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.

Click here for Virtual Benedictine: campus visits and more.

Click here for our #RavensWillRise Stories of Hope.

Event Cancelations: College events have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. List of Canceled Events.

Notification of Positive COVID-19 Cases on Campus (July 24)

To all members of the Benedictine College Community:

The welfare and safety of our community during this time is Benedictine College’s primary concern. We are writing to inform you of a recent development relating to COVID-19.

We recently learned that two College employees tested positive for COVID-19. One employee was last present on campus on Tuesday, July 21, and the other was last present on campus on Thursday, July 23. Neither employee works in an office with significant student contact.   

College officials acted quickly to follow appropriate protocols in response to this information. In consultation with local health officials, this included directly notifying individuals known to have had close contact with these employees through College programs, employment or activities. The CDC currently defines close contact with an affected individual as contact within 6 feet for greater than 15 minutes.

Given the limited number of Benedictine community members who are currently on campus, a small number of individuals were directly notified regarding this situation. Although we understand there may be questions related to this report, we must ask that you respect the privacy of these individuals. The College is following protocols related to cleaning, social distancing and implementing remote work requirements for those at risk for exposure. We will continue to take steps to help protect the health and safety of our community.

We also take this opportunity to remind our community of important information regarding COVID-19. In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, we request your attention to and compliance with health-authority-recommended practices – not only to ensure your own well-being, but also the well-being of others.  Health and safety information can be found on the CDC’s website here: State health and safety information can be found here:

Please know that we will continue to monitor guidance and information related to COVID-19. This is a time to be attentive, flexible, serious, and engaged regarding the steps we need to take as a community to care for ourselves and for one another. Please be attentive to Benedictine communications addressing COVID-19 and additional steps we will be taking to address this rapidly evolving situation.

Returning Safely for the Fall Semester (July 2)

We are excited for the return of students, faculty and staff to our campus, but the coronavirus pandemic will make it a challenge. We are facing a situation that is somewhat out of our control, making it difficult to maintain traditions and function with the normal sense of community we all love. But as some groups develop mitigation strategies, there are also groups doing equally important work on creative ways to maintain a vibrant campus community.

We strongly believe in the educational value and personal growth provided by the on-campus experience. We will offer programming, athletic competition and in-person classes, but, like any family, we will take care of those most vulnerable. The college’s Coronavirus Task Force, in consultation with college administration, the Atchison County Health Department, Atchison County EMS and health professionals, has been working throughout the summer to develop a Raven Safety Plan following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. While that extensive and detailed plan is in the final stages of development and approval, here is a quick summary of what to expect in the fall:

Face Masks/Coverings

  • Following advice from medical professionals, federal guidelines and the State of Kansas mandate to wear face coverings, Benedictine College requires all students, faculty and staff to wear face coverings at all times when they are in the presence of other individuals while on campus, except when in their residence hall room, office or in a private vehicle.
  • Benedictine College is providing one reusable cloth mask for each student. These complimentary masks have been mailed to all beginning freshmen, so be sure to pack it with your residence hall essentials and bring it with you when you come.  Returning students and transfers can pick up their complimentary mask when they arrive on campus.

Physical Distancing

  • An effort will be made to decrease density and promote physical distancing in all areas, including classrooms, the Dining Hall, lounges and other public spaces.
  • Patterns have been developed to promote one-way traffic flow in academic buildings (where possible) and the Dining Hall.
  • There will be a flexible model in the classroom that will allow for sick students/faculty or those who have pre-existing conditions to attend remotely, if necessary.

Return to Campus

  • Students are being asked to bring the following coronavirus-related supplies for their use:
    • Sanitizing wipes / cleaning supplies for regularly cleaning and disinfecting your residence hall room and belongings
    • Hand sanitizer to carry with you when washing your hands with soap and water is not an option
    • Face masks / coverings for your personal use, beyond the complimentary mask provided by Benedictine
    • Digital thermometer
    • Fever-reducing medication
    • NOTE: Make purchases now before hundreds of thousands of students returning to colleges across the country are looking for the same things!
  • All students are asked to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine at home prior to returning to campus and to self-monitor during that time for any symptoms.
  • Students should check and continue to monitor the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) travel-related quarantine guidelines. If you are from one of the states identified, or have traveled internationally, or been on a cruise ship or river cruise, you are asked to complete a 14-day quarantine before being allowed to move freely about campus. You can do this quarantine on campus or with a friend or relative who lives in the state. The guidelines are continuously updated, so it is imperative to continue to regularly monitor them between now and your return.

Focus on Hygiene

  • Policies and procedures are being adapted to allow for increased daily cleaning, regular sanitizing of common areas, and proper personal hygiene.

Focus on Student Health

  • To address both the physical and mental health of our student body, the College has already expanded Student Health Services for the fall.
  • Hours of our nurse practitioner have been increased from 12 to 20 hours/week.
  • An additional part-time registered nurse is being hired.
  • The Counseling Center has hired a part-time office manager and increased the available counseling hours for students.
  • To separate healthy students from those who are sick, the health services office is being moved from the Student Health Center to a new location on Third Street across from St. Michael Hall, allowing the Counseling Center to take over the entire Student Health Center building.

College Ministry

  • Faith life on campus is vital and essential, thus we must all work together to observe practices that are proven to minimize the spread of COVID-19 even in religious services and activities.
  • The College Ministry office plans to follow the guidelines set forth by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, subject to Atchison County Health Department directives.
  • Our Archdiocese offers very specific guidelines concerning Sunday obligation, Holy Communion, adoration, reconciliation, persons exhibiting symptoms, density, sanitation, hygiene and more.

We are proceeding with caution and beginning conservatively through Labor Day. Health and welfare are the top priority with the safety of both the campus community and the Atchison community in mind. As the situation evolves, we will assess our procedures and, if we can safely relax some of these guidelines, we will do so. We thank everyone for their personal commitment to this plan in the best interest of the broader campus community. The strength of our community will get us through this and Ravens Will Rise!


Residence Hall Checkout Update (June 9)

As Atchison County moves into Phase 3 of the Reopening Plan, students from all states are now welcome to return to campus to checkout. Once you submit your Request to Return Form, you will receive an approval email with guidance for the safety precautions the College will require of you for your time on campus, in order to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. Please fill out a Request to Checkout Form and indicate the date you would like to return. Please note that students still have until July 1, 2020, to complete their checkout. Email questions to

College Announces Early Start and Schedule Change for Fall Semester (June 3)

Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis has announced that the school will implement a strategy to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus by opening earlier than usual, skipping Fall Break, and sending students home at Thanksgiving to take finals online. The announcement follows weeks of work by the College Cabinet and several faculty and staff committees to determine the best course of action for the health and well-being of the campus and Atchison communities.

The first day of classes moves up a week to August 19, 2020, followed by the All-School Mass and Academic Convocation on August 25, 2020. The college will skip Fall Break in October and continue classes until the Thanksgiving Break. The last day of in-person class will be November 24, 2020. Students will stay home after Thanksgiving and finals will be done online from November 30 to December 4.

See the full announcement here.

See the entire 2020-2021 Academic Year Calendar here.

Checkout Updates for Students Impacted by the KDHE Quarantine List (May 13)

On May 12, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) updated the Quarantine List removing Colorado and Louisiana. Students from those states are now welcome to return to campus to checkout. Please fill out a Request to Checkout Form indicating the date you would like to return to pick up your belongings.

Please note that students from these states will have until July 1, 2020, to complete their checkout. 

Benedictine College Announces Fall Opening on Campus (May 5)

Benedictine College will open its campus in Atchison, Kansas, this fall on time and with students in the classroom, President of Benedictine College Stephen D. Minnis announced May 5 during a virtual Honors Convocation.

"We will be open in the fall; we will start on time; we will have students in the classrooms; we will have vibrant student life and ministry programs; and we will have athletics," he said. "All of those things are important for a dynamic Benedictine education."

Read more.

Checkout Process Updates for Students Impacted by the KDHE Quarantine List (May 1)

As many of you know, Benedictine College has been working in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) in the administration of our residence hall checkout process.  KDHE has requested that we do not approve any students to return to campus who are currently residing in any state on the KDHE Quarantine List.  Since the beginning of April these states include: Colorado, Illinois, California, New York, Washington, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Louisiana.  We regret the inconvenience that this has caused many of our students, but know that using this guidance is necessary for the health and welfare of the Benedictine College, Atchison, and all Kansas communities. 

On April 30, the KDHE Quarantine List was updated, resulting in some additional states being added to the list, while other states were removed. Please note that students from California, Florida, and Washington are now able to return to campus to complete the checkout process.  Please submit a new Request to Checkout to indicate what date you would like to return to campus to checkout of your residence hall. 

On the other hand, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were added to the KDHE Quarantine List, meaning that we will not be able to permit students from these states to return to campus until these states are removed from the list.

Important Notice: Please note that the checkout deadline for students who have been prevented from checking out of their residence hall by the KDHE Quarantine List has been extended to July 1, 2020. For students in this situation we recommend the following approach to the checkout process: 

  1. Proxy Checkout: You are welcome to have someone else complete your checkout for you.  We are happy to work with a family member, friend, or another BC student who is currently not impacted by the KDHE Quarantine List to complete your checkout.  
  2. Staff Checkout: Students who are prevented from returning to campus can have their RD or a different BC Staff member pack up your items and Rocky’s Copies can ship them to you.  Students are able to pay for the shipping cost through the use of Raven Bucks.
  3. Personally Checkout: You are welcome to wait until your state is removed from the KDHE Quarantine List so that you are able to complete your own checkout.  It is important to know that we currently do not know when this will happen or if it will happen before July 1, 2020.  If your state is not removed from the KDHE Quarantine List prior to July 1, 2020, you will still need to complete your checkout from the residence halls by July 1st through one of the first two options.

Please feel free to contact the Student Life Office with any questions or concerns: or 913.360.7500. 

Pass/Fail Option Announced (April 10)

In order to relieve some of the stress associated with the abrupt switch to online learning, the Faculty of Benedictine College has approved a plan whereby students will be able to choose, in each of their classes, whether to have their transcript reflect the grade they earned, or to instead take the Pass/Fail option. If they choose pass/fail, as long as their grade is D or higher, their transcript will show a P. 

For this semester only, all P grades will count toward major, minor and general education requirements. It will have no effect, positive or negative, on semester or cumulative grade point averages. Students will have until the last day of finals to make this choice, and they can choose to have their regular grade in some classes and the P/F option in others. While students do not need an advisor's signature to make this decision, they should definitely talk to their academic advisor before making the selection. In some circumstances, this decision could have ramifications for academic standing, athletic eligibility and financial aid, so please be sure to consult with the appropriate offices before choosing. Students who are pre-nursing should definitely talk with the nursing faculty about their situation before choosing the P/F option in any prerequisite courses.

Commencement moved to July 25, 2020

President Minnis announced on April 3 that the 2020 Commencement will be moved to Saturday, July 25, 2020. It will include Senior Week, which will begin on Tuesday, July 21. Seniors can look for more information as class leaders and Student Activities finalize plans. The week will also include the traditional Senior Brunch, the photo around the Benedictine B, the March of Light, Baccalaureate Mass, and the President’s Reception on Friday, July 24. And it will all culminate with Commencement Exercises on Saturday, July 25, complete with Bishop Andrew Cozzens as the Commencement speaker as planned.

Update - Campus Facilities Closed (April 3)

Please be aware that all campus facilities are closed and everyone in Atchison should be complying with the Atchison County Health Department’s Shelter-at-Home Order. There have been numerous large gatherings on campus and those must stop. Due to this activity, the college has taken the additional step to close all athletic fields, the sand volleyball court, tennis courts and practice fields. This will be enforced 24/7 by Security. The Dining Hall is operating on a grab-n-go basis and is only available to those few hardship students who have not been able to leave campus yet. Anyone who does not have consent to be on campus should stay home and abide by the order, not just to keep yourselves safe, but to keep the entire community safe.

Common sense says that individuals or small groups (under 10) maintaining social distancing guidelines are still allowed to walk around campus to get some air and exercise.

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 – Sunday
      Brunch: 10:00 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:
  • Any student or faculty member needing assistance can continue to email or call us at 913-360-7608.
  • Further inquiries regarding library services can be directed to or
  • Requests for printed materials can be submitted to 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 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 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 – 6:30 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.


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:

Message Archive

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