MTSU Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 Archive

NOV. 25: Message to Faculty and Staff from President McPhee

November 25 2020

To our Faculty and Staff,

These past few months have truly been challenging. But, with Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, we all have much to be thankful for. Near the top of my list would be our incredible MTSU family, whose service and dedication has been extraordinary. Your response to this international health crisis demonstrated incredible resolve and professionalism, allowing us to complete our fall semester and offer our students the chance for a true graduation ceremony last Saturday. For that, and so much more, please accept my sincerest thanks!

Over the next couple of weeks, we will complete our fall semester, with final exams going to a virtual environment. Like everything else we have undertaken the past few months, this will be a new experience for many of our faculty and students. While it is essential that we maintain the academic integrity of our programs, as we have learned this fall, a little patience and empathy goes a long way in our students’ success.  

Also, with the official end of the semester two weeks away, I also want to remind everyone of the need to maintain business continuity between now and our start of the Spring 2021 semester on Jan. 25. We will have considerable ongoing activity during this period, including a new Winter Term that begins Dec. 21, which will require our attention. As such, I need to be clear that from Dec. 10 through Jan. 22, all offices are expected to remain open and accessible during our regular business hours. 

For all supervisors, while I expect we maintain traditional levels of service and operating hours, I would suggest you consider work-from-home opportunities for your teams as deemed appropriate and practical. It is well documented that, for a campus like ours, reducing density is an effective mitigation strategy against the coronavirus. With the expectation that virus levels will remain high during the holiday season, this will also help guard against campus clusters that could negatively affect employees and their families, and our ability to operate effectively.

Again, many thanks for your efforts this year, I can never express enough my appreciation and gratitude for all that you have done. With the new year just six weeks away, I think I can safely say that we will all be happy to bid 2020 goodbye. With your continued dedication and cooperation, I am sure we can make 2021 a much better year for our campus and university community.

Best wishes to each of you for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sidney A. McPhee

NOV. 20: Dr. McPhee reminds graduates, guests of commencement safety protocols

November 20 2020

As we near our Thanksgiving break and the end of classes for the Fall 2020 semester, I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you again for your dedication and commitment to keeping our campus safe. While it is impossible to fully escape the impact from COVID-19, your actions enabled us to provide a significant portion of our classes in-person and made our campus one of the safest in the state.

To those of you who will be graduating this semester, a heartfelt congratulations! No one could have predicted when you arrived on campus that 2020 would have been such a challenging year. Yet you found a way to succeed – through hard work, perseverance and an attitude that your weren’t going to let the virus take something this important away from you – you demonstrated your true character and resolve. I have no doubt the challenges we faced this past year will ultimately serve you well, as you certainly know how to succeed!  Congratulations and best wishes to each of you in the years ahead. You are truly amazing!

While our campus has managed to avoid much of the impact of the coronavirus, the same cannot be said for many of our surrounding communities, as infection rates continue to climb across much of the mid-state. As we look forward to Saturday’s commencement and the last days of the semester, I do want to remind you that we still need to adhere to our campus expectations and COVID-19 safeguards. I also want you to know that I have been in consultation with officials from Governor Lee’s COVID-19 Unified Command Group and Dr. Lisa Piercey, the state’s health commissioner, to review our preparations for commencement. They concurred with our strategy to move forward under our safety protocols, which include:

  • Masks must be worn at all times by our graduates, faculty, family members and guests. The only exception is during the brief recognition of each graduate (they will be permitted to briefly remove their mask during their introduction);
  • Attendance is limited and ticketed and each graduate has been assigned to one of three ceremonies. No walk-up entry without tickets will be allowed.
  • While family members may sit together, appropriate social distancing must be maintained between groups. Please follow seating instructions in the stadium;
  • For our graduates, seating has been assigned to provide appropriate social distancing. Please do not rearrange seating;
  • Once the ceremony has concluded, attendees will be directed on when to exit the stadium. Graduates will exit first, then the audience;
  • If you have family members who are elderly or part of an at-risk population, we would strongly encourage them to participate in our events remotely. True Blue TV’s broadcast can be viewed on:

As a reminder to all our students, we have less than a week before last day of classes on Wednesday (Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving). We will have study days from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, with no classes, exams or mandatory meetings. Finals will be delivered online from Dec. 4 to Dec. 10.

Again, thank you for all your efforts these past few months, you have been truly extraordinary!

Best wishes for the holiday season!

Sidney A. McPhee