Sewanee’s geographic location requires that the University and the Sewanee community work together to reach out to all who live and work here and who provide services to the community.

Vice-Chancellor John McCardell appointed a COVID-19 Emergency Management Team at the University to oversee our preparation for and response to the coronavirus pandemic. A subgroup of this team, paying particular attention to the needs of the local community, is composed of community members representing organizations such as Rotary and the Sewanee Business Alliance as well as members of the University staff. The Sewanee Community Council supports this collaborative community effort.

Masking directive: Consistent with Executive Order No. 50 issued by Gov. Lee and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vice-Chancellor Brigety instituted a mandatory mask directive for all persons on the Domain—to include residents, visitors, students, faculty, and staff. It went into effect at 8 a.m. on July 3, 2020, and remains in force until further notice.

Learn more about the University's approach to health and safety.

Halloween guidance: As Halloween approaches, the University’s public health officers wrote an open letter to the Sewanee community recommending that everyone follow the CDC recommendations for a safer holiday. These include avoiding traditional trick-or-treating, where treats are handed to children who go door to door; trunk-or-treat events, where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in parking lots; and crowded costume parties held indoors.

Community Information

At the University

See all the University’s updates.


On March 24, University Vice-Chancellor John McCardell joined communities across the state and the country by issuing a Safer at Home Directive to combat the spread of COVID-19. It directs all residents of Sewanee immediately to limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs. The Ordinances of the University state that “the Vice-Chancellor shall have authority to act to meet any emergency.” 


Read McCardell's update to the community, April 30, 2020. (Published as a letter to the editor, Sewanee Mountain Messenger, May 1, 2020)

  • Governor Lee's Executive Order 30 allows some businesses to reopen and some employees to return to work on site, effective April 29. The guidelines continue to encourage employees to work from home as much as possible; University employees will continue to work remotely. 
  • Gov. Lee on April 2 signed Executive Order 23 requiring that Tennesseans stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities, effective until May 1. This follows an earlier order that urged Tennesseans who are in non-essential roles to remain at home.
  • In keeping with the vice-chancellor's directive, University employees have moved to remote work as fully as possible, with an understanding that certain essential functions of the University cannot be performed remotely. All College and School of Theology classes will be delivered through remote learning beginning Monday, March 30, and for the remainder of the semester. 
  • The University has made a concerted effort to minimize the number of students who are on campus. Fewer than 100 students returned to campus following Spring Break, as exceptions were made when necessary.
  • The health and well-being of the University’s students, faculty, staff, and neighbors are our primary concerns, and these decisions have been necessary to safeguard the health of our community and the many other communities to which we are connected. 

Public safety information

The Sewanee Police Department remains ready to serve the community. As always, residents should call 911 immediately if there is an emergency. If you suspect you or someone else is having a COVID-19-related medical emergency, please tell the emergency communications dispatcher so that the responders will be prepared to help. 

  • If you need to file a police report for a non-emergency situation, SPD will be happy to take a report over the phone at 931.598.1111, via email at , or through the LiveSafe app.
  • The Sewanee Police Department is practicing physical distancing when interacting with our community. This precautionary two-fold approach is to protect you and the officers. Officers may be dressed in gloves and masks in order to protect everyone during an interaction. Do not be alarmed and do not hesitate to contact the SPD for assistance. 

Wellness Checks 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of Sewanee may receive wellness checks via phone, text, or email from SPD officers and/or department members as well as from organized volunteers. Under this free service, participants may determine the frequency of the contact. If the police dispatcher does not hear from the community member or is unable to contact the community member to check on their welfare, the dispatcher will reach the emergency contacts on file to check on the welfare of the participants. Residents may use this form to request a wellness check.

Local services, businesses, and facilities

  • The status and hours of University facilities, such as duPont Library and the Fowler Center, can be found here.
  • Important information about local services can be found in the Sewanee Mountain Messenger (updated daily), including news from area businesses, public services, schools, health care providers, and updates from the State of Tennessee. Additional local news sources are the Grundy County Herald and the Winchester Herald Chronicle.
  • The Sewanee Village website is a source for news from local businesses, including services offered, take-out menus and hours for Sewanee restaurants, and ways to support downtown businesses through online shopping or donations. We encourage you to support local businesses during the disruption caused by the coronavirus.
  • The Sewanee Utility District has a detailed Emergency Operation Plan in place to ensure the continuation of water and sewer service to all of our customers under all circumstances, including this one. 
  • All essential Duck River Electric services will continue in order to assist co-op members. Read complete details in the News section on the DREMC website.
  • Franklin County and Marion County announcements effective April 8
    • The government offices of Franklin County are closed to the public from 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, until 8 a.m. Monday, May 4. Franklin County Solid Waste and convenience centers were also closed but reopened April 17. The judicial center, jail, Franklin County Health Department, emergency services, and first responders are not included in this precautionary closure. 
    • Marion County Mayor David Jackson implemented a county-wide curfew, which was enforced from April 8 until Thursday, April 23. It was allowed to expire after that date.

Questions, answers, and assistance for or from your neighbors

  • The COVID-19 Community Team has prepared a survey for the Sewanee community to help identify both community volunteers and community needs. Residents may complete this brief form. Volunteers will be coordinated to assist with the identified needs where possible.
  • Other community volunteer efforts are listed in the Messenger, including those coordinated through Folks at Home (931.598.0303 or email
  • If you have a question, submit it via this form, and we will do our best to respond promptly. Commonly asked questions will be integrated into the FAQs (coming soon).

Consumer information

A list of state and federal resources for consumers and businesses: avoid scams and rumors, and protect your finances.

COVID-19 Quick Links

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tennessee Department of Health and other agencies provide information and guidance to prevent community spread of COVID-19.
  • For access to general information, residents can use COVID-19 public information numbers: 833.556.2476 and 877.857.2945, available daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT.
  • Local testing information: