Fall 2020

Return to Campus

Though we value collaboration and know that opportunity can be found here in the mountains, the health and wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff remains our top priority. A safe and healthy return to in-person instruction in fall 2020 will allow us to best embody our mission, but each of us must do our part. Together we are BOBCATSTRONG.

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I commit to being #BobcatStrong

for myself

    • By washing my hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer
    • By reducing my personal contact and not shaking hands
    • By not touching my eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • By monitoring my health and contacting my healthcare provider when I feel sick
    • By getting plenty of rest, healthy food, and exercise
for my peers

    • By maintaining physical distance of at least six feet from others
    • By wearing a face covering in common spaces including classes and labs
    • By isolating myself from others when I feel sick
    • By covering my cough or sneeze with a tissue or a sleeve
    • By encouraging others and offering support for those in need
for my community

    • By following institutional, local, and state health guidelines and protocols
    • By limiting use of common areas and disposing of trash properly
    • By avoiding large crowds or gatherings on or off campus
    • By restricting travel to and from campus to essential needs
    • By educating myself on COVID-19 mitigation strategies and best practices

 

  

Health and Wellness

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all members of the college community should reduce personal contact, wear a face covering, conduct a daily health assessment, and practice established hygiene measures.

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Academics

Lees-McRae will resume in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester. The distance learning calendar is unchanged, but the calendar for seated programs has been altered to reduce travel to and from campus.

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Student and Residence Life

The college is committed to an engaging and dynamic campus experience. Student activities and gatherings will be held virtually and by other newly imagined means throughout the semester.

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Athletics

The athletics department is planning for the safe return of student-athletes using information from state and local health officials, the NCAA Sport Science Institute, and the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA).

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Events and Community

All college-sponspored events will abide by state opening criteria and local gathering guidelines. Virtual offerings will be made available to students, employees, and the community, when events are postponed or canceled.

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Employees

Faculty and staff have returned to campus work, but will continue to operate with enhanced health and safety measures to protect themselves, their colleagues, and the community at large.

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Health and Wellness

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all members of the college community should reduce personal contact, wear a face covering, conduct a daily health assessment, and practice established hygiene measures.

The below safety measures are consistent with the state’s opening criteria, local public health guidance, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) best practices. Additional modifications or requirements may take effect as necessary.

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    Wellness Kit

    Students, faculty, and staff will receive a wellness kit prior to the start of classes. Items in the wellness kit, including two washable face coverings, an oral thermometer, hand sanitizer, and health reference cards, will help individuals follow state health guidelines. Students and employees are responsible for using, cleaning, and maintaining the items in their individual wellness kits.
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    Training

    All students and employees must complete training on SafeColleges before returning to campus for seated classes or engaging in on-campus work. Students, faculty, and staff should login to Montibus to view and complete the modules assigned to them, including but not limited to:

    • Coronavirus Awareness (8 minutes)
    • Coronavirus: CDC Guidelines for Making and Using Cloth Face Coverings (9 minutes)
    • Coronavirus: Cleaning and Disinfecting your Workplace (10 minutes)
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    Daily Self-Assessment

    Students and employees should conduct a daily health self-assessment prior to the start of the workday, classes, or other educational activities on campus.

    Click here for Daily Health Assessment guidelines >>

    The college will engage in contact tracing with local health officials if a member of the college community tests positive for or is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

    Those who feel sick, should isolate themselves in their residence hall room or at home until they have been cleared by a healthcare provider after recovering from the illness. During isolation, individuals who feel sick should separate themselves from other people and monitor for worsening symptoms.

    Students Who Are Sick
    Students who are isolating due to illness should contact their healthcare provider and notify the Office of Health Services at griewschc@lmc.edu or 828.898.8862. Individuals who feel sick should not visit Health Services or any healthcare provider without calling or emailing first.

    Employees Who Are Sick
    Faculty and staff who isolate should contact their healthcare provider and notify their supervisors and the Office of Human Resources at furstm@lmc.edu or 828.898.8743. Individuals who feel sick should not visit any healthcare provider without calling or emailing first. 

    The college will engage in contact tracing with local health officials if a member of the college community tests positive for or is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

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    Physical Distancing

    Students and employees should limit personal contact and maintain a minimum 6-foot distance apart. Members of the community should avoid using someone else’s desks, books, materials, phones, or other equipment.

    Physical markers and transparent barriers have been installed in high-traffic and/or confined spaces on campus. Students and employees should abide by any directional indicators or distancing guidelines in those areas.

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    Face Coverings

    Students, employees, and visitors are required to wear face coverings in common spaces indoors, including all classrooms, labs, and other learning spaces. Individuals are expected to wear face coverings anytime they cannot maintain a physical distance from others, including meetings in small offices. 

    Students and employees may use the face coverings provided by the college or supply their own reusable or disposable coverings. Everyone should carry a face covering with them whenever they are on campus.

    Face coverings may be removed or clear face shields may be used in place of coverings when communication is necessary between deaf or hard of hearing person and others. Face coverings may be removed when individuals are actively eating or drinking. Students may remove face coverings in their own residence hall rooms and employees may remove face coverings when they are alone in their own offices. 

    Students
    Students who have been advised by a medical professional to not wear a face covering due to a medical condition should document exemptions with the Office of Health Services at griewishc@lmc.edu or 828.898.8862.

    Employees
    Faculty and staff should document possible medical condition exemptions with the Office of Human Resources at furstm@lmc.edu of 828.898.8743.

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    Hygiene Practices

    The college community should follow the same steps that reduce the spread of influenza B (the flu) and the common cold, including:

    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds each time).
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it away.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
    • Refrain from shaking hands.
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    Cleaning

    The college is engaged in enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures. All high-touch points are cleaned multiple times daily and common restrooms are cleaned four times per day.

    Disinfectant wipes and other cleaning supplies will be available in every classroom for individual use. Hand-sanitizing stations have been installed in all occupied buildings.


Academics

Lees-McRae will resume in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester. The distance learning calendar is unchanged, but the calendar for seated programs has been altered to reduce travel to and from campus.

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    Academic Calendar

    In-person classes in Banner Elk will begin on Monday, Aug. 17. To reduce travel, classes will be held on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7), and the last day of in-person classes will be Friday, Nov. 20. Classes will not be held the week of Thanksgiving (Nov. 23–27) prior to the conclusion of the semester with reading days and final exams held remotely.

    Academic Calendar

    Visit Academic Resources for the complete 2020–21 academic calendars for Main Campus and Distance Learning. If necessary, changes to the spring 2021 semester will be announced at a later date.

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    Classrooms

    Room-specific plans have been developed for every classroom and other learning spaces, such as labs, studios, and rehearsal rooms. Furniture and equipment has been moved to allow physical distancing. Physical markers and transparent barriers have been installed in high-traffic and/or confined spaces on campus. Students should abide by any directional indicators or distancing guidelines in those areas.
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    Course Materials

    Students will continue to use the all-inclusive textbook rental program through Barnes & Noble for the fall semester. Students can order required textbooks and course materials through the bookstore website. Main campus students will pick up their textbooks from the Exchange Bookstore on their move-in day during their designated check-in time. Orders should be placed at least 24 hours prior to the move-in day for textbook orders to be ready. Distance learning students will receive their books directly by mail.

    Students may direct questions by email to sm092@bncollege.com or phone at 828.898.8728.

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    Shelton Learning Commons

    Classes and other operations will resume in the Learning Commons, but use of the facility is limited to students, faculty, and staff. Guests are required to wear a face covering at all times and should abide by furniture rearrangement and distancing markers. The POD will open for sales of prepackaged food and drinks.
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    Support Services

    The Burton Center for Student Success will offer tutoring, academic advising, learning assistance, and career advice through limited in-person meetings or through virtual appointments.


Student and Residence Life

The college is committed to an engaging and dynamic campus experience. Student activities and gatherings will be held virtually and by other newly imagined means throughout the semester.

Check The Den daily and follow @leesmcraestudentlife on Instagram to stay current on events and programs that you can participate in virtually.

Students must sign and acknowledge the COVID-19 addendum to the Student Handbook before returning to campus. Students are expected to complete training and abide by health and wellness protocols, including daily health assessments, physical distancing, face coverings, and good hygiene practices, throughout the semester. 

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    Housing

    Plans have been developed for every residence on campus. Furniture and equipment has been moved to allow physical distancing. Physical markers and transparent barriers have been installed in high-traffic and/or confined spaces on campus. Students should abide by any directional indicators or distancing guidelines in those areas.

    View the 2020–21 housing contract

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    Quarantine

    In the event a student tests positive for or is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, residential rooms have been identified for quarantine.
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    Move-in

    Students are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days prior to returning to campus. This means limiting close contact to immediate family members and abiding by strict health protocols when in their presence. Quarantine should also include limited travel and movement and the avoidance of public spaces.

    To limit the amount of students arriving at once, residents will be invited by email to sign up for a check-in time. New students will arrive on August 12, prior to orientation. Fall student-athletes will move in August 8 or 9, or as directed by their coach. Visit the move-in page for frequently asked questions including a list of items to bring.

    Here are the available move-in dates and times:

    Bobcat Days of Summer Move-in 
    Saturday, Aug. 8 from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–3 p.m.
    Sunday, Aug. 9 from 1–4 p.m.

    New Student Move-in (non-athletes)
    Wednesday, Aug. 12 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

    Returning Student Move-in
    Saturday, Aug. 15 from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
    Sunday, Aug. 16 from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.

    Fall student-athletes will hear from their coaches regarding move-in and should register for a check-in time on the date communicated to them. 

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    Dining Services

    Dining services will continue by observing physical distancing guidelines, decreasing capacity in locations, reconfiguring serving stations, and removing most self-served items. Service stations, service carts, beverage stations, counters, and handrails, will be sanitized every 20 minutes. To ensure proper sanitation and cleaning, dine-in locations will close for a limited time between meal periods to clean and sanitize for additional safety measures.

    MacDonald Dining Hall
    • Tables and chairs will be eliminated or moved to allow for physical distancing recommendations from local and state health officials. Directional signage has been installed to create clear pathways for location entrance, station queues, guest flow, and location exits.
    • Plates and metal silverware will be offered during the limited dine-in service and then washed and sterilized between uses. All other items will be served in disposable containers that are passed to the guest.
    • The salad bar and deli station has changed to offer a variety of a pre-made options. The self-service dessert station has also been converted to individually wrapped in-house baked items.
    • The fountain beverage station will continue to be self-serve using the machine levers. Milk, juice, and other drink items that require touch will be served upon request.
    Other Dining Locations
    • The POD in the Shelton Learning Commons will continue to sell prepackaged food and drinks. Wily's Bar & Grill will have limited capacity for dining in and all items will be served in disposable containers that are passed to the guest. Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Exchange Bookstore will sell food and drink items to-go only.

    All food-service employees are required to follow new check-in procedures, including temperature checks and hand washing, before entry and their workday begins. In adherence to state and local regulations and guidance, appropriate personal protection will be worn by all employees based on their role and responsibilities. Training on proper use, laundering, and disposal of personal protection gear is mandatory. Every food-service employee entering the dining locations will be provided a face covering and required to wear it while on site.

    Food-service employees will engage in more frequent handwashing and change gloves after handwashing and in between tasks. There will be increased frequency of swapping serving utensils and platters during and after service times, with enhanced sanitization of food contact surface areas, serving areas, and door handles.


Athletics 

The athletics department is planning for the safe return of student-athletes using information from state and local health officials, the NCAA Sport Science Institute and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). 

The Conference Carolinas Board of Directors unanimously approved a plan to proceed with intercollegiate competition in conference-sponsored sports in the upcoming fall semester. Intercollegiate competition may begin no earlier than Sept. 18, 2020. 

Read the announcement

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    Prior to Arrival

    Student-athletes should complete all required annual medical and insurance information forms. In addition to the annual forms, a self-screening questionnaire should be completed within two weeks prior to their arrival on campus. All forms will be available on the student-athletes SportsWARE Online account.

    Athletic training staff will host virtual meetings with each team approximately two weeks prior to move-in dates. The meetings will provide COVID-19 information and educate all student-athletes on new policies, procedures, and expectations. ALL student-athletes must attend their team's virtual meeting. 

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    Arriving on Campus

    Athletic training staff will review all submitted medical information to identify any student-athletes who may be considered high risk. Prior to beginning any team activity, student-athletes will complete a questionnaire regarding any signs/symptoms, and activities that may have put them at risk for exposure. Student-athletes will be given a temperature check upon arrival and review their individual questionnaire with staff.
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    Daily Screenings

    Student-athletes and coaches will be screened daily with temperature checks and assessments prior to practices or events. During daily screenings, student-athletes and coaches must wear a mask, wash hands prior to reporting to screening area, and maintain physical distance while waiting to be screened.

    Teams will be assigned times for screenings by athletic trainers. Team logs, including student-athlete or coach name, temperature reading, yes/no for symptoms, and daily cleared status will be completed.

    Any student-athlete or coach not screened or who has not been cleared to practice or participate in the event/competition should return to their residence and self-isolate. Institutional guidelines will be implemented for follow-up.

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    Face Coverings

    Student-athletes and athletic staff are expected to abide by institutional policies for face coverings. This includes wearing a face covering in the common areas of Williams Gym, the Athletic Training Clinic, and practice areas. Specific exemption information will be provided in the virtual meetings.
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    Locker Rooms

    Restrictions and protocols for locker rooms are still being determined. Student-athletes and athletic staff are expected to abide by any physical markers, directional indicators, or distancing guidelines posted in these areas.
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    Athletic Practices

    Team practices will have specific protocols including but will not limited to:

    • All student-athletes and coaches are to wash their hands prior to practicing.
    • A restricted maximum number of participants (small groups vs. full team)
    • Student-athletes will have their own water bottle and are responsible for filling and cleaning it daily.
    • Water breaks will also serve as a time to use hand sanitizer and sanitize equipment as necessary.
    • Coaches will plan practice sessions to provide as much physical distancing as possible.
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    Athletic Training Clinic

    The following guidelines will govern the use of the Athletic Training Clinic:

    • Face coverings are to be worn in the Athletic Training Clinic at all times unless physical activity is involved.
    • Hands are to be washed upon entering the facility.
    • Occupancy of the Athletic Training Clinic will be limited.
    • Student-athlete use is by appointment only.
    • Athletic training staff will determine if treatment is necessary for appropriate healing.
    • Ice will be provided for to-go treatments.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting will be done between each appointment by the athletic training staff.
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    Weight Room

    Strength and conditioning coaches will schedule and supervise all training sessions and operate under the following conditions:

    • Weight room occupancy and availability will be limited.
    • All student-athletes are to wash their hands prior to training.
    • Face coverings are to be worn except when physically active.
    • Hand sanitizing is to be done between exercises.
    • Strength and conditioning coaches will clean and disinfect between each session.
    • After all daily sessions, the room will be cleaned and disinfected.
    • The weight room will be closed until the next morning when supervised sessions begin.
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    Travel to Events

    The travel protocol for competitions is still being determined, but will follow any state or conference guidelines.
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    Visiting Teams

    Per Conference Carolinas Policy, there will be no athletic training facility access for pre-game preparation, taping and/or treatment table use provided. Student-athlete and staff screening prior to contest will include standardized symptom screen and infrared and non-contact temperature check. Ideally this will performed prior to departure so as to not travel any student displaying symptoms. This will be performed once on overnight trips, with a second check necessary on 3-day trips. The college may be available to screen symptomatic individuals on a case by case basis.


Events and Community

All college-sponsored events will abide by state opening criteria and local gathering guidelines. Virtual offerings will be made available to students, employees, and the community, when events are postponed or canceled. 

For questions related to events, please contact Director of Events and Meetings Jesse Shuler at shulerj@lmc.edu or 828.898.3652.

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    Large-Scale Events

    In keeping with gathering guidance and out of abundance of caution, the following in-person events have been canceled. Every effort will be made to virtualize or reschedule these programs.

    • Convocation (Previously August 20)
    • 3rd Annual Family Picnic and Concert (Previously September 17)
    • Family Weekend (Previously September 18–20)
    • Homecoming (Previously October 9–11)
    • Class of 2020 Commencement (Previously October 10)
    • Lees-McRae Christmas: Annual Service of Music and Lessons (Previously December 3)
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    Class of 2020 Commencement

    To honor and recognize their achievements, the college is committed to hosting an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020. The event will be rescheduled as soon as safely possible.
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    State of the College

    President King will host a virtual State of the College address on August 20 in lieu of the planned convocation ceremony. All members of the college community are encouraged to participate.
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    Fred I. Dickerson Hall of Fame

    The 2020 Fred I. Dickerson Hall of Fame induction ceremony has been postponed until April 2021.
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    May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

    The May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is closed to the public. Saturday presentations have been suspended indefinitely. Injured animals are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact center staff at 828.898.2568 prior to arrival.
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    Community Membership

    The community membership program and the associated access to the Dotti M. Shelton Learning Commons, the Broyhill Wellness Center, and the Rhea-Lyons Indoor Swimming Pool has been suspended indefinitely. Members should contact Dean of Students Justin Kitts at kittsj@lmc.edu or 828.898.8797 for more information.
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    Visitor/Vendors

    All campus visitors and vendors must sign in at the campus safety office located in the Robb Center upon arrival to campus. Prospective student applicants and their families may check in at the admissions office in the Chaffee Center.

    Visitors will receive an ID tag that must be worn during the visit and returned once the visit is over. Visitors must wear face coverings and maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet from others.


Employees

Faculty and staff have returned to campus work, but will continue to operate with enhanced health and safety measures to protect themselves, their colleagues, and the community at large. 

Employees must complete COVID-19 training before working on campus and abide by health and wellness protocols, including daily health assessments, physical distancing, face coverings, and good hygiene practices, throughout the semester. 

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    Operations

    Faculty and staff in individual offices should consider working with office doors shut. Employees are expected to make use of technology to limit the size and frequency of in-person meetings. Everyone should limit travel to and from campus to the start and end of each workday and other essential needs.
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    Travel

    All non-essential work travel by faculty and staff is canceled. Employees should contact their supervisors before planning any work-related trips. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to avoid any personal travel, especially to those areas with high rates of community spread.
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    Visitors/Vendors

    All vendors and general visitors (including family or friends) must sign in at the campus safety office located in the Robb Center upon arrival to campus. Prospective student applicants and their families may check in at the admissions office in the Chaffee Center.

    Visitors will receive an ID tag that must be worn during the visit and returned once the visit is over. Employees must tend to all visitors while they are on the premises.

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    Modified Work Arrangements

    Employees who are unable to return to campus work should contact their supervisor and Human Resources for further guidance. Faculty and staff may request a modified work arrangement for the following reasons:

    1. Employees with documented medical conditions may request reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    2. Employees with documented qualifying conditions may request paid/unpaid extended medical leave under the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

    For questions or assistance, contact Director of Human Resources and Benefits Administration Mary Furst at 828.898.8743 or furstm@lmc.edu.

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Coronavirus Updates

The college monitors the spread of COVID-19 and follows guidance from local health officials, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

   

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Daily Health Check

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, employees and students should conduct a daily self-assessment prior to the start of the workday, classes, or other educational activities on campus.

  

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CARES Act/HEERF Grants

Congress established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist students who face financial hardships.