COVID-19 FAQ

Benedictine University has created an FAQ for faculty, staff and students to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak and what it means to be a virtual campus. 

BENU JUST ANNOUNCED A PLAN TO RETURN TO CAMPUS LAST MONTH, WHY IS THE SCHOOL GOING TO REMOTE LEARNING NOW?

The decision to flex the majority of our classes to a virtual platform is the safest and least disruptive path to higher learning this year. Based on current medical advice and public health models, we will face a resurgence of COVID-19.  We have all faced so much change and uncertainty this year and we want to avoid what experts believe is an inevitable disruption this fall semester.  This plan to “Protect the Flock” not only minimizes physical health risks, but also supports the emotional and intellectual health of our community.  We will use this extra time to prepare our students and faculty to adapt, grow and succeed in the virtual world that has become our new norm, and perhaps much of our future.

 

WILL THE CAMPUS BE CLOSED TO STAFF, FACULTY and STUDENTS?

NO, our community will be present on a modified and carefully controlled, de-densified “Six Foot Campus.” With all the protective barriers and Healthy Hallmarks in place to mitigate exposure risks, students and faculty have many new opportunities to engage in an in-person collegiate experience, study and gather on campus.  Our community will reserve spaces, classrooms, and offices for small group gatherings, student and faculty discussions, club meetings, and team collaboration.  We have de-densified offices and spaces and staff, faculty and students who are comfortable can schedule their campus time.

 

BENU JUST ANNOUNCED A PLAN TO RETURN TO CAMPUS LAST MONTH, WHY IS THE SCHOOL GOING TO REMOTE LEARNING NOW?

The decision to flex the majority of our classes to a virtual platform is the safest and least disruptive path to higher learning this year. Based on current medical advice and public health models, we will face a resurgence of COVID-19.  We have all faced so much change and uncertainty this year and we want to avoid what experts believe is an inevitable disruption this fall semester.  This plan to “Protect the Flock” not only minimizes physical health risks, but also supports the emotional and intellectual health of our community.  We will use this extra time to prepare our students and faculty to adapt, grow and succeed in the virtual world that has become our new norm, and perhaps much of our future.

 

WILL THE CAMPUS BE CLOSED TO STAFF, FACULTY and STUDENTS?

NO, our community will be present on a modified and carefully controlled, de-densified “Six Foot Campus.” With all the protective barriers and Healthy Hallmarks in place to mitigate exposure risks, students and faculty have many new opportunities to engage in an in-person collegiate experience, study and gather on campus.  Our community will reserve spaces, classrooms, and offices for small group gatherings, student and faculty discussions, club meetings, and team collaboration.  We have de-densified offices and spaces and staff, faculty and students who are comfortable can schedule their campus time.

 

Maintaining a safe, healthy campus is everyone’s responsibility. To protect our peers, every member of the BenU community is expected to be a compassionate community citizen who will follow CDC guidelines by practicing safe social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and following stringent cleaning and sanitation protocols. In addition to behavioral signage, heightened cleaning protocols on campus and modified spaces, we will also be leaning on the BenU Hallmarks with an expectation that students, staff and faculty are vigilant in their respect and care for each other and follow the critical social distancing, self-check and personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols.

 

Everyone who lives on campus or visits campus is required to monitor their own health daily to ensure they do not have signs or symptoms of COVID-19. 

 

Our Mesa Campus maintains a close, collaborative relationship with Maricopa County Health Department, and we continue to monitor State of Arizona and CDC guidelines.

 

Our Task Force teams will continue to make adjustments to our plan, monitor and consult with experts every day to mitigate all risks and maintain a rich and engaging collegiate experience.

 

WHAT IS THE BENEDICTINE UNIVERSITY LEARNING CENTER?

The Benedictine University Learning Center has been designed to support everyone, mentally and physically, in our BenU Community as we shift to a predominately remote learning environment:

  • Support select in-person, on-campus experiences: labs, art and some experiential learning, tutoring, meetings and study groups.
  • Allows learning and collaboration to continue in safe, controlled and scheduled environments
  • Builds community through virtual student life programming, intercollegiate athletics and shared academic experiences
  • Maintain safe on-campus residential options for students.
  • Provide spaces for study and learning on campus that are socially distanced, technology enabled, and convenient for students.  Students will be able to reserve their space on campus for studying and learning.  Variety of classrooms and campuses spaces will be used (computer labs, library, classrooms, etc.) 
  • Students entering the study spaces will have their temperature taken
  • Offer a variety of dining options.
  • Engage Student Success coaches for all incoming students to ensure a smooth transition to the BenU community.
  • Support students through access to robust virtual counseling services in addition to tutoring options. 
  • All students will receive personalized attention to assist in graduation progress/persistence.  
  • We commit to all eligible work study students will have a job on campus

 

WHAT IS A SIX-FOOT CAMPUS?

We know from all the medical guidance that six-foot social distancing, vigilant hygiene protocols and wearing face masks greatly reduces the spread of COVID-19. Everyone in the BenU community who is comfortable coming to campus can make appointments with staff and faculty, reserve collaborative, team and study spaces, and access technology and support services by appointment. Throughout our campus, we have modified and de-densitifed shared spaces with staggered seating, barriers and buffer zones.

 

Maintaining a safe, healthy campus is everyone’s responsibility. In addition to behavioral signage, heightened cleaning protocols on campus and modified spaces, we will also be leaning on the BenU Healthy Hallmarks with an expectation that students, staff and faculty will be vigilant in their respect and care for each other and follow the critical social distancing, self-check and PPE protocols.

 

Floor markings will identify traffic flow and safe distancing in public areas or waiting areas.  Hand sanitizer stations, acrylic screens and safe buffer zones can be seen throughout campus.  Some furniture in common areas has been removed.

 

All students, faculty, staff and visitors must wear masks in all public spaces, in groups on campus and in classrooms.

 

WILL TESTING FOR COVID-19 BE OFFERED ON BENU CAMPUSES?

No. Since many students and staff do not live on campus, we are asking all BenU community members to consult their personal physician or local clinic at the first sign of symptoms or if there is a known threat of exposure. The DuPage County Health Department and Maricopa County Department of Health have provided resources and testing site information.

 

ARE WE REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS ON CAMPUS?

Yes. Everyone is responsible for supporting a safe return to the classroom this fall. We know that wearing masks prevents the spread of COVID-19. The CDC and our local health departments recommend wearing face coverings when we can’t be assured of a safe, social distance of six feet or more. Disposable masks will be available to visitors.

 

WILL MASKS AND SANITIZERS BE PROVIDED TO STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF?

Yes. Our continued safety and health are incumbent on our allegiance as a community to practice all CDC-recommended protocols when we decide to meet or gather on campus. To support this community action, all students, faculty and staff will receive aWelcome Back kit when they visit campus. The kit includes a BenU face mask, hand sanitizer and safety guidelines. Of course, we welcome all BenU community members to wear their own personal PPE as desired.

 

WILL STUDENTS BE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN SPORTS, CLUBS AND OTHER EVENTS OR GATHERINGS?

Yes, with modifications and careful planning. We understand how important these activities are for the community and will do everything possible to support student engagement, while maintaining a safe space. We will be able to accommodate small group gatherings safely, by reservation and coordinated scheduling. BenU clubs, activities, team collaboration and group study are all critical component of a well-rounded education and collegiate experience.

 

At the same time, many BenU departments and clubs are building a robust calendar of engaging, virtual gatherings and resources online. While the fall sports will not be competing this semester, BenU Fall Athletics will be scheduling team meetings and practices.

 

WILL CAMPUS FACILITIES HAVE HAND-WASHING STATIONS AND WILL TEMPERATURES BE MONITORED?

We have all the recommended protocols in place for maintaining a safe, Six-Foot Campus for our scheduled visitors/faculty/staff and residential students. When on campus, masks or face coverings must be worn, especially when six-foot distancing is not feasible.

 

Restoring and maintaining a healthy, safe environment is a shared responsibility. Students, faculty and staff are asked to conduct daily self-check assessments, for common COVID-19 symptoms reported by the CDC, before coming to campus. Staff, faculty and students will receive a Welcome Back Kit with a mask, sanitizer and other important prevention resources.

 

We have a heightened cleaning protocol throughout campus to minimize risk.  We have increased the frequency in which we will be disinfecting areas of campus such as high touch surfaces, meeting rooms, common areas and lounges.

 

Hand sanitation stations can be found throughout campus and residence halls.

 

WILL BENU REQUIRE STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF BE TESTED FOR COVID-19 PRIOR TO VISITING CAMPUS?

No. Restoring and maintaining a healthy, safe environment is a shared responsibility. Students, faculty and staff are asked to conduct daily self-check assessments, for common COVID-19 symptoms reported by the CDC, before coming to campus. Staff, faculty and students will receive a Welcome Back Kit with a mask, sanitizer and other important prevention resources. We are asking everyone to continue to review the CDC’s recommendations and recognize the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 – or any infectious illness – and isolate until 72 hours pass without symptoms.

  • As a part of Department of Public Health protocol and overall community safety, all positive cases must be reported to county health departments. We ask that everyone who is frequenting campus or living in BenU residential community confidentially report any illness by filling out their respective symptom reporting form. Any medical information collected as the result of COVID-19 will be kept confidential.

 

 

WILL RESIDENCE HALLS BE OPEN?

Yes. BenU residence halls will be open and prepared for residential students on both campuses. Please see the Housing Plan HERE on our COVID-19 website page

 

University Housing FAQs

Benedictine has announced a hybrid learning experience through the BenUFlex plan, a blend of online and face-to-face instruction. On-campus housing will be open this fall and we will implement the necessary adjustments to campus life and implement necessary safety procedures to protect the health and well-being of our residential community.

What is being done to ensure it’s safe to move back on campus?

Everything is being done according to the experts to ensure the safety of our resident students.

The University is hard at work to prepare a safe, “Six-Foot Campus” to cover all aspects of campus life, from residence halls to classrooms. Our Task Force teams’ work is guided by higher education recommendations from the CDC, the American College Health Association, and public health authorities at the state, county and city level. (Please review our BenU Master “Plan for a Safe Return to Campus

The health and safety of our entire BenU community is incumbent on everyone’s commitment to “Protect the Flock: Healthy Hallmarks” pledge. As directed by expert advice, measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 include:

We will implement and enforce physical distancing, wearing of face coverings, hand washing and the frequent disinfection of our facilities and common areas.

  • Residents will be educated on cleaning, hygiene and COVID-19 protocols frequently by staff and with highly visible signage.
  • non-resident guests and visitors are asked to follow physical distancing protocols, wear face coverings, and frequently wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • We have a rapid response plan in place to support residents and protect the BenU community. (see Housing Plan)

Promotion of health and safety behaviors (Protect the Flock: Healthy Hallmarks) and precautionary measures will be provided by residential programming via signage within all apartments, rooms and hallways to increase awareness and education. Campus buildings and exterior spaces will include directional and physical distancing signage to indicate directional flow and social-distancing protocols, as well as informational signage regarding health and well-being precautions in the Safe Return to Campus Plan.

Every one of us must fully commit to protecting our collective health and well-being as it is incumbent on all of us to comply with CDC recommendations to keep BenU open and mitigate spread of the virus. In the face of extreme challenge, our community is resilient and stronger than ever.

What decisions have been made to on-campus housing?

The BenU COVID-19 Task Force have implemented a number of new policies for Residential Housing:

  • Overall occupancy has been reduced by 25%  allowing for the availability of additional single occupancy rooms if needed.
  • Cleaning procedures have been adjusted to accommodate more frequent cleaning of shared spaces.
  • A quarantine and isolation plan has been developed to maintain the safety of our community should residents be exposed or test positive for COVID-19.

Is there protocol for safe Move-in to the Campus Residences?

Yes, we are finalizing the specific plans now but it will include reserved time slots for each resident, reduced density efforts (e.g., limited number of move-in guests), check-in process with limited contact and designated traffic flow during the check-in process. Move-in dates begin August 25 through Saturday, August 29. 

What if I was supposed to arrive early? Will there be an early move-in process for students?

Yes. We are finalizing the specific plan now. While we understand there is a need for some students to move in early, our approval process is based upon the recommendation of health officials. An early arrival approval will be made available to students required to be on campus leading up to the start of the school year and orientation initiatives.

Will there be social or physical distancing in the halls? How?

Yes, social distancing in the hallways is very important. Gathering is not allowed within the hallways or common areas. We expect students to do their part to create a safe community. We will follow a consistent standard of six feet of physical distance. At this point, we will treat roommates or suitemates as a family unit, thus allowing more than one occupant per residence hall room. Signage and floor markings have been placed around campus to help with physical distancing within buildings. Hand sanitizer will be readily available in all buildings on campus.

Will lounges be open for student use?

No. We have decided to eliminate the use of common area spaces in the residence halls, like study spaces and lounges for the fall semester. Weather permitting, students are encouraged to socialize outdoors, while practicing physical distancing with friends and guests.

Plans for the spring have not yet been determined and dialog will continue to occur. As soon as the information is available, we will share it with you.

How will common areas be addressed by Facilities?

Facilities Management team has robust plan in place for regular cleaning and disinfection. In the common area bathrooms, lounges and laundry facilities, students should practice physical distancing and follow any additional posted guidelines for use. Common areas will be cleaned twice a day. Areas will include a standard cleaning in the morning and a deeper cleaning and sanitization in the evenings.

What will community-building look like this fall in the residence halls?

Resident Assistants (RAs) will host events to engage in smaller groups, allowing students on the same floor and in the same hall to build community and get to know one another. Additionally, students will have access to online platforms to engage, find content and connect with peers socially.

What are my responsibilities as a student living on-campus?

Student behavior can have the greatest impact on the spread – or the containment -- of COVID-19.  Like everyone in the BenU Community, we are all responsible for our behavior and must all be respectful community citizens by following CDC recommendations. Resident students will must sign a Housing Health Policy Acknowledgement in addition to the housing agreement. This acknowledgement commits you to a number of practices that are vitally important, which may include wearing a face covering, observing physical distancing practices while in public spaces, and agreeing to self-quarantine and self-isolate directives lead by the University. All of these requirements are based on the current guidance from the CDC. If you have underlying health issues that you believe put you at a higher risk to COVID-19, living on campus in a dense community environment may not be the best choice at this time.

Expectations include:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep your room (or apartment) clean – bring and maintain your own cleaning supplies.
  • Wear face covering whenever you’re outside your room.
  • Practice physical distancing from others.
  • Self-isolate if showing symptoms.
  • Remember that this is an unusual time and you and/or others may feel anxious about what is going on.
  • Be kind to one another and remember we are all in this together. #Bunited #ProtecttheFlock
  • Review the Plan for a Safe Return to Campus

What items should I bring to campus?

Keep your belongings to a minimum and remember to bring extra face coverings/masks, plenty of personal hygiene, along with disinfecting and cleaning supplies for your room.  While we do not set limits on the sizes or number of items you bring, we strongly encourage you to be conservative in choosing what to bring with you this year.

Will all students be required to vacate housing prior to Thanksgiving break, or are we allowed to stay through virtual finals?

Yes. As a result of COVID-19 and precautionary measures, University Housing will implement a similar model to the adjusted fall semester academic calendar. Fall semester occupancy dates will begin on move-in day and conclude on Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 12 p.m. On-campus housing will officially close beginning Sunday, November 29 through Winter Break. All residential students are required to leave housing by no later than 12 p.m. on Saturday, November 28 and should plan accordingly.

How will quarantine and isolation be handled on campus?

Our quarantine and isolation plan on campus follows the recommendations of local health and medical experts. We have set aside quarantine and isolation locations for our undergraduate residential community in case of a potential risk. If a resident student poses a health risk to community members and is required to self-quarantine or self-isolate, the University may require the student to leave campus housing and return home to self-isolate. Quarantine and isolation plans are being finalized for students living on-campus. 

What if I decide to commute from home or live off-campus after reserving on-campus housing?

All cancellation requests must be submitted in writing. You can cancel your application and housing agreement by emailing mesareslife@ben.edu. Please note that August 7 is the last day to cancel your housing reservation to avoid cancellation fees.

Have there been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Benedictine University?

There are currently no known cases of COVID-19 within the Benedictine Community.

What is the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2). For additional information visit the CDC website.

What should I do to stay healthy?
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap before rinsing, or for 20 seconds with hand sanitizer if a sink is not available.
  • Keep up healthy habits like getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, getting physical activity and eating well. A healthy immune system is better at fighting off any illness.
  • Get your flu shot if you have not done so (flu shots are covered by insurance, and if you do not have insurance, the $25 fee is a lot less than healthcare costs if you need treatment for the flu).
What should I do if I feel ill?
  • If you are sick, please stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids, and do not return to class or work until you are 24 hours symptom-free.
  • Please cover your cough and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue, and then wash your hands as soon as you are able.
  • If you are sick for more than five days, it’s time to call your doctor to see what is advised (do not walk-in to your doctor’s office without advance warning to protect other patients and healthcare providers).
  • If you are seriously ill and short of breath, go to the urgent care or the hospital and wear a mask as soon as you arrive. Let them know if you have been traveling and what your symptoms are to help them respond appropriately.
Knowing that this is a very fluid situation, when will the University communicate updates about returning to face-to-face instruction?

It is with the community’s safety in mind that we announce face-to-face instruction is suspended through the end of the spring semester and spring quarter. Our virtual campus model will be extended through May 31, 2020. Staff and faculty will continue to work from home, with the understanding that some modifications may be needed in order to keep operations running smoothly during this extended period of time. READ MORE

Benedictine will be a virtual campus. What does that mean?

Our goal by going to a “virtual campus” is to encourage anyone who can study at home or work from home to do so. For the rest of the spring semester, non-essential faculty and staff have been asked to work from home. Virtual instruction for students at all levels and on all campuses will take place starting Monday, March 23 (following the University's Spring Break, March 16-20).

Our goal is to ensure day-to-day operations continue to run as smoothly as possible while doing what we can to mitigate the likelihood of the virus being spread among our community. Should you need to contact any on-campus resources, please do so via email or over the phone. The campus will continue to be monitored by Benedictine University Police 24/7. 

How will my student worker position be affected by the move to a Virtual Campus?

Here at Benedictine, we are a community. During difficult times, we come together to support one another in any way possible. We understand that we have many student workers who will be unable to come to campus to work and/or are unable to work from home. This can negatively impact those who rely on their student worker paychecks to get by financially, and that is not something the University wants for any of our community members.

During this time, student workers will be allowed to work virtually as they are able on any projects assigned by their supervisor. Even if there is no work for them to do virtually, Benedictine will continue to pay them for their normally scheduled work shifts. Students should ensure they are using their student worker email address and not their student email to complete any virtual work. They will continue to complete their timesheet for their regularly scheduled hours and submit it electronically to their supervisor for approval by the posted bi-weekly deadline.

What events will still be held on campus?

Any large-scale on-campus events or events that are open to the public are cancelled for the Virtual Campus period through May 31, 2020. When possible, these events will be rescheduled for after May 31. We will re-evaluate these guidelines as that date nears to determine whether additional precautions are necessary depending on the spread of the virus.

Unfortunately, all campus events and programming will be suspended during the extended Virtual Campus period in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This includes postponing our 2020 commencement ceremonies for both Lisle and Mesa. We are looking for other opportunities to celebrate our graduating class later this summer and will communicate more information about those as soon as it is appropriate to do so.

Will there be refunds issued for on-campus housing?

Benedictine University understands our residential students were greatly impacted by the sudden move from campus housing. In accordance with federal, state, local and CDC (Center for Disease Control) guidelines, this move was necessary for the safety of our students, faculty and staff. As an institution we have adopted the following philosophy and process for refunding of room and board. All residential students will receive a refund, for the unused portion of room and board, for the final seven (7) weeks of the spring 2020 semester, which represents the weeks of March 22nd through May 9th. The refunds will be applied in the following order:

  • All residential students who have a current balance on their account will receive a credit applied to this balance, for the unused portion of room and board, for the final seven (7) weeks of the semester.
  • All residential students who have a zero (0) balance on their account and are current freshman, sophomore or juniors will receive a credit, for the unused portion of room and board, for the final seven (7) weeks of the semester, applied toward fall 2020 semester or spring 2021 semester.
  • All residential students who have a zero (0) balance on their account and plan to continue in a Benedictine University graduate program can have their credit, for the unused portion of room and board, for the final seven (7) weeks of the spring 2020 semester applied toward the fall 2020, winter 2021 or spring 2021 quarter tuition.
  • All residential students who have a zero (0) balance on their account and will be graduating in spring 2020 or summer 2020 will receive a refund, for the unused portion of room and board, for the final seven (7) weeks of the semester according to the refund preference they selected with BankMobile.

 

Are tutoring services still available?

The Mesa Campus Peer Tutors will be online this Semester and the tutoring service will be on the Microsoft TEAMS Platform. TEAMS is available for you to download from the Office365 start up page. Tutors can be contacted through the PEER TUTORS team. Their availability will remain much the same as it was in January-February.

During the Virtual Campus, Mesa students can make use of the ACE Tutoring program from Main Campus. To get virtual tutoring help:

ACCOUNTING Email PeerTutorAcct@ben.edu

BIOLOGY Email PeerTutorBiology@ben.edu

BIOCHEMISTRY Email PeerTutorBioChem@ben.edu

CHEMISTRY Email PeerTutorGenChem@ben.edu

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY Email PeerTutorOrganic@ben.edu

ECONOMICS Email PeerTutorEcon@ben.edu

MATH Email PeerTutorMath@ben.edu

PSYCHOLOGY Email PeerTutorPsyc@ben.edu

STATISTICS Email PeerTutorStats@ben.edu

WRITING TUTOR Email PeerTutor1@ben.edu

(WRITING Tutor • WRIT 1101/1104: Writing Colloquium • WRIT 1102: Research Writing • Written assignments for all other courses • Personal statements, appeal letters, thank you letters, and any other BenU-related writing tasks)

It is important to remember that Lisle is now 2 hours ahead of Mesa so you need to factor time differences into your help requests

 

Are there any resouces to gain internet access if I am not able to access it at home?

 • FCC agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots

Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low-income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time

Charter: Free internet for two months

AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low-income families. ATT has also opened all of its public wi-fi hotspots to the public

Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and starting Tuesday, March 17, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge. 

T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.

• Spcetrum is offering free internet: 1.844.488.8398

• Cox has opened all of its public wi-fi hotspots to the public. Find the locations. 

A Catholic University in the Benedictine Tradition, founded in 1887. Learn more about our values and rich heritage.

© 2021 Benedictine University

Contact

225 E. Main Street in Mesa, AZ 85201
mesa@ben.edu  |  (602) 888-5500

Map of Benedictine University at Mesa