Coronavirus Updates & Resources

Baker University continues to closely monitor developments in the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The college’s multidisciplinary COVID-19 Readiness Taskforce is meeting regularly to assess the situation and plan for impacts to our campus community.

First and foremost, we want to maintain safe campuses and encourage and adopt practices that protect the health of students, faculty, staff, and the community.  We also want to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of a pandemic. We are taking proactive steps to address a number of concerns.

Update as of April 2

Campus Buildings to Remain Closed Until April 19

Based on the latest executive order, buildings on all campuses will remain closed and staff who can work remotely will continue to do so until April 19. We will continue to monitor and follow federal and state mandates. We do not anticipate pay reductions or furloughs

Baker University Emergency Relief Fund

We have established the Baker University Emergency Relief Fund to help the university weather the financial challenges we face now and will continue to face in the coming months. The funds will be used for, but not be limited to, providing students, faculty, and staff access to the equipment and technology necessary for remote classes and business operations and to provide financial support to students with an outstanding student account balance at the university who may be experiencing a financial hardship. Gifts to the fund can be made online.

The funds will be administered on an individual basis through the Office of Financial Aid. Students may contact Jana Parks for more information: 785.594.4595 or jana.parks@bakerU.edu.

Housing Refund or Credit Decision Coming Soon

Because we continue to get clarification from the Department of Education and other federal agencies, we have not made a final decision on how to address refunds or credits for housing and meal plans. We are carefully considering the options and are working on an equitable solution. We intend to have a plan by April 10 for resolving the outstanding questions within the next 30 days. As soon as we are able, we will announce this plan and contact students individually. 

 

Update as of March 20

Based on the most recent guidelines issued by state and federal agencies, Baker University is taking the following steps to promote public health and safety:

  • Classes will remain off campus through the end of the semester.
  • We will close student housing.
  • Baker employees are working from home as much as possible.
  • All events on all campuses have been canceled or postponed.
  • We will postpone Spring Commencement ceremonies.

MORE DETAILS

Update as of March 19 | Baldwin City Campus Visits

All group and individual visits for prospective students will take place virtually through Zoom videoconferencing. Learn more at bakeru.edu/visit.

Update as of March 16 | NAIA Spring Sports

The NAIA announced on Monday, March 16, to cancel the spring 2020 sports season, effective immediately. No spring sport student-athletes will be charged a season of competition, and any spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled full time in 2020 will be awarded two additional semester terms of attendance or the equivalent. Athletic Director Nate Houser will share more information with student-athletes in the next few weeks.

Update as of March 13 | School of Nursing & Overland Park Campuses

Classes on the School of Nursing campus at Stormont Vail Health in Topeka will be held online. Clinicals will he held as scheduled. 

In-person classes on the Overland Park campus will be held via Zoom videoconferencing through April 3.

Update as of March 12, 2020 | Baldwin City Campus

In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 after Spring Break, we are taking these immediate steps on the Baldwin City campus.

March 16-20 Spring Break
March 23-27 Online classes
March 30-April 3 Online classes
April 5 at noon Housing reopens
April 6 On-campus classes resume
  1. Changes to Class Structure After Spring Break

We have asked that during Spring Break (March 16-20) faculty prepare to transition their course content, including lectures, to online instructional platform.

Spring Break is scheduled for March 16-20 on the Baldwin City campus. Beginning at the end of day Friday, March 13, 2020, in-person classes will be temporarily suspended.

Upon Spring Break concluding and beginning on Monday, March 23, we will transition to an online platform for e-learning through Friday, April 3. Students should check their Moodle account for each course on March 23 and will hear from their faculty members about e-learning approaches for specific courses. These approaches may include working together virtually in “real time” for some courses, so the approaches will vary.

In-person classes will resume on Monday, April 6.

  1. Housing During e-Learning Period

Students are expected to depart campus housing as soon as they are able. Students who were scheduled to depart by March 13 at 5 p.m. will be asked to leave by that time. We ask that students who were scheduled to stay previously for athletic or other reasons depart no later than noon March 18, 2020. Students are asked to petition via this campus stay request form by 4:30 p.m. March 13 to remain in residence halls over Spring Break and/or beyond. Students who successfully petitioned and are approved will be allowed to stay on campus to complete e-learning. Reasons that may be considered for a petition include:

  • International students who cannot return home or whose homes are in a time zone four or more hours different from Baker University’s.
  • Students who do not have reliable Internet access at or near their homes or who cannot return home for other reasons.
  • Students who need access to specialized equipment to complete course work.
  • In rare cases, students who have other extenuating circumstances.

University housing will reopen to all students on Sunday, April 5, at noon.

  1. Intercollegiate Athletics & Student Events
  • All athletic practices and competitions and fine arts rehearsals and performances are cancelled until April 5.
  • All student activities are cancelled until April 5.

If these events are rescheduled after April 5, the appropriate coach, faculty, or staff member will contact you.

Update as of March 11, 2020

Currently, the university is maintaining normal operations. As of March 7, 2020, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) confirmed its first presumptive-positive case of COVID-19 in Kansas. The case is located in Johnson County, and that person has been in home isolation following CDC guidance.

Travel Guidance & Reporting

Given the rapidly evolving situation with regard to COVID-19, the Baker community is encouraged to carefully consider nonessential international travel. We encourage you to check the World Health Organization (WHO) website for travel advisories as well as the CDC’s website for travel advisories and their FAQs for travelers. Depending on your destination, you may have to make the difficult decision to change or cancel plans to ensure your own well-being and timely return to Baker.

If you are traveling to areas affected by COVID-19, we strongly encourage you to reconsider your plans because of potential quarantine in either that country or when you return to the United States. This could severely affect your plans and delay your return home.

If you do plan to travel, we appreciate your registering your travel plans ahead of time using this online form.

No matter where you are traveling, if you have an underlying medical conditions, please discuss all travel with your health care provider.

What You Can Do

COVID-19 is a virus that causes symptoms similar to other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. Symptoms may appear from 2 to 14 days after exposure and range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Your risk of getting COVID-19 depends on where you are, where you’ve traveled recently, your age (people over 65 are at greater risk) and whether you have a preexisting or chronic health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease like asthma. The CDC recommends calling your doctor immediately if you have concerning symptoms and have recently traveled to an area that has ongoing cases of the virus, or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Taking preventive steps is key in preventing the spread of infection. Here are a few reminders:

  • Stay home when you are sick! (Currently, the CDC recommends that people remain home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever or signs of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.)
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or if soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not share food or drinks, eating utensils, or smoking devices with others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and frequently touched objects.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu symptoms.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with your forearm or a tissue and then throw away the tissue.
  • Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
  • Practice social distancing if you or the other person is infected. View guidelines.
  • Practice healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • If traveling, wipe your airplane seat, tray, and arm rests with disinfectant wipes.
  • If traveling, remain in your hotel or resort if you are sick, and seek medical care as needed.

What Baker Is Doing

The university has established a COVID-19 Readiness Taskforce, consisting of members of the Executive Cabinet, academic offices, student affairs, human resources, facilities and security, and information technology departments. While there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases with a connection to Baker, the university has advised the Baker community of official notices and resources regarding health precautions, travel safety, and related key information on COVID-19 as the information is made available.

The university is taking the following steps across campuses to assist in keeping members of the Baker community healthy.

  • The maintenance staff has increased the frequency it disinfects door handles, light switches, desk, and other frequently touched surfaces.
  • The maintenance staff uses a product recommended to be effective against the coronavirus to disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the campuses, including the dining hall and library in Baldwin City.
  • In time for Spring Break, CAS students can pick up a free travel-size hand sanitizer in the lobby of the union on March 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What to Do If You Feel Sick

If you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, tiredness, and dry cough) contact your primary care physician for instructions.

Students

If you exhibit symptoms while on campus, call Family Medicine of Baldwin City (785-594-2512) or your primary care physician for instructions. Family Medicine of Baldwin City offers a 60% discount to self-paying students.

Faculty and Staff

Our insurance provider, Cigna, offers telemedicine services as part of our plan. Telemedicine services allow you to reach a doctor 24/7, from your phone, from wherever you are located. Please see Cigna’s website for more information.

Emotional Support

As this situation brings with it many unknowns and rapidly changing circumstances, we recognize it may cause anxiety. There are numerous resources for students, faculty, and staff for support and assistance.

The following are guidelines for managing anxiety and fear about coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Get the Facts! Finding credible sources you can trust is important for avoiding the fear caused by misinformation. Consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, check out Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health for local updates.
  • Set Limits Around News and Social Media. It’s understandable to want to keep informed, especially if you or your loved ones are affected. At the same time, constantly reading, watching, or listening to upsetting media coverage can unnecessarily intensify worry and rumination. Take a break from news or social media, especially if there is no new information. Focus on things that are going well and areas in your life over which you have control.
  • Maintain Your Daily Routine. Going to classes, activities, and work can maintain a sense of normalcy and perspective.
  • Stay Connected. Receiving support and care from others has a powerful effect on helping us cope with challenges. Spending time with supportive family and friends can bring a sense of comfort and stability. Talking through our concerns, thoughts, and feelings with others can also help us find helpful ways of thinking about or dealing with a stressful situation.
  • Use Campus Resources. There are mental health and wellness resources on the Baker Counseling Center website. Students can make an appointment with a counselor by calling 785-594-8409 or emailing sherri.pahcoddy@bakerU.edu.

Resources for Faculty and Staff

Two services are available to employees and their families:

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Speak to a licensed professional counselor with this free, confidential service, available 24/7.
    • 1-800-854-1446: English
    • 1-877-858-2147: Spanish
    • 1-800-999-3004: TTY/TDD
  • Cigna 24-hour telephone help line (1-866-912-1687): Employees and family members may speak with qualified clinicians about how to cope with anxiety, stress, or other issues related to the impact of COVID-19.

Additional Information

How COVID-19 May Impact Mental Health

Coronavirus threat escalates fears — and bigotry

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