIs are also known as community mitigation strategies. When a new flu virus spreads among people, causing illness worldwide, it is called pandemic flu. Because a pandemic flu virus is new, the human population has little or no immunity against it. This allows the virus to spread quickly from person to person worldwide. NPIs are among the best ways of controlling pandemic flu when vaccines are not yet available.

    Messonnier noted that every community's response will be different. What's appropriate for a community with local transmission may not be appropriate for a community in which no local transmissions have occurred.

    So far there has been no community spread in the United States. Forty-three people repatriated on charter flights from Wuhan, China, and from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, and 15 cases have been detected in the United States via the country's health system. Among those 58 cases, only two involved human transmission in the United States, and those transmissions were among members of the same household.

     Health Secretary Alex Azar told reporters at a Tuesday afternoon press conference that the United States would be undertaking "the most aggressive containment efforts in modern history." "We are going to continue taking those measures but we are realistic that we will see more cases and as we see more cases we might have to take community mitigation efforts," Azar said.

     If the White House's request for funds is improved, the $1.25 billion will be earmarked for accelerated vaccine development, the procurement of equipment and supplies and to support preparedness and response activities, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.

    At the same time, Bruce Aylward, an epidemiologist who led a team of international experts in China, said that the epidemic is slowing in China. In addition to a falling rate of new infections, hospital beds are opening up and there's no wait for tests at fever clinics, Aylward explained. It's impossible to know if this trend of decreasing cases will continue, but for now, Aylward thinks China's response to the outbreak, which included rapidly building hospitals and imposing strict lockdown measures in cities hardest hit by the virus, is working. "The implications are that you can actually affect the course of this disease, but it takes a very aggressive and tough program," Aylward said at a World Health Organization (WHO) news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

    As of Tuesday, China's National Health Commission said it's received 77,658 reports of confirmed cases and 2,663 deaths on the Chinese mainland. More than 83% of the cases and all but one death were in Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan. Chinese authorities have since placed the city under lockdown.

    An additional 121 confirmed infections have been reported in the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao as well as Taiwan, with two deaths in Hong Kong and one in Taiwan, according to China's National Health Commission.

    WHO experts in China are currently reporting a 2% to 4% fatality rate in Wuhan and a 0.7% fatality rate outside the city. For mild cases of the disease, there's a roughly two-week recovery rate, and for more severe cases, the recovery rate is between three and six weeks.

    The outbreak of the new coronavirus has continued to spread overseas, with at least 2,069 confirmed cases in at least 33 other countries, resulting in at least 33 fatalities, according to the latest data from the WHO, which has declared the epidemic a global health emergency. Although the virus "absolutely" has the potential to become a pandemic, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it's still too soon to classify it that way.

    "For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or deaths," he told reporters at a press conference in Geneva on Monday. "Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely it has. Are we there yet from our assessment? Not yet."

    South Korea reported a surge in new infections overnight, making it the second-highest national total behind China. As of Tuesday, South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 977 confirmed cases and nine deaths.

    The recent spike in cases prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a warning on Monday advising Americans to avoid traveling to South Korea. The federal agency raised its travel warning to the highest level for those contemplating travel to the East Asian nation.

    As of Tuesday, Italy's Ministry of Health had recorded 322 confirmed cases and 10 fatalities. The majority of those cases were in the northern Lombardy region, prompting some towns to suspend public gatherings, demonstrations and sporting events and to closing schools, businesses and restaurants. The initial cases in Italy were linked to Chinese tourists, according to the health ministry.

    Please monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov for more up-to-date information on the Coronavirus and precautionary measures. University leadership will continue to monitor CDC and State Department recommendations/restrictions as we assess the situations in countries where ETBU Global Study & Serve and TAME trips are planned for May and summer 2020. 

    Dr. J. Blair Blackburn
    President
    East Texas Baptist University