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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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Return To Campus Plan

Protecting the health and wellbeing of our community while providing a great on-campus experience.

After weeks of quarantine, we are beginning our return to campus plans and we are excited to look ahead to the fall semester! We are making deliberate plans to open safely this fall. It will take all of us working together to take precautions to protect our health as well as the health of others in our community. This fall will not be a “normal” semester, but it will be a wonderful experience! We are confident that each of us is willing to do whatever we need to do to bring our community back to campus this fall. 

As you review the Return to Campus information, be assured that tremendous efforts have been taken and made significant financial investments to put plans, policies and procedures in place as preventive measures to protect the Lipscomb community and to create appropriate responses for when a COVID case is present on our campus. Our plans are based on the following premises:

  • Prevention: We are doing everything we can to prevent the virus from affecting members of our community. But know that no community can guarantee a COVID-19 free environment. 

  • Robust Response: We are prepared to respond quickly, effectively and medically in the event of a COVID case on our campus. 

  • Investment: We have invested millions of dollars to enhance the resources, supplies, facilities, and equipment needed to respond to the COVID environment we currently find ourselves in.  

  • Staffing: We have proactively increased both our medical staff and student support services staff to assist students during the semester as may be needed.  

  • Guidelines: As a community that believes in the value of knowledge and expertise, we have sought the best guidance from federal, state and local entities as well as higher education organizations focused on creating a safe learning community. 

Updated: Nov. 5, 2020 - Lipscomb University will update the information on this page if aspects of the return to campus plan change.

Stage 4 plan

Download the LipscombREADY app

This is a comprehensive app that will replace the current BisonAlert texting system for emergency messages. In addition, the COVID-19 resources have been added to the app and you can use the app to check your COVID symptoms daily. You can download the LipscombREADY app here and read more about it here.


We are following local, state and federal guidelines to create a safe campus environment for students and employees. Guidelines we are following include:

In addition, we are fortunate to have Dr. Kevin Eidson, director of health and wellness, advising on all community health protocols. Dr. Eidson has been instrumental in creating our plans for and operating in the safest way possible so that we can all enjoy being a part of a healthy campus.

Respect Leads Community Value. At Lipscomb University, we value and respect each person and take seriously our responsibility to do what is good for the general welfare of our community. And, if we all lead with respect for others, things will typically work out for the best. We all want to stay open for the fall semester and, while some of that may be out of our control with this pandemic, much of it is within the control of our community and how well we follow the health and safety protocols in place. We commit to approach situations of noncompliance with empathy and understanding and with a focus on education. However, cases of consistent policy violation will not be tolerated as it puts the whole community at risk of having to return to remote learning  as well as risking the health of vulnerable individuals within our community. In those extreme cases where policies are consistently violated, there will be the possibility of disciplinary action. Failure to adhere to any requirement may result in disciplinary action, including up to expulsion or dismissal for students and termination of employment for employees, depending on the facts and circumstances. 

Important Upcoming Dates

We are excited to welcome students back in the fall! The fall calendar is the same as originally published with fall classes beginning August 24 and the last day of finals on December 16. We anticipate and are committed to providing a full semester of academic coursework so you can continue your academic career path. Here are some specific dates and other information about the fall semester that may be helpful.

  • Fall Holidays and Breaks. Holidays and breaks within the fall semester such as Labor Day and Fall Break have been removed from the academic schedule. This allows us to create a class schedule that has more flexibility should that be needed in the event of a second COVID-19 wave in our region.

  • Thanksgiving Break Closure Dates. The residence halls will be closed for the Thanksgiving break from Saturday, November 21 - Saturday, November 28. All residential students must vacate the dorms for these dates. Any exceptions must be approved in advance by the dean of housing and residence life. 

  • Remote After Thanksgiving. For undergraduate courses, the fall semester will continue with on-campus classes until Thanksgiving break and the last week of classes and finals will be delivered in a remote format. In an effort to be mindful of both additional travel expenses and individual student health concerns, residential students will have the option of staying home after Thanksgiving break and completing their coursework and finals remotely or returning to campus to complete the semester remotely. Room and board fees will not be adjusted if students choose to remain home following the Thanksgiving break. 

    The delivery format for graduate courses following Thanksgiving will be determined on a course-by-course basis by the department and following local guidelines in place at the time. 

  • Fall Graduation. While our traditional commencement may look a little different this fall, we are pleased to announce our plans to offer an in-person ceremony for our graduates and faculty on December 19, 2020. This celebration will include December 2020 degree candidates as well as graduates from the May and August 2020 classes who have indicated their interest to participate in this ceremony.
    While details are being finalized, we want to share general information with you that will help you as you plan for graduation. Great care is being taken to provide an experience that is meaningful and reflective of the significance of our students’ academic accomplishments but that also adheres to local and state guidelines as well as protects the health and safety of participants.  But we are committed to celebrating this significant milestone in a way that is meaningful, memorable and as close to a traditional ceremony as possible. And it is our hope that conditions surrounding the virus will allow us to proceed with our plans. 
    We will hold two graduation ceremonies on December 19 that will allow us the ability to safely distance participants in the program. Planning is underway on those ceremonies including the time and determining who will participate in each. The ceremonies will take place in Allen Arena.   
    While the ceremonies will be on campus, due to the additional health and safety risks that could be created by bringing in hundreds of guests from across the country, the ceremonies will be limited to graduates and faculty representatives in attendance. We know this is an important day for our graduates and one that is typically celebrated with family and friends — and we are disappointed to have to restrict attendance to this event. But we are hopeful as we approach December 19 that this precaution, as well as conditions on campus and in our state at that time, will allow us to proceed with our plan to offer this version of an in-person ceremony for our graduates and faculty. 
    The ceremonies will be streamed live for family and friends to view and celebrate your accomplishments and will be available for viewing later. Although family and friends will not be able to be physically present for the ceremonies, we encourage graduates to find creative ways to celebrate this significant moment together — and perhaps find a time to view the ceremony together with friends and family. Our Class of 2020 graduates have been tenacious and have thrived in an historic time in higher education and have persevered to complete their degrees, and we hope you will take time to celebrate with those you have walked with you on this journey. 
    In the next few weeks additional details will be released. Please check back often for updated information. 

Academic Life

Faculty are excited to welcome students back to class on campus! We have been working this summer to create classes with a remote option to continue learning for students who have health concerns that limit their in-person class time and in the event of a second COVID wave. Our students’ academic progress and learning are important and we are committed to helping them achieve their academic goals this semester! For more detailed information about classroom teaching plans, online options, student accommodations and more visit the Academic Life FAQs & Information page

Academic Life FAQs & Info

Student Life

We are planning for an exceptional on-campus experience this fall! Will things be a bit different? Yes. But, the student life team as well as several students have been hard at work to create new and different events, programs and opportunities for our community that are tailored to our new expectations. We know you want to know more about what The Gathering, breakout chapels, residence hall life, dining on campus, QuestWeek, community life and many other aspects of student life will be like this fall. We also have launched the Bisons Student Care Plan, that will activate if a student needs to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 and will be administered by the student care coordinator in the Office of Student Wellbeing. Find details about these and other important topics at the Student Life FAQs & Information page

Student Life FAQs & Info

General Health Protocols

Protocols are in place for the health, safety and wellbeing of our community. Following health protocols is everyone’s responsibility and creates a caring environment where we are all doing our part to help keep our community healthy.  Upon return to campus, you will notice these changes in sanitization around campus, daily screening and healthy protocols such as physical distancing, mask/face coverings and hand washing among other measures to create a healthy and safe environment for everyone. In addition, the Lipscomb's Office of Health and Wellness has developed a helpful guide for the Lipscomb community with information about what to do if you test positive for COVID-19 or come in contact with someone who has or if you need to self-isolate. Find all the details in the General Health Protocols FAQs & Information page.  

General Health Protocols FAQs & Info

COVID-19 Positive Case General Guidelines

Over the summer months, even with a much reduced population on campus, like so many other businesses and locations, we have had individuals test positive for COVID-19. We knew from the beginning that the question was “when” not “if” a positive test would be on our campus or in our campus community. Fortunately, to date, every COVID case has responded well to treatments and all individuals have recovered. While no one was looking forward to these positive cases, they did allow us to test our guidelines and protocols as we walked out testing, isolating and treatment in these cases. Without a doubt, future positive cases of COVID-19 will be disruptive in our community and will impact participation in classrooms, community events and athletic events. And, when those cases happen, you can be assured that we have tested and verified guidelines and procedures to follow that everyone in the community can count on. These guidelines and procedures are based on advice and guidance from the CDC, the State of Tennessee and medical experts with whom we consult in matters such as this. We are using the best guidance available to protect our students and employees! So, when a positive COVID-19 case is identified within our community, we have developed guidelines to follow in ALL cases. Visit the General Health FAQs & Information page for complete details of this plan. 

General Health FAQs & Info


We are excited for our faculty and staff to return to a safe campus environment. Over the last few months we have implemented a staged approach to gradually increase the number of faculty and staff on campus as business operations increase and we move toward the opening of the fall semester. At this time, we anticipate that by the week of August 3 all employees will be back on campus for some portion, if not all, of their work duties to prepare for the return of students to campus in August.  More details about the Employee Staged Plan of Return, accommodations request process, changes in the work environment plans, reporting time, visitor protocols, what to do if you are sick and other important information may be found at the Employee FAQs & Information page

What are the event management protocols?

All Lipscomb University events whether hosted on campus or off campus will comply with all local guidelines and follow the specific guidance provided by

Additional guidelines for event management can be reviewed here. To ensure compliance with the most up-to-date guidelines, please consult with the Lipscomb University event management team before planning or hosting any Lipscomb related event.  

Employee FAQs & Info

Travel Restrictions

As travel restrictions are changing often, please check the latest guidelines here

Tuition and Fees for 2020-21

The institution has gone to tremendous efforts to respond to and prepare for the COVID environment we are all finding ourselves in. The millions of dollars we have invested will be evident in the enhanced resources, supplies, facilities, equipment, and staff needed to support and assist students as needed. In the classroom we are prepared to provide students with multiple learning options (in class, remote and online) to fit your needs during this semester. Students will receive a high-quality education regardless of the delivery mode or course format. Lipscomb is committed to your academic and personal growth and will support your learning and development consistent with our mission to provide you with a rich learning experience that is innovative and inclusive. We are pleased to inform you that these additional costs are being absorbed by Lipscomb. The tuition and fees paid by students are in exchange for learning, academic credit and certain non-academic services that will be provided and will be the same whether courses are provided on campus, in a hybrid environment or in an entirely remote or online format. 

Room and Board Fees for 2020-21

We have received some questions about what will happen to room and board charges if conditions change during the COVID-19 pandemic and the institution is required to move to a fully remote learning and living environment as happened in March. If that is the case this fall, Lipscomb will issue credits based on actual fall room and board costs billed by the University, net of any scholarships, discounts, outside third-party payments and direct costs incurred by Lipscomb. Credits will also be determined following the University's Direct Cost Policy as listed in the University catalog. Any eligible credits due to a student will be applied to the following semester for all returning students. For graduating students, any eligible credits will be first applied to any remaining balance and any excess will be refunded. 

Video Resources

Things to Know: Health & Wellness


Things to Know: Dining Services


Things to Know: Counseling & Mental Health


Things to Know: Residential Life


Things to Know: Community Life


Things to Know: COVID Safety Tips


Things to Know: Academics


⚠️ COVID WARNING - Assumption of Risk

COVID-19 is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease with no vaccine currently available. The highly contagious nature of COVID-19 means that being in close proximity with other individuals, or contact with surfaces that have been exposed to the coronavirus, can lead to infection. Additionally, many individuals who are infected with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic and unknowingly spread the virus to others. Because of its highly contagious and sometimes “hidden” nature, it is currently very difficult to control the spread of COVID-19 or to determine whether, where, or how a specific individual may have been exposed to the disease. 

Lipscomb University holds as paramount the health, safety and welfare of every member of its community. The university is engaged in numerous efforts to prevent, mitigate, and respond to the spread of COVID-19 on campus, and has put in place certain safety rules and precautions, which may be updated from time to time. Minimizing the spread of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility, and the university expects and requires all members of the Lipscomb community to do their part by following proper protocol. Despite the university’s best efforts, however, it is impossible to eliminate the risk of positive cases or an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus. The university cannot guarantee a COVID-19-free environment. Students, employees and guests who are physically present on the university’s campus or interact with other members of the Lipscomb community may be exposed to and contract COVID-19, which could result in severe illness and death, and voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.