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Fall 2021
Welcome Back Initiative



August 20, 2021

Dear LeTourneau University Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The new academic year is off to a great start! It is such a blessing to participate in teaching, learning, and living in community!

There is nothing more gratifying than being part of an active and vibrant campus of activity—both inside and outside the classroom. I am glad that we have been able to experience a bit more normalcy upon our return to campus life this semester. However, I remain concerned about the health and wellness of our community and the growing presence of the Covid 19 Delta variant. Our campus numbers of cases and isolations have already reached our peaks from last year. It is very important that, while the University is not requiring particular safety measures across the board, we remain cautious, careful and wise in our daily interactions. When it is possible to keep distance, that is ideal—especially in terms of reducing isolations for exposure. For example, rather than holding a special meeting in close quarters, opt for Microsoft Teams or move to a large room for spreading out. Or, rather than piling in a vehicle for an off-campus event, thin out to reduce close contact.

We’ve considered many factors in our institutional approach to the pandemic, and we believe that our present approach is the prudent way forward. Yet, as we monitor the virus in East Texas and on campus over the coming weeks and months, we may elect to make modifications to campus space and expectations. The University’s response to the pandemic is both a shared and individual responsibility, and it requires charity, grace, action, and thoughtfulness from all of us. And, it requires individuals to take special precautions as they see fit, as we maintain our high standards of teaching and learning in person.

On behalf of the Welcome Back Initiative Team, I want you to note some modifications in light of the current surge of the virus. Beginning Monday, August 23rd:

  1. We are reserving the third balcony of Belcher for people wearing face-coverings or those that desire more distance when we gather there for chapel.
  2. We will reduce the density of seating in the Corner Café.
  3. We will reduce the density of seating in some select classrooms (while maintaining enough seats for those in the class).

I appreciate the good work of the Welcome Back Initiative Task Force and Student Life leadership, who are diligently monitoring the pandemic on a daily basis, maintaining constant dialogue with local health and government officials, and are closely tracking the cases on our campus. This communication is not intended to indicate a change in our protocols or policies. Instead, it is to remind us that the stakes are still high and that our response is crucial to a successful academic year.

Please continue to pray with me for God’s mercy, protection, and peace on our campus, our families, our community, and our world. Thank you!

Blessings,

Steven D. Mason, Ph.D.
President



August 11, 2021

Dear LeTourneau faculty, staff, and students,

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be available on campus at the Allen Family Student Center from 2pm to 4pm on August 12th and August 17th. All individuals over the age of 16 years old may choose to receive the vaccine. The vaccine is NOT mandatory for LeTourneau students or employees. The second dose of the vaccine will again be offered on-campus in approximately three weeks from the day you received the first dose.

No appointments are necessary. However, we need to know how many individuals are interested in receiving the vaccine. Please click HERE and follow the instructions.

Also, please print and complete the appropriate consent form ( Employees | Students ) and bring them with you when you come to receive the vaccine.

The Welcome Back Initiative Team



August 5, 2021

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 academic school year!

Earlier this summer, we communicated to the entire campus about the changes to the University’s policies and protocols related to COVID-19. This work was done with thoughtfulness and care and centered on the continued safety and well-being of everyone on our campus. These policies and protocol changes are available at letu.edu/wbi, noted in the June 14, 2021, campus communication, and include:

  • Vaccines will not be required for students, faculty, or staff but are encouraged. Vaccinated individuals will not be required to isolate if potentially exposed to COVID-19 in accordance with CDC guidelines. Isolation will be required for individuals that have not been vaccinated and potentially exposed to COVID-19.
  • Face coverings will not be required in buildings or outside. However, some individuals may choose to wear face coverings based on their personal situations.
  • COVID-19 testing will not be required for students, faculty, or staff upon returning to campus this fall. However, testing will be available throughout the academic year.
  • Most classrooms will be scheduled at reduced capacities, but some classes may return to pre-COVID capacities. Physical distancing is still encouraged when possible.
  • We have reduced varying requirements for the new academic year related to dining, residence halls, athletics, and other student activities. Details are outlined in the Student Guide.

Since these changes were announced, COVID-19 cases have increased in many parts of the United States. This is further complicated by the existence of the Delta variant. Our plan is to stay the course as outlined in the June 14, 2021, campus communication. However, as we prepare for our community’s return to campus, it is imperative that everyone remain cautious and considerate of others as the virus remains a concern. We must all work together to limit the potential disruption to our operation due to positive COVID-19 cases and/or isolations due to possible exposure. 

The WBI webpage will continue to serve as the main location for information and updates related to COVID-19. Please note that the guides for employees and students have been updated to reflect the most recent changes. Please refer to those resources throughout the academic year.

Blessings,
The Welcome Back Initiative Team



June 14, 2021

Dear LeTourneau faculty, staff, and students,

On May 10, 2021, we communicated several important changes to the University’s COVID-19 protocols for this summer and committed to communicating our plans for the upcoming academic year by today, Monday, June 14. Following key operational discussions, evaluation of the summer protocol changes, and encouraging local, state, and national COVID-19 data, the following changes will be adopted for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year:

  • Vaccines will not be required for students, faculty, or staff but are encouraged. Vaccinated individuals will not be required to isolate if potentially exposed to COVID-19 in accordance with CDC guidelines. Isolation will be required for individuals that have not been vaccinated and potentially exposed to COVID-19.
  • Face coverings will not be required in buildings or outside. However, some individuals may choose to wear face coverings based on their personal situations.
  • COVID-19 testing will not be required for students, faculty, or staff upon returning to campus this fall. However, testing will be available throughout the academic year.
  • Most classrooms will be scheduled at reduced capacities, but some classes may return to pre-COVID capacities. Physical distancing is still encouraged when possible.
  • We anticipate reducing varying requirements for the new academic year related to dining, residence halls, athletics, and other student activities. Additional details will be provided in early July.

All changes listed above are based on the condition that there are no major COVID-19 incidents between now and August.

Our goal is to implement changes that position the University to return to pre-COVID-19 operations (as much as possible) while also ensuring that we can respond to unforeseen health and safety concerns throughout the academic year. 

Blessings,
The Welcome Back Initiative Team



May 10, 2021

Dear LeTourneau faculty, staff, and students, 

The Welcome Back Initiative team is extremely thankful for a successful and relatively healthy completion of the 2020-2021 academic year. This success is a direct result of our community’s willingness to abide by specific COVID-19 protocols. We know that those protocols were not easy for many but were instrumental in navigating this pandemic. God has protected and guided us through the past year and equipped us with the endurance and flexibility to learn and live in-person for an entire academic year.  

We now turn our attention to specific campus COVID-19 protocol changes for this summer. As you know, our summer courses, operations, and activities officially begin today. This summer guidance is intentionally being distributed today and not earlier to avoid any confusion related to our commencement ceremonies. Thank you for your understanding.  

In most cases, the summer months include less events, reduced activity, and a lower density of people. For these reasons, the summer COVID-19 guidelines are as follows. 

  • Face coverings are not required in buildings or outside. However, some individuals may choose to wear face coverings based on their personal situations. Please consider physically distancing and wearing a face covering when interacting with them. PPE will continue to be issued and distributed upon request. 
  • Maintain at least six-foot separation from other individuals when possible and appropriate. This includes work areas, campus buildings, and offices. 
  • Continue to stay away from campus if you are feeling ill and communicate with the appropriate people consistent with this past academic year. 
  • Cleaning and sanitation of common spaces is no longer expected after each use, but supplies will remain available. 
  • For faculty and staff – We are no longer asking employees to work remotely and encourage everyone to return to campus for their daily work. 

These revisions are effective immediately. It is our hope that the updated summer protocols will also provide us additional wisdom as we prepare for the fall semester. As previously communicated, we anticipate communicating the details of our fall protocols in June. More specifically, we plan to provide detailed communication for our entire campus community on Monday, June 14, 2021. There are several important summer activities that conclude by June 14 and will provide the University the needed time to finalize decisions and planning for the new academic year.  

Thank you again for a great academic year. We pray that the summer is restful and rejuvenating for each of you. 

Blessings,
The Welcome Back Initiative Team



March 5, 2021

Dear LeTourneau faculty, staff and students, 

As we approach the midway point of the semester, we want to thank each member of our community for your continued commitment to a healthy and successful year of living and learning on campus. This communication includes several updates regarding our Welcome Back Initiative and changes to the academic calendar for the Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 semesters. 

Due to the successes of last fall, we are once again adjusting the traditional calendar to end by Thanksgiving. The first day of classes for the traditional Fall semester will be Monday, August 16th. The semester will end Tuesday, November 23rd and include a short fall break in October. The nontraditional Fall calendar will not change. Module 1 and full semester courses will begin on Monday, August 23rd, and the last day of the term is December 12th. 

The Summer 2021 term will now end on August 15th for both traditional and nontraditional courses. Summer courses that were scheduled to end on August 22nd have been adjusted accordingly. The updated academic calendar will be available soon at the following link: https://www.letu.edu/academics/academic-calendar.html

As we stated earlier this week, Governor Abbott recently announced several changes to the COVID-19 statewide mandates and that we would take this announcement under advisement. Following several thorough discussions and consultation with key partners, the Welcome Back Initiative Team has decided to continue with the university’s current COVID-19 policies and protocols for the time being. We realize this decision is a relief to some on campus and a disappointment for others, but we continue to seek the best approach in considering the needs of our entire campus. We have also received questions regarding policies specific to athletic events and activities in the Belcher Center. At this time, the protocols for these venues will remain the same through the end of the semester. We trust there will be substantive changes to our policies moving into Summer and Fall as we process local, state and national health guidance. We will continue to remain in communication as these decisions are made. We are thankful to God that we have achieved something special this year—almost a full academic year of safely living and learning on campus. 

The Welcome Back Initiative Team continues to work together to identify ways to meet the needs of our entire campus community. We appreciate the on-going commitment and flexibility from our students, faculty and staff and encourage each of you to finish strong as we approach the end of the semester. We ask that you continue to pray for the health and safety of our campus community and a successful conclusion to the Spring semester. 

Welcome Back Initiative Team



March 2, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

This afternoon Governor Abbott issued a statement related to upcoming changes to several COVID-19 statewide mandates. LeTourneau University and the Welcome Back Initiative team are taking today’s announcement under advisement, but all University COVID-19 policies and protocols remain in place.

We appreciate everyone’s continued patience and flexibility as we navigate our ongoing response to COVID-19. 

Sincerely,

Welcome Back Initiative Team



February 4, 2021

Hello LeTourneau Community!

The spring semester is off to a great start! We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of some of the wonderful changes that have been made since the Fall semester.

  • In-person chapel is back! For the Spring semester, students have been divided into two groups to accommodate spacing protocols in the Belcher Center. For more information regarding Chapel schedule and Spiritual Formation Credits, please visit letu.edu/chapel.
  • LETU Athletics are back in action! Our athletic venues are limited to 100 spectators and will follow social distancing and face covering guidelines. Information on athletic policies and event livestreams can be found at letuathletics.com.
  • Student and Employee COVID-19 Guides are updated and include the most recent guidance from the Welcome Back Initiative Task Force. These guides are linked on this page and will be updated throughout the semester as necessary.
  • A COVID dashboard has been included in the right sidebar of this page. The dashboard will be updated each Monday morning throughout the Spring semester to reflect current active cases and isolations among employees and students.
Please continue to refer to the WBI page for updates throughout the semester. Thank you for your commitment to living and learning safely in community.


December 22, 2020

Hello LETU Students,

I hope you are feeling rested and are enjoying a break from classes as you prepare to celebrate Christmas. At LETU, we have been working on plans for the Spring 2021 semester and are excited for your return to classes on January 20th. We have also been reviewing our campus efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and monitoring infection rates locally and around the country to help us determine our plans for the Spring semester. This email provides a lot of information and may require some action on your part, so please review it carefully. 

Due to the continued high rates of infection and the predictions that rates will likely still be high in January, we are again requiring that all students who will be attending classes in person on the Longview campus receive COVID testing prior to the start of the semester. Student Athletes will be returning earlier than the majority of the student body students and will be tested with their teams at that time. Students moving into residence halls are expected to to test the day of their arrival on campus. To accommodate the numbers of students who will need to test upon return, Residence Life is extending the timeframe for on-campus students to return to campus. Commuter students may test during any of the testing dates prior to the start of the semester, which will be provided later in this email. 

LETU will be using the same testing method that was used in August 2020, which is a nasopharyngeal swab PCR test. The tests are run in a laboratory in Tyler, TX, which typically delivers results to LETU within 24 hours. We will ask that all students remain distanced from others and self-quarantined in on- or off-campus housing until test results are reported back and students are cleared to participate in campus activities. This will help reduce the number of people who may have to isolate due to exposure to a positive COVID-19 test result. 

In August, we provided the option of obtaining PCR testing on your own prior to return to campus. At that time, test results were running 2-3 days for results locally and in other parts of the country. Now we are finding that test results are running 5-10 days in many places. Taking a test more than a week before returning to campus makes it difficult to get a helpful assessment of whether a student is positive for COVID-19 when they arrive. For this reason, and because we have an excellent testing program with approximately 24 hour results that will be provided at no cost to students, we are asking that all students be tested on campus upon arrival to campus. Should there be an extenuating circumstance, please email healthservices@letu.edu for further consideration.

It is likely that some of you have been or will be diagnosed with COVID-19 over the break from school. Any student who tests positive (whether on campus or off campus for break) is asked to complete LETU’s COVID-19 Student Reporting Form. Students who have been infected with COVID-19 up to 90 days prior to the start of the Spring 2021 semester are asked to provide documentation of their positive test result and documentation of when symptoms were resolved to Health Services. This can be done by emailing healthservices@letu.edu. Health Services will evaluate this information and determine whether you would be required to isolate should you test positive again within 90 days of a previous positive test result. Any student who tested positive for  COVID-19 more than 90 days prior to their on-campus test at the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester and who tests positive again at this screening would be considered to be re-infected with COVID-19 per current CDC guidance. 

The PCR tests conducted on campus are provided at no cost to students and will be required to be allowed to attend classes. Testing will be offered in front of Belcher Center on the following dates and times:

  • Saturday, January 16, 2021 2-5pm
  • Sunday, January 17, 2021, 2-5pm
  • Monday, January 18, 2021, 2-5pm

Limited testing will be available Tuesday, January 19th for those students who cannot arrive sooner. We ask that students make all efforts to arrive earlier than Tuesday so that they can be tested, have results back, and be released to attend the first day of classes on Wednesday, January 20th. We realize this may require changing some plans, which is why we wanted to provide enough time to be able to work out those changes. 

Students living on campus will receive email communication from Ryan Hawkins, Housing Coordinator, with further information on return dates and times for on-campus students. You will be asked to sign up for a slot to return so that staff can prepare accordingly for your return. 

We are grateful to have completed the full fall semester on ground and in person, and know that diligent health and safety measures on the part of students, faculty, and staff helped to make that possible. As we look forward to the Spring, we trust that you will continue to join us in keeping LETU healthy, safe, and in-person! Our prayers are with you over this extended break and we appreciate your prayers for continued safety and protection of the LETU community. 

All the Best,

Kristy Morgan, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs   



November 18, 2020

Dear LeTourneau University family,

We did it! We are only a couple of days away from completing our Fall academic semester. Throughout the past several months, the LETU community has worked diligently to ensure a successful semester of in-person living and learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. By the grace of God, we were able to gather together and celebrate all of the wonderful attributes and experiences that make LETU special. We are so thankful for our students, faculty and staff and grateful for the committed and united effort in responding to these unusual circumstances. Our successful semester is a result of God’s protection and the daily efforts of our community. Thank you!

This upcoming break is well-deserved and very timely. All of us have worked hard to ensure a successful semester. As we enter the last few days of the academic semester, the COVID-19 number of active cases among students is 4 and 1 employee. Again, these low numbers have been consistent throughout the semester and is a testament to everyone’s commitment to the health and safety of one another.

The Thanksgiving and Christmas break for students is longer than usual. Our prayer for our students, faculty and staff is that this break will be a time of rest and rejuvenation. We also recognize that communication over the next several weeks is critical to keeping our community informed about the Spring 2021 semester. Communication will take several forms over the next several weeks and include email, website, the Buzz app, and social media. Most importantly, please continue to monitor the WBI webpage for the most recent campus updates regarding the Spring semester. The WBI webpage is www.letu.edu/wbi. As a reminder, here are a few important points about the academic calendar for Spring 2021.

  • For residential students, classes for the Spring 2021 semester will begin Wednesday, January 20, 2021.
  • There are no changes to the Spring 2021 schedule for our non-trad students.
  • The Spring 2021 semester will conclude with finals week which will begin Monday, May 3, 2021.
  • Due to the slightly later start to the semester, there will be no spring break. We know that this is disappointing to some, but this decision will ensure adequate time for instruction.
  • The remainder of the academic calendar remains the same. This includes all other holidays, President’s Day and Good Friday. In addition, we added a day of rest on Thursday, March 11, 2021.
  • Homecoming remains the same.
  • Finals week and May Commencement remain the same.

More information about the Spring 2021 semester coming soon.

Blessings,
Welcome Back Initiative Team

Covid-19 Statistics

As of Friday, October 22nd

  • 2 Active Student Cases
  • 3 Additional Student in Quarantine/Isolation
  • 0 Active Faculty/Staff Cases

 

Additional Resources