Transylvania announces changes to academic program in response to COVID-19 (March 12, 2020)

The health and safety of the Transylvania University community are our highest priorities. The administration at Transylvania has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely since early February and has issued several updates related to this health situation.

This week several changes have occurred which have stepped up our efforts. With news from public health officials of the community spread of the COVID-19 virus in Kentucky and greater emphasis on “social distancing” to limit the further spread of the virus, we are planning changes to our academic program which are effective immediately. At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Transylvania, though two cases have been reported in Lexington.

This is a rapidly changing public health situation, so please understand that additional changes may be needed in order to further protect our academic community. Over the next few days, we will continue to communicate directly with students, faculty, staff and the community. After extensive conversations with campus leadership and review of what other higher education institutions are doing at this time, we have taken the following initial actions:

  • Spring break is extended through March 20, 2020. Classes will be delivered remotely from March 23 through April 3. 
  • Staff and faculty should report for their regular hours the week of March 16-20. This extended break will allow them to finalize plans and receive additional training needed to move learning online for the two-week period. The academic dean’s office will communicate directly with faculty regarding training and support.
  • While the campus administrative and academic offices will remain open and operational, residential students are asked to return to their permanent residences, if at all possible, through April 5. Students may return briefly to campus until March 17 to retrieve any items needed for academic work. Spring sport student-athletes should communicate with their coaches for additional information. Exceptions to this policy may be requested from the Office of Housing and Residence Life for students who cannot easily return home or who will not have access to the internet if they leave campus.
  • International travel is suspended, effective immediately. This includes international sites for all May term trips and Transy-operated study abroad programs this summer in Ireland and Slovakia. Our Office of Global and Intercultural Engagement has been in contact with Transylvania students who are studying abroad, and we are helping them make arrangements to return immediately to the United States.
  • Non-essential domestic business travel is suspended, effective immediately.
  • Most on-campus events through April 5 will be rescheduled, including:
    • The Kenan Lecture with U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo on March 18 will be rescheduled for next academic year. Harjo will visit Transylvania in March 2021. 
    • The Judy Gaines Young Award presentation on March 17 will be rescheduled for a later date. 
    • The Crimson Compass admissions event scheduled for March 22-23 is canceled.
    • On-campus tours for admissions will be canceled through April 3. 
    • Rentals for outside organizations through April 3 are canceled. 
  • (Updated) The Transylvania Athletics Department announced on Thursday afternoon that based on the continued public health threat of the COVID-19 virus, Transylvania spring sports have suspended all athletic activities through March 22.

Public updates on Transylvania’s response are posted at www.transy.edu/health-alert. For more information on the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control website. Information is also available from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

We understand that these restrictions will cause significant inconveniences for many of you. Please know that we do not make these restrictions and recommendations lightly. We are convinced that these measures are essential to support the health and well-being of all members of our university community and all citizens of the Commonwealth.

We will continue to provide updates on university activities and decisions in the days and weeks ahead. The Transy family is committed to the health and well-being of all our members, and I am confident we will get through this public health crisis together.