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Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 Vaccine Finder

If you missed registering to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine is now widely available through local pharmacies. Catawba County Public Health also has thousands of available appointments. Most people can get same day appointments, if desired (Monday-Thursday), by calling 828.282.2002 during normal business hours. Find a vaccine location near you.

Daily Health Screenings Requirement

All students, faculty and staff must complete a daily health screening using the LiveSafe Daily Health Check App.

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

For the 2021 spring semester, our surveillance testing identified 28 positive cases from 11,218 COVID tests administered from January 1- May 9, 2021. This reflected a positivity rate of only .25% (<1%).

COVID-19 Dashboard

The COVID-19 Dashboard provides data on the number of COVID-19 tests administered and positive tests for students, faculty and staff.

Safe Return to Campus Plan

Full details and policies about how Lenoir-Rhyne University is protecting our campus are provided in the Protecting our Den: A Safe Return to Campus document that has been emailed to students, faculty and staff.

All LR students, faculty and staff on the Hickory, Asheville and Columbia campuses were required to submit a negative COVID-19 test or medical clearance documentation prior to returning to campus for spring 2021 semester. This requirement was a critical part of our plan to contain the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses.

University Coronavirus Communications Archive

This page includes the latest information on Lenoir-Rhyne University Coronavirus (COVID-19) communications.

LR is committed to supporting our students, faculty and staff during these times of uncertainty and will continue to work through questions that arise as we adapt to this new reality. Be sure to familiarize yourself with CDC guidelines on COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Others to limit the spread of Coronavirus.

An archive of all University Coronavirus Updates sent to students, faculty and staff is provided at the bottom of this page.

Coronavirus Communications Archive

Return to Campus

Health & Safety

Face Coverings, Social Distancing & Handwashing

Faculty, staff, students and visitors to all campus locations are required to provide and wear an appropriately sized face covering when in the presence of others while on the campuses of Lenoir Rhyne University.  Additional infection control measures such as the practice social distancing at a minimum of six feet and frequent handwashing daily will be practiced by all students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses.

Cloth masks that can be laundered daily are preferred, but disposable one time use masks are acceptable. Face shields may be used by faculty and staff when approved to facilitate more effective communication.

If there is a need for an accommodation, please contact Sherry Proctor, director of Disability Services, at 828.328.7296, with appropriate documentation prior to arrival on campus.  

Buildings & Classrooms Modifications 

Classrooms and other spaces on campus will have revised seating to enable social distancing. In addition, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be readily available, and Plexiglass shields will be installed in certain public areas. Faculty will be provided with face shields to facilitate in-class communication. 

We are also looking at enhancing ventilation in buildings and are working with our campus partner Aramark to enhance cleaning and disinfecting of buildings. Aramark recommends a three step process: Clean It, Sanitize It, and Sustain It. LR will implement this protocol through Aramark on the Hickory campus and equivalent protocols will be implemented on the Asheville and Columbia campuses by our vendors on those campuses.

Health Assessment & Testing

In addition, faculty, staff and students will participate in daily health screenings and questionnaires to reduce the risk of COVID-19 campus. 

  • Surveillance Testing
    We continue to test students each Wednesday on the Hickory campus and will expand this to faculty and staff in Hickory, as well as faculty, staff and students in Asheville and Columbia.
  • Spring 2021 Semester - Required Testing Prior to Return to Campus
    Because classes end before Thanksgiving and will not start until mid-January, we will require all students, faculty and staff to provide a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus in January 2021. While this will be similar to what we did for fall 2020, we will share additional details on this requirement prior to Thanksgiving.

What to do if You are Sick or Suspect COVID Exposure

Anyone who is sick and/or suspects exposure to COVID-19 should immediately self-quarantine and then contact the appropriate people.

  • Students on the Hickory Campus
    Hickory campus students should immediately contact Cornerstone Health and Wellness Center by phone at 828.328.7959 or call their local healthcare provider or an urgent care facility in the area. Subsequent notification to the Dean of Students Katie Fisher (katie.fisher@lr.edu, 828.328.7246) should take place as soon as possible. 
  • Students on the Asheville or Columbia Campuses
    Students should immediately contact their personal healthcare provider or an urgent care facility in their area as health services are not provided on these campuses. The campus designee in Asheville is Michael Dempsey (michael.dempsey@lr.edu, 828.407.4269), and the campus designee in Columbia is Robyn Marren (robyn.marren@lr.edu, 803.461.3277).
  • Faculty and Staff
    Employees should contact their personal healthcare provider to secure guidance and, if indicated, testing. They should then contact their dean/ supervisor and the appropriate designee in their branch of campus. The campus designees are Leah Beth Hubbard in Hickory (leah.hubbard@lr.edu, 828.328.7443), Michael Dempsey in Asheville (michael.dempsey@lr.edu, 828.407.4269) and Robyn Marren in Columbia (robyn.marren@lr.edu, 803.461.3277).

Visitors to Campus & University Events

Lenoir-Rhyne enjoys a strong relationship with our surrounding communities in Hickory, Columbia and Asheville, and we welcome and encourage visitors to participate in events, attend chapel, use our libraries and other facilities, attend lectures or patronize our dining establishments. This community engagement is something we value dearly.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 environment has made this commitment more difficult as we work to ensure the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students. Until we are able to navigate through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 environment, we are limiting visitors to our campus locations. 

During this time and until further notice, we are not permitting visitors to use our libraries, pool, exercise facilities, dining hall, and other similar facilities or meeting spaces. We also will not permit external events to be scheduled in campus facilities, including Grace or Christ Chapel, Belk Centrum or P.E. Monroe Auditorium.

You will see community members walking around our campus as these are city streets, but we are encouraging these folks to wear masks. Family members and children of our faculty and staff are discouraged from visiting campus during this time. Please notify the Office of the President if there are exceptions we need to consider.

Student Life

Residential Move-in 

To ensure the safety of all those participating in move-in, a phased and staggered move-in process was implemented for spring 2021 and fall 2020 semesters that follows the CDC guidelines. Move-in was scheduled over multiple days for students in two hour shifts with a one hour break separating each shift. Students and participants in move-in completed an online health questionnaire 24 hours prior to arrival to campus, including the completion of another health questionnaire upon arrival. Accommodations were made for at-risk students who may need to move in at different times. 

On-Campus Living 

LR will observe the standard occupancy for student housing and will treat roommates and/or suitemates as a family unit. Students who have underlying health conditions and other at risk groups requiring accommodations will be assigned to individual bedrooms. 

Campus Dining 

All campus dining options, including Chick-fil-A will be open. Meals at the Cromer Center will plated for you, rather than being self-service, and the dining hall will implement social distancing in its seating. In addition, the menu from the Sandwich Shack will be available at the dining hall, rather than its location from Fritz-Conrad.

The Cromer Center dining hall will be closed daily from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. for additional deep cleaning and disinfection. 


Academic Calendar

Course Delivery

LR class delivery models have traditionally been in face to face, hybrid and online platforms.  Class schedule revisions were implemented to facilitate social distancing for face-to-face classes. This “flipped classroom approach” has the opportunity to enrich the classrooms experience for our students, while ensuring a safe classroom environment and reducing the risk of community spread.

All lecture-style courses scheduled for the 2020 fall semester will be offered as “blended” courses, adopting a flipped classroom model for content delivery. This approach includes an asynchronous component—including lectures, discussion groups, etc., delivered through Canvas—and a face-to-face or synchronous component in the form of small group discussion. 

For this synchronous component, each section of a lecture course will be divided in two and the faculty member will meet once per week for one hour with each half of the class. This will reduce the density of the population our classroom buildings at any particular time and will allow for social distancing within each classroom. 

For fall 2020, students will meet with faculty in face-to-face settings for 60 minutes on either Monday or Friday (for classes originally scheduled as MWF classes), or on Tuesday or Thursday (for classes originally scheduled as TTH classes).  Wednesday will be a flexible day for scheduling labs, tutorials, small-group meetings, chapel, etc. 

Evening classes will be scheduled as normal; however, faculty may alternate face-to-face class meeting times for evening courses in order to implement new instructional strategies and limit the possibility of community spread of the virus. 

On-Campus Events


Lenoir-Rhyne University Athletic Events will follow all NCAA, SAC Conference, state, local and Lenoir-Rhyne University guidelines on how and when it is safe to host events.  All event participants must follow the Infection Control Policy and screening measures of Lenoir-Rhyne University at all times. 

Please Note: The South Atlantic Conference (SAC) announced on Friday, August 7 that all fall sports were to be postponed until spring semester 2021. Read more about the SAC fall sports announcement

Conferences & Events 

Once it is safe to resume hosting external events, Lenoir-Rhyne University Conferences and Events will follow all state, local and Lenoir-Rhyne University guidelines. All event participants must follow the masking and social distancing policy of Lenoir-Rhyne University at all times. The guidelines were developed and will be implemented once event hosting resumes.

Return to Work

Faculty & Staff 

Faculty and staff must submit a negative PCR COVID-19 test or have medical clearance before returning to work. Random surveillance testing will take place during the fall and spring semesters. Faculty and staff must report for testing when selected. All faculty and staff are required to complete a daily health screening before coming to campus. Additional information will be emailed to the campus community throughout the academic year.

University Coronavirus Communications Archive

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.

How to Protect Yourself & Others