BSSM’s Response to the Coronavirus
Continued Remote Learning Update
October 20, 2020
As of Tuesday, October 20, our state government is moving Shasta County into the Purple Tier, due to the increased number of positive COVID-19 cases in our county. Based on our current understanding, this means our students will continue with distance learning until Shasta County sees a decrease in cases and in the positivity rate.
As a response to the initial rise in cases in our student body, BSSM Leadership moved to remote learning and asked all students to shelter-in-place on Friday, October 2, regardless of whether or not they were experiencing symptoms. While healthy students were released from this shelter-in-place on October 9, our school has continued with remote learning until further notice. Those who are sick, in quarantine as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or are in isolation due to a positive test result, will continue to follow isolation/quarantine guidelines until their official release date.
BSSM is committed to doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 so Shasta County can move to a less restrictive tier as soon as possible. In addition to continued remote learning, we are implementing an internal communications strategy that continues to educate our staff and students on actions that can help mitigate the spread of the virus both at home and in school.
Our students have been amazing during this complex season. We are so proud of them. We know this is a challenging time, and we are trusting the Lord together.
A Note on Bethel Church’s Decision-Making Process:
We realize it can be confusing to see individual voices that have very different perspectives from each other at all levels of leadership and staff at Bethel Church, which impacts decisions for BSSM. We believe in a diversity of opinion and thought, and choose to come together as a leadership team, lay our personal perspectives aside, and make decisions that are best for our church, schools, and the local Redding community. At times this can be challenging, however our collective statements and actions reflect the final decisions of our full leadership team on how we navigate and lead our large organization. To find out more about these decisions in regards to COVID-19, see Bethel’s response at bethel.com/coronavirus.
Update from Bethel Church: COVID-19 Cases in Shasta County
October 7, 2020
This Press Release was published by Bethel Church on October 7, 2020:
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) currently has 68 active positive cases of COVID-19 among BSSM students who have been instructed to isolate in their homes. All students and staff who have been in close contact with these individuals have been instructed to quarantine in their homes as well. As of October 6, 2020, the total number of positive cases among BSSM students and staff is 137 since school started in early September 2020, which are included in Shasta County’s confirmed case total.
In our contact tracing system within BSSM, we have seen that a primary source of transmission has occurred in off-campus living situations and social interactions outside of school hours that are common to student life. Unlike a university setting with dorms and campus rules being monitored after school hours, BSSM students find housing in the community which they often share with other students.
“Our school culture values community. In this unprecedented year, our strength in building community presents challenges and a temporary need for change. We deeply care about the health of our students, and have strongly communicated to them the importance of protecting our local community in Shasta County by wearing masks, social distancing, and staying home when sick. We’re increasing both our communication and education to students about the importance of practicing these same safety measures both inside and outside the classroom.” said Kris Vallotton, Director of BSSM.
For the past several months, BSSM has been in close communication with the Public Health department as we have made our plans to implement safety measures for the BSSM 2020-2021 school year. Those measures include:
- Students were asked to arrive early before school started to quarantine for 14-days.
- Students were then required to have a negative COVID-19 test result prior to attending school.
- Classrooms are set up with social distance and campuses undergo increased sanitation.
- Face coverings and social distancing are required in school at all times.
- Daily temperature checks are taken at the door.
- Students are responsible to self-monitor for symptoms and report any symptoms to BSSM staff.
- A second round of COVID-19 tests was administered for 700+ staff and students on Monday, October 5.
Due to the recent rise in cases, BSSM began a time of shelter-in-place on Friday, October 2, and all BSSM meetings are being held online only. This temporary shift to distance learning is being implemented with the goal to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our student body and Redding community.
During this shelter-in-place, students have been asked to self-quarantine, regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms. Students have been instructed to only leave home for essentials, not participate in any social gatherings, and not visit any local non-essential businesses or public spaces. Students with jobs have been advised to communicate with their supervisor at their workplace if at any point they or someone they live with begin showing symptoms.
We love our students and believe they are a valuable asset to our community, and they love being here. Gratefully, at this time, we are not aware of any cases that have required hospitalization. When school resumes on-campus, we will continue the safety measures as summarized above. We are also implementing an internal communications strategy that continues to emphasize actions students can take to mitigate the spread of the virus both at home and in school. Let’s continue to pray for the city as we all navigate this challenging season together and trust the Lord to intervene for good.
August 30, 2020
This letter was sent to BSSM staff and students on August 30, 2020:
As a staff, we have been prayerfully considering how to apply our faith and core values as we kick off another incredible year at BSSM. Working towards safely opening school within California’s guidelines has been challenging to say the least—but so worth it! Our teams have done an amazing job, and we are going to have a great year.
Out of a high sense of responsibility, we would like for all our BSSM staff and students to be tested for COVID-19 before joining us on campus. Though this has been a complex decision, we have come to think, “Why wouldn’t we do everything in our power to keep our students, staff, and city safe?” We are, after all, inviting about 1500 amazing students to our amazing town. So, after much prayer and discussion with our BSSM leadership team, Public Health, and our friends at Simpson University who have adopted similar protocols, we will take the plunge together.
God is King of all. This virus, too, will bow to the name of Jesus. We are not moving in fear, but in kindness and in “going the extra mile”—or “test”— to be a blessing to others. Thank you for all you do and will continue to do for the sake of loving others well.
You will receive a free COVID test (not the “high up in the sinus” kind of test, but a mid-nasal PCR test) at Bethel on Wednesday, September 2.
Thanks for your grace in this season, and for all that you are giving to be a part of BSSM. We are so thankful for you, and will be together in the presence of Jesus very soon!
Initial Arrival in Redding Update
August 14, 2020
We have good news to share with you! As you know, our team has been working on a plan to start BSSM on-campus safely in September, and we will be sharing that with you in the coming weeks. We recently had the opportunity to review this plan with our county health officials, and they were pleased with what we created. This is great news and we can’t wait to be with you in-person in just a few weeks! Here are this week’s updates:
What to Do When You Arrive in Redding
Our BSSM students make up about 2% of Redding’s population. As you can imagine, your arrival makes an impact on our city and we want to be thoughtful concerning our fellow citizens. Please follow these measures to ensure that any potential exposure you had to COVID-19 in your travels is resolved before joining your classmates on-campus in September.
Consider Getting Tested for COVID-19 Before Traveling
We recommend that you get tested for COVID-19 before traveling to Redding so you can be certain that you are not sick while traveling.
Arrive Early in Redding & Quarantine for 14 Days
Before BSSM starts, please arrive early in Redding and quarantine for 14 days (click here to see the difference between quarantine and isolation). In a previous communication, we explained that upon your arrival, you would have the option to either quarantine for a time or get tested for COVID-19. However, our county health officials have recommended that students should only get tested if they are exhibiting symptoms. For this reason, a 14-day quarantine is the only option and required for students who are not symptomatic.
We understand that moving to a new city and immediately going into quarantine will present some challenges, but we are here to support you during this time! In the coming weeks, you will learn whose Revival Group you are in, a group of 40-50 of your fellow classmates led by your Revival Group Pastor. Your Revival Group Pastor and his/her team of Third Year students will be reaching out to you to help you get acclimated during your time of quarantine. Also, you can order many necessities like groceries online (check out our online shopping tips). You won’t have to go through this process alone!
If Symptomatic, Get Tested for COVID-19
If you begin to exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival in Redding or during your 14-day quarantine, please get tested in Shasta County. Until you have negative test results in hand, stay isolated in your home. There are no out-of-pocket costs for medically-necessary testing. Once you fill out the form on the link below, you will be contacted by Shasta County HHSA within 2 business days to set up your testing appointment. Again, this testing is only required if you are symptomatic. Click here to get tested.
If You Have Been Living in Shasta County…
If you have been living in Shasta County, have not left the county in the past 14 days, are not symptomatic, and have had no known exposure to COVID-19, no further action is required.
*Important Note: It is possible that at a particular point in the BSSM school year we may require all our students to get tested for COVID-19. We will support students in the process of getting tested to make it as easy as possible. Please be aware of this possibility, and let us know if you have any concerns by emailing us at email@example.com.
If you aren’t able to make it to Redding by October 31, you may either get a full refund or transfer to BSSM Online (transfers are available for First Year only). If you get to a place where you know you aren’t able to make it to Redding this fall, we encourage you to consider transferring to BSSM Online. Our full-time, 9-month online program begins on September 8 and upon graduating, students may apply for Second Year. We encourage you to transfer by October 2 to have the best possible experience on BSSM Online! To request a transfer to BSSM Online, please reach out to your Admissions Advisor for next steps.
BSSM On-Campus Update
August 7, 2020
This week we have a special video for you from BSSM Dean, Dann Farrelly! Click below to watch this message from Dann who is sharing a few more details about what school will look like.Video: Update from Dann Farrelly
School Phases Update
July 31, 2020
In planning for the upcoming school year, we are prioritizing both your safety and the safety of our city. Part of our mandate as modern-day revivalists is to see the Kingdom of Heaven impact not only our personal lives but also the lives of those around us. It’s our honor to do our part to serve and protect the city of Redding in this time, and always. We are so excited to be with you in Redding in September for the 2020-2021 BSSM school year. We believe this is going to be a powerful year of transformation and depth as we pursue Jesus together.
In light of COVID-19, you may be wondering what school is going to look like practically. We are all learning how to navigate this season well, and are looking forward to embracing flexibility together as we continue to put our trust in the Lord.
To help guide your expectations and provide adaptability throughout this upcoming school year, we have developed a three-phase approach in an attempt to provide simplicity and clarity to the protocols that our school community will follow as BSSM resumes on-campus.
As you’ll see below, safety protocols will be determined by whether BSSM is in a Green, Yellow, or Red Phase. Phases will be determined by guidance from health authorities as well as the current health and well-being of our student body. BSSM will provide students with as much notice as possible before moving to a new phase. Because we cannot plan for every contingency, there may be a need to update this plan with additional or clarified guidance as things potentially change.
As of July 31, 2020, we plan to open BSSM On-Campus in September in the Yellow Phase. Please read and become familiar with this overview of the three phases.
- Green Phase — In the Green Phase, campus operations and activities are expected to resume to normal with minimal restrictions, if any. BSSM will continue to follow any current state and local guidelines.
- Yellow Phase — In the Yellow Phase, we will meet together in accordance with state and local guidance for larger gatherings, including occupancy restrictions, social distancing, face coverings, and hygiene. This phase will modify the BSSM schedule so that First, Second, and Third Year can gather as meeting capacities allow for social distancing between students from different households. Smaller groups of students will participate in school activities together as restrictions allow.
- Red Phase — In the Red Phase, BSSM would operate as it did under California’s shelter-in-place, issued on March 19, 2020, or in accordance with new guidelines issued at that time. In addition to our on-campus health and safety protocols, increased restrictions for school operations and activities would be implemented. BSSM would only open for the provision of essential on-campus functions subject to federal, state, and local orders. We hope to never need to enter this phase, but in the case we do, we are prepared to temporarily offer the BSSM experience to our students online and meet together in much smaller groups (likely 10 or less) until such restrictions have lifted.
We haven’t included all the details of what each phase will look like; for now, we wanted to just give you a simple overview of what you can expect in each phase. As we move between the phases, we will provide a detailed plan at that time with specific guidelines to follow. In the coming weeks, we will also be sharing updates on our expectations and requirements related to your safe arrival in Redding.
BSSM On-Campus Update
July 24, 2020
We know there are questions arising about BSSM On-Campus in light of COVID-19. Please know that your safety is a high priority to us! Our BSSM leadership team is working with Shasta County and health authorities to ensure the safety of our entire school community.
As you know, things are regularly changing throughout this season of COVID-19. Our heart is to ensure that you are kept up to date with the information you need. Over the next several weeks, we will share regular updates with you about BSSM On-Campus 2020-2021. Here are a few updates for today:
- Plans in Process: Your safety is a high priority to us. Our staff is working diligently with health authorities and our county to create an on-campus experience that will not only be full of the transformative power and love of God, but also full of safety, wisdom, and care as we navigate this season of COVID-19. We will be sharing more details with you over the coming weeks, including health guidelines and protocols from the county, what to do when you arrive in Redding, what the school schedule and structure will look like, and more. Stay tuned!
- COVID-19 in Shasta County: We are thankful for God’s protection and to be located in Shasta County, one of the lowest COVID-19 incident regions in California. As of July 23, 2020, we have had 241 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our entire county since March, and currently have 33 active cases in isolation in a population of 177,925. The state of California also has a “County Monitoring List” that — as of July 23, 2020 — we have not been placed on. To see specific data on COVID-19’s impact on Shasta County, click here.
- Remote Access for Delayed Students: For students who are delayed in arriving in Redding, we will offer BSSM First, Second, and Third Year remotely until October 31, 2020. We trust this will be a great way to meaningfully engage in school and stay connected in the case you need more time to arrive here. If you aren’t able to make it to Redding by October 31, you may either get a full refund or transfer to BSSM Online (transfers are available for First Year only). You will receive more information about these options, but if you have any questions in the meantime or need help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- News Updates for International Students: Good news! BSSM was not affected by a recent news release that stated students would not be allowed in the U.S. to study if they were taking online classes only. Also, click here to read about travel exceptions from Europe to the US for students. We understand that some international students have had success in securing visa appointments (thank you, Lord!), while others have been unable to do so yet. Please continue to check the guidelines and regulations in your country as you move forward with travel plans. We pray and believe that international students will be able to join us in Redding in the fall, as you all are such a vital part of our community!
We will share more information with you next week. As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions. We can’t wait to be with you in Redding in September!
BSSM Reopening Update
Letter from Dann Farrelly, BSSM Dean
June 1, 2020
Dear BSSM Students,
I hope you are healthy and happy in the Holy Spirit. He sure does love you! I’d like to share an update with you about the upcoming BSSM 2020-2021 school year. I am excited to announce that BSSM will resume our on-campus program in the fall. This includes BSSM First Year, Second Year, and Third Year in Redding, California.
We will reopen BSSM with measures in place so we can continue to pursue our mission of equipping and deploying revivalists while also doing our part to protect public health within our school community and city. One of the most important and unique components of BSSM is the community and fellowship that we get to engage in as we pursue Christ, and we are looking forward to being together again for an incredible school year.
If you are a student returning for Second or Third Year, a new student joining us for First Year, or an applicant interested in joining our school, please know that your safety is a high priority to us. Our entire BSSM staff is working diligently to create an on-campus experience that will not only be full of the transformative power and love of God, but also full of safety, wisdom, and care as we continue to walk out of this season of COVID-19. We are thankful for God’s protection and to be located in Shasta County, one of the lowest COVID-19 incident regions in California. To see specific data on COVID-19’s impact on Shasta County, click here.
As a BSSM leadership team, we are closely connected to our city officials and are staying informed of all health and public safety guidelines from our local and state governments. We are also blessed to have medical professionals who serve on our church board with whom we work in tandem as we make our plans to reopen. And, we have an amazing administrative staff who truly embody the idea of, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.” So, we will make our plans and adjust them as needed.
Here are a few things to think through as you prepare to join us in Redding this fall:
- Refundable Fees: We want to do everything we can to ensure that your transition to Redding in the fall is successful so you can give your full YES to your upcoming time at BSSM and what God wants to do in your life! For the 2020-2021 Academic Year, the application fee, deposit, and tuition are 100% refundable for all applicants and students up until you are a registered student in Redding. If you are delayed in arriving and ultimately unable to attend school, you may request this refund as late as October 31, 2020. If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by emailing email@example.com. For more information, see our Finance Packet.
- Arrival in Redding: Our BSSM students are 2% of Redding’s population, so your arrival makes an impact on our city, so let’s be thoughtful concerning our fellow citizens. As you think through your arrival in Redding in the fall, we encourage you to arrive early so you have plenty of time to settle into your housing and serve our city by either (1) self-quarantining for a time or (2) getting tested for COVID-19. This will ensure that any potential exposure you had in your travels may be resolved before joining your classmates in September. We will be in touch with details on COVID-19 testing opportunities in the near future.
- New BSSM Start Dates: As you may know, we have pushed back the start dates of First Year and Third Year (Second Year’s start date remains in effect) to accommodate for the potential delays some of you may experience as you travel to Redding in the fall. To see our updated BSSM School Calendar, click here.
We are committed to partnering with what heaven is doing in your life, and we’re on your side. We will share more regular updates with you over the summer to keep you informed and excited about school starting in the fall. There is nothing like BSSM. We cannot wait to be together with you in the presence of the Lord.
Grace & Joy,
Dann Farrelly, BSSM Dean