Health screening required to enter BSU, NTC campuses

Beginning today, all visitors to Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College will be required to complete an online health self-assessment questionnaire before being granted access to campus as part of continuing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The online health screening tool is part of a system-wide initiative by the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and is being implemented at each of the system’s 37 colleges and universities and at the system’s offices in St. Paul.

The web-based screening tools are available at:

Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College are ready to welcome students back to campus for the fall 2020 semester beginning August 24. Following guidance from a variety of sources, including executive orders issued by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities, classes will be delivered in a variety of methods to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Bemidji.

“We are excited to welcome our students back to campus — though we know this semester is going to look quite different from others,” President Faith C. Hensrud said.

“Bemidji State University’s number one priority is — and always has been — the health and safety of our students on their academic journey. Our students remain at the center of our decisions and are the heartbeat of Bemidji State. We will do everything we can to ensure they succeed.”

Current guidance directs that all college courses which can be offered through alternative delivery methods must be delivered that way. Higher education institutions are only allowed to offer in-person courses where alternate delivery methods are not possible. As a result, the majority of courses offered at Bemidji State this fall — approximately seven out of eight classes offered — will be conducted online or via hybrid or hy-flex models.

Hybrid- or hyflex-style courses will be conducted primarily through remote means, but will offer some face-to-face instruction.

Dr. Allen Bedford, BSU’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, began working in April with university deans and faculty to shift fall course delivery from primarily in-person to remote, and identified curriculum areas that could be most-easily offered remotely.

“It was important for us to prepare for this early,” he said. “Though we had hoped we could welcome all of our students back into classroom learning this fall, the anticipated (and now actual) spread of COVID-19 led us to the difficult decision of shifting our default posture from in-person to remote learning environments. The dedication of our administration and faculty, paired with the perseverance of our students, make me confident that together we can get through this crisis in a safe manner while continuing to provide our students the opportunity to continue their studies.”

Darrin Strosahl, NTC’s vice president of academic affairs, began working in May with college faculty to shift fall course delivery from primarily in-person to remote, and identified curriculum areas that could be most-easily offered remotely.

“The dedication of our faculty, staff and students throughout the pandemic so far has been incredible,” he said. “The faculty worked hard to identify the lab courses where face-to-face instruction was essential to achieving the learning outcomes and have planned appropriately for safe in-person labs to ensure a quality educational experience.”

All employees, students and visitors at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College must have a mask or face covering readily available at all times when on campus. Mask or face coverings are required inside campus, outdoors in situations where six feet of social distancing is not possible and when riding in university vehicles with others. For employees and students, there are some limited exceptions to this requirement.

Based on the latest guidance from Sanford Health and public health officials, housing at BSU for the fall 2020 semester will be limited to 500 students who had on-campus academic or athletic experiences on their schedules prior to July 31.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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