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Updates from President Thomas Newsom

July 31, 2020

Southeastern Community,

I am pleased to be able to announce the release of Southeastern’s Return to Campus Plan. This document reflects the approved guidelines, practices and policies developed by the COVID-19 Task Force and sub-committees.  While this may be a working document as circumstances change, it is intended to help transition our students, faculty, and staff back to our physical campus for the Fall 2020 semester.

The plan in its entirety, along with supporting documents are available at

These policies and procedures have been implemented to protect our campus community and will be in place until further notice. The process is dynamic, and with the plans in place, Southeastern is ready to respond as necessary to continue with the semester. 

For easy access and referral additional University COVID-19 information and updates, including the Return to Campus Plan, can be found at

In addition to the previously adopted recommendation from the Task Force, this week I have approved the following recommendations for implementation.

  1. Housing and Residence Life Cleaning Plan

Housing and Residence Life, following guidance from the CDC, EPA, and in consultation with the University Physical Plant, have added the following protocols to slow the spread of the virus:

  • Additional staffing, possible shift changes to cover evening and weekends
  • Cleaning/disinfecting of Quarantine/Isolation rooms after occupant departures. Housing and Residence Life (HRL) will utilize a 48-hour minimum turn over, disinfecting misters, and routine sanitizing and cleaning after each individual vacates the room.
  • Sanitizing rooms of suspected/confirmed COVID: after the student vacates the room, HRL will use disinfecting mister in the occupant room and all rooms in the suite.
  • Additional disinfecting procedures, more touchpoint cleaning throughout the day.
  • Reduce the furniture in common spaces and restrict access to stairways and doors for emergency evacuation only
  1. Requirement for Off-Campus Quarantine Location for Residential Students
  • Residents will be required to identify at least 2 locations where they could evacuate in the event that the University requires them to quarantine/isolate or if the University closes the Residence Halls. This will be included as a contract addendum and does not constitute a termination of the contract.
  • Quarantine Rooms are available for instances when a student cannot quarantine/isolate off campus.
  1. Additions to the University Sanctioned/Sponsored Event Guidelines

The statements listed below have been added to the policy. The entire policy is available on the university website at

  • University facilities and spaces continue to remain unavailable for any events held in spaces that may be needed for the purpose of providing instruction until the needs of the faculty and academic affairs are determined.
  • Department heads and/or Vice Presidents will be responsible for approving events that meet all of the event guidelines.
  • The University reserves the right to cancel any event due to health and safety concerns.
  1. Auxiliary Units at Athletic Events

Marching Band, Cheer, Sparks, Flag Corps, etc. are all invited to perform while practicing appropriate physical distancing protocol, and with the understanding that traditional staging areas may be relocated due to expanded Football Team usage of the home and visitor sidelines.

With the completion of the Return to Campus Plan, the COVID-19 Task Force has completed their work in regards to the charge that they were given when they were appointed. At this time, I will not decommission this task force, but instruct them to stand down until a time that it may become necessary for them to reconvene. The work now moves to the appropriate subcommittees, working groups, and departments, to implement all of the guidance from the Task Force in order to ensure an ongoing safe return to campus.

It is with the great appreciation of the entire University that I thank the Task Force members for all of their work, and completing a monumental task in a relatively short period of time. This was truly a collaborative effort, and represents the collective work of our faculty, staff, students and community members. The final product is a guide focused on the health and safety of our University and our community, as we continue to provide quality education, focused on student success, during these uncertain times.

Thomas Newsom

MEDIA CONTACT: Alan Burton, Director of University Communications, or 580-745-2731.