College Exploring Options for Commencement, Play | Thomas Nelson Community College

College Exploring Options for Commencement, Play

March 19, 2020
Image for College Exploring Options for Commencement, Play

Academic pursuits of Thomas Nelson students weren’t the only things thrown into disarray by COVID-19, Commencement exercises and the annual spring play were among the biggest activities affected, leaving College personnel trying to come up with creative ways for students to experience some semblance of those events.

Alicia Riley, Thomas Nelson’s special events coordinator, is working on “virtual commencement exercises” to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020. Graduation was set for May 14.

As for the performing arts department’s presentation of “She Kills Monsters,” the first choice is to move it from early April to July. Performing Arts Chair Michael Sundblad is looking into having the spring play July 9-19 in conjunction with the summer performance of “The Gondoliers.” He said one option is to have “She Kills Monsters” on a Thursday-and-Saturday schedule (July 9, 11, 16, 18) with “The Gondoliers” running Friday and Sunday (July 10, 12, 17, 19). “The Gondoliers” was scheduled to run July 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19. Instead of six performances for each show, there would be four. However, a lot of logistics have to be worked out, and Sundblad hopes to have things finalized later in the spring.

Todd Barker’s first season as the head baseball coach came to an end sooner than expected. The Gators had played 15 games, and recently won two of three from Monroe College (Bronx, N.Y.). They were scheduled to play about 20 more games. Barker added the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) is restoring the year of eligibility for players, and he expects all his players to be back next year.

Events and services:

  • The public opening of the “Bay to Belly” exhibit, a collaborative effort between Thomas Nelson and the Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown taking a look at the Chesapeake Bay’s food and culture, was set for March 28 but has been postponed indefinitely. Steve Ormsby, the museum’s president, said the situation will be re-accessed every two weeks.
  • Food pantries at both campuses will be open on a limited basis. Food Lion recently donated 1,500 pounds to the Hampton campus. Please check the Thomas Nelson website for hours and other information.

Academic updates:

  • Students should contact their advisers via email to arrange for a phone or Zoom advising session. Advising staff is listed on the Thomas Nelson advising webpage.
  • The bookstore will be closed to students and the public until at least March 30. However, books can be ordered online and sent to students' homes. Email notification and instructions went to students, faculty and staff March 19.  
  • All withdrawal deadlines for the spring semester have been pushed back a week.
  • Registration for summer and fall will proceed as planned and previously announced.
  • Face-to-face interactions between faculty and students are suspended until at least March 30. Students will be contacted by instructors to discuss alternative instructional delivery options.
  • A limited of number of laptops and hotspots were available for checkout at the library, but all have been dispersed. However, students can add their name to a waiting list.
  • Online services will continue to be available through and Navigate. Transcripts may be ordered online via Parchment.
  • Many media/telecommunications companies are offering specials on broadband and Wi-Fi access. Students should check with theirs, especially if taking more online classes affects data usage.

Miscellaneous items of note:

  • The College has canceled all gatherings and events of 50 or more people for the next 60 days.
  • Thomas Nelson was closed for a deep cleaning March 20, and will be closed for the same reason March 27.
  • Eligible employees are being asked to telework until at least March 30.  Employees should consult with supervisors to determine eligibility and to discuss options.

It’s important to check your Thomas Nelson e-mail accounts regularly for updates, as well as and the Thomas Nelson Emergency Preparedness page. The College will continue to actively monitor recommendations from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, and respond accordingly.