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Public health advisory COVID-19

Information on COVID-19

COVID-19 & CARES Act Information

Bridgewater College, in coordination with national organizations and state and local health departments, is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19.

This page will be updated regularly to include new information about the College’s response to COVID-19/Coronavirus.

Cares Act Public Report (5/26/20)

download the Cares Act Public Report (5/26/20)
REQUIRED REPORTING ON CARES ACT EMERGENCY STUDENT GRANTS

Updated: May 26, 2020

Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act requires institutions to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received from Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). Accordingly, the following information must appear in a format and location that is easily accessible to the public 30 days after the date when the institution received its

allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter:

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

RESPONSE:        Bridgewater College signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement on April 15, 2020. The College intends to use no less than 50% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

  1. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

 

RESPONSE:        Bridgewater College received $899,990 on April 30, 2020 from the Department pursuant to the College’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. This amount represented 50% of the total amount of funds received by the College under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

  1. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).

RESPONSE:        The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of May 26, 2020 is $876,875.

  1. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

RESPONSE:        The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as of March 13, 2020 was 1551.

  1. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid

Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

RESPONSE:        The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of May 26, 2020 is 1525.

  1. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

RESPONSE:        Bridgewater College allocated the total grant amount equally to eligible students who were enrolled at the College on March 13, 2020, which was the closing date for the residence halls on our campus. Students were instructed to inform the College if they did not incur eligible expenses, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, or if the student for any other reason declined the grant. Any student grant funds that remain after all payments are disbursed will be made available to students with financial need using guidelines that will be based on guidance from the Department.

  1. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

RESPONSE:        All instructions, directions and guidance provided to students concerning the CARES Act Emergency Grants for Students have been posted on this COVID-19 & CARES Act Information page. See specifically messages dated April 16, April 22 and May 18 with subject lines referencing the CARES grants.

 

Cares Act Emergency Grants for Students (5/18/20)

Update 5-14-20: Cares Act Emergency Grants for Students

The CARES Act Emergency Grants have been credited to eligible student accounts. The grant, in the amount of $575, is identified on your account with the designation “CARES Act Emergency Grant”. In accordance with federal guidelines, we initiated a request last week with the College’s bank to establish a separate checking account from which to distribute the funds. This will enable the most accurate tracking of student payments and allow for required federal reporting. The bank has advised us that the set up for this account may take several more days. We have requested expedited handling of our request, and will update this page when payments have been issued. Please continue to be patient with this process. We are getting very close!

Update 5-18-20

The direct deposit payments for the CARES Act Emergency Grants have been authorized today. If you are eligible for the grant AND completed registration for direct deposit, you should have received a system-generated email informing you of the pending payment. It may take a couple days for the banks (yours and the College’s) to complete the transaction. Please contact Student Accounts if you believe you should receive a grant by direct deposit and do not see it in your bank account by Friday of this week.

We will begin printing checks for grant payments tomorrow. As noted previously, processing and mailing paper checks will take a bit longer than usual due to remote work conditions for our staff. If you are eligible for the CARES grant and did not choose direct deposit, please allow two weeks for receipt of your check, at the mailing address on file with the College.

Update 5-13-20: Cares Act Emergency Grants for Students

The CARES Act Emergency Grants have been credited to eligible student accounts. The grant, in the amount of $575, is identified on your account with the designation “CARES Act Emergency Grant”. In accordance with federal guidelines, we initiated a request last week with the College’s bank to establish a separate checking account from which to distribute the funds. This will enable the most accurate tracking of student payments and allow for required federal reporting. The bank has advised us that the set up for this account may take several more days. We have requested expedited handling of our request, and will update this page when payments have been issued. Please continue to be patient with this process. We are getting very close!

Updated FAQs:

What if I don’t see the CARES grant on my account?

The US Department of Education (DeptEd) provided guidance subsequent to the initial funding announcement, restricting eligibility for the grants to students who are eligible for federal Title IV student aid. The College has communicated directly, via email, with those students who we believe are not eligible under the guidelines, and provided additional information. Generally, if you have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with the College, you are eligible for this grant. If you believe you are eligible for federal student aid under Title IV and do not see the CARES grant credited to your student account, please contact the Financial Aid office at finaid@bridgewater.edu.

What do I need to do now?

Nothing! A refund request form will not be required to receive the CARES Act Emergency Grant ($575). We will process those account credits as an automatic payment, separate from fee refunds. As noted above, federal reporting requirements for the grants necessitated a new account setup with the College’s bank. We are waiting on that final account setup now, which has been slower than usual due to COVID-19 impacts within the banking industry. We are reminding our bank partners daily that our students are waiting on these grants, and they have promised to expedite our request as much as possible. We would like to provide a definite date for disbursement of the grants, but we simply do not have one as of today. We will update this page when direct deposit payments have been issued and the schedule for paper checks is known. 

As noted several times, direct deposit will be the fastest and most secure way to receive these payments. Thanks to many of you who have responded to this recommendation and completed the direct deposit registration! 

There is still time to sign up for direct deposit if you have not already done so. This is a separate direct deposit sign-up from the one you may have completed for student wages in the Paycom system. If you are a student employee, that direct deposit registration will not transfer to Student Accounts. As a reminder, follow these instructions if you need to sign up for direct deposit of student account funds:  

For Direct Deposit: Login to MYBC, select Self Service Menu, select Banking Information, and select Add Account.  Complete the form. This will be the most secure and fastest way to receive any refunds or credits from your account. If you do not have a bank account, paper checks will be mailed to the address on file. Due to the current remote working requirements for College staff, the paper checks will take longer to process.

 

How can I use the money I receive from the CARES Act Emergency Grant?

The US Department of Education (DeptEd) requires that the student funds be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). When the pandemic caused the College’s transition to online-only instruction and the effective closure of our campus, every enrolled student experienced some degree of financial challenge. We’ve heard from many of you and understand you incurred unexpected costs related to internet service at home, additional devices needed to remotely access campus resources or additional living expenses at home. For this reason, the College elected to distribute the CARES student funds equally to all eligible students. In accordance with DeptEd guidance above, you may not leave the CARES Act Emergency Grant on your student account to pay an outstanding balance or a deposit. 

What if I don’t want/need this grant?

If you do not believe you have incurred expenses such as those indicated by DeptEd and described above, or for some other reason do not wish to receive the grant, please contact Student Accounts at student_accounts@bridgewater.edu as soon as possible. Any unclaimed grants will be placed into a special fund for supplemental COVID-related emergency student grants, in accordance with DeptEd guidelines. In other words, any declined grants will help other students in need, and will not be used for any other College purpose.

Are the CARES emergency grants taxable?

The College is not advising students on the potential tax consequences of these payments. We suggest you monitor information provided by the Internal Revenue Service and/or consult with a tax professional if you have questions.

Plans for Fall semester (5/11/20)

Dear Students,

On Saturday, May 2, we graduated the class of 2020. While the virtual commencement ceremony was not what any of us had imagined when the semester began in January, I believe that everyone was grateful for the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of our graduates during this time of self-quarantine from Covid-19.

As the 2019-2020 academic year now comes to a close, we turn our attention to the 2020-2021 academic year. We will welcome a new first-year class of students to BC and the Class of 2021 will begin their senior year. Most importantly, we are planning to return for on-campus learning as scheduled in August and have assembled a College Reopening Task Force covering key areas of campus operation to develop plans for that return. The Task Force is being led by our Provost, Dr. Leona Sevick, and our Dean of Students, Dr. Leslie Frere, and they are charged with developing plans around the likely scenarios we might face when we are back together.

We also know that this fall semester will almost certainly be different from previous semesters on campus. As we have every step of the way, we will prioritize the safety of our community. We will continue to avail ourselves of all needed information in planning and decision-making. This information includes federal, state and local guidance, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). In addition, we are in regular communication with a number of higher education groups, including the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) and with other local higher education institutions both public and private.

So what might the fall semester look like when you return to BC? We expect there to be some changes to our typical operations across all parts of campus. Of course, specific changes will depend on detailed guidance from state and federal agencies, but, for example, we are planning for the possibility of limitations on the size of gatherings, including meals, classes, and co-curricular activities. These may also take place in larger spaces where students can spread out and follow social distancing guidelines. Events that typically attract large crowds will be managed differently if such gathering restrictions are in place. We are planning for the resumption of athletics and are working with the ODAC and NCAA on what that will look like. Custodial and facilities services will be mindful of best practices to ensure a safe and smoothly functioning campus.

We are fortunate to be partnered with industry leaders in key areas of campus operations: Parkhurst Dining for food service, Aramark for custodial services, and Carillion Clinic for health services. Each will play a key role in providing the best possible campus experience for you. The expertise and access to resources provided by these partners helps ensure that the safety of our campus community and high quality of service will continue to go hand in hand.

Even with the best advance planning, we know that we may have to adjust our plans based on decisions to be made by state and local governments in the weeks ahead. We will continue to incorporate new information into our decision-making and will keep you informed of any important changes that might occur.

We know we are better when we are together, and I cannot wait for your return this fall. I wish you and your loved ones continued health during this time, and I will be in touch again as the start of the semester comes closer.

David W. Bushman, Ph.D.
President
Professor of Biology
Bridgewater College

Update to Students Re: CARES Act Grants (4/22/20)

We originally announced the Cares Act grants to you based on the information contained in Secretary Betsy DeVos’ letter to college presidents dated April 9. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued new guidance regarding these student emergency grants. We want you to have the information about the grants and, importantly, access to the funds as soon as possible. The additional details announced by ED yesterday have necessitated minor changes in our plan to distribute the grants; these changes are described below.

In the meantime, please sign up for direct deposit if you have not already done so. This is a separate direct deposit sign-up from the one you may have completed for student wages in the Paycom system. If you are student employee, that direct deposit registration will not transfer to Student Accounts. As a reminder, follow these instructions if you need to sign up for direct deposit of student account funds:  

For Direct Deposit: Login to MYBC, select Self Service Menu, select Banking Information, and select Add Account.  Complete the form. This will be the most secure and fastest way to receive any refunds or credits from your account. As of April 21, over 1000 students have not done so and distribution of the emergency grants will be significantly slower if we need to issue that many checks. If you do not have a bank account, paper checks will be mailed to the address on file. Due to the current remote working requirements for College staff, these paper checks will take longer to process.  

Important – These are changes from the information contained in Anne Keeler’s email dated April 16:

  • A refund request form will not be required to receive the CARES Act Emergency Grant ($575). We will process those account credits as an automatic payment, separate from fee refunds, as soon as the funds are released from ED. As noted above, direct deposit is the best way to receive these payments but we will issue paper checks to anyone who has not registered for direct deposit by the time the grant payments are issued. Please see below if you have other credit balances on your account. (In accordance with the latest ED guidance, you may not use the CARES Act Emergency Grant to pay an outstanding balance on your student account or to pay a deposit for next year.) 
  • We will wait until the student portion of CARES Act funds are received by the College to issue the student emergency grants, in order to make sure the College is compliant with all ED requirements. We understand ED has committed to expedited distribution of the funds. College staff have completed the steps contained in ED’s initial instructions to receive the funds. We will update you as soon as we receive the funds transfer from ED. We regret this delay and trust it will be a brief one.

We will update this page when we have more information about when the grants will be available. Please help the staff in Student Accounts work more efficiently on your behalf during this time, by refraining from emails inquiring about the grants and monitoring this page for information instead. We appreciate your understanding.

Please reference the Fee Refunds topic on this page for information on requesting an account refund for credit balances resulting from fee refunds (residential and vehicle registration fees). We will begin processing those account refund payments early next week, as refund request forms are received. Please allow two weeks after submission of your request to receive the payment by direct deposit. Mailed checks, as noted above, will take longer.

Message to Students Re: CARES Act Grants (4/16/20)

Dear Students,

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, provides $2 trillion in broad-based economic relief in response to the COVID-19 national pandemic. The Act provides $14 billion for all sectors of higher education to provide direct assistance to institutions of higher education to respond to student and campus needs related to the crisis. The Act directs that half of the funds shall be used for emergency grants for students and half for institutions. Relief funds will be distributed by the Department of Education (DOE), which last week released certain guidance for institutions related to the student portion of the grants. Based on this initial guidance, we expect to receive $899,990 for Bridgewater College students and we have submitted the necessary forms to DOE for transfer of the funds.

DOE requires that the student funds be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). When the pandemic caused the College’s transition to online-only instruction and the effective closure of our campus, every enrolled student experienced some degree of financial challenge. We’ve heard from many of you and understand you have incurred unexpected costs related to internet service at home, additional devices needed to remotely access campus resources or additional living expenses at home. Based on that understanding, and our desire to provide the relief funds to students as simply and expediently as possible, the College will distribute an emergency grant of $575 to all students who were enrolled on March 13. The funds will be credited to your student account with an identifying “grant” code.

See FAQs below for more information.

When will the “COVID-19 Emergency Grants” be applied to my student account?

We will apply the grants to student accounts before April 20.

What are my options for accessing the “COVID-19 Emergency Grant”?

You have two options:

1) Leave the credit on your account for payment of any eligible expenses described above – namely your residential fee for either Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters. You do not need to take any action for this option.

2) Request a refund from Student Accounts by completing the online Refund Request Form in MyBC. You may request a refund from your account of the $575 emergency grant, even if you have an outstanding balance on your account that will remain unpaid after this refund. If your account has a credit balance, you may also request one consolidated refund for the entire credit balance on your account. See below for information on requesting the refund in either case.

To view your account balance in MyBC, select Self Service Main menu, then Student Finance option.

How do I request a refund from my student account?

All refunds must be requested electronically, using the same process many of you have used in the past.  To request a refund, login to MYBC, select Student Academics, Financial Resources.  Click on the Refund Request tab. Complete the form and submit. If you haven’t previously, you are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit as soon as possible, also using MyBC (see below). Please allow two weeks for refund processing. We will do everything we can to expedite your requests.

How do I sign up for direct deposit?

Login to MYBC, select Self Service Menu, select Banking Information, and select Add Account.  Complete the form. This will be the most secure and fastest way to receive your account refund. If you do not have a bank account, paper checks will be mailed to the address on file. Due to the current remote working requirements for College staff, paper checks will take longer to process.

As always, I hope all of you and your families remain well and safe.

Sincerely,

Anne B. Keeler
Vice President for Finance and Treasurer

Message from Human Resources to Faculty and Staff (4/14/20)

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy.

As has been the College’s practice since the beginning of the College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have been encouraged to work remotely if their responsibilities permit it. And for those on campus, the College has emphasized the importance of social or physical distancing and other recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of the virus. In response to questions about who is required to be on campus during this unusual time, this memorandum provides guidance in identifying those essential functions and services that must be performed on campus during the COVID-19 emergency and the departments involved in providing those essential functions.

Executive Order 55, issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on March 30, 2020, directed all individuals in Virginia to “remain at their place of residence,” except as otherwise provided in the Order. Although Virginia’s colleges and universities are directed by the Order to cease in-person instruction, the Order authorizes colleges and universities to continue operations “for purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions ….”

The College defines “essential functions” as those activities that must continue in order to (i) ensure the health and safety of the campus community, (ii) maintain the operation of essential facilities, equipment and infrastructure, (iii) support critical technological capabilities and programs, (iv) ensure the continuity of business operations and (v) support the future reopening of the College after the emergency. Those essential functions that can be performed remotely shall be performed remotely. This will enhance social or physical distancing and best protect those employees who must be on campus. Requests for exceptions may be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the respective vice president based on extenuating circumstances required to ensure business continuity.

Some essential functions and services can be performed only on site. In order to carry out those essential functions and services, certain positions require that the employees in those positions perform their work on campus, even in an emergency situation. The table below lists the essential functions by broad area and the organizational units that are involved in providing those essential functions on campus. This list of essential functions and units is subject to expansion or reduction.

Instruction All faculty involved directly in on-line instruction and the associated support staff
Research To continue, research must meet the following criteria:
● Is associated with human or animal care and well-being
● If discontinued would pose a safety hazard
● Is necessary to maintain key equipment, facilities, data, samples, materials, or other basic capacities that will be needed quickly upon change of operational status back to normal
● Is deemed otherwise essential or able to continue by the provost
Student Housing and Dining Housing and Residence Life
Dining services
Public Safety BC Police Department
Animal Care BCEC Staff

Faculty engaged in animal research

Utility Infrastructure and Maintenance of Buildings and Grounds Building Maintenance (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing Trades)
Custodial Services
Grounds Services
Waste Management
Academic and Student Support Services Learning Commons
Dept. of Student Life
Academic Affairs (Registrar)
Administrative and Operational Support Services Enrollment Management

Finance

Human Resources
Information Technology

In order to provide a safe environment for those employees working on campus, supervisors will encourage social or physical distancing, limit face-to-face work as practicable, and may stagger schedules to help employees maintain a reasonable distance whenever possible.

Please contact your supervisor or me if you have any questions.

All the best.

Kim Harper
Director of Human Resources
Human Resources Department

Message from Provost Leona Sevick (3/30/20) regarding grading options

Dear Bridgewater College Students,

As we continue to settle into the “new normal” created by the nation’s response to COVID-19, we realize this is a challenging and trying time for us all. You are learning to learn at a distance, and the faculty and staff are learning to support you in that endeavor. Because of this change, we are giving you the grading option of credit/no credit for spring semester coursework. You may also choose to continue with A-F grading options, and that may be a better choice for students interested in attending graduate or professional schools at any point in the future.

Here’s how it will work:

For the five days following the posting of letter grades at the end of the term, graduate and undergraduate students may choose from the following grade options (Deadline: May 4 for graduating seniors; May 8 for others):

  • Students may choose to continue with A/F grading options—no changes
  • The following options would be available to students on a course-by-course basis:

CC: Credit for course grade equivalent to a C- or higher letter grade

  1. Student receives credit for the course.
  2. For courses that require a “C” grade in a prerequisite course, the CC grade satisfies the prerequisite.
  3. Grade does not calculate into the GPA.

CD:  Credit for course grade equivalent to grade in the range of a D- to a D+ letter grade

  1. Student receives credit for the course.
  2. Grade does not calculate into the GPA.

NC: Equivalent to a failing grade in the course

  1. No credit earned for course.
  2. Grade does not calculate into the GPA.

Course withdrawal deadline is April 9.

Procedure:

A request to change from a letter grade to CC/CD/NC requires a student to fill out a form that will be made available to you by the Registrar’s Office at the end of the term. The ultimate decision to change the grade from a letter grade to one of the options above rests with the student.

Please note the following:

  • Admission to some professional programs (PT/OT programs, medical school, etc.) may require letter grades on the transcript.  Students should consult with their academic advisors before making a request for a change to a CC/CD/NC grade, which is irreversible.
  • Be aware that some institutions require a “C” grade or higher for transfer.  In these cases, a CC grade may not be adequate for transfer.
  • Students who are currently repeating a course cannot choose the CC/CD/NC options for the courses they are repeating.
  • In future semesters, students may repeat only courses from this semester in which they posted grades of CD or NC (or letter grades of C- or below).
  • Students who are found guilty of academic misconduct by the Honor Council for a second time (and fail a course consequently) will not be able to change from a letter grade for that course.
  • A student must post a minimum of 12 credits of letter-graded coursework in order to qualify for Spring 2020 Dean’s List, which also requires a 3.4 term GPA and no letter grade below a C.

We believe this system offers you the flexibility needed during this challenging time and will best meet the needs of all students. If you have any questions, please contact your faculty advisors and/or your instructors.  I am also happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

My best,

Dr. Sevick

Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
Professor of English

Message from President David W. Bushman, Ph.D. (3/24/20)

Dear members of the Class of 2020,

We’re all now just over one week into our “new normal” of remote learning and social distancing, and I wanted to share some thoughts with you about what lies ahead, especially for you, the Class of 2020. This won’t be the last time we communicate, but as BC begins to pivot from immediate and necessary short-term responses to the longer-term strategic responses, I want to keep you updated on a few things that I know will be important to you.

This is an extraordinary time in our country and indeed the global community. I want to express to you how personally devastated I am that your last year at Bridgewater College has turned into this. I know I speak for all faculty and staff when I say that we wished for much more and much better for you.  We can’t control the impact of COVID-19 on the health of loved ones and on our daily lives, and I’m heartbroken for all of our students. I’m heartbroken for the tragedy of illness and for economic loss. I’m heartbroken for the loss of face-to-face time with faculty mentors and with your friends, for the unfinished sports seasons and cancelled performances so rightly deserved, and especially for the loss of closure that always comes with the normal conclusion to an academic year. And I’m heartbroken for the fact that Commencement won’t be held when we planned and in the ways we planned.

There’s so much we can’t control, but one thing, at least that we can: I can promise you that we will be holding a Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020. Whether later this summer or in the fall, I don’t know yet exactly what it will look like or precisely when it will be held – we’re working on those things right now – but we will celebrate in a public way your hard work, your perseverance, and your successes in the face of unbelievably trying circumstances. I know you have worked and sacrificed for this moment, and it was taken away from you. We will find a way for you to celebrate your accomplishments – and for the entire BC community to celebrate with you.

We will be mailing diplomas, Commencement programs, and any unretrieved caps and gowns to you at the conclusion of the academic year. And we will give you a Commencement experience that celebrates your many accomplishments. We’ve been in communication with class President Tori Callahan and VP Allisa Coles for their input and suggestions and I encourage you to contact them if you have suggestions. I’m certain they’ll be communicating with you as well in the days ahead and, of course, I’ll be in touch as we work through the details.

We will be offering residential students a refund for the unused portion of their residential fee (“room and board”) for Spring Semester 2020, based on the mid-March effective closure of residence halls and dining services. The refunds will be processed before the end of Spring Semester. We are confirming the best way to implement this refund and will communicate the specifics as soon as they have been finalized – hopefully within the next week or so.

We will be implementing a Pass/Fail grading option for all students for the Spring 2020 semester and we’re working on the specifics of implementation now. I am confident in the work of our faculty to deliver instruction remotely for the remainder of the semester, but I also believe that each student, in consultation with their faculty advisor, should have the choice of a P/F grading option in the face of this unanticipated learning environment. We will communicate further details in the next few weeks as we finalize how this will work.

Finally, I know that, despite this final semester, you have much to cherish from your time at BC. You’ve met mentors that will impact your career in the immediate future and decades from now. You’ve nurtured friendships that will last a lifetime. You’ve gained an education that will carry you through the many turns of life. As saddened as we all are right now, I’ve found that focusing on these things might help a little.

In the meantime, stay focused on your course work and know that your faculty are doing all that they can to make sure you have the best possible educational experience over the final weeks of the semester. And please stay focused on your own well-being and that of those around you.

 

With best regards,

David W. Bushman, Ph.D.
President
Professor of Biology
Bridgewater College

Message from President David W. Bushman, Ph.D. (3/16/20)

The College’s Pandemic Task Force continues to monitor the changing and ongoing situation related to COVID-19/Coronavirus. As you may know, CDC guidance has recently changed to limit gatherings of more than 50 people for at least the next eight weeks. Based on this guidance, the College is implementing the following:
  • Classes will be taught via distance learning for the rest of the semester.
  • May Term travel courses will be cancelled, while online courses may be added; we will work with students who need to complete requirements for graduation during May Term.
  • All events for spring semester are cancelled or postponed, including Commencement. Pending changes to current CDC guidance, Commencement could be held remotely or later in the summer. We will provide updates as appropriate.
  • Campus buildings are closed to the public and to students in the local area; only employees and the students who remain on campus may use the buildings, via card access.
  • Food service is only available for the small group of students who must remain on campus and is not open to faculty and staff.
  • The Department of Student Life will is developing plans for scheduling the return of residential students to campus to check out of rooms and will communicate this information as soon as possible.
  • We are currently developing plans for refunding the portion of the residential fee impacted by the move to remote learning for students no longer staying on campus. We will communicate those details when they are finalized.
We are living in unprecedented times. As the crisis in our country and our world continues to evolve, it is becoming ever clearer that we must change as well, at least for the foreseeable future. Many of the opportunities we often take for granted are becoming luxuries that we won’t experience this spring. During this time, please care for yourselves, your families and your communities.
We will continue to communicate updates as appropriate.
Regards,

David W. Bushman, Ph.D.
President
Professor of Biology
Bridgewater College

College Operations

What is the plan for classes?

The College is shifting to a distance-learning model through the end of the spring semester. Your faculty members will be in touch with you regarding how distance instruction will proceed. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 540-828-5608 or critchie@bridgewater.edu or Student Life at 540-828-5380 or studentlife@bridgewater.edu.

Interested in Grant Assistance?

We understand that the new reality of distance learning and the impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in challenges for students, including new financial burdens. Bridgewater College applied for, and has been granted, a limited amount of funds from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges to assist undergraduate students with financial hardships as a direct result of COVID-19. These funds are to be used to aid students who have been significantly and urgently impacted by the pandemic and present an immediate need that directly impacts their success during the spring 2020 semester.

If you feel that you meet the criteria listed above, please fill out the COVID-19 Assistance Request Form by Saturday, April 18th. Form submissions will be thoroughly reviewed by BC’s CARE Team, and students will be notified via email if they received funds and may be given referrals/resources should their request not meet the criteria. If additional funds are available after the deadline, the form will reopen for new submissions, with notification included on the College’s FAQ page.

If your family/caretakers has been financially impacted by the pandemic (unemployed, significantly reduced income, etc.), please reach out to the financial aid office (finaid@bridgewater.edu) for possible recalculation of financial aid eligibility.

When can students get their personal belongings from residence halls?

Governor Northam of Virginia issued a stay-at-home order on Monday, March 30. We are following this order, and, therefore, students cannot return to campus to gather belongings until this order is lifted. This includes musical instruments located in Carter. For specific needs or questions, please contact reslife@bridgewater.edu directly. Academic regalia for seniors will be mailed at the end of the term.

What is the College doing to support faculty in moving their courses to a distance-learning format?

BC’s Instructional Technology specialist is working with faculty to assist them in utilizing many resources to teach remotely.

What services are available to students during distance learning?

There are ways to connect with faculty, advisors, and other students. In addition, library and support services are available remotely from the Forrer Learning Commons.

Having trouble with WiFi?

The Information Technology Center has compiled a list of service providers and their response to COVID-19. Use this document to find service providers in your area and ways in which they can assist your wireless needs. If providers are not available in your area, or you have additional concerns, please contact your assigned faculty and Student Life (studentlife@bridgewater.edu).

Is the College closed?

We have asked that all students leave campus. Those who remain will need to have a waiver accepted by Student Life. The College will continue very limited operations; Buildings and outdoor facilities are not open to visitors or students without waivers.

Are events cancelled?

Yes, on-campus events are cancelled. This will include athletic events, musical performances, lectures, large admissions events, and others. Based on CDC guidance, Commencement will be cancelled and may be held remotely or later in the summer. If you have questions about impacted campus events, please contact Student Life at 540-828-5380 or studentlife@bridgewater.edu, Athletics at 540-828-5476, or the Office of Institutional Advancement at 540-828-5448 or alumnews@bridgewater.edu.

Is the academic calendar changing?

We are not adjusting the academic calendar. Instead, we are offering academic instruction in different modalities during this time.

How do I register for classes for the Fall 2020 semester?

Communicate with your adviser via email/phone as you plan for Fall and Spring classes during the registration window.  Right now we hope to hold registration as planned beginning March 26. That date may shift, and you will be notified.  The Registrar’s Office can also answer questions by phone, email, or in person in the coming weeks.

How do I withdraw from a course?

The deadline for withdrawing from a course with a W grade assigned has been extended to Thursday, April 9, 2020. To withdraw from a course, the student will email the instructor of the course and their advisor.   Both the instructor and advisor respond with a  “reply all” back to the student.  The student then forwards the approval email to the registrar’s office at registrar@bridgewater.edu. These instructions will be communicated to the students by the Registrar’s Office.

What should I do about my internship?

Bridgewater College recognizes that a distance-learning model requires some adaptations to the internship experience. Each internship situation is different and the Office of Career Services, working with the College administration, will evaluate internship sites to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students, which is always the College’s top priority. Internships alone are not sufficient justification for staying on campus during the distance-learning period.

In adapting to Bridgewater College’s distance-learning policy in place beginning on Thursday, March 12, credited 480X internships should abide by the following procedures:

  • For those internships the College identifies as low risk based on current information, interns should consult their Site Supervisors and Cooperating Faculty to explore how to continue their internship work during this part of the semester
  • Interns who are hesitant to be physically present at the internship site should work with their Site Supervisors and Cooperating Faculty to develop activities that can be performed through electronic means, distance learning, or alternate locations
  • Interns living far from their internship site during the distance-learning period should work with their Site Supervisors and Cooperating Faculty to develop activities that can be performed through electronic means, distance learning, or alternate locations
  • Recommended activities can involve but are not limited to reading on related subject matter, research, transportable projects, reflection, and career exploration
  • Interns may arrange to suspend the internship through the distance-learning period provided they devise a plan with their Site Supervisor and Coordinating Faculty a plan in place to approach the 120 hours of work required to earn academic credit for an internship
  • Office of Career Services staff – Sherry Talbott stalbott@bridgewater.edu or Madeleine Martin mmartin@bridgewater.edu – are ready to assist interns, Site Supervisors, and Cooperating Faculty in adapting to these new circumstances

Have any study abroad and May Term programs at BC been affected?

May Term travel courses are cancelled, and all May Term courses will take place online. We will work to create new online courses for this May Term and will work with seniors relying on May Term for graduation credits.

What happens if there is a positive case of COVID-19 identified among BC students, faculty or staff?

In the event of a positive coronavirus case on campus, appropriate protocol as guided by the Virginia Department of Health will occur, and the BC community will be notified. Arrangements for quarantining students would be made. Protocols for cleaning the residence and work spaces of affected people will be implemented.

Is the College issuing tuition refunds?

No, the College will issue refunds of residential fees but not tuition, as instruction and technology support continue.

Will the College be issuing refunds for residential fees?

Yes, we will be issuing refunds for residential fees and are evaluating and assessing the guidelines for reimbursement.

What is the plan for the College’s athletics programs?

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) has suspended athletics programs indefinitely. This will be assessed weekly, with the goal of making every effort for teams to play at the end of the season.

Is tutoring still available?

Tutoring services remain available to all students. Online sessions are being established by tutors, and tutoring requests continue to be welcome through the request form on MyBC.

Is the College still providing counseling services to students with mental health needs?

The College’s counseling staff is able to provide Telehealth sessions with students who are in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In order to continue sessions, please reach out to your clinician. Due to regulations, we cannot provide treatment to students who have returned to their home out of state. We hope these regulations will change in the near future.

How do I get my personal belongings from my residence hall and check out of my room?

Please refer to the email sent by Suzanne Mullins to all residential students on Tuesday, March 17, at 3:47 p.m. for detailed instructions and the opportunity to sign up for a check-out slot.

How do I get a prescription refill?

You should reach out to your primary care physician for refills. If you email the College clinic with requests, it could take up to a week for a response.

Fee Refunds

Update 4/14/20: The residential fee refunds will be applied to student accounts before the end of this week. If you will be requesting a refund payment for a resulting credit balance on your account, please wait to file your request (see below for instructions) until Monday, April 20 or later, to make sure the credit balance on your account is accurate. If you have already submitted a Refund Request form, please resubmit your request next week.
You may request a refund until at least June 30, or until fall charges are applied for returning students, so there is no risk of “losing” your refund. We do recommend that you register for direct deposit (see below) if you have not already done so, and you can do that this week before requesting a refund. 
We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience as we work to process refunds as quickly as possible.

Will there be a refund of residential fees for spring semester?

For residential students who were required to leave campus in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College will refund the unused portion of residential fees paid for spring semester 2020. The unused portion that is refunded will appear as a credit on your student account and takes into consideration fixed costs directly related to residential services and paid from the residential fee revenue. Students pay slightly different residential fees depending on room assignments. For a “typical” fee of $6500 paid for the semester, the refund amount will be $2080.

The residential fee refund will not apply to those students who requested and were granted a hardship exception and remain on campus. Any refund amounts will first be applied to any unpaid balance on your account. The refunds will be processed before the end of Spring Semester. See FAQs below for more information.

Will there be a refund of other student fees?

All currently enrolled students who purchased a vehicle decal in the current year will be issued a $50 refund. Students who paid riding or horse boarding fees at BCEC may be eligible for refunds, depending on individual circumstances.

Will there be a refund of tuition?

Courses are continuing via remote instruction. While we appreciate that both students and faculty are experiencing varying levels of transition challenges due to the COVID-19 emergency, no refunds of tuition, technology fees or student services fees will be issued.

What are my options if a refund creates a credit balance on my student account?

Any refund amounts will first be applied to any unpaid balance on your account. You have three options regarding credit balances:

1) Leave the credit balance on your account for payment of charges for the upcoming May session, summer sessions or Fall 2020 semester. You do not need to take any action for this option.

2) Request a refund from Student Accounts by completing the online Refund Request Form in MyBC. See below.

3) Reduce a student or parent loan up to the amount of the credit balance by sending a request to finaid@bridgewater.edu.  Any request to do this must be received by April 20th.

How do I request a refund?

All refunds must be requested electronically, using the same process many of you have used in the past.  To request a refund, login to MyBC, select Student Academics, Financial Resources.  Click on the Refund Request tab. Complete the form and submit. If you haven’t previously, you are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit as soon as possible, also using MyBC (see below).

How to find up-to-date Student Account Balance Information

  •  Student logs into their MyBC account
    •  Upper right portion of page: Student Planning and Self Service Links
      • Option 2: Self Service Main Menu
        • Option 1: Student Finance

How do I sign up for direct deposit?

Login to MYBC, select Self Service Menu, select Banking Information, and select Add Account.  Complete the form. This will be the most secure and fastest way to receive your refund. If you do not have a bank account, paper checks will be mailed to the address on file. Due to the current remote working requirements for College staff, paper checks will take longer to process.

When will I receive my refund?

We will do our best to process refunds within two weeks of receiving a request, beginning in late April. Please keep in mind the COVID-19 situation continues to change and may further impact business processes, which could affect this timeline.

What if I have other questions?

Please email Student_Accounts@bridgewater.edu.  Due to the COVID-19 event, Student Accounts offices are closed to walk-ins.  We are working remotely and will continue to serve our students and families using email.

Student-Athletes

Does the NCAA announcement on March 12, to cancel all remaining winter and spring championships, apply to all NCAA Championships, regardless of the Division?Yes, the NCAA has cancelled ALL winter and spring 2020 national championship events.

As a student-athlete, what happens to my eligibility?

The NCAA has granted a blanket waiver for spring sports.

What does the waiver allow?

(a) Waive the use of a season of participation for all student-athletes in spring sports. If an institution continues or restarts its season, this relief would still exist; and (b) Waive the use of the spring semester towards their limit of 10 semesters/15 quarters, regardless of whether they used a season.

What does this mean?

Any spring sport student-athlete in 2020 did not trigger a season of participation, regardless of how many practices or contests they participated in. Also, the semester does not count against their use of 10 semesters/15 quarters of eligibility. It’s as if this semester never happened from an eligibility perspective.

What would my credit load look like if I were to stay an additional year and use the eligibility wavier?

Any student athlete that chooses to stay an additional year and use eligibility must be enrolled as a full time student (12 credit hours) to participate with the team in traditional or non-traditional practices.  The only exception to this would be if it is the student’s last semester before graduation, in the semester prior to graduation a student athlete only needs to complete course work that is required for graduation (I.e. FILA 450 would need to be taken in the student’s final semester). Student athletes must also meet Athletic Department Academic standards (listed in Student Athlete Handbook) in order to maintain eligibility.

Will taking a decreased credit load impact my financial aid package?

Any student athlete who is considering withdrawing from courses and/or decreasing credit load to below full time status should contact financial aid to assess the impact on the student’s financial aid package.

Would an internship be considered full time enrollment status?

No, currently Bridgewater does not offer internships for full time credit.

Can a spring student-athlete access the benefits of the waiver even if they graduate this spring?

Such a waiver would be considered on a case-by-case basis by Student-Athlete Reinstatement. The most likely scenario would be that a student-athlete would be enrolled in graduate school or for a second baccalaureate degree in order to compete OR that they do not graduate and complete the final class(es) required for their graduation next spring, when they can compete as less than fully enrolled in their final semester as long as the class(es) is/are required for their graduation, per current legislation.

What if I am attending a graduate program and would like to use the waiver athletic eligibility year?

A student who has graduated from a NCAA Division III institution may participate as a graduate or post baccalaureate student at the DIII institution he or she most recently attended or another DIII institution.

Will there be an additional year of eligibility for winter sports cancelled while still ongoing in NCAA play?

Such a waiver would be considered on a case-by-case basis by Student-Athlete Reinstatement.

When do these eligibility requirements apply?

Eligibility requirements will apply for next academic year.

Does the waiver apply for the sports of golf, tennis and rowing?

The NCAA Championships for split season sports of tennis, golf and rowing are in the spring and the student-athletes would have the benefit of the waiver.

Can student-athletes practice/compete with an outside team if they find one while they are off campus?

Yes, they can practice/compete with an outside team.

Can coaches and/or strength & conditioning coaches send workouts home with student-athletes?

Yes, they can, per the flexibility regarding playing and practice seasons directed by the Administrative Committee.

Can coaches communicate with their SAs – even about training, etc.?

Yes, they can, per the flexibility regarding playing and practice seasons directed by the Administrative Committee.

Since the NCAA has canceled championships, does the catastrophic insurance coverage still apply/kick in in a “worst case” scenario?

Cancellation of spring championships does not impact the NCAA catastrophic injury insurance policy’s definition of “Qualifying Intercollegiate Sport”, “Covered Event”, or any other relevant policy definition.

Where can I find more information about the catastrophic coverage:

On NCAA.org, – insurance program benefit summary:

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/insurance/ncaa-catastrophic-injury-insurance-program

Who has been monitoring the situation and making determinations on ODAC policies?

Ongoing review has been occurring by the ODAC Office, conference directors of athletics, and presidents. The ODAC presidents have ultimate authority for all decisions that impact their campus and the ODAC. The league has regular conference calls established as we monitor the situation.

Work-Study Students

Are commuter students and those students remaining on campus permitted to continue their work-study job?

Yes, commuter students and other students remaining on campus due to an approved waiver may continue to work, provided work is available. The students must continue to record their work time in Paycom.

Are student workers able to work remotely if the job permits?

If the job permits and the continuity of services to students is essential, remote work is acceptable.  The students are required to record their work hours using their phone or computer through the Paycom portal. The supervisor will need to review and approve time cards by 10 a.m. on payroll Monday.

Faculty and Staff

Should I report to work?

Faculty and staff who are able to work remotely are encouraged to do so. This enables us to practice social distancing in the most efficient way. Please discuss work options with your supervisor.

What if I’m sick?

If an employee is experiencing symptoms like malaise, fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, the employee should report those symptoms to their supervisor/director as soon as possible by phone. The director will consult as necessary and the college will make a recommendation about whether or not the employee should self-quarantine. If the determination is that the employee should quarantine, they should not return to work without a discussion with their supervisor/director.Below are some helpful resources from the Centers for Disease Control that provide some additional resources to help you stay healthy.

CDC –Symptoms and Coronavirus Self-Checkerhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

CDC –What To Do If You Are Sickhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

What if I’m not feeling sick but I’m worried that I have been exposed to someone who is?

If you have reason to believe that you may have been exposed to someone who is ill either first hand (family member, coworker) or second hand (friend of a friend, etc.) please contact your direct supervisor by phone to notify them, even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. The College will provide guidance about the next steps you should take.

What about travel?

Travel is evaluated case by case with your supervisor.

What is the College doing to support faculty in moving their courses to a distance-learning format?

BC’s Instructional Technology specialist is working with faculty to assist them in utilizing many resources to teach remotely.

Will the payroll processing schedule change during the distance-learning period?

No, the payroll processing schedule will remain the same during the distance-learning period.

What happens should I be required to self-isolate due to the Coronavirus?

During the 14-day self-isolation period, you will have the option to work remotely if your job permits. If your work is not conducive to working remotely, the College will continue your pay based on your regular work schedule and pay rate.

Must my supervisor approve my alternate work schedule plan and/or time away from work?

Your alternate work plan and/or time away from work must be discussed and approved by your supervisor. Your supervisor has the authority to approve and change your work plan based on your department’s operational needs.

What are my options now that schools are closed, and I have no back up childcare?

Generally, you will have the option to work remotely if your job permits. Otherwise, you will need to discuss your work options with your supervisor. Alternative work hours may be an option depending on the operational needs of your department. In order to bring a child to work with you, you must receive prior approval from the Vice President over your area.

Where do I or members of my family go if we need emotional support?

When your doctor is not available, LiveHealth Online offers 24/7 doctor visits as well as psychological services through the College medical plan. To set up an appointment with a medical doctor or a therapist using LiveHealth Online call toll free 1-888-LiveHealth (548-3432) or email help@livehealthonline.com.

What benefits are available to employees?

Virginia Private College Benefit Consortium (VPCBC)  – Medical Plan Information

MedImpact Prescription Drug Assistance – Mail-order Service and Early Re-fill Available

During the next few weeks some of our participants may find that they are unable to refill their prescriptions at a local pharmacy; for example, if they are under quarantine or it is otherwise inadvisable for them to visit a pharmacy.

Participants may be reminded that MedImpact has a mail-order service which is unaffected by the COVID-19 issue.  Participants are encouraged to receive their medications by mail on the MedImpact website at https://www.medimpact.com/plan/vpc/login or by calling 844-401-1903.

In addition, beginning on Friday, March 20, 2020, and until Wednesday, April 15, 2020, plan participants are permitted to refill their 30-day or shorter prescriptions at a local pharmacy early; that is, before their regular refill date.

VPCBC, along with MedImpact, will continue to monitor the COVID-19 issue and provide updates as they become available.

COVID-19 Testing

The Executive Committee of the VPC Benefits Consortium Board of Directors anticipates that some of our participants may be advised by their health care provider to obtain a COVID-19 test.  When this is the case, effectively immediately and through the end of 2020, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors has proactively decided to support the participant financially by approving a waiver of the participant’s share of the cost.  That is, for the remainder of 2020, VPCBC participants will receive the COVID-19 test free of charge.  Please be aware that the free service extends only to the COVID-19 testing – see below.

In order to receive the plan benefit, a valid claim for the test must be filed with Anthem.

Participants are reminded that the recommended way to be screened for the need to be tested is to visit with a telehealth doctor utilizing LiveHealth Online.  LiveHealth Online is available on the web at www.livehealthonline.com.  The LiveHealth app is available for mobile devices in the App Store and in the Play Store and may also be accessed through the Sydney Health app.  Please be aware that the participant’s cost for the telehealth visit is not being waived.

Bridgewater College 403(b) Retirement Plan – Financial Market Concerns and Other Services Information

Millennium Advisory Services is available to speak individually with all interested employees who have questions about:

  • Discussing changes in the financial markets
  • Going through Millennium’s financial planning process offered to all employees.
  • Retaining Millennium for professional fee-based investment management of their retirement plan account(s).
If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your retirement account or go through Millennium’s financial planning process, please contact Millennium’s Scheduling Team at 877-435-2489 (option 1), or via email at schedule@mcmva.com, or through their online scheduling portal.
All employees are offered the opportunity to meet privately with an advisor to go through Millennium’s financial planning process and receive a personalized financial plan. This goal-based financial planning process is intended to help provide guidance on issues such as how your retirement account should be invested, how much you should be saving for retirement, and whether you are on track to reach your personal retirement goals. Spouses/significant others are encouraged to participate as well!

General Information

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a new respiratory virus that was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Cases of infected patients have now been confirmed in multiple locations worldwide, including the U.S., and, more specifically, the Commonwealth of Virginia.

What are the symptoms?

COVID-19 pneumonia symptoms mimic the flu and include a fever (100.4 degrees or higher), cough and trouble breathing.

How does the virus spread?

Although it’s unclear exactly how the virus is transmitted, coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person to person who are in close contact (within six feet of one another). The virus is thought to spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. According to the CDC, it may be possible to contract the virus when a person touches a contaminated surface or object, then touches their own mouth, nose or eyes.

The CDC warns against any nonessential travel to Level 3 warning countries where there is a widespread community transmission of the disease.

Although travel to Level 3 warning countries or coming in close contact with someone who had recently travelled to these countries was an original marker for potentially contracting the coronavirus, confirmed cases of transmissions between people who have not travelled to these countries have now been documented.

What are some best practices to staying healthy?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains 60 percent alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard the tissue in the trash can
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to aid your immune system
  • Stay home when you are sick

What should I do if I feel ill?

Self-isolate and take your temperature twice a day. Remain alert for fever (100.4 degrees or higher), cough and difficulty breathing, as the coronavirus is a pneumonia-like disease.

Anyone who believes they may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider via telephone or email and should self-isolate pending further instructions from medical professionals.

Bridgewater College students on campus should contact the Student Health Center at 540-828-5384 BEFORE coming to the clinic in the Funkhouser Wellness Center to see a health care practitioner. For emergencies, call 911.

Bridgewater College students at home as well as faculty and staff concerned about illness should contact their primary care physician via telephone or email.

Questions?

Email questions@bridgewater.edu

Quick links

Additional resources and information on COVID-19 may be found at: