College students are returning to campus during the last week of January for the start of the spring semester. Classes start Monday, Feb. 1.

Groups of College students are returning to campus during the last week of January for the start of the spring semester. Students could sign up to return to Sewanee and be tested for COVID-19 on a specific day between Jan. 27 and 31. A negative test result is required before a student can move into their residence hall; Sewanee’s new testing lab is processing the samples, generally within four hours.

The University completed a successful fall semester, with a low number of cases on campus. Required weekly COVID-19 testing for all students on campus, combined with a “bubble” approach, meant that about 90% of students came to campus in August and remained on the Mountain for the semester. The pandemic has been persistent and current infection counts in the area around the Domain are higher than in the fall. However, the University’s strategy for handling the pandemic proved to be sound during the last semester, and some adjustments and improvements have been made for the spring. 

For the spring semester, students were welcomed by a video from Nicole Noffsinger-Frazier, new dean of students. The flurry of “welcome back” information included a quicker new testing process, updated COVID-19 policies that will be important for a successful spring, and expanded hours at McClurg Dining Hall and other locations.

Every year, the Sewanee Career Center hosts Beyond the Gates: Preparing for Life and Work After Sewanee at the end of the winter break. The 2021 event, the 17th annual, was a virtual four-day event (Jan. 25 - 28) for 130 juniors and seniors. The program helps students develop career-readiness through panels, practice interviews, networking conversations, and hearing the experiences of recent graduates. The keynote speakers this year were Dr. Renia Dotson, C’88, board-certified colon and rectal surgeon in Greenville, Mississippi; Jeremie Amoroso, C’10, consultant with the strategy and operations team at the World Bank; and Theodosia Cook, C’11, chief diversity officer at the University of Colorado.

Something to look forward to in February: New members of the Order of the Gown will receive their gowns during a ceremony to be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, in All Saints’ Chapel. The gowning ceremony will be livestreamed, as it was in the fall.