HIGH COUNTRY — Lees-McRae College and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Watauga campus both recently announced extended closures of the schools in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Lees-McRae College issued a press release on April 2 stated the college had closed its campus to the public and has moved all of its in-person classes to a remote format.

The closure comes after Gov. Roy Cooper issued a stay-at-home order on Friday, March 27. All classes held at both the main campus in Banner Elk and those held at Surry Community College will take place remotely for the remainder of the Spring semester. Students can expect to receive further information regarding the class changes from their instructors through the college’s learning management system, according to the release.

“For the safety of both the employees and the local community, campus is closed to the public, including the Mill Pond and the Athletic Complex and fields,” the college stated in the release. “Campus will be monitored regularly by college security.”

Additionally, all public events prior to July 1 have been canceled. Lees-McRae’s commencement ceremony, which was scheduled for May 9, will now be during Homecoming weekend in the fall. A recognition of student efforts will be held via a virtual celebration on Friday, May 8, and diplomas will be mailed to graduates after the end of the Spring semester, the release states.

The college’s faculty and staff are available by phone and email during regular business hours. The Community Membership Program and the associated access to the Dotti M. Shelton Learning Commons, Broyhill Wellness Center, Arthur-Lauritsen-Sanders Track, outdoor tennis courts, and Rhea-Lyons Indoor Swimming Pool has been suspended until July 1.

FORUM and Lees-McRae Summer Theatre are still under consideration.

The college noted that final decisions will be announced once they have been made.

CCC&TI announced on March 31 that both of its campuses – in Hudson and Watauga — would remain closed through April 29. The suspension of classes that require in-person instruction were to continue until further notice. Classes that were converted to online instruction beginning March 23 were to continue as scheduled.

The community college stated that it had also made the “difficult decision” to postpone 2020 curriculum and adult education graduation ceremonies until late summer. More details will be available as soon as the date is chosen, the college stated.

For CCC&TI updates and announcements related to COVID-19, visit www.cccti.edu/covid-19.

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