Berea college cancels semester

Berea College plans to welcome students back for the fall semester. (The Citizen/Keith Taylor)

The Administrative Committee of Berea College has decided to invite all Berea students to return for the upcoming semester. The fall 2020 semester will begin on Aug. 12 and conclude Nov. 24, prior to Thanksgiving.

The committee carefully reviewed input from various College groups, including the Division Council, logistics groups and the Fall Re-opening Task Force, as well as information from various agencies regarding the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic nationally, statewide and locally to inform its decision.

“Our primary consideration was for the overall welfare of the students,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “We recognize that their well-being — and indeed all other members of the community — includes doing our utmost to protect them from contagion in so far as possible and also facilitating their ability to successfully make satisfactory educational progress.”

All Berea students are invited to return in August and given agency to decide based on their own personal situations.

The College plans to follow Kentucky’s Healthy at Work guidelines for faculty, staff and students. All students will be informed about changes to on-campus procedures for minimizing the risk of a virus outbreak and policies about stricter disciplinary procedures, which are still being developed.

Students who choose to return must understand that the College will not operate in a “business-as-usual” manner since COVID-19 is an ongoing threat. Students will be advised to choose not to return if they feel they cannot comply with this more constraining regimen. Students who choose not to return to campus will be able either to qualify for a leave of absence or be permitted to enroll in courses that faculty may elect to offer remotely.

 Throughout the fall semester, the College will assess how the COVID-19 pandemic is progressing to determine Berea’s approach for the spring 2021 semester.

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College admits only academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition.  

Berea is one of eight federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly, earning money for books, housing and meals.  The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character. www.berea.edu

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