Winter 2021 semester to follow similar COVID-19 guidelines as fall semester

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As in-person classes have come to an end for this semester, Southern’s administration is preparing for the Winter 2021 semester.

With the many changes presented during the Fall 2020 semester and the rising cases of COVID-19 in the Hamilton County area, Southern’s administration and faculty are considering what changes will be made to Southern’s academic life. 

“Things won’t be too different,” said Vice President for Student Development Dennis Negron. 

According to Negron, most policies will still be in place with some that are subject to change. 

“Masks will be required and residence life will be the same as well,” Negron said. “People will still have to do health checks in the morning.”

According to Negron, masks will be required in all in-person classes, buildings and common areas in the residence halls. Additionally, students will still be required to report any symptoms they experience to the University Health Center as an obligation outlined in the Covenant of Care that every student signed at the beginning of the fall semester. 

In contrast to last semester, however, students coming from outside the country will not be required to quarantine once they arrive on campus since this step is no longer required by the CDC. 

“Because there is an incubation period, you can test negative today and be positive tomorrow,” Negron said. “[To test and quarantine people upon their arrival] would be a waste of time.”

Classes will remain in-person or at the discretion of each professor. Students can appeal to take courses online, and class capacity will also remain the same.

“There has not been one student who has gotten COVID in the classroom,” Negron said. 

Due to this reason, administrators are looking into the possibility of ceasing contact tracing in the classroom, but they are still waiting to get approval from the Tennessee Department of Health. 

As of Nov. 23, the only thing subject to change is the attendance policy. Since worship credits are directly related to the attendance policy, any changes to the current worship credit policy will depend on changes made to the current attendance policy, according to Negron. 

“There is a faculty task force that is assigned to make a report on [attendance policy] so all faculty can vote on what to do,” Negron said.

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