Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary plans to resume on-campus instruction on its Fort Worth campus this fall after thorough preparations have been completed to “make our facilities as safe as possible for students, faculty, staff, and others on Seminary Hill,” president Adam Greenway announced.
Greenway said in a statement that it’s the “appropriate time” to announce fall semester plans in the light of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s April 27 announcement that he will allow the stay-at-home order to expire at the conclusion of April and begin a phased re-opening of businesses in the state.
The seminary’s common spaces will undergo a “deep cleaning” in the months preceding the beginning of the semester, Greenway said, noting 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.”
Greenway’s full statement follows:
“With the April 27 announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott that he will allow the state’s stay-at-home order to expire at the end of the month and will permit the beginning of gradual re-opening of certain businesses and activities across Texas, we believe now is the appropriate time to announce to our students our intentions for the fall 2020 semester.
“It is our expectation that classes will resume on campus in the fall after a series of preparations are completed over the next three months to make our facilities as safe as possible for students, faculty, staff, and others on Seminary Hill. A detailed plan for preparations is being finalized and will be executed in the coming days, including a deep cleaning of dormitories, classrooms, and other common spaces on campus. Necessary adjustments to class sizes and the use of certain classrooms will be made 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.
“Since our March 12 announcement moving all instruction online, I have never been prouder to be a Southwesterner as our incredible faculty and staff seamlessly made this transition in the span of a few weeks to best serve our students. This necessary alteration was possible due to the tireless efforts of our Campus Technology team even before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the spring semester. Because of their labors, our institution was ready to meet this challenge. Also, in God’s providence, our new, eight-week online courses were ready to launch when they were especially meaningful to our students.
“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. The coronavirus pandemic has not lessened the urgency of theological education; indeed, it has only heightened that urgency. God continues to call men and women to serve Him and the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. The call to ministry is the call to prepare, and Southwestern Seminary exists to serve those called by providing biblically and theologically faithful and academically rigorous comprehensive theological education with a strong practical focus.
“I am prayerful that God is using the coronavirus pandemic in a way that will make us more faithful ministers of the gospel and that will see the advancement of the gospel across the world. As Robert E. Naylor, our fifth president, frequently said, ‘The sun never sets on Southwestern.’ That truism remains undiminished in our time, and it is our prayerful ambition that because of the training they receive here, our students will continue to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission across Texas, throughout the United States, and around the world.”