Coronavirus Timeline at Lee
The coronavirus pandemic continues to affect our lives, and situations are changing every day. Lee is addressing this crisis situation with the utmost care and strict measures on campus. Here are a few things happening on campus since the COVID-19 crisis intensified:
March 5, 2020: Dr. Paul Conn sent out a letter to students addressing the coronavirus threat and explained how the campus was preparing for it over the course of spring break (March 9-13). A task force was established to monitor the COVID-19 crisis, and the campus buildings were evaluated for potential plans for “deep cleaning and disinfectant.”
March 11, 2020: Lee decided to extend spring break for one extra day, resuming classes on Tuesday, March 17. The health clinic was prepared to screen and/or test students and staff returning from international global perspectives trips before they returned to their dorms or classrooms. Students identifying themselves as being in an at-risk category were also offered screenings. Dr. Conn told students in an email on March 11, “All we can do is stay as well-informed as possible, respond intelligently to the facts we have without a spirit of fear or panic, and remember that we are all in God’s hands.”
March 12, 2020: Lee decided not to resume classes on campus until March 30 because of the increasing threat of the COVID-19 virus. During that period, the campus decided to deliver instruction via “Zoom,” using the internet and smartphones. The offices, dorms, and dining services were scheduled to be open throughout the two-week period. Any form of in-person group meetings, classes, chapels, or other gatherings was prohibited.
Online classes were scheduled to begin Thursday, March 19, so faculty spent that Monday–Wednesday in training for the virtual classroom. There was a trial zoom session on Wednesday, March 18, with Dr. Debbie Murray, university provost and vice president for academic affairs. Many virtual events like “Conversation with Dr. Conn,” “Lee Live,” and small groups were held throughout the week.
March 19, 2020: Dr. Conn announced that the in-person classes and other student activities expected to begin running March 30 were being postponed until April 13, based on the rapidly evolving situation.
March 25, 2020: A Lee University female student tested positive for coronavirus. She had traveled inside the country (on a personal trip) during spring break and returned to the dorm after the break. The student was placed in an off-campus quarantine site alone after the Health Clinic learned symptoms from her screening. The other residents who were in her hall and others with whom she interacted during that time were also notified promptly.
March 26, 2020: In an online chapel service, Dr. Conn announced that the school’s campus would not reopen for the remainder of the semester as had been hoped. He shared that Lee would continue to conduct classes online via Zoom for the remainder of the semester. By now, Lee had closed all its dining venues, providing food only on a take-away basis from its main dining room. Campus facilities such as the library, recreation center, childcare center, and academic buildings were closed except for essential services by the staff and faculty who remained.
March 30, 2020: In a Q&A session held with Dr. Conn, he announced that commencement services would still happen on May 9 if the situation were to get better. Graduating seniors were presented with three options if the spring commencement could not take place as scheduled: postponing spring commencement into the summer, combining it with summer commencement, or organizing a virtual commencement. Students were asked to email him their preference.
Lee also decided to suspend international trips for May and June and is seeking for alternative global perspectives trips. Summer courses will be available for students, either through “Zoom,” online learning, or in-person classes, depending on circumstances.
March 31, 2020: It was announced that service-learning requirements for undergraduate students were being amended in response to COVID-19 crisis. The Leonard Center removed the 20 hours per organization limit and expanded the list of permitted service opportunities. The new guidelines will be in place only for spring 2020 semester and will be revisited as the situation unfolds.
April 6, 2020: Dr. Conn informed students in an online Q&A session that the university will combine spring and summer commencement to take place August 1 “with all the bells and whistles, Lord willing.” The grading policy will change for spring semester, allowing students to choose between the letter grade earned or a pass/withdraw. It was also announced that partial refunds will be issued to students for housing and food plans. For students returning next semester, those funds can stay in their account as a credit. The dining hall closed the evening of April 6, and other arrangements have been made to feed any students remaining on campus.
Lee University has urged all its employees to work from home “if at all possible,” assisting its employees in setting up with the right technical equipment in their homes to perform their jobs without coming to campus.
Lee’s Health Clinic continues its operation, with its employees doing alternate shifts to provide service at this crucial time. The campus post office remains open.
Dr. Conn is addressing students and faculty every three days through the Zoom technology, to answer questions and give updates. Chapel services are running every Tuesday and Thursday through Zoom. Lee’s annual preview weekend, Lee Day, is being redesigned as a virtual event. Initially scheduled for April 3-4, Lee Day Live will take place on April 17-18, giving prospective students and their families the opportunity to explore Lee virtually.
It’s impossible to know what lies ahead of us, but we do know this...we will get through this storm, and Lee University will still be here doing God’s work and changing students’ lives. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.
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