Updates

MONITORING CORONAVIRUS: To minimize risks to the entire community, operations have been modified with the health and welfare of students, faculty, and staff as the top priority.

Current Operational Status

May 28, 2020 at 5:42 p.m.

Return to Campus Work Procedures

As previously announced, Lees-McRae employees will return to campus work on Monday, June 1. All existing modified work arrangements will expire at that time. Faculty and staff should return to their regular work locations and work schedules. Employees who are unable to return to campus work should contact their supervisor and Director of Human Resources and Benefits Administration Mary Furst at 828.898.8743 or furstm@lmc.edu.

The college continues to monitor and respond to the spread of COVID-19 with the health and wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff as the top priority. As employees return to work on campus, additional safety measures consistent with the state’s Phase Two re-opening guidelines will take effect.

Health Self-Assessment

To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, employees and students should conduct a daily health self-assessment prior to the start of the workday, classes, or other educational activities on campus. Employees with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 should stay home, alert their supervisor, and follow the recommendations of a healthcare provider.

Click here for Daily Health Assessment guidelines


Campus Operations

The college is open during regular business hours, but campus buildings will remain closed to the public. Employees should use keys for entry and lock the doors behind them. All visitors and vendors must contact Campus Safety and Security and check in at the Robb Center. The post office will be open Monday–Thursday from 1–5 p.m. and may be accessed from the door leading to the Avery Hall parking lot.

Physical distancing markers and transparent barriers are being installed in high-traffic and/or confined offices. Employees should abide by any directional indicators or distancing guidelines in those areas.

The college is engaged in enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures. Hand-sanitizing stations have been installed in all occupied buildings. All high-touch points are cleaned twice daily and restrooms are cleaned four times per workday.

Hygiene Practices

To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, employees should practice social distancing and established hygiene practices.

  • Faculty and staff should limit personal contact and maintain a minimum 6-foot distance apart.
  • 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.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to wear face coverings in public spaces and expected to wear them anytime they cannot maintain a physical distance from others.
  • Faculty and staff in individual offices should consider working with office doors shut.
  • Faculty and staff should avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment.
  • Faculty and staff are expected to make use of technology to limit the size and frequency of in-person meetings.
  • Faculty and staff should eat in areas that allow for appropriate physical distancing (e.g. outdoors, in an office with the door closed, etc.).

All visitors to campus, including contractors and vendors must check in with security and are expected to follow these same guidelines.

Training

All full-time and part-time employees must complete the following SafeColleges modules before returning to work on campus. The courses reinforce and clarify what we know today about COVID-19 and how to work safely with others.

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

Note: All previously assigned SafeColleges modules not associated with COVID-19 should be completed by May 31.

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    (April 29) All conferencing and events canceled

    April 29, 2020 at 12:03 p.m.

    As North Carolina plans to lift stay at home restrictions in phases over the next several weeks, the college has canceled all summer conferencing and events including the Lees-McRae Summer Theatre season and the remainder of the FORUM season. 

    This announcement extends the previous July 1 closure through the remainder of the summer until classes resume in the fall. At this time, the college plans to resume all in-person classes and events in August.

    In addition to the popular community programs, all other summer events are canceled. This includes the New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) summer session, Frolic alumni weekend, and both academic and athletic camps. The college community membership program will also remain suspended until the fall.

    The three shows previously planned for the Lees-McRae Summer Theatre 2020 season—The Drowsy Chaperone, America’s Artist: The Norman Rockwell Story, and Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical—will be postponed to summer 2021.

    Ticket refund information for Lees-McRae Summer Theatre will be shared at lmc.edu/summertheatre. FORUM patrons will be contacted directly regarding refunds.

    For all other Lees-McRae event-related questions, please contact Director of Events and Meetings Jesse Shuler at shulerj@lmc.edu or 828.898.3652.

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    (April 24) Spring Refunds and Fall Semester

    April 24, 2020 at 1:26 p.m.

    Dear Students,

    I hope each one of you is doing well and staying healthy. I miss seeing you and the life and energy you bring to campus. As you wind down this semester, I wanted to reach out to you directly with some financial news and a date to look forward to as we think about next year.

    Thank you for your patience as we have worked over the last few weeks to develop a fair and equitable process for issuing spring semester refunds for your room and board. This has been a difficult and time-consuming process that required us to unwind our contractual obligations to our operational partners like Aramark. Furthermore, because each individual student’s financial aid is unique, actual out-of-pocket costs for room and board varies as a result. Refunds have been individually calculated taking into account your cost and the actual financial aid you have received from the college. You will receive an individual email from the student accounts office next week that explains how your refund was calculated and how that money will be distributed.

    As part of the CARES Act, Congress has approved a stimulus program called the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to assist college students during this time. The college has received our portion of HEERF monies and we are ready to disburse them in the form of direct cash payments. Federal guidance requires us to distribute the funds based on individual financial need, so we have used data from each of your FAFSA filings to help calculate this. Every federal aid eligible student will be getting a direct cash grant of these HEERF funds from the college. Next week, a direct email will be coming to you from the Financial Aid office letting you know the grant amount you will be receiving. Please note that the monies distributed through HEERF are in addition to the room and board refunds being issued by the college.

    Finally, I know that many of you are wondering about the fall semester and whether or not we will be able to open for classes in Banner Elk. It is our full intention to be open for seated classes on campus in August and we are earnestly planning for that. In spite of those intentions, prudence requires us to plan contingencies in the event that the national or local health situation dictates a change to our primary goal. We are separately planning for scenarios that might include a delayed opening or initiating classes through remote instruction. None of us want that, but we feel we need to be prepared nonetheless. We hope to have a final decision on what the fall academic calendar will look like by July 20. At that time, we will announce whether we have a traditional mid-August open as we are planning, or if we need to alter the fall semester to something different.

    In closing, be on the lookout for those emails next week from the financial aid and student accounts offices with the good news on your refunds and the HEERF grants. Please know that you remain in my prayers as you cope with the disruptions to your lives this spring. I look forward to seeing you back here on campus as soon as possible. Stay safe, Bobcats!

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Lee King

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    (April 20) Additional Move-out Dates

    April 20, 2020 at 3:03 p.m.

    Thank you for your continued patience as we update information regarding move-out. The college staff is working to accommodate everyone as efficiently and safely as possible.

    Students may return to campus to move out of their residences on June 6, 7, and 13, or during newly added dates May 1–10. In order to minimize physical contact, timeslots have been staggered and a limited number of individuals will be allowed on a residential floor at one time.

    Reserve a move-out timeslot >>  

    If you have already completed the previous form for the June move-out dates, please fill out this new form as well.

    Students and other visitors to campus should follow the following safety requirements:

    • Maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet) from others.
    • Wear gloves and a face mask to protect yourself and others.
    • Wash hands frequently.
    • Do not come if you are unwell or have a cough or fever.

    Thank you for your understanding and adherence to these necessary safety precautions set forth by Avery County and the state of North Carolina. 

    Additional information and frequently asked questions can be found on the coronavirus webpage. With questions, please contact Student Affairs at studentaffairs@lmc.edu.

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    (March 31) Important End-of-Semester Information

    March 31, 2020 at 5:23 p.m.

    Dear Lees-McRae Community,

    I hope this message finds you healthy and well. The last few weeks have been difficult for us all. Thank you for taking care of and supporting each other as we adjust to the new realities we are living with right now. I know you are eager to know how our operations will be affected in the next few months. We’ve done our best to take the necessary time to make future decisions based on facts as opposed to speculation.

    This morning, our Board of Trustees and administration met via conference call to approve the critical changes detailed in the message that follows. Be sure to read it carefully and refer to the college’s COVID-19/coronavirus webpage for additional clarity and the most up-to-date information.

    Remote Instruction and Commencement
    The transition of all our classes to remote instruction is not one any of us—students, faculty, or staff—predicted. Thank you for your willingness to adjust expectations and embrace new learning methods. Classes will continue online through the remainder of the academic year, and we will not return to seated classes in Banner Elk for the spring semester. Students will continue to receive information from their respective instructors through the learning management system. Faculty and staff will also be contacting students by email, phone, and text message to provide encouragement, answer questions, and offer resources.

    Unfortunately this means that we will need to postpone our Commencement ceremony for the class of 2020. I know this is disappointing, but we will do everything possible to make this a memorable experience. We are so proud of your achievements and want to celebrate this important milestone with you. Recognition of your efforts will begin with a virtual celebration on May 8, but we are also planning an in-person commencement ceremony during Homecoming festivities this fall. Diplomas will be mailed to you at the conclusion of the semester after final transcripts have processed.

    Residence Halls and Refunds
    For our residents, the isolation has been further complicated by being physically distant from your possessions. Thank you for your understanding as we had to make quick decisions to close our residence halls after spring break. The Student Affairs office has established several dates in June that students can return to campus to retrieve their personal items. Specific information on this move-out process will be available on the student section of the COVID-19/coronavirus webpage. It is important that we abide by the stay-at-home order issued by the governor. Please do not plan travel through the state to return to campus until you hear from us that it is safe to do so.

    We are committed to issuing prorated refunds to residential students for room and board expenses incurred this semester. There are multiple complexities that require our careful attention, including federal student aid regulations, contractual obligations to our food service and facility services providers, and each student’s individual financial aid package. Please bear with us as we await further guidance, especially from the federal government, before a formal announcement can be made. The stimulus package just approved by Congress has provisions for educational refunds and it is prudent that we fully understand the scope of that assistance. Be assured that we will be communicating the refund process to students soon.

    Summer Classes and Summer Programs
    We can’t be certain what the public health situation will look like over the summer, but we would like to resume regular operations as soon as we are able. Some of our summer activities will continue as scheduled, while others need to be modified or canceled. Thank you for your continued patience as we explore our options for the months ahead.

    Online summer school classes will continue as scheduled; in fact, registration for them has already begun. We are working on plans to safely accommodate the Wildlife Rehabilitation students who need to complete their summer clinical time in the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Faculty are also working on alternative arrangements for any summer courses that previously required a brief campus residency. Students registered for these courses will receive direct communication from the instructors.

    Beyond our academic offerings, there are a number of other important summer programs that will see changes. The Community Membership program is suspended and all summer conferences and events prior to July 1 have been canceled. We are still determining the best path forward for Lees-McRae Summer Theatre and FORUM, but both will likely experience abbreviated seasons. The Wildlife Science Summer Programs for high school students are being rescheduled to later dates. Unfortunately, the summer stay work program has been canceled for the entire summer.

    I am grateful for your resiliency and your flexibility, especially as we face the significant unknowns ahead. Thank you for your positive attitude and courage during these trying times. These were not easy decisions for us to make because we know at our core that Lees-McRae is all about close-knit relationships. We feel the absence of your presence every day and look forward to having you back on campus. Even while we stand apart physically, we can still hold close our shared values. This community will get through this—together.

    Be well, Bobcats.

    Dr. Lee King
    President

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    (March 27) Stay at Home Order

    March 27, 2020 at 4:45 p.m.

    This afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper announced an executive order that requires residents of North Carolina to stay home for a period of 30 days beginning Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m. With support from our peer organization, the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU), Lees-McRae has been preparing for this likelihood for the past week.

    The order requires non-essential entities to cease operations during this time. While institutions of higher education are recognized as an “essential operation,” the college will comply with the order to the fullest extent possible.

    Cabinet members have already identified employees with job functions that require them to conduct their work from campus. All other college employees will begin telework effective Tuesday, March 31. Cabinet members will provide individual direction regarding continued work expectations and obligations.

    The executive order does not alter the modified delivery of classes by remote instruction. Additional information will be shared regarding college operations for the remainder of the semester on Tuesday, March 31.

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    (March 23) Operational Changes

    March 23, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

    College operations are continuing with offices open regular business hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m.), however MacDonald Dining Hall and The Exchange Bookstore have modified operations effective today, Monday, March 23.

    MacDonald Dining Hall will close indefinitely at 6 p.m. today, following dinner service. Students remaining on campus will be contacted individually by Student Affairs regarding meal accommodations.

    The Exchange Bookstore is closed to the public until Monday, April 6. Bookstore staff will be available to assist students and faculty by email at sm092@bncollege.com or phone at 828.898.8728.

    Previously announced facility closures remain in effect.

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    (March 20) Modified operations

    March 20, 2020 at 7:05 p.m.

    The college is open with modified operations. Previously announced class alterations, facility closures, and event cancellations remain in effect. 

    Members of the college community, regardless of location, should continue to practice social distancing and NCDHHS-recommended infectious disease principles, including frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds each time), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. 

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    (March 19) Modified operations

    March 19, 2020 at 6:45 p.m.

    The college is open with modified operations. Previously announced class alterations, facility closures, and event cancellations remain in effect. 

    Members of the college community, regardless of location, should continue to practice social distancing and NCDHHS-recommended infectious disease principles, including frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds each time), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. 

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    (March 18) Modified operations

    March 18, 2020 at 5:09 p.m.

    The college is open with modified operations. Previously announced class alterations, facility closures, and event cancellations remain in effect. 

    Members of the college community, regardless of location, should continue to practice social distancing and NCDHHS-recommended infectious disease principles, including frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds each time), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. 

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    (March 17) Additional operational modifications

    March 17, 2020 at 5:09 p.m.

    These additional operational changes go into effect immediately:

    Student Housing

    As of Monday, March 16 at noon, all campus student housing is closed. Students should avoid returning to campus until in-person instruction resumes.

    For students with special circumstances who have been approved to stay on campus, the following conditions apply:

    • Staff members from Residence Life and Campus Safety and Security will enter rooms and make health and welfare checks daily.
    • Dining facilities and campus services are limited, and campus activities have been suspended.
    • All alcohol-registered rooms are suspended and alcohol may not be consumed on campus.
    • All visitation and/or overnight guest policies have been suspended. Anyone not approved to stay in campus housing is considered a visitor, including all other current students.
    • Sanctions associated with student conduct violations will be administered at the highest allowable level for the respective offense.

    Dining Services

    Wily’s Bar & Grill, The POD, and Einstein Bros. Bagels are closed. MacDonald Dining Hall is open with the following modified hours:

    • Breakfast: 8–9 a.m.
    • Lunch: Noon–1 p.m.
    • Dinner: 5–6 p.m.
       

    Operations/Buildings

    College operations are continuing with offices open regular business hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m.). Staff should report for their regularly scheduled hours or contact their supervisor to discuss options for alternate work schedules, reassignment of duties, and/or telework.

    Doors to campus facilities will be locked. Faculty and staff should use keys for entry and lock the doors behind them. All employees should give the Office of Campus Safety and Security advance notice of any planned visitors or vendors.

    Employees working in the Chaffee Center, Cannon Student Center, and the Business Affairs Office should limit in-person appointments with the public or students remaining in housing to between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Doors to these buildings will be locked during all other times.

    The Office of Campus Safety and Security is available 24/7 at 828.898.5756.

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    (March 16) Modified operations

    March 16, 2020 at 6:18 p.m.

    • Campus facilities will be locked. Employees should use their keys for entry and lock the doors behind them.
    • MacDonald Dining Hall is operating on regular schedule. Wily's Bar & Grill, The POD, and Einstein Bros. Bagels are closed. 
    • Before arriving on campus, all visitors (including vendors) must contact Campus Safety and Security at 828.898.8756.

    Previously announced class alterations, facility closures, and event cancellations remain in effect. 

    Members of the college community, regardless of location, should continue to practice social distancing and NCDHHS-recommended infectious disease principles, including frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds each time), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. 

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    (March 15) Presumptive positive case in neighboring county

    March 15, 2020 at 1:25 p.m.

    A presumptive positive case of coronavirus has been documented in neighboring Watauga County, but there are still no reported cases in Avery County or among our students, faculty, and staff.

    The college is open with modified operations. Previously announced class alterations, facility closures, and event cancellations remain in effect. 

    Members of the college community, regardless of location, should continue to practice social distancing and NCDHHS-recommended infectious disease principles, including frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds each time), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. 

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    (March 14) Modified operations

    March 14, 2020 at 8:15 p.m.

    The college is open with modified operations. Previously announced class alterations, facility closures, and event cancellations remain in effect. 

    Members of the college community, regardless of location, should continue to practice social distancing and NCDHHS-recommended infectious disease principles, including frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds each time), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. 

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    (March 13) Athletic and campus visits

    March 13, 2020 at 5:12 p.m.

    Updates:

    • Lees-McRae has suspended all conference and non-conference athletic activity. Student-athletes with scheduled competitions and travel will receive information from their respective coaches. Read the statement from Conference Carolinas announced on March 12.
    • All campus visits for prospective students and families have been canceled from Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 22. Tours for larger groups have been suspended until April 11. Participants should contact the Office of Admission at merritta@lmc.eduor 828.898.8772 with questions.

    Previously announced class alterations, facility closures, and event cancelations remain in effect. 

    Members of the college community, regardless of location, should continue to practice social distancing and NCDHHS-recommended infectious disease principles, including frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds each time), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. 

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    (March 12) Classes altered

    March 12, 2020 at 5:56 p.m.

    At this time, no cases of coronavirus have been documented in the High Country or reported among our students, faculty, and staff. However, cases continue to be confirmed in other parts of the state and throughout the country. Lees-McRae continues to modify operations to minimize risks to the entire community.

    The situation is evolving with new guidance issued by local, state, and federal agencies on a daily basis. Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and the White House announced a 30-day travel ban on flights from Europe.

    While the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has not called for pre-emptive school closures, the college has made the difficult decision to move in-person classes online beginning Monday, March 23.

    All in-person classes, both on the main campus in Banner Elk and those held at Surry Community College, are canceled from Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 22, so faculty and staff can make preparations for remote instruction. Students will receive information from their respective instructors through Brightspace, the college’s learning management system. The college plans to resume regular classroom instruction on Monday, April 13.

    Members of the college community should continue to practice NCDHHS-recommended infectious disease principles. This includes, frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds each time), avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. Individuals should isolate themselves from people who are sick and follow CDC guidelines for self-quarantine based on recent activity. Students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to avoid travel to destinations with active outbreaks.
     

    Return to Campus/Housing
    Students should avoid returning to campus until in-person instruction resumes. Students who remained on campus during Spring Break should vacate housing by noon on Monday, March 16.

    Students who were not on campus during Spring Break may retrieve critical personal items, medications, or course materials between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the following days:

    • Monday, March 16 – Avery Hall
    • Tuesday, March 17 – Tennessee and Virginia Halls
    • Wednesday, March 18 – Tate Hall
    • Thursday, March 19 – Baldwin, Bentley, and McMillian Halls, the Honors Cottage, Student Apartments and Houses

    The Office of Residence Life will provide additional information about procedures for item retrieval.

    Students with special circumstances who require continued on-campus housing should contact the Dean of Students at kittsj@lmc.edu. Dining facilities and campus services will be limited, and students that remain housed should expect significantly reduced campus activities.
     

    Events/Athletics
    The previously announced changes to events remain in effect. Prior to April 11, college-sponsored events with expected attendance of more than 20 people taking place on campus or off campus will be postponed, canceled, or virtualized. Event hosts should contact the Office of Events and Meetings at shulerj@lmc.edu or 828.898.3652.

    Student-athletes with scheduled competitions and travel will receive information from their respective coaches. The Office of Athletics and Club Sports will follow the guidance of the athletic conference.
      

    Operations
    Lees-McRae is committed to protecting the members of its community and to the successful completion of the semester. College operations will continue and the Banner Elk campus will remain open, but previously announced facility closures and travel limitations remain in effect. Staff should plan to report for regularly scheduled hours. Faculty will receive information from the Provost and their respective Deans for guidance on instructional continuity.

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    (March 11) Modified operations

    March 11, 2020 at 5:45 p.m.

    A coronavirus taskforce—including senior leadership—continues to monitor and prepare for the spread of COVID-19. There are no cases of the coronavirus reported among our students, faculty, and staff or documented in our region, however cases have been confirmed in other parts of the state and throughout the country. On March 10, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina, so that local health departments have the best access to state support and emergency funding.

    Lees-McRae will make any decisions to alter its operations with the safety of students, faculty, and staff as its top priority. The college is using the latest information from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, and the World Health Organization (WHO). At this time, the NCDHHS and CDC are not recommending pre-emptive school closures. As such Lees-McRae will remain open, but the college is taking action to minimize risks to the entire community.

    Most residential students can travel to Banner Elk as scheduled after Spring Break. However, out of an abundance of caution students, faculty, or staff that meet certain criteria are asked to self-quarantine or isolate prior to their return to campus.

    Self-quarantine
    Students, faculty, and staff in one or more the following categories should self-quarantine for 14 days:

    • Recently returned from any country with a Level-2 or Level-3 warning from the CDC
    • Been in close contact with anyone who has traveled to one of these areas
    • Been in close contact with anyone who has been ordered to quarantine because of exposure to the virus

    Individuals under self-quarantine should distance themselves from others and pay close attention to changes in health. People who develop a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should contact a healthcare provider immediately. Discontinuing a self-quarantine after the time period has passed should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.

    Isolation
    Students, faculty, and staff that currently feel sick, regardless of circumstance, should delay their return to campus until they have been cleared by a healthcare provider after recovering from the illness. During isolation, individuals that feel sick should stay home, separate themselves from other people and animals, and monitor the symptoms.
     

    Students that plan to self-quarantine or isolate due to existing illness should contact the Office of Health Services at griewischc@lmc.edu or 828.898.8862 and notify instructors to request accommodations. Faculty and staff that self-quarantine or isolate should contact their supervisors to make arrangements for remote work.

    In consultation with the Board of Trustees, as well as faculty and emergency management experts, Lees-McRae will also adopt the following policies for students, faculty, and staff immediately.
     

    Academics
    Classes will resume after Spring Break as scheduled on Monday, March 16. Faculty are asked to prepare their classes for a possible change to remote instruction, but all existing face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses will resume as planned. Faculty should work individually with students in the event of increased absence from classes. 

    Spring and summer study abroad programs have been canceled due to travel advisories from the CDC. Participants in the Expedition Italy: Adventure and Ancient Medicine study abroad program scheduled for May 2020 and the Hannam University summer exchange program in South Korea should contact the Office of Experiential Learning and International Education at weatherfordj@lmc.edu or 828.898.2518.

    Athletics
    All home and away athletic events will continue as scheduled. Spectators at home events will be limited to current students and athletic staff until April 11.

    Facilities
    The following facilities will be closed until April 11: Broyhill Wellness Center, and the Student Recreation Complex and Indoor Climbing Wall. All buildings in operation will be cleaned and sanitized daily with EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectants. MacDonald Dining Hall and other campus food-service locations are practicing enhanced cleanliness protocols.

    Events
    All college-sponsored events prior to April 11 with expected attendance of more than 20 people taking place on campus or off campus will be postponed, canceled, or virtualized. Event hosts should contact the Office of Events and Meetings at shulerj@lmc.edu or 828.898.3652.

    Travel
    The college is observing travel advisories and recommendations from the CDC:

    Warning – Level 3
    Avoid Nonessential Travel

    China
    Iran
    Italy
    South Korea

    • College-sponsored travel by students, faculty, and staff is restricted until further notice
    • College strongly recommends avoiding personal travel
    • Conduct self-quarantine after return

    Alert – Level 2
    Practice Enhanced Precautions

    Japan

     

    • College-sponsored travel by students, faculty, and staff is restricted until further notice
    • College recommends avoiding personal travel
    • Conduct self-quarantine after return

    Alert – Level 1
    Practice Usual Precautions

     Hong Kong

     

    Visitors
    Campus tours are permitted for individuals and families, but will cease for all groups until April 11. Participants should contact the Office of Admission at merritta@lmc.edu or 828.898.8772.

    The community membership program and the associated access to the Dotti M. Shelton Learning Commons, the Broyhill Wellness Center, the Arthur-Lauritsen-Sanders Track, the Outdoor Tennis Courts, and the Rhea-Lyons Indoor Swimming Pool will be suspended until April 11. Members should contact the Office of Student Affairs at kittsj@lmc.edu or 828.898.8797 for more information.

    Updates
    Lees-McRae will communicate policy changes through college issued email addresses and update the coronavirus webpage daily. In the event that there are serious threats to college operations, the college will send alerts through a multi-layer notification system powered by Rave Mobile Safety. All current students, faculty, and staff are automatically enrolled in the alert system, but are encouraged to add mobile phone numbers to their profile in order to receive text alerts and updates.

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    (March 5) Message from President King

    March 5, 2020 at 12:17 p.m.

    Dear Campus Community,

    Before many of you leave for Spring Break, I wanted to give you an update on the coronavirus or COVID-19. The leadership team is continuing to monitor its spread and what impacts it may have on our community. Earlier this week, the state had its first confirmed case and the college is making all necessary plans to alter our operations if cases are documented closer to home.

    To help answer questions, we put together a webpage devoted to the coronavirus. We will continue to post updates and additional information that may be helpful to you or your families. Lees-McRae will comply within any guidelines from our local healthcare partners, the North Carolina Department of Health, or the CDC.

    While the overall risk of contracting the coronavirus is quite low, please follow sanitization and communicable disease protocols while on campus and during your Spring Break travel. Be sure to familiarize yourself with best health practices, including frequent handwashing, avoid touching your face, covering coughs or sneezes, and cleaning high-traffic areas. Distance yourself from others if you become sick, so you limit the chance of spreading the illness.

    Please keep your fellow students, faculty, and staff in your thoughts and prayers. Remember that members of the Lees-McRae family have friends and loved ones living in areas of higher risk in the U.S. and around the world. For your own safety, and to allow medical professionals to conduct their work unimpeded, I strongly encourage you to avoid travel in states—especially Florida, California, and Washington—or countries affected by the virus.

    Enjoy your well-deserved break. We look forward to your return and the completion of another successful semester.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Lee King

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    (February 28) Monitoring coronavirus

    Feb. 28, 2020 at 2:07 p.m.

    Lees-McRae officials are monitoring a potential public health threat in the form of a coronavirus—Novel (New) Coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19. Coronaviruses are an extremely common cause of colds or other respiratory infections. Thousands of cases of the COVID-19 strain have been documented around the world—predominantly in China and other parts of Asia. While cases have been reported in the U.S., there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina at this time.

    This coronavirus is considered to be a serious public health threat, but the immediate risk to the general American public is considered low. This winter, individuals are more likely to contract influenza B (the flu): one in 10 people have influenza each flu season. Basic infectious disease principles are key to containing the spread of any virus.

    Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to:

    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and 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.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
    • Seek medical care if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

    The college will observe any state or federal advisories for preventing or responding to any outbreaks. Potential effects to college operations include modified courses, or canceled public events and athletic competitions.

    For more information on COVID-19, please visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the World Health Organization (WHO).

Two cases of COVID-19 have been documented in Avery County. Visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) dashboard for additional information about transmission in the state.

 

Prevention Tips


Follow infectious disease guidelines:

  • Avoid large crowds and maintain distance from others
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

Individuals who feel sick should isolate themselves at home and avoid entering campus facilities until being cleared by a healthcare provider.

 

Helpful Links


NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

Get updates by texting COVIDNC to 898211.
 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

Information For:


Students

Employees
Athletics
Prospective Students
Community

 

The Office of Campus Safety and Security is available 24/7 at 828.898.8756.