University of the Cumberlands took a proactive and strategic response to addressing the impacts of COVID-19 to its campus and academic programs. The document includes the University’s response and supporting guidance from key organizations and partners.
Do I have to wear a mask on campus?
University of the Cumberlands has a mask-optional policy for students, employees, and campus visitors. Based on current guidance from health officials, individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. Individuals at high-risk for severe illness should talk to their healthcare provider about masking.
COVID-19 Response Timeline
Monday, August 1: An email was sent to the campus community highlighting details of COVID-19 for the fall 2022 semester. The email provided an FAQ regarding mask guidance, vaccination protocols and ongoing safety precautions to make students aware of policy in advance of returning to campus for the semester.
Monday, June 13: An email was sent to employees highlighting the university’s COVID-19 policies. The email provided information regarding masking, social distancing, hygiene, and requirements for reporting positive test results and exposures to Human Resources. The email also included information about the availability of free masks and home testing kits.
Monday, March 28: University of the Cumberlands transitioned to a mask-optional policy for students, employees, and visitors with the exception of classrooms and lab spaces. This decision aligns with guidance provided by health officials and is similar to adjustments made at other colleges and universities.
Friday, January 14: Human Resources issued an update in regard to the vaccine mandate impemented through OSHA by the federal government. The university said in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, all efforts to implement weekly testing for unvaccinated employees would be suspended. It was further stated the university masking policy remains in effect.
Thursday, January 6: An update was sent to campus regarding compliance with the federal vaccine mandate for workplaces that included more than 100 employees. The university had implemented policies to comply with the mandate and ensure all employees were vaccinated, and verified that vaccination status, or planned to comply with weekly Covid-19 testing.
Wednesday, November 3: Another free Covid-19 vaccination clinic was hosted on campus and made available to all members of the university community, including family members.
Thursday, September 16: A free Covid-19 vaccination clinic was hosted on campus and made available to all members of the university community, including family members.
Wednesday, July 21:An email was sent to the campus community highlighting details of COVID-19 for the fall 2021 semester. The email provided an FAQ regarding mask guidance, vaccination protocols and ongoing safety precautions to make students aware of policy in advance of returning to campus for the semester.
Thursday, July 29: President Cockrum adjusted campus guidelines in coordination with CDC recommendations requiring all faculty, staff, students and visitors - regardless of vaccination status - to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
Friday, May 14: Email communication was sent to the campus community to announce that based on new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may stop covering their faces in most settings. Additional information was distributed regarding how the change in policy affects unvaccinated individuals and where vaccination locations are available locally.
Friday, March 12: Cumberlands announced that the university would host in-person graduation ceremonies for undergraduate students who graduated in 2020 and 2021. Services for graduate level students were cancelled due to the number of students involved. All in-person ceremonies were being planned to comply with CDC guidelines, including using face coverings and six-foot distances between participants and guests. Commencement ceremonies were scheduled for April 30 and May 1.
Wednesday, March 24: President Cockrum announced that the university plans to return to an entirely in-person campus experience for Fall 2021. Traditional undergraduate classes will begin on August 23 and meet in-person, with courses offered in both 8-week and 16-week formats. Campus operations will return to “normal” as much as possible based on federal, state, and local health guidance. Additional information regarding the university’s fall plans will be released this summer.
Tuesday, March 30: It was announced that a university partnership with Baptist Health provided opportunity for COVID-19 vaccinations to the entire campus community.
President Cockrum announced the university had received $5.8 million in federal aid funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). The entirety of funding was allocated to undergraduate students as direct payments.
Full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students received direct payments of $1,500, with Pell-eligible students receiving an additional $475. Part-time degree-seeking undergraduate students received $500, with Pell-eligible students receiving an additional $275. Eligible students had to be enrolled in undergraduate coursework at Cumberlands on January 20, 2021 to qualify.
Tuesday, November 3: It was announced that the University is now able to provide COVID-19 testing for all faculty, staff and students free of charge on the Williamsburg campus. The testing is being offered in coordination with Grace Health of Corbin. Prior to this date, testing was offered for all faculty, staff and students, but only available off-site at partner health clinics.
Wednesday, November 18: The following announcement was issued to students in light of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issuing new guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Classes: Following Thanksgiving break, all in-seat classes will move to a virtual format for the remainder of the semester. Computer labs, science labs, clinical skills labs, and other laboratory space will remain open on-campus for those students needing to finish semester assignments, but class time will be virtual.
- Housing: Residence halls remain open for any student who wants to remain on-campus through the end of the semester. Additionally, students needing to stay on-campus over Thanksgiving and Winter break can do so at no additional charge. Students wishing to stay during a break period should register with the Housing Office.
- Wellness Center: Capacity at the Wellness Center will be reduced to 33 percent capacity. Masks will be required at all times.
- Campus Dining: Campus dining facilities will remain closed to the public. Students on the campus meal plan will have access and use of their meal plan.
- Cumberland River Coffee: The downtown coffee shop will be closed to in-person dining but will remain open for carry-out orders.
In addition, campus faculty and staff were informed of this new guideline:
- Campus Offices: Beginning November 23 and continuing through the end of December, the University will reduce in-person staffing while additional employees work remotely. Each department head will work with their respective vice president to coordinate office and remote staffing.
Thursday, November 19: President Cockrum made the following announcement to main campus students as an addendum to the announcement made on Wednesday.
Housing: Students who choose to remain at home after the Thanksgiving break will receive a prorated board credit of $255 on their student account. To receive the credit, students must check out of campus housing prior to leaving for the Thanksgiving break.
- The credit applied to each student’s account will look different depending on the student’s financial arrangement.
- The maximum amount of credit considered would be two weeks. That amount will be calculated the week you move out of campus housing.
- Per state and federal regulations, students receiving financial aid will have a corresponding adjustment to their financial aid when the credit is applied.
- Any student without an outstanding balance will receive a refund from the university through a check or electronic deposit.
- Students who have a current balance with the university will see the credit applied directly to their account balance. Please allow 7-14 business days to apply updates and credits.
Workstudy: Students who have been actively participating in work-study and have remaining hours to complete will have a chance to receive their average number of worked hours credited to their account. Watch your email for additional information regarding work-study.
Textbooks: As a reminder, textbooks must be returned to the bookstore by the end of the semester. Students selecting to return home for the semester can request a shipping label for their textbooks from their residence hall office when they check-out of campus housing. If you check out prior to the availability of the shipping labels, you will have the opportunity to print a label from home.
Monday, November 23: President Cockrum announced to the campus community that due to the difficulties faced this year, Christmas break for faculty/staff would be extended to two full weeks. All campus offices will close on December 21 and will not reopen fully until January 4.
Monday, October 19: Second bi-term classes started and continued in a hybrid format.
Wednesday, September 2: It was announced that a member of an athletic team had tested positive for COVID-19. As a precautionary measure, the team's activities were cancelled and some team members were quarantined. This was the first instance of students being quarantined on campus.
Friday, September 25: President Cockrum sent an email to the campus community announcing the University would continue offering in-seat undergraduate courses through the hybrid learning model during the second semester of the bi-term. He further said the 8-week bi-term plan would remain in place for the Spring 2021 semester.
August 14, 2020: President Cockrum sent a campus-wide email informing faculty and staff of additional protocols related to the opening of campus and that a COVID-19 case dashboard was established. All active cases would be tracked and posted on this dashboard.
August 14, 2020: Some returning students, mostly those affiliated with an athletic team, began returning to campus and moving into campus housing.
August 21, 2020: Freshmen began moving into residence halls in preparation of the beginning of the fall semester.
August 24, 2020: Classes began on campus for the fall semester using a hybrid learning model to limit in person interaction inside classrooms.
August 28, 2020: It was announced that a student had tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first occurrence of a student with a positive screening on campus.
Thursday, July 16: The University's comprehensive reopening plan which includes guidance for students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors was issued. As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, campus officials will closely monitor recommendations from federal, state, and local health officials and modify plans as necessary.
Highlights of the plan that specifically impact faculty and staff include:
- Hybrid Learning Model: The University is adopting a hybrid learning model for the first bi-term of the fall semester. Under this approach, traditional undergraduate students will return to campus and take most classes in a live online setting. In addition to online learning, classes will meet in person one day per week, allowing for application of the course content, exams, labs, or other hands-on course experiences. The University will monitor conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic to determine if the second 8-week bi-term will be held online or in classrooms.
- Academic Schedule: The University intends to follow the scheduled academic calendar, with classes beginning August 24.
- Face Coverings: All members of the campus community are required to wear a face covering if appropriate social distancing cannot occur. This applies to classrooms and indoor and outdoor common spaces.
- Social Distancing: Social distancing is encouraged in common areas around campus. Wellness materials that promote proper hygiene and social distancing will be placed throughout campus.
- Daily Health Screening: All UC employees are required to self-administer a daily temperature/health check prior to arriving on campus.
- Hygiene Practices: Campus community members are encouraged to practice good hygiene through the frequent use of hand washing and hand sanitizing agents.
- Classrooms/Plexiglass Shields: Each classroom has a plexiglass shield for instructor use. High traffic offices (such as The Office of Student Accounts and Registrar) have plexiglass windows installed at student counters.
- Classrooms/Student Interactions: In addition to sanitizing classrooms every evening, sanitizing wipe dispensers are placed in each classroom for student and faculty use. Faculty are encouraged to limit the sharing of printed materials and use virtual office hours or move to larger spaces if an office cannot accommodate social distancing.
- Food Service: Food service facilities will operate with an in-dining capacity at the level permitted by the state. All food will be served by dining services staff who will maintain heightened cleaning protocols and wear gloves and masks. Please look for additional guidance placed at each food service location.
- Travel: Employees should limit all non-essential business travel. All employee travel out of the state must be approved by the appropriate supervisor.
- At-Risk Faculty/Staff Populations: Faculty and staff with a disability which places them at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 can submit a request for accommodations to Steve Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Human Resources office.
Friday, July 24: It was announced that a University employee had tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first occurrence of an individual with a positive screening on campus. Based upon information provided to the University, it is believed the campus community is at low exposure risk to this individual.
The Whitley County Department of Health is leading the process of notifying those on campus identified as coming into close contact with this individual. Persons contacted by the health department will receive specific instructions, which may include self-isolation and steps for appropriate medical care. If you are not notified by Whitley County health officials, you are not considered at-risk for increased exposure to this individual.
Monday, June 15: President Cockrum announced Phase 2 operations would begin on campus on June 22. During Phase 2, the University would continue to promote remote work and employees working on campus would need to complete Healthy at Work training prior to coming to campus. Social distancing remains in effect, but face coverings are only to be worn when feasible and social distancing impractical. The cafeteria would be open only to students during this phase and operate at 50 percent capacity. The wellness center could reopen at 33 percent capacity and outdoor fitness areas would reopen. Campus visits could also resume with limited capacity. Face coverings are recommended for all campus visits. Physician Assistant summer classes would also resume as part of Phase 2 operations.
Wednesday, May 13: Communications to the campus community continued remote work operations through May 31. It was also announced that a phased reopening plan is being put in place, with Phase 1 beginning June 1 and continuing through June 21. During Phase 1, the University continued to promote remote work operations, but offices could return to 50 percent capacity with on-campus employees practicing safe health guidelines. The guidelines included recommendations to wear masks. External group visits to campus remained restricted.
Thursday, May 21: Human Resources announced that as part of Phase 1 reopening, all employees must complete Healthy at Work training. The training, which includes a daily health monitoring log, was required of all employees working on campus. Training included information on social distancing, proper use of personal protective equipment and sanitation. All employees who completed training and planned to be on campus were issued face mask and hand sanitizing stations were installed in all campus buildings.
Wednesday, April 1: President Cockrum announced the cancellation of the April 16 faculty/staff appreciation dinner, restriction of campus visits and extended remote work plans through May 3.
Monday, April 13: President Cockrum announced that in seat classes for the summer term would be moved to an online format.
Wednesday, April 29: President Cockrum announced remote work operations would be extended through May 17 and remote work would continue to be assessed on a bi-weekly basis. Plans to honor the Class of 2020 are being prepared for Homecoming. The spring faculty and staff meeting was cancelled. Orientation for new students would be moved to virtual sessions and campus visits would further be restricted through May 17.
Friday, March 6: The governor of Kentucky issued a State of Emergency related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Wednesday, March 11: The decision was made and the campus community was notified that in-seat classes have been moved online from Monday, March 16, 2020-Friday, March 27, 2020.
Wednesday, March 11: Work-study students were notified by financial aid (via email) that students would be paid the “average hours per week” during this period.
Wednesday, March 11: Residential students were provided a link to request to remain on campus from Monday, March 16, 2020-Friday, March 27, 2020.
Thursday, March 12: The NAIA canceled Winter Championship events.
Friday, March 13: Modified Library hours were emailed to students. This included information for remote assistance/chat.
Monday, March 16: The NAIA canceled the Spring 2020 Sports Season.
Monday, March 16: An email was sent to the campus community about how to access health resources through Dayspring Health.
Monday, March 16: The announcement was made that effective immediately, the cafeteria was only open to residential students.
Tuesday, March 17: The announcement was made that in-seat classes will remain online through the end of the semester.
Tuesday, March 17: The announcement was made that all non-essential employees will work remotely March 18-April 5, 2020.
Tuesday, March 17: Residential students were notified of the option for room and board credit. Move-out processes were initiated.
Monday, March 23: Announcement was made to campus that the bookstore would transition to remote access effective Tuesday, March 24-Monday, April 6, in response to government orders.
Tuesday, March 24: President Cockrum emailed the campus community and announced the cancellation of May Commencement ceremonies.