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Return To Campus Plan

Lipscomb University's comprehensive plan to return to campus.

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COVID-19 Update

Lipscomb University Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 update and response.

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Lipscomb responds to the COVID-19 pandemic with remote/online classes and other actions

Colleges and universities across the nation are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about how Lipscomb is responding to this crisis.

Kim Chaudoin  | 

Photo os computer on dining room table

This week Lipscomb University students “returned” to classes following a spring break that was extended to two weeks as part of the institution’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has impacted the United States in recent weeks. 

Amid COVID-19 precautions, Lipscomb University announced earlier this month that classes would be offered online or in other forms of remote instruction for the remainder of the semester following the extended spring break. Classes resumed March 30. Maymester and summer classes will also be conducted in a remote format as no on-campus classes will be offered.  

Lipscomb’s more than 1,500 residential students did not return to the dorms following spring break, with only a few students who were unable to return to their home remaining on campus at this time. The Residence Life Office is coordinating a systematic plan for students to return to campus over the next few weeks to move their belongings out of the dorms while keeping adequate distance from others. To date, nearly half of the residential students have removed the contents of their rooms.

“Right now the campus is very, very different. It feels like the soul of who we are is missing because (our students) are not here fully doing what (they) were expecting to be doing,” said Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry in a recent video message to students. “But in this somewhere is a sense of balance. In this somewhere is a sense of our ability to work through this … and even discover things that otherwise would never have happened. … There’s discovery. There is good in this as well.”

“A crisis has both danger and opportunity,” he continued. “It has threatened us in some ways, but it also has rich opportunities and over time I believe those will come through. And even though there aren’t many people on campus, the reality is that there are hundreds of faculty and staff working every day remotely to serve our students and our students are working every day on their studies wherever they may be. We appreciate our students for their ability to adjust in difficult moments. More than anything else, I want our students to know they are still a part of this community even when we are not physically together.” 

Students standing in Bison Square.

The move to remote learning the remainder of the semester comes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted colleges and universities across the nation. Lipscomb’s spring break, originally set for March 16-20, was extended through March 27. On March 30, undergraduate students resumed classes in remote and online formats and will continue to do so for the rest of the spring semester. Graduate and doctoral classes resumed on March 23 with delivery unique to each program. Lipscomb Academy classes are being offered in a virtual format through April 24. 

In accordance with new state and federal guidelines, Lipscomb also instituted a remote work schedule for non-essential employees through April 24. The incident management team will continually monitor and assess the situation and make adjustments to this schedule as appropriate. Although many employees will be working from home, university offices are “open” and employees are working “regular” workdays remotely and are on call and available during normal business hours.

In early February, Lowry formed an incident management team, an interdisciplinary university task force composed of academic, administrative, communication and risk management personnel to focus on the immediate needs and challenges initially of Lipscomb’s global learning programs located in Florence, Italy; Vienne and Costa Rica. This team is a subset of a larger, Incident Management Team, which additionally includes representatives from the health clinic, health sciences faculty, service operations, student life and the academy, and is charged with managing campus needs during this health care difficulty. 

Based on the recommendations of these management teams, since February, the university: 

  • Returned students participating in semester-long global learning sites in Florence, Vienna and Costa Rica, to the United States. (Feb. 13-16)
  • Canceled academy and university-sponsored spring break mission trips (March 3)
  • Created a specific website devoted to COVID-19 information and communications for employees and students (March 3)
  • Implemented a moratorium on university-related international travel (March 5) and domestic travel (March 14)
  • Revised sick policy guidelines to be responsive to employee needs during this health crisis to enable continuous payment for those impacted (March 11)
  • Suspended all official university events and student events and canceled all non-university events previously scheduled to meet on campus (March 12)
  • Developed a series of training sessions and resources to help faculty with the move to online and other remote education methods (March 13 and following)
  • Developed training and resources for staff and managers to work and lead in a remote work format (March 13)
  • Moved all classes to a remote or online format of delivery for the remainder of the spring semester (March 18) 
  • Moved to remote work for employees, except those designated as essential (March 19 - April 24)
  • Postponed May commencement ceremony to December 2020, click here to read more about how the May and August classes will be celebrated (March 18)
  • Announced campus housing closure while keeping residence halls open for students, mainly internationals, who cannot return home (March 18)
  • Limited access to all campus buildings (March 23) 
  • Engaged Campus Operations in deep disinfecting of all campus facilities (March 30)
  • Announced all summer classes will be in a remote or online format of delivery (April 2)
  • Continues communicating frequent updates to students, parents, faculty and staff on a regular basis 

For a complete timeline of university announcements, click here. 

For more information about Lipscomb University’s COVID-19 response, visit www.lipscomb.edu/COVID19.