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Social distancing on campus

Social distancing means keeping space—about six feet—from other people as much as possible.

Updated: June 10, 2020

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Follow any social distancing signage on campus.
  • Adjustments are being made to campus spaces.
  • Learn strategies for social distancing within workspaces.

Social distancing or physical distancing means keeping space—about six feet—from other people as much as possible.

View CDC guidance on social distancing.

Campus signage

Signs will be posted around campus indicating how to maintain appropriate physical distance from others. Students, faculty, and staff should follow all guidelines.

The Facilities Services signage plan includes information on university signage and guidance on making requests related to signage and physical barriers.

Individual units are responsible for signage in spaces like office lobbies and lounges, kitchens, break rooms, and meeting rooms. The signage plan includes downloadable signs and guidance on their use in these areas.

View the Facilities Services signage plan.

Physical barriers

Physical barriers act as a reminder for people to maintain an appropriate distance from others. They also serve as a protective tool in close quarters when social distancing is not possible.

There is an ongoing project to place physical barriers in priority areas. Priorities are based on the number of people and the nature of interactions that take place in each space. High-priority areas include dining and retail locations, OneStop, the VolCard office, and Parking Services.

Supervisors who identify physical barrier needs can review the Facilities Service signage plan to learn more about barriers and how to request them.

View the signage plan for campus spaces.

Study and community spaces

The university is designating additional socially distanced community spaces with Wi-Fi access in the Student Union and Hodges Library to ensure that students have a variety of places to study and access courses remotely.


Measures such as marking chairs and removing unnecessary furniture will be put in place in classroom buildings. In rooms with movable furniture, the floor will be marked to ensure safe placement of chairs.

View the Facilities Services classroom plans.


Everyone is asked to limit elevator capacity and take the stairs if able. Under no circumstances should anyone enter an elevator or wait in an elevator lobby without a face covering.


As much as possible, social distancing should be maintained on public transportation, include the T buses and other university transportation. Avoid carpooling as much as possible.

Office spaces

Here are some ideas for social distancing in office spaces:

  • Use technology to limit in-person group meetings. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) supports conferencing platforms such as Zoom. View OIT’s guide for teaching and working remotely.
  • Use remote work and staggered schedules.
  • Remove chairs in large meeting rooms.
  • Arrange for floor markings to indicate ideal seating arrangements.
  • Make process changes to avoid contact with others (electronic signature, contactless delivery and pickup, use of appointments and reservations, etc.).
  • Provide visual cues in waiting areas showing visitors where to stand.
  • Create entry and exit plans for staff.
  • Identify and restrict common areas where people are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce social distancing protocols.

Facilities Services has a workplace controls checklist that can help with evaluation and implementation of social distancing in work spaces.

Download the workplace controls checklist.

Downloadable signage is available to encourage social distancing, note space closures, and indicate traffic flow. Review the signage plan for guidelines on using downloadable signage.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.