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Three weeks from today, we’ll celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and the end of on-ground classes at Austin Peay. The semester will continue in an online format until commencement, on Dec. 11-12, but right now we’re in the home stretch, and I’m asking everyone to please continue following our COVID-19 guidelines of wearing a mask indoors and social distancing, so we can reach this important milestone. As of today, we have four staff members and 20 students testing positive for the coronavirus. On Nov. 26, when I gather with my immediate family around the dinner table, I’m eager to give thanks that Austin Peay didn’t experience any serious spikes in cases.

Three weeks might seem like the distant future because, for many of you, the last 48 hours have passed at a painfully slow speed. We still don’t know who won the U.S. Presidential Election, which is extremely frustrating. Please make sure you’re taking care of yourselves. I encourage everyone to avoid getting stuck on that roller coaster of consuming too much media. It’s exhausting to watch too much television or scroll through social media these days. There’s nothing more you can do, so consider stepping away from your devices and focus on what you can control.

If you need something to help you feel inspired, just look at our School of Nursing. On Tuesday, 55 students participated in the White Coat ceremony, which means they’re beginning their journey to become nurses. I was inspired by the fact that they raised their hands and said they will care for someone else, particularly at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is making this a frontline profession. Congratulations to those 55 outstanding students.  

During my social media town hall yesterday, I also discussed the University’s plans for after the Thanksgiving holiday. As a reminder, Nov. 30 will be a study day, and final exams will be completed remotely between Dec. 1-10. We’ll host four Commencement ceremonies Dec. 11-12. The University will close on Wednesday, Dec. 23, for the winter holiday and reopen Jan. 4.

I also talked about our plans for the spring semester, which begins on Jan. 19 and includes a few long weekends rather than an extended Spring Break. We made this decision to help prevent any unnecessary spread of the coronavirus by having people travel to other locations. I know some of you are not happy, but we have to make the best decisions we can for everyone’s health and safety. More information about the spring semester’s academic calendar is available here.

If you missed Wednesday’s social media town hall, you can watch it below.

November 4, 2020 Town Hall with Interim President Whiteside

As I said earlier, we're in the home stretch. Thank you for following our guidelines as we move closer to the end of this long fall semester.


Dannelle Whiteside

Interim President