Today, overlooking a vacant campus, I reflect on the previously unimaginable changes that have caused such uncertainty and disruption. Of course, dramatic and challenging changes are not new to our world, our country or this college.
This generation is facing a daunting and global challenge. The higher education community finds itself caught up in the maelstrom, trying to deal with complex and inter-related issues – health and safety, economics, employment, and governmental regulations, to name a few. For Florida College there are other vital factors that must enter into our judgments – among them are our commitment to abide by the principles of Scripture that guide us as Christians, and our determination to stay true to our mission.
With much prayer and deliberation, we are moving forward with faith in His providential care and with His admonition at the forefront of our minds – “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that …” (James 4:15).
As we have announced previously, we are proceeding with plans to resume in-person instruction on our campus this fall, while also preparing for the possibility of disruption at some point in the semester. My purpose in this message is to give you our best thinking today as we move forward, while continuing to gather information needed to make final decisions.
The best decisions are only possible when the most pertinent facts are available. However, I am well aware that some time-sensitive decisions must be made based on the best information we have available at the time. The Florida College leadership team is functioning with both of those realities in mind. As I communicate our plans below, you will recognize that some decisions have been made, others are being held in abeyance until further information is available. My pledge is to inform you promptly as our plans materially change in the light of new information.
Moving Forward Together
Our strategic plan to move forward is based on our best efforts to evaluate all the factors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic relative to the small, residential community in which we live here at Florida College. Our decisions are guided by currently available information and will be modified as new information becomes available.
We have an extraordinary network of supporters. We will also be leaning on them to help advise us. I have appointed a task force from across our constituencies to work with the leadership team in finalizing the Florida College plan to move forward.
This group represents our larger community of parents, students, faculty, alumni and friends who are devoted to our dear FC. They will evaluate our current thinking, offer alternatives, and provide recommendations for enhancement. This collaborative effort will be to inform our best-effort strategy for a safe and excellent experience for our students and employees.
We have made several key decisions already to assist our students, their families and our faculty in their fall planning. Bold indicates a change from previous publication. The schedule will be as follows:
August 7 – Senior Coin Ceremony
August 8 – Commencement and early arrivals*
August 15 – Move-in Day
August 20 – Classes begin
September 17 – Leadership Dinner with Tim Tebow
October 14 – First fall break (one-day)
November 3 – Second fall break (one-day)
November 24 – Last day of on campus classes
December 1-4 – Online instruction
December 7-10 – Finals (online)
*Students who are planning to attend the graduation ceremony on August 8 and return to Florida College as a student for the fall semester, will be allowed to move into the dormitories on the weekend of August 8 if they have received approval from the Dean of Students’ Office.
Further information and guidance for all of you on these and other events will be forthcoming over the next several weeks.
Thank you for joining us as we move forward. Our mission, as has been true for 74 years, is to educate the whole person to imitate Christ in service to God and the world. May the Lord bless us together toward that end.
Yours in Him,
Dr. H.E. “Buddy” Payne