MC 'cautiously optimistic' for in-person instruction this fall

MC administrators ‘cautiously optimistic’ for in-person instruction this fall

May 5, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Maryville College finished the Spring 2020 Semester in a distance education format, but administrators are “cautiously optimistic” that they can resume in-person instruction and residential living in the fall.

Dr. Tom Bogart, Maryville College president, made the announcement in a memo to faculty, staff and students on Monday. Acknowledging a “very strange and stressful spring” and wishing students well in their final examinations, Bogart said he knew many students’ thoughts were already on the fall semester.

“I know you are hopeful that in-person classes will resume, that residence halls and dining rooms will reopen, and that the Maryville College community will be together again, physically,” he stated in the memo. “College leadership is hopeful, as well. After weeks of monitoring local infection rates and the guidance from federal, state and local health authorities, we are cautiously optimistic that Maryville College will be able to open in the fall, though exactly what the semester will look like is uncertain at this time.”

In the memo, Bogart announced the formation of a Contingency Planning Task Force that will meet throughout May and make recommendations for the fall, along with related procedures and policies. Its membership will include faculty and staff from the President’s Cabinet, the Crisis Management Team, academic divisions, athletics and other areas of campus.

The College hopes to communicate the broad plan for Fall Semester 2020 in early- to mid-June, with specific details announced over the summer.

“For a while, we will have to live with a level of uncertainty that feels uncomfortable, but I’m confident that we will make the right decisions for our campus community,” Bogart stated in the memo. “At Maryville, we say that we prepare students for the everyday and the unexpected, and I have seen even more proof of this—and of our faculty and staff members’ adaptability—since March.”

College facilities, including the Clayton Center for the Arts, remain closed to the public through May 31. An announcement about faculty and staff returning to campus to work is expected in mid-May.


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”