Important News

Update Center

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

November 10, 2020

Dear AMBS Community,

As the holidays approach this year, travel plans and gatherings with loved ones are complicated by the threat of the pandemic. Gathering with loved ones is a big part of what makes holidays special. Gathering in groups also brings added risks for spreading COVID-19. With COVID spread in Elkhart County the worst in the state, we are writing to urge you to be extremely careful this holiday season and to offer guidance for travel, gathering with family, and returning to campus that will help us stay safe. 

We hope you are able to spend time with people you love during the holidays, even if that requires being a bit less close to one another, shorter times together, or gathering outdoors. The CDC has offered travel and holiday gathering guidelines. We encourage you to review and follow these guidelines before, during and after participation in holiday gatherings. If you find yourself in travel situations or a gathering where safe practices are not observed, we ask you to work or study from home for two weeks following, or until you’ve received a negative test result. 

If you show any symptoms of sickness of any kind, do not come to campus until you have a negative test result and have been fever-free without medicine for 24 hours. Please let someone on the Return to Campus Team know if you are quarantined due to close contact or if you are isolating with a positive case. 

Due to increases in positive cases, we have decided to start semester 2 classes one week later than planned, on January 12, and we will not have a hybrid week, February 1-6. More information on this will be coming soon. 

With the news this week of a potential vaccine becoming available this winter, let us live in hope that there will be an end to the upheaval caused by this pandemic. 

For the Return to Campus Team,
David Boshart
Beverly Lapp
Jeff Marshall
Ron Ringenberg
Mary Ann Weber


August 12, 2020

Dear AMBS Campus Community,

Fall is indeed coming and we are ready to begin the new academic year. I want to offer a special welcome to our new students who are beginning their journey at AMBS this fall. 

It is an unusual time, but with a strong sense of hope and resilience, we are ready to pick up the work of this new year, with its particular challenges. As we have said before, through this pandemic our first priority is to do whatever we can to ensure the safety and health of our students, faculty, and staff while continuing to offer transformative learning experiences.

We welcome your careful reading of the Fall Return to Campus Policy. Please hold onto this document as an important point of reference when questions arise for how to keep our spaces and interactions safe. As there are updates to this policy, we will be communicating them promptly. We also welcome your feedback. 

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact members of the Return to Campus Team: David Boshart, Beverly Lapp, Jeff Marshall, Ron Ringenberg, and Mary Ann Weber. 

As we open this new academic year, our prayers for one another are needed in new ways as we face the added stress and challenges together. Let us also be alert for how these unusual circumstances will bring us new and deeper understandings of God’s love, grace, justice, and peace that we might not have come to know otherwise. 

Blessings,
David Boshart
President

 


July 28, 2020

CARES Act

AMBS is required by the U.S. Department of Education to post the following information on our website:

$6,219 of funds for students and $6,219 of funds for the institution from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act were received and used by AMBS for student aid and technology in 2020. Less than 10 students received the student funds. 

From the U.S. Department of Education: In preparing the 30-day Fund Report, institutions should use data suppression and other methodologies to comply with and protect the personally identifiable information from student education records, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). For example, the Department does not expect institutions to report information about a group of 10 or fewer students. For example, if the total number of eligible students, the total of number of students who received Emergency Financial Aid Grants, or the difference between the two numbers is less than 10, then the institution should not display the number of students or the amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students on publicly available website(s) controlled by the institution.

AMBS’s 30-day DOE report

AMBS’s 45-day and final DOE report

AMBS's 30-day student report

AMBS's 45-day student report


July 24, 2020

Campus Update

Dear AMBS learning community,

The Return to Campus team continues to prepare for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. Our planning is centered around three priorities: 1) the health and safety of our learning community; 2) service to our students and constituents; and 3) finding new ways to foster community. With these priorities in mind, we offer the following updates on an upcoming student meeting, commencement planning, semester one courses, employees returning to campus, and future guidelines.

Student meeting

AMBS students are invited to join a conversation with Beverly Lapp and Mary Ann Weber next Wednesday, July 29, at 4 p.m. Beverly and Mary Ann will share more about campus guidelines and plans for how campus courses will operate. Your participation is encouraged and your questions are welcome as we discuss practical concerns and ways to be a supportive community during these changing times. The meeting link is here: https://zoom.us/j/98633436078

Commencement

The 2020 graduates were recently informed that the commencement ceremony will be online due to current COVID-19 conditions. On Saturday, Aug. 22, there will be three events to honor the 2020 graduates. Stay tuned for more information about how you can join these celebrations.

2–3 p.m.   Online live sharing and awards program
4–5:30 p.m.   Online live commissioning and commencement ceremony
7:30 p.m.      Optional celebration for graduates and guests in the AMBS courtyard — by invitation only

Semester One courses

The teaching faculty continue to refine their planning for Semester One courses. The default plan is now for campus courses to meet during established course times via video-conferencing, with flexibility for instructors to make adaptations that serve the course learning outcomes. These adaptations will include the use of asynchronous course activities to balance live video-conferencing time and/or the incorporation of some in-person course activities when conditions allow and in accordance with campus safety guidelines. Students will soon be surveyed to determine who has health or exposure risks or other limitations impacting their ability to be on campus. After this information is received, professors will communicate directly with their class rosters about specific plans for their courses.

Employees returning to campus

We anticipate that more employees will be returning to campus while some will continue to work primarily from home. Supervisors will soon contact team members to discuss health risks, exposure concerns, and other factors that may impact the ability to work on campus. Each Ad Cabinet member will work with the departments they oversee to develop an employee presence plan that meets the needs and service expectations of the department and institution while ensuring safe practices. Teams will work together to refine systems for communication and accessibility to maintain productivity and efficiency during a time of more dispersed employee work locations. The Ad Cabinet will review and communicate these plans in late August.

Future guidelines

We will have further communication about the next phase of campus guidelines. These will include gathering and food guidelines, plans for chapel and other community events, outdoor gathering options, and best practices for video-conferencing meetings and classes. We invite your brainstorming about how to foster community during this time, and your ongoing feedback and questions.

This isn’t the situation we hoped for as we looked forward to commencement and reopening our campus in August. I am so grateful for the flexibility, perseverance, and determination of our faculty, staff, and students. I believe that we will overcome the challenges of this time so that we can offer a safe and healthy environment, high-quality instruction and services, and new ways to strengthen our sense of community. We will travel this road together with hope and resilience!

On behalf of the Return to Campus Team, 

Dave Boshart


July 2, 2020

Memo Regarding Semester One

Dear AMBS Community,

With this memo we want to communicate more of our plan for how we will return to campus in a new academic year. Our plan is centered around giving students and employees safe access to campus spaces with clear guidelines, while making it possible to study or work from home for those who need this option. We will modify this plan if called for by local conditions and state/federal guidelines.

There are four sections in this memo. We know there are additional topics regarding how we will operate this year, and will be addressing these in future updates. See invitation at the end of the memo to send further questions or ideas to the Return to Campus team.

Course Planning Summary

Our degree-program course offerings will include a limited number of regular campus courses, blended campus courses, video-conference campus courses, blended hybrid courses, video-conference hybrid courses, and online courses. Definitions and details are outlined below in the Semester One Course Formats section. To minimize travel to campus from outside the Elkhart region, all hybrid courses will be available to attend remotely. Our accreditor, The Association of Theological Schools, has waived residency requirements through December 2020, enabling students in our MDiv Connect program to count any Semester One course towards their residency hours. (Back to the topic list)

Move to Campus COVID-19 Quarantine & Testing Policy

We are eager to welcome new students to campus. Family units or individuals moving to campus will need to quarantine in their new apartment for two weeks or until a negative COVID-19 test is confirmed following state or federal guidelines. Incoming residential students who are moving into a shared apartment will need to get tested* for COVID-19 upon moving to Elkhart. They will stay in a quarantine apartment/guesthouse until a negative test result is received. Housing Director Linsey Vandrick will coordinate a quarantine space in such instances. If a person already on campus will be sharing their apartment with a new resident they will also need to get tested right before the new person arrives. If both tests are negative, the incoming resident can move in with the person already established here.

Current residential students should contact their doctor's office (including Maple City Health Care at 574-534-3300) for testing. New residential students can use Concord Family Medicine near the AMBS campus for testing for as long as they continue to offer the drive-thru outdoor testing. Call the clinic at 574-522-1201 to register for testing and to receive instructions. If this location isn't available, we will have other local testing sites to recommend.

*US students’ health insurance plans should cover testing but there may be charges via copays and deductibles. International and Canadian students should contact Mary Ann Weber for testing and payment options. AMBS will reimburse costs not covered by insurance for students moving into shared spaces. Students will need to submit their EOB or doctor's bill to the AMBS business office, showing how much they paid or owe for costs not covered by insurance. (Back to the topic list)

LEAP (Leadership Education in Anabaptist Perspective)

LEAP is AMBS’s new student orientation course. It will meet in three formats this year:

  1. LEAP Hybrid —for all new MDiv, MDiv Connect, MATPS, and MACF students. This course will take place in blended hybrid format. The first weeks will consist of online coursework as designed. For the hybrid week that is typically on campus, all students and faculty will meet for presentations through video-conferencing. New students residing on campus or in the Elkhart area will meet on campus for discussion and other activities. MDiv Connect students who live outside the Elkhart area will have separate online or video conferencing discussions/activities.
  2. LEAP Online—for students enrolling in the MATGA online degree program. This course will be fully online. This section of LEAP will also be open to new international students in other programs whose arrival to campus is delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  3. LEAP Online-Ethiopia — for students in the MATGA-Ethiopia cohort in partnership with Meserete Kristos College. This course will be fully online.

(Back to the topic list)

Semester One Course Formats

Campus classes. Any course on the  2020-21 Course Listing without an E (online) or H (hybrid) designation is in the campus class category, and will meet in one of the following formats. By early August the specific format for each campus class will be communicated.

  1. Regular campus class: If all students and the professor are able to safely attend in person (no health or exposure risks), the class will meet on campus in a space that enables 6 ft. distance between individuals;  face masks will be required. Regular campus courses will be prepared to switch to video-conferencing or adaptive Video-Conferencing (defined below) at any point in the semester if conditions require.
  2. Blended campus class: Some students and the professor will meet in a physical classroom space safely distanced; students who have health concerns or other reasons they need to further minimize risk will be able to blend in via live video conferencing. A strong internet connection and availability during the course meeting time is required for those blending in.
    1. The class location will enable 6 ft. distance between individuals, and will have necessary technology for blending remote attendance with good audibility and sightlines. Masks or face shields will be required for those physically present.
    2. In this format a professor has the option of asking everyone to join remotely for whole-class activities that need to be synchronous but that are determined to work better via video-conferencing.
    3. There may be regular use of small group discussion activities or project time in which those in the classroom work together without the camera on, and those attending remotely work together.
    4. Blended campus classes will be prepared to switch to video-conferencing or adaptive video-conferencing at any point in the semester if conditions require
  3. Video-Conference and Adaptive Video-Conference class: The class will meet entirely in live video-conferencing format for the length of the course meeting time. Breakout rooms and other conferencing tools will be used for discussion and other activities. Some small group discussion or project work may occur in-person following campus guidelines. In the adaptive video conferencing mode, some live course meeting time may be replaced with text-based online activities/interaction. A strong internet connection and availability during the course meeting time is required for all students.

Hybrid classes are indicated with H on the course listings, and will meet in the following formats. By early August the specific format for each Hybrid class will be communicated.

  1.  Following the two weeks of online preparation, Semester 1 Hybrid week classes (August 17-22) will meet in either blended hybrid or video-conferencing hybrid format. All participants will need strong internet connection and full-time availability during the hybrid week.
  2. Blended hybrid course: Only those who live on campus or in the Elkhart area will attend in-person; all others will participate via video conference.
    1. The class location will enable 6 ft. distance between individuals, and will have required technology for blending remote attendance with good audibility and sightlines. Face masks will be required.
    2. In this format a professor has the option of asking everyone to join remotely for whole-class activities that need to be synchronous but that are determined to work better via video-conferencing.
    3. There may be regular use of small group discussion activities or project time in which those in the classroom work together without the camera on, and those attending remotely work together.
  3. Video-conferencing hybrid: Students and the professor will gather via video-conferencing and other remote/virtual interactions during the Hybrid week before they return to the remaining weeks of online study.

Online classes are indicated with E on the course listing and will operate in one of the following ways:

  1. Online course: Fully asynchronous; the unique pedagogies of online course instruction are optimized; material is offered through the Moodle course management system for providing information, course documents, assignments and interaction through discussion forums; students manage their own time to meet assignment deadlines. Some online courses may have limited video-conferencing components.
  2. Online course with video-conferencing: Most of the course is fully online asynchronous as above; up to 25% of the course activities may take place through live video conferencing at arranged times.

As we prepare for a new academic year in the midst of a pandemic, adaptability and care in communication will be required from all of us. The Return to Campus Team (David Boshart, Beverly Lapp, Jeff Marshall, Ron Ringenberg, Mary Ann Weber) welcomes submission of ideas, concerns, and questions to [email protected]. With God’s help and each other’s wisdom, we will meet this great challenge together as we begin another academic year at AMBS. (Back to the topic list)

Beverly K. Lapp
VP and Academic Dean


June 24. 2020

Library hours and services after July 2

We want to alert you to some upcoming changes in the library schedule.

  • The library will be fully closed on July 3 in observance of the US Independence Day holiday.
  • Starting July 6 and continuing through the remainder of the summer, the library will be open *by appointment only on weekdays from 1-5pm* for students and employees to study and browse. *Please make appointments by contacting [email protected] at least 24 hours in advance of your visit*. Be prepared to answer a set of screening questions. You will still be required to wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols while in the library. We reached the decision to be open in this limited way after consultation with the return to campus committee. Library assistants will be working on a major inventory scanning project during this time.
  • We are offering "curbside pickup" of library items. Request materials via the hold request function in the catalog or by emailing the library. You will be alerted when your books become available for pickup in the vestibule just inside the main entrance sliding doors.
  • Bookstore items can be ordered online at anabapti.st/bookstore and picked up on our curbside pickup shelf.
  • We continue to offer scanning services for book chapters, articles, reference materials (anabapti.st/scanning), and reserves (anabapti.st/reserves).

 Thanks for your patience and understanding as we continue to adapt!

Karl Stutzman
Director of Library Services


June 10, 2020

Mid-Week Update from Return to Campus Team 

Dear Campus Community,

As you are likely aware, re-opening guidelines in the state of Indiana have resulted in a sharp increase in cases of COVID-19 in Elkhart County. Until we see the kind of decrease in the number of positive cases that the CDC has suggested for reopening, we will continue to maintain our current practices on campus.

The Waltner Hall sliding doors are the only doors that will remain open during the day. We have placed a motion-sensor camera on the door to record everyone who enters the building, so it is no longer necessary to inform Linsey Vandrick that you are on campus. We are doing this so we can communicate with anyone in the event that they would be exposed to the virus in some way by being on campus.

If you choose to work on campus, please continue to follow our Summer Return to Campus Policy. This policy includes encouragement to continue to work from home. If you choose to work on campus, you are required to wear facemasks when you are in hallways or other public gathering places and maintain a safe distance from others. If you, or someone in your household is feeling ill for any reason, please stay home. If you are planning a meeting on campus that is not on the campus calendar, please communicate your plan and location of meeting to Linsey by email ([email protected]).

We also want to provide a brief update about academic planning. We are currently hoping for some Semester 1 courses to meet in-person while remaining safely distanced. Students or faculty with health or exposure risks will be able to attend classes via blended or video-conferencing. To minimize travel to campus from outside the Elkhart region, hybrid courses that meet for the intensive week in mid-August will be available to attend remotely. Our accreditor, Association of Theological Schools, has waived residency requirements through December 2020, enabling students in our MDiv Connect program to count any Semester 1 course towards their residency hours.

We will continue to monitor the number of cases of COVID-19 in Elkhart County and communicate when it is safe for people to return to work and study on campus, according to state and CDC guidelines.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a member of our team.

Blessings,
David Boshart
Beverly Lapp
Jeff Marshall
Ron Ringenberg
Mary Ann Weber 


May 15, 2020

Update from Return to Campus Team 

Friends,

We made it through another COVID-19 week! We hope you are all staying healthy and safe. 

As we anticipate a new week, there are two things we would like to share with you by way of an update on our campus safety procedures.

  1. The library will not be open on Monday as we originally anticipated. Karl and his staff have been working with diligence to articulate new guidelines for safe physical access to the library. We anticipate the library will be opening Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week from 1-5 pm, and likely three afternoons per week thereafter. 
  2. The sliding doors at the front entrance will be the only doors that will be open during business hours. Linsey will be keeping a time log of everyone who enters the building in order to assist if we need to trace viral exposure. 

Attached to this message, you will find a Return to Campus Policy document for safe practices for all those who will be on campus this summer. The next phase for further reopening, as defined by the state, will begin June 13. In the meantime, we will be monitoring our situation, and will be making further recommendations based on CDC guidelines and counsel from higher education resources that are specific to our situation here at AMBS.

Have a great weekend. Stay safe!

David Boshart
Beverly Lapp
Jeff Marshall
Ron Ringenberg
Mary Ann Weber 


May 13, 2020

Midweek Campus Update 

Friends,

Thank you for your patience with the abrupt closing of our library this week. We are sending this message to provide a midweek update. In our last memo, we indicated that the library might reopen on Thursday this week. We have decided that it is best to keep the library closed at least until next Monday, May 18. All resources will continue to be available online. If you need to print something for classes, please see Brent’s memo to teaching faculty from Monday here or contact him for assistance (ext. 221).

At the employee break on Monday, a question was asked about whether we need to disinfect the ventilation system that serves both the library and the Church Leadership Center area. We consulted with the Elkhart County Department of Health who confirmed that so long as we closed that section of our building for at least 24 hours, disinfecting the ventilation system is not necessary.

As things are becoming more open in our state, we are asking everyone who comes to campus to maintain a safe distance from others and wear facemasks when you are in hallways and other public gathering places.

If you don’t feel well in any way, please stay home and do not come to campus. If you suspect you have  any COVID-19 symptoms, please get tested. There are a number of local drive-thru testing sites that you can find here as well as at the National Guard Armory at 2313 Oakland Ave, Elkhart. These sites can administer tests very quickly without leaving your car. All you need is your photo ID and insurance card. You should have your results in 2-4 days.  If you believe you may have COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone who has it, please report that to one of the members of our team as soon as possible so that we can support you and ensure the safety of others.

We are in the process of developing new safety guidelines for AMBS and we will update you regarding the library before next Monday.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a member of our team.  

Blessings,
David Boshart
Beverly Lapp
Jeff Marshall
Ron Ringenberg
Mary Ann Weber 


May 11, 2020

Important memo from the "Return to Campus Team"

Friends,

I am writing to confirm that a member of our AMBS community has tested positive for COVID-19. We believe that the exposure on campus was limited to the library. We are tracing and contacting all who were in the library, since this individual was last there to inform them and encourage extra precautions. We will be closing the library through Wednesday. The maintenance staff is disinfecting all exposed surfaces today. The library will remain closed and the staff will disinfect all the surfaces again on Wednesday before we consider reopening on Thursday.  No one will be able to physically access the library for sure until Thursday. We will update the campus again before then.

A “Return to Campus Team” is meeting weekly, working at decisions related to when and under what circumstances we will be reopening parts of campus in the coming months. As we said last week:

  1. We will do our best to prioritize the health and safety of our students and employees in our decision-making. 
  2. Our decisions will be based on data-driven information that is aligned with CDC guidance. 
  3. We will bring people back to campus only as we are able to ensure that the spaces they will occupy can accommodate the recommended distance between individuals that will keep everyone safe. 
  4. We will reopen the campus gradually, even if state regulations permit moving more quickly, to reduce the need to start over again.

We are working now to get the supplies that will be needed to keep our community as safe as possible. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, COVID-19 related or otherwise, or if you believe you may have been exposed to someone who is ill, please stay at home.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact any members of the Return to Campus Team. We will continue to communicate with the campus community with updates regularly. 

Blessings,
David Boshart
Beverly Lapp
Jeff Marshall
Ron Ringenberg
Mary Ann Weber 


April 17, 2020

Commencement announcement

Dear AMBS community

Yesterday the Administrative Cabinet decided that we will postpone our annual Commencement to  Saturday August 22, 2020  in the late afternoon or early evening, following the close of Hybrid/LEAP week. 

This decision was made as a direct result of the feedback we received from the graduating class. This will be an in-person and live-streamed event if circumstances allow. If we are not able to gather in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will hold an online/virtual ceremony on the same date. Our hope is that either approach will increase access and participation for the full class and their loved ones. 

As announced previously, we will be combining elements of the Commissioning and Commencement services this year, and we will also give departmental awards in the August service. The service will include the same components whether in-person or remote, but we will alter the approach to take advantage of the opportunities that either platform enables. This is an important milestone deserving of great celebration and we look forward to honoring our graduates.

Beverly Lapp, VP and Academic Dean


March 24, 2020

Dear AMBS Community,

We continue to monitor COVID-19 and have several updates to share. We are experiencing something new together. Although we do not have all the answers at any given time, we are committed to providing information and clarity as we are able. 

We encourage AMBS students and employees to approach the coming days and weeks with calm and supportive action as we all adapt to a changing environment. Anxiety is a natural response at a time of great uncertainty, and the stress we are feeling is real. We also know that God’s love is stronger than our fear. We are sustained by this love, and by the supportive communities we will strengthen and build as people of faith journeying through COVID-19.

The following topics are addressed in this memo. Your careful reading is once again appreciated.

Access to Campus and Library

Yesterday the Indiana state government released a "stay at home" order for the next two weeks, which means people should only go to their workplaces if they are essential businesses. Educational institutions that can practice safe distancing are considered an essential business. However, we encourage employees to work from home for the next two weeks if they are not already doing so. Employees who need to be on campus to perform their work responsibilities are permitted to come to campus with the practice of safe physical distancing. Employees should continue to contact their supervisor regarding their needs and options during this time. The doors that will remain unlocked during normal working hours are the tower entrance to access the library and the slider door by the mailboxes and reception area. The campus will not be open to the public.

The AMBS Library is suspending its regular hours for the general public, effective March 24–April 6. However, the library will remain open for students and employees only during campus hours — currently 8am–10pm Monday–Thursday, 8am–6pm Friday, and 9:30am–5:30pm Saturday. Campus hours may be changed on short notice via the announcements email. Students, please utilize these generous campus library hours as a time for interacting socially at a safe physical distance and keeping up with online learning activities and research assignments. (Back to the topic list)

Student employment and compensation

As activity on campus slows, student employees may wonder how we will deal with compensation if they are not able to work because of reduced campus activity or illness. If a student employee is unable to do their work because they cannot be in their place of work or the flow of work slows, we will continue to compensate students for the amount we committed to pay at the beginning of the year. If the effects of the pandemic heighten significantly in the coming weeks or go beyond the June 30 fiscal year, we have several contingency plans in mind. If you have any concerns or questions about your employment or pay status, please initiate a conversation with your supervisor or contact Ron Ringenberg (ext. 212, [email protected]). (Back to the topic list)

Student Health Insurance Coverage

We encourage students to be proactive about their healthcare needs and insurance coverage. 

Students from the US and Canada carry their own insurance and should contact their insurance companies directly with any questions about coverage. 

International students have insurance through Visit Health Insurance/Seven Corners. COVID-19 is covered on the Plan E Plus. The test and treatment would be covered subject to the same deductible ($100) and coinsurance as any other illness. If students on this plan have COVID-19 symptoms they must call their doctor or local emergency room in order to be pre-certified for a test. This process may change if additional testing becomes available in the near future. International students should contact the insurance company with further questions about services at 1-800-247-5575 or email [email protected] (Back to the topic list)

Medical Care and Mental Health Care

This World Health Organization website  is a valuable source of information for how to stay safe and when to take action. 

Anyone with symptoms should contact their regular healthcare provider. AMBS students who are patients at Maple City Health Care Center may call 574-534-3300 if they experience any symptoms. The receptionist will refer a student patient to a doctor and a nurse will call the student back to follow up on a plan. The plan may involve self-isolation or, if the symptoms are severe, a trip to an urgent care center or the emergency room. Maple City will call ahead to let the urgent care center or ER know that a patient is on the way.

Maple City Health Care Center provides sliding scale services based on income, and this includes mental health care for AMBS students who are patients. The counselors are now seeing patients either virtually or by phone. If you are a patient at Maple City and need counseling, please call 574-534-3300 directly.  If you need help making a connection for counseling, contact Andy Brubacher Kaethler (ext. 284 or 574-389-0810) or Janeen Bertsche Johnson (ext. 216 or 574-536-9386). 

If you are a residential student and need help accessing care after hours, contact the coordinator of your Campus Care Pod. If they are not available, reach out to Andy or Janeen. (Back to the topic list)

Academics

As emailed to students earlier today, AMBS Teaching Faculty developed and approved a temporary exception to our pass/fail policy in order to extend more grace during these extraordinary times. Please read the email carefully to understand when and how to communicate if you want to request the pass/fail option for any of your Semester Two courses.

If a student experiences any serious illness or medical emergency including a diagnosis of COVID-19 that makes it impossible to maintain their course work,  AMBS’s policies on course extensions for exceptional circumstances will apply. 

Decisions will be forthcoming about formats for Summer Intensive courses.

A separate memo will be sent to AMBS students to address specific questions about managing academics. Direct communication with professors about your concerns and questions for specific courses is always encouraged, and especially important during this time of physical distancing. (Back to the topic list)

Commencement

As we communicated to the class of 2020 earlier this afternoon, it has now become more clear that we cannot hold the gatherings that are typically part of AMBS Commencement. We deeply regret this. To mark the significant accomplishments of our graduates, AMBS will hold a virtual Commissioning and Commencement service during the first weekend of May. Members of the class of 2020 will also be invited to participate in the 2021 Commencement events if they are able to do so. (Back to the topic list)

Additional Resources

We are grateful for the Campus Care Committee (Andy, Janeen, and Rachel Miller Jacobs) which last week set up four Campus Care Pods for AMBS students and their families. Each pod coordinator has one or two coordinators (Michelle and Jacob Curtis; Endalk Degefu; Febri Kristiani; Salomé Haldeman and Kristen Swartley). The pod coordinators will check in with their pod members daily to see how they are doing spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and physically. Andy or Janeen will check in with the coordinators daily as well to see if there are issues or needs that students have that require attention.

If you have financial concerns and want to know what resources you are eligible for, Church Community Services (CCS) in Elkhart has counselors available to assess individual needs and help access services. Please call 574-295-3673 to be connected with a CCS counselor.

We expect any shortages of supplies or food staples in grocery or drug stores to be temporary.  As noted earlier, if on-campus students are not able to find basic sanitary supplies (soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc) or food staples in stores, we will make available our campus supplies. If you run out of supplies or staples and the stores do not have these, please contact Linsey Vandrick at ext. 0 (zero) or [email protected] and she will arrange to make needed campus storage supplies available.

In this time of physical distancing, we urge our community members to take advantage of opportunities to be socially connected and spiritually resourced. Chapels continue to run remotely, and the Library remains open for student use as noted above. The new AMBS webpage With Hope and Resilience initiated and coordinated by AMBS’s Communication and Marketing Team is another resource to help sustain each other.

We know we have not answered every question or addressed every uncertainty with this update. We will do our best to provide information and clarity as we journey through COVID-19 together. We will continue to send emails when there is news or information to share, and will also document our communication at the AMBS Update Center. (Back to the topic list)

May God’s peace be with each of you, 

David Boshart, President
Beverly Lapp, VP and Academic Dean
Ron Ringenberg, VP and CFO


March 17, 2020

AMBS Library & Bookstore Hours and Modified Services

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the library will have abbreviated regular hours and longer campus hours. This will be the case at least for the remainder of the current semester. This gives us flexibility to respond to staff absences due to COVID-19.
 
Regular hours are Monday to Friday, 1pm to 4pm. During regular hours, the library will be fully staffed and ready to serve students, employees, community borrowers, and bookstore customers. Regular hours will be posted publicly on the library website. Regular hours may be suspended by seminary administration for health and safety reasons.
 
Campus hours are Monday to Thursday 8am-10pm, Friday 8am-6pm, and Saturday 9:30am-5:30pm. During campus hours, the library will be *open only to AMBS students and employees*. Some services may be unavailable at times, including library checkouts and bookstore transactions. Campus hours may be cancelled on short notice via an announcement to the all-campus email list.

Other changes to services

We are implementing other changes in the library to help everyone stay safe and retain access to resources. Check out our Library Guide on COVID-19 for more information about library services during this time.

  • We are delivering all reserve readings electronically. All reserve books are now in non-circulating status behind the library desk. Please fill in this form or see the library assistant to request a scan.
  • We are offering proxy pickup or mailing service for print books in our collection. See our guide for more details.
  • We are acquiring more e-books and providing scans of generous portions of print items in our collection.
  • We are quarantining recently returned books and wiping down frequently used surfaces.

Thank you for your understanding as we adapt to serve you. Let us know if you have any questions or special needs.

Karl Stutzman, Director of Library Services


March 16, 2020

Dear AMBS Community,

With this memo, we have several updates to share. Your careful reading is once again appreciated.

COURSES

As we continue to learn more about what our communities near and far are facing with COVID-19, it has become more clear that our classes cannot run normally for the rest of the semester. Effective Tuesday, March 17, we will move all classes to one of the following online formats, through April 13 and possibly beyond:

  • Virtual class sessions with all students and the professor attending remotely. The class would meet at the regularly scheduled time. 
  • Fully online format with interactive components.
  • A mix of virtual class sessions and online course activities.

Professors have already or will soon communicate directly with students to explain how specific course(s) will move forward. 

We also want to assure international students that the SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) has issued emergency guidance that will allow international students to exceed the limit of online courses they are typically allowed to take (which is 3 credit hours) as part of their full-time load.  As long as international students are still maintaining a full-time course load - whether that is on campus or online - and they are still actively participating in each of their classes, then they are cleared to remain in the U.S.  

Decisions about potential changes to formats for Summer Intensive Term will be made at a future time. We are committed to meeting students’ course needs to the best of our ability. 

CAMPUS ACCESS

While some AMBS employees will begin working from home, our intention at this time is to keep main offices open with safe cleaning and social distance practices in place. We are also planning to keep the AMBS Library open though there may be some adjustment to hours. See the AMBS Library Response to COVID-19 for updated information about access and services.

Please be judicious about your presence on campus. If children are on campus, we ask that they be under close supervision and practice physical distancing. Use preventative public health and hygiene measures as described by the World Health Organization. Additional sanitizer is available around campus. We encourage keeping doors open when possible and other efforts to limit contact with common surfaces.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms or with household members with symptoms should not come to the main campus. If anyone has had a fever, they should not be in a campus building other than their own apartment unless they have been fever-free for 36 hours.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

We will not hold gatherings of more than 50 people and public campus events until the CDC advises otherwise. 

Regular in-person chapel will be suspended until further notice. However, stay tuned for information about how we will create virtual and outside worship opportunities through this time. 

Tuesday evening potluck meals and Wednesday lunches will be discontinued for now.  There will be further information about replacement or refunds for those who signed up for Wednesday lunches. 

The Presidential Inauguration service and related events scheduled for the weekend of April 18-19 are postponed. There will be future communication about the rescheduling of this. 

We will be reviewing options for the April 16-18 AMBS Board Meeting and the May 1-2 Commencement events.

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

Although we are fortunate to have faculty experience and technical readiness to make the shift to virtual and online courses, we know it will not be easy. The other adjustments we are needing to make will also be difficult on campus, in our homes, and in our communities. This is an extraordinary time that will require extraordinary levels of communication with each other. We ask all to exercise patience, adaptability, and grace as we together learn how to be an engaged and supportive learning community through an unprecedented challenge. 

In addition to caring about public health and the physical health of the AMBS community, we need to be attentive to each other’s emotional and spiritual well-being. We encourage creative community endeavors to build and maintain connections. For example, perhaps AMBS could have a “virtual potluck” where we gather to each serve up a joke, a prayer concern, or a song. We are confident the ideas will begin flowing.

Andy Brubacher Kaethler (ext. 284 or 574-389-0810) and Janeen Bertsche Johnson (ext. 216 or 574-536-9386) are available to provide support, prayer, and help in discernment if you have personal or family concerns. Contact Beverly Lapp (ext. 267 or 574-596-4025) if you are not able to reach Andy or Janeen.

Please stay tuned for further updates as the situation unfolds. We will continue to send emails when there is news or information to share, and we now also have a webpage that documents our campus decisions and announcements: AMBS Update Center

With gratitude for the human and spiritual resources of our community,

David Boshart, President
Beverly Lapp, VP and Academic Dean
Ron Ringenberg, VP and CFO


March 13, 2020

Community needs during this time

As you know there is now a declared national state of emergency. We understand this is important for states and local communities to access necessary services and relief. It may also lead to unhelpful panic and a rush on grocery supplies. It may be highly concerning to witness this or to see empty shelves as a result. We expect stores to be able to quickly restock, so if you see empty shelves, do not worry.

If in the coming days or weeks any supplies are needed that are not available in the stores, we will make staples from the AMBS kitchen and other AMBS supplies available to campus residents. We do not expect this to happen, but as a community we commit to caring for each other. We encourage you to contribute to calm and supportive action, not to panic. Please look out for each other's needs and report any concerns to any Ad Cabinet member or Andy or Janeen.

We will continuously monitor the situation and keep everyone informed of any changes to our schedule or practices.

On behalf of the AMBS Ad Cabinet,

Beverly Lapp, VP and Academic Dean
David Boshart, President


March 12, 2020

COVID-19 continues to be in the news all the time everywhere. No doubt you have been hearing about changes in travel plans, work routines and schools that are moving their courses all online. It’s a confusing and anxious time. The health and safety of our campus is our highest priority and we want to do everything in our power to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and all transmittable diseases on our campus and in the wider community. We are following state and county guidelines and consulting with partner organizations as we monitor the situation.

As a small seminary, we are fortunate that our gatherings do not have the crowd density that many larger institutions have. Our face-to-face class schedule will continue as usual. But stay tuned to campus communication in the event that the spread of the virus increases in this area and we determine it is safer for our learning community and for public health to move to online formats for classes and meetings. Overall, our goal is to keep everyone safe, while also supporting students to continue learning and to complete their courses.

During these uncertain times we want to attend not only to our physical health needs, but also your emotional and spiritual needs. Andy Brubacher Kaethler (ext. 284 or 574-389-0810) and Janeen Bertsche Johnson (ext. 216 or 574-536-9386) are available to provide support, prayer, and help in discernment if you have personal or family concerns. Contact Beverly Lapp (ext. 267 or 574-596-4025) if you are not able to reach Andy or Janeen.

If you need to miss class or work due to illness or other reason please contact your supervisor or instructor.

We ask all to practice preventative public health and hygiene measures and encourage social distancing as described by the World Health Organization. Additional sanitizer is available at various locations around campus. Our custodial team has increased attention to disinfecting public areas and especially
commonly touched surfaces. We encourage keeping doors open when possible and other efforts to limit contact with common surfaces.

We want to remind you again to not come to campus if you or anyone in your household are experiencing flu-like symptoms. If you have symptoms (fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea or vomiting) please do the following:

  • Limit your physical contact with others.
  • Remain home from class, work, and other public activities to limit the spread of infection. You should be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication before returning to classes and work.
  • Contact a doctor or provider at the first sign of flu-like symptoms to potentially shorten the impact of the virus.
    • Students and employees who exhibit flu-like symptoms should immediately contact their regular health care provider.
    • Elkhart students can also contact Maple City Health Care Center in Goshen at 213 Middlebury St, Goshen. 574-5 34-3300. In case of an after-hours emergency, contact Andy Brubacher Kaethler (ext. 284 or 574-389-0810) and Janeen Bertsche Johnson (ext. 216 or 574-536-9386)
    • Employees should contact their supervisors.

As always, the health and well-being of our community is our highest priority. Please be understanding and as flexible as possible if a member of our community needs to take time away. If the situation on our campus changes we will let people know as soon as possible. Please pay attention to announcements or emails from us about the virus and our response. Thank you for helping us create a campus community that is safe, welcoming and inclusive for everyone, and where all are treated with care, dignity and respect.

Blessings,
David Boshart, President
Beverly Lapp, VP and Academic Dean


March 2, 2020

Update about Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions

Although there have been no confirmed cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Indiana, we have been closely monitoring the situation in the United States and around the world. In the United States, the threat to the general public for contracting COVID-19 remains low . We will work closely with local health resources and as a leadership team in order to be prepared if this changes.

We are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for decisions, including about travel abroad. If you have traveled to a country with a CDC Level 3 warning (currently China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Iran) in the last 14 days or plan to in the future, please contact Beverly Lapp or Ron Ringenberg immediately to take appropriate precautions.

Even if you haven’t recently traveled abroad, taking good care of yourself is important not just for you, but for the entire community. We encourage everyone to take these basic steps to help protect yourself and others from viral illness:

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Greet each other by bumping elbows rather than shaking hands or hugging.
  • Don’t share water bottles, glasses or eating utensils. Limit close contact, including kissing, with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands). Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Get a flu shot – it’s not too late.
  • Be aware that facemasks are not needed for the general public.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • Our custodial staff is asked to maintain strong procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects in public areas that are touched often, and to also take extra precautions in areas that are identified as needing it.

If you become ill with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea or vomiting):

  • Limit your physical contact with others.
  • Remain home from class, work, and other public activities to limit the spread of infection. You should be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication before returning to classes and work.
  • See a doctor or provider at the first sign of flu-like symptoms to potentially shorten the impact of the virus.
    • Students and employees who exhibit flu-like symptoms should immediately contact their regular health care provider.
    • Elkhart students can also contact Maple City Health Care Center in Goshen at 213 Middlebury St, Goshen. 574- 534-3300.
    • Please contact Mary Ann Weber at [email protected] or ext. 207 if you need help connecting or have any questions.
    • In case of an after-hours emergency, go directly to the closest emergency room. The closest emergency room to the AMBS campus is Elkhart General Hospital at 600 East Blvd, Elkhart, 574-523-3315.
  • Let others know:
    • Students: Contact Mary Ann Weber immediately so we can be of assistance to you and track campus health needs. Contact family members and let them know you are taking the necessary steps to restore your health.
    • Employees: You or your supervisor should contact the Human Resources Office to report absences due to flu-like symptoms.

As always, the health and well-being of our community is our highest priority. Please be understanding and as flexible as possible if a member of our community needs to take time away. Thank you for helping us create a campus community that is safe, welcoming and inclusive for everyone, and where all are treated with care, respect and dignity.

Sincerely,
Beverly Lapp, VP and Academic Dean
Ron Ringenberg, VP and CFO