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. Due to ongoing travel restrictions, visitors from Kansas, Idaho, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin are encouraged to schedule a Virtual Visit with staff members instead of coming to campus in person.
COVID-19 Response Timeline
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 Bursar 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.