Skip to main content
AU Trojan

Anderson University COVID-19 Task Force Timeline

 

March 2, 2020

 

Amid concern about the global spread of a new strain of coronavirus formally named SARS-CoV-2, or more commonly called COVID-19, Anderson University President Evans Whitaker forms the Anderson University COVID-19 Task Force, comprised of University faculty and staff with experience in areas of public health, emergency management, communications, student affairs, human resources, and administration. The Task Force begins meeting daily and establishes a dedicated web page that provides resources to the campus community and a platform for future updates.


 

March 3, 2020

 

With spring break on the horizon, the COVID-19 Task Force makes its first change to normal University operations. It announces University-sponsored international study abroad trips that were scheduled to take place during spring break are canceled. The change comes amid the growing number of global COVID-19 cases. 


 

March 4, 2020

 

The COVID-19 Task Force establishes a voluntary system for monitoring faculty, staff, and student international travel ahead of spring break. It further asks members of the campus community to self-report symptoms of COVID-19 to better protect campus from exposure.


 

March 7, 2020

 

Anderson University Spring Break begins, scheduled to run until March 15. The COVID-19 Task Force continues its daily meetings, which often run for several hours each day as developments occur rapidly. The team directs several departments at the University to develop operational contingencies should they be necessary. 


 

March 10, 2020

 

With most students off campus for spring break, the COVID-19 Task Force announces plans are being developed to modify University courses, including the possibility of converting most into online delivery if rates of infection continue rising. 


 

March 11, 2020

 

Upon recommendation of the COVID-19 Task Force, President Whitaker announces a one-week extension of spring break, suspending all undergraduate seated and hybrid classes. The University encourages, but does not require, residential students off-campus for spring break to remain off-campus until at least March 16. All previously scheduled on-campus activities are canceled while the suspension is in effect. The decision to suspend University operations is to prevent the arrival of COVID-19 on campus and give faculty time to convert to online delivery of coursework in the event further operational changes are necessary. 

The COVID-19 Task Force moves meetings to a larger facility to ensure physical distancing protocols are followed, with more than six feet of separation between team members. 


 

The Journey Ahead represents the way we can love and care for ourselves and others by practicing personal responsibility and demonstrating servant leadership.

 

- Evans P. Whitaker, Ph.D.
President and Professor of Management

 


 

March 12, 2020

 

Recognizing some residential students with unique housing needs have no other option but to remain on campus or return as scheduled from spring break, the COVID-19 Task Force develops and distributes a survey to students. Data from the survey helps Residence Life maintain an accurate record of students on campus, ensure they are cared for, healthy and safe and provide meals and other services.  

The South Atlantic Conference (SAC), of which Anderson University is a member institution, cancels all remaining spring athletic competitions and practice for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Any previously scheduled Trojan athletic competitions are therefore canceled. 


 

March 13, 2020

 

Reflecting once again the rapid developments during the pandemic, Anderson University remains open but announces the closure of all academic buildings and most of the G. Ross Anderson Jr. Student Center and cancels all campus activities until further notice. 


 

March 15, 2020

 

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announces the closure of public K-12 schools, community and technical colleges and public universities through at least March 31. The order does not directly impact Anderson as its suspension of operation and extension of spring break already served the state’s intended goal.


 

March 18, 2020

 

Faculty and staff finish implementation of online class delivery ahead of schedule. Previous investment and intentional focus on online courses, aggressive implementation of technology campus wide and the support of the Anderson University Center for Innovation and Digital Learning, founded in 2017, makes the process easier. 

Anderson University announces a move to mostly remote operations, with most faculty and staff working from home rather than reporting to campus. A small number of administrators continue to report as necessary, but those on-campus are mostly Campus Safety officers and facilities maintenance staff. The COVID-19 Task Force begins meeting via videoconference rather than in-person.


 

March 19, 2020

 

President Whitaker writes a personal essay to the campus community reflecting on the work of the Task Force and the state of University affairs while calling for unity and prayer in light of the ongoing pandemic.


 

March 20, 2020

 

As the United States is poised to have the largest number of COVID-19 patients worldwide, President Whitaker announces the suspension of in-person classes and activities for at least the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Spring Commencement is postponed, and increased efforts at further reducing the number of students on campus is undertaken. Of the nearly 1,500 residential students at Anderson University, the on-campus population will eventually reach fewer than 35.


 

March 23, 2020

 

Residence Life, in consultation with the COVID-19 Task Force, develops and distributes move-out procedures for residential students. It is designed to minimize personal contact, promote physical distancing and a quick transition. Within fewer than two weeks, most residential students have successfully completed the move-out procedure.


 

March 27, 2020

 

The United States overtakes China as having the world’s largest population of COVID-19 patients.


 

Each member of the COVID team brought key skill sets to the table and worked beautifully together.

 

- Dr. Don Peace
Dean of the College of Health Professions

 


 

April 3, 2020

 

While universities around the country prematurely announce refund commitments for residential students affected by COVID-19, Anderson takes a conservative and responsible approach and asks for patience before making decisions that could negatively impact its ability to educate future students. 


 

April 12, 2020

 

President Whitaker drafts an Easter message to the campus community, reminding members of the Anderson University family that while “many of us cannot celebrate Easter as we normally do…we join our hearts with one another … to commemorate the most life-giving event in human history—the day Jesus Christ defeated death and rose from the grave, and gave us the incomparable gift offering of eternal life.”


 

April 20, 2020

 

Anderson University releases details of its plan to provide financial relief to students by providing credit adjustments for unused room and board and meal plan costs.


 

April 23, 2020

 

Anderson establishes a COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide further financial assistance for students. The fund is established so grants can be offered to those suffering financial difficulties that hinder academic success.


 

May 8, 2020

 

The Anderson Independent Mail and the Greenville News publish an op-ed from Dr. Whitaker, who makes the case for reopening campus for the fall 2020 semester. “For now, COVID-19 will likely challenge our state for months to come, but for almost four centuries American higher education has risen to challenges. We can and will do it again,” he writes.


 

May 11, 2020

 

515 students join the ranks of Anderson University alumni as the 2019-2020 academic year comes to a close.


 

May 18, 2020

 

Following weeks of discussions, the COVID-19 Task Force begins implementing the first phase of a return to campus for selected personnel. 

The Office of the Provost finalizes an initial plan for a new Class of 2020 commencement ceremony to take place Oct. 2, 2020.


 

July 6, 2020

 

The University resumes full operation with the return of all staff to campus. Among the protocols required are daily self-checking of symptoms, and the requirement of face coverings/masks when indoors on University property.


 

The Journey Ahead is just getting started.
 

The Journey Ahead, Anderson University’s “stronger together” approach to reopening campus, is being developed by the COVID-19 Task Force and its working groups. Its protocols are based on the recommendation of public health experts and rely heavily on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). 

Additional protocols are currently being developed, and this site is updated regularly. Please visit AU | Journey Ahead often for the latest information and guidelines, which are subject to change.