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Coronavirus Updates

This page includes the latest information on Lenoir-Rhyne University Coronavirus (COVID-19) communications and preparations. An archive of all University Coronavirus Updates is provided at the bottom of this page.

We understand this is a time of incredible uncertainty as we work to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite this hardship, we have been heartened by the response from our LR community about the changes we have had to make to help ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the broader community.

As you know, this situation continues to evolve rapidly. The landscape changes so quickly that a decision made one day may need to be revisited just hours later. Today, after extensive conversations with peer institutions, local public health officials, and leadership from across campus, we have made a number of decisions.

Additional Information, specifically directed at students at Asheville Center and Columbia Center/LTSS, is included below.


Spring break will be extended one week, through Sunday, March 29.

We no longer feel it is feasible for classes to return to an in-person format this semester. As a result, we have made the decision that all classes will be delivered online/remote delivery through the end of the semester. Faculty have been preparing for this and they will be in touch with their students later next week. Classes will begin remotely as planned on March 30, 2020.

Internships, Clinicals, Student Teaching and Convocation Hours

We understand that questions will surface about labs, clinical placements, internships and convocation hours. We are working on these issues and will have answers in the coming days; please don’t hesitate to contact your faculty members if you do have questions.

Residence Halls in Hickory

We continue to have about 100 students living on campus in residence halls and apartments, many of whom are international students. We will work with these students to begin making arrangements for them to vacate their spaces and return home for the duration of the semester, while completing their classes online/remotely. We understand that this decision presents many questions, including how to retrieve personal items left behind by those who hoped to return. Please give us some time to work out plans to address these situations and watch for future communications. The first priority will be for Dean Katie Fisher, Jonathan Rink and Jenny Smith to work with students to help them vacate their rooms. In addition, they will be reviewing and approving a limited number of exceptions for some to remain in on-campus housing.


In an effort to reduce the “person density” on our campus in support of social distancing, those who can do their work remotely are encouraged to do so now. We want our faculty and staff to remain active and productive with their work, and are making plans to provide the support needed for faculty and staff to work from remote sites. At the same time, we realize some may prefer working from their campus office, which we understand. Please work with your direct supervisor to make appropriate arrangements. 

Campus Buildings

We have closed our more “public buildings” this week such as PE Monroe, Shuford Gym, the swimming pool, Grace Chapel and the Cromer Center.  We will be closing additional spaces to the general public, including Rudisill Library, although some spaces in the library, including the Center for Teaching and Learning, will remain available for use as we transition to remote instruction. Once we reduce our campus housing population, we will explore the option to consolidate all remaining residents on campus in to one residential facility in an effort to close buildings, reduce our energy expenditure and enhance security.


To encourage social distancing, all events scheduled to be held on any of our campuses or LR-sponsored events to be held off campus are canceled until further notice based upon CDC recommendations. This is an extension of our initial notice of cancellation through March 30.


All university-sponsored travel that is international or interstate is canceled. In-state travel should take place only if essential. Exceptions should be approved by the appropriate vice president.


The South Atlantic Conference (SAC) has suspended all spring sport competition and practices effectively immediately. More direction and information will be forthcoming from the SAC. Student-athletes should contact their coaches with questions.

Continue to Watch for Updates

As the situation evolves, we will continue to provide regular updates both via email and at www.lr.edu/coronavirus. We appreciate your understanding, your patience and your flexibility in this challenging time.

We want to thank you all for your incredible patience and understanding as Lenoir-Rhyne responds to this unprecedented challenge. We are grateful to our faculty, who are working diligently to shift their classes to online delivery and provide guidance to our students; to our staff, who ensure that our key services continue in support of our community; and to our students, who found their semester cut short and are settling into a new experience for the remainder of the semester.

While we have made these hard decisions, we know there are questions yet to be answered and work yet to be done. We will continue to work with our community to make decisions with your best interests at heart.

We are LR STRONG and we are here for YOU!

Thank you and Go Bears!

Asheville Center

Students who think they are exhibiting symptoms* of COVID-19 should:

  • Call their healthcare provider or an urgent care facility (please don’t show up at either location before calling).
  • If you don’t have a primary care physician or can’t afford urgent care, call 828-250-5109 to speak with a Communicable Disease nurse at Buncombe County Health and Human Services. If they don’t immediately answer, leave a message and they will return your call.
  • If you are mildly ill and don’t want immediate medical care, choose to isolate at home. Follow CDC recommendations and do not discontinue isolation until consulting with a healthcare provider. Follow steps above if symptoms worsen.
  • Only call 911 for medical emergencies. Do not go directly to emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms without calling healthcare provider first.
  • Buncombe County is still in the process of setting up test sites for people suspected of having COVID-19.

*Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and suspected exposure to COVID-19. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Columbia Center/LTSS Campus

The following items have been implemented on the Columbia/LTSS Campus.

  • Essential personnel only on campus: security, maintenance and some staff.
  • Extra cleaning by the Budd Group, especially of high traffic areas, classrooms, and faculty/staff computers, monitors and mouse.
  • Installing or providing extra hand sanitizers around campus.
  • Setting up one quarantine apartment for anyone on campus who has been tested positive or needs quarantine due to traveling/returning from high risk areas.

Some items that you can do immediately on the Columbia campus:

  • Check emails daily for updates and communications.
  • Use disposable cups (rather than reusable) when accessing water fountains.
  • Wash hands often and thoroughly. 
  • Stay home if you have symptoms and access the SCDHEC Free Virtual/Telehealth Visit.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Stay about six feet away from others in a social setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus University Communications

What You Can Do

Check emails daily for university updates and communications. As always, you can take the following precautions to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

  • Practice social distancing and staying about six feet away from others in social settings.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow (not your hands).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean devices such as phones and keyboards frequently.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Call your doctor’s office if you feel sick and ask about virtual appointment options or if in South Carolina, visit SCDHEC Free Virtual/Telehealth Visit. This will help prevent the spread of illness.
  • Get a flu shot, it’s not too late. During this time of year, respiratory illnesses in North Carolina and South Carolina are most likely due to infection with influenza or viruses that cause the common cold.