Local universities share Thanksgiving break plans amid pandemic

HENDERSON, Tenn. — As you’re making plans for Thanksgiving, local universities are trying their best to protect their communities against coronavirus.

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The end of the semester is drawing near for Bethel, UT Martin, and Freed Hardeman University Students. When they go home for Thanksgiving, they’re not coming back.

“We started the semester a little early, then we condensed it as well. We didn’t take any breaks. We will end the Friday before our Thanksgiving break,” said Dave Clouse, FHU’s vice president of community engagement.

Clouse says they’re looking out for both the students and their families with this approach.

“We were concerned about sending all of our students home and them coming back with COVID,” Clouse said. “So we’re just trying to protect our campus community and trying to get all the way through the semester.”

While some schools are finishing up, Union University is taking a different approach: they’re keeping their traditional schedule.

“That would put a different hard burden on our students, and our community, so we did want to have those breaks to allow for some rest and refreshment before the home stretch,” said Union University’s Dean of Student Life, Ken Litscher.

After Thanksgiving break, they’ll come back for the last two weeks of class, hoping students will stay socially distanced in that home stretch.

“As difficult as it is, when you’re saying goodbye to people at the end of the semester, be wise about the contact you have and the time you’re spending with others,” Litscher said.

And Clouse says as far as next semester goes for FHU, plans are still being finalized.

Bethel University and UT Martin will also not be going back after Thankgiving break.

Bethel’s finals are next week, while UT Martin’s will be online the week after Thanksgiving.

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