Foundation Institute Update

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create challenges for all of us as we try to adapt to the changing situation.

Foundation Institute classes have been scheduled to begin on Aug. 24, but the rapidly increasing number of infections, especially in the larger cities of Texas, has required us to make some adjustments in our plans, and we wanted to share those changes with all of you.

The faculty and administration met last week to consider several options for this year’s Foundation Institute program. After discussing a variety of possibilities, we came to the unanimous decision that because of the challenges of social distancing and other logistical requirements, both in the office and in student housing, it would not be feasible to bring a group of students in at this time. However, we also agreed that the Foundation Institute program is important, not only for the students themselves, but also for the entire Church, so canceling the program, even for a year, is not a good option.

We further agreed that the interpersonal portion of the program—studying together, living together, building relationships with peers and faculty—is also a vital part of the program, and a strictly online program would not effectively allow that to take place.

After considering several options, we agreed to establish a new, one-time-only academic calendar for this coming year. We are hopeful that the current infection rate will decline to more acceptable levels as various public measures are adopted. Therefore, we will plan to begin in-person classes on Monday, Jan. 3, 2021, and conclude in mid-August. The next academic year would then begin in late August, and we would continue with our usual nine-month academic schedule, as we have since we began in 2012.

We understand that this option is not perfect, but it still offers the full program to those who begin in January, while not exposing them to the heightened challenges we are facing right now. We are offering several options to the 17 students already accepted for this coming year, in hopes we can accommodate their needs.

This changed schedule may also mean that a few additional students may wish to apply for this one-time January to August program. With that in mind, we are extending the deadline for applications to Foundation Institute to Oct. 30, 2020. Applications may be downloaded, or completed and submitted online, at the Foundation Institute website.

We deeply appreciate your continued prayers, not only for the situation to improve, but that we can have the wisdom to know how to move forward in this unprecedented time.

Thank you for your understanding and support.