The latest communications to members of the University community, sharing information on COVID-19 efforts, including the latest health and travel guidance, and initiatives for continuity of academic programming.

 (This information is current as of 1:30 p.m. on October 21, 2020.)

Updates to the Campus Community

Oct. 21: Update to student gatherings

The Dean of Students Office announced an update increasing the permitted size of student gatherings.

Oct. 21: Update on spring semester planning

The provost shares progress on planning for the Easter semester, and announces a new committee to examine the use of alcohol and drugs at Sewanee.

Oct. 20: University to open on-campus lab for testing

The University is establishing its own testing lab to provide greater capacity and faster processing for COVID-19 tests next semester. Alyssa Summers will be the technical director of the Sewanee Molecular Diagnostics Lab, while both she and Clint Smith will work as molecular lab specialists to process samples.

Oct. 16: 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.

Oct. 14: On-campus testing lab, limited Admission tours

Provost Berner has news about a lab opening on campus to handle COVID-19 testing. The Office of Admission is now open to a very limited number of high school seniors who must follow new protocols.

Oct. 9: Fall Move-Out information

All student residences will close at 10 a.m. on Sunday, November 22, 2020. Use the links below to review the check-out process and frequently asked questions

Oct. 8: Clarification to Interim Policies for students in the College

A clarification related to the University’s masking expectations for students was added under the Community Health Commitments section of the Interim Policies for Students page. The clarification is the sentence "Furthermore, I will comply with any additional masking rules for specific events or facilities," which was missing in some versions of the commitments. 

Oct. 7: Spring semester news, COVID-19 testing reminders

Provost Nancy Berner shares news about the calendar for next semester, which was just announced.

Sept. 30: midterm(!) and flu shots

The provost notes that we are seven weeks into the semester and continued precautions are still required. Flu shots for students and employees will begin next week.

Sept. 29: Student flu shots available

University Health Service announced that free flu shots will be available on campus for students Oct. 5-9.

Sept. 24: Student move-out at end of semester

Dean Gentry reminds students to plan for the Nov. 20 & 21 move-out.

Sept. 17: Updated guidelines for student gatherings

Assistant Dean Lauren Goodpaster let students know that the size of student organization gatherings has been restored to a maximum of 50. Guest lists are required for contact tracing purposes.

Sept. 16: Spring planning and thanks

Provost Berner says planning for the spring semester is already underway, and continues her thank-you notes.

Sept. 9: close contacts and contract tracing

Provost Nancy Berner reminds the campus community what “close contact” is and how contact tracing works, and thanks more departments for their contributions to the University’s efforts to open safely.

Sept. 7: Student testing reminder

Dean of Students Marichal Gentry sent students a reminder of the University’s COVID-19 testing schedule. Students are being tested weekly, with the testing day based on the student’s last name.

Sept. 2: campus update

The provost provides information about round four of COVID-19 testing, updates the possible sanctions for undergraduate student behavior, and gets started on a long list of employees to thank.

Aug. 26: Campus update

Provost Berner gives updates on COVID-19 testing (round three), infection prevention steps, and expanded dining options for College students.

Aug 24: Vice-Chancellor Webinar Series and Policy Update

Read an email sent by Vice-Chancellor Brigety to a family who expressed concerns their student had about recent events on campus. It is being shared broadly to show some of the steps the administration is taking to protect the entire Sewanee community.

Vice-Chancellor Brigety invites you to join him for a series of webinars in which he and members of his administration will be available to discuss the topics that are of interest to you and your student. The first of these will be held at 6 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Aug 21: Updated COVID-19 Regulations for Undergraduates

Read an important policy change on COVID related regulations and sanctions.

Aug. 19: Thank you

Provost Berner and Vice-Chancellor Brigety extend their thanks to faculty and staff for the extraordinary efforts made to allow the University to begin on-campus classes this week. The provost also offers an update on the second round of student testing and shares resources to help employees deal with stress.

Aug. 13: Now it is up to you

Vice-Chancellor Brigety welcomes students back to campus and reminds the Sewanee community that life on the Mountain will be different this semester and it is up to all of us to keep the campus community safe and healthy.

Aug 13: Updates & Reminders

Dean Gentry reminds students about social distancing after testing, provides clarification on the masking directive, and more.

August 12: Student arrivals ramp up and campus facilities reopen

The provost shares news about how many students will be on campus this fall (almost 90%), the campus facilities and services that are reopening, and a new option for cell service on the Mountain.

August 5: Student arrivals and measures to #ProtectThe Bubble

Provost Nancy Berner provides an update on student arrivals, student quarantine and isolation plans, and University steps to limit campus visitors this fall.

July 31: Daily Health Self Screening

Starting Aug. 4, students, faculty, and staff will be required to track the results of daily health self-screenings on an app. Health screenings, along with the three W's (wear your mask, wash your hand, and watch your distance) and only leaving campus for essential trips, will help Sewanee prevent community spread of the novel coronavirus.   

July 29: “We can do this.”

Provost Nancy Berner shares results from the registrar’s student survey (the vast majority of returning students plan to be on campus this fall), gives an update on student activities and dining, and clarifies guidance for departments that plan student programming.

July 29: Move-In & Testing Details

As move-in for the Advent semester is quickly approaching, we want to provide you with as many details as possible. We realize this move-in will be like nothing any of us imagined or wanted. But the ability to live and learn on the Mountain together depends on us being willing to thoughtfully and carefully read, understand, and follow the move-in process.

July 23: Modes of Instruction

We are convinced that the personal and compassionate approach and one-on-one support from your faculty and staff that Sewanee is known for cannot be replicated elsewhere. While courses may look and feel different this fall, the commitment of our faculty is unwavering. Regardless of the particular mode of instruction, all of the courses will be Sewanee courses.

July 22: Interim Policies for Students

To manage the pandemic and reduce the chance of a campus outbreak the Sewanee community–students, faculty, staff, and residents–must all adhere to adjusted expectations. Read about these interim policies here.

July 22: Protect the bubble

Information is developing quickly. This week, the provost explains “protecting the bubble,” gives the latest news about testing, and shares how our faculty have developed a remote learning approach that will be superior to that of most other institutions.

July 20: Vice-Chancellor's Webinar Recap

Last week Vice-Chancellor Brigety held two webinars for students and families. He implored students to follow the 3 W's—Wear your mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance—in order to "protect the bubble" this fall, and answered questions on a variety of topics. 

July 20: Health & Safety

Read more about Sewanee's approach to health & safety.  It includes interim policies, Community Health Commitments, and a local mandatory mask directive.

July 16: Fall classes and modes of instruction

University Registrar Paul Wiley sent students and families information about the options for classes on and off campus this fall.

July 16: Southern Athletic Association suspends all conference competition for the fall semester

In concurrence with the SAA's statement, the University's intercollegiate and club sports will not participate against outside competition this semester.

July 15: Additions to health and safety team

There are two new members of the University's health and safety team, a public health communications officer and a local physician, who will help ensure the effective implementation of the University’s COVID-19 plan. This week the provost also explains the employee testing process.

July 14: Employee update on testing and return to work

All University employees will be tested for the coronavirus this month prior to students’ arrival. Testing will use a self-administered nucleic acid saliva test. Testing of employee groups will begin July 15 and continue through next week; employees and supervisors will be notified via their Sewanee email of their scheduled testing date and time. Please visit Human Resources’ FAQ–Employee Health & Safety page to review answers to common questions.

July 8: Fall Planning Update–College

Dean Gentry and Dean Papillon provide updates to undergraduate students on topics covering student life, academics, and health & safety.

July 8: Campus Update - Masking and Return to Work

The provost spells out the "baseline" masking guidance, and gives updates about employees returning to work on campus and the plan to test employees for coronavirus.

July 1: Sewanee 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 is instituting a mandatory mask directive for all persons on the Domain—to include residents, visitors, students, faculty, and staff. It will go into effect at 8 a.m. on July 3, 2020, and will remain in force until further notice.

July 1: Campus Update

In her message to campus, Provost Berner answers some of the question from the June 23 open staff meeting, gives highlights of the fall planning information that was shared with students and families, and reiterates the vice-chancellor’s Domain masking directive.

June 30: Fall planning for the college and the School of Theology

Vice-Chancellor Brigety provides an update on the University's plans for opening in the fall including specific topics pertaining to College and School of Theology students

June 24: Update on the Regents' meeting and IT upgrades for fall

The provost shared information from the recent Regents' meeting and gave updates about FOG team planning. IT upgrades are underway to allow the University to be flexible in our teaching and learning methods next semester.

June 16: Update from Residential Life about Fall move in dates

With modifications to the fall academic calendar, this update includes additional details for undergraduates return to campus in August.

June 11: Fall academic calendar announced

The Fall Operational Group has been planning for how the University will operate in the fall, and has made some initial decisions regarding fall semester start dates and the academic calendar.

May 27: Message from Vice-Chancellor McCardell on returning to campus

Vice-Chancellor John McCardell sent a message to students about returning to campus, and shared the message with faculty and staff.

May 27: More information about working on campus and fall planning

In this week's update, the provost provides more detail about the process for returning to work on campus.

May 20: Update about employees' return to campus and plans for the fall

Provost Nancy Berner explains a plan to gradually and safely bring back employees to campus, and announces listening sessions to be held with faculty, staff, and students to get input for fall scenarios.

May 13: Update to campus

Provost Nancy Berner offers updates about student move-out and fall planning, and highlights the video commencement ceremonies and faculty in the news.

May 6: Update about student move-out

In this week's update, Provost Nancy Berner explains the process for students to retrieve their belongings from residence halls, and reminds employees of the resources available to them.

May 1: Update to families and employees

Following a challenging spring, the University administration is engaged in preparation for the next academic year. 


Provost Nancy Berner explains that the Tennessee Pledge guidelines allow working from home as much as possible; University employees will maintain their current status until further notice. Her message also gives an update about the Fall Operational Group, which is planning based on several potential scenarios for this fall and integrated with ongoing strategic enrollment planning.

April 22: Update from the provost about operational planning

Provost Nancy Berner provides updates about a new Operational Planning team that is considering several possible scenarios for the fall, as well as some early enrollment indicators.

April 16: Summer programs postponed, canceled, or moved online

Because the coronavirus has yet to peak in Tennessee and in many parts of the U.S., the University of the South has made the difficult decision to cancel or move online all summer programs this year.

April 15: University leadership transition to take place in June

Last August, Vice-Chancellor John McCardell announced his plans to step down from that role at the end of July 2020. Because of the disruption to the academic and summer calendars caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, McCardell has recommended a change in the scheduled leadership transition; Vice-Chancellor-Elect Reuben Brigety will assume office in mid-June.

April 3: Sewanee parks closed

In order to promote physical distancing and protect the well-being of our community, Sewanee parks will be closed effective at 5 p.m. Friday, April 3. Update: As of April 6, the playgrounds at Sewanee Elementary School, Otey Parish, and St. James/Midway Community Park are also closed.

March 31: Update to the Sewanee community

This message includes a new community resource for information and more details about restricted parking at campus trailheads.

March 30: Trailhead Parking Areas Closed

In support of the statewide Safer at Home order and to reduce discretionary regional traffic, all trail portals (the parking lots adjacent to trailheads) on the Domain of the University of the South are closed. This action includes the closing of Breakfield Road, parking lots near the University Gates, the Memorial Cross, the end of Green's View road, near Morgan's Steep, both sides of Lake Cheston, and serving Caldwell Rim/Potter's Ridge trails.

March 30: Message to the Sewanee family

Vice-Chancellor John McCardell updates the Sewanee family on the start of remote learning, the recruitment of the Class of 2024, and more.

March 29: Interim Policies

The University remains committed to continuing operation with particular emphasis on the students who remain on campus, faculty engaged in remote instruction, staff whose job responsibilities require them to be physically present on campus, and to the safety and service of the community. Several interim policies are in place during these extraordinary times.

March 27: Update from the Registrar for Undergraduate Students

Information on revised Dates and Deadlines for the Easter 2020 Semester as well as details on the special application of the Pass/Fail grading option for classes taken in the Easter 2020 Semester. Students will also find instructions on how to request withdrawal from a course, a process that has been adapted for completion online.

March 26: Room & Board Refund

As a result of transitioning to remote learning for the balance of the semester, the University will refund 43.7% of the family contribution to room & board for time away from campus. Details were emailed to students and parents.

March 25: Information for students who remain on campus

The Office of Residential Life sent updated procedures regarding maintenance and other needs for students who are still on campus. The updates follow the Safer at Home directive.

March 24: Sewanee's Safer at Home Directive

The Ordinances of the University state that “the Vice-Chancellor shall have authority to act to meet any emergency.” And so, Vice-Chancellor McCardell has 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.

March 24: How to access to materials from duPont Library

The Jessie Ball duPont Library building is closed to the public, with access limited to employees whose offices are there. Starting Wednesday, March 25, the library will offer a weekday pick-up service for library materials requested in advance. 

MARCH 22: Message to the Sewanee alumni

Watch the latest video from Vice-Chancellor McCardell to Sewanee alumni.

Light a Candle with us this Evening

Join members of All Saints' Chapel, the Invite Welcome Connect Team, and the Sewanee Community as we respond to the Archbishop of Canterbury's call. We will light a candle in All Saints' Chapel at 8 p.m. on Instagram Live (@sewanee_invitewelcomeconnect), and read a short service of Prayer. We encourage you to light a candle in your home, read the prayers with us (link below), if you so choose, and post a photo, tagging @sewanee_invitewelcomeconnect and @allsaintschapel.

MARCH 21: Message to the Sewanee community

A message to the community introduced a community-focused working team, gave links to available resources and COVID-19 information, and provided a way to ask questions of the University. 

MARCH 20: Campus update regarding remote work

Vice-Chancellor John McCardell informed faculty and staff that the University will move to remote work as quickly as possible, with implementation to be completed by Wednesday, March 25. 

MARCH 20: Information about free e-textbooks

The University Bookstore shared information with students about free access to eTextbooks as well as the return process for physical rental books at the end of the semester.

MARCH 19: Commencement UPDATE

The reality of COVID-19 as well as the uncertainty about its ultimate intensity and duration have forced the decision to postpone Commencement 2020. Vice-Chancellor John McCardell shared the news with the College Class of 2020 and their families by video this afternoon. The University will do its best to make these Commencements appropriately celebratory and memorable when they do occur. The School of Theology is now planning to hold its Commencement in conjunction with the DuBose Lectures, Sept. 29–Oct. 1.

MARCH 18: Information for University employees

An email to faculty and staff provided information regarding continuity of employment and payroll at the University as we continue to adapt and respond to issues related to COVID-19. Employees were referred to the FAQ linked below for more information.  


Read this important update containing new information for student move-out procedures.

MARCH 17: Message to the Sewanee community

A short video was sent to the extended Sewanee family showing Vice-Chancellor John McCardell speaking about the realities of COVID-19 and the decisions being made to address the challenges posed by the current extraordinary circumstances. 

Services in All Saints' Chapel suspended through March

Based on a directive from Bishop Bauerschmidt for congregations in the Diocese of Tennessee, and in consultation with Chancellor Skirving and Vice-Chancellor McCardell, Chaplain Tom Macfie has suspended worship in All Saints’ Chapel for March 22 and March 29.

All alumni events cancelled through April

All alumni events through the month of April have been cancelled, including the Stronger Truer Sewanee campaign celebration, all Sewanee Club events, and the Perimeter Trail hike. We look forward to connecting online for now and seeing alumni in person when the public health situation improves.

Update to faculty and staff March 15, 2020

Vice-Chancellor McCardell reiterates the University's commitments to both student learning and following CDC guidelines, and names the management team charged with addressing COVID-19 concerns.

University will move to remote learning in response to COVID-19

March 14: The University has been monitoring COVID-19 developments closely and has determined that some significant adjustments to our routine are mandatory. With careful consideration and after intensive research and discussion, we have made the difficult decision to move to remote learning for the remainder of the semester. Spring break will be extended and classes will not be held March 23-27. All subsequent classes will be delivered through remote learning for the remainder of the Easter Semester. Classes will resume—remotely—on Monday, March 30. The health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and neighbors are our primary concerns, and we believe that this difficult decision is necessary to safeguard the health of our community and the many other communities to which we are connected.

MARCH 12: Campus update

The update below was sent to faculty, staff, and students to highlight new information for members of the campus community who are in Europe or planning travel to Europe. 

Information for students studying in Europe

On the evening of March 11, President Trump made an announcement of special procedures for US citizens  leaving the Schengen area of the European Union for the United States, beginning at midnight on Friday, March 13. The letter at the link below was sent to Sewanee students in Europe.

Spring Break Outreach Trips

Wednesday, March 11: All domestic and international Spring Break Outreach trips have been cancelled, following daily monitoring of the emerging COVID-19 and reflection on risks to vulnerable communities. Students who had planned to participate in an outreach trip can be accommodated on campus, or may travel elsewhere over the break.

Wednesday, March 4: Domestic and international Spring Break Outreach trips have a long-standing practice of reviewing travel and health advisories and each has a specific risk mitigation plan. The University routinely reviews each plan especially when experiencing an acute situation. While the COVID-19 virus is an emerging new risk, our risk practice is routine. Currently we are monitoring the details of each trip but at this point, we have not cancelled a Spring Break Outreach trip.


Friday, March 13: Based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, and in an effort to support the well-being of our student-athletes and athletic staff, the University has canceled all athletic competitions for the remainder of the spring season, effective immediately. The Southern Athletic Association (SAA), of which Sewanee is a member, has announced that all conference competition, which includes all SAA spring championships and awards, will be suspended effective Friday, March 20.

Campus update March 10, 2020

The letter at the link below was sent to students and parents, and shared with faculty and staff, ahead of Spring Break. The University of the South does not plan to close or move to online classes following Spring Break. Sewanee students should plan to return to campus after the break as long as they are free from COVID-19 symptoms. The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly, and the University is planning for a range of scenarios. The current plan may be adjusted as needed.

Campus update March 5, 2020

This message directed faculty, staff, and students to this website and reminded anyone traveling over Spring Break of the request to register their travel plans.

Faculty and Staff Update March 3, 2020

As we approach spring break and soon, summer travel, please be aware of the context of the spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and related University policies. Read the letter at the link below, which provides resources with information on COVID-19 in locations around the world, states University regulations on work-related travel and travel advisories.

Student update March 3, 2020

The University Wellness Center has been providing students and other members of the campus community with updated information about COVID-19 prevention and treatment guidelines.

Study Abroad Update March 3, 2020

Many students are planning to study abroad this summer or fall. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has increased the risk of international travel and uncertainty about program offerings. This letter from the Office of Global Citizenship will help you better understand the context of study abroad and to help advise you on staying safe during this context.

Student message Feb. 27, 2020

The University Wellness Center has been providing students and other members of the campus community with updated information about COVID-19 prevention and treatment guidelines.