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One month ago, I announced Palm Beach Atlantic University’s intention to resume in-person teaching, learning and residential life for the fall 2020 semester with extensive safety protocols in place. Since then, we have carefully monitored the increase of COVID-19 cases in Florida and other parts of the U.S.
At this point, and Lord willing, we still plan to start on time in August with EXTENSIVE preventive, testing, and treatment strategies for COVID-19. Safety remains our top priority. This is a dangerous virus, yet we know more today about how the virus is transmitted and, most importantly, how to avoid infection.
The transformative power of a PBA undergraduate education is best experienced on campus. While online education offers great agility and portability, there is no replacement for the highly personalized academic interaction that PBA students have with their dedicated professors, and with each other, in the classroom. This unprecedented and challenging time of uncertainty requires our very best efforts, and guidance from the Holy Spirit, to ensure the safety and transformational experience of all our students through rich academics, spiritual development, exceptional care, and deep relationships.
Over these past four weeks, we have been working hard to utilize the best safety practices possible. We have very strong nursing and pharmacy schools with experts in infectious diseases who are up to date with national guidelines, working with our experienced Crisis Management Team to lead our efforts. The Palm Beach County Health Department has been an amazing partner as we forge the path forward. Fortunately, with our new residence hall opening in August, we have an empty building that can be used for isolation as needed.
We do not take the responsibility for the health and the safety of our PBA community lightly. We have already shared our new safety protocols with staff working on campus and they have responded beautifully to the “new normal.” Soon we will provide the details of our multi-pronged approach that includes communicating, training, tracking, potentially testing and tracing to students and faculty ahead of the fall start.
Please continue to pray for Palm Beach Atlantic and for all members of our campus community.
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 1:2