Coronavirus Communications Archive

Lenoir-Rhyne University communicates regularly about COVID-19 with the LR community. 

Fall 2022 Semester

  • Sept. 19, 2022: COVID-19 Update

    TO: LR Campus Community
    FR: Dr. Fred Whitt, University President
    DT: September 19, 2022

    During the COVID pandemic, LR provided weekly updates on cases on campus and other related information. While LR is now operating in a COVID management environment, we wanted to provide you with information as we move into the fifth week of classes.

    COVID Testing

    Antigen rapid COVID testing is available at all three campus locations and is free to faculty staff and students. Appointments are required for the Asheville and Columbia campus locations; walk-in testing is available on the Hickory campus Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Room 100 of the McCrorie building.

    New Booster Available

    The new bivalent vaccine contains the original formulation and carries a recipe against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, the most contagious versions of the virus. The CDC indicates the BA.5 variant accounts for 90 percent of cases in the US.

    The new vaccine booster is available locally at pharmacies, as well as at various health departments including Catawba County (Hickory), Buncombe County (Asheville) and Richland County (Columbia). Faculty, staff and students who have completed two shots of the vaccine are eligible to receive the new booster 60 days after their last vaccine.

    If you have been infected by COVID, the CDC recommends you wait 90 days to take the booster to maximize your immune system. Those who have not had the COVID vaccine will need to get the initial shots before the new booster.

    Cases on Campus

    Last week LR had a total of 18 COVID cases (17 in Hickory and one in Columbia). Since school began, we have averaged around 24 cases per week, so we hope last week is the beginning of a downward trend.

    Reporting COVID

    If you test positive for COVID, you must report that to the appropriate person.

    The best protection against COVID is to be updated on your vaccines and to wear a mask indoors around others when in larger groups. In addition, LR highly recommends you get the COVID booster when eligible and the flu shot.

    Thank you for all you are doing to keep our community safe.

  • June 30, 2022: COVID-19 Protocols for Fall 2022 Semester

    TO: LR Campus Community
    FR: Dr. Fred Whitt, President

    As we have progressed through the summer, we are encouraged by the relatively low number of cases of COVID-19 on our three campuses and the availability of effective treatments. Additionally, cases and hospitalizations in the three counties in which our campuses are located also have been consistently low.

    Given these factors and after consulting with the Catawba County Public Health Department, the NC State Department for Health and Human Services, updated CDC guidelines, local and regional public health officials, the vice presidents, deans and the COVID task force, we want to let you know about changes we are making in our COVID-19 safety procedures for fall.

    Student Vaccine Guidance

    Beginning with fall 2022 semester, COVID-19 vaccines, including all booster shots, are strongly recommended for students but are no longer required. Being up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, including having all recommended booster shots, determines quarantine guidelines and can reduce risk of severe disease and hospitalization. 

    Please note that students in some programs, including community health, exercise science, Master of Public Health, nursing (RIBN, RN-BSN, BSN, MSN, DNP), dietetic internship, and occupational therapy may be required by their clinical sites to be vaccinated and boosted. If the student is unable to attend experiential learning at a pre-arranged site, there may be a delay in completing the experience, which will delay progress to graduation. 

    Faculty and Staff Vaccine Requirement

    The vaccine requirement for faculty and staff remains in place at this time.  

    Vaccines and booster shots will continue to be available local county health departments and at numerous locations through the area. You can find more information at these links:

    Mask Requirements

    Masks remain optional with the following exceptions:

    • Individual instructors may require masks in their classrooms as part of their standard classroom management.
    • Those visiting Cornerstone Health Services may be required to wear masks when entering the facility.

    While masks are not required except as noted above, anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask on campus is encouraged to do so.

    Prevention Strategies

    • All faculty, staff and students will be required to present a negative PCR or antigen COVID test within two days before returning to campus.
    • In addition, all residential students will be required to test on campus prior to moving into campus housing. Additional information about this process will be shared in the coming weeks.
    • Unvaccinated students will be required to schedule testing on campus as indicated. We will continue to offer free testing to our faculty, students and staff.
    • Testing is generally available from 9-11 a.m. on the Hickory campus and by appointment at the Asheville and Columbia campus locations.
    • For athletics testing, we will continue to follow the recommendations and requirements of the NCAA and the South Atlantic Conference.

    Tracing and Alerts

    Anyone who is exposed or tests positive for COVID-19 should continue to report their case to the appropriate person.

    This information will allow us to continue to monitor trends on campus and perform contract tracing, if necessary.

    Residential students who test positive will be required to move temporarily to isolation rooms or may opt to return home to isolate. We also will provide quarantine rooms on a limited basis for those residential students who were exposed to the virus but who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC defines “up to date” as having all vaccines and boosters for which a person is eligible. For example, someone who is unvaccinated or fully vaccinated but not boosted would have to quarantine for five days and get tested if exposed to the virus.

    As in the past, we will continue to rely on the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our state and local health departments as we set university policy. If trends change, we may have to amend our current policies, which could include mask and vaccine requirements.

    Thank you for your support and adherence to our policies. We are looking forward to a successful fall semester.