Coronavirus (COVID-19)

No cases of coronavirus have been documented in Avery County or reported among our students, faculty, and staff.

Operational Status

  • Classes will continue through remote instruction on Brightspace for the remainder of the academic year.  
  • The campus is closed to the public. College operations are continuing during regular business hours; however, facilities will remain locked. 
  • Campus housing and dining facilities are closed for the remainder of the semester.  
  • The Community Membership program is suspended and all summer conferences and events prior to July 1 have been canceled.  
  • Before arriving on campus, all visitors (including vendors) must contact Campus Safety and Security at 828.898.8756.

See latest announcement
Frequently Asked Questions

Lees-McRae College continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The college is making use of Incident Command System (ICS) procedures, as it would for any emergency response. Decisions to alter operations are made with the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff as the top priority.

The college is working with local healthcare providers and the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), in addition to seeking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Information for:

Latest Announcement

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.

  •  

    Read full message

    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

Frequently Asked Questions

  •  

    What is coronavirus?

    Coronaviruses are a common cause of colds or other respiratory infections. COVID-19 is the respiratory illness caused by the novel (new) coronavirus first documented in Asia. Hundreds of cases have been reported in the United States and thousands have been documented around the world.

  •  

    How does the virus spread?

    According to the CDC, the virus spreads mainly from person-to-person in the form of respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Transmission of the disease may also occur when individuals touch a contaminated surface or object and then touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

  •  

    What are symptoms of the illness?

    Symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel (new) coronavirus, appear 2–14 days after exposure and may include:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
  •  

    What is the risk of infection?

    The coronavirus has been documented in the U.S., including the state of North Carolina. Risk of infection is dependent on where you are in relation to current outbreaks—the disease is actively spreading in some American cities and states. The WHO is still studying how COVID-19 affects people, but notes that older individuals and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, or diabetes) develop serious illness more often than others.

  •  

    How can I protect myself and others from infection?

    To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, individuals should follow the same steps that reduce the spread of influenza B (the flu) and the common cold. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to:

    • 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 (maintain 3 foot distance) 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.
  •  

    What should I do if I feel sick?

    Students, faculty, and staff who feel sick, regardless of circumstance, should isolate themselves at home until they have been cleared by a healthcare provider after recovering from the illness. During isolation, individuals who feel sick should stay home, separate themselves from other people and animals, and monitor the symptoms.

    Students who are isolating due to existing illness should notify the Office of Health Services at griewischc@lmc.edu or 828.898.8862 and contact their healthcare provider. Faculty and staff who isolate should notify their supervisors and contact their healthcare provider. Do not visit Health Services or any healthcare provider without calling or emailing first.

  •  

    What should I do if I think I may have been exposed to the virus?

    Students, faculty, and staff should self-quarantine for 14 days if they:

    • Think they have been exposed to the virus; or
    • Have been in close contact with anyone who has been ordered to quarantine because of exposure to the virus

    Individuals under self-quarantine should stay home, 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.

    Students who self-quarantine should notify the Office of Health Services at griewischc@lmc.edu or 828.898.8862 and contact their healthcare provider. Faculty and staff who self-quarantine should notify their supervisors and contact their healthcare provider. Do not visit Health Services or any healthcare provider without calling or emailing first.

  •  

    What should I do if I've traveled to a high-risk area?

    Students, faculty, and staff should self-quarantine for 14 days if they:

    • Have recently returned from areas of ongoing community spread (including cruises); or
    • Have recently returned from any country with a Level-2 or Level-3 warning from the CDC; or
    • Been in close contact with anyone who has traveled to one of these areas.

    Individuals under self-quarantine should stay home, 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.

    Students who self-quarantine should notify the Office of Health Services at griewischc@lmc.edu or 828.898.8862 and contact their healthcare provider. Faculty and staff who self-quarantine should notify their supervisors and contact their healthcare provider. Do not visit Health Services or any healthcare provider without calling or emailing first.

  •  

    Is Lees-McRae modifying its operations?

    Lees-McRae is committed to protecting the members of its community and to the successful completion of the semester. College operations are continuing. Review specific information for students, employees, athletics, prospective students, and community

This page is intended to document precautionary and responsive actions by the college, and provide information about best health practices. The page is NOT comprehensive nor intended to provide medical or legal advice unique to individual circumstances.