Moving further into 2020, it is important to remember how Maryville College has reacted in the past and near present concerning COVID-19.
First, on March 18 of this year Dr. Tom Bogart, then President of Maryville College, sent an email following both United States President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and instructions from the Centers for Disease Control.
The email stated that the Maryville College administration had “decided to move all classroom instruction to distance-learning formats–in almost all cases, specifically through online instruction–through the end of the [Spring 2020] semester.” Classes ended on April 29, and residence halls remained closed after an extended spring break was given to students following the beginning of the pandemic and the college’s initial uncertainty as to course of action.
On June 5, students were notified via email that the college would resume in person teaching for the fall 2020 semester. The start date of classes was moved to Aug. 19. The Labor Day holiday and fall break were removed from the academic calendar in order to end in-person instruction before Thanksgiving.
On Aug.19, students returned to a different Maryville College and a different world. Masks were required in all public indoor spaces on campus, guests not enrolled in Maryville College were not allowed within indoor spaces, and certain dorm rooms were kept vacant for students who were potentially or certainly exposed to COVID-19 and for those who had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Maryville College administration kept, and continues to keep, students in the dark about the exact number of potential and/or confirmed cases on campus. In an interview earlier this year, conducted by student reporter Delaney Redden, the Dean of Students Dr. Melanie Tucker clarified this decision stating that the “campus population size is small enough that impacted individuals could potentially be identified.”
On Oct. 27, Maryville College President Dr. Bryan F. Coker sent an email explaining that the college’s Covid-19 matrix was moving to yellow. This meant “that for the next three days (Oct. 28-30), the College is temporarily pressing ‘pause’ on in-person operations, moving to all-virtual instruction, and suspending all non-essential activities, including athletics.”
The dining hall was closed to sit-in dining. The following week students were able to attend class regularly.