Dates communicated to all Sewanee students: July 22, 2020; August 21, 2020; September 18, 2020; October 7, 2020

COVID-19 Interim Policies for Students

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. These interim policies may change and when they do you will be notified via your Sewanee e-mail address.

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:

  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.

This section includes policies and procedures developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and students are expected to follow each item as written. Students are responsible for knowing these policies and directing questions to the Dean of Student’s office when they arise. These interim policies may change and when they do students will be notified via Sewanee e-mail address.

  • 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; they will be marked or appropriate use will be explained in residence hall meetings. 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. Students who bring large furniture items will be asked to remove them immediately and additional violations of this policy will be addressed directly by Residential Life staff. 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. The maximum amount of persons (size) in a gathering may fluctuate during the semester; students will be notified by email as the maximum size of a gathering changes. Regardless of the maximum gathering size, however, if six feet of distance cannot be achieved the gathering is too large.
  • 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 via this online form. 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.” Students approved to travel to essential appointments are also expected to observe the three W’s. 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.
  • Protect the Bubble: You are expected to practice the three W's (wearing a mask, washing your hands, watching your distance) while on the Domain. Students are expected to wear a face covering except when they are alone, asleep, eating or drinking, or in their residence hall room with their roommates, and their roommates only.  Students are expected to make every effort to observe six feet of distance with others regardless of location. Face coverings are required on the Domain regardless of the ability to maintain distance. When in doubt, wear your mask. Hand washing is essential to slow the spread of disease. 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.
  • Testing/Isolation/Quarantine: Students must submit to testing as directed by the University. 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 testing/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 a class schedule for a particular location, 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.
resolution of policy violations

Any reported violations of these interim health policies may result in a warning (written or verbal) or swift resolution by the Dean of Students or his designee to protect the campus community and reduce the likelihood of an outbreak. There will be no opportunity for appeal. A reported violation of these interim health policies, without an associated Code of Conduct violation, will not be adjudicated through the EQB Guide to Living in Community.

Some violations of these interim health policies may result in a warning without the need to meet. For instance, a student might receive a written warning for not properly wearing a mask, for entering a residence hall where they are not assigned a room, or for gathering in a group that is too large to maintain six feet of distance. Other violations may result in a letter or call from the Dean of Students or his designee to discuss a policy violation that could result in the student being asked to leave campus to study remotely for a period of time.  For instance, a student who leaves campus without permission or hosts an off-campus guest on the Domain will be asked to leave campus for a 14-day quarantine period at their own expense.  Repeat violations of these interim health policies could result in additional quarantine periods away from campus or a transition to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

Any reported conduct issues jointly occurring with violations of these interim health policies may be adjudicated through the process outlined in the EQB Guide to Living in Community with additional sanctions. The Student Conduct Board or Director of Community Standards will adjudicate student Code of 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.

Any willful violations of these policies may lead to students being asked to leave campus for 14 days, or to study remotely for the remainder of the semester or academic year.

details on required quarantine periods

When a student is asked to leave campus to quarantine for 14 days (or more), the following stipulations apply. Specifically, students will be permitted to return to Sewanee and to reside on campus, provided that they:

  • Quarantine at home or otherwise away from Sewanee for 14 days. If your permanent residence is in Sewanee, while in quarantine you may not be on central campus or the Sewanee Village; you may not attend events or parties; and you may not enter University buildings.
  • Test negative on a University-administered COVID-19 test after that 14-day period, and pay for the test.
Note that:
  • The University will not provide funds for travel, housing, or food for students sent away for violations of the COVID-19 policies. Students must secure their own arrangements.
  • Students sent away for COVID-19-related infractions will not be allowed to quarantine in any University spaces, including St. Mary’s and the Sewanee Inn.
  • Students will not be reimbursed room and board for the time they are away from campus.
  • Any further violations of the COVID-19 Interim Policies for Students will result in your transition to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

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

student organization policies, procedures and resolution of violations

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 without exception. All approved events will take place outdoors, unless prior written approval is provided. All events must have a guest list.

All registered student organizations, including Greek organizations, that violate these interim public health policies or procedures will receive a written warning and/or restrictions as a result. For instance, if a group hosts an approved event but struggles to maintain mask and distance policies, the group may receive a warning and guidance on how to improve in the future. However, in situations where significant concern for community impact occurs, the student group student leaders and advisors may be required to meet with a member of the Office of Campus Activities via phone to discuss immediate restrictions.  For instance, student groups who willfully disregard policies for masking and distance, and those who host unregistered events, will be immediately restricted from hosting future events for specific periods of time.

Violations of policies outlined in the Student Organization handbook will be adjudicated using the process outlined there, however, some expediency will occur when interim public health policies are also violated. 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.


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


Please use the avenues already available on campus to report any violations of these policies to the Dean of Students office and/or Sewanee Police Department as necessary. We encourage community members to kindly encourage compliance by drawing a student’s attention to issues when they arise. using the LiveSafe app and via the online Reporting webpage within the Dean of Students office.

Published online October 7, 2020