August 2, 2022

Dear Members of the University Community and Visitors to Campus,

Each week, the state of Tennessee provides updated data on cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 for each county. As has been communicated previously, we have been using these data to determine our campus masking status. However, this information for our four county area has changed regularly and is likely to continue to do so. Having an on-campus masking policy tied to data that changes so frequently is quite simply untenable and would be challenging to implement with a full campus. Thus, the current policy for the 2022-23 academic year is the University recommends that individuals wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk. Individuals with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. As was the case last year, the following remain in effect: 

  • All visitors to University Health Services (UHS) must wear a mask, according to stated policies.
  • Faculty may choose to require masks be worn in their classes, laboratories, studios, or offices.
  • Staff members may require masks to be worn in their personal workspace.

Since August 2020, we have successfully remained open for an active, on-campus learning experience for our students. An important part of managing this pandemic is for as many people as possible who are eligible to be up to date with their vaccinations, which currently includes the primary series and one booster shot. We are fortunate to enjoy an extremely high level of vaccination among students, faculty, and staff.

We anticipate that this virus will continue to circulate in some form for the foreseeable future, and the CDC may recommend additional vaccinations, booster shots, or other measures depending on the future evolution of COVID-19. If so, potential adjustments to our current COVID-related policies will be evaluated in light of any new information. The policy for students can be found at this link, and information for employees can be found at this link.

Our collective perseverance for over two years has been simply remarkable. Thank you for your diligence and personal commitment to helping keep one another as safe as possible during this ongoing pandemic.

I very much look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

Nancy J. Berner
Acting Vice-Chancellor and President