Lee University and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Our approach to COVID protocols has been and continues to be twofold:

First, we diligently monitor available information from the most credible sources, primarily local and state health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with close review of the guidelines for higher education.

Second, we use the information and trends available to make the best decisions about campus operations, maintaining the primary concern for the health and safety of our students, employees, and community.

Our existing plan for operations balances the current information and the goal of operating as fully normal as possible. The university reserves the right to adjust this plan as the situation changes to maintain a safe environment for the Lee community.

Fall 2021 Semester Guidelines

Classrooms will be at full capacity in the fall; however, options for greater distancing may be utilized where necessary.

*Updated Policy – effective 9/3/2021 until further notice (see Note below):

Masks are required for all individuals indoors while in classrooms and other campus indoor spaces, even if socially distanced, except when in a personal residential or work space.

Note: While there are many practices that help reduce the transmission and spread of infection, we learned last year that wearing masks is effective and beneficial, particularly in confined spaces and crowded situations. When local transmission rates improve from “High” to “Moderate” or “Low,” this protocol will revert to the following:

  • Masks are no longer required.
  • Non-vaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear masks when indoors and in close proximity to others.

App and temp checkpoints will not be utilized for entry into campus buildings this fall. The app check will be utilized for individuals traveling with university-sponsored groups, as described below. Everyone is encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms and to seek medical attention when symptoms are evident. Frequent handwashing protocols are also encouraged.

We are committed to a back to normal, live campus experience this fall. We do not plan to accept Zoom-only petitions as we did last year. However, if students have health/medical reasons that require virtual learning, we will work to make accommodations (for example, online course options) on a case-by-case basis. These requests should be sent to the Office of the Provost by calling (423) 614-8118 or by emailing academicaffairs@leeuniversity.edu.

We recommend that all students and employees consider the vaccination unless they have health conditions that may make the vaccine unsafe for them. Fully vaccinated individuals who are exposed to the virus will not be required to quarantine or self-isolate. They also will not be required to undergo testing protocols before group travel (e.g., ensemble members, some cross-cultural experiences, service experiences).
Aside from the availability of the vaccine from the County Health Department and several area providers, Lee’s Health Clinic has become an approved vaccination site for those desiring to obtain the vaccine administered by our staff.

Individuals who experience symptoms of any kind should contact the university Health Clinic for screening. If symptoms suggest COVID-19, a test will be performed. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate off campus to prevent exposure to our campus community. Directly exposed individuals who are fully vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the previous 90 days will not be required to quarantine if they are asymptomatic. However, if they do experience symptoms, they should be tested. Non-vaccinated individuals who have been directly exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for the CDC-recommended period from the time of the exposure. The Lee University Health Clinic will determine when individuals need to be tested, if they should be placed in self-isolation or quarantine, and when they may return to campus after self-isolation or quarantine.

We plan to resume a pre-COVID approach to chapel. This means returning to regular services in Conn Center with simultaneous offerings in Dixon Center or The Chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Consistent with the plans to return to normal seating in the classroom, chapel seating will return to full capacity, but masks will be required throughout the chapel service. Masks will no longer be required during corporate worship; however, those who have not been fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask throughout chapel services. To receive chapel credit, students must attend in person. Exemptions for health conditions may be requested by contacting the chapel attendance coordinator, chapelattendance@leeuniversity.edu.

Lee University deeply values the richness brought to our campus life by neighbors, community partners and visitors. We ask that visitors to campus observe the same protocols as our students, staff, and faculty. With the revision to the mask policy, and the removal of building check-in stations, there remain very few protocols that would impact our visitors while on campus.

Visitors are encouraged to follow CDC protocols. We do still ask that anyone who has recently had a positive COVID-19 test result, experienced COVID-19 symptoms, or been exposed to someone with COVID-19 refrain from coming to campus in order to prevent possible exposure to our campus family.

Visitors planning to tour campus are encouraged to contact the Campus Visit Coordinator at (423) 614-8504 to schedule a tour or a more extensive visit.

Individually arranged travel by students during the semester is unrestricted, with an encouragement to be aware of conditions and protocols in various destinations. We want our students to represent the university well in other places, while we hope they will protect themselves from COVID-19 away from campus and help protect our campus community upon their return.

University-sponsored domestic and international travel will proceed consistent with CDC guidelines and with recommended guidance from U.S. State Department Travel Advisories. A testing protocol may be required before group travel for non-vaccinated individuals, while those who present evidence of COVID vaccination to the Health Clinic will not be required to go through a testing protocol. Be advised that some international travel may require COVID vaccinations of all travelers.

Lee Athletics looks forward to the return of a full slate of home contests this year! Regular season home contests will start in September and will operate under pre-COVID guidelines with full capacity crowds. Team schedules are available at www.leeuflames.com.

The university anticipates new participation guidance for all sports from NCAA Division II and from the Gulf South Conference. Any student athletes preparing to participate in a varsity sport in the coming school year will hear from their respective coaches regarding this additional guidance.

We expect a return to a full campus life experience with events and club activities consistent with the university guidelines explained in this document. We are developing a campus events calendar to engage students outside the classroom in the full Lee University experience. This includes activities such as a robust intramural calendar, a fully open Recreation Center, club activities, SmallGroup discipleship meetings in the residence halls, service projects, and athletic events. The semester will begin with a comprehensive in-person New Student Orientation for all new students and their families.

We anticipate a return to pre-COVID occupancy for our campus dining options; however, the specific protocols for safe food preparation and service will be established according to Sodexo’s corporate policies. New information will be announced when available.

If students are living on campus in the fall, they will be assigned to full occupancy in their rooms. Also, the residence halls anticipate returning to offering a full slate of events with their residents to build community. SmallGroup discipleship groups will take place in the residence halls instead of in campus spaces outside the dorms. Visitation in the on-campus apartments will return to pre-COVID guidelines.

Students who believe they require an accommodation in light of these changes are encouraged to contact the Academic Support Office at (423) 614-8181.

We will continue to monitor local, regional, and national conditions and will adjust these protocols if necessary.

For general questions you can contact the Office of the Provost by calling (423) 614-8118 or emailing academicaffairs@leeuniversity.edu.