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Message from
President Walsh Spring Semester 2022

Have you done your daily check-in on the Magnus phone app?

The Plan

Welcome back to Belles!

It is mid-January and halfway through virtual Minimester 1. That means it is time to get ready for Minimester 2 and a return to campus. We return to campus with great enthusiasm and at the same time cautiously and safely by continuing to follow all of the protocols from the fall move-ins that helped us be so successful last semester.

As you prepare to travel back to Bennett College, make sure you watch the weather reports. We have already seen snow and ice in Greensboro, and more is projected later this week.

Navigating COVID

Visit the Bennett College COVID-19 information hub for updates, news, and protocols including the Bennett College COVID - 19 Dashboard, last updated before we vacated campus in the fall and scheduled to be updated on Monday.

As you have all experienced, there is a surge in COVID cases around the globe and right here in the US. Having a vaccinated campus and plans for isolating and quarantining, allows us to return safely. Make sure you are staying healthy and safe as you prepare to return. As I mentioned in my previous note, have a sick plan prepared whether you are on campus or off campus. It will also be handy for cold and flu season

Remaining safe on campus

  • NEW this semester: because of the spread of the omicron variant residential and commuter students will both be tested every other week this is called surveillance testing.
    • Testing will increase if there is an increase in cases on campus and in the community.
  • NEW this semester: negative COVID test required before leaving home to move back on campus
  • Masks are required
  • Vaccines required and boosters are encouraged to lessen the spread and symptoms especially of new variants
  • Magnus App check in daily
    • Green for go
    • Red for stop
  • Regular cleaning of common spaces and HEPA filters

Learning at Bennett

  • Minimester 2 will be hybrid just as in the fall
    • For each of your courses, you will attend one day per week socially distanced in-person and one day virtually.
  • Students approved for tech-enabled will remain tech-enabled.
    • If you no longer feel comfortable coming to campus in person, contact vpaa@bennett.edu

Living at Bennett

  • You will receive your individual move-in information from Residence Life to maintain social distancing.
  • Merner Hall is scheduled for completion February 28, 2022, as I mentioned in the State of the College. Barring further weather issues in Greensboro, COVID surges, or any currently unforeseen issues, we are anticipating students moving in March.
  • Honors Hall will continue to be used as the residence hall for all students until Merner is open.
    • Based on the Omicron variant and CDC Guidelines, our Environmental Services Team will continue to do extensive cleaning of the common areas to including stairwells, entrances, and elevators.

Dining at Bennett

  • As of the beginning of this semester, we are fully transitioned to the new dining partner, Pioneer.
    • Meal plan rates were reduced in the fall from $2,150 to $1,650 to ensure fair pricing during the transition from Sodexo to Pioneer. The regular meal plan rate is $2,150 per semester.
  • Beginning January 26, 2022, the first day of Minimester 2, the regular meal service will begin because all students will be back on campus. There is currently a limited menu because there are only 41 students on campus for Minimester 1.
    • Hot lunch and hot dinner will continue to be served in the Caf, weather and public health permitting.
    • Breakfast will continue to be served in the Residence Hall.
      • SGA President, Makala Brent, has agreed to host a meeting with students, Pioneer, and me at the beginning of Minimester 2 to discuss variety and hot breakfast options.
  • Pioneer requires a student dining committee.
    • SGA's food services committee will have direct access to college decision makers and leadership from Pioneer. Pioneer is excited to partner with our Belles to ensure that meals are closely aligned with student preferences and dietary restrictions. They are committed to providing services that improve health and well-being. We will have new health and wellness themed programs currently being developed in the food services area that we hope to implement later this spring.
    • If you are interested in being part of the committee, please reach out to SGA President, Makala Brent.

To summarize: You’ve got this!

Last semester was a very strong semester. Our retention rate was higher than in the past, there was increased student engagement by the end of the semester. We successfully had in-person Convocatum Est, Coronation and virtual Founders Day. We have not lost the traditions or the Sisterhood during these VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) times. I saw a number of you taking time to help lift another Belle just when she needed it. That is what makes Bennett special. The world can be VUCA but Bennett Belles are undaunted and undeterred. Belles have seen it all and are stronger for the next challenge – they are antifragile. Bennett Belles keep their eye on their academic prize while also keeping an eye on their mental and physical health.

You have everything you need to succeed. You are prepared for the semester like no other group of women. Have a great semester!

See you IRL and virtually soon.

Suzanne Elise Walsh, JD

President

Resources

Below are helpful resources that provide more information about our plans for the 2020-21 academic year. Please check back regularly, as more resources will be added.

Coronavirus Safety Information

Learn more about for everything you need to know about COVID-19 safety plans and protocols.

Documents

  • Bennett College COVID-19 Protocols Enforcement Spring 2022
  • I feel sick, Flow Chart
  • Isolation and Quarantining Guidelines for Belles
  • Spring 2022 Health Center updates

Employee Documents

  • Bennett College COVID-19 Protocols Enforcement Spring 2022
  • I feel sick, Flow Chart
  • Isolation and Quarantining Guidelines for Belles
  • Spring 2022 Health Center updates

FAQS

Every aspect of college life is considered to address the concerns and challenges that arise in responding to the pandemic. We enter the semester with faith and confidence in our decisions, but we are also prepared to adjust as new information becomes available.

Of course, change brings questions. We will continue to update this space, addressing further questions as they arise.  We want the entire Bennett family to know where we're headed and understand the rationale behind the decisions we're making. We believe that the only way to move forward is together.

We understand; we all have different learning styles. We are offering classes in a variety of formats designed to meet student needs. Some are offered synchronously (live but virtual); others are designed so that you can move through them on your own time, at your own pace. But in no case do you have to go it alone. We are also providing a robust academic support program: tutors are available virtually; peer support through our CircleIn app; helpful nudges via texts from #MyBennett. Our smallness is our strength: your professors are available during virtual office hours, by phone and by email to answer your questions. The virtual world can be a challenge, but it is the future. Your experiences at Bennett are preparing you to thrive in a virtual environment.

Minimester schedules may take some getting used to, but they were implemented so that you can focus on fewer classes at a time and put your full energy into each one.  You take three courses at a time at most, rather than juggling five or six.

The key to making it work for you is in how you manage your time. Successful students plan to spend six hours per week "in class" learning the material as well as several additional hours each week reading, studying, doing research, writing papers, completing projects and doing other assignments. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), "a well-established rule of thumb holds that students should devote two hours of study time for every hour of class time." Students who build that study time into their schedule tend to do very well.

In addition to the supports mentioned above, you can get assistance with time management through the counseling center.

Go to the library! Holgate Library is now on Virbela—a program that allows you to create a virtual avatar who can go into the building, search for information and find books and resources you need. You can arrange to "meet" your friends or professors at Holgate. There are private meeting rooms where you can connect with classmates for study groups or club meetings. It's a lot of fun. (If you like The Sims or Roblox, you'll love it.) Best of all, you don't ever have to turn on your camera in Virbela.
We understand that having the right technology is an important part of your success. If you need a computer/laptop or specific software, the Office of Student Experience and the IT department will work together to help you get what you need. In some cases, we can provide loaner laptops to students. If the issue is internet connectivity, we may have some technology resources that can help. Contact V.P. Cathy Hurd or Dean Kimberly Drye-Dancy in the Office of Student Experience and talk to them about your situation.
No. The minimester schedule is designed so that you can continue to take a full course load and progress toward your degree. Your professors and the academic leadership team plan carefully to ensure that the courses you need are available. As always, consortium classes are still available if there's a particular course you'd like to take that isn't offered on campus or if you are pursuing a dual degree.

We understand that home doesn't offer the kind of support that you may feel you need in some cases. In fact, for many of our students, the tables have turned, and they are the support system for their families—working, helping younger siblings, and taking care of elders. That makes focusing on classes challenging but not impossible. If this is your situation, please contact the Counseling Center for help with stress reduction, time management, goal setting and other techniques to help you stay on track.

If your home environment is dangerous or abusive, or if you are in crisis, get help immediately. Contact your local emergency services (911) or call the appropriate helpline:

Mobile Crisis Therapeutic Alternatives 24 hour Crisis Response Team: 877-626-1772
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Local Behavioral Health Crisis Line (24/7 assistance): 800-256-2452
Moses Cone Behavioral Health Hotline: 800-711-2635 or 336-832-9700
Family Services 24/7 Partner Violence and Rape Assistance: 336-273-7273
24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-TALK (8255) 
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673) 
National Dating Abuse Helpline: 866-331-9474
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233) 
Transgender Crisis Hotline: 877-656-8860 
LGBTQ+ Hotline: 866-488-7386

If your concern is related to housing or food, contact the Office of Student Experience (V.P. Cathy Hurd or Dean Kimberly Drye-Dancy).  We review each student's request on a case-by-case basis to determine the best solution. The Office of Student Experience is the umbrella department that can connect you with services and assistance. Your health and safety are our primary concern.

That's our hope! The progress made on the coronavirus vaccine gives us hope that by Fall 2021, things will be safe enough for your return. Meanwhile, we are already planning to welcome you back by developing safety protocols for our campus. And while you're away, we are taking advantage of an empty campus to make initial upgrades and repairs in residence halls and academic buildings. We can't wait for you to see what we've done.

The tuition and fee charges for Spring 2021 will be the same as they were for Fall 2020.

View 2020-2021 Tuition and Fees (PDF)

If you need to make a payment plan for Spring 2021, the link is here:

mycollegepaymentplan.com/bennettcollege/

Yes, professors are holding office hours. Check your syllabus and email your professor to make an appointment.  Staff is available to answer questions about finances, registration, health, or other concerns.

Out of concern for the safety of faculty and staff, only essential personnel are on campus. We are strongly discouraging people from coming unless it's absolutely necessary. Everyone is still working hard and we're available to take care of your needs.

It's not only colleges that have gone virtual; businesses and organizations have, too. We have seen several internship opportunities that have come available virtually. Because things are virtual, you may have more opportunities than ever because you don't have to travel, find housing, commute, etc.

Check with your professors in your department for internship opportunities. Ms. Yolande Johnson in the Office of Career Services, is also a wealth of knowledge about internships. Reach out to her at  yjohnson@bennett.edu.  Check your email often for opportunities.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College discourages study abroad in the Spring 2021 semester. Most study-abroad programs are not planning international trips in the Spring. With hopes that vaccines will be available, the Center for Global Studies encourages students to apply for study abroad opportunities in Summer and Fall 2021.

You'd be surprised at how many things we can do even though we're virtual.  The SGA and many clubs are still operating, and academic departments are holding events. Did you sign up for the Beyonce x Peloton app? We are planning virtual workouts and fitness challenges using the app.

We won't let this virus steal the joy of Bennett traditions such as Convocatum Est, Founders' Day, and Commencement. Alumnae groups in your area are having their versions of the White Breakfast.

Follow Bennett College on social media to stay up on what's happening. Our alumnae will tell you is that sisterhood transcends distance and difficulty. We support one another no matter how many miles separate us. The blessing of technology is that we can visit virtually to sing our songs, share laughs, play games and expand our minds—together.

Did you attend our historic virtual Commencement 2020? Though it was virtual, it was elegant, moving and fun. No, not the same as being there in person, but our graduates were celebrated and honored. We will make sure that the Class of 2021 will also be honored. We will be working with Senior Class President, Taylor Adkins, to plan a virtual event that honors your achievement and allows your family and friends to celebrate you.

We are thrilled to say that TRACs has approved Bennett College for candidacy status. That means that we've passed their rigorous evaluation (and even earned commendations) to be considered part of the TRACS family.  While we still have a few more milestones to meet, we can take advantage of all of the benefits of TRACS membership. 

TRACS candidacy status means Bennett students are still eligible for federal financial aid, including Pell Grants and federal work-study—and the College still qualifies for Title III and Title IV funding. TRACS accreditation ensures that other institutions and graduate programs will recognize your credits. We have all accreditation privileges as the college proceeds through the final stages of the accreditation process.

And don't forget: We are still accredited by SACSCOC.

Every class will have an orientation experience when we return in person. We've put together a committee with representatives of every aspect of campus life to develop a comprehensive plan for your return. We are developing protocols for arrival on campus, classroom instruction, residence hall safety, health and wellness, student activities, etc. You'll hear more about these plans as they develop.

Have A Question?

If you have additional questions about our Spring Plan, please feel free to contact us using the form below.