Practice English Speaking&Listening with: President Corey's Update on Coronavirus

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Hi, this is Barry Corey.

I know that with the coronavirus we are walking down some uncharted paths, and with this sometimes

comes anxiousness and fear.

I have heard from our employee community, from parents and from students --

many of whom are concerned, overwhelmed and unsettled trying to navigate through these

new circumstances.

I, too, have spent time wrestling with the situation, praying and discerning,

along with the administrators and senior leaders on campus,

on how best to care for and lead our community.

Id like to take a few minutes today and share some of my personal reflections with

you, as well as some important updates that I think

youll find helpful and hopeful.

Let me assure you that in the face of COVID-19, we have Biola teams working tirelessly -- nearly

around the clock -- protecting and caring for our community.

This week I commissioned a task force called C.U.R.T.,

which stands for COVID-19 University Response Team,

to seek input, set direction, make plans and provide recommendations to the Presidents


This team has been on task and exceedingly wise.

As you know, our campus is open and our student services are unhindered.

We are also stepping up our remote services and our hours of operation so that students,

no matter where they are, can access offices and resources from a distance, if need be.

Today, March 13, is our last day ofin personclasses for the spring semester.

We are working earnestly and creatively to make the educational experience

of more than 6,000 students at Biola University as fulfilling as possible.

I can only imagine how many questions many of you have right now.

Weve received inquiries regarding housing and finances and classes and access, among

other things.

And were working to answer them in a way that is quick, clear and helpful based on

the information we have.

Well keep updates flowing, so be sure to click the banner across the top of our home


I want to say again: Biola has no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

FAQs are being set up for students, staff, parents and faculty so that you have answers

to your most pressing questions.

And we have a hotline anyone, anytime can call for assistance.

That number is (562) 906-4501.

With COVID-19 comes important cautionary measures like social distancing,

avoiding larger groups, refraining from touching public surfaces,

monitoring and testing health situations as they arise,

and extraordinary attention to disinfecting common spaces.

These and other recommended measures are known to be the surest way to minimize the spread

of the virus.

We are honoring these.

Within these common-sense actions, we have reconstituted some of our normal practices.

As you know, with university support, each professor is now working to translate

their course material, assignments and individual approaches

in ways that fulfill their course outcomes and preserve the educational values of a Biola


In this way, we will deliver the balance of the spring semesters courses remotely.

We will begin streaming our chapel program on March 23.

We have canceled larger events or chosen instead to provide them digitally.

Please know that our role is both to respond to the coronavirus responsibly and within

government guidelines, but also to make sure our studentsas

far as possiblereceive the kind of education that is uniquely


Faculty are at work making adjustments so that by later next week

they will have instructions to their students on how

their courses will be offered during the semesters balance.

We hope and pray to be back to normal after that.

We are committed to doing everything possible to continue the safety and health of our community

and to preserve the educational programs that have attracted students to Biola and kept

them coming back.

This morning I happened to talk to Addi, a freshman journalism major,

and she shared how much she in these few months has come to love this community.

And even with the changes in how we are delivering our education for the coming handful of weeks,

we know that the future of Biola is strong, and we will learn even from this moment of

national and international concern how we can continue the high quality of education

our students deserve.

Short term adjustments will result in long term gain.

And I am convinced that through this temporary disruption and, yes, inconvenience,

we will emerge stronger, more innovative, smarter and unwavering in the soul of this


This is not a first for our world, our nation or even this university.

Professor Fred Sanders today forwarded to me how Biola in 1918 responded to an influenza


Heres what was written in our magazine, 102 years ago:

"...classes have been suspended for six weeks owing to the epidemic of influenza."

"Lesson work, however, has been assigned regularly to students and examinations have been given."

In other words, in the six weeks of suspended classes in 1918,

students were given non-traditional ways of completing their coursework.

We have six weeks left in the semester.

Its also interesting, as Dr. Sanders noted, that some students needed to stay in their

rooms to recover and churches suspended worship meetings during that period.

You know, I read in those words how God had guided, protected and provided for Biola during

that temporary setback.

God hasnt changed.

And hell do the same.

Again, we are committed to ongoing communication through our website, FAQs and messages from


I have seen in the last few days faculty and staff, trustees and leaders

rally around our students and adapt to the virus outbreak

in a way that reminds me of why I love serving at Biola University.

A week ago I spent a few days at a retreat center,

praying and reflecting on what it means to be a follower of Jesus in our current climate.

It was a wonderful few days, and little did I know what I would be facing a week later.

On my way out of that retreat center called Glastonbury Abbey,

I spotted a ceramic plaque in their gift shop.

It contained the words of St. Benedict.

It said this: "Ora et Labora," Latin forPray and Work.”

This is our calling.

We are praying hard for Gods wisdom, his relief and his grace in this time.

And we are working hard to make sure we steward well the jobs the Lord has given us as a sacred


I think this is what the poet meant when he said in Psalm 90,

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;

establish the work of our hands for usyes, establish the work of our hands."

Our prayer is for Gods favor.

And we pray he indeed establishes the hard work of our hands.

Pray and work.

Its not either.

Its both.

Thank you.

Thank you for your part within the Biola community, and we promise to continue to keep you posted

on the developments all the way through until this challenge recedes.

God bless you.

The Description of President Corey's Update on Coronavirus