January 26, 2021

Dear Students,

Welcome back to the Domain. We are thrilled to have you back with us soon. As we all begin a new semester during this unprecedented and persistent pandemic, it is absolutely imperative that the COVID-19 Interim Policies for Students are understood and followed. This is the only way that we can keep our campus safe and #ProtectTheBubble. As you are aware, COVID-19 numbers are at an all-time high, and we are also in the midst of flu season. Please remember to practice the 3W’s—wash your hands, wear your mask, and watch your distance—to reduce the spread of the virus. It is critical that you remain vigilant. You all did a remarkable job last semester protecting the bubble, and I am confident we can repeat that success this semester and can make it to May!

We remind you that if you do not comply with these policies (including required COVID-19 testing), you will be asked to leave campus immediately, continue your studies remotely for a period of 14 days, and quarantine while away. After such time, and after receiving a negative test upon arrival, you will be permitted to live and study on campus. Flagrant or repeat noncompliance with these interim policies may result in you being asked to learn remotely for the remainder of the semester.

We want to be clear about the policies, and they are available on the University website. Please be sure to review them thoroughly. Some changes include:

  • COVID-19 Testing: The new Sewanee Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory uses a self-administered nasal swab test that will take you less than a minute to complete. Learn more here
    • We will assess the positivity rate during the initial testing when you return. If necessary, we will test students three times during the first two weeks of the semester to help ensure that we start off the spring as virus-free as possible.
  • Student Gatherings: We will use a phased approach.
    • Jan. 27–Feb. 7: To help ensure and confirm that we minimize the presence of COVID-19 on campus after onboard testing, gatherings will be limited to 10. We recognize that this limit is more restrictive than the executive orders of the state of Tennessee. It is vital we do this to begin the semester successfully because so many members of the Sewanee community live in congregate housing; we have a responsibility and commitment to protecting the health and well-being of all members of the Sewanee community.
    • Feb. 8 and beyond: Based on the integrity of the bubble, decisions will be made regarding careful, incremental increases to gathering limits. We absolutely recognize the importance of gathering together, and are committed to making decisions that are for the benefit of both your safety and the broader campus community. 


  • Students are not permitted to leave the Domain unless it is for essential purposes. For more information on what is defined as essential travel and how students can properly register their trip away from campus, visit our Student Life COVID-19 FAQs.
  • In addition to your not leaving campus, absolutely no guests from off campus are allowed. This includes family members, friends of students, Sewanee alumni, and Sewanee students who have chosen to study remotely.

In addition to the COVID-19 Interim Policies for Students, our community is currently undergoing a reflection period for the alcohol and drug policies on campus. You will remember that a committee was established by Vice-Chancellor Brigety to explore and propose a new iteration of these policies. In the interim, violations of alcohol and drug policies will be enforced exclusively by the Sewanee Police Department. This means criminal citation and arrest may occur if you violate Tennessee law regarding alcohol and/or drug possession and consumption. Cannabis is not currently legal for recreational use in Tennessee nor is it permitted on campus. Should you have questions about the alcohol and drug policy or adjudication of policy violations, please email Rachel Champagne, director of community standards, at rachampa@sewanee.edu.

Let’s make it to May! We did it last semester, and we can do it again. As always, if you have any questions, please write to dstudent@sewanee.edu, and we will respond. Thank you for doing your part to keep our entire community safe. We are looking forward to a wonderful semester together.

In EQB, 

Nicole Noffsinger-Frazier, Ph.D.

Associate Provost for Student Life, Dean of Students