July 22, 2020

Dear Sewanee students,

We hope this message finds you well. We look forward to welcoming you or welcoming you back to campus this fall. Earlier this month, you received communication from Vice-Chancellor Brigety regarding expectations for the upcoming semester. Last week, you received the community-wide Interim Health Policies and Practices. We want to provide you with additional details regarding the expectations for students on campus. Please read through this document carefully.

Please continue to check the COVID-19 website for updated information and FAQ. We know there is more you need to know, and we will share more details with you as soon as possible.

Living in community means that we are committed to the well-being of all community members, and we agree to make choices with integrity that benefit community safety over individual desires. If we do not make our best efforts to protect each other this semester, our ability to continue to learn together on the Mountain is jeopardized. This requires commitment. The University believes that Sewanee students will rise to the occasion and follow these and other guidelines to be together and in community on the Domain.

As outlined in the EQB Guide for Living in Community, students are expected to follow University policies, procedures, and directives. Accordingly, the University has established interim policies with the goal of providing the safest environment for students, faculty, and staff to learn and live together on the Mountain. The University (in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines and State of Tennessee guidance on reopening universities) has issued policies for all members of the Sewanee community in order to resume in-person classes for the Advent term 2020.

The health and safety of our campus and community involves each of us—students, faculty, staff, and residents. In order to return safely to campus and continue with an on-campus experience, we must all commit to doing our part to help prevent an outbreak and spread of the novel coronavirus. This is most clearly stated in a set of Community Health Commitments every member of the Sewanee community is expected to support:

Community Health Commitments
  1. I will wear a mask except when I’m alone, asleep, eating or drinking, or maintaining proper distance. Furthermore, I will comply with any additional masking rules for specific events or facilities.
  2. I will participate in daily wellness checks and keep track of my close contacts.
  3. I will maintain six feet of distancing from others whenever possible.
  4. I will practice safe hygiene (washing my hands frequently, covering my mouth when I cough or sneeze).
  5. I will get tested for COVID-19 when requested to do so.
  6. I will seek support as needed for my mental health and well-being and be mindful of the mental health needs of others.
  7. I will limit use of my vehicle except for essential needs, like a medical appointment or prescription drive-thru pick-up that might occur off campus.  
  8. I will kindly encourage compliance in my community.
  9. I will call the University Wellness Center immediately if I have a fever, have shortness of breath, lose taste or sense of smell, or otherwise feel ill. I will encourage my peers who seem ill to call the University Wellness Center for assistance.
  10. I will participate in contact tracing in accordance with the University protocol, as needed. I will be honest and forthright in tracing efforts. I will do my best to be responsible for knowing and tracking my encounters with others, daily.
  11. I will take additional care to secure my room and belongings. I understand that if I forget or lose a key (or ID), staff will not freely unlock spaces without fines being assessed. This practice will assist in limiting contact (especially after hours) with student staff and professional staff.
Additional policies and procedures for specific events or departments
  • Move-in: Students must follow all procedures for moving into and out of on-campus housing, including testing procedures, as outlined. This includes students moving in and out of fraternity houses not maintained by the University. Students should quarantine for the two weeks prior to coming to campus. Once the 14-day quarantine period is complete, and if students have no COVID-19 symptoms and no known exposure to COVID-19, they may travel to campus. All students will be tested when they arrive. Students must complete an online COVID-19 training module. Every student will have an assigned move-in date, and students should bring only what is essential for the semester. We ask that only one family member accompany their student to drop them off. To maintain adequate physical distancing, students will move themselves into their rooms.
  • Residence Halls/On-Campus Housing: Students will have access only to the hall where they reside, and should expect to adhere to social distancing protocols (i.e., maintaining a separation of six feet from other individuals and wearing a face covering) in the common areas of the hall. Students do not need to wear a mask in their own residence hall room. Residence hall amenities such as kitchens and study lounges may be available for use on a more limited basis. Only the residents of a residence hall room may be in that room. Common areas in residence halls and houses should be used only by residents of that building and not by more than 10 persons at any given time, unless instructed otherwise. Students MUST thoroughly clean shared bathroom spaces in suites and houses daily. Cleaning supplies will be furnished to residence halls and houses where the bathroom is shared by a small group of students.
  • Move-out: Residence halls will close completely for the winter vacation period beginning at Thanksgiving. All students will need to fully move out of their rooms and take all personal belongings with them. Please keep this in mind when packing for the semester; we strongly encourage students to bring only the essentials with them for the fall. Supplemental personal furniture (such as futons, sofas, or unapproved personal beds) and other large items will not be permitted in residence halls. In the event that the on-campus semester must conclude earlier than anticipated, students would be required to fully move out of their rooms with relatively short notice.
  • Gathering: Students will refrain from gathering in groups where at least 6 feet of distance cannot be achieved. To reduce the risk of an outbreak that might cause campus closure, and to help protect the most vulnerable in our community, events will be smaller than usual and they will usually take place outside. Proper physical distancing and masking will be required. All events will be registered (see below), and gathering in large groups will not be permitted.
  • Campus Visitors/Guests: Visits to campus will be extremely limited this fall. With the exception of drop-off, students will not be allowed to have guests on campus. The Office of Admission will conduct campus tours by appointment only.
  • Travel/Vehicles: The University discourages students from bringing a vehicle to campus to reduce the likelihood of the virus being brought to campus by those traveling outside of our testing strategy and health practices. We need to avoid multiple vectors bringing the virus back to campus. This could lead to a community outbreak that would force us to shut down campus and send students home. Students who bring a vehicle to campus will be asked to limit its use for only essential purposes. It is our expectation that you do not leave campus. If there is a need for you to leave, such as for a regular medical appointment that you must attend, then you need to receive prior authorization by contacting the Dean of Students Office. This can be done simply by writing to us about the nature of your need to leave campus. For example, “I have an ongoing appointment each Tuesday in Chattanooga with my allergist.”
  • You are expected to practice the three W's (wearing a mask, washing your hands, watching your distance) not only when on the Domain, but when you must leave it as well. For instance, if you have a medical appointment off campus, you should go directly to your appointment, practice good hygiene, wear a mask, use hand sanitizer when you leave, and return directly back to Sewanee.
  • Any University-sponsored travel for students, faculty, and staff will require an approval process. Returning to campus for class or work after a trip may require testing or additional health screening.
  • Isolation/Quarantine: Students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 MUST be isolated, as directed by the University. This will mean moving to a different housing space, having reduced contact with other persons, following directives from medical professionals, attending classes remotely, and other restrictions. The duration and circumstances of the quarantine may vary. Any student not following directives for isolation/quarantine will be asked to transition to remote learning away from campus and will need to secure their own transportation.
  • Unauthorized Entry: Students will not enter spaces on campus until approved in order to limit contact with other persons and keep spaces sanitized. Approval can come in the form of an approval on the daily check-in app for class, being issued a key to your on-campus hall/room, an approved space reservation, or other means. Unauthorized entry into buildings, rooms, offices, studios, labs, etc. will result in significant sanctions. Simply attempting to enter a space that is not locked or secure will be treated as unauthorized entry. Students should understand that during this time, safety is the University's first priority.
  • Emergency Contact: Students must update their Banner record to include a current emergency contact with phone number and include the student’s current cell phone number no later than the date of arrival on campus. Ongoing updates should be made, as needed, to maintain accurate records.
  • Student Organizations/Events: All student organizations, including Greek organizations, should hold all meetings (leadership and full-member meetings) via an appropriate video conferencing platform (such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype). All events must be registered and approved via Engage without exception. All approved events will take place outdoors, unless prior written approval is provided.

Individual students: Any reported conduct issues, or alleged violations of these policies or other community standards, will be adjudicated through the process outlined in the EQB Guide to Living in Community. Some instances may result in a warning without the need to meet or the opportunity to appeal. The Student Conduct Board or Director of Community Standards will adjudicate student conduct cases as outlined in the EQB Guide for Living in Community. The Director of Community Standards and Dean of Students reserve the right to amend hearings to limit contact and exercise distancing to protect students. Students should follow the procedures communicated by the Dean of Students Office.

Student organizations: All registered student organizations, including Greek organizations, that violate a University policy will meet with a member of the Office of Campus Activities as outlined in the Student Organization Handbook. The Assistant Dean of Campus Activities and Dean of Students reserve the right to amend this process to limit contact and exercise distancing to protect students. Student organization leaders should follow the procedures communicated by the Dean of Students Office.

The University is taking these measures seriously. We expect full compliance. We need to stress to you that these policies are not intended to tell you what you cannot do, but what we all need to do to stay safe during this pandemic.

Any willful violations of these policies will lead to your being asked to leave campus and resume your studies remotely for the remainder of the academic year. 

Restrictions imposed for violating policies and procedures relative to Sewanee’s COVID-19 public health policies may be temporary or permanent based on the nature of the violation. 

Accommodation Statement

All students are required to wear an appropriate face covering (i.e. a cloth mask) in accordance with Sewanee’s COVID-19 public health policies. Students seeking accommodations due to the impact of a disability will need to register with Student Accessibility Services and provide appropriate documentation from a licensed professional with whom the student has an ongoing professional relationship.


Please use the links provided in this document to find details on processes and protocols unique to events and departments. Students should direct questions about community standards and student conduct to the Dean of Students Office at dstudent@sewanee.edu.


W. Marichal Gentry
Vice President for Student Life
Dean of Students