Catawba College postpones events in response to coronavirus, Livingstone suspends assemblies

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2020

SALISBURY – Catawba College has postponed two school-sponsored events — the long-running Brady Author’s Symposium and the McCorkle Scholarship luncheon for donors — because of concerns about COVID-19, a disease caused by coronavirus.

Senior Vice President Jared Tice said the college has not made any decisions to outright cancel events and plans to reschedule the symposium and scholarship luncheon. Messages were sent to author’s symposium ticket holders on Wednesday afternoon offering transfers, full refunds or applying the ticket cost as a donation to the college’s Brady Author’s Symposium.

That message also included a note about postponing all events with more than 50 people until April 12, but Tice said that was not correct.

“The college is evaluating public events on a case-by-case basis and determining whether the event is worth hosting given the population which it serves,” Tice said, noting COVID-19 poses a higher risk to older individuals.

Tice said the college is maintaining regular operations for visitor events and athletic contests.

In a message to the campus community by President Brien Lewis, Catawba College said cabinet members were told to determine whether telecommuting was possible for staff and that the school would continue offering classes as regularly scheduled, instead of shifting online for the remainder of the semester. The college has eliminated all non-essential travel until April 12.

“Please be assured that the college has the health and safety of each member of the Catawba community as the absolute top priority,” Lewis said. “Decisions being made with that in mind will no doubt cause inconvenience and situations that are frustrating and disappointing.”

Livingstone College has suspended its weekly assemblies, though the outbreak has otherwise not affected the college’s programs.

Livingstone Vice President State Alexander said the college is monitoring the situation and following the protocols of the Rowan County Health Department and the state.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected after an email announcement sent by Catawba College contained a false statement about postponed events. The school is evaluating events on a case-by-case basis.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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