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UTHSC COVID-19 Update: Remote Courses, Commencement, Telecommuting, and On-Campus Services


Faculty, Staff, and Students,

UT Interim President Randy Boyd has just announced that the University of Tennessee, in consultation with the chancellors of all UT campuses, made the decision to move face-to-face classes to remote delivery for the rest of the spring semester and to plan alternative commencement ceremonies in response to the COVID-19 threat.

As our campus leadership is working through this fluid COVID-19 situation, this email should outline some of the important changes impacting our campus:

Remote Courses
As noted in previous updates, the decision to move face-to-face classes to remote delivery will not impact clinical rotations, as students will proceed as usual under guidance from the sponsoring partner institutions. Residents, fellows, postdocs, and research laboratories will also not be affected, and should proceed as usual.

Student Access to Campus
In an effort to prevent large groups from gathering on campus, student access to the SAC, GEB, CHIPS, and Pharmacy Buildings will be withheld except for pre-approved purposes beginning Wednesday, March 18. Badge access to these areas will be limited to those people who need to be on campus. Students who do not have active business on campus are encouraged to remain off campus.

UTHSC Clinics
UTHSC-directed clinics, such as OT, PT, and ASP will be closed until further notice. The UTHSC dental clinics will be open for emergencies only.

Alternative Commencement Ceremonies
Student Affairs will be meeting with the colleges this week to discuss alternative commencement ceremonies. Those details will be shared as soon as they are available.

Essential Student Services
Essential student services, such as University Health Services, Financial Aid, SASSI, and the Bursar’s Office will remain open. Please note: University Health Services cannot test for COVID-19, and if you suspect you may have the virus, please contact UHS at 901.448.5630 to set up a virtual visit with a primary care provider.

On-Campus Services
With UTHSC’s top priority being the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, the university will be closing the following on-campus services until further notice:

Closing Monday, March 16 until further notice:

  • Campus Recreation
  • Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation (CHIPS) – the physical location will be closed, but all online and telephone services will remain open
  • Fitness Center
  • Health Sciences Library – the physical location will be closed, but all online and telephone services will remain open

Closing Tuesday, March 17 until further notice:

  • Food Services (all locations – Food Court in Madison Plaza, GEB Café, Power Life in the SAC)

Telecommuting for Faculty and Staff:

Supervisors are encouraged to allow faculty and staff to telecommute where possible. Fewer people on campus will reduce the chances of transmitting the virus. All offices should remain responsive via email and phone. We understand not all positions or offices are conducive to telecommuting, but for those that are able and have approval from their Dean or Vice Chancellor, you will be receiving a letter from HR authorizing you to telecommute under the conditions outlined. Departments may rotate employees working at home with those working in the office as a way to keep the office open while keeping a minimum number of employees on campus. The details of who may telecommute and how they may telecommunicate will be directed by your Dean or Vice Chancellor’s office.

UTHSC is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and we will keep you up-to-date as new developments arise. Thank you for your understanding as we work to keep our campus safe.

For more information and resources on COVID-19, please visit uthsc.edu/coronavirus.

Steve J. Schwab, MD, FACP, FASN