5 Quick Things: July 8, 2020

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1. Vaccine Requirement for Fall 2020

Last week, the UT Board of Trustees approved an emergency resolution authorizing the University of Tennessee System to require CDC or Department of Health recommended vaccines for all faculty, staff, and students that are deemed to aid in preventing, controlling, or monitoring the spread of COVID-19This includes the flu immunization, and could include a COVID vaccine, if one is developed and recommended by the CDC and Tennessee Department of Health.

The vaccination requirements are to protect the health and safety of the university community and are based on the advice of public health experts to help decrease the chances of a flu outbreak masking a COVID-19 outbreak. As the CDC has noted, the flu vaccine “will be more important than ever” in the 2020-21 flu season because of the potential for the flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 to be spreading at the same time. The COVID immunization would only be required if it’s been medically proven to be safe and effective and it is recommended by the CDC or Tennessee Department of Health.

Consistent with state law, the University of Tennessee has required certain vaccinations for incoming students for years, and it is important to know that students and employees can be exempted from these requirements if they have a medical, religious, or other reason.

Read the full Vaccine Requirement for Students and Employees, which includes FAQs.

2. Budget Message

The state legislature recently concluded its emergency session and approved a modified budget for the coming year for the State of Tennessee. The substantial decrease in state revenues driven by the COVID-19 pandemic forced further state budget reductions. However, the Governor and the Legislature largely spared higher education and the University of Tennessee from any additional budget reductions. This is dramatically better for higher education in Tennessee than what is occurring in many of our surrounding states. We are very grateful for these actions.
Key components affecting UTHSC

  1. Faculty and staff:
    • No mandatory salary reductions
    • No mandatory furloughs
    • No mandatory layoffs
    • There will, however, not be any annual state salary increases
  2. Deferred:
    • Previously approved capital maintenance projects
    • UTHSC operational funds
    • GME expansion
  3. Approved:
    • Long-planned acquisition of the Tri Metis Vivarium

Read the full Budget Message from Chancellor Schwab.

3. COVID-19 Testing Available on Memphis Campus

A COVID-19 testing site has been set up on the Memphis campus in the Student-Alumni Center (SAC) gymnasium at 800 Madison Ave. The gymnasium is located on the backside of the SAC and patients should enter via the breezeway, and not through the front door of the SAC.

The SAC testing site is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 12:00 – 4:00 pm and Saturdays 1:00 – 3:00 pm with no appointment necessary for faculty, staff, and students. The site is closed on holidays.

The SAC testing site is for those who are asymptomatic (no symptoms) and have had no known exposure to COVID-19.

Those with symptoms or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 may continue to be tested at the Tiger Lane mobile testing site or any other UCH mobile testing sites by texting “COVID” to 901.203.5526. Test results will take about 48 hours to be returned to the patient.

4. Only 65 FREE License Plate Reservations (+ a FREE UTHSC Mask) Remaining – Reserve Yours Today!  

We are working to get a NEW UTHSC license plate in the state of Tennessee, and the university must provide 1,000 commitments to the state with a $35 specialty fee for each in order to get these into production. The UTHSC administration will be paying the $35 fee for the first 1,000 people to reserve a license plate.

We have received over 500 license plate reservations in the last month  – THANK YOU! These are going fast, and we currently only have 65 FREE UTHSC license plate reservations remaining. Hurry to reserve your license plate today AND receive a FREE UTHSC face mask as a bonus! 

For more details, visit uthsc.edu/license-plate.

5. Updated Voicemail for Faculty and Staff

ITS has begun the process of modernizing the university’s telecommunications system. This move will increase functionality and extend your office phone services to multiple devices, ensuring you never have to miss a call wherever you are.

As the first phase of this transition, the campus will switch to a new voicemail system on Friday, July 10, at 5:30 pm CDT. How you access your voicemail and most of the menu commands to check messages, set greetings, etc. will remain the same. Additionally, any messages you have at the time of the switchover will be retained.

After the switchover, you will be required to go through a brief voiced-guided setup the first time you check your voicemail. More details will follow as the switchover date nears.

The change will not affect phone forwarding.

Please contact the ITS Helpdesk (901.448.2222/800.413.7830 or helpdesk@uthsc.edu) if you have questions.