Coronavirus Updates

    UPDATE       as of Friday, May 1, 3 p.m.   

This week Governor DeSantis outlined initial steps to a phased reopening in our state. Social distancing, travel restrictions, and limitations on group meetings still apply; however, some limited services may begin to reopen.  

On campus, the following will apply beginning Monday, May 4:

All current offices and services will remain open and The Palms will begin to provide dine-in seating up to 25% capacity with at least 6 feet of distancing.

The PCC campus will reopen to guests on a limited basis. Upon arrival to campus, guests will be screened at the gate for illness, potential exposure, and travel in areas restricted by the State of Florida. Only those living on campus will be permitted in residence halls. Those in the following categories should not come to campus:

  • Experiencing symptoms of fever or respiratory illness
  • Recent exposure to someone with COVID-19
  • Travel from high risk areas identified by Florida/CDC guidelines (NY, NJ, CT, LA, and international countries)

Next week is the final week of the spring semester. Please join us in praying for God’s continued protection and blessing on PCC’s students, faculty, and staff.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the PCC campus open?
Pensacola Christian College is open and operational, assuring needed support for essential services that provide for education and child care. Summer events scheduled on campus will meet with appropriately adjusted capacities, social distancing, and health screenings.

Guests are permitted on a limited basis. Upon arrival to campus, guests are screened at the gate for illness, potential exposure, and travel in areas restricted by the State of Florida. Only those staying on campus are permitted in residence halls, and will undergo health screening prior to move-in.

Those in the following categories should not come to campus:

  • Experiencing symptoms of fever or respiratory illness
  • Recent exposure to someone with COVID-19
  • Travel from high risk areas identified by Florida guidelines (NY, NJ, CT, LA, and international countries)

What is PCC doing to promote a healthy campus?
Proactive measures promote health on campus and are responsive to current conditions and state/local health department advisement. These include:

  • Appropriate social distancing
  • Residence hall capacity adjusted appropriately based on current conditions
  • Health screening as needed
  • Increased cleaning frequency
  • Disinfecting high touch surfaces
  • Personal protective equipment encouraged
  • Availability of isolation and quarantine facilities

How can individuals prevent the spread of illness?
Preventing the spread of any communicable illness includes practicing simple but important personal health routines.

  • Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds with soapy water
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces
  • Wear a face mask (i.e. cloth face coverings) in public settings to avoid virus transmission, while continuing to maintain 6 feet distance from others.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system

What should I do if I suspect I may have COVID-19?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms are similar to seasonal influenza, and may be mild to severe. More information is available at the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page on the CDC website.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, notify your health care provider immediately by phone. You should avoid arriving at your health care provider location without calling ahead since there may be strict protocol for those experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms. PCC students may call the Graf Clinic (850-969-1636) or contact off-campus medical facilities associated with area hospitals.

What about travel to or from Pensacola?
Until the Florida Governor’s order stating “all persons in Florida should avoid non-essential travel” is relaxed, residence hall students are not permitted to travel outside the Pensacola area. Exceptions are made when traveling home for the standard scheduled vacation. Florida has imposed travel advisories, border screening, and quarantine guidelines. Current travel advisories are posted on the Florida COVID-19 Response website.

PCC’s Response Taskforce meets frequently and has planned for a range of operational scenarios based on changing conditions. We are prepared to adapt and respond as needed.

Are there any changes for official college trips overseas?
PCC and its affiliates have canceled international travel through Summer 2020.

Previous Updates

Friday, April 17, 3 p.m.

Pensacola’s beautiful spring weather this week has provided the perfect atmosphere for students to sit outdoors for a meal or online learning. In an effort to fight the coronavirus, everyone on campus continues to observe and promote prevention, containment, and mitigation strategies. There are still no confirmed cases of the virus reported in our on-campus community. While experts predict Florida’s peak resource use is still several days in the future, our area of Florida has not had the level of impact that south Florida has experienced.

As Americans look forward to our nation reopening, PCC’s response taskforce continues to seek guidance of state and local government and public health officials. Their recommendations inform decisions regarding future campus events, student services, and policies currently in place to protect the health and safety of students, employees, and our local community.

We pray for our students in various locations throughout the world as they continue their semester’s studies, and for families of students and employees who may have been affected by COVID-19 in various ways. We stand ready to support and assist.

Thursday, April 9, 2 p.m.

There are still no confirmed cases of the virus reported among PCC students or employees. Over the past three weeks, we have transitioned smoothly to online learning and developed systems and habits to ensure academic success. Though the end of the semester is approaching, it will take ongoing commitment for each student to finish strong.

The campus atmosphere is different with many employees working remotely, face masks becoming less unusual, and no guests on campus. However, we are still fully staffed to assist current or prospective students by phone or e-mail. We are very thankful that the Lord has allowed us to continue serving the educational needs of students and families. Let us know any way we can be of service.

This Sunday we celebrate Easter, remembering the resurrection of our Savior. For PCC students locally, Campus Church Easter service will be viewed online from their room, in the Commons, or outside on the terrace perhaps with a friend. Some may even dress up, or submit a photo for the Campus Church family Easter gallery. In the dining halls, a traditional Easter menu will be served to make the day special. Though Easter may not be the same as other years, it will still be a time of remembrance and celebration.

Thursday, April 2, 1 p.m.

Over two weeks ago, the College and Academy transitioned to remote learning. The majority of students have made their way home; all classes have resumed through digital means; and our personnel have adjusted to new measures designed to protect personal and workplace health.

Thankfully, on campus we have not yet had any faculty, staff, or students confirmed to have the novel coronavirus; however, across the country and our state, the number of cases has risen dramatically. Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an order for Floridians to stay at home for the next 30 days and only leave their homes to provide essential services or for permitted activities.

As an educational institution with thousands of K-12 and college students learning at a distance, we are considered an essential service in Florida. From the beginning we have been proactive in our response, and the aggressive steps we have previously taken to stop the spread of the virus on campus are already in alignment with the governor’s order. However, our Response Taskforce has reviewed the updated guidelines and made recommendations which President Shoemaker approved effective immediately.

Students

We are committed to completing a successful spring semester. Online courses will not be interrupted. Faculty and staff will continue support through instruction, advising, and services.

Students on campus and locally should abide by the governor’s order and only go to off campus destinations for essential items and permitted activities. The executive order encourages outdoor exercise like biking, running, or hiking as long as social distancing is observed. Dining hall and common area procedures have also been adjusted to maximize protective distance.

Guests and Travel

Unfortunately, we are unable to permit guest visits to campus during the month of April; and for Easter weekend, the “safer at home” order means that faculty, staff, GAs, and students are strongly encouraged to follow the executive order to limit travel.

Commencement

We still want to celebrate Commencement, so we will host a virtual commencement event on May 8, at 9:30 a.m. (The same date and time graduates would have marched.) A traditional on-campus ceremony will also be held sometime in the months to come when it is safe to do so.

Our leadership team is striving to make this a distinctive and memorable celebration to honor the accomplishment of graduates. More information will be sent through e-mail.

Employees

Faculty, staff, and GA’s have demonstrated such care in serving so many. In addition to Academy and College students, Abeka homeschoolers have continued to receive support, plus an additional 100,000 Christian school students who are receiving free Abeka video to help their schools finish the year.

We have instituted major initiatives for many personnel to work from home. This remote work option aligns with the “safer at home” order. Most of the remaining on-campus work is considered essential and will of necessity continue to support education and care for operational and residential facilities.

Strong caution is expressed for older employees and those with underlying health conditions. You are safer at home and encouraged follow the governor’s order to remain at home to protect your health.

All of us have a responsibility to those we serve and to our community in limiting travel to home, work, essential stops, and permitted activities.

Encouragement

President Trump has cautioned that the weeks ahead will be difficult. Let’s be serious about taking precautions to protect our health and that of others. There are many things to be thankful for, including the jobs we enjoy. We are thankful that God allows us to continue working and have great confidence that nothing is a surprise to Him. Remember that together we can move forward with a deep reliance on our God. He is good, and He is with you even now. He knows what you need today and in the days to come.

Wednesday, April 1, 2:30 p.m.

Governor DeSantis has announced that he is declaring an official “safer at home” order for all of Florida. We expect the directive to be published soon asking that it be implemented within 24 hours. Once the official order is released, we will communicate how it affects daily work and campus life. Since services in support of critical operations and distance learning are typically considered essential, we do not anticipate any interruption in meeting the needs of those on campus or taking online instruction. We will provide more details as soon as possible to keep you informed.

Today’s announcement also reiterates the importance of every individual helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 by avoiding personal activities like nonessential shopping and social gatherings. It is our responsibility to work together to prevent the spread of illness and pray for those affected.

Friday, March 27, 3:15 p.m.

Students are completing their first week of online learning, establishing new routines and adapting to revised class procedures. A few technical challenges have arisen, but alternate solutions have been quickly adapted as needed. We are grateful to faculty and staff who remain dedicated to making the learning experience as smooth as possible. Chapel resumed in a digital format this week, providing encouragement and spiritual refreshment.

There are still no confirmed or presumed positive COVID-19 cases reported within our campus community. The PCC Response Taskforce is monitoring county and state impacts, maintaining relationships with public health and emergency management officials who are available to guide decisions as needed. We continue to stress prevention, containment, and social distancing practices on campus.

Students and parents, we are eager to meet your needs in this new learning format. Let us know if there is anything we can do better to serve you. We pray for you and your families daily.

Wednesday, March 25, 3:45 p.m.

There have been no changes on campus since our last update, and there are still no confirmed or presumed positive cases reported within our campus community. Florida’s governor has decided not to declare a shelter-in-place. Some Florida counties with a large number of cases are taking additional precautions, but our area of Northwest Florida has not been greatly impacted. There are 14 confirmed cases in our county as of today. We continue to keep in close contact with local public health and emergency management officials.

Campus has been quiet as students are adapting to new routines of online classes, study, and work. PCC online learning is underway and has been very smooth, with minimal technical help requested. We are staffed and equipped to support students in successfully completing their academic requirements, whether on campus or at home.

Since circumstances could change, staff department leaders have prepared flexible plans to assure ongoing support for all necessary functions to support student needs. Though some employees are temporarily helping other departments, no employees have been laid off in our ministry. The spirit of teamwork and service is evident across campus.

We continue to pray for God’s protection for our students both on campus and around the world, as well as for their families.

Monday, March 23, 3:15 p.m.

PCC students, whether settled at home or on campus, are resuming classes online today. It’s a brand new experience for many students and faculty. The PCC team has demonstrated great commitment to supporting success in online learning. Tech help services are ready to assist if needed. It has been a smooth restart overall.

Several hundred students on campus transitioned to new residence hall assignments this weekend, now with no more than two students per room. Students no longer gather in groups larger than 10 people. The campus atmosphere is strangely quiet but relaxed.

A total of 5 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in our county, with no confirmed or presumptive positive cases within our campus community at this time. Prevention and containment strategies have been widely applied across campus. As is happening across the United States, Florida and Escambia County officials have been increasing mandates to encourage social distancing.

PCC promptly applies recommendations of government and health officials. Over the weekend, those mandates included the closure of beaches, gyms, and eat-in restaurant service. In response, PCC’s Sports Center and weight/fitness rooms are closed and retail dining adjusted to take-out only. Regular dining also provides Grab N Go lunch and take-out dinner options. We are prepared to take each step that may be needed in the future.

While striving for support of academic continuity and a healthy campus, we continue to regularly pray for our student body and their families throughout the world.

Thursday, March 19, 4 p.m.

Some have expressed concern over individuals in our college community who are in isolation off campus. To be clear, these people are not presumptive or confirmed positive for COVID-19. There is no need for alarm since there is no reported risk of exposure to the novel Coronavirus at this time.

We are in continuous contact with the Escambia County Health Department as they advise steps to assure the health of our campus community, and we will follow the guidelines they have prescribed. It is essential to understand that we are not at liberty to disclose names at any time due to HIPAA laws.

If there is ever a confirmed case of COVID-19 related to PCC, the health department has an established process:

  • The hospital will notify the health department.
  • The health department would then inform PCC.
  • The health department will conduct contact tracing and notify those who may have been exposed to the affected individual.

Our continued commitment is to place the highest priority on your health and safety; we are again asking you to follow the guidance provided by the CDC concerning social distancing and group gatherings. It is important that you continue proper personal care including hand washing, disinfecting, and staying home if you are sick.

Wednesday, March 18

Wednesday, March 18, 8:30 p.m.

We have been informed of 4 individuals from our college community who have experienced symptoms that required testing for COVID-19. These individuals are in isolation off campus, pending initial testing results. It is important to understand that at this time, there have been no reported presumed or confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

The Escambia County Health Department will advise us if any further action or notification is needed. As more information is known, it will be included here.

Pensacola Christian College considers student health and safety to be the highest priority. Guidance provided by the CDC concerning social distancing and group gatherings has been proactively implemented throughout our ministry. We are in continuous contact with the Escambia County Health Department and Baptist Health Care, PCC’s campus health care provider, as they advise steps to assure the health of our campus community. As part of the response to COVID-19, Pensacola Christian College will take all appropriate actions necessary to protect the health and safety of its students, faculty, and staff.

Wednesday, March 18, 11:30 a.m.

It has been reported that Escambia County now has a confirmed COVID-19 case. Please note, there still have been no presumed or confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the Pensacola Christian College community. Pensacola Christian College considers student health and safety to be the highest priority.

The guidance provided by the CDC concerning social distancing and group gatherings has been proactively implemented throughout our ministry. We are in continuous contact with the Escambia County Health Department and Baptist Health Care, PCC’s campus health care provider, as they advise steps to ensure the health of our campus community.

Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m.

Since the last update on PCC’s COVID-19 response, things have changed, but our promise to place priority on the safety and well-being of our students and personnel has not changed. Accordingly, it is clear that the time is right to take the next step in our response.

There still have been no presumed or confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus in the Pensacola Christian College community. However, Friday afternoon President Trump declared a National Emergency which could potentially affect domestic travel in the future. With PCC students from all 50 states and many countries, that is a major concern. Late Friday afternoon, Florida’s Department of Education recommended that schools close for at least two weeks.

Our PCC Response Taskforce immediately began to implement this new course of action:

  1. To give students the ability to do what is in their best health interest, students may return home for the remainder of the semester.
  2. To provide academic support to complete all college courses, PCC will transition to online instruction immediately.
  3. To protect our campus community, PCC will limit gatherings until further notice.
  4. To help faculty, graduate assistants, and staff, we will ensure that employment is not disrupted and that consideration is given for protection and care for employee and family health needs.

Parents, thank you for the privilege to have served your family. Please allow us to continue to serve you through this transition. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns, and we will do our best to meet your needs.

Students should begin preparations, but do not have to feel rushed or pressured to have a plan immediately. PCC is not closing down campus and we are not pushing everyone out. Students should begin now to make travel arrangements, talk over plans with parents, and pack. Student Life staff will help through the process of checking out to go home. Students who leave will pay room and board through the date of their campus departure.

Some students, whose homes are overseas or in an area that may be unhealthy, do not have a place to go. For this reason, students may choose to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester. Additional student employment opportunities are available.

It is expected that by Friday, March 20, everyone should be either traveling home or permanently in residence on campus.

Classes will not meet March 16–20 while students are transitioning to their final residence and faculty are working toward getting all courses into the online platform. Academic studies will resume online through Canvas beginning Monday, March 23, with flexibility extended for students still traveling.

Every student will be equipped to fully meet the requirements for each course without having to stay on campus. This includes those in internships and preceptorships. Graduate assistants will remain employed on campus and continue academic studies online too.

Students may access classes from anywhere through Canvas any time of the day or night as personal schedules allow. Faculty will post presentations, projects, quizzes, and tests. Students will be guided to complete coursework according to the deadlines faculty provide.

Our semester calendar will end in May so that every student will be able to finish each course, earn grades and credits, and finish the semester on time. Students will be responsible to keep up with daily coursework and tuition payments. Of course, if illness causes a hardship, academic deans and chairs will assist with extension requests.

We promise to support students academically. This will be an adventure we will take together. It is unknown whether PCC will be able to have a graduation ceremony in May. That will be determined later since conditions in May are yet unknown. PCC is proud of graduating seniors and applauds what they will do in the weeks ahead to finish strong.

Until further notice, we will be working to avoid large group gatherings. The concert scheduled for Saturday, March 14, is canceled. Campus Church has canceled all in-person activities for the upcoming week, including church services. Pastor Redlin will be delivering a message, by livestream on Sunday, March 15 at 10:15 a.m. Future event changes for church will be sent out on Realm, the church website, email, and social media.

Faculty, graduate assistants, and staff are asked to assist with this transition so that it limits disruption and provides exceptional service. PCC’s employees have embodied excellence and service this year; but the task is not done. Together we will look for ways to make it easy on the people we serve, and be empowered to do what is necessary to meet those needs. While many job sectors are in fear of layoffs and shutdowns, PCC and affiliates recognize that employees need the security of continued employment, even if an employee’s usual responsibility is related to serving students. With some student workers leaving, the shape of jobs may change, but we will adjust together to meet the need.

We continue to be committed to a healthy working environment, applying prevention and containment protocol throughout campus. New sick leave policies and workplace options will be announced as needed in the future to allow greater flexibility for employees to take care of themselves and their families.

Pensacola Christian Academy has suspended classes until March 30. After that time, PCA is prepared to either resume classes or transition to Abeka Academy videos so there are minimal disruptions. Childcare arrangements for staff families will be announced soon.

Day by day, we have seen God’s faithfulness and strength for each step. Let us each continue to find comfort through God’s Word. Philippians 4:6–7 admonishes, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Thursday, March 12, 10:05 a.m.

There is increased nationwide concern over the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and how it may impact our lives. Naturally PCC students and their parents are also concerned.

We received a call from a parent yesterday indicating they heard we had a case on campus. To be clear: there have been no instances of presumed or confirmed COVID-19 in our PCC community. Nonetheless, this is a very serious situation, and the health and safety of our students is first and foremost our top priority.

Every school and every state is grappling with determining the best course of action. Some states have advised that schools continue to meet as usual; others have advised differently. You may have heard in the news that state universities in Florida are moving to online learning for a period of time and asking students not to return to campus until two weeks after spring break. In those schools, only faculty, staff, and student workers would be required to come on campus. This makes sense since students are traveling and universities want to avoid risk of bringing illness back to campus after spring break. Two weeks provides the needed time to know if anyone is infected, so students in those 12 universities will need to find somewhere else to go and will have to receive their instruction online.

At PCC, our Easter break is not until April so the need to take that kind of step is not imminent for us.

Here is what we are doing:
Per executive order in Florida, schools and colleges (the ones not part of the university system) are to work with their local county health departments to establish protocols. We have done that and have been working directly with the Escambia County Health Department. Our county’s director, Dr. John Lanza, told us yesterday that at this time he does not advise us to close or eliminate face-to-face instruction.

Very likely that advice is based on the fact that the Surgeon General of Florida has stated that there is currently no community transmission of COVID-19 in Florida. As of this morning, there were 31 total cases in the entire state of Florida, and 2 deaths.

In a memo yesterday to Florida College Presidents, it was noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ruled Florida’s student population is at low risk. At this time in Florida, there is no limitation on large group gatherings, and school systems and college systems are still meeting.

President Shoemaker has consulted with PCC’s Board of Directors and Response Taskforce. For now, we will continue on our schedule while exercising appropriate precautions. We will advise should the situation change.

If it doesn’t make sense for students to travel and return to campus, then it also does not make sense that large groups of guests should travel to campus. So, in abundance of caution, for the next two weeks all guest events are canceled including March 18–20 College Days and the pastors advisory panel.

Students have invested much into their education this year; and are concerned about how to finish academically. Some students are eager to finish so they can graduate this year! Whatever happens, we are committed to fulfilling our academic promise. Our entire faculty has been asked to finalize preparations for alternative delivery of instruction. If at any time we cannot meet face-to-face, we will provide each student with online instruction and assessments so that they can finish what they’ve invested so much in.

We are committed to students’ safety and well-being, to continuity of academics, and to each student personally. For example, if the situation warranted sending everyone away from campus, there are many students who may have no place to go, and we want to help them as well. Even if we change modes of instruction, campus will remain open to help.

There is a possibility of changing our mode of instruction. Easter break isn’t until April, so between now and then we’ll be considering best options related to Easter break. There may also be future impacts on graduation ceremonies.

For now, we will continue practicing prevention and containment. We have increased cleaning and disinfecting (and ask students to do the same in their rooms), encouraging covering a cough, maintaining awareness, and not going to class if sick.

We are taking this a day at a time and continually re-evaluating, will seek to do what is in the best interest of our students, and will continue to provide updates as changes occur.

Thursday, March 5, 3:30 p.m.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are actively monitoring the worldwide impacts of the coronavirus COVID-19. At this time, the CDC states that the immediate health risk of coronavirus COVID-19 in the United States is considered low; there have been no confirmed cases at PCC.

Pensacola Christian College considers student health and safety to be highest priority. We are proactively working with the Escambia County Health Department and Baptist Health Care, PCC’s campus health care provider, to advise steps to assure the health of our campus community. Guidance provided by the CDC, WHO, and Florida Department of Health helps inform decisions and planning. 

It is our focus to prevent the spread of illness on campus, provide appropriate recovery facilities and services for students who may become ill but do not require hospitalization, and equip students as much as possible to be able to continue their education on schedule. Plans are in place to utilize isolation rooms for recuperation to avoid the spread of disease, disinfect according to recommended protocol, and provide or refer for care.

We continue to pray for those affected by this coronavirus throughout the world, and for health officials overseeing the research and response.