A Message from our Executive Director regarding Covid-19

March 19, 2020

 

To our beloved supporters and community members,

 

What a wild few weeks it has been. First with the tornado that hit Nashville on March 3rd, and now with the worldwide threat of the novel coronavirus, our daily routines here at THEI have been completely upended. What’s more, we know that many of our students on the inside are being impacted as well through concerns for their family members, and through changing policies at TDOC. Let me take this opportunity to say, most importantly, that all members of the THEI staff are doing just fine. Though we have not been back to our office since before the tornado, we are taking every precaution to take care of ourselves and each other, and we are finding creative ways to keep on top of our work. 

 

Though we have been granted permission through TDOC to continue going in and out of our program facilities, last week we made the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend all THEI visits for our staff and the professors and volunteers with whom we work. Our students are such an important part of our community, and doing what we can to take care of our community right now also means taking every precaution to limit the unintended spread of potentially dangerous disease. This is just a temporary precaution, but one that we feel is necessary out of an abundance of caution.  

 

We are in close communication with each of our school partners as they make decisions about how to proceed safely and continue to provide quality learning experiences to all students. Our Academic Coordinators, Ka-Rhonda and Chris, are working around the clock to adapt plans and curricula so that our scholars can finish their coursework this semester and continue down the path to graduation. We have every intention of returning to on-site, in-person classes for the summer semester. 

 

As we adjust to our temporary new-normal, we will continue to support the learning and development of our students. Our team will be sending copies of books to all our students at our three facilities. We will be encouraging them to send us their thoughts and analysis as they complete their books. While we know this could never take the place of direct instruction by a professor or the community of a classroom, we hope to continue to provide opportunities for learning and sharing over the coming weeks. 

 

While we know higher education programs are a small part of what is at stake in this global pandemic, we know how powerful and transformative the community created through higher education programs can be for our students on the inside. We ask that you join us in keeping our students in mind during these trying times, especially in an environment that is already deeply isolating. 

 

If you would like to share a few words of encouragement with our students, you can send an email to info@thei.org with the subject line “Message for THEI Students” and we will pass it along. 

 

We thank you for your continued support for our organization, team, and students. Keep up with us across our social media channels for updates on our work, and snippets of our students’ responses to their books.

All the best,

​​Call us:

615-879-8857

​Write to us: 

1006 Shelby Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206

© 2019 Tennessee Higher Education Initiative