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Guidance on wearing face coverings

Students and employees are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, except in private offices and residence hall rooms and while individuals are actively eating, drinking, or engaging in fitness activities.

Updated: September 10, 2021

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The best way to be protected from serious illness from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, which the university strongly recommends.
  • Students, staff, and faculty are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces with few exceptions.
  • Exceptions include private offices and residence hall rooms and while individuals are actively eating, drinking, or engaging in fitness activities.
  • Any individual can choose to wear a mask anywhere on campus, regardless of their vaccination status.

Due to the increasing spread of the COVID-19 delta variant, masks are now required in all indoor public spaces, except in private offices and residence hall rooms and while individuals are actively eating, drinking, or engaging in fitness activities.

Mask requirements were expanded on August 23, 2021, for two weeks and were extended on September 7. System and campus leadership will continue to monitor cases and will re-evaluate the mask policy in the next few weeks.

With vaccines widely available that are effective at preventing serious illness, the university’s role is to provide guidance on health and safety practices.

  • The best way to be protected from serious illness is to get vaccinated, which the university strongly recommends. Vaccines are safe, free, effective, and easily available on campus. The CDC has noted that infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild. Learn more about on-campus COVID-19 vaccination options.
  • The CDC currently recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public spaces in an area with substantial or high transmission. Additional precautions include avoiding crowded indoor spaces and maintaining distance from others. Review CDC guidance for those who are fully vaccinated.
  • Those who are not vaccinated should take precautions including the use of masks and social distancing indoors to protect themselves and others from serious illness. The Delta variant is much more contagious than previous strains of COVID-19, and unvaccinated people are at higher risk of illness. View CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others if you are not fully vaccinated.
  • Masks are expected to be worn in health care facilities and on public transportation, including the T.
  • Any individual can choose to wear a mask anywhere on campus—outdoors or in private indoor spaces—regardless of their vaccination status.

To discuss accommodations due to a medical condition, students should contact Student Disability Services; employees and visitors should contact the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Guidance on addressing face covering noncompliance.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
865-974-1000


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