Coronavirus Precautions & Updates
The health of the SEU community is a top priority at Southeastern University.
This blog will be updated regularly with information about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its impact on Southeastern University. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the most up-to-date information about the status of COVID-19 in the U.S.
July 13, 2020
Dear Southeastern University Community,
With the rise of the coronavirus pandemic across the nation, I have frequently been asked if we still plan to return to in-person classes in the fall. I wanted to assure you that we will be opening our campus for the 2020-21 academic year and share our plans for Back to SEU with you.
In fact, we greatly anticipate the return of students in late August. The first day of classes for our traditional undergraduate students is September 2, and the semester will conclude on December 10.
While we recognize that this pandemic is not going away anytime soon, we believe that a communal learning experience is paramount for the growth and development of our students.
It is with this mindset that our COVID-19 Recovery Task Force (CRT) has developed a reopening and reactivation plan for the upcoming academic year in order to ensure an environment where our community members feel safe. This playbook highlights key components of our community expectations and procedures, ranging from academics to health and safety protocols.
Some of these new additions to campus life include:
- Training for community members on how they can play their part in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
- Monitoring your health and symptoms for COVID-19.
- Wearing a mask in communal areas, including classrooms.
- Classes being offered in hybrid models to accommodate social distancing.
- Reduced seating in dining halls and increased to-go options.
- Permanent outdoor tents and activities for student engagement.
I encourage you to take a moment to read through our playbook so you can familiarize yourself with these new protocols and procedures. I believe that you play an integral part in helping us provide a safe and healthy environment for our SEU community.
In addition to the playbook, we will continue to share new updates through videos, social media and our Back to SEU website. Be sure to monitor your email accounts, our social media pages and website for new information.
We have also created a new support resource for you. We realize that you might have specific questions about our reopening plan or just general questions about the coronavirus. If you have any questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get back to you in a timely manner.
I look forward to seeing how God will continue to use our community throughout this new season and academic year.
June 1, 2020
Dear Southeastern University Community,
The global coronavirus pandemic has been an unexpected and unnerving experience for us all. Last spring semester, none of us could have predicted the rapid, widespread impact this virus would have. In March, SEU took careful consideration before we transitioned to a remote learning format. These transitions were not convenient for anyone. Our faculty and staff had to prepare for many changes rapidly, but we know they were for the best.
We are starting to see signs that measures taken to flatten the rate of infection are working, and many states are in the process of reopening their economies. We are looking forward to seeing our students back on campus for the fall semester, and that is what we are planning for. We cannot wait to be reunited to enjoy this campus life experience together. As governmental authorities allow, we will begin our fall semester on September 2 – two weeks from our original start date.
Looking back teaches us that a lot can change in three months. So, we know a lot can change in the next three months. We can’t control the spread of COVID-19, and we can’t control what guidelines will be mandated by government officials, but we can plan so thoroughly and effectively that we are equipped for any circumstance. We can also implement enhanced safety measures and do everything we can in our power to make our campus as safe and healthy as possible for our students, faculty and staff.
Having several hundred students in residence halls through the spring semester has provided valuable insight and experience informing feasible strategic plans. By piloting so many protocols among our health services staff, food services and cleaning crews, SEU is well past the theory stages of planning and has already implemented many best practice systems and protocols. While we know the next season presents uncertainties and concerns, we are further along than most schools in planning and piloting mitigation strategies.
Thankfully, we are located in an area that has not been densely affected by the virus and have ready access to health and medical sources throughout Lakeland, so our capacity to navigate through this pandemic is well-supported.
We move forward, trusting God in a world that could be easily riddled by fear. Scripture reminds us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, peace and a sound mind.
We are developing plans for every area of campus life so that we can be nimble and adapt to changing circumstances if the need should arise. While a lot of the specifics are still being worked out, our COVID-19 Recovery Task Force has created a video mini-series to address some of the questions that you might have about the fall semester. These will be updated with new information as we further refine our plans for the fall.
Here are just a few of the new policies and procedures that will be in place at the time of our students’ return. These are designed to secure our community’s health and enable safe operations of our campus this fall.
- We have appointed a task force, who has been meeting weekly to determine the appropriate precautions that should be put in place.
- We have developed new cleaning protocols across the campus.
- We are planning for face-to-face instruction with virtual options as well.
- We have reduced the occupancy rate of our classrooms and residence halls.
- We are ensuring all residence halls will have dedicated housekeeping staff to take other health and safety measures in cleaning.
- We are developing new protocols for our dining services.
- We will be using state-of-the-art sterilizing fogging machines along with industrial antiviral solutions throughout the campus.
- We have installed new hand sanitization in high-traffic areas.
- In many of our campus HVAC systems, we have installed UV Lighting, which has been proven to kill mold spores and other microorganisms.
- We have also installed air ionizers, to improve the air quality of our campus facilities and classrooms.
We are confident that the transition to a remote-learning format was the right decision to make last March. Along with many other organizations and businesses, we contributed to the decrease of this global pandemic. We know that COVID-19 is not over and won’t be when students return this fall.
As Christ-followers, we move forward in this unpredictable season assured in our hope in the Lord and His precious hand over our campus. While an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present, you can be assured that we will do our part to make our campus as safe and healthy as reasonably possible for our students, faculty, staff and guests.
We greatly anticipate the return of the campus body and eagerly prepare for the great days ahead. Leading up to the fall, we rest in the trust and peace of our God and await our community’s opportunity as we learn to deepen our dependence and assurance in Jesus Christ – the one who guides us all through life’s uncertainties. We appreciate your continued prayers and support as we move forward in this season.
May God bless you and keep you all safe.
May 15, 2020
Room and Board Refund
In addition to the CARES Act relief aid which is currently open for application for SEU students who meet the eligibility criteria, we are also in the midst of processing refunds for room and board expenses for the Spring 2020 semester.
All residential students who were living on campus during the Spring 2020 semester will receive a $1,600 credit on their student account to help offset room and board expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This amount was calculated from the March 20th date when the university announced the move to remote-teaching for the remainder of the semester.
Commuter students who were participating in a meal plan will also receive a credit to their account for any unused meals.
Students may expect to see this credit on their account by mid-June. If there is a current balance on the account, the credit will reduce that balance. If there is not an outstanding balance, a refund will be issued either by direct deposit (if banking information is on file) or by paper check to the mailing address currently on file.
May 1, 2020
As Governor DeSantis announced the reopening plan for our state, we have been actively preparing our own reopening plan here at SEU for our staff. We will begin opening our offices on campus with a phased-in approach, with the goal of having all staff return to their campus offices by May 26. We are working hand in hand with local health authorities and will be following the guidelines put forth by the CDC. Employees will be contacted by their supervisors next week with specific directions for their department.
In case you missed the announcement from earlier this week, we will also welcome our students back to campus for Welcome Week on August 28 and will resume classes on September 2. Courses for our Unrestricted Education students — those taking classes online or at our extension sites — will begin on August 26.
For all of our Spring 2020 graduates, we are thrilled to announce our Virtual Commencement Ceremony, which will be held later this month on May 29. We have 938 graduates to celebrate, and we cannot wait to recognize each one of you! This special ceremony will be live-streamed at SEU.edu/graduation and you can share this special evening with your friends and family.
And finally, I wanted to update you on the relief aid that will be available to our students from the CARES Act. Students who are eligible to receive these funds based on the Department of Education’s guidelines can expect to receive an email next week outlining our process for the distribution of these funds. It is our goal to get this relief aid to our students just as soon as we can.
As more develops before this next academic year, we will continue to update you through email and the university’s website.
April 28, 2020
As the state of Florida is pulling together its reopening plan, we are actively creating our reopening plan as well. We plan to resume in-person classes for the fall semester on September 2. Welcome Week activities will begin on August 28, and the first home football game is scheduled for September 5. Unrestricted Education courses – for online and extension site students – will begin on August 26.
Over the next few weeks we will have many people working on the planning required to bring our beautiful campus back to life and to provide the safest campus possible when we open our residence halls, classrooms and cafeteria in the fall.
Our number one goal remains the health and safety of our students and will continue to be as we step into this next semester. We will continue to operate within guidelines from federal, state, and local health authorities. We are also developing the appropriate social distancing measures that may affect the classroom, events, meetings, and campus life.
As more develops before this next academic year, we will continue to update you through social media and through our website.
April 27, 2020
The past few weeks have been trying as we have had to adjust to a new reality…a reality that has expanded our vocabulary to include phrases such as “social distancing,” and forcing us to reorient our relationships to a primarily digital interface. It is a reality that disrupted the workplace and stressed our economy beyond its limits. In all of it, we have had to adjust and adapt our everyday lives to this disruption.
The fact of the matter is that since the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30, COVID-19 has permanently changed the landscape for our nation and will continue to do so for some time. Although social distancing is working to flatten the curve, the by-product has been an economic disaster.
The coronavirus has all but shut down the U.S. economy and has had a staggering impact on higher education institutions across the nation. Many prominent schools – public and private – have recently announced significant budget cuts, hiring freezes and layoffs. This pandemic is forcing colleges and universities to navigate relief efforts, lost revenues, and the challenge of predicting and budgeting for a fall that may yield record-low enrollment.
It is important that we outline the next steps for our community. Although Southeastern was better positioned than many other universities to respond with remote education, we have not escaped these realities. We have already felt the economic effects of Covid-19.
As a tuition-driven university, we must act immediately and with intention. We must take proactive measures to ensure that SEU not only survives, but can thrive once the pandemic has been resolved. If we don’t, the ramifications for our community will be sobering. Our team has spent hours and hours deliberating over every projection and every data point. While we see a path forward for this organization, it will require us to make some difficult decisions. The fact that so many institutions across the country are making many of the same decisions makes them no less painful.
We will be making significant adjustments to our budget for the upcoming year. These adjustments will affect every member of our community, beginning with the administrative team. These steps include the following:
- Administrative salaries reduced and pension contributions suspended for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
- A hiring freeze has been placed on all open positions.
- Contracts with all non-essential external vendors will be eliminated or reduced.
- Pension contributions for the 2020-21 fiscal year will be suspended.
- A reduction in faculty.
These decisions are the result of following our framing process…carefully listening to our key stakeholders and auditing the context before us to the best of our ability. These adjustments do not erase the uncertainty of the fall, but place us in a better position to endure the economic landscape.
This undoubtedly will be the most difficult challenge in the history of our university, but make no mistake, we will adjust…we will adapt… and we will innovate so that we continue to equip students to discover their purpose and place in this world.
We believe these actions will position us to be successful in the fall. We are looking forward to welcoming our traditional students back to campus for in-person classes on September 2. The guidelines suggested by the CDC, the Florida Health Department and the governor of Florida will be followed as we develop the plans for re-opening the campus. Classes for our Unrestricted Education students will begin on August 26. Calendars for the 2020-21 academic year can be found here.
April 17, 2020
Over the past several weeks, there has been a lot of talk about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, as you may have heard it referred to. And we have had some people ask the question, “Is Southeastern going to provide financial relief for students who have transitioned from traditional learning platforms to remote learning?” The answer is, yes.
We want to take a few minutes today to help explain what this legislation means for higher education institutions and students.
In late March, the CARES Act was passed and includes a total of $30.75 billion, which will be dispersed largely through the Education Stabilization Fund. Roughly $13 billion will be distributed directly to institutions using a formula based on student enrollment. Of the amount allocated to each institution under this formula, at least 50 percent must be reserved to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.
This week we received guidance from the Department of Education on how to apply for these funds to assist our students. We have completed the application process, and anticipate receiving these funds in the near future. It is our hope that these grants may provide some relief for our students to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, including expenses such as housing and food.
We are grateful that our government has recognized the significant demands that the disruption of this semester has brought for our students, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet. It is our goal to get this money in the hands of our students as quickly as possible.
The CARES Act provides institutions with significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students. This means that each institution may develop its own system and process for determining how to allocate these funds.
We wanted to take a minute with you all and share the information of this process for distributing these funds on our campus. This week our team is meeting to develop the methodology and process for ensuring that these funds will prioritize our students with the greatest need, but at the same time ensure that these funds are distributed as widely as possible. We are working diligently to develop a fair plan and will have more details to share with you as soon as our plan is solidified.
Although we realize this is not the semester any of us had planned for, it is the reality for all college students across the United States and around the world.
As the semester winds down with exams next week, we encourage our students to finish their studies strong. Press in and continue to put forth the effort. You have adapted and been flexible. Many of you have discovered a lot about yourselves during this time. It has been a time where we have had a chance to lean into our faith even more and been reassured by the peace that only God can give.
Our faculty, staff and administration have poured enormous effort and resources into making sure that your courses can be completed, your credits earned, and your degrees received.
We will continue to do all we can to support our students and their success.
April 3, 2020
On Wednesday afternoon the governor of Florida issued a statewide “stay-at-home” mandate for all Florida residents. This mandate has been in effect as of 12:01 this morning and will last for 30 days with the intention of minimizing the spread of the coronavirus. Like many other states across the country, this order mandates that Floridians stay home unless they are going out for “essential services or activities.”
Here at SEU, we have been working to ensure we are in compliance with this order and are doing all we can to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. Specific guidance has been issued to faculty, staff and undergraduate students remaining on campus.
Our students and faculty will continue to hold remote classes as planned, and the university will continue to provide the resources essential for our teaching continuity. For those students still on campus, the university is continuing to provide the necessary support, including dining and health services. The vast majority of our university staff are now working remotely and just essential personnel whose responsibilities require them to be on campus to support our students are coming in to work.
Whether on campus or elsewhere, we all need to continue to do all we can to help slow the spread of this pandemic, including careful hand-washing, social distancing and staying home as much as possible.
In light of this mandate, we have also had to make the difficult decision of delaying our virtual commencement ceremony for the Spring Class of 2020. We are deeply disappointed to have to delay this event. Please be assured, we will make this virtual ceremony and another in person ceremony happen as soon as we can. Celebrating this important milestone in the lives of our students is a priority for us. We ask for your patience as we adjust to the new situations that we are confronted with daily.
We recognize the impact that the coronavirus has had on many within our SEU community. And given the situation we are in, we understand that many students also have questions about receiving a refund for a portion of their room and board expenses.
We want to make sure you know that we are working on a solution. Many options may be available to us as a result of the recent legislation, and our team is working on a plan that will address the impact these changes have had on you, within the realities of the fixed costs that are still being incurred by the university. We are confident we will be able to share this solution with you all in the near future.
We have also had many questions from students and parents about the possibility of pass/fail grades for the semester. In regards to the question of moving to pass/fail grades, our provost and deans have considered a number of options for our students. It was a consensus that the risks to students in taking pass/fail grades outweigh any possible benefits. Pass/fail grades could weaken your future opportunities for graduate school and certification with organizations that use GPA to determine membership.
However, our faculty remain flexible and are working to be responsive to each student’s individual situation. We understand every student’s circumstance is unique…and we know there may be a variety of challenges during this time. You can be certain, our faculty is here to support our students, and many are making adjustments within their courses to provide for their continued academic success. In these final weeks, we encourage all students to remain in clear communication with your professors. You can also go to SEU.edu for more information about the decisions and changes that we have made in this season.
We know this season has been difficult, and we imagine many of you are spending more time at home than maybe you ever have. But let’s learn to not simply push through this season, or these many hours at home with family. Let’s learn to embrace it.
Make the most of this time with those who are closest to you. Allow the hours of solitude to challenge you to dig deeper into your coursework or other personal pursuits. Of course, be sure to take care of yourself: stay active, get outside, enjoy the fresh air and remain disciplined in all areas of life. Study the word of God more diligently than ever before and seek to invest and be grateful for the relationships and family around you right now. Look for ways that you can serve others.
And, if we can do this, we are confident we will all come out of this season – certainly challenged – but more connected to those around us and more in tune to those things that truly matter the most in this life.
And remember when worry and anxiety start to overwhelm you, talk to God. Give it all to Him…your situation, your finances, and your future. Keep focused on Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
We will get through this trial! Our team is already preparing for an amazing semester for you when you come back to campus this fall. If you haven’t already, we would highly encourage you to go ahead and get registered for fall classes so you can have the perfect schedule when you come back to campus.
We cannot wait to see you back later this year! May God bless you all!
April 1, 2020
Stay at Home Mandate
Earlier today, the governor of Florida issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order for all Florida residents. The mandate will be in effect starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 3, and last 30 days with the intention of minimizing the spread of the coronavirus.The order mandates that Floridians stay home unless they’re going out for “essential services or activities.”
Southeastern University is working to ensure that we are in compliance with the order and doing what we can to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Further, specific guidance will be issued to faculty, staff, and undergraduate students remaining on campus, detailing any operational changes necessitated by the new executive order. As we develop and share this guidance, we understand that you may have immediate questions about how the new executive order may impact you.
- For students and faculty, remote classes will still continue as planned, and the university will continue to assist and provide resources for teaching continuity.
- For undergraduate students still on campus, the university will continue to provide you with the support you need, including dining and health services.
- For university staff, those who can work remotely should, and those whose responsibilities require them to be on campus should continue coming into work.
- For all of us, whether on campus or elsewhere, we should continue doing all we can to help slow the spread of this pandemic, including careful hand-washing, social distancing, and staying home as much as possible.
We will continue working to ensure that we are protecting your health and safety while doing everything we can to do our part for the larger community.
If you are not feeling well, please make sure to get the care you need, and if you have been tested for COVID-19, please contact Health Services at 863-667-5205. We will continue to update the university’s website with the latest policies and guidance and will be in touch as soon as we have more details on any new guidelines.
Refunds Currently Under Review
We recognize the impact that the coronavirus has had on our Southeastern community. Given the situation we are in, we understand that many students have questions about receiving a refund for a portion of their room and board expenses.
Despite these extraordinary circumstances, costs associated with operating the university do not go away. In fact, new and unplanned costs have become necessary.
We are working on a solution that will provide measured relief and are confident we will be able to share this solution in the near future.
March 27, 2020
We hope you are all healthy and well. Hopefully, many of you are now working and studying from home…practicing some physical distancing as we all do our part in reducing the spread of this COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently at Southeastern University, most of our staff and administration have transitioned to work remotely with the exception of essential personnel. We have also strongly encouraged anyone over 60 or with health issues to work remotely. We are doing all we can on campus to limit the number of individuals physically present on campus to only the necessary support services for all of our students who are taking classes remotely as well as for those few students who still remain in our residence halls. Everyone else is serving at a high level from a remote location.
We continue to take all of the recommended precautions in the sanitation and cleanliness of our university. Our Facilities team has begun the process of sterilizing most of the classrooms on campus and a few office spaces with a new sterilizing product called Sentinel 2 as a pre-emptive measure to combat the virus. Although the university has had NO reported cases of COVID-19, this sterilization process will provide a protective coating on desks, door knobs, furniture and other surfaces which will terminate a plethora of viruses and bacteria, including the coronavirus.
Our number one goal through this season is the safety of our campus body, faculty and staff, as well as the academic success of all of our students.
But, regardless of the circumstances, we are committed to celebrating our students. That is why we are preparing for two occasions to celebrate our graduating class of spring 2020. We will be holding a virtual commencement ceremony on April 24, the same date our original ceremony was planned for, as well as an in-person ceremony that will be held later this year. We are so proud of all of our graduates and do not want to miss the chance to celebrate their tremendous accomplishments, especially in light of the challenges and transitions these last few weeks have presented. Graduates will be receiving more information about these two opportunities in the near future.
We are so encouraged by how our entire university has so quickly and seamlessly transitioned to this new format of remote learning. From our students, faculty and staff — you have all worked together to make this happen, allowing us to close this semester united — even if remotely.
The rapid changes we have had to make in light of the spread of the coronavirus is certainly not what we had in mind for this semester. This transition of remote learning, and for many of our community, even remote working, is our new normal for the time being. And while it will be for a season, and this virus will pass, we must make the most of this time we have as we study and work remotely.
Truly, we believe you all have the ability to not only finish this semester well but to finish strong.
March 20, 2020
There is nothing we value more at Southeastern University than the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.
Therefore, with the goal of prioritizing the well-being of our campus body, our university has decided to continue the remainder of the spring semester in this remote learning format. While we had planned and hoped to finish out this academic year with classes returning on campus by April 13, we are working to carefully heed the recommendations of the White House and the CDC to work to end the spread of this virus.
While the campus and support services will remain open, students who have an alternative safe place to go are encouraged to do so. Residential students who decide to leave or who have already left will be receiving information regarding checkout instructions and collection of their belongings. Residence halls will formally close on their scheduled date of April 25 at 10 a.m. However, students who are unable to return for their belongings by April 25 will be given extended time on a case-by-case basis.
Here at Southeastern University, our priority is first and foremost the health and safety of our student body and their academic success. We will continue to offer all student services necessary for students to complete their courses this semester.
SEU faculty and staff have been working vigorously to be flexible and supportive of all of our students at this time, and to ensure the success of their education.
In addition, at this time we are encouraging our staff and faculty to temporarily work remotely. We will be working with each department on campus to ensure the safety of our employees while also continuing to serve our students at a high level. Staff and faculty will receive more information from their supervisors on how this will be implemented on a departmental level.
Finally, we have decided to postpone our commencement ceremony to a later date.This decision, while difficult, reflects our steadfast commitment to the safety and well-being of the entire SEU community. We understand this is very disappointing to our graduates and their families. Please know we will not miss an opportunity to celebrate our seniors and give our graduates the recognition they have rightly earned, particularly in the light of the many changes and challenges presented these past few weeks. We will be sharing more details about those plans soon. We can assure you, our graduates will be celebrated!
We hope this information will allow students and parents to plan accordingly for the completion of this semester’s courses.
You can find more information here on any questions you may have in relation to these changes made in light of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.
Let us allow this season to strengthen us as a community in hope, in prayer and in faith as we complete this semester together.
May God bless you and be with you through this season. We pray He will keep you and your families safe.
March 16, 2020
Dear members of the Southeastern community,
With the increase of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Florida over the weekend, we want to ensure you that your health is our priority. We continue to monitor the situation and follow the recommendations of the CDC and Florida Health Department. Currently, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases on our campus. According to the Florida Health Department, there are no cases in Polk County.
Tomorrow, March 17, classes will commence through remote learning. Students will hear directly from faculty regarding instructions for their classes. Some professors may hold classes live via a remote delivery format at the same time the class is scheduled to regularly meet. It is important that students daily check their emails for instruction from professors. Students with practicums, internships or clinical requirements should contact their faculty advisors for guidance. Final exams, the start and end dates for the semester, and Commencement will remain the same.
Although we have moved to remote learning, our campus remains open.University housing will remain open and dining services will be available. All of our campus offices will maintain regular hours. However, some of our student service operations have altered hours. Please be sure to refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section under Student Services to see a list of updated hours.
Whether students decide to remain on campus or return home during this time, the university remains supportive of family decisions regarding their student’s well-being.
Update: March 13, 2020
Dear members of the Southeastern community,
With the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) coming closer to Polk County, effective Tuesday, March 17, all face-to-face instruction will transition to remote delivery. Our current plan is to begin face-to-face instruction again on Monday, April 13. The campus will remain open during this period. This temporary shift to remote instruction will not change the academic calendar. Final exams, the start and end dates for the semester, and Commencement will remain the same.
Classes for Monday, March 16, are cancelled as our faculty prepare to greet students remotely on Tuesday. Students will hear directly from faculty regarding instructions for their classes. Students with practicums, internships or clinical requirements should contact their faculty advisors for guidance.The transition to remote instruction will require patience and cooperation, so we are asking the community for support as we make the transition. Our campus will remain open.
University housing will remain open, as will dining services. The university is supportive of family decisions regarding their student’s well-being. Faculty and staff are to report to work as usual on Monday, March 16. If you have questions about your schedule or work arrangements, contact your supervisor. Employees will continue to work as normal, but if you are sick or have symptoms of the coronavirus, please stay home. Please follow the protocol suggested by the CDC for self-isolation. While in the workplace, please practice social distancing and minimize contact with others.
These plans are developing, and we wanted to inform our community as quickly as possible to enable you to begin making your own arrangements. We realize you will have many questions that are not addressed here. Please know that our team is working diligently to accommodate this transition for our campus, and we will provide additional information as soon as possible.
Our students, faculty and staff will receive detailed plans on what this means for them and what to expect as we shift to this mode of operation until we receive further guidance from health officials and federal agencies. Please check your SEU email concerning specific, individual protocols with detailed information. The SEU website will contain general, campus-wide updates, and posts will be updated regularly along with our list of FAQs. Finally, thank you for your continued understanding.
Our community is strong and united as we face these challenges. Together, we will make the best decisions possible to keep everyone in our community healthy and safe while also doing our part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.Please take note: given the evolving nature of this Covid-19 situation, nothing about our newly revised schedule can be absolutely guaranteed. More changes – while not desired – are possible.
Update: March 12, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now spreading more rapidly in the U.S., and Southeastern is taking action and offering guidance to keep our community as safe as possible as this health crisis evolves. This message offers the latest information on changes to Southeastern’s policies and guidance, while our COVID-19 website remains the primary source for information about the university’s response and includes updated answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).
At this time, the university has not recommended drastic changes to class meetings or course delivery, but administrators have plans and are making preparations for online delivery of courses should the coronavirus pose a more direct threat to the university. Students will be notified if the mode of course delivery changes campus wide.
Campus Events and Visitors
Given the current situation and our desire to protect our community, beginning Saturday, March 14, we will be postponing or canceling any events or gatherings of more than 100 people, either on campus or off, until April 15. At that time we will evaluate the current situation. It is important that we practice good social-distancing measures that have been suggested by public health agencies. Limiting large gatherings on our campus will help minimize the chance of community spread.
We are not restricting individual visitors to campus, but we are communicating to visitors that if they have traveled internationally in the last 14 days, or if they are sick with fever and flu-like symptoms, that they should reschedule their visit. Please remember that limiting the number of guests on campus could help minimize the risk to our entire Southeastern community.
At this time we anticipate that Commencement activities will be held as scheduled. A final decision will be made closer to the date.
Study Abroad and Mission Trips
Based on current recommendations from the CDC, all international Study Abroad and Mission trips departing before June 1 have been canceled. Final decisions about whether to cancel or reschedule trips with a start date after June 1 will be made closer to scheduled departure dates. The university is exploring mission trip options to replace those trips that were scheduled to depart before June 1.
Any athletic travel not related to conference play will be postponed. Athletic events on campus will continue as previously scheduled, with the absence of spectators. We will continue to follow guidance issued by the NAIA.
At this time, public health agencies have not offered guidance restricting domestic travel. We recommend consulting with the local county public health department in the area you are planning to visit to see if there are local restrictions or guidance about travel and activities there. You can check the current status of cases in your destination here.
However, given the amount of uncertainty, we are asking that faculty and staff reschedule non-essential domestic business travel at this time. Please avoid traveling to any areas that are currently highly impacted by the virus, and please avoid traveling if you are older or have health complications, as recommended by the CDC.
We plan to continue communications with our community when significant new guidance is issued, and the website will be updated regularly to keep the campus community informed with real-time information and FAQs.
Visit our COVID-19 website.
Update: March 11
Watch a video message from Dr. Kent Ingle and get other updates here.
Update: March 9
Due to the high level of travel during spring break, please monitor your health closely for the next 14 days (through March 22). If you experience any cold or flu symptoms, please come to the Health Services clinic between 8:30 and 4:15 p.m., Monday-Friday, to be screened. The nursing staff will advise you about what additional steps need to be taken. If you become ill over a weekend, please visit Watson Clinic Urgent Care and let them know about any recent domestic or international travel by you or those close to you. If you visit Watson Clinic, please let Health Services know that you went on the next business day.
Update: March 3
Frequently Asked Questions
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease, and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The CDC has reported the severity of the illness in those who have contracted COVID-19 has ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after one is exposed: fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
- The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general US public is considered low at this time.
The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing guidance and updated risk assessments on an ongoing basis.
If you experience cold or flu-like symptoms at any point during Spring Break or on your return trip, you should not return to campus until you have seen a doctor to be evaluated and have been fever free for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications. If you are tested for COVID-19, you should remain home until you are cleared by your physician to return. If you are unable to return to campus by Monday, March 9, due to illness, please call 863-397-6226 to advise us of your situation and when you will be returning.
If you experience cold or flu-like symptoms at any point, you should not return to campus until you have seen a doctor to be evaluated and have been fever free for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications. If you are tested for COVID-19, you should remain home until you are cleared by your physician to return. Staff and faculty members should notify Health Services at 863.667.5205 and their supervisor if they are diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Here are some additional measures to take if you are sick, according to the CDC:
- Stay home, except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from other people
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Wear a facemask
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid sharing household items
- Clean all surface areas that you touch often
SEU’s Global Health & Safety Committee is closely monitoring the global outbreak of the coronavirus and how it may affect students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad. Per university policy, SEU’s Department of Global Education restricts travel to any country or region designated by the Center for Disease and Control as a level 3 or by the Department of State level 3 or 4.
As of March 2, 2020, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid nonessential travel to the following destinations: China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea and Italy. However, the Department of Global Education reserves the right to make immediate adjustments if conditions in a country change significantly.
The university’s SERT team continues to closely monitor the situation. If there was a confirmed case of coronavirus on campus, the university is prepared to respond in a holistic manner. The campus community would be notified, and the established plans and protocols would be utilized.
Southeastern is working with medical experts and continues to monitor the situation. The university has plans in place to minimize operational disruption. At this time, there are no changes to the university’s day-to-day operations. All classes and events will be held as scheduled.
The CDC also recommends that frequently touched surfaces be disinfected regularly. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes have been placed in all SEU classrooms this week. Additional wipes and hand sanitizer can be picked up from the clinic if needed.
Staying informed about how the campus is responding to the virus
As the university continues to monitor the coronavirus, we will respond accordingly. To stay up-to-date on the university’s actions, please continue to visit this blog post.