March 20, 2020

Williams Baptist University has announced that it will complete the spring semester online.  The online instruction will commence April 1, after WBU students complete their spring break.

The private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge, Ark., announced last week that it would extend its spring break to two weeks, in hopes of students returning to campus to complete the semester.  However, WBU President Dr. Stan Norman said in a statement released March 20 that the continued spread of COVID-19 has forced the school to finish the school year online.

WBU faculty have been preparing for online instruction in recent weeks as a contingency plan.

WBU began a new initiative this school year, providing all of its students with iPads as learning tools.  Norman noted that the initiative will now be an asset to Williams as its students complete the semester online.

Message from Dr. Stan Norman, President of WBU

I want to update you on our plans for dealing with COVID19 from this point forward. You likely are aware of the latest directive from Governor Hutchinson to keep K-12 schools closed through April 17. Additional restrictions were issued for restaurants, retail establishments, and other types of public spaces.  The Centers for Disease Control and Arkansas Department of Health daily issue updated guidelines and recommendations that restrict community and relational activities. Truly, these are challenging times!

With these realities in mind and in light of the recommendations from government and health-care leaders, we have determined to transition to online instruction to finish the current semester, starting April 1.

In addition to this major transition, the following initiatives and decisions will shape how we will advance our mission for the remainder of this semester:

  • To give our office staffs a chance to enjoy their traditional “Spring Break Day,” offices will be closed Monday, March 23. 
  • Offices will reopen Tuesday, March 24.  We will be implementing necessary protocols to keep our workplace safe while also meeting the needs of our constituency.
  • Faculty will continue to contact and work with their advisees to register them for fall classes.
  • Commencement is postponed until further notice.  We plan to have further information on this in the days ahead, but rest assured we will find a suitable time and means to celebrate with our graduates!
  • Graduates will have their official status and transcripts updated as soon as final grades are posted at the end of this semester.
  • Dean of Students Amber Grady will notify students who live in on-campus housing on March 25 with instructions for checking out of residence halls.
  • At this time, campus visits and tryouts are suspended.
  • The university will continue to provide room and board to students who are unable to return to their home or unable to make travel arrangements at this time.  These students will need to communicate and coordinate their needs with Dean Grady.

We will do our best to communicate updates and info via campus email. I strongly encourage you to regularly monitor the university’s COVID19 web page for new information and updates.

These are uncertain times.  None of us knows what the future holds.  But finding direction in Hebrews 12:2, we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”  There may well be difficult days ahead for all of us. There probably will be greater tests ahead, but Jesus is still sovereign over His creation.  We trust our future to Him, and He will get us through this. I am convinced that, with God’s providence and protection, we will emerge from this time even stronger than we were before.