Written by: Mathaus Schwarzen, staff writer
UPDATE as of 4/2/2020: Bryan College announced on April 2 that it will be pushing out the dates for students to retrieve their possessions until after April 14. The move is a result of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s plan to sign an executive “Stay at Home” order for all but essential workers, intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. Bryan will still be allowing students to retrieve their belongings on April 3, but recommends students originally scheduled for this day reschedule.
Tennessee currently has 2,243 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Rhea County, where Bryan College is located, has one.
UPDATE: Bryan College President Stephen Livesay announced to the student body on March 30 that the school will no longer be opening its dorms to allow students to return. The decision was made based on guidance from federal and local government and the CDC. Residential Directors will be sending out further information to students on how to retrieve their possessions from the dorms. The school is still planning on holding its upcoming commencement on May 9, but has acknowledged that the date may have to be moved.
“Our priority is the safety and security of our students, our staff and faculty, and the local community,” Livesay wrote. “We will do our best to keep you informed of all developments that impact the College as decisions are made.”
The following article was published 3/27/20
DAYTON, Tenn.—Bryan College announced to students on March 24 that it will be discontinuing all school-related group gatherings, in keeping with the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendation. Previously the school announced March 19 that it will be allowing students back on campus April 6, but will hold classes online for the remainder of the semester.
Events cancelled include all chapel services for the remainder of the semester, Service Day, the Junior/Senior banquet and all repertoire performances. The school also waived chapel and church attendance requirements for students.
The announcement comes on the heels of a March 19 decision by Bryan College President Stephen Livesay, who closed the school dorms until April 6 and moved classes online. The move was intended to counter the spread of COVID-19–the virus which has infected 531,000 globally thus far, and 1,098 in Tennessee.
“We will continue to monitor federal, state and CDC recommendations on large gatherings and provide any changes as they become necessary,” Livesay wrote. “While face-to-face classes will not resume for the duration of this semester, students will be able to engage with faculty in tutoring and advising sessions.”
Livesay added that the school would be opening computer, engineering, science and music labs to its student body. The cafeteria will also be opened for students, but the College is still working on a situation which meets the CDC’s recommendations prohibiting meetings of 10 or more people.
The school also plans to hold its 90th commencement May 9, provided government and CDC recommendations do not change. The White House’s 15-day guidelines to reduce the effect of COVID-19 expires March 31.
Updated for clarity on 3/30/20: As of Sunday, March 29 the White House extended social distancing guidelines to April 30. Commencement will continue as scheduled unless current restrictions continue into May.
“Graduation falls outside of the current recommendation for large gatherings. At this time the College remains committed to honoring our graduating seniors’ accomplishments,” Livesay wrote.
The Bryan College library will also be open. The school has promised faculty will be available to meet with students for both tutoring and advising.
Mathaus Schwarzen is a staff writer for the Bryan Triangle who specializes in campus news. He is a junior at Bryan College, majoring in creative writing. He spends his free time writing, drawing and listening to music.