Coronavirus Update Archive

This archive documents some of the important messages that Southern has sent out to campus as the coronavirus situation evolves. While this page is not comprehensive, Southern continues to send announcements to students and employees as more information becomes available.

October 12, 2020 - FAQ and Flu Shots

October 12, 2020

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

During times of uncertainty, rumors and misinformation run rampant. For answers to many common COVID-19 questions, visit Southern’s student FAQ page. Additionally, here are two questions we’ve heard recently:

I have already had COVID-19. Do I need to quarantine when the University Health Center calls me about an exposure?
Depending on your situation, you may not need to quarantine. Please tell the University Health Center personnel that you have already had COVID-19 so they can review your records.

My friend’s roommate has COVID-19, but my friend is still going to class. What should I do?
As mentioned above, it might be that your friend has had COVID-19 in the last three months and has been excused from quarantining again. However, if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, please call the University Health Center immediately for instructions. 

We at the University Health Center are here for you. Please give us a call at 423.236.2713 any time you have health-related questions or concerns. 

FLU SHOTS
Please consider getting the flu shot this year to help alleviate symptoms that could be confused with COVID-19. Beginning tomorrow, flu shots will be available Tuesdays and Wednesdays on the promenade, at the student center porch. 

Where:
Promenade – Student Center Porch

When:
Tuesdays                                                         Wednesdays
October 13:  9 a.m. to 1 p.m.                                October 14:  1-5 p.m.
October 20:  9 a.m. to 1 p.m.                                October 21:  1-5 p.m.
October 27:  9 a.m. to 1 p.m.                                October 28:  1-5 p.m.

We will also be providing flu shots by appointment at the University Health Center. Please call 423.236.2713 to set up a time. 

Thank you for helping to keep our campus healthy,

Dorinda Harriss
Family Nurse Practitioner
UHC

October 9, 2020 - Thank You From the Presidents

October 9, 2020

As we wrap up the seventh week of in-person classes, we want to take a moment to thank you and to praise God! Your collective efforts to follow our safety precautions and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus are working, and God is blessing! As cooler weather approaches—with the accompanying rise in cases nationally—please continue to be vigilant so we can end the semester healthy and strong. 

University President David Smith and Student Association President Sheryl Kambuni recorded this special message for campus.

David Smith and Sheryl Kambuni

October 9, 2020 - Event Policy Updates

October 9, 2020

Thank you for your compliance with policies that have been established to this point, and for your patience as these policies continue to change and evolve. Our continued goal is to have a rich experience on campus this fall, staying as safe as possible in the process. In response to feedback and questions that we have received regarding the COVID-19 Policies and Procedures, we have made the following adjustments, effective immediately:

POLICY UPDATES AND CLARIFICATION

Southern Events for Students and Employees Only

  • To decrease gathering sizes and keep events as safe as possible, visitors and community members may not be invited to any Southern event at this time (event speakers are an exception).

Interactive Gathering Size Limits and Sponsor Requirements

  • Interactive gatherings should be outdoors only; there is no policy that allows for interactive indoor events. Though the state of Tennessee has lifted some restrictions, the CDC has not changed its recommendations. 
  • We are increasing the size limit for interactive outdoor groups to 50, which includes sponsors. There must be at least one sponsor present for every 15 students.
  • No food may be eaten at interactive gatherings or events.

Non-Interactive Events

  • A non-interactive, set-seating event does not have the same size limits as outdoor interactive events. However, maintaining 6 feet between seats is essential to protect the health of attendees and to minimize the need for quarantining participants if an attendee should test positive.

Selling Food

  • Items such as baked goods may be sold at events as long as they meet these criteria:
    • Must be prepackaged.
    • Should have been prepared with food-grade gloves while wearing a mask.
    • No hot food.
    • No drinks with straws.

The full policy can be found at southern.edu/covid19policy.

October 6, 2020 - Changes to Winter 2021 Academic Calendar

October 6, 2020

Dear Students,

I admire your perseverance through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I applaud your cooperation with the safety precautions we’re taking here at Southern. Together with God’s blessings, we will make it through these difficult times!

We are eager to have you here as part of our campus family next semester and want you to know about some changes regarding the academic calendar. Of specific note, classes will begin on Tuesday, January 19, and midterm break will be March 18-19. The full revised calendar can be found below. These adjustments were voted by Southern’s University Senate and Board of Trustees.

Why were these changes made? The Christmas and New Year’s holiday is historically a time of togetherness. While we expect that you will take precautions, we felt it was important to allow a full 14-day window of time for you to find out if you had been exposed to COVID-19 over the holidays, before returning to campus. This will help us start the semester as healthy and safely as possible so that we can continue face-to-face instruction for you.

Why not extend the semester by a week and keep spring break as scheduled? We need to keep the original end date for the winter semester in order for our summer terms to progress on schedule. Our goal is to return to a normal schedule for students as soon as possible.

When will the residence halls open? The residence halls will close on November 22 when students leave for Thanksgiving Break and will reopen on January 13. If you need an exception, such as international students or December-graduating seniors, please talk to Lisa Hall, dean of students. We will do our best to work alongside you to meet your needs.

What if I already have plans made and/or flights booked? We are truly sorry for the inconvenience the calendar adjustments may cause! As you may know, our academic calendar is usually decided 10 years ahead, so making a change of this magnitude is highly unusual. But such are the times we are living in; we join you in hoping to return to normal as soon as possible! In the meantime, we ask for your understanding as you adjust your plans to fit with the new calendar.

How does this effect MLK Service Day? Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we are unable to safely hold a service day on the scale that we usually do, so this year we have had to cancel the MLK Service Day on January 18.

More information about what the winter semester will look like is still to come. We will share details as soon as we are able to do so. Again, thank you for the part you are playing in keeping our campus family safe and healthy, allowing us all to continue in-person campus life! God has certainly blessed everyone’s efforts, and we praise Him for that. We also invite you to continue joining us in prayer for His ongoing protection.

Sincerely,

Robert Young, PhD
Senior Vice President
Academic Administration
Southern Adventist University
 
Office: 423.236.2804
Email: ryoung@southern.edu

Revised W21 Calendar

September 25, 2020 - Allergy Symptoms During COVID-19

September 25, 2020

Southern family,

We appreciate everyone who is working with us to keep this campus healthy. Fall is here and so are the routine fall allergens and allergy symptoms. This can cause confusion, so here are a couple of important points:

  1. Please keep reporting any new coughs and other symptoms on your daily symptom survey. We are finding that most symptomatic students who test positive for COVID-19 start out with “allergy” symptoms.
  2. If you have allergies or asthma, please take your medication. This will help prevent confusing symptoms and avoid potential, unnecessary quarantine. It is most effective if you take the medication every day. If you need a refill, simply schedule an appointment with the University Health Center.

Thank you for continuing to physical distance and wear face masks (even outside, when around others), as well as cooperating with other temporary inconveniences that are making it possible for the semester to continue on campus. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the University Health Center, 423.236.2713.

September 15, 2020 - Event Policy Updates and a Prize Drawing

September 16, 2020

Keep reading for an opportunity to win prizes!

There may be confusion about what events can, or should, happen during our fall semester in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This semester, we are challenged to do things differently or possibly postpone some plans. Our main goal is to keep our campus family healthy and able to pursue Southern’s academic and spiritual goals. It will not be the same as in the past, but please remember that these policies are not permanent.

Keep in mind that for COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person had any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.

Therefore, those closer than 6 feet from an infected person, for 10 minutes or more, will need to be quarantined for two weeks, regardless of whether or not individuals are wearing face masks.

Following is a clarification of policy and a few reminders. NOTE: Interactive indicates that a gathering or event involves attendees mingling together (a 6-foot distance must be maintained) and communicating back and forth with others.

Under Hosting Campus Events:

  1. The preference is to avoid in-person interactive gatherings or events. If an in-person gathering is necessary, outdoors is better than indoors but is not a guarantee that the virus would not be transmitted from one person to another. Employee-to-employee meetings should still be virtual, not in person.
  2. Outdoor interactive gatherings or events require that participants be spaced at least 6 feet apart (10 feet if exercise is involved), with all participants wearing appropriate face masks. Outdoor groups should not be larger than 30. There should be at least one sponsor present for every 15 students, meaning two sponsors for a group larger than 15.
  3. Indoor interactive gatherings or events are not within policy, but if there is a compelling reason to reconsider, contact your dean or vice president to discuss. Academic events in a classroom format are not considered interactive.
  4. Attendance should be taken at any in-person gathering or event for potential contact tracing.
  5. Food at events is still discouraged. However, there may be an exception for food at outdoor gatherings of 30 or less. If food is served, the event must follow these guidelines: 
    • Food and drink must be prepackaged.
    • Remove masks only while eating and drinking, maintaining a 6-foot distance from others. As soon as the meal time is finished, masks must be put back in place.
    • Participants should put their own trash in the receptacles.
    • In following the classroom policy, participants may have a drink with them, but the mask may be removed only momentarily to drink and then replaced immediately.
    • There should be hand-sanitizer available before and after the meal. 

Under Facility Rentals:
We regret that we must change the policy regarding community groups using our outdoor facilities. Our Service Department and Housekeeping are working hard to keep up with new cleaning protocols, etc. We cannot set up or clean up for outside groups. Activities that are not part of the Southern program may not be held in any indoor or outdoor spaces at this time. This includes school activities. There may be an exception for those who share facilities with Southern and are in such close proximity as to be a part of our campus. However, the latter organizations must obtain approval before booking any space.

Under Transportation Services:
Events that require travel should be avoided if possible. If travel is essential, planners of the event should arrange university transportation so that students wear masks and are more distanced. Riding in private cars is not recommended.

For the complete Fall 2020 Policies and Procedures, visit southern.edu/covid19policy.

You could win a $50 Amazon gift card when you take our COVID-19 safety quiz!
How well do you know Southern’s safety policy and general COVID-19 best practices for navigating the Fall 2020 semester? Take our quiz to find out! (See email for link) Get all the answers correct and you’ll be entered to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards. Deadline to take the quiz is Friday, September 18, at 12 p.m. Winners will be contacted Monday, September 21.

September 9, 2020 - COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

September 9, 2020

As we all adapt to the first weeks of school in this constantly changing world, we want to thank each person who is helping to keep our campus healthy! Our team at the University Health Center receives daily questions about COVID-19, quarantine, isolation, and testing, and we’d like to provide answers to the most common ones. You are always welcome to call the University Health Center with any questions or concerns at 423.236.2713.

Q: How long does quarantine or isolation last?
If you are quarantining because you have symptoms (such as a fever or cough) and/or are waiting on COVID-19 test results, it may be very short. For many people, it takes a few days for us to get their test results and, if negative, identify if there is a different cause for their symptoms (such as allergies or another infection) or if a re-test is necessary.

If you are in quarantine because of close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to be in quarantine until 14 days after you were exposed so we can see if you will develop an infection. (See the quarantine and isolation policy for a definition of “close contact.”)

If you tested positive for COVID-19, you will need be in isolation for at least 10 days after you developed symptoms so we can be sure you are no longer infectious.

Q: How do I avoid having to quarantine?
We understand that quarantine is an inconvenience to you. To reduce your chance of needing to quarantine, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Limit the number of people coming into your room and don’t spend time in others’ rooms. If you want to visit with your friends, choose outdoor locations where you can physically distance. Consider doing group projects by Zoom or other online platforms.
  2. Drive by yourself. If one person in a car is infected, everyone else in the car is exposed and would need to quarantine.
  3. Practice physical distancing (at least 6 feet) whenever possible to limit chances of being exposed and needing to quarantine.

Additionally, continue with good hygiene practices such as washing your hands frequently, wearing a face mask correctly, and not touching your face.

Q: I think I might be getting sick, but maybe it is just allergies. I don’t usually have allergies. What should I do?
Many people only have “allergy” symptoms with COVID-19; if you have new symptoms, call the University Health Center right away so that we can find out more about your specific case. In the meantime, don’t go to class, dorm worship, the Dining Hall, or anywhere else because you might get your friends sick. We will help you decide if you need to be tested for COVID-19 and/or enter quarantine.

Q: Does a negative test result get me out of quarantine?
Not necessarily. If you are in quarantine because of a close contact, a negative test will not clear you because you could become positive at any time within the 14-day quarantine period. If you have symptoms and they continue beyond the initial test, our medical providers may determine that you need to stay in quarantine and potentially consider re-testing. However, if you had symptoms but they have resolved, a negative test result may clear the way for you to return to your normal residence. 

Q: My roommate was around someone who tested positive for COVID-19; do I need to quarantine or get tested, too?
You don’t necessarily need to be quarantined or tested even if your roommate was exposed, but if you have any questions or concerns about your situation, please call us. Whenever we learn of a positive case on campus, we work with that individual to identify and contact anyone they may have exposed. That means if we find out that your roommate or another close contact has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted about being quarantined.

Q: I had a COVID-19 test done at a walk-in clinic. What do I do now?
You are required to call the University Health Center immediately for instructions about quarantine or isolation.

Q: I hear that other universities are testing everyone; why didn’t we get tested before coming to campus?
The State of Tennessee and the Centers for Disease Control have recommended that we not test everyone because these tests are not very helpful in people who do not have symptoms. An individual could have a negative test result on one day and then become infectious the very next day.

Q: I don’t have any symptoms of illness, but I’m still concerned and want to get a COVID-19 test. Can I come to the University Health Center to get tested?
If you have reason to think you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19, please call us so we can make arrangements to test you.

If you do not think you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 and you have no symptoms but would like to get tested, we would recommend that you go to the county testing site, where they are equipped to test a higher volume of people each day.

September 3, 2020 - COVID-19 Policy Updates and Clarifications

September 3, 2020

Dear Southern Community,

We continue to update the official safety precautions and policies document as the need arises. Below are some key changes and clarifications.

First, we want to draw attention to some items already in the policy. (For details, see the policy section noted after each item.)

  • Faculty, staff, and students who feel sick should consult the University Health Center before leaving their residence. (See “Quarantine and Isolation”)
  • There should be no Southern meetings or events held at restaurants. No reimbursements will be made for such events. (See “Hosting Campus Events”)
  • There should be no hosting of students at faculty or staff homes this semester. (See “Student Hospitality Initiatives”)
  • All university-sponsored travel is restricted for the fall term. For questions, speak with your vice president. (See “Travel”)
  • After eating or drinking, face masks should immediately be replaced over the nose and mouth. (See “Food Services”)
  • The daily health assessment is required for access to campus every day, including weekends. (See “Daily Health Assessments”)

ADDITIONS TO THE POLICY
Drinking in the Classroom(see “Classroom Configuration and Procedures”)
Students and faculty are not permitted to eat while in classes that are in session. However, they may bring water or a drink to stay hydrated, lowering their mask quickly to take a drink but immediately replacing it over their nose and mouth. Leisurely sipping a drink is not allowed.

Face Masks in the Office(see “Face Masks”)
Employees with private offices may take off their masks when alone in their offices; however, the door should be closed if the person inside is not wearing a mask. The employee must put on a mask before they interact with anyone. 

Employees working in open areas, such as cubicles, must wear a mask at all times.

Student Hospitality Initiatives(see “Student Hospitality Initiatives”)
We have always appreciated faculty and staff hosting students in their homes. However, during the fall semester, we are suspending our usual hospitality reimbursement. Faculty should not host students in their homes at this time.

First Responders(see “Campus Visitors and Vendors”)
On-duty first responders are not required to complete the daily health assessment and should not be stopped from entering campus buildings without a wristband.

For additional changes, view the document’s “Change Log” at the end of the document.

August 31, 2020 - New Food Services Options

August 31, 2020

Dear Campus Family,

Exciting changes are happening in Food Services this semester! In addition to offering increased options and flexibility, we hope these modifications will create a better experience overall. A few adjustments are still pending, but following is a general overview:   

New Ordering App

One of the most significant additions is the CBORD GET app, which will allow all guests (students, employees, parents, and other visitors) to order food and pay remotely using a meal plan or a credit card. To download the app for Android or Apple devices as well as helpful information for using the app, visit southern.edu/getfoodhelp. To order food directly from your computer, visit southern.edu/getfood. Beginning tomorrow, test out this new ordering option at KR’s Place in the student center and the Kayak in Hulsey Wellness Center; in a few weeks, the Village Market Deli and Dining Hall will also be included. When you place an order through this app, your meal should be ready and waiting for pickup upon your arrival, allowing you to avoid waiting in lines and reducing your risk of exposure to other guests. Convenient pick-up stations will be designated and communicated.

Additional Eatery

Another significant addition coming this month is the SA Outdoor Kitchen. Just outside of KR’s on the Promenade, this grab-n-go eatery will offer limited pre-made offerings for students on their way to classes. For those with a few minutes to linger, expanded and distanced outdoor seating will be available. The Outdoor Kitchen will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 am. to 1 p.m. and 5-10 p.m., as well as Sunday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. KR’s will remain open during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 6-9 p.m., and Sunday 4-10 p.m. Stay tuned for additional details.

Express Grab-n-Go

As the Dining Hall transitions back to self-service utilizing the AeroGlove® technology, pre-packaged meal options will continue to be available for guests on the run. An Express Lane allowing grab-n-go guests to move to the front of the regular line is being explored for early September, along with a cold grab-n-go station offering pre-made salads, grain bowls, fruit cups, and snacks. A separate cashier would allow guests to pick up their food and leave within a matter of minutes. Normal hours for the Dining Hall will remain Monday through Friday from 6:30-10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and 5-6:30 p.m., and Sabbath from 12:00-2:30 p.m. with a combination of hot foods and grab-n-go options. Find more details at southern.edu/food

Expanded Kayak Options

The Kayak is now open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 5-8:45 p.m., offering a variety of salads, sandwiches, and smoothies with expanded offerings coming throughout the semester. Distanced indoor seating is provided.

Village Market

The VM Deli continues to offer served-to-order meals and pre-packaged salads and sandwiches.  Hot meals are offered at most meal times except for Friday and Sunday suppers, but grab-n-go options are available at all times the store is open (see southern.edu/vm).

We will continue to evaluate Food Services throughout the semester and adjust as necessary to provide the safest and best experience possible.

If you have questions or feedback, please contact me at teddyk@southern.edu or 423.236.2481.

Blessings,

Teddy Kyriakidis 
Food Services Director 

CAMPUS EATERY HOURS

  Monday through Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Dining Hall

6:30-10:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

5-6:30 p.m.

6:30-10:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

5-6:30 p.m.

12:00-2:30 p.m.  
SA Outdoor Kitchen

11 am. to 1 p.m. 

5-10 p.m.

    9:30-11:30 a.m.
KR’s Place 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.   6-9 p.m. 4-10 p.m.
Kayak 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.     5-8:45 p.m.
VM Deli Hot Bar

7:30-9:30 a.m.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

4-6:30 p.m.

7-9:30 a.m.

11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

August 28, 2020 - Cooperation with COVID-19 measures

August 28, 2020

Dear Students,

As we come to the close of a great first week of Fall 2020 classes, I need to address some troubling reports. It has come to my attention that a few students are exhibiting reckless and irresponsible behavior that could jeopardize the ability for all students to continue in-person classes. Some individuals have been dishonest regarding exposure to COVID-19. Some are disregarding the precautions of keeping physical distance and wearing masks, particularly when “just hanging out with friends.”

I want to make sure you understand the gravity of this situation. Many people, both students and employees, have worked hard to make this in-person semester possible, but we only have one chance to make it a success. Employees have committed to doing their part. Will you commit to doing yours?

Every day, when you fill out the symptom survey, you agree to the Covenant of Care. The gist of that covenant is that you will familiarize yourself with the policies, follow the policies, hold others accountable, and in general, treat others with Christian respect. This includes protecting your fellow students through your actions.

The good news is that most of you are really taking this to heart! I want to express a sincere and heartfelt thank you to the many students who are diligently wearing masks, keeping physical distance, and following the other precautions. Unfortunately, it only takes a few reckless individuals to ruin the semester for everyone, so please hold others—and yourself—accountable.

We love having you on campus, and we want to continue offering an in-person college experience this fall, but we can’t do that without your cooperation. Please join me in praying for the safety of our entire campus family this semester, and thank you for being part of the solution to make this fall a success!

Dennis Negron, PhD
Vice President for Student Development
Southern Adventist University
423.236.2813

August 24, 2020 - COVID-19 Communications

August 24, 2020

Dear Southern Community,

As we begin in-person classes this fall, our goal is to keep our campus family as safe and healthy as possible. That means everyone working together to follow the established safety precautions and policies, protect the most vulnerable in our community through our actions, and stay informed. Throughout the semester, we will notify you of major policy changes, important updates, and safety tips. You can also find useful information by visiting southern.edu/coronavirus.

Please note that as a general rule, we will not be announcing individual cases of COVID-19. Instead, you can visit this webpage to see the number of active cases, as well as a total number since the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester. We are following strict protocols for quarantine and isolation, which can be found at southern.edu/quarantine.

DEFINITIONS

Quarantine – A person is separating away from others because medical personnel have determined there is a possibility that the individual is infected.

Isolation – A person is separating away from others because they have tested positive for COVID-19.

How can I reduce my risk of exposure to COVID-19?
In general, wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from people when possible, even your friends. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and cover your coughs and sneezes. Here are a few other tips:

  • limit people coming into your room, apartment, and/or office
  • conduct social conversations outside and properly distanced
  • even better, use a virtual platform such as Zoom or FaceTime to connect with people
  • if you need to be closer than 6 feet to someone, limit that contact to less than 10 minutes and wear a mask
  • avoid riding in cars with others
  • don’t take pictures close together, especially without masks

Please take this disease seriously. You may not know the health risks of your friends, co-workers, and professors, so even if you are young and healthy, you can help protect them through your actions.

Remember, DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR WORK if you have potential COVID-19 symptoms; call the University Health Center (423.236.2713) right away for further assessment.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the University Health Center at 423.236.2713.

We look forward in faith to seeing how God will lead our campus this semester. He has a plan for every student and employee at Southern Adventist University. Our prayer is that each interaction will point to Jesus, His great love, and the perfect plan He has for you.

August 23, 2020 - What You Need to Know for Tomorrow

August 23, 2020

Dear Students,

Tomorrow is the day we’ve all looked forward to for months: Fall 2020 begins! With so much that’s different this semester, here are some key points you need to know:

  • Wear a mask in most indoor spaces, as well as outside any time you’re around people and physical distance of at least 6 feet is not possible.
    Make sure your mask covers your nose and mouth.
  • Even with a mask, maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people—even your friends—when possible.
  • Read the Covenant of Care. Following it is crucial to being on campus.
  • Be sure you have completed the online symptom survey, had your temperature taken, and received a colored wristband for the day—these will be checked throughout the day.
  • If you have any potential COVID-19 symptoms, DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR WORK, call the University Health Center right away (423.236.2713).
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes, wash and sanitize your hands frequently, and in general, practice good hygiene.
  • Hold each other accountable. If you see someone (student, employee, or visitor) who is not following the procedures explained at southern.edu/covid19policy, ask them kindly to comply. You can also speak with me about it (423.236.2900 or lisahall@southern.edu).
  • We want this to be a great semester together, here on campus! The only way we can make that work is with your cooperation and participation in these important precautions!

Thank you for choosing to be here at Southern this fall and for working with us to be as safe as possible! Below is a list of links for easy access to lots of important information. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and my team of deans at any time.

Know that we are praying for each of you!

Lisa Hall
Dean of Students
423.236.2900
lisahall@southern.edu

Important links:

  • southern.edu/covid19policy—The university’s full COVID-19 policy for Fall 2020
  • southern.edu/care—The Covenant of Care that all students and employees must agree to
  • southern.edu/coronavirus—The main hub for information regarding fall safety features and policies that also includes a student FAQ and an archive of previous emails to students
  • southern.edu/safety—A list of active safety measures on Southern’s campus as well as the schedule and locations of temperature check stations
  • southern.edu/daily—A direct link to the daily symptom survey for students and employees
  • southern.edu/guest—A direct link to a symptom survey for campus visitors
  • southern.edu/quarantine—The university’s quarantine and isolation plan

August 23, 2020 - Daily Screening Locations

August 23, 2020

For the latest daily screening locations and times, visit southern.edu/safety.

Hello Campus,

Fall semester is finally here, and everyone is nearly on campus. Some of you are already here, and have been familiarizing yourself with the station locations and hours, others are still on the way. The following will be the station schedule and locations starting tomorrow. Getting checked in the dorms at night is a great way to avoid rushing in the mornings. These station locations and hours are subject to change if it is determined that there is adjustment needed. All changes will continue to be communicated to you through your Southern email:

Drive-Up Locations

  • Park Lane (Student Park):  
    • Mon-Fri, 6:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. 
  • AdventHealth Hall Lot:  
    • Sun, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Mon & Wed, 7:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 
    • Tue & Thu, 7:15 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. 
    • Fri, 7:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 
  • Taylor Circle (Hulsey Side):  
    • Mon-Fri, 7:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
  • Virginia Apartment Lot:
    • Mon-Fri, 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
  • Church Upper Lot:
    • Mon-Thu, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Fri, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Walk-Up Locations

  • Cafeteria Drive:
    • Mon-Fri, 6:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. 
    • Sat, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Student Center:  
    • Mon-Thu, 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
    • Fri, 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Student Only

  • Thatcher Chapel:
    • Sun-Thu, 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
  • Talge Hall:  
    • Sun-Thu, 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

As many of you have noticed, there is a location in the Wright Hall lobby. This location is intended only for guests. Employees and students should not be using this location as a check-in point.

Thank You,
Irene Royo

Health Screening Locations

August 14, 2020 - Critical Information for Fall 2020

August 14, 2020

Dear Students,

The Fall 2020 semester is nearly here, and we are thrilled to begin seeing you on campus! As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people, businesses, and schools across the country and around the world to implement many changes and make some challenging decisions. Southern Adventist University has not been exempt from this upheaval, but we are committed to making this semester as safe, meaningful, and fun as possible. To do that, we need everyone’s cooperation.

I’d like to introduce you to our official Fall 2020 Policies and Procedures, which can be found at southern.edu/covid19policy. Please familiarize yourself with this document; although it is long, it has critical information regarding every area of campus. You will be held responsible for following these policies. We will continue to update the document as necessary and communicate important changes with you. 

A fundamental component of this document is our Covenant of Care, which can also be found at southern.edu/care. As a Christian campus, we believe in placing others above ourselves; being intentional about our individual actions for the safety of those around us is part of how we live this out. Every employee and student must agree to abide by our Covenant of Care in order to be on campus. This is so important that it will be part of the daily symptom survey.

Please know that university employees are praying for you as you get settled in this semester. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6,7

David Smith
President

August 12, 2020 - Campus Face Mask Policy

August 12, 2020

Dear Students,

We can’t wait to see you here! As we eagerly anticipate your return, I want to make you aware of our campus face mask policy. Masks are a critical component in reducing the spread of infection on campus, and all students, employees, and visitors are expected to comply. Please communicate this policy to any of your friends and family who may want to visit and may not otherwise be aware of the need to wear a mask on campus. 

It is imperative that this policy is implemented. Each one of us has the responsibility to help keep others healthy and well.

  • Campus Face Mask Policy
    Students, employees, and visitors to campus must wear a mask in all public spaces, classrooms, and rooms where multiple people work and wherever in-person interactions occur, including when less than six feet from others outdoors. Wearing a face mask helps stop the spread of this virus and helps the university remain operational. The university will provide students and employees with two reusable, cloth face masks. Employees are encouraged to obtain additional cloth masks to make daily washing easier.
  • Any student or employee who believes they require medical accommodation regarding the mask policy should contact Disability Services (for students) and Human Resources (for employees) and should not come to campus without wearing a mask. There will be no accommodation that excludes a person from wearing a face mask on campus to protect others.
  • If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been medically cleared or tested positive for the COVID-19 antibodies, he or she is still required to wear a face mask. 
  • If an exception for singing is granted, masks are required in addition to maintaining at least 10 feet physical distance from others. Those singing without a mask need to be distanced from each other and the audience at a minimum of 15 feet. 
  • If exercising, masks are required when not able to maintain at least 10 feet physical distance from others.
  • Members of the Southern community who are outdoors must carry a mask with them at all times in case they encounter a situation in which they cannot physically distance.
  • Appropriate face masks should:
    • be fabric (washed daily) or a surgical mask (use a new, unaltered mask daily) or a ClearMask™ (use a new, unaltered mask daily and only use in the classroom).
    • fit comfortably tight on your face
    • cover both your nose and mouth
    • not have an exhalation valve or vent
    • be in good taste and should not contradict the university’s values
    • be clean and presentable
    • not be shared from one individual to another
  • Individuals are encouraged to avoid touching face masks while wearing them to minimize the risk of contamination.
  • Face masks should be worn even if standing in front of or behind a Plexiglas barrier. This is to help minimize risks associated with variables having to do with particle travel and movement by either party outside of that barrier.
  • This policy applies to anyone on campus ages 10 and up.

Thank you for your cooperation! Remember, we’re all in this together.

May God bless you,

David Smith
President

July 30, 2020 - Fall 2020 Housing and Meal Plan Information

July 30, 2020

Campus Family,

We are looking forward to the start of the fall semester and are excited to see our campus full of life again! I wanted to take a minute to share some changes to meal plans and rent charges for the fall semester. Due to the shortened length of on-campus instruction for the semester, we are reducing the cost of the required meal plan as well as the cost of rent for Thatcher, Thatcher South, Talge, and Southern Village. The new rates for F20 are as follows:

Housing Charges

Residence Halls:  $1,915 (reduced by $445)
Southern Village: $2,080 (reduced by $480)

Residence Hall Meal Plans

Bronze = $1,075  
Silver = $1,275 
Gold = $1,475 
Food Service Fee: $365 

Each meal plan has been reduced by $250 and the Food Service Fee has been reduced by $85.

Non-residence hall meal plans are available beginning at $250.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please reach out to the Student Finance Office by calling 423.236.2535 or emailing studentfinance@southern.edu. We are also available for Zoom meetings. Please visit southern.edu/financeappointment to submit an appointment request. We look forward to serving you. 

Thanks and God Bless,

Paula K. Walters

Director of Student Finance
Southern Adventist University
O 423.236.2535 |F 423.236.1894
southern.edu/finance

July 22, 2020 - A ribbon is up for YOU!

July 22, 2020

Southern isn’t Southern without students! We’re excited to see you on campus. If you’ve registered, we’ve tied a ribbon for you, and if you haven’t, we will as soon as you register—and we’ll keep it up until you get here (watch the video). You can start the registration process or check your progress by visiting  southern.edu/checklist.

See you soon!

Ribbon Video

July 21, 2020 - Fall 2020: Student Life Updates

July 21, 2020

Dear Students,
 
As we prepare for Fall 2020 on campus, we are excited! You are the heart of life at Southern, and we’ve missed you. As you are already aware, in order to ensure this semester is as safe as possible, we are implementing quite a few adjustments and want to make sure you know what to expect. Below are some key points from Student Development:
 
Process for Returning to Campus
New Students

  • Main Event (REQUIRED)
    • Arrival on campus is BY APPOINTMENT ONLY on August 14 or 16. If you do not already have an appointment, contact fye@southern.edu.
    • If you need transportation to campus, contact transportation@southern.edu before you leave home and reserve a ride from the airport, Groome Transportation, or bus depot.
    • The Main Event is your easy-access gateway to campus and will be in Iles P.E. Center.
    • You may have no more than two people accompany you to the Main Event. All participants will go through a quick health screening and must wear a face mask.
  • Residence Halls
    • If you will be living in one of the residence halls, please head there immediately after completing the Main Event.
    • You may have no more than two people (who have gone through the health screening) accompany you inside. All participants must wear a face mask.
    • Our team of volunteers will be on hand to help with move-in. You may have one volunteer helper, who will be in addition to your two allowed guests.
    • You will have a two-hour block of time during which your two allowed guests can help move you into a room. You may remain longer, but your guests will need to leave to allow for others to move in.
  • Orientation (REQUIRED)
    • From August 17-21, we have a special line-up of activities scheduled to help you learn about the free resources available to you, give you a taste of campus culture, introduce you to a few new friends, and much more.

Returning Students Living in Residence Halls

  • Moving into Talge Hall, Thatcher Hall, and Thatcher South will be BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Tuesday, August 18, through Sunday, August 23 (no check-ins will be available during the Sabbath hours). To schedule an appointment before July 31, log in to residencelife.southern.edu and click “Move-In Appointment,” then choose your time.
  • You may have no more than two people accompany you inside. All participants will go through a quick health screening and must wear a face mask.
  • Those moving into Talge Hall, Thatcher Hall, and Thatcher South will have a two-hour block of time during which your two allowed guests can help move you into a room. You may remain longer, but your guests will need to leave to allow for others to move in.
  • If you need transportation to campus, contact transportation@southern.edu.

Changes to Enrichment Credits and Convocations
All Thursday convocations have been canceled for the Fall 2020 semester and the number of required enrichment credits has been reduced to reflect this change (more details available here). In place of convocations, we will host a series of voluntary Critical Conversations on topics such as mental wellness, race, and COVID-19 preparedness. These will be held in Thatcher Hall Chapel during the 11 a.m. Thursday time slot, and attendees will earn enrichment credit.
 
Safety Precautions
It will take everyone on campus working together to keep campus safe this fall. If you haven’t yet seen it, please watch this short video outlining some of the precautions we are taking. You can find more at southern.edu/safety.
 
Quarantine Plan
Our goal is to keep everyone healthy and coronavirus-free this fall! However, we realize that given the current pandemic, there is potential for some in our campus community to become infected with COVID-19. If that happens, we are prepared to offer the care and support that is needed. Here are a few highlights from our quarantine/isolation plan; you can read the full plan here.

  • If you have any potential cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms, DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR WORK. Call the University Health Center at 423.236.2713 for assessment and directions specific to your case. The University Health Center will be offering free COVID-19 testing for all students and employees when needed.
  • A section of each residence hall has been set aside for quarantine, which is where someone who has had close contact with an infected individual or who is waiting on test results will stay.
  • Anyone who tests positive will be transferred to isolation in the Upper Stateside Apartments. His or her roommate/housemates will automatically be quarantined. The University Health Center will work with the infected student and the local health department to identify anyone with whom the student may have had close contact.
  • Everyone in both quarantine and isolation will have meals delivered and receive regular medical visits. The Chaplain’s Office, Counseling Services, and Residential Life will also provide support via Zoom and other virtual platforms.
  • Because of HIPAA regulations, students in quarantine and isolation will be responsible for contacting their professors to receive accommodation while they are unable to attend classes.
  • Anyone traveling from outside of the country will need to quarantine for two weeks before entering routine life on campus. International students should contact Arleny Weddle (aweddle@southern.edu) with any questions. Residents of the United States who travel internationally should contact the University Health Center (423.236.2713) for instructions.

Individuals at Higher-Risk
We care about our students, so if you plan to attend classes on campus during the Fall 2020 semester and the CDC guidelines indicate that you may be at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19, please communicate with your professors and housing dean as soon as possible to see what accommodations might be made.
 
Stay Informed
This is a fluid situation, so I encourage you to continue frequently checking your Southern email account, which is the official method for university communications. Additionally, you can find much of this information and other updates at southern.edu/coronavirus, the Communication Archive, and the Student FAQ.
 
We’re here for you, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office, 423.236.2814 or studentdevelopment@southern.edu. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
 
Dennis Negrón
Vice President for Student Development

Safety Video

July 13, 2020 - Fall 2020: Updated Procedures for Residence Halls

July 13, 2020

Dear Students, 

We miss you! In fact, we’re counting down the days until you’ll be back on campus. All across campus, we’re preparing for the Fall 2020 semester, and we’re excited that it’s going to be a good one! As you know, we are making some adjustments to help make Southern as safe as possible in the midst of the pandemic. Here are some important points regarding Residence Life:

  • New Move-In Procedures for Returning Students
    • Moving into Talge Hall, Thatcher Hall, and Thatcher South will be BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Tuesday, August 18, through Sunday, August 23 (no check-ins will be available during the Sabbath hours). To schedule an appointment before July 31, log in to residencelife.southern.edu and click “Move-In Appointment,” then choose your time.
  • Additional Move-in Procedures for All Residence Hall Students
    • You may have no more than two people accompany you inside. All participants will go through a quick health screening and must wear a face covering.
    • Those moving into Talge Hall, Thatcher Hall, and Thatcher South will have a two-hour block of time during which your two allowed guests can help move you into a room. You may remain longer, but your guests will need to leave to allow for others to move in. For new students, this window of time follows your completion of the Main Event.
  • Intensive Cleaning
    • Needlepoint bipolar ionization air filtration units have been installed in each residence hall room and in common areas. This will not only help us in the fight against the coronavirus but will also reduce allergens, mold, and unpleasant odors. For more details about this technology, you can read this news story.
    • The common areas of the residence halls will be thoroughly cleaned twice a day and disinfected with electrostatic sprayers multiple times per day.
    • High-touch surfaces will be disinfected with an EPA approved disinfectant multiple times per day.
    • Community bathrooms will be cleaned twice a day, with high-touch areas being disinfected multiple times a day.
    • Cleaning staff will wear personal protective equipment during the cleaning process and handling of trash.
    • To help reduce potential transmission of the coronavirus, we encourage all residents to be diligent in keeping their rooms clean.
  • Restricted Access to Residence Halls
    • Outside guests will not be allowed to come inside the residence halls.
    • Students will enter and exit through the residence hall front doors, swiping in with their ID cards.
    • Residents of Talge Hall, Thatcher Hall, Thatcher South, and Southern Village will be allowed inside each other’s building, but the number of occupants will be monitored.
  • Common Areas in the Residence Halls
    • We are installing plexiglass around front desk areas.
    • The number of students in the main lobbies will be limited.
    • Masks will be required in common areas; while students are in their own rooms, it will be optional.
    • In order to maintain social distancing, seating in the chapels will be marked to indicate where people can sit.
    • The exercise rooms in each residence hall will be rearranged based on the CDC’s guidelines. The number of individuals allowed to work out at one time will be reduced, and equipment will be disinfected after each use.
  • Personal Hygiene
    • Cleanliness is an important component of reducing infection, so we have posted signs with tips and reminders about good hygiene, washing hands frequently, etc.
    • Hand sanitizer stations will be available in each lobby.
  • Protocol for Sickness
    • All students, employees, and campus visitors will be required to participate in a quick health check each day, which involves completing a short online form and having your temperature taken. There will be multiple temperature check stations across campus, and as individuals complete the health screening, they will receive a color-coded wristband indicating that they are cleared to enter campus buildings for the day. As a convenience to students, screening stations will be set up in the main lobbies of the residence halls in the late evenings, giving students the option to be cleared for the following day.
    • If you have any potential cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms, DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR WORK. Call the University Health Center at 423.236.2713 for assessment and direction specific to your case.
    • In each residence hall, we will have a designated quarantine hall where students will stay if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have symptoms and are waiting on their test results. Students who test positive for COVID-19 will stay in a designated isolation area in the Upper Stateside apartments. More details will be sent out soon.
  • Curfews and Overnight Leaves
    • Curfews will remain unchanged. Likewise, overnight leaves will follow the same policies as in previous years.
  • Transportation
    • Residence halls will no longer be providing transportation. Instead, we encourage you to plan ahead and contact Southern’s Transportation Department at transportation@southern.edu.
  • Thanksgiving Break
    • While in-person instruction ends at Thanksgiving Break and you will need to leave campus by November 22, you will NOT need to move your things out of your room unless you do not plan to return for the second semester.

We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with local authorities, making adjustments to protocols and procedures as needed, so please continue to check your Southern email account regularly. In case you’ve missed any important messages relating to the current circumstances, visit southern.edu/coronavirus, the Communication Archive, and the Student FAQ. For an overview of the top safety precautions for this semester, visit southern.edu/safety.

If you have any questions, please reach out to housing@southern.edu (Southern Village residents can contact svdeans@southern.edu).

Together with you, we anticipate making this an unforgettable year!

Lisa Hall
Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life

July 1, 2020 - Fall 2020: Academic Calendar and Graduation Update

July 1, 2020

In our eagerness to have all of the campus family back together safely, Southern Adventist University’s administration continues to study and make adjustments with your well-being in mind. We look forward to providing the academic quality and learning opportunities that we know you expect, and to that end, I’m pleased to share the following changes to the Fall 2020 academic schedule. This should be helpful as you make plans for the coming months.

Fall 2020 Academic Calendar

  • In-person instruction will last from August 24 until Thanksgiving break. Students will leave campus for the break (November 23-29), and then remote learning will continue for two weeks after the break.Fall 2020 Adjusted Calendar
  • The two-day mid-term break that typically occurs in October will be eliminated this year to lessen travel away from the local area and to accommodate the necessary instruction time.
  • The traditional schedule for exams will be removed; however, this does not mean that exams are eliminated. Professors may choose to offer a face-to-face exam during regularly scheduled class time before Thanksgiving break or an online exam after the break.

December Graduation

  • An in-person commencement ceremony will be held on campus on Sunday, December 13. Safety precautions will be in place for all who choose to attend. Graduates will also have the option to participate in the May 2021 ceremony OR in a virtual graduation ceremony, if they choose.
  • Graduates who are unable to leave campus for the break and return for the December graduation may receive an exception to stay on campus from Thanksgiving Break through graduation weekend.

Please direct any undergraduate questions to Dionne Felix at felixd@southern.edu and graduate questions to Tyson Hall at tyson@southern.edu.

All of us here at Southern are looking forward to a great semester and to seeing you back on campus soon!

David Smith, president
Southern Adventist University

June 15, 2020 - Fall 2020 Safety Precautions

June 15, 2020

Dear Students,

While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, something it hasn’t changed is how much we care about you. Our students are the heart of Southern Adventist University, and we can’t wait to have you on campus this fall. We believe this will be an amazing fall semester, complete with Vespers, intramurals, Student Association events, and face-to-face classes. We can’t wait to start it with you!

We do need to address some of the things that will be different for the Fall 2020 semester. Because of the coronavirus, we are implementing new safety features and policies aimed at providing protection for students and employees alike. Through it all, our goal is still to offer a positive, Christ-centered experience as we face uncharted territory together.

Here are the top 10 ways we are working to make Southern safer this fall:

1. Enhanced Air Filtration
Because the coronavirus can spread through the air, we have taken the special precaution of installing high-tech filtration systems in all buildings on campus. These needlepoint bipolar ionization systems provide hospital-level air filtration in all classrooms, offices, meeting areas, and residence halls. It works by emitting charged ions that bind to airborne particles and remove pathogens such as the coronavirus from the air.

2. Electrostatic Cleaning
In addition to increasing their cleaning frequency, our sanitation team has a powerful tool in their arsenal: electrostatic spraying machines. These special devices evenly disperse hospital-grade cleaning agents throughout a room, disinfecting even hard-to-reach places. This ensures that high-contact surfaces and heavily trafficked areas receive a deep cleaning frequently. 

3. Daily Screening
All employees and students will be required to participate in daily temperature checks and symptom surveys to help quickly identify individuals who may be infected.

4. Masks
To help protect others from infection, employees will be wearing face coverings in most indoor spaces where close interactions occur. Students will be provided with two washable face masks and will be encouraged to wear one whenever social distancing is not possible. In certain campus spaces, such as classrooms, face coverings will be required.

5. Revised Calendar
Subject to approval by Southern’s Board of Trustees, we will adjust the Fall 2020 semester schedule. We would eliminate the mid-term break and end in-person instruction at Thanksgiving break, followed by two weeks of distance coursework through various methods to complete the semester on December 11. This plan reduces travel to and from campus and sends students home during the predicted increase of COVID-19 cases. We will communicate about the final academic calendar as soon as possible. 

6. Classroom Capacity
To allow for safer in-person instruction, classroom capacity has been decreased by 50%, putting more space between students while still benefiting from face-to-face interaction. 

7. Hand Sanitizer
Good hand hygiene is critical in reducing the spread of disease, so we are increasing the number of hand-sanitizing stations available throughout campus.

8. Plexiglas
To further reduce possible transmission, Plexiglas barriers are being installed at key interaction points such as reception desks and cash registers.

9. Adjusted Social Activities
Social activities are an important part of campus life, so we will continue to find ways to get together for fun, learning, and worship. However, we will make some adjustments for increased safety, such as holding larger gatherings in a big, open-air tent and canceling convocations.

10. Streamlined Food Service
Pandemic or not, everyone needs to eat! Southern’s Food Service personnel are always committed to exceptional food safety. Additionally, the team has restructured food delivery methods to minimize wait times, eliminate self-service buffets, offer online payment, and provide more grab-and-go options.

The most important factor of our multi-pronged approach to safety is you. These efforts require the cooperation of every employee and student to ensure the safety of our campus. As Christians, God calls us to demonstrate a level of love for each other that is impossible through human effort alone, one that puts others above our own desires and interests. As a campus, we are committed to living out that kind of love, and one way we can do that is by taking these safety precautions to heart and protecting each other through our actions. We’re all in this together! 

We know that when you choose to attend Southern, you’re putting your trust in our hands, and that’s a responsibility we take very seriously. These 10 points have been developed in collaboration with the University Health Center to meet or exceed state and Center for Disease Control health guidelines for higher education. They are only part of our overall efforts, which you will be hearing more about over the next weeks and months.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to presidentoffice@southern.edu or 423.236.2801.

We look forward to seeing you at Southern soon!

God bless,
David Smith
President

June 3, 2020 - Employee Return to Work Plan

June 3, 2020

We are happy to announce the following plan for Southern Adventist University employees who are working from home to transition back into the workplace. This plan has been created with the utmost concern for the safety of employees, students, and others who interact with us.

The transition process will involve a staggered, three-phase reentry plan on the dates of June 15, June 29, and July 13. Work supervisors will recommend to their vice president those employees who should return to work on campus for each of the three phases. In response to the work supervisors’ recommendations, the vice presidents will make the final decisions regarding who will return to work in each phase.

Once the vice presidents make these decisions and communicate them to their work supervisors, the work supervisors will notify employees of their reentry date. All employees who are not currently working on campus are to continue working at home until notified by their work supervisor of their on-campus transition date.

We will continue to be flexible with implementing the following plan as circumstances change or new information becomes available. It is possible that more employees will be transitioned back into the workplace in the later phases of the plan.

Factors that will help determine employee reentry dates
Work supervisors and vice presidents will consider the following when determining who may return to work in each phase:

  1. The safety and functionality of the work space—private offices versus open work areas with cubicles and public use areas.
  2. The existing or needed preparation by Plant Service, Service Department, and University Health Service to protect work spaces, such as: signs installed for traffic flow, Plexiglas barriers for public reception areas, current and ongoing plan for cleaning and disinfecting of work areas, personal protection equipment availability, daily symptom check process, etc.
  3. The degree the employee provides an essential role in relation to starting school on August 24.
  4. Implementing a numerically staggered workplace transition, bringing back only 30 to 40% of shelter-in-place employees for each reentry phase: June 15, June 29, and July 13.
  5. Employees who can continue to be effectively productive working at home may continue to do so if agreed to by work supervisors and vice presidents. Some work functions may remain virtual.
  6. Employees who are in a COVID-19 high risk category according to age, medical condition, or unique family circumstances (e.g. caring for an elderly parent in the home) may request an exception. Each employee’s personal situation will be addressed by their work supervisor and vice president. Administration may not be able to accommodate every request or circumstance.

Expectations of employees upon returning to work on campus
Beginning June 15, all employees must meet certain expectations at the time that they reenter the workplace. This includes employees who have been working in the workplace prior to June 15.

While we recognize that there are many ways to view the current COVID-19 pandemic, we also recognize our responsibility as a university to provide as safe an environment as possible for our students and employees by following the best guidance available. It will take all of us working together in a united way to accomplish this. The following guidelines, policies, and processes are based on recommendations from a variety of official organizations. Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to meet the expectations of parents, students, health officials, and others, we are asking employees, regardless of their personal opinions and political viewpoints, to support all university strategies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Support of these policies and strategies is a condition of employment and noncompliance may jeopardize a person’s employment status.

Here are the expected employee behaviors:

  1. Follow all guidelines provided by Human Resources and the University Health Center.
  2. Receive and implement COVID-19 training provided by the University Health Center.
  3. Wear a mask in all public spaces and in office spaces where multiple people work. The university will provide employees with an initial supply of masks. These masks will be available in the Campus Shop. Specifically while faculty are teaching in the classroom, there may be other official safety measures that will be permitted rather than wearing a mask (that exact equipment or approach is yet to be determined).
  4. Maintain social distancing at all times (minimum six feet).
  5. As much as possible, continue to meet virtually for committee or department meetings, even when all employees are back on campus.
  6. Avoid office gatherings in hallways and break rooms and avoid unnecessary visitors in the workplace.
  7. Participate in daily temperature checks and symptom screening.
  8. When an employee is feeling ill, report any suspected COVID-19 symptoms to the University Health Center. If an employee is sick, HE OR SHE SHOULD NOT COME TO WORK.
  9. If prescribed by the University Health Center or the state and county health departments, employees should quarantine or isolate for the recommended time period and cooperate with contact tracing.

Employees will not be subject to COVID-19 testing prior to returning to work on campus. We will be pursuing aggressive testing of employees and students who, once they are on campus, exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. Pretesting, however, is not a requirement.

Implementation of safety measures in facilities across campus
For the campus to be as safe as possible in the current environment, the following actions will be applied in each building where employees work. The Service Department, Plant Services, and University Health Services will oversee the following strategies along with training employees on how to maintain good sanitation and cleaning practices in their work areas. The Service Department will order all cleaning and sanitizing supplies. Work supervisors should inform the Service Department of the cleaning and sanitation supplies employees need in their work areas.

  1. Provide hand sanitizer stations at all entrances to buildings and restrooms.
  2. Provide signage throughout campus for good handwashing, mask use, proper cough/sneeze etiquette, and physical distancing.
  3. Provide all employees access to sanitizing supplies for their own workspace.
  4. Install Plexiglas barriers where close contact is unavoidable and at frequently visited areas—front desk, cashier, ID card desk, Dining Hall serving bars, and other check in points.
  5. Minimize use of all items that are frequently touched—clipboards, pens, magazines, etc. If items are necessary, clean frequently between customers.
  6. Provide signage for the best traffic flow within each building.
  7. Map classrooms and large meeting areas for appropriate distancing.
  8. Monitor and maintain personal protection equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, hand soap, cleaning products and sanitizing wipes.
  9. Enhance education for those cleaning and provide appropriate PPE.

May 10, 2020 - Announcing New Graduation Date

May 10, 2020

Dear Class of 2020,

I am excited to announce that commencement exercises for Spring and Summer 2020 graduates will be held Sunday, August 9, 2020. We know each of you have worked hard to accomplish much in your time here at Southern. We hope you will be able to attend this special graduation event with your loved ones to recognize and celebrate your achievements. 

While we don’t yet have the complete schedule for that day, we expect activities to be held in the Iles P.E. Center. Keep checking your Southern email account for more details, including plans for maintaining safety for all attendees.
 
Once again, congratulations, and we can’t wait to honor you on August 9!
 
God bless,
 
David Smith
President

May 4, 2020 - Fall 2020 Update

May 4, 2020

Dear Students,

We miss you! Which is why I am so happy to announce that we will have classes open on campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Your safety will remain a top priority while we stay fully dedicated to providing you with a quality, Christ-centered education in an Adventist environment. 

We will continue to offer courses online through the summer, and we have formed a special task force to explore and evaluate what the new semester will look like, including any special precautions that will be necessary to maintain everyone’s safety. We will share more details in the coming weeks. Please continue to regularly check your Southern email account as well as visiting southern.edu/coronavirus and our COVID-19 FAQ.

I am proud of each of you for completing this unusual semester. Now more than ever, we recognize the necessity of preparing the next generation of leaders and thinkers. God has a plan for each of you, and Southern is here to help you reach your full potential. We will continue to keep you in prayer and eagerly anticipate your return to campus this fall!

God bless,

David Smith
President

April 27, 2020 - Video Message From the President

April 27, 2020

The following video is a home-recorded message from Southern Adventist University president, David Smith, to the Southern community.

Message from David Smith

April 22, 2020 - Update Regarding Winter 2020 Grading Policy (Pass/Fail)

April 22, 2020

Dear Students,

Thank you for continuing to meet the challenges of this semester. Please know that we continue to lift you up in prayer, relying on God’s faithfulness amidst so many challenges.

In recognition of the significant disruptions caused by both the pandemic and the recent tornado, Academic Administration has adjusted the grading policy for undergraduate students this semester to include a Pass/Fail option, which students will be able to choose on a class-by-class basis. This decision was made after further discussion with student leaders, Deans and Chairs, and University Senate.

Here is a summary of how the Pass/Fail policy will be implemented:

  1. At the end of the semester, faculty will calculate, assign, and submit letter grades through the normal online submission processes.
  2. Undergraduate students will review their final semester letter grades and, if desired, access an online form (available by May 18) on the Records and Advisement website, southern.edu/PF2020, to elect which classes they want converted to Pass/Fail grades. We strongly encourage students to speak with their academic advisers regarding this decision before electing this option, as it may affect placement in certain graduate and professional programs.
  3. The Records office (not individual faculty members) will then convert students’ selected letter grades to “P” or “F” grades based on the policy and any approved exceptions.
    Students have until May 22, 2020, to make this choice, and once an election has been made, students may not reverse their decision.
  4. A note will be added to all students’ transcripts indicating the semester was disrupted by a global pandemic.

Here are some important points for you to know:

  • This policy is effective only for the Winter 2020 semester. It is not a precedent for future, “normal” semesters.
  • Grading Standards: This does not lower Southern’s grading standards. The policy provides for a moving “pass” level based on the type of class being converted to P/F. For example, a “C-“ or better qualifies for a “P” grade in most major or minor classes; whereas, a “D-“ or better qualifies for a “P” grade in general education and elective classes, in keeping with our current academic policies.
  • Financial Aid: Under normal circumstances, students’ GPA is used in the determination of their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). However, we have received guidance that this semester accommodations will be made so that financial aid is not negatively impacted by a student’s election of P/F grades for one or more classes. However, if students have specific questions or concerns about the impact this decision will have on their scholarships or financial aid, they should contact their Student Finance counselor (studentfinance@southern.edu).
  • Potential Implications for Applying to Graduate and Professional Programs: Students planning to attend graduate or professional schools (either now or in the future) need to carefully consider the potential effects of selecting the P/F option. Many graduate and professional schools are making accommodations for students regarding this semester, but accommodations vary by institution. Some institutions may accept a “P” grade but will then use a more wholistic approach to determine admission eligibility. 
  • Incomplete/In-Progress Grades: For classes in which students receive I/IP grades, they will be able to elect the P/F grading option at the same time as their other classes, by the May 22 deadline. If students wish to defer their election for I/IP classes until a letter grade is finalized, they will be able to do so through an academic petition filed when the incomplete work is finished.

For more information, including the official policy and the form to request Pass/Fail grading, visit southern.edu/PF2020.

Please remember, you are not in this alone! The faculty and staff at Southern are here for you, working diligently to support you and your success. Additionally, as you stretch to reach the end of this semester, we encourage you to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged…[for] with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8).  

David Smith, President
Dionne Felix, Associate Vice President for Academic Administration
Tyson Hall, Graduate Dean

April 15, 2020 - Video Message From the President

April 15, 2020

The following video is a home-recorded message from Southern Adventist University president, David Smith, to the Southern community.

Message from David Smith

April 14, 2020 - Message from the President with Financial Help for Southern Students

April 14, 2020

Dear Southern students,

These are challenging times for everyone, and we know that for some of you, finances have become an overwhelming source of stress and concern. We are aware that for many, the pandemic has led to job loss, unplanned travel expenses, and unexpected costs for food, housing, childcare, and access to online courses.

Because we care about each of you, I’m excited to let you know that Southern is pursuing two different ways for students who are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic to receive financial help:

1) With support from our alumni and donors, we have set up the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund, which demonstrates the strong support network within the Southern family.

2) Additionally, Southern has qualified to receive special funding through the U.S. Department of Education to help students impacted by the pandemic.

As we fundraise for the support fund and finalize the details for both initiatives, we will keep you updated with more information, including how to apply.

In the meantime, you can be preparing to get the most out of these opportunities. The application process will include providing documentation showing how you have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which you can start gathering now. Our Student Finance team is looking forward to working with you to get you the assistance you need.

We miss every one of you and can’t wait until we can be together again as a campus family!

God bless,

David Smith
President

April 9, 2020 - Academics Update

April 9, 2020

Dear Southern Adventist University Students,

We miss you! Campus is eerily quiet with most students having returned home and employees largely working remotely, as well. Given the significant disruptions that we have all experienced, many of you are understandably anxious about completing the semester well. Please know that we hear you and are here to help you successfully complete this semester!

Please Check Your Email Regularly
During times of change and uncertainty, communication is extremely important. From university-wide statements to class announcements and offers of support and encouragement, we are using your Southern email addresses as the primary means of sending you information and reaching out to you for feedback. Please check your Southern email address at least daily and respond to requests for feedback in a timely manner.

Communicate Early if Challenges Arise
If you are facing challenging situations and unexpected obstacles this semester, please communicate with your professors and advisor. We care for you and want to hear from you! When unexpected circumstances occur, faculty are best able to make accommodations for students during the semester. Waiting until the end of semester or even after grades are turned in to ask for accommodations is too late. Now is the time to discuss your circumstances with your professors and seek the most successful path forward with them.

We have heard from many of you through direct communication and through careful review of the student petition found on change.org. We do understand that moving all instruction online, for some of you, may increase the “complexity and difficulty of the curriculum.” While all student support areas including tutoring, counseling, and other services are still available through Zoom meetings, this too may be less effective for some of you. It was also clear that one of the areas that has created anxiety for many of you is your GPA and the concern that the midterm shift to online delivery of courses and your changed learning environment will result in grades this semester that are lower than what you normally would have achieved.

Not Moving to Pass/Fail Option
As the petition suggested, some colleges and universities are addressing students’ GPA concerns by expanded use of Pass/Fail and Pass/No-Pass grading options, the implementation of which varies widely. Academic Administration and the Deans and Chairs Advisory committee have spent time considering this option, and we have decided not to use this particular strategy, because there are a number of potential downsides to students including:

  • Pass/Fail grades may have a negative effect on student admission to graduate school, professional schools (such as medical, dental, and law schools), and professional licensure;
  • a Pass grade has no impact on a student’s GPA, while a Fail grade has the full effect of a regular F grade on their GPA, so students who are currently on academic probation or dismissal will not have an ability to raise their GPA to regain good academic standing;
  • once a grade has been converted to Pass/Fail, it cannot be converted back to a letter grade in the future even if a student determines that the original letter grade is needed; and
  • a change such as this has the potential to negatively interact with programmatic and institutional accreditations.

Other institution-wide policy changes such as fractional credits (awarding mid-term grades as final grades and reducing course credit hours proportionally) have also been discussed in the wider higher education arena; however, most of these across-the-board changes have significant negative consequences to students such as delaying the completion of degree requirements for all graduating seniors and thus delaying the graduation date of all seniors. Inevitably, these approaches will benefit some students, while disadvantaging others.

Flexibility and Accommodation
Recognizing the negative effects of institution-wide policy changes, we are instead diligently working with academic schools, departments, and faculty members to find appropriate and meaningful accommodations for students that fit each discipline and student situation. Students affected by temporary policy changes at the school or department level will receive communication directly from their school or department.

At the individual student level, we are encouraging each faculty member, in consultation with their school dean or department chair, to make accommodations that best fit their students and courses. Here are a few examples of our expectations:

  • Professors are being encouraged to be flexible as they adapt their classroom policies to our new online context, recognizing that students are now located in different time zones around the world and are facing varying challenges and environments.
  • We anticipate that Incomplete grades will be more widely used when students’ specific circumstances make completing their coursework by the end of the semester impractical. While Incomplete grades can be helpful in the short term, they can be difficult for students to complete outside of the regular semester when new courses and responsibilities demand students’ attention. If you believe an Incomplete grade is appropriate for you in a particular class, please discuss your circumstances with your professor and ensure that this is the best option for you. Also, please keep in mind that Incomplete grades are temporary grades. Any incomplete which is not removed by the end of the following term (December 2020) will expire and automatically convert to an F grade. A student may petition for an incomplete grade to extend up to one year. After a year a grade must be issued. If you receive an incomplete grade, we urge you to complete all outstanding assignments as soon as you can.
  • As professors compute final semester grades, they are going to proactively look for significant irregularities in their course grade distributions when compared to grades in previous semesters. Although we do not anticipate wide-scale discrepancies on final course grades, professors will monitor this data and will take appropriate action if needed.

This approach gives professors the flexibility to meet each student’s specific needs without disadvantaging other students whose needs and circumstances are different. The academic leadership team believes this approach will yield a more favorable long-term outcome for you than other across-the-board options would. 

Extended Deadlines
In addition to these approaches, the university has extended the deadline to receive a 40% tuition refund for a full withdrawal to April 13 and the last day to drop an individual class and receive a “W” to April 30. These extended deadlines will give you an opportunity to experience the change to online delivery and decide whether or not you want to continue in one or more classes. Most colleges and universities, including Southern, will annotate students’ academic transcripts for the winter 2020 semester to indicate that the grades may have been affected by the disruption of the semester by COVID-19.

If a situation arises in a class that you believe has disadvantaged you, be assured that the university’s academic grievance process is still available to you. If you have a concern about something within a specific course, your first step is always to discuss your concern directly with your professor. If you are not satisfied with the resolution achieved with your professor, you may appeal to the appropriate school dean or department chair. Finally, if you are not satisfied with the resolution achieved with the school dean or department chair, undergraduate students can appeal to Dr. Dionne Felix, Associate Vice President for Academic Administration, via email at felixd@southern.edu, and graduate students can appeal to Dr. Tyson Hall, Graduate Dean, via email at tyson@southern.edu.

In our combined years of higher education experience, across nine institutions, we have never seen a semester like this, and the unique challenges students and faculty are facing demand unique solutions. Thank you for your patience and adaptability as the university transitioned to an online learning environment. Please know that administrators, faculty, and staff are working together to help you complete this semester successfully. We urge you to continue communicating with us so we can more effectively support you during this time of change.

Dr. Bob Young, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration
Dr. Dionne Felix, Associate Vice President for Academic Administration
Dr. Tyson Hall, Graduate Dean

April 6, 2020 - Video Conversation with President David Smith and SA President Mark Galvez

April 6, 2020

The following video is a conversation between Southern Adventist University president, David Smith, and Student Association president, Mark Galvez, addressing a few questions from students.

Message from David Smith

March 30, 2020 - Welcome Back and Video Message From the President

March 30, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you are well and feeling refreshed after our extended Spring Break! As we embark together on this second half of the semester, I expect that you are facing many uncertainties. In addition to rapid changes all around us in society, what will it be like to have all of your classes online? How will we all stay connected, so far away from friends and professors? When can we get back to normal?

I don’t have all the answers, but let me make a clear commitment on behalf of our professors, the Online Campus staff, the student support team, and all the rest of us at Southern that we are here to help you through this new experience. I’ve seen some pretty amazing efforts already underway to make this a positive experience for you, and I have faith that with God’s help, this will be a wonderful semester, despite the challenges.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this brief video message of encouragement as you begin this new chapter.

God bless,

David Smith
President

Message from David Smith

March 17, 2020 - Graduation Postponed (Not Canceled)

March 17, 2020

This message was sent yesterday to all of the students who we know plan to graduate in May. If you did not receive the message but plan to graduate at the end of the semester, please contact Karon Powell, director of Records and Advising, at kpowell@southern.edu to fill out a graduation contract.

Dear May graduation candidate,
 
You are nearing the completion of a major milestone in your life, and we know you have been counting down the weeks and days until graduation. We also recognize that due to COVID-19, the last months of your senior year now look very different than what we all anticipated. The changes Southern has implemented for the remainder of the semester will take some adjustment, and we expect you have many questions regarding the effect on your graduation.
 
First, let us assure you that once you have completed your academic requirements, you will receive your degree even without a ceremony. Once your financial obligations are met, we will mail your diploma to you, and you will be able to request an official transcript.
 
However, we also believe that getting together and participating in the long-standing traditions of caps and gowns, Pomp and Circumstance, and in general, celebrating together as a university are important. It is always a memorable time with faculty and staff, friends, parents, siblings, and children. We are working to reschedule the commencement ceremony and will send out an announcement when the details are finalized.
 
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Karon Powell at kpowell@southern.edu.
 
Completing your degree is a huge accomplishment, and we are proud of you for all the hard work you have put in up to this point. Hang in there and finish strong!
 
David Smith, president
 
Robert Young, senior vice president for Academic Administration

March 13, 2020 - Video Message From the President

March 13, 2020

The following video is a message from university president, David Smith, to students.

Message from David Smith

March 12, 2020 - Message From the President and FAQ

March 12, 2020

Dear Southern students,

I know that the decision to move classes online and close our residential facilities for the remainder of the semester came as a shock to many of you, and we want you to know that the decision was not made lightly. Your safety is of great importance, and we believe this is the best course of action given the current global and national situation.

Those of us who work in higher education do so because we love young people and learning together! We will deeply miss the presence of students on our campus over the next few months, and eagerly look forward to resuming normal campus life as soon as possible.

While we are closing the residential facilities and moving classes online, campus will remain operational. We will continue to be here, prioritizing your learning needs.

We have created a Frequently Asked Questions page where you can find the answers to many of the questions you probably have; this is a supplement to our COVID-19 page, southern.edu/coronavirus. Other details will be communicated in the days ahead, so continue to check your Southern email account regularly.

In all things, remember that we serve a God who is bigger than all of our challenges, who loves each one of us with an infinite love, and who knows the end from the beginning. Please join me in laying this situation at His feet and seeking His blessing and protection for each member of the Southern family during this challenging time.

David Smith, president

March 12, 2020 - Classes Moved Online

March 12, 2020

After careful consideration of the increasing spread of COVID-19 and out of concern for the wellbeing of our students, Southern Adventist University Administration has determined that we will move to online and/or video distance learning for the rest of the semester. Spring Break will be extended a week with classes resuming online on March 30, 2020.

As the University switches to distance delivery of its classes for the remainder of this semester, our residence halls and Southern Village are also being closed. Students are asked to completely move out by March 20 unless they receive prior permission to remain longer from the office of Residence Life.

As this is a rapidly changing situation, further information about online class delivery, campus services, and other considerations will be provided as available. Please continue to monitor southern.edu/coronavirus for updates as well as your Southern email account.

Please join us in also praying for God’s leading as this situation continues to unfold. We continue to pray for each of you.

March 11, 2020 - Travel and Events Update

 

March 11, 2020

Southern Adventist University’s administration continues to work closely with the University Health Center’s medical staff to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Currently we are not aware of any coronavirus cases on Southern’s campus or in the surrounding community. Southern Adventist University is also taking several preventative steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 across campus.

SPRING BREAK AND TRAVEL

  • Earlier today, all university-sponsored international mission trips and study tours over Spring Break were cancelled.
  • We anticipate classes continuing to operate as normal upon the return of our students from Spring Break.
  • Important: Students leaving campus for Spring Break should take textbooks and other course materials. While we do not anticipate closing campus, students should be prepared for the possibility of distance learning.
  • Any student or employee who has personal contact with or exposure to a known case of COVID-19 should self quarantine and contact the University Health Center before returning to campus.
  • Any student or employee who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 during Spring Break should not return to campus until medically cleared. Documentation should be provided to University Health Center before returning to campus. Individuals on campus who exhibit symptoms should immediately call the University Health Center at 423.236.2713. (Do not visit the Health Center without first calling.)
  • Any student or employee who travels to a location that has a declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 (in the United States or overseas) should also contact the University Health Center to help Southern track possible exposure.
  • Absences due to illness, quarantine, or travel delays associated with COVID-19 will be accommodated. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with their professors regarding making up coursework.

EVENTS ON CAMPUS

  • All public events on campus and gatherings of 50 or more have been cancelled through April 5. This includes concerts, vespers, residence hall worships, and convocations.
  • The previously scheduled Wind Symphony Orchestra at 4 p.m. on April 4 will instead be live streamed at southern.edu/streaming.
    Enrichment Credit requirements will be adjusted. (Click here for more Enrichment Credit details.)

ENHANCED CLEANING AND SANITIZATION

  • Our Service Department’s cleaning routines have been increased as they disinfect and sanitize campus. High-use surfaces are regularly wiped down to protect campus health and minimize the risk of infection. Our cleaning supplies are rated to kill viruses, including the coronavirus.
  • Electrostatic sprayers have been deployed to augment these cleaning routines in classrooms, seating areas, and common areas. These sprayers are particularly effective in sanitizing difficult-to-reach areas.
  • Signs have been placed across campus in entryways, common areas, and bathrooms reminding the campus community to regularly wash their hands and practice good hygiene.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Continue to wash hands regularly, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and follow the CDC Guidelines to Prevent the Spread of Illness.
  • As you consider Spring Break travel, stay informed about developments and watch for official advisories that could impact when and where you can travel.
  • Monitor your university email and the university’s Coronavirus web page for updates.

Southern’s administration and the University Health Center medical staff will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. Please join us in lifting up our campus in prayer as we seek God’s continued protection and guidance.

March 6, 2020 - Spring Break Travel Update

 

March 6, 2020 - Update on Spring Break and International Considerations

With Spring Break right around the corner, we know many of you have questions regarding the impact of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. Let me share an important update, particularly as it relates to travel plans. 

Southern Adventist University has enacted the following guidelines that utilize the Center for Disease Control travel alert levels (available here) with respect to COVID-19. Other factors regarding travel may be taken into consideration beyond these guidelines. 

Travel to CDC COVID-19 Warning Level 3 and Alert Level 2 countries
Southern Adventist University will not currently sponsor any study tours, mission trips, or other travel by Southern employees and students to the countries identified by the CDC at Warning Level 3 or Alert Level 2. 
Trip organizers will communicate directly to students and employees who are scheduled to travel to Warning Level 3 and Alert Level 2 countries to explore alternate plans.
Southern strongly discourages our students, faculty, and staff from personal travel to any Warning Level 3 and Alert Level 2 countries.

Returning to campus after travel to CDC Warning Level 3 and Alert Level 2 countries
Southern faculty and staff who travel to Warning Level 3 or Alert Level 2 countries, OR have airport transit through one of these countries, must email Human Resources.
Southern students who travel to Warning Level 3 or Alert Level 2 countries, OR have airport transit through one of these countries, must email Student Development.
These departments may refer individuals to the University Health Center to implement possible required protocols such as monitoring health indicators, social isolation, and/or quarantine.

Additional international study tour and mission trip information
If a student or employee scheduled to participate in university-sponsored international travel elects not to continue as a trip member due to personal concerns regarding COVID-19, they may work with trip organizers to receive the refundable portion of their trip expenses. (We cannot refund any tax-deductible donations made directly to the university on behalf of a student.)

Inviting international groups or individuals to campus
Employees who wish to bring any international groups or individuals to our campus should contact the senior vice president for Academic Administration before extending the invitation.
Any employee who has already invited a group or individual from a CDC Warning Level 3 or Alert Level 2 country should notify the senior vice president for Academic Administration.

At this point, a Spring Break mission trip to Haiti, a May mission trip to South Korea, and a summer European study tour have been canceled. All other scheduled trips are currently proceeding as planned. We are monitoring government health resources and will make appropriate decisions as necessary.

Everyone has a part in preventing the spread of disease, not only COVID-19 but also colds and flu. Please continue to wash your hands regularly, consider fist or elbow bumps instead of handshakes and hugs, don’t touch your face, avoid people if you are sick, and in general, follow the guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I encourage you to regularly visit our COVID-19 page, where Southern will continue to post updates.

Please join us in praying for those affected by this virus around the world, the medical responders, and those researching better treatment. We also lift up each of you—our students and employees—in prayer, asking God for protection and guidance in every aspect of life.

Sincerely,
David Smith, president

March 2, 2020 - Update on the Coronavirus

coronovirus instructions

Southern Adventist University Administration and Health Center continue to actively monitoring the information, protocols, and the recommendations being communicated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Situation in U.S.

The CDC reports that imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have been detected in the U.S. Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 also has been reported among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan. On February 25, CDC confirmed COVID-19 in a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19 (unknown exposure). At this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.
There are NO reports of confirmed cases involving Coronavirus disease COVID-19 in Tennessee.

Spring Break Travel

With Spring Break only a few weeks away, we are recommending that all students, faculty, and staff planning to travel outside of the country, monitor travel advisories from the CDC http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel and the State Department http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/. International travel is more difficult than usual as a result of the COVID-19. Due to public health measures, travelers may encounter delays or other difficulties at the US port of entry of another country.
We understand that this situation may be troubling to many. The counseling center is available for students who are looking for support at this time. They can be reached at 423-236-2782.

This is a rapidly developing situation. We will continue to monitor the status and update the campus on any new developments. Please continue to take all recommended precautions.

February 12, 2020 - Campus Health Notice: Novel Coronavirus

Southern Adventist University health officials have been closely following an emerging public health situation regarding an outbreak of pneumonia caused by a novel strain of coronavirus, “2019 Novel Coronavirus” (2019-nCoV), in Wuhan, China.
There have been five confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in the United States. All cases have stemmed from individuals who have traveled to Wuhan City, China in the recent past.
There have been NO cases in this state or region yet. There is NO known contact with symptomatic individuals in this area. The TN state department of health is monitoring the situation and keeping the medical staff informed. The staff are monitoring the State Dept., CDC, as well as other resources for frequent updates.
Travel Precautions
Currently, the only travel restriction from the State and CDC are to avoid travel to Wuhan City/Hubei Province and avoid unnecessary travel to China. There are currently no recommendations for evacuations of other world regions. Any student, faculty, or staff that is considering travel to Wuhan City, or other areas where there is an active outbreak of the 2019-nCoV virus, or any other destination in China are urged to follow the CDC recommendations. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china

Health Precautions
There are no current recommendations for quarantine.

  • Because it is cold and flu season, and the symptoms of the 2019-nCoV can be similar those of other common viruses, SAU wants our campus to be vigilant in trying to prevent the spread by following these precautions:
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap is not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly- especially your cell phone
  • Avoid close contact with someone who is sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, not your hands
  • Stay home if you are sick
    · Although facemasks are commonly worn in many countries, little evidence supports their use in a community setting. CDC does not currently recommend that the general public or travelers wear facemasks or respirators to prevent spread novel coronavirus if they are healthy. Notify the health center, dorm RN, or deans if history of travel to Wuhan (or known exposure to such travelers) AND fever AND cough/respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath.
  • Please call the University Health Center with any questions or concerns at 423-236-2713.

For more information about the 2019-nCoV virus, see the links below:

Resources

FAQ for Southern Students

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Coronavirus Disease 2019 
 How it Spreads
 Symptoms
 Prevention and Treatment
 Frequently Asked Questions 
TN Department of Health