The year 2020 has probably been the most significant period in our lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed and rampaged the lives of all nations, institutions, families, and individuals. Bethel Bible College of the Caribbean – Jamaica has not escaped its impact and we are still reeling from it. Notwithstanding, the institution was ahead of the curve because we had employed the Zoom and Moodle platforms for teaching and learning prior to the onset of the virus in the island. We had started training our faculty in their use and had put personnel and things in place; BethelOnline was already operating. We nevertheless had to send home the residential students and ceased face to face instruction on March 12, 2020. These students resumed classes on April 20, 2020, by way of the Zoom platform, while those using Moodle were not disturbed. The extension campuses completed their year with the employment of various social media, as well as face to face engagements in controlled circumstances.
The school year 2020-2021 will be a historic one for the institution. In its seventy-seven-year history, the main campus of the College for the first time will be operating without its students being in residence. Students will register online instead of going to the administrative offices. Orientation will also be online. More than ever, the administration will need the assistance of the pastors and churches in ensuring the spiritual, moral, and ministerial development of the students, given that the students will remain in their homes and local churches instead of living on the campus. Notwithstanding the new normal and the consequent challenges, the administration, faculty, staff, and students have been working towards ensuring that a successful year is achieved. Interestingly, this year has, despite the pandemic, seen a significant increase in the number of new students.
I would like to welcome to the school year 2020-2021, the faculty and staff of the Mandeville campus, coordinators and teachers of the extension campuses, and the returning and new students of all the campuses. It will be a time of adjustments, requiring flexibility, understanding, and caring. With the Lord’s help we are fully convinced that we will make it.
I would like to thank the pastors, churches, and families who supported us in prayer in the last school year, and ask that you continue to labour in prayer with us this year. At the end thereof, we will all be thankful to God for His goodness and mercies.
Warmest regards and best wishes for a blessed year.
Donald A. Roberts, Rev. Dr.