Monday, October 5, 2020

Three weeks into the fall semester it has become apparent that TBS will not be able to resume in person classes this semester. The renovation of the seminary building is nearing completion, but it is not yet ready for both in person and online instruction.

In addition, the increase of COVID-19 cases, particularly in the city of Toronto, and the subsequent safety precautions mandated by the provincial government mean that I have decided to continue classes online for the remainder of the semester. The library will continue to operate throughout the week as scheduled and the residences will also continue to operate as they have since the beginning of September. Chapel, mentoring groups, and faculty meetings will continue online until further notice.

As soon as we can get things up and running, and the pandemic abates, we will be back in the classroom for all who are able to do so. Until then, thank you for your patience and willingness to work together to make the best of the present circumstances. I will keep up updated regarding any new developments.

A special word of thanks to everyone who made the 2020 Convocation/Graduation a success. Hopefully, things will be much better by the time we gather to celebrate Graduation 2021!

Until next time,
Principal Wellum

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

I trust everyone is well and looking forward to the start of the new semester. At the start of the semester, however, we are facing a situation that will require changing the way we had hoped to begin. As we have been telling you over the summer, the seminary building is being extensively renovated and when finished we will enjoy a beautiful building in which to teach and study together. While we hoped the renovation would be finished in time for the start of school it does not appear this will be the case. More time is needed to get the offices up and running as well as to get the classroom ready for teaching.

At the same time, we are facing the added complication of operating the seminary in compliance with government regulations connected with the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing means that we have to rearrange classes and the need to provide an online option for students who cannot come into the country or who are out of province, or who during the semester may test positive or need to quarantine, means that we have to be ready to stream classes as needed. Although we are just about ready to do this, we need a few more weeks to complete and test our new network.

Therefore, I have made the decision to run the classes online until Tuesday, October 13, 2020. At that time, we will switch to in-person instruction assuming that the pandemic is sufficiently under control. If we can go in-person sooner, I will not hesitate to make that decision. I apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment this might cause as I think most of us would like to be back in the classroom. But given the combination of events I have outlined; this seems to be the wisest course of action for now.

The decision to continue the classes online for the next few weeks does not affect Orientation Day which will take place Wednesday, September 9 at Jarvis Street Baptist Church at 10:00 AM. We need all students there because there will be a lot of essential information conveyed. Also, the library will be open for students starting on Monday, September 14th with library hours to be announced. We encourage students to use the library so their work may be of the highest quality. The student residences will also operate as usual except for the limitations on the number of people we can house because of the rules governing gatherings and social bubbles, etc.

The start of the new academic year like the end of the old one will be something to remember, but through it all let’s pray that God will strengthen and help us to work diligently for his honour and glory.

Thanks for your cooperation and understanding in these matters. It is greatly appreciated.

Principal Wellum

Thursday, July 23, 2020

As we get closer to September and the start of a new semester, I will continue to bring you updates relevant to the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

In this newsletter I want to clarify our intention to operate in-person classes in the fall with an online option. Although we are offering both options, online classes are only for those who are in other countries, or provinces in Canada, or those whose circumstances, or health makes it impossible for them to study on the TBS campus.

Also, the residences will be open and available to students from TBS as well as other schools in the Toronto area. To find out more about our residences, click here or contact our office.

We also want to resume in-person chapel services and mentoring groups as these are an important part of the TBS experience.

This coming semester we will do our best to keep things clean and practice “social distancing” in the classroom and the residence and I am confident that if we all work together, we will have a safe and productive semester.

I trust you are all enjoying the summer. We are living in times that are unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lives thus far. It is wonderful to know that the Lord is in control of all things and that he is at work in ways that will never be fully appreciated until we stand in the new heavens and earth!

Principal Wellum

Friday, July 17, 2020

After much discussion about how to proceed the administration of TBS has decided to release this statement of our plans for the fall semester as they now stand. Only the Lord knows for sure what is ahead in 2020 and 2021, and we are ready to change direction should that be necessary. We will abide by the appropriate guidelines of the federal, provincial, and municipal governments going forward.

All classes will be held in-person except for OT Theology taught by Dr. Dempster, which will be taught online only. Where possible classes will be streamed online for those who have permission to take the online version of the class because of travel restrictions, residence in another country, or legitimate concerns arising from the continuing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The residences will operate at reduced capacity to allow for quarantining of ill students if needed and reduction of transmission opportunities. Priority will be given to international students who are already in residence and in addition there will be limited other spaces available for the fall semester. We are still deliberating on offering a meal plan and will communicate when a decision has been made.

Registration and orientation will take place on Tuesday, September 8th at 10:00 a.m. in person at TBS. Unfortunately, the fall faculty and student retreat will not take place the Wednesday to Friday of that week unless there is a notable change in the rules governing social distance between now and then.

During the fall semester we are planning to have chapel and our mentoring groups in person as usual with live streaming of mentoring groups as needed. We should be able to spread out sufficiently to keep everyone safe while we participate in these important activities.

We also plan to have an open house in November and March. Hopefully, these will be conducted in-person although we will also stream the event including the free classes in the morning, afternoon, and evening that are a part of our open house so that people everywhere can get a sample of life at TBS.

March 24, 2020 – To all faculty, staff, and students of TBS

On Friday, March 13, I suspended all in-person classroom instruction at TBS until Monday, March 30 because of the threat caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, I said that I would extend the suspension if the threat remained. Unfortunately, such an extension is necessary because the coronavirus continues to make in-person classes impossible. We will, however, continue to conduct all our courses online until the end of the semester.

In addition to these measures, starting tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25, the TBS office and library will be closed until further notice. Our administrative staff is available during regular business hours and can be reached via phone or email.

Once again, thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this pandemic. This unexpected crisis has made it necessary for us to make changes in our operations and the delivery of our classes. I am encouraged by the way everyone has cooperated and worked together to make the most of what has proven to be a challenging semester. Let us continue to pray that God will bring an end to this crisis while at the same time he works to glorify his holy name.

In Christ,

Kirk M. Wellum

Principal, Toronto Baptist Seminary

March 13, 2020 – To all faculty, staff, and students of TBS:

By now you are aware of the concerns surrounding COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. In an attempt to contain the rapid spread of the virus, and to mitigate its life-threatening potential, schools in Ontario are either closing or moving classroom instruction on-line until it is deemed safe to resume normal operations.

In consultation with Dr. Thompson, I have decided to suspend all in-person classroom instruction beginning Monday, March 16 and continuing until Saturday, March 28. Between now and then we will be monitoring the situation closely and at this point we are planning to resume in-person classroom instruction on Monday, March 30. If that resumption date needs to be extended into April, we will inform you by email as soon as possible. During this time all classes will continue in an online format.

Students in the residences who can go home until classes resume are encouraged to do so. This will enable us to minimize the amount of work necessary to keep the buildings clean and disinfected. If you cannot go home, or decide to stay, you should be diligent when it comes to hand-washing, and cleaning commonly used surfaces such as sinks, counters, doorknobs, etc. If anyone is feeling unwell, they should isolate themselves immediately.

The seminary office will remain open during regular business hours if you have concerns or need further information. Please use the email addresses you have been assigned because information about on-line classes will be communicated via these addresses and the TEAMS app.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this time. As Psalm 46:1 reminds us, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

In Christ,

Kirk M. Wellum

Principal, Toronto Baptist Seminary