After a directive by New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell that residents stay at home in an attempt to quench the spread of COVID-19, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) and Leavell College moved March 20 to close its campus to all but “an essential function task force of employees until further notice.”
The directive would allow residents out of their homes to go to grocery stores, pharmacies and takeout restaurants, as well as health-care facilities. Residents would also be allowed to pursue outdoor recreational activities like running, walking and bicycling, though not in large groups.
“We urge all faculty, staff, and students to abide by our Mayor’s guidelines and directives,” NOBTS said in a statement announcing the campus closure. “We will keep you informed of any changes as they come.”
NOBTS had already moved to online classes, reduced office hours for most employees and encouraged them to work from home. Friday the school directed the majority of its full-time employees “not to report to their campus office or the campus office in general.” Most part-time employees will not work “unless otherwise instructed by their supervisor.”
On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsome ordered California residents to stay at home indefinitely. Educational institutions facilitating distance learning, like Gateway Seminary, are allowed to remain operational during this time.
“After the safety of our employees and students, our first priority is maintaining the delivery of our educational program,” Gateway President Jeff Iorg said. “We are prepared to pursue our mission while accommodating Gov. Newsome’s order.”
A limited number of employees in technology support, student services, finance and security roles are working at Gateway’s two campuses in California. Many other employees are continuing to work from home.
“Any change presents difficulties, but we expect to carry on our day-to-day processes,” Iorg said.
Gateway campuses in Arizona, Washington and Colorado continue to operate under local directives in place in those locations.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary announced March 20 that, due to the continuing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, all seminary-sponsored, on-campus events for the spring semester, including commencement exercises, have been canceled.
“It is painful to take the unprecedented, but necessary, step of canceling our Spring commencement, since never before in our 112-year history has Southwestern Seminary not held a scheduled graduation ceremony,” said President Adam W. Greenway. “I deeply regret this dramatic action, and I know it will be incredibly disappointing to our seminary and Scarborough College graduates, but I am prayerful they, as faithful Southwesterners, will understand that such a step was appropriate as the institution seeks to do what is in the best interests of our students and their families, the seminary community, and the greater Fort Worth area.”
Spring 2020 graduates will receive their diplomas by mail after May 8 and will be invited to participate in the fall 2020 commencement ceremony in December.