BY ANDREAS BUTLER
A recent spike in COVID-19 cases at Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) has led the institution to tighten safety protocols and limit activities on campus.
The school released a statement and video online recently announcing that it was reducing on-campus density and moving to remote and online learning for the remainder of the fall semester. It included canceling all sports.
“This decision has been made with a focus on the health and safety of our community during this unprecedented time,” said Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite, B-CU’s president.
As of Wednesday, Oct. 28, all face-to-face instruction has ended.
“We have concluded that it is in our best interests to begin reducing on-campus density for the remainder of the fall semester,” Chrite said.
“Faculty will pivot to an online modality, utilizing Canvas and integrating Zoom and other online platforms for the remainder of the semester.”
The university will provide a pass/fail option for students.
“Each student should work with faculty to ensure the right option for them,’’ the president said.
No spring sports
B-CU also has announced that there will be no sports played this spring.
Football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball and track and field are now all canceled.
The women’s basketball team had started practice earlier this week.
The football season had been moved from the fall to the spring. The Wildcats were supposed to play a six-game conference only, scheduled to begin on Feb. 27 at North Carolina A&T.
“B-CU will forgo all spring competition,” Chrite stated in the press release.
“With the spike of cases across the state, Volusia County and our campus, it is clear that now is not the time to resume athletic competition. The decision to opt out of spring competition is the only responsible one for us at this time it was not made lightly.”
There are plans to help student athletes affected by the decision, possibly adding a year of eligibility.
“I will be working with VP of Athletics Lynn Thompson and his colleagues to minimize and
ameliorate the impact of this decision,” Chrite related.
Alumni is supportive of the decision.
“Bethune-Cookman University’s investment in our youth encompasses their physical, emotional and spiritual enhancement,” said B-CU National Alumni Association President Johnny McCrary. “Safety first is the mandate of this investment to ensure student success
and productivity. We support the university’s decision.”
Curfew in place
The Wildcats will not play as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) again. In July, they along with rival Florida A&M, will move to the South Western Athletic Conference (SWAC) for all sports.
For students who cannot leave campus, a shelter option is in place. Residence halls are open for those who remain on campus. A curfew is in place from Monday through Sunday from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Quiet time hours are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
“Students must be in their assigned residence by curfew. Any student who violates curfew will be remove from campus and housing,” said Chrite.
Students must remain in their residence halls, access dining services or carryout approved academic related activities that cannot be done remotely.
Visitors are not allowed in dorms, but students can visit residents in their assigned dorms. There are no-coed dorm visits and no more than two persons are allowed in a room at one time.
Anyone who leaves campus must be signed out and cannot return until 8 a.m. the next day.
B-CU has posted a video online on YouTube and its Facebook page urging students to follow safety protocols, including wearing masks, not attending parties and staying out of Joe Harris Park.
In that video, the university announced that 30 students were isolated and in quarantine on
campus. It also reported four confirmed cases on Oct. 16, two on Oct. 19 and nine on Oct. 21.
B e t h u n e – C o o k m a n is hopeful to resume on campus classes for the spring semester.
“We encourage all students to register for the spring semester. Many want to know what the spring semester may look like on campus,” Chrite noted.
“We are still exploring the best options. We will plan for multiple scenarios that best serve our students,’’ he added.