SBC DIGEST: SWBTS on campus for the fall; SBC of Virginia shares stories of hope

Southwestern announces on-campus classes to resume in August

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary plans to resume on-campus instruction on its Fort Worth campus this fall, the school announced Wednesday (April 29).

President Adam W. Greenway said in a statement it's the "appropriate time" to announce fall semester plans in light of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's April 27 announcement that he will allow the state's stay-at-home order to expire at the end of April and begin a phased re-opening of businesses. Greenway said the return to on-campus classes would follow the completion of thorough preparations to "make our facilities as safe as possible for students, faculty, staff and others."

Southwestern is the first Southern Baptist seminary officially to announce its plans to resume on-campus instruction for the fall semester. The other five Southern Baptist seminaries have confirmed to Baptist Press their intent to resume on-campus instruction this fall, but none have made official announcements.

Greenway said the seminary's common spaces will undergo a "deep cleaning" in the months preceding the beginning of the semester. He noted that adjustments will be made to class sizes and the use of classrooms "to ensure all public health recommendations relevant upon re-opening are strictly and faithfully observed, with a heightened cleaning regimen upon resumption of classroom instruction. The Campus Clinic will continue to evaluate student health and provide testing, when appropriate. As good citizens, our plans will be consistent with any governmental limitations when on-campus classes resume, while also doing everything possible to advance our mission of theological education."

Southwestern announced March 12 it would move all on-campus courses to online delivery for the remainder of the spring semester. On March 20, the school announced that all seminary-sponsored, on-campus events for the spring semester, including commencement exercises, had been canceled.

Greenway praised the seminary's faculty and Campus Technology team for their "seamless" transition to entirely online instruction in the midst of the spring semester, which was necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Now, we believe it is appropriate to make ready a return to on-campus instruction this fall, while observing all necessary precautions and continuing to make allowances for students to make use of online instruction when necessary," Greenway said.

As the global pandemic grew, all six Southern Baptist seminaries canceled spring commencement exercises, transitioned to online instruction for the spring and summer and canceled other on-campus events.

The first day of classes for the fall semester at Southwestern is scheduled for August 17, 2020.

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SBCV 'Not Alone Stories' show God moving through COVID-19 pandemic

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (BP) -- The SBC of Virginia has launched a video interview series to share stories of hope and to foster ideas for churches to implement as they minister in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The 'Not Alone Stories' are available on the SBCV website and highlight everything from drive-in services to community food ministries to medical provisions for frontline workers.

Churches in Virginia can submit story ideas at notalone@sbcv.org.

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