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Coronavirus Information

Student Procedures & Safety Plan

Staff Procedures & Safety Plan

Faculty Procedures & Safety Plan 

Community Procedures & Safety Plan

Bethel College announces partnership with Health Ministries Clinic for free COVID-19 PCR testing for all students and employees

Good afternoon members of the Bethel community,

Health Ministries, a local health-care clinic, will be providing free COVID-19 PCR testing on behalf of Bethel College for all students, faculty, staff and administrators. The health and safety of our campus community is of utmost importance. Comprehensive testing is a valuable strategy to reduce or prevent the transmission of COVID-19. 

Testing is an important precaution to take as we return to normal operations at Bethel. For the safety of our campus and colleagues, the free PCR testing will be required of all students and personnel. We ask for campus-wide cooperation to help reduce virus transmission on campus and in our broader community as we begin the fall 2020 semester. PCR testing is the benchmark for detecting SARS CoV-2 (better known as COVID-19) infection and is highly effective in identifying positive cases. 

Bethel is pleased to partner with Health Ministries for PCR testing. Because Health Ministries Clinic is federally funded, students and employees, regardless of insurance, will not be billed for testing. 

COVID-19 testing will be conducted in the Will Academic Center (WAC) on the lower level on specific days as outlined below. Individuals will be allowed into the building only at their signed-up testing time. Only the student or the employee being tested will be admitted to the lower level during the testing times. If you have been tested in the last week, please sign up for a time slot and attend the session, where the attending health practitioner will determine if another test is needed. Please allow 5-10 minutes for your test. 

Please bring with you:

  • Completed patient registration form (find form attached to this email)

  • Photo ID

  • Current health insurance card

Schedule – Testing begins at 8:30 a.m. on all dates and will run until 1 p.m. in subsequent time slots. 

Monday, Aug. 3: Community Assistants, Bethel employees

Wednesday, Aug. 5: Summer renters, Bethel employees

Monday, Aug. 10: Orientation Leaders, international students, students from KDHE-recognized hotspots

Thursday, Aug. 13: Returning athletes, Student Chaplains

Friday, Aug. 14: First-time freshmen, new transfer students

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Returning students

In addition to testing, contact tracing, and isolating any positive COVID-19 cases, prevention is vital to keep Bethel’s campus protected. The following daily activities are fundamental for reducing COVID-19 spread and maintaining a safe campus environment, and are required of all members of the Bethel community:

  1. Take your temperature every day.

  2. Log your health status on #CampusClear.

  3. Wear a mask.

  4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

  5. Maintain 6-foot physical distance from others.

We are committed to a successful start to the new academic year, and we are confident our community can provide an excellent and healthy on-campus learning environment .  

With thanks,

Tricia Clark
Director of Communications and Marketing

See CARES Act Funding Information, or KDHE "Hot Spots"

KCAC announced today its intention to resume play this fall

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) announced today its intention to resume play this fall according to the guidelines established by the NAIA Council of Presidents (NAIA-COP) and sustained by the KCAC Board of Presidents to use conference autonomy in making this decision. 

"It is in our best interest to work together as 13 like-minded members to address the uncertainty in the intercollegiate athletics world currently," stated Dr. Scott Crawford, KCAC Commissioner.  He added, "The conference has monitored the COVID-19 situation continually since the cancellation of Winter 2020 championships as well as the suspension of the Spring 2020 regular season and postseason. We believe the time is right to return to play this fall, albeit in this altered timeframe.  We will continue to take all necessary steps to protect everyone in the game environment and adhere to all safety measures required by state and local governments within the four-state region comprising the conference." 

The KCAC appreciates the conference autonomy granted by the NAIA-COP decision and intends to compete this fall under the approved policies and procedures for the 2020-21 school year. Member schools may begin practice on Saturday, August 15 with all athletics contests beginning no sooner than Saturday, Sept. 5 for all sports except for football. Football games will begin no sooner than Saturday, Sept. 12.

"KCAC student-athletes deserve to know how committed we are to their mental health, safety, and overall well being as we support them as individuals in their respective sports and on the teams they represent," indicated Dr. Scott Rich, Chair of the KCAC Board of Presidents and President/CEO of Sterling College.  He added, "The conference schools in the KCAC will provide robust competition and go out of our way to help KCAC student-athletes excel in their sports, academic pursuits, and personal growth."

The KCAC Return to Play Task Force comprised of a select group of Presidents, Athletics Directors, and Athletics Trainers from member schools have met weekly since late spring to prepare conference member schools and game officials for returning to competition this fall safely. The task force's main objective has been to ensure the health and well being of all participants in the game environment including, but not limited to student-athletes, coaches, game day staff, officials and referees, and fans.

By the start of fall practice, the KCAC will release sport-specific guidelines addressing safety in the competitive environment for all fall sports. Other important information including updated sports schedules will also be released by August 15. The conference will continue to evaluate the need to make necessary changes and will do it in a timely manner.

At this time, the conference is releasing the following document the Fall 2020 Guidelines for Return to Campus, Sport, and Conference Competition prepared by the KCAC Return to Play Task Force and approved unanimously by the KCAC Board of Presidents. This document address the fundamental standards and safety practices to be followed by all 13 member schools as their student-athletes return to campus and prepare to begin their fall season of competition.  


Dear Members of the Bethel College community,

In consultation with the Emergency Response Team, I have decided that Bethel College will return to BLUE Status effective Monday, at 8:00 AM Monday, July 27.  Although there are still new COVID-19 cases in Harvey County, the frequency of new cases with unknown origins has diminished (i.e., there is little of evidence of community spread, the main criteria for the ORANGE status).  There are still increasing cases in Kansas and in some regions of the United States.  There are no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 on Bethel's campus.

As we transition to BLUE status, the main restriction is that students and employees should practice caution when returning to and from campus.  Further, there should be no nonessential travel to CDC-recognized hotspots for college employees.  It is now appropriate to return to working on campus and visitors are now allowed on campus.  When you are on campus, please wear masks, use sanitation stations, and maintain physical distancing.  Finally, please download the #CampusClear app and log your symptoms daily before coming to campus.

We are constantly improving the criteria for the color-coded system and will be distributing additional information in the near future.  Thank you for your cooperation.


Dear members of the Bethel College community,

On Friday, July 10, the Harvey County Health Department, in consultation with Public Health Officer Dr. Doyle Detweiler, identified community spread of COVID-19 in Harvey County. "Community spread" means individuals have been infected with COVID-19 in the area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. The Facebook announcement from the Harvey County Health Department went on to emphasize a sense of urgency (not panic!) and renewal to safety precautions in the daily activities of county residents. To be clear, the community spread of COVID-19 is not on Bethel College campus. 

Although we have not yet started our fall semester, I am using as guidance the color-coded Bethel College Procedures and Safety Measures that will be in place starting August 19 (attached). Under these guidelines, Bethel would move to the ORANGE status because of the determination of community spread in the county.  My conversations with members of the Bethel College Emergency Response Team confirmed this decision. Therefore, effective Sunday, July 11, employees of Bethel College are expected to adopt the following additional safety measures:

1. There is no nonessential travel for college employees.

2. No on-campus visitors are allowed.

3. Campus offices should be minimally staffed and with a rotating staff schedule to minimize employee contact with one another. Remote work (telework) is encouraged.

Items 1-3 are additional safety measures. Please continue to wear masks, use sanitation stations, and maintain physical distancing. These behaviors will help ensure that we reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community before the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Jon C. Gering, Ph.D


Bethel College COVID-19 Procedures.pdf



Dear Colleagues,

The Fall 2020 Reopening Task Force has completed its charge "to prepare Bethel College to resume full operations at the beginning of the fall semester (Aug. 19, 2020)." Again, I want to thank the members of the task force for their efficient and well-informed work. Please extend your gratitude to the members of the task force:

Adam Akers, Maintenance (co-chair)
Tricia Clark, Marketing and Communication
Christine Crouse-Dick, Academic Affairs
Terry Harrison, Athletics
Sam Haynes, Student Life
Ben Lichti, Advancement
Sarah Masem, Academic Affairs (co-chair, partial service)
Francisca Mendez-Harclerode, Academic Affairs
Clark Oswald, Admissions and Financial Aid
Geri Tyrell, Academic Affairs (co-chair, partial service)
Kip Wedel, Academic Affairs

I received the products of the task force last week. The Administrative Cabinet and I reviewed the products of the task force with guidance from Adam and Geri. At the conclusion of our discussion, the cabinet and I unanimously voted to "affirm the work of the Reopening Task Force and accept it as guidelines for further action."

Attached to this email are three documents. The COVID Procedures document is our interpretive guide to how the college will function when we resume full operations in August. Based on data from campus and the broader community, the document places college operations in easy-to-understand color-coded categories. The Green category of operations represents our starting point and is characterized by required use of masks, physical distancing, sanitation stations, and self-reported daily temperature checks. In the Green category, students and employees are allowed to travel and leave and return to campus. When there are COVID-19 cases on campus, we will shift to the Blue category status, which includes more restrictive travel movement to and from campus. The further occurrence of cases on campus will result in a shift to Yellow, Orange, or Red categories, each with its own increasingly restrictive campus procedures. The Gray status is for the cessation of campus operations, similar to what we experienced in spring. The procedures are designed to be adaptive to ever-changing situations that we will encounter in fall 2020. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the color-coded levels and their implications for your specific area of campus life.

The COVID-19 Training document provides routine definitions and protocols that help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will be emphasizing these protocols (e.g., hand-washing, cleaning, physical distancing) throughout the semester in campus communications and training sessions. Strict adherence to these protocols will help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Healthy Operations document emphasizes the day-to-day activities that raise the most questions. For example, how are employees to gather, travel, cope, and communicate? What options are available to vulnerable populations or at-risk employees? Under what conditions are telework and virtual meetings most sensible? These and other basic questions are addressed in this document. However, it is not comprehensive, and I understand there will be additional considerations not covered in this document.

These three documents are the "public-facing" aspects of the work of the task force. They will be posted to the COVID-19 section of our website, pushed out to our social media platforms, and sent to students and the broader community over the next few days and weeks. Please understand that they represent only a fraction of the entire work of the task force. There are more, far more detailed, documents that will guide the internal operations of the college. These will be provided to vice presidents and directors and shared among employees in preparation for Fall 2020. The task force also maintained a question set from members of the Bethel community. We are currently processing those questions and imagining an FAQ document to address the most common questions.

The mission of Bethel College is essential to society and our local community. We serve many students who seek out the educational experience and who want and need to be on campus. The work of the Fall 2020 Reopening Task Force provides guidance for how the campus can adapt to serve our students, community, and broader society. Thank you for your help in realizing the mission and vision of Bethel College by following the procedures and guidelines set forth in these documents.

With best wishes for good health,


Bethel College COVID-19 Procedures.pdf


Dear Bethel Community, 

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying the warmth of summer.

Summer is passing by quickly. Before you know it, everyone will be back on campus and the new school year will begin. I am writing to you today to share some very important information intended to guide your plans to return to campus and/or start the semester smoothly.

Many members of the Bethel College College community have been working hard to get the campus ready for the start of the new semester. The Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Reopening Task Force (RTF) have been specifically focused on making our campus safe and well-prepared to support community health as we remain in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recently, there have been questions asked about hotspots: What states are considered hotspots? What dates can students who live in a hotspot plan to arrive on campus to start the semester? 

Hotspots change often around the nation and the world. Because we are nearing the start of the semester, the following states have been determined to be hotspots by Bethel College:





South Carolina

Bethel College identifies hotspots based on information obtained from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the Harvey County Health department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those returning to Bethel from an identified hotspot will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If you are currently spending your summer in one of the states identified as a hotspot, we ask that you please self-identify and inform the Office of Student Life. We will help you determine the date you should plan to return to Bethel.

Students who plan to live on campus will receive instructions before arriving on campus. The college reserves the right to add states to the hotspot list as new data comes in. If/when a new hotspot is added, the community will be informed and we will continue to work with everyone coming from hotspots on their return plans.

The following list includes important dates for students to consider when making plans to arrive at/return to the Bethel campus (including those coming from hotspots):

Student arrival schedule for fall 2020

Community Assistants (CAs)                                                          Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020

(CAs coming from a hotspot should arrive on campus on July 18 to quarantine for 14 days in order to be able to participate in CA training.)

New fall sports athletes, new students and new transfer students coming from a hotspot.  Saturday, Aug. 1

International students coming from outside the United States   Saturday, Aug. 1

Returning students coming from a hotspot                                  Wednesday, Aug. 5   

Orientation Leaders (OLs) for Thresher Days                                         Monday, Aug. 10

(OLs coming from a hotspot should arrive on campus on July 27 to quarantine for 14 days in order to participate in OL training.)

Returning fall sports athletes                                                            Thursday, Aug. 13

First day of Thresher Days for ALL new students and ALL new transfer students                 Friday, Aug. 14                                                                                     

Returning students not from a hotspot                                                 Tuesday, Aug. 18

 ** First day of classes: Wednesday, Aug. 19 **

All students will be expected to arrive on campus on a staggered schedule to support physical distancing and smaller crowd sizes on all arrival dates. Identify your arrival date from the list above, make your plans to arrive on campus, and contact the Student Life office to share your arrival information starting Monday, July 6. The Student Life office will place your expected date and time in a staggered time slot and let you know the time to begin the "check-in" process on your arrival date. 

Again, the staggered schedule will aid in controlling the flow of people arriving on campus at one time and support smaller crowds at move-in.

In the weeks to come, Bethel College will share additional important information pertaining to the opening of the campus that will guide us as a community being together around campus and supporting each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I thank you all in advance for your patience during the opening weeks of the semester. We will get through it together, and Roll On! I speak on behalf of everyone at the college when I say we are very excited to have you all back on campus soon. We miss you and we miss our community. Together we will begin what I anticipate will be a great year at Bethel.

If you have any questions and/or concerns, please contact the Student Life office: 

or call the office between 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri.: 316-284-5324.

Take care. Cheers!


Samuel C. Haynes

Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students


Bethel College will offer in-person classes for Fall 2020

Bethel College President Jon C. Gering, Ph.D., has begun to outline the college’s plan for the fall semester.

“We are planning for in-person classes in Fall 2020,” Gering said.

According to a Chronicle of Higher Education database, the majority of the nation’s colleges and universities are taking this approach.

During a May 4 online meeting with college employees, Gering recognized the significant effect that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on higher education.

“Our campus will never operate the same as it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Indeed, this is a watershed moment for our society – a ‘pre-post’ event. The pandemic will alter public life in the same way that the Sept 11, 2001, attacks altered our understanding of security, for example.

“COVID-19 will also alter college life in a permanent manner. There are growing expectations for campus health and safety precautions, including social distancing, cleaning, and more options for delivery of courses. There are new expectations for participation in all aspects of campus life, such as athletics, performing arts and worship services.”

Gering has appointed a Fall 2020 Reopening Task Force, whose members were announced May 8.

The 10 members represent all aspects of campus life: academic affairs, admissions and financial aid, advancement, athletics, maintenance and facilities, marketing and communication, and student life.

“The charge of this task force is to prepare Bethel College to resume full operations at the beginning of the fall semester, tentatively set for Aug. 19, 2020,” Gering said.

Bethel College has experienced pandemics in the past.  

According to Professor Emeritus of History Keith Sprunger’s book Bethel College of Kansas (1887-2012), the influenza pandemic of 1918 hit Bethel College in three waves (October and December 1918, March 1919) and caused the college to suspend classes two times. Still, the semester began on time and in person.

“We will stay in close contact with the Harvey County Health Department and Emergency Management Team,” Gering said. “We will also continue to make data-driven decisions. Right now, Harvey County has no active cases of COVID-19. I hope all of our citizens will continue to practice good hygiene, social distancing and appropriate use of masks.

“Our students were recruited to an in-person, residential experience. That’s what they want.  We intend to leverage our small class sizes, personal atmosphere and safe environment to provide that experience. That’s how we carry out our mission to prepare students for meaningful lives of work and service.”

Gering noted that the college will have contingency plans in the event that they must transition to online offerings at any time during the year. The college’s COVID-19 website will continue to provide updates.

Bethel College CARES Act Funding - Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Student May 2020

Institutional Acknowledgment

Bethel College has signed and returned the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the CARES Act to the Department of Education on April 13, 2020.  It is Bethel College’s intent to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 1804(a)(1) of the CARES ACT to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to eligible students.


  • Bethel College has received access to $265,686 of funding. This amount was determined by the Department of Education - Link here
  • On May 6th, $232,200 was distributed to all 387 eligible students** affected by the disruption of their education at Bethel College due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These funds were sent by mail, in the form of institutional checks to each of these students. The remaining $33,486 is allotted for student grants for students who have completed an application and continue to have emergency needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On March 13th, Bethel College made an institutional decision to cease on-campus operations and send students home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This abrupt closure of our residence halls and the traditional delivery of on-campus, in classroom education have financially impacted all of our enrolled students. Students have had relocation expenses, unexpected board expenses, additional educational expenses, all due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The $265,686 grant from the Institutional Share through HEERF from the CARES ACT was used by Bethel College to reimburse institutional refunds that were given to students due to the disruption of their education and living experience on campus.
  • The $25,899 grant from the Strengthening Institutions Program through HEERF from the CARES ACT was used by Bethel College to reimburse institutional refunds that were given to students due to the disruption of their education and living experience on campus.

It is Bethel College’s determination, based on the government’s intent with the passage of the CARES Act, that money needs to get in the hands of our impacted, enrolled students immediately.  Secretary Devos stated in an April 9, 2020 letter to College and University Presidents that , “...each institution may develop its own system and process for determining how to allocate these funds, which may include distributing the funds to all students…” You can read more here.

Every currently enrolled, and eligible student** as of March 27th, 2020 will be awarded an emergency financial aid grant (March 27th, 2020 is the date the CARES Act was signed into law).

Bethel College’s Determination of grant amount:  

$480 -  Technology expense - Internet costs ($65 ave. monthly exp for 2 months), computer costs ($350

estimated expense for basic netbook) for every student’s at home, online educational needs

$120 -  Transportation and Miscellaneous Educational expenses due to change of educational delivery.

Relocation expenses after campus closure, expenses to pick up personal items in the residence halls, travel expenses for personal items and groceries and unexpected expenses due to outbreak

($60/month for two months)

**Eligible student definition: Student who is eligible to participate in the Title IV aid program and has filed a FAFSA or a student who hasn’t filed but is eligible to file a FAFSA.  Criteria to participate in programs under Section 484 of the HEA include but are not limited to the following:  U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service; and a high school diploma, GED see HEERF Frequently Asked Questions #9 - Read more here.

Instructions that Bethel College gave to students about the grant

  • This emergency grant has been given to you through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund from the U.S. Department of Education’s share of the CARES Act. These funds are to be used for your educational expenses related to the disruption of your educational experience at Bethel College due to the coronavirus outbreak.  - A copy of this paragraph was mailed, along with the check, to each student

KS Executive Order 20-24: Extension of Statewide 'Stay-at-Home' Order

Dear Bethel College Faculty and Staff,

Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order #20-24 on April 16, 2020.  This Executive Order extended the statewide 'stay-at-home' order (#20-16) to 11:59 PM on May 3, 2020, or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency proclamation expires, whichever is earlier.  Therefore, Bethel College employees should continue to work remotely to the greatest extent possible.

The Emergency Response Team and Administrative Cabinet continue to meet regularly to discuss how Executive Orders and other developments affect campus operations.  Please continue to check email, use Bethel's website, and check social media to learn about Bethel's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  There are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Bethel College.

With best wishes for continued good health,


Bethel College announces first-ever virtual commencement for 2020

The Thresher Class of 2020 will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to graduate in a virtual (pre-recorded) commencement, the first in the history of Bethel College.

The Graduation Committee recommended having a virtual commencement, with the ceremony to be shown May 17 at 4 p.m. President Jon C. Gering approved the proposal.

Caps and tassels will be ordered and sent to students to be used in the virtual commencement. Further details about content and information about how graduating students can participate will be e-mailed separately at a later date. 

A special celebration for the Class of 2020 will be held at the 50th anniversary of Fall Festival, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2020, to honor the Thresher graduates in person. 


Free mental health help is still available for all Threshers

Hello Threshers!

Did you know you still have access to free mental health help at Bethel? If you are struggling emotionally or need someone to talk to, please know help is available to you. Even if we are apart, we are together apart. Send an email to Jill Hoopes or leave a voicemail (; 316-284-5326). Jill will meet with you using Google Hangouts or give you a call.

If you are having an emergent mental health concern, you may also reach out to any of the following resources:

Local Crisis Hotline: 1-800-362-0180

National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273 TALK

Crisis Text Line: 741-741

Trevor Project Lifeline (LGBTQIA): 1-866-273-8255

Safehope (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault): 316-283-0350

Stay safe Threshers!

Bethel to postpone Alumni Heritage Weekend 2020


As you are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges to planning and implementing large-scale gatherings.

Alumni Heritage Weekend 2020, scheduled for June 5, 6 and 7, is one such gathering. After careful consideration of everyone’s health and public safety, the Alumni Office has decided to postpone this event.

Although we do not have details at this time, work is already underway to create a future event that is meaningful for our alumni, honors the Golden Thresher class of 1970, and acknowledges the achievements of our 2020 alumni award winners.

We will keep you updated as details become available. Until then, be safe and take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Bethel College Alumni Office

Bethel asks Newton community to adhere to CDC guidelines when on campus

While Bethel College does not have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, we ask the community to adhere to CDC guidelines when on campus. Groups of 10 or more are prohibited on-site and the football and softball stadiums are off-limits to the public. We are cleaning each room on campus to protect essential staff still working on the premises, so please refrain from entering any buildings. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation at this challenging time. Stay healthy. Be safe.    

Update on Bethel staffing

Bethel College remains open but operating with socially responsible staffing to continue the work and all necessary functions of the college. The Administrative Office continues to provide on-site services to support the teaching and education mission of the college. 

covid-19 information













President Gering asks for compliance with Executive Order No. 20-16

Dear Colleagues,

On Saturday, March 28, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a statewide stay-at-home order (No. 20-16; attached) that takes effect at 12:01 a.m. March 30, 2020, and remains in effect until April 19, 2020.  The Emergency Response Team and Administrative Cabinet held a videoconference this evening to discuss the order and develop a response for Bethel College employees.

The Executive Order is a 'directive' - not just 'guidance' - and should therefore be taken seriously.  It supersedes all prior local or county orders.  At the same time, there is no stated penalty (e.g., fines) for violating the order and individuals are not required to present evidence of their activities.  The Executive Order directs Kansas residents to stay at home unless they are performing an essential activity (pg. 2, No. 1).  One of those essential activities is 'performing, or going to or from work at a business or organization to perform an essential function as identified in the Kansas Essential Function Framework ("KEFF")', which is part of the attached document.

Many of our college operations could be considered essential functions under KEFF definitions.  Examples include, but are not limited to, operating information technology networks (100.1), providing internet-based content information (200.3), distributing and transmitting electricity (200.1, 200.3), educating and training essential functions personnel (300.4), operating private schools (300.9.b), protecting sensitive information (300.13), maintaining and cleaning buildings (300.14.b), and operating and maintaining student housing (400.9.b).  In other words, almost every aspect of operating Bethel College is arguably exempt because it is an essential function.

Nevertheless, the spirit of the Executive Order is that Kansas residents stay at home.  This is true even for essential functions, as stated in 9.c. on page 4: All individuals performing essential functions authorized by this order must - to the extent possible without disruption to essential functions - use telework capabilities to avoid meeting in person.

I am asking you to comply with Executive Order No. 20-16 and, if possible, work from home until April 19, 2020.  The college will remain open, and it seems unlikely that every employee will be able to carry out their duties from home.  Your supervisor will assist you in determining what is best for your individual position relative to Governor Kelly's directive.  Also, please note that it is permissible to go to and from campus to retrieve materials necessary to work from home.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience.

With best wishes for health and wellness,


Jon C. Gering, Ph.D.


Governor Laura Kelly issues a statewide stay-at-home order

Governor Laura Kelly issued a statewide stay-at-home order (#20-16) at a Topeka press conference Saturday morning, March 28,2020. Executive Order No. 20-16 (attached) will take effect at 12:01 a.m. March 30, 2020 and remain until April 19, 2020.  The Emergency Response Team and Administrative Cabinet are working to determine how the executive order will further affect campus operations. Please continue to check email, use Bethel's website, and check social media as decisions will be forthcoming in the next few days.  There are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Bethel College.   

Bethel announces actions to refund unused room and board fees due to COVID-19

Bethel will take the following actions to refund unused room and board fees:

  • We will issue credits on student accounts for unused room and board fees. A student charged for a double room will receive a credit of $2,100 for unused room and board fees. A student charged for a single room will receive a credit of $2,650 for unused room and board fees.
  • The credits on the student’s account will first apply to any outstanding balance. If the account balance is paid in full at graduation, graduating seniors will receive a refund check by May 15, 2020. For returning students, any credit balance will apply toward charges for the next academic year.
  • If a student withdraws from the college, they must complete the withdrawal paperwork in the registrar’s office by June 10, 2020, in order to receive a refund.
  • If a student was on a 50- or a 90-block meal plan, Aladdin will roll your balance over to the next academic year.
  • For the handful of students allowed to remain on campus, a refund will only be given for board fees.
  • Because faculty instruction is continuing on a remote basis and students will be making progress toward completion of their academic program, no financial credit will be provided for tuition.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

As the coronavirus spreads, so too do false claims, conspiracy theories and misinformation about the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a page of myth busters to help educate the public:

Due to COVID-19 concerns, classes to be online for the Spring 2020 semester, campus presence to be reduced 

On March 18, Bethel College issued the following updates for the campus:

  • All instruction will be online for the remainder of the spring semester.
  • There will be a significantly reduced on-campus presence for students, staff and faculty.
  • Residence hall housing will be limited only to students who need to maintain a physical presence on campus. 

These updates were announced in a campus message from President Jon C. Gering, posted below:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear Bethel College Community,

On Fri., March 13, we announced institutional measures to flatten the curve  slow the spread of COVID-19 over time and prevent our health-care systems from being overwhelmed. We have continued to monitor COVID-19 developments from government officials, local and state agencies and higher education consortia in order to make the best possible decisions for the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the broader community and society. The purpose of this message is to provide an update to our institutional measures. To be clear, Bethel College does not have any known or suspected cases of COVID-19 on campus.

Campus events and meetings

Effective immediately, gatherings of 10 or more people are to be avoided.

Academic life update

Classes will resume Mon., March 30, only in online format, and will continue to be offered in that modality until the conclusion of the spring 2020 semester. Students will receive instructions on how to proceed with online courses by Fri., March 20.

Students enrolled in professional programs (business, nursing, social work and teacher education) will receive specific instructions from program directors on the completion of course work, including internships, clinicals and various types of field placements.

Student Life update

We need to limit the on-campus size of the student population to protect the health of the entire community. Students must leave campus by Fri., March 20, at 5 p.m. Only students who can demonstrate a need to stay on campus will be allowed to stay. Students who are currently off campus should remain off campus.

The Office of Student Life is preparing procedures for an organized move-out process at a later date. All students will soon receive instructions from Chywonna Gonzalez, coordinator of residence life.

Students who have general questions about housing and campus life should contact VP for Student Life Sam Haynes at or 316-284-5337.

Staff life update

Bethel College is reducing the presence of employees on campus by empowering supervisors to make work arrangements that maximize physical separation of employees, use phone or technology for meetings, and enable work to be completed from home.

The essential functions of the college will continue during this temporary period.

Athletics update

The NAIA has cancelled the spring 2020 sports season. This cancellation also includes the 24-week practice calendar for both in-season and out-of-season sports, ending all practices for the remainder of the year. This stipulation is effective through May 15, the last date of the spring NAIA calendar.

Baccalaureate and commencement

The baccalaureate service is currently scheduled for 10 a.m. Sun., May 17, at Bethel College Mennonite Church.  Commencement is currently scheduled for 4 p.m. Sun., May 17, in Thresher Stadium. We are actively evaluating alternative plans for these two significant events. Please look for future updates if you are a student who will be graduating in May 2020.   

Emergency Response Team

The ERT is taking action to ensure campus safety and well-being. One action includes restricting access to buildings. All visitors are now required to check in at the Business Office service window in the Administration Building from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.  

If you have questions, please contact the following individuals:

Students: Sam Haynes (; 316-284-5337)

Staff: Allen Wedel (; 316-284-5242)

Faculty: Robert Milliman (; 316-284-5239)

Press inquiries should be directed to Tricia Clark, director of marketing and communication, at

Medical inquiries: Contact your physician, Jill Hoopes (; 316-284-5326), or the Student Life office at 316-284-5324.

Thank you for your grace, kindness and generosity of spirit as we work together during this time of incredible societal adaptation. The updated measures will inconvenience many of you; I understand you have been thrust into uncertainty. Your lives have been altered and you have lost opportunities to participate in sports, performing arts events, recitals and experiments. Perhaps you didn't get to say goodbye or hug a friend. You are being asked to teach in an unpracticed format and do so at a pace that is almost unmanageable. You are being asked to shift work schedules and environments.

These are the challenges that help us grow and get stronger. I know each of you will discover reserves of strength and unknown skills. You will carry out amazing acts of courage and generosity. Keep track of your accomplishments so that we can share, smile and celebrate when we next find ourselves together in a large gathering. That day will come. Although we are not physically together at this moment, we are still a community of people caring for one another.   

With blessings for the work ahead,


Food Service update

The cafeteria is open. To practice recommended social distancing, we ask everyone to limit four people to a table and spread out around the cafeteria. Grab-and-go sack lunches are available. Please ask at the cash register if you prefer that option.

Spring Concert Choir tour canceled

The Bethel College Spring Concert Choir tour scheduled for March 21-29 has been canceled, as is the home concert on Sun., March 29. At this time, we do not anticipate rescheduling. 

NAIA cancels spring 2020 sports season

The NAIA announced cancellation of the spring 2020 season, effective March 16.

“All possible scenarios that would have supported a spring sports season were seriously considered by multiple NAIA governance groups,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “However, the growing state of emergency due to COVID-19, as well as the Center for Disease Control's recommendation ... to limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people for eight weeks, meant we could not in good conscience move forward with the spring sports season and championships.”

In an effort to provide relief, no spring sport student-athlete will be charged a season of competition. Any spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled full-time in 2020 will be awarded two additional semester terms of attendance or the equivalent.

The NAIA is continuing to address outstanding questions related to these unprecedented changes and will share new information as it becomes available.

Update from Bethel's Emergency Response Team

The ERT is actively working to update our campus Infection and Communicable Disease Response Protocols specifically for COVID-19. 

Additionally, the ERT is operating with the Harvey County Health Department and following the CDC guidelines regarding appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of our community.

We will continually monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in the nation, state and our local community. Communication is essential for ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and we are committed to providing additional information as it becomes available.

Note from President Jon Gering 

Dear Bethel College Community,

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared a global pandemic for a disease named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) that is caused by a strain of coronavirus named “SARS-CoV-2.” The disease has infected at least 138,000 individuals in 132 countries. The majority of the cases (over 80,000) are in mainland China, but there are 1,832 known cases in the United States and four positively identified cases in Kansas. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has issued an emergency declaration authorizing use of state personnel and resources to assist with response operations in affected counties. To be clear, Bethel College does not have any known or suspected cases of COVID-19 on campus and the risk for being infected remains low.

Information about symptoms, transmission, prevention and detection of COVID-19 was shared in my campus e-mail on Fri., March 6. The purpose of this message is to announce the next steps for the Bethel College community.

My priorities are the safety and health of our students, faculty, and staff. We are also part of a broader community and society and must help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Any institutional measures that we adopt will help “flatten the curve”  slow the spread of the virus over time  and prevent our health-care systems from being overwhelmed. Moreover, the prevention measures below protect the most vulnerable among us; such actions resonate with our Anabaptist background.

This is admittedly a confusing and stressful moment for our college and broader society, but I hope you will join me in calmly curtailing the spread of COVID-19 while carrying on with our mission of providing a high quality education.

General institutional plan

Effective 10 p.m. Fri., March 13, Bethel College will enter a temporary phase that is intended to increase social distancing among students and employees. The main features of this phase include preparing for remote and online delivery of courses, a suspension of group activities and college travel, and workplace adjustments for faculty and staff.  This plan will remain in effect until we are confident that the spread of COVID-19 no longer poses a safety risk to our normal campus operations. Our Emergency Management Response Team (Geri Tyrell, Sarah Masem, Sam Haynes, Tricia Clark, Allen Wedel and Rosa Barrera) will be partnering with local agencies to monitor the spread of the virus. The campus will remain open during this period.

There are several key deadlines:

Fri. March 13, 10 p.m.: Face-to-face classes conclude. Bethel College enters the temporary phase of campus operations.

Mon., March 16-Fri., March 20: No classes for students. Faculty and staff work on preparing courses for remote delivery.

Mon., March 23-Friday, March 27: Spring break

Mon., March 30: Courses resume, perhaps with remote delivery. Our Emergency Response Team continues to monitor the spread of the virus.

Student Life

By Mon., March 16, all students need to decide whether to stay on campus or temporarily return home. This decision must be conveyed to Chywonna Gonzalez, coordinator of residence life. Chywonna will send you instructions on how to indicate your decision. This decision is at the discretion of the student. Bethel College is primarily a residential campus. We recognize that some students cannot or will not want to return home. Therefore, the college will remain open during these next two weeks, including student support services, academic resources, residence halls, dining facilities, and athletic and recreation facilities.

There are future scenarios under which students may be required to leave campus or be asked to return to campus for the resumption of face-to-face courses. Students must check e-mail frequently during these time periods because official communications from the college and professors will be sent through email. This is a fluid and dynamic situation, and we appreciate flexibility and patience as the campus operates under unusual circumstances.

Students are not required to attend classes during the week of March 16-20 or during our regularly scheduled spring break March 23-27. Courses will resume on Mon., March 30, in some capacity, yet to be determined.

If students are staying on campus and become ill with flu-like symptoms, they should contact their physician, Jill Hoopes (; 316-284-5326), or the Student Life office (316-284-5324). 

Students who have questions about housing and campus life should contact VP for Student Life Sam Haynes at or 316-284-5337.

Academic life

Classes will conclude for two weeks on Fri., March 13.

All classes are cancelled from Mon., March 16-Fri., March 20 so that faculty and staff can prepare for a possible transition to remote teaching and learning. Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert Milliman will be responsible for leading the efforts to transition the campus to remote teaching capacities.

Faculty may continue to use their offices and campus facilities while preparing and delivering courses remotely. They may continue to meet with students individually during this period.

Classes will resume on Mon., March 30, at their regularly scheduled times, in a format to be determined. Clinical activities and off-campus learning placements may be exempted from remote delivery. Students may be asked to follow the protocols of the facility where they are working. Classroom experiences such as labs, studio art, and performance classes are still being evaluated. Professors will provide information about these courses as soon as possible, but students may have to make housing decisions without complete information about their courses. Students should expect additional information from professors on course plans by Fri., March 20.

Information Management Services (IMS) will be providing 24/7 technology services during this temporary period of remote delivery. 

We will continue to evaluate the spread of COVID-19 and how best to deliver courses given our various constraints.

We have contacted the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), our accrediting organization, and are awaiting feedback about the possible transition to remote delivery for a temporary period of time. Their response will in part determine the duration of this temporary period.  

Staff life

The college is open during this time period. Staff are expected to fulfill their employment obligations.

In a previous email, we adopted flexible absenteeism policies. To further increase social distancing, vice presidents and directors should develop a workflow plan (to be completed by Fri., March 20) that minimizes staff aggregations while allowing people to carry on with their work. We are mindful that employees work in a variety of circumstances; we will be as flexible as possible with work arrangements.

Campus events and meetings

Effective Fri., March 13, at 10 p.m., the college is canceling or postponing all non-essential large indoor gatherings and public events consisting of 50 or more people. These include regularly scheduled events such as Life Enrichment, convocation, guest lectures, performing arts events and other gatherings meeting the aforementioned criteria.  


Effective immediately, Bethel College will suspend indefinitely all athletic activities, including all practices, travel and competition for spring sports. We will remain in contact with the KCAC with respect to ongoing policies and best practices.

Bethel College will continue to work with the KCAC and NAIA to closely monitor decisions about the spring 2020 National Championships. Our governing body, the NAIA, has yet to determine whether spring post-season championships will occur.


Effective immediately and until further notice, all college-sponsored travel (domestic and international) is suspended.

Travelers returning from Level 3 warning countries (see definitions at are required to report their travel to Bethel College and the Harvey County Health Department and to observe a 14-day period of self-quarantine and monitoring.

I am aware that these temporary measures will prompt myriad feelings among students, faculty and staff. It is normal to feel confused, anxious or overwhelmed with what is developing. Our response will be most effective if we take care of one another. Remember: We Are Threshers! If you have questions, please contact the following individuals:

Students: Sam Haynes (; 316-284-5337)

Staff: Allen Wedel (; 316-284-5242)

Faculty: Robert Milliman (; 316-284-5239)

Press inquiries should be directed to Tricia Clark, director of marketing and communication (; 785-212-1485).

Medical inquiries: Contact your physician, Jill Hoopes (; 316-284-5326) or the Student Life office at 316-284-5324.

Please proceed with grace, kindness and generosity of spirit as we work together to keep our campus community safe and healthy. I will be providing campus updates on a regular basis.

Thank you.

Dear Bethel College Community,

On Jan. 27, VP Sam Haynes sent an email to the Bethel community about the outbreak of a disease named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) that is caused by a strain of coronavirus named “SARS-CoV-2.” The disease originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and has infected 100,700 individuals in 96 countries as of this morning. The majority of the cases (over 80,000) are in mainland China, but there are 228 cases in 13 states in the United States.

Most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. There have been no cases of COVID-19 reported from Kansas at this moment, but the current global circumstances suggest that this virus will cause a pandemic (defined as a disease being prevalent across the whole world).

COVID-19 is a new disease and scientists and healthcare workers are still learning how it spreads. The virus is thought to spread from person to person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms most often occur 2-14 days after exposure.

Since our original e-mail, we have been tracking updates on COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and various higher education organizations. The spread of COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation that the World Health Organization describes as a “public health emergency of international concern.” We are taking the matter seriously because our primary concern is the safety and health of the campus community.

The purpose of this e-mail is to share campus guidance for prevention and detection of COVID-19.


The most effective way to avoid exposure to the virus is to practice the following actions:

  • 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.
  • 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 your hands are visibly dirty.)
  • Seek medical treatment immediately if you experience any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Absenteeism and treatment

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.

  • Please feel empowered to be absent from classes or work if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • I have instructed the members of Cabinet to grant absence requests even if those requests will result in an employee exceeding their allotted absentee days.
  • I am also asking faculty members to be as flexible as possible with absence policies if a student reports symptoms of COVID-19.
  • We have the capacity to quarantine individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms if it is necessary to do so.

Contingency planning for college operations

We have reviewed the Campus Crisis Manual for infectious disease and are following established procedures. These include the following actions:

  • The review and ongoing assessment of upcoming college-sponsored travel activities, including athletic events, study abroad activities, foreign exchange programs and choir tours.
  • Conversations and contingency plans with international students whose home countries may be affected by COVID-19.
  • Ongoing assessment of college activities that result in large aggregations of individuals (e.g., convocation and high-enrollment classes).

Emergency planning beyond Bethel College

We continue to be in conversation with other institutions of higher education, local health-care agencies and the Harvey County Emergency Management Team to provide the best possible prevention and response to COVID-19.

I will be sending updates to the campus community as the COVID-19 situation continues to spread and evolve in the United States and throughout the world. In the meantime, you can find current factual information at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( and World Health Organization (

If you have questions, please contact the following individuals:

Students: Sam Haynes (; 316-284-5337)

Staff: Allen Wedel (; 316-284-5242)

Faculty: Robert Milliman (; 316-284-5239)

Press inquiries should be directed to Tricia Clark, director of marketing and communication, at

Medical inquiries: Contact your physician, or Jill Hoopes at

Thank you for your efforts to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

Note from VP Sam Haynes

Over the last couple of weeks, a virus called the 2019 Novel Coronavirus has been active worldwide. It originated in Wuhan, China. It has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness. Confirmed infections and reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. 

The symptoms can include: fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.


It is unclear how easily or sustainably it is; however, it may spread between people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes it may possible be spread person-to-person or by animal. It is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.


There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Right now, there are a few confirmed cases in United States and no deaths, so there are no additional precautions recommended at this time. However the CDC recommend the following universal preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

·Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

·Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

·Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·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.


There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. If you feel you might have contracted this virus, please go to your health-care provider or contact one of the following local resources on this link:


About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.