The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

What you should know before returning to campus this fall


By Clarion Staff

Where are masks required? How does the dining center work? And what happens if students get sick? The Clarion gathered the latest information on what students should expect when they return to Bethel’s campus this fall.

What should I buy to prepare for campus living during a pandemic?

Director of Health Services Liz Nelson says students should have the following items on hand:

  • Six to eight face coverings
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tylenol (Thermometers will be provided to each student this fall)
  • Kleenex 
  • Tea
  • Lysol spray cleaner
  • Latex gloves

Where is COVID-19 testing on campus?

Testing for COVID-19 is at the Lakeside Center, A104, during the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. “We will test asymptomatic students if they have been named as a ‘close contact’ of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19,” Nelson said. 

Where do students go if they test positive?

“If a student tests positive for COVID, they must isolate for 10 days,” Miller said. “If it is possible, students will be expected to return to their homes for isolation.” The Bethel COVID-19 Dashboard is updated daily to provide the number of confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. the previous day. 

What will it take to shut down Bethel?

According to Director of Marketing Tim Hammer, the Minnesota Department of Health recently provided colleges and universities in the state with a framework for how operations will be adjusted based on the status of COVID-19 on campus.

“We’re currently finalizing our levels based on this guidance and our hope is to share it with the community next week along with the more robust COVID dashboard,” Hammer said. “Some data points that will go into that level are the number of positive cases, the number of cases in quarantine (on and off campus), the number of cases in isolation (on and off campus), the availability of resources (quarantine/isolation space, PPE, etc). This is not final or exhaustive.”

Will guests be allowed on campus?

Visitors are welcome in academic buildings, recreational buildings and outdoors on campus between 5:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. Visitors and overnight guests are not permitted in the residence halls. If residential students plan to get food delivery or use a ride share service, they need to register those services by using the Guest Access Form. Visitors will be asked to use CampusClear or answer health screening questions at the 3900 Campus security gate or Anderson Center front desk. Visitors will need to be scanned into buildings by a Bethel community member to gain entry. Students should plan ahead to meet their guests at the door.

How will the dining center, 3900 Grill and Royal Grounds work this year?

Dining services has been working closely with Bethel University and the state of Minnesota to make the necessary changes to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. “We are expanding as we go,” Sodexo General Manager Bob Schuchardt said. 

The Monson Dining Center will have a maximum of 250 people allowed inside at one time. In addition, there will only be 25 people allowed in the serving area. Hours will be expanded and students will also be given the option to dine in or take their order to go. Pasta, salads, and deli sandwiches will be served by staff. Beverages will be self-service, but there is a single service restriction. 

The 3900 Grill will now provide pre-orders online that will start 30 minutes prior to opening. There will be a pickup location for online orders and regular orders. While there are changes, the 3900 Grill will continue serving the traditional lunch menu and have an express evening Grill menu. 

Royal Grounds will transition to a mostly online format – students are encouraged to order online and pick up their order, but in-person ordering is still available. Just like the other dining services, everything (including condiments like cream and sugar) will be served by employees.

Can students hang out in common areas like the library? 

The library building is open this fall with modified hours and services. The spaces and seating have been adjusted to maintain social distancing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) like plexiglass sneeze guards and additional wipe and hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed. Digital collections and services will continue to be available for Bethel community members who are unable to come to the building.

The Cultural Connection Center will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a maximum of four people. “We’ll encourage students to walk through and get resources, but discourage them from sitting for hours and hours,” Diversity and Inclusion Associate Pang Moua said. For the next two months, events will be virtual.

What happens if Bethel students get caught at a party? Or don’t wear masks? 

Students are required to wear face coverings when indoors as a part of the Bethel COVID-19 community agreement. According to the Bethel Student Commitments and Accommodations page, not abiding by the community life commitments will result in disciplinary action by the Office of Student Life at Bethel. There are various consequences that may result in consequences as severe as suspension. 

When would I need to quarantine?

According to Associate Dean of Residence Life Gus Tiffer, students who test positive will be required to quarantine either in the identified isolation spaces on campus or at a permanent residence off campus. Students who have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive must self-quarantine for 14 days (direct contact is defined as being within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes).

Do we have to reserve seats for Chapel and Vespers?

Benson Great Hall’s 250 seats will be first come first serve for Chapel services. The services will be held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:25 to 10:55 a.m. 

Vespers will be held in person in Benson Great Hall on Sunday nights at three different times: 7 to 8 p.m., 8 to 9 p.m. and 9 to 10 p.m. The service will also be live streamed from 10 to 11 p.m. Cost-free tickets for Vespers will need to be reserved at the Bethel University Box Office. These tickets will be available Monday, August 31st.

How will counseling services work this year?

Counseling Services is offering telehealth counseling sessions for Bethel students via phone calls or video conferencing on a HIPAA compliant version of Google Hangouts. Students can email [email protected] or call 651-635-8540 to make an appointment.

Will students need to fill out the online screening every morning once living on campus to access buildings?

According to an email sent out Thursday, students are being asked to keep track of their personal well being daily via an app called CampusClear. Students must complete this in order to have access to academic buildings. It can be downloaded on your phone or other device. Building hours have been modified to 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. 

Will there be a limit on how many Wellness Center slots people can sign up for? Do you have to wear a mask if you’re working out? 

The facility will run at 25 percent capacity. Students must sign up for either a cardio machine or weight rack on the WLC app or by calling the front desk (651-638-6259) before entering the facility.

Workouts will be offered in 75-minute increments – guests must enter the facility within 15 minutes of the start of each increment and will have 75 minutes to complete their workout. At the end of the 75 minutes, the facility will close for a 15-minute sanitation period before reopening. 

Continuous mask use will be required throughout the facility. Masks should never be removed unless with permission from WLC staff. Six feet of social distancing will be enforced at all times. Plan to wear your workout clothes to the facility, as locker room access will be very limited. 

Which on-campus jobs are still available? 

Students looking for extra cash this semester can look through the job postings website to find the perfect job for them. Types of jobs still available for this year include Build Mentor, community work-study and Youth Crew Mentor. Contact the supervisor listed on the posting for more information on job availability. 

Where do out-of-state students vote while at Bethel?

Students voting from out of state can choose to vote in Minnesota by using Bethel as their permanent residence. When registering to vote online, choose ‘Bethel Drive’ for the street address and list the on-campus room number. When voting in person on Election Day, students can use their Bethel student ID for proof of residence. This is only needed for first time voters or those who haven’t voted for four or more years. If students register online 21 days before the election, identification is not required. For more information, visit

How can students send in mail-in ballots? 

Students can fill out an online form to request mail-in ballots for the election Nov. 3. This form can be mailed to students using their Bethel address and can be shipped back through the Bethel post office. Ballots should be shipped to the Ramsey County Election office at Ramsey County Elections: PO Box 64098 St Paul, MN 55164-0098. Ballots must arrive at the office on or before Nov. 3 for the vote to be counted. For more information, visit

How will the band, choir, orchestra and theatre rehearse and perform? 

“We’ve been doing extensive research this summer,” said Jon Veenker, Chair of the Music and Theatre Department. “I don’t know if you are aware that music is particularly difficult in the COVID environment, partly due to aerosols.”

Bethel is following the guidelines from major research done over the summer, primarily by the University of Colorado. Veenker plans to shorten rehearsal lengths to thirty minutes or less and decrease the number of people in rehearsals at one time (maximum of thirty). Social distancing will increase beyond six feet, particularly for choral rehearsals, and rehearsals will be held “in all kinds of different places.”

Vocalists will have singer’s masks and face shields. Wind players will play while wearing specially designed slotted masks, plus instrument masks and the use of MERV 13 filters. String players, percussionists, pianists, and handbell ensemble members will wear standard masks. 

“We are not expecting any audiences,” said Veenker when asked about performance plans. He said there will be no full ensemble live performances as of right now.

How will the Festival of Christmas work this year?

Bethel’s annual Festival of Christmas will look different this year. Jon Veenker, Chair of the Music and Theatre Department, hopes to film and release the concert online. Veenker hopes that the lack of ticket sales will be balanced by the department spending less money on other performances.

“We’re most concerned about just keeping the connections with our community,” Veenker said. “It might sound cliche, but it’s very true, that this is our Christmas gift to the community. And it’s not just the Bethel community.” 



View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All The Clarion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *