Coronavirus Updates

Updated May 8, 5:00 PM 

RTS announces plans for fall 2020 courses. Read the announcement or watch this update from Dr. Ligon Duncan’s social media platforms.

 

Updated April 16, 12:30 PM CT

All summer 2020 courses have been announced. Syllabi will be posted by the end of the week, and registration will open on April 20.

 

Updated April 10, 12:00 PM CT

The Office of the Chancellor announced plans for summer 2020 courses.

 

Updated April 10, 10:30 AM CT

An update from Dr. Ligon Duncan. Originally published on Dr. Duncan’s social media platforms on the morning of April 10.

 

Updated April 3, 6:50 PM CT

Dear RTS family, especially our students:

Almost three weeks ago (which seems like an eternity now), when we made the decision to move the rest of the Spring semester online in light of the COVID-19 situation, we told you that we would have a decision on our scheduled May graduations by mid-April. Because our registrars and others who facilitate our graduation events need as much time as possible to prepare, the Presidents, Executive Directors, Provost and I have made a decision today.

RTS will not hold any of our May 2020 Graduation Ceremonies, because of federal, state and local guidelines and mandates, and current CDC advice. We will make plans to honor all of our graduates appropriately in due season, but it does not seem prudent at this time to reschedule in light of the myriad uncertainties relating to the duration and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the way is clear, we will inform the whole RTS family of our plans. While it is a disappointment to us not to be able to honor our 2020 graduates in the manner in which we are accustomed, we trust the Lord in his good and wise providence, and we want to assure our soon-to-be-alumni of our esteem for you.

Let us continue to entrust ourselves to God, look out for one another, love our neighbors, and pursue our studies and preparation for ministry and service with vigor, until we cross the finish line.

Your friend,

Ligon

 

Updated April 3, 5:00 PM CT

An update from Dr. Ligon Duncan. Originally published on Dr. Duncan’s social media platforms on the evening of April 2.

 

Updated April 2, 12:00 PM CT

We have compiled a list of articles, videos, and other resources by RTS faculty and staff in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Updated March 23 at 2:00 PM CT

A brief update for students and faculty from Dr. Ligon Duncan. Originally published on Dr. Duncan’s social media platforms.

 

Updated March 18 at 1:30 PM CT

After several days of consultation and in light of the current situation in our country relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, RTS is suspending on-site course work at all campuses effective immediately (the New York program already has its own approved plan in place).

This week (March 16-20), our Provost’s office, Global Education, and IT team are providing training to the entire faculty to ensure a smooth transition to online study. Therefore,  students who are on campuses scheduled for on-site courses during this week will have the week off.

The following week (March 23-27), we will commence online study, planning to do so for the remainder of the semester. But of course, something extraordinary could change that. We are also aware that we may need to cancel all commencement activities. We will make this decision in mid to late April.

However, RTS will not be closed. We will all be working as usual, just on much emptier campuses. This provides for better “social distancing” for us and allows the work of the seminary to go on. We will also be implementing extra measures to assure the safety of our faculty and staff’s health and safety, as recommended by the CDC.

We are not requiring our students to leave RTS housing (some of them would have nowhere to go), and so we will continue to care for them in that environment. Students will still need library access. We’re not closing the campuses.

We understand some of our staff will be impacted by school closures in terms of childcare. Our institutional and campus leadership will work to find the best solutions possible in these and other similar situations.

 

Updated March 17 at 4:25 PM CT

A brief update for students from Dr. Ligon Duncan. Originally published on Dr. Duncan’s personal Facebook page.

 

Updated March 12 at 08:19 AM CT

Dear RTS Family:

The Chancellor’s Office continues to monitor the ongoing and developing situation with Coronavirus. The leadership of RTS (including all the Presidents and Executive Directors) met yesterday afternoon to discuss our protocols. As you know, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, and (here in Mississippi) the Mississippi State Department of Health have been releasing information and providing updates on the current status of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its potential spread in the United States, and what steps should be taken moving forward. I want to assure you of our concern for the health and safety of all our students, families, faculty, and staff.

First, at present, RTS is planning to proceed with classes for spring semester as usual system-wide. There may be certain decisions impacting specific campuses that you will receive communications about from your local campus leadership. But all of those decisions will be made in consultation with the Provost’s Office in order to assure the students’ best interests are our priority.

Second, regarding those of you who have recently traveled or are planning to travel during spring break, please note the following. Students, family members, and employees who have recently traveled or have plans to travel abroad, or by cruise ship, or to specific locations in the U.S. where COVID-19 is prevalent (e.g., Seattle) should inform RTS. Your local campus will have further instructions on whom to inform.

Those who travel to or through a warning level 2 or 3 country must self-quarantine from the seminary and seminary community (as a family) for a minimum of 14 days, and follow all CDC and Department of Health guidelines. Those who have traveled abroad, by cruise ship, or to locations where COVID-19 is prevalent and are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, are required to remain home until symptoms have subsided. Additionally, if your physician or any health agency recommends self-quarantine for any member of your family, please inform the appropriate person at your local campus.

Please continue to check the CDC’s Travel Advisory (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) for updates before your trip and once you return as the current situation is evolving rapidly. We ask that students and their families carefully consider travel plans, the possibility of travel interruptions and/or quarantine, and the potential impacts of these on you, your family, and the seminary. Refer to the RTS website news page for further guidance in this fluid situation (https://rts.edu/categories/news/)

Third, we are continuing to monitor new developments, reevaluating our steps and actions, and will be following recommendations from the CDC, which can help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including cold or flu. We encourage everyone to follow these recommendations as well.

  • Avoid close contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms (fever, cough, etc.).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you exhibit symptoms.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands after coughing and sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (cell phones, laptops, keyboards, etc.).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Fourth, I want to convey to our whole RTS family our trust in God’s good and sovereign providence, our efforts at due diligence, our responsible precautions, our endeavor insofar as possible to continue with the seminary’s mission with minimal interruption (“business as usual”), and that our leadership is aware, informed, and engaged.

This situation is fluid, changing daily, even hourly, it seems. Be assured that the institution is monitoring this around the clock and that we are concerned to ensure the health and safety of our students, families, teachers, and faculty members.

Your friend,

Ligon