This morning, we are communicating important information to our TMUS family related to decisions we have made regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our University and Seminary campuses. The task force and the administration have worked to ensure our decisions and actions reflect our institutional values, our commitment to biblical principles, and our responsibility for the academic success and physical safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff. In times of crisis, believers have the added wisdom from God to guide them and we are thankful for this wisdom as our team worked to arrive at the best decision possible given the rapidly changing environment all institutions like ours are facing due to the COVID-19 virus.
Our decisions have been framed around three important biblical values found in Micah 6:8 – we are committed to doing justly by doing the right thing; we are committed to love mercy as we implement these decisions in a loving and compassionate way; and we are committed to walking humbly in dependence on God and in submission to the authorities over us nationally, locally, and institutionally.
With these principles guiding us, The Master’s University and Seminary leadership has two priorities as we navigate this unprecedented crisis: the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and the academic success of each university and seminary student. In order to fulfill these two priorities in this rapidly changing environment, TMUS has made the following decisions.
First, the university is suspending in-person classes for the rest of the semester and moving to an online and distance delivery format beginning Monday, March 30. Our faculty will continue to provide quality instruction along with any assistance that may be needed so that every student can finish this semester successfully. To this end, our provost and university faculty will communicate with each student the week of March 23-27 to help the TMU student body transition smoothly to this new educational format. Our academic calendar will remain in place. Current assignments may be adjusted given the new format, but final exams and the semester end date will remain in place.
Students may retrieve their belongings by contacting student life to make an appointment between March 30 - May 8.
Second, we are closing campus dormitories, effective Wednesday, March 18, at 11:00 pm and working to transition students currently in our dorms to their homes or to accommodations that are best suited to their safety. If students cannot retrieve their belongings before campus closes, they will need to contact student life and make an appointment after March 30 to come to campus and remove their belongings. This will ensure the safety of our campus and the health of our staff. We will do all we can to assist in this process within the guidelines the CDC has established. If a student has extenuating circumstances, please contact our student life office.
We know this is inconvenient, but as COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, there is a possibility of further travel restrictions. We are also not able to guarantee the sufficient availability of medical care in the event the virus spreads in our community. The rapidly increasing restrictions enacted by national, state, and local officials in an attempt to limit the spread of this virus has also led us to cancel all campus activities and to restrict campus access to those faculty and staff whose presence is deemed vital to the ongoing daily operations of the campus. All TMUS students studying abroad are currently returning to their homes. We have made accommodations so that they will finish their study abroad program successfully.
Third, we wish to partner with our parents, who are an important part of our campus community. Although we find ourselves facing a situation that is truly out of our control, we know that it is under God’s control. We are committed to trusting Him with our finances. To that end, our financial team is working on a solution for the remainder of the semester for our residential dormitory students. We will have more information available on our website by early next week.
Fourth, we will reopen campus when our local, state, and federal authorities loosen restrictions on the size of groups permitted to gather and the CDC adjusts its current recommendations for social distancing. We know graduation is a big question for our seniors and for all of us. We are committed to doing all we can to hold a graduation that is meaningful for our seniors and that celebrates both their accomplishment and our deep affection for them. We have not canceled graduation at this point, however, we are monitoring this situation as it develops and will keep our TMUS family informed.
Fifth, our Seminary has already transitioned fully to an on-line and non-traditional class format for the remainder of the semester. Nathan Busenitz, our Seminary Provost, will send out a communication with additional information that relates specifically to our Seminary students, faculty, and staff. That communication will be sent out later this week.
Finally, we know our TMU students and their families will have questions. We are committed to working hard to provide timely answers and clear communication. To that end we have added a FAQ section to our website that will be updated regularly. You may email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or you may call our special campus hotline 661-362-2502 during regular business hours, M-F from 9:00-5:00 PST. Someone will be available to direct your call to the appropriate individual.
We realize that we are not the only campus having to make difficult decisions like these. We are committed to praying for them as we pray for ourselves and we ask that you and all of our extended TMUS family pray that God will continue to grant wisdom, safety, academic success, and His good provision for each of our students, faculty, and staff. Pray for our faculty as they continue to provide a world-class education through an adjusted format. Pray that our students, their families, and the faculty and staff of TMUS remain safe and healthy. Most of all, pray that God would be glorified, His church strengthened, and the gospel of His Son advanced here at TMU and around the world during these difficult days.
John Stead, Sam Horn and the TMUS Administration