Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The coronavirus situation continues to present an ever-expanding number of challenges for us all. Residence halls are closed and we have moved to online learning environment.

Event Cancelations: College events have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. List of Canceled Events. At this time, we are looking at options for our 2020 Commencement. We will communicate any final decisions.

Update on Building Access (March 23)

  • All buildings other than noted below are locked and off limits to students. Faculty and staff have access as needed.
  • Students have access to only their own residence hall and only the late door. Students that are only here for a day to pick up belongings will have access only for that time period
  • St. John Paul II Student Center:
    • Students have access with their ID from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    • Closed from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m.
  • Dining Hall (pick-up only):
    • Monday – Friday
      Breakfast 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
      Lunch 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
      Dinner 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    • Saturday - Sunday
      Brunch 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
      Dinner 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Packages or print jobs should be picked up from Rocky’s Copies from the loading dock of the Library.
  • The Abbey is locked down. No visitors are allowed.
    They are continuing to stream Mass live each day on their YouTube channel.
  • The Mount remains closed to visitors.

Update on the College Library (March 23)

  • The library building is closed effective Tuesday, March 24. The College Library continues to function in an online capacity.
  • Library services will be available remotely (online, phone, email) during normal library hours, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. M-F.
  • Phone: 913-360-7608
  • Email: askalibrarian@benedictine.edu
  • Any student or faculty member needing assistance can continue to email askalibrarian@benedictine.edu or call us at 913-360-7608.
  • Further inquiries regarding library services can be directed to sgromatzky@benedictine.edu or dmeyer@benedictine.edu.
  • Requests for printed materials can be submitted to ill@benedictine.edu. We will provide scanned copies of printed materials within copyright restrictions.
  • We are aware that many students are getting reminders that library materials are due soon. We have renewed all College Library items currently checked out until May 16, 2020.
  • REMEMBER – when you come to campus to get your belongings, please return your library items to the drop box (on the right of the library entrance). Items will be checked in regularly and your accounts cleared. If you have a special circumstance, please contact Lois Farrell at lfarrell@benedictine.edu or call 913-360-7608.

Memorare Army Pandemic Prayer Campaign

President Minnis has called on everyone to pray 10 Memorares a day for 10 days for relief from the coronavirus crisis. Learn more and join the Memorare Army here.

Housing Checkout Information (March 20)

With the safety of our students as our number one priority, all residence halls will close for the semester on Sunday, March 22, at 8 p.m., and will not reopen for the Spring 2020 semester.

You can get all the information you need about moving out through the Housing Checkout FAQs.

Checkout and Hardship Forms (March 20)

Benedictine College is closing its residence halls and asking students to vacate campus by 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2020. We recognize that there are some hardship cases and we will work with students who need individual accommodations.

Please complete the Request to Checkout form as soon as possible.

If you have a hardship with the above requirement, please complete the Hardship Request form as soon as possible.

Residence Halls Closed (March 19)

The administration at Benedictine College has reluctantly concluded that, with new directives from the Atchison County Health Department in place, we are closing our residence halls and asking our students to vacate campus. We recognize that there are some hardship cases and we will work with students who need individual accommodations. The Student Life Office will provide information to residential students regarding the check-out process and hardship cases. We are committed to providing distance-education to all of our students to allow them to finish out their courses for the semester. 

The business of the college will continue, with faculty teaching remotely and staff working from home as much as possible.

Recording of the Town Hall from March 19

Go to the Benedictine College Facebook page for the recording of the Town Hall in which President Stephen Minnis, Dr. Joseph Wurtz, Dr. Kimberly Shankman, and Fr. Simon Baker offered the latest information on the campus situation and answered key questions.

You can also see a list of FAQs from the Town Hall.

Dining Hall Update (March 19)

The Atchison Health Department closed all restaurants, bars, clubs and movie theaters within the county today. Their directive for the Dining Hall means it is now serving prepackaged, grab-n-go meals during their hours of operation (10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.) and students cannot eat in the Dining Hall.

A Changed Campus Experience (March 17)

For the time being, life at Benedictine College is not going to be normal. If you believe you need to be on campus, here is how the campus will operate for the foreseeable future:

  1. Students who find it necessary to return to campus may be assigned to a different room.
  2. There will be no visitors of any kind in residence halls. Only currently assigned residents will be allowed in the halls; no one can be in a hall they are not living in. This will be in effect 24 hours a day.
  3. No gatherings of more than 4 students (or the number of residents allowed in a room or suite) in a residence hall room will be allowed.
  4. All residence hall residents will be expected to be back in their halls by 10:30 p.m.; at that time the doors will be locked.
  5. We ask students to avoid congregating in large groups, even outside.
  6. Students will not be allowed in the academic buildings; most faculty will be off campus and all classrooms will be locked and inaccessible.
  7. Any violation of Benedictine College policy may lead to your immediate removal from on-campus housing.
  8. The Dining Hall has converted to prepackaged, grab-n-go meals available from 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Due to Atchison Health Department guidelines, students cannot eat in the Dining Hall.
  9. Almost all leisure, recreational and entertainment options in the area are closed, the NAIA has canceled all spring sports, and the Murphy Recreation Center and Raven Store are closed.
  10. The Archdiocese has canceled all public celebrations of Holy Mass until further notice.
  11. Students who develop possible symptoms of COVID19 will be held in isolation off campus until arrangements can be made for their care.

Self-Screenings

As a precaution, the college is asking all students to self-screen for symptoms of the virus (fever over 100.4, cough, shortness of breath) at home before returning to campus. If you have any of these symptoms and have traveled to a high-risk area, DO NOT RETURN TO CAMPUS for 14 days. Nobody wants to risk exposing others on the Benedictine campus to the virus. You should self-isolate at home and contact your personal physician for further direction immediately.

NOTE – Once you are ready to return, please bring a doctor’s release to the Office of Student Life showing you are cleared to return to campus.

New Guidelines

As the situation has continued to evolve, there are now added 14-day quarantines established by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for anyone returning from international travel on or before March 15 or if you traveled in the states of California, New York or Washington and certain counties in Colorado (Eagle, Gunnison, Pitkin and Summit) in the week prior to March 15. If you fall into one of these categories, we cannot accommodate you on campus at this time; we simply must follow the appropriate guidance.

Student Health Center

Health officials have asked anyone who feels ill to call their health provider before going into a clinic. This includes the Student Health Center. Please call the Center at (913) 360-7117 to do a phone screening before entering the waiting room.

Athletic Events Suspended for the Semester

The NAIA and the Heart of America Athletic Conference, in which most of our sports compete, announced the the suspension of all athletic activity for the remainder of the semester. Similarly, the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, in which men’s and women’s lacrosse compete, suspended all athletic activity indefinitely.

Benedictine College has suspended all practices, meetings, film review, and weightlifting.

Preventive Measures

Please be sure to observe the basic preventive measures as outlined in the FAQ section, accessible below. 

Social Distancing

Health experts believe that avoiding crowds of people will be important in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. The CDC defines social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.” This is difficult for us, since our strong sense of community is central to the mission of our college. But we must recognize that these are extraordinary times and things are not normal. The COVID-19 pandemic will require significant measures to limit the spread of the virus. These will include the cancellation of the celebration of Holy Mass, maintaining “social distance” from others, and not congregating in groups for any reason. The college has already implemented some recommended changes by canceling certain events, limiting the gathering of large groups of people.

Going to the Gym in the Murphy Recreation Center

The Murphy Recreation Center is now closed.

Florence Campus - Follow-Up

On March 5, the government of Italy closed all colleges, universities, secondary and elementary schools in the nation for 10 days. Fortunately, we had already decided to close our campus and most students had already left the country.

Students from Florence had already been following the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) guidelines that require a 14-day isolation period in their homes. All students returning from Italy are going to complete their academics via distance learning.

Helpful Links

General COVID-19 FAQ

FAQs for Checkout

FAQs specific to Benedictine College

What precautions should I take during Mass?

There are many other resources online:

Community Messages

The following messages have been sent to the Benedictine College campus community:

Location