Skip to main content

Staff


FAQs



I’m a UT employee. I feel sick, I think I may have recently been exposed to COVID-19, or I have been diagnosed with COVID-19. What should I do? Should I self-isolate?

What to do if you feel sick

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or shortness of breath, which may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

If you start exhibiting these symptoms, you should:

  • Stay home, limit contact with others, and contact your health care provider or, if needed, your local emergency room. Always call ahead before going to your health care provider or ER.
  • Advise your health care provider regarding your recent travel history, other exposure risk, or positive COVID-19 infection status.
  • Do not travel on public transportation.

Continue to maintain the same precautions recommended for everyone:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 percent–95 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.

When to self-isolate for 14 days, even if you feel fine

The university is following CDC and federal guidance for self-isolation and quarantine. If you fall into one of the specific categories below, you are required to self-isolate or quarantine for at least 14 days:

  • Anyone who has had close contact with someone known to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Close contact means you were within about six feet of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case. Close contact also means having direct contact with secretions (typically coughs and sneezes) from a person with COVID-19 case.
  • Anyone arriving back in the US after traveling abroad.
  • Anyone arriving from a cruise ship (ocean or river).
  • Anyone traveling from New York City.

If you show any symptoms of COVID-19 during your time in self-isolation, contact your health care provider or, if needed, your local emergency room.

If you are self-isolating based on the above guidance, contact your supervisor. Managers will provide further instructions on what additional steps you need to take, including completion of a faculty and staff self-isolation form and notification to HR.

If you have been in contact with someone who is self-isolating but not known to be infected with COVID-19, you are not required to self-isolate.

Telecommuting while self-isolating

If you must self-isolate, are not sick, and can work remotely, contact your supervisor to discuss telecommuting.

If you must self-isolate, are somewhat sick, and can do some remote work, contact your supervisor to discuss telecommuting for a portion of your self-isolation.

If telecommuting is not possible and/or you are too sick to work, your supervisor will discuss administrative leave options.

In all of the above situations, your supervisor will work with you to provide flexible work options. University leadership has asked all supervisors and managers to be flexible, compassionate, and creative in response to COVID-19.

Read more about telecommuting

What to expect if you test positive for COVID-19

If you test for COVID-19 and the results are positive, your local health department and your health care provider will be notified of your results.

Your health care provider should contact you regarding your positive test results and provide you with further directives regarding your present care, follow-up evaluations, and isolation requirements.

You must stay isolated from others until you are advised by your health care provider to do otherwise.

Your health care provider may also discuss your case with local health officials. The health department will initiate an extensive check of where you have been since you first developed symptoms and with whom you have come into close contact. Your close contacts will then also be contacted, advised of their exposure risk, and provided directions on what they need to do. Your personal information will not be divulged to your close contacts.

COVID-19 and insurance

Copays, coinsurance, and deductibles will not apply to in-network COVID-19 testing and in-network outpatient visits leading to COVID-19 testing for all members in any plan (Premier, Standard, Limited, CDHP) with either carrier (BCBST, Cigna).

This benefit will take effect immediately and could also include claims prior to March 17, 2020, that meet these requirements.

Regular cost-sharing will apply for any treatment associated with COVID-19 under the current cost-sharing based on the plan in which members are enrolled.

Read more guidance on COVID-19 and insurance, including how your benefits apply to telehealth services.

Return to FAQ list

I have been contacted by a colleague or student who says they are sick, may have been exposed to COVID-19, or has been diagnosed with COVID-19. What do I tell them?

First, let the person know you care about their situation and that the university is here to support them.

If you are contacted by a UT staff or faculty member

Refer the person to the health guidance for their specific situation. The guidance includes what they should do if they feel ill, under what circumstances they should self-isolate, and what to do if they test positive for COVID-19.

If the person needs to self-isolate and you are their supervisor, ask them to complete the faculty and staff self-isolation form. If you are not their supervisor, ask them to speak to their supervisor about self-isolation. If a colleague contacts you, please share that information with your supervisor so they can make sure their unit leadership is aware and that proper reporting has been completed.

Human Resources will provide information and guidance to any employee who completes the self-isolation form.

The self-isolation form is also used to determine when and where a person in isolation was last on campus. This helps the university in assessing the need to notify other individuals and determining appropriate administrative and cleaning procedures that may be necessary. Supervisors who have questions regarding these assessments can contact Jason Cottrell (cottrell@utk.edu) or Cris Taylor (ctayl130@utk.edu) for more information.

If you are a supervisor, remember to be flexible, compassionate, and creative in working with the person to arrange telecommuting options.

If you have questions about telecommuting, flexible scheduling, or tracking self-isolation, contact HR at 865-974-6642 or hr@utk.edu.

If you are contacted by a UT student

Refer the person to the health guidance for their specific situation. The guidance includes what they should do if they feel ill, under what circumstances they should self-isolate, and what to do if they test positive for COVID-19.

All self-isolating students, regardless of location, are asked to complete the student and student employee self-isolation form. Student employees who need to self-isolate should complete the form and communicate with their campus supervisor. The Office of the Dean of Students will follow up with any student who completes the self-isolation form to provide support resources.

If a student contacts you, please share that information with your supervisor so they can make sure their unit leadership is aware and that proper reporting has been completed.

Return to FAQ list

Do I really need to practice social distancing?

It is critical that we continue social distancing. Please refrain from gathering with friends and large groups, avoid public spaces as much as possible, and keep yourself healthy so that we can keep our community healthy.

Return to FAQ list

When it comes to contact with others, when am I at risk?

With the exception of those returning from travel abroad or from river or ocean cruises, current CDC guidance for contact with others says you are at higher risk for infection only if you are a primary contact of someone who has been positively identified as infected with COVID-19.

  1. Primary contact means you have had direct close contact with a person infected with COVID-19. If you are a primary contact of a person infected with COVID-19, you should stay at home for 14 days, monitor yourself for the development of symptoms, and contact your health care provider if symptoms develop. You may be contacted by local health officials.
  2. A secondary contact is someone who comes into contact with a primary contact. Coming into contact with a healthy primary contact (that is, a person who has had contact with a COVID-19 patient) does not put you at high risk for infection.

For example, if a friend has been around someone with COVID-19 but you have been in contact only with your friend and not the infected person, you are a secondary contact and your risk of infection remains low. Your friend’s risk is higher because they are a primary contact of someone that is infected. They need to self-isolate, but you do not.

Return to FAQ list

What is meant by the term close contact?

Close contact is defined as:

  1. Being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 infected individual for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case, or
  2. Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).

Return to FAQ list

I heard there were students who were moved to another residence hall. I heard there were students wearing masks. Are they sick?

On March 3, a group of 12 students from Japan arrived on campus as part of the English Language Institute (ELI) for a five-month immersion program. Prior to their arrival, the university was monitoring guidance from the CDC and was in regular communications with the host university to ensure none of the traveling students had any symptoms that could be COVID-19. None of the students had or have any symptoms.

The university is continually monitoring federal and state guidance. On March 4, the Tennessee Department of Health communicated new CDC recommendations for travelers from CDC Level 2 countries, which is currently Japan, asking that they limit contact with others for 14 days.

As part of our ongoing efforts to follow CDC recommendations and with coordination by campus and municipal health authorities, we relocated these students to Laurel Hall, where they could limit contact to just each other, and further limited their access to campus for 14 days. A doctor from the UT Student Health Center visited with students to let them know what to do in case anyone experienced symptoms. None are exhibiting symptoms.

UT staff members communicated with the students frequently. During the 14-day period of limited contact, the students avoided interaction with others on campus. They had their own areas to live, study, and meet. Meals were delivered to them so they did not use common eating areas. UT provided dedicated laundry service and transportation for them as needed.

The procedures were established in coordination with the health department.

Return to FAQ list

What is the status of facilities, dining, parking, transportation, and other campus operations?

As the UT Knoxville and UTIA campuses shift to online classes and remote work, there are several changes to hours of operations and services.

The number of people on campus is being limited, and employees are practicing social distancing and taking appropriate protective measures as they keep essential services available.

Hours of operation and services can change suddenly as the situation evolves. Check back for updated information.

Student Union

The Student Union is maintaining abbreviated hours of operation.

  • Monday–Friday: 7 am–6 pm
  • Saturday–Sunday: Closed

Vol Dining

Starting April 4: Check Vol Dining for specific hours.

  • Arena Dining offers takeout breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • WhichWich in the Arena Café has takeout lunch on weekdays.
  • The UTIA campus POD is open weekdays 7:30 am–3:30 pm.

Parking and Transit Services

University Libraries

Physical access to all UT Knoxville and UTIA campus library facilities—Hodges Library, Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library, and DeVine Music Library—is limited to staff members. All online library services and resources remain operational.

Student Health Center

The Student Health Center has modified its appointment process and is working with vendors to add a telehealth option.

Counseling Center

The Counseling Center is making adjustments to their operations to continue serving students.

VolTech

VolShop retail stores are closed except for the VolTech location on the ground floor of the Student Union. VolTech is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and offers computers, peripherals, and supplies for Mac and Windows computers and smartphones, as well as on-site computer repairs. Online shopping is available for all store items. For more information on online course materials and VolShop merchandise, visit utvolshop.com.

VolCard Office

Although the VolCard Office office is closed, students may email the VolCard Office at volcard@utk.edu.

Legal Clinic

The Legal Clinic at UT Law is working remotely and fully operational. Call 865-974-2331 if you need assistance.

Closed until further notice

  • RecSports
  • McClung Museum
  • Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture
  • Downtown Gallery

Return to FAQ list

I plan to travel internationally, what should I do?

Effective March 10, UT suspended nonessential UT-related international and domestic travel outside the state of Tennessee. If you have plans for university-related international travel in March, you are expected to cancel it. Do not book any new university-related international travel until further notice.

For graduate students, professional students and faculty/staff only

If there is a circumstance where you believe university-related international travel must occur, you may submit a request by completing the International Travel Petition form. Exceptions are not permitted for study abroad students. Study abroad students must follow the instructions they receive from the Center for Global Engagement.

Return to FAQ list

Will I be reimbursed for canceled international travel?

The university will reimburse employees for expenses associated with an international business trip that has been canceled due to COVID-19 and for which they cannot receive reimbursement through other means. This includes airfare, hotel cancellation fees, conference registrations, and other pre-paid items. Process these through the travel system, mark them as an exception, and indicate in the notes that the trip was canceled due to the virus.

COVID-19 should be entered in the “additional text for receipt” field on the expense reimbursement form. We have established a central cost center to capture these expenses and provided this information to campus business managers. If you have not yet completed a request to travel form, please do so immediately and include COVID-19 in the “reason” for travel field. Request to travel forms must be completed in advance for all UT business travel, including those with no expected reimbursement.

If there is a circumstance where you believe university-related international travel must occur, you may submit a request for an exception by emailing the request to itr@utk.edu. Requests will be reviewed by senior university leadership.

Steps to cancel your travel

  • Cancel your hotel accommodations and ask that any related cancellation fees be waived. Fees incurred will be reimbursed by the university. Room charges incurred for mid-trip cancellations will be reimbursed by the university.
  • If your trip was booked through World Travel, the university’s travel agency, please contact them directly at 877-210-8189 to cancel your flight reservation or assist with a ticket change. The cost of unused tickets will be moved to a central cost center. Unused ticket credits with World Travel are available for use within one year of the date of purchase. This unused ticket inventory will be managed centrally in Finance and Administration. As the ticket inventory is used, only the change fees will be charged to the unit using the ticket.
  • If your trip was booked independently, please contact your airline to cancel your flight or assist with a ticket change. If the airline will not process a refund, a ticket credit should be requested. This credit should only be used for future University business travel. Airfare will be reimbursed by the University, using a central cost center on the reimbursement request.
  • Contact the conference organizer to request a refund of registration fees paid. Fees paid directly by the University using a p-card should be refunded to the p-card. Associates who paid registration fees with personal funds should seek a refund directly from the conference organizer. If the conference organizer will not issue a refund, the University will reimburse registration fees using a central cost center.
  • Immediately return all unused travel advances to the Treasurer’s Office. Ask your unit Business Manager to cancel outstanding requests for cash advances if these have not yet been received.
  • An Emergency Management Support cost center has been established for cost reimbursement and tracking. More information regarding use of this cost center on travel reimbursement forms and transfer of cost posted to department cost centers / project accounts has been shared with business managers.

If you elect to cancel your trip but the conference is still active:

  • You may elect to cancel trips scheduled to occur through May 31, 2020. This date will continue to be evaluated.
  • Please discuss with your supervisor.
  • Reimbursement terms will follow the steps above.

If you are planning a new international trip once the travel suspension period is released:

  • The purchase of travel insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) is now a requirement. This cost will be reimbursed by the University using a central cost center on the reimbursement request until further notice for UTK, UTIA and UTSI associates.
  • Per fiscal policy FI0705, a request to travel must be submitted at least ten business days in advance. Reimbursement will not be provided if timely preauthorization is not obtained.
  • World Travel must be used for all foreign travel, effective immediately, when making new University business trip arrangements. International trips booked outside of World Travel will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Return to FAQ list

Can I travel in the US?

On March 10, UT suspended nonessential UT-related international and domestic travel outside the state of Tennessee.

Essential travel is travel that is absolutely necessary and required to preserve:

  • the safety of our students, faculty and staff;
  • the safety of a research subject; and
  • research activity which cannot be postponed.

If there is a circumstance where you believe university-related domestic travel must occur, you may submit a request for an exception by emailing the request to travelexception@utk.edu. Requests will be reviewed by senior university leadership.

We also ask that you be mindful of personal domestic travel and bringing visitors to campus. Please stay at home and don’t travel if you have respiratory symptoms.

Return to FAQ list

Will I be reimbursed for canceled domestic travel?

Many domestic conferences and events have been canceled. The university will reimburse employees for out-of-pocket expenses associated with a domestic business trip that has been canceled due to COVID-19 and for which they cannot receive reimbursement through other means. This includes airfare, hotel cancellation fees, conference registrations, and other pre-paid items.

Process these through the travel system, mark them as an exception and indicate in the notes that the trip was canceled due the virus. COVID-19 should be entered in the “additional text for receipt” field on the expense reimbursement form. We have established a central cost center to capture these expenses and provided this information to campus business managers. If you have not yet completed a request to travel form, please do so immediately and include COVID-19 in the “reason” for travel field. Request to travel forms must be completed in advance for all UT business travel, including those with no expected reimbursement.

Steps to cancel your travel

  • Cancel your hotel accommodations and ask that any related cancellation fees be waived. Fees incurred will be reimbursed by the university. Room charges incurred for mid-trip cancellations will be reimbursed by the university.
  • If your trip was booked through World Travel, the university’s travel agency, please contact them directly at 877-210-8189 to cancel your flight reservation or assist with a ticket change. The cost of unused tickets will be moved to a central cost center. Unused ticket credits with World Travel are available for use within one year of the date of purchase. This unused ticket inventory will be managed centrally in Finance and Administration. As the ticket inventory is used, only the change fees will be charged to the unit using the ticket.
  • If your trip was booked independently, please contact your airline to cancel your flight or assist with a ticket change. If the airline will not process a refund, a ticket credit should be requested. This credit should only be used for future University business travel. Airfare will be reimbursed by the university, using a central cost center on the reimbursement request.
  • Contact the conference organizer to request a refund of registration fees paid. Fees paid directly by the university using a p-card should be refunded to the p-card. Associates who paid registration fees with personal funds should seek a refund directly from the conference organizer. If the conference organizer will not issue a refund, the university will reimburse registration fees using a central cost center.
  • Immediately return all unused travel advances to the Treasurer’s Office. Ask your unit business manager to cancel outstanding requests for cash advances if these have not yet been received.
  • An Emergency Management Support cost center has been established for cost reimbursement and tracking. More information regarding use of this cost center on travel reimbursement forms and transfer of cost posted to department cost centers / project accounts has been shared with business managers.

If you elect to cancel your trip but the conference is still active:

  • You may elect to cancel trips scheduled to occur through May 31, 2020. This date will continue to be evaluated.
  • Please discuss with your supervisor.
  • Reimbursement terms will follow the steps above.

Return to FAQ list

I have personal international travel planned. What should I do?

Community spreading is occurring globally. Any student, faculty, or staff who travels outside the US or goes on any cruise ship may not return to campus for two weeks upon their return home. Please curtail personal international travel. If you do travel internationally for personal reasons, you are encouraged to register with the Center for Global Engagement.

When you return, you are expected to contact your supervisor and are required to follow any CDC-recommended guidelines. If you choose to go ahead with travel for personal reasons, and have trouble abroad or when you return, please understand that you are responsible for your time and expenses.

Personal international travel registration is encouraged but not required (Registration form: https://veoci.com/veoci/p/form/55mx5xevhrrw#tab=entryForm). The purpose of this registration is for travelers to receive timely updates from the university. The university’s duty of care does not apply to personal travel.

Return to FAQ list

What should I do to prepare for the transition to online classes?

The primary university-sponsored platforms for online instruction at UT Knoxville are Canvas and Zoom.

  1. If you have not already done so, learn how to use your Canvas course site to post course content and announcements.
  2. Identify your major course assessments (papers, exams, etc.) for the remainder of the term and either modify them as needed so they can be delivered online or develop substantially equivalent assessments that can be delivered online. The university is developing guidance for instructors who teach laboratory courses and other courses such as performance or field courses that may be difficult to deliver online.
  3. Set up your UT Knoxville Zoom account at no charge and practice setting up and hosting a Zoom meeting so you can deliver your course, meet with students, and hold office hours online in a synchronous environment.
  4. Make sure you can connect to Canvas, Zoom, and email from your home if you would prefer to deliver classes from home rather than from your office.
  5. Move important course- and work-related files to Microsoft One Drive or Google Drive so you can access them from anywhere.

The following online resources can help new Canvas and Zoom users learn more about the platforms’ capabilities, and can help instructors who have not previously taught online begin to move their classes online.

OIT’s Working and Teaching Remotely web page is a good starting point for instructors to learn what Canvas and Zoom can do.

Online Programs in Teaching and Learning Innovation has a Quick Start to Online Teaching that can help you take the first steps in moving your classes online.

OIT is providing several consultation sessions for new Zoom users, or users who need a quick refresher.

Teaching and Learning Innovation is offering several Zoom-based workshops to help instructors transition to online teaching.

More than 80 percent of the materials in the Libraries’ collections are available online 24 hours per day, and can be easily integrated into online courses.

VolBooks can work with you to provide digital materials for academic courses.

For assistance with technical issues, contact the OIT HelpDesk by phone at 865-974-9900 or online at help.utk.edu.

Return to FAQ list

What prevention steps are being taken in residence halls?

University Housing staff is working daily to reduce the possibility of exposure.

Efforts include:

  • Wiping down high-touch areas such as handrails, elevator buttons, and door handles multiple times daily;
  • Maintaining hand sanitizer stations in lobbies of residence halls; and
  • Sharing UT’s coronavirus information resource, utk.edu/coronavirus, with students when they have questions or concerns.

Return to FAQ list

Should I cancel my UT-sponsored conference?

It is up to the hosting unit to determine if a cancellation is warranted. There are no administrative restrictions in force for university-sponsored conferences at this time. Registration fee refunds to participants, venue cancellations, and related contract liability are the responsibility of the hosting unit where applicable. Units are expected to minimize liability by canceling timely in order to avoid excessive penalties and fees. Please contact your business manager to discuss the financial impact of event cancellations.

Return to FAQ list

What should I do about current employment searches?

Our campus is operational and using normal business, including filling vacancies, can continue until further notice. Search committees and hiring officials are encouraged to move search activities to an online/Zoom setting where possible. In cases of searches which require on-campus activities (open forums, in-person demonstrations, etc.), exceptions should be requested through the Provost or appropriate vice chancellor and proper social distancing guidelines must be observed.

Return to FAQ list

What is social distancing?

Social distancing includes measures taken intended to reduce the likelihood of exposure to an infectious disease. These measures include, but are not limited to:

  1. Remaining out of congregate settings or public places where close contact with others may occur.
    (Examples of congregate settings include places such as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums, workplaces, and schools and other classroom settings.)
  2. Avoiding local public transportation (e.g., bus, subway, taxi, and ride share), and
  3. Maintaining distance from others (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters).
  4. Using web-based learning for instruction rather than classrooms,
  5. Modifying operations by allowing people to come in only to pick up materials that have been reserved or requested on-line or by telephone
  6. Changing company practices by setting up flexible shift plans, having employees telecommute and canceling any large meetings or conferences.

Social distancing is only one component of the infection control measures sometimes taken by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. Other important personal infection control actions include:

  1. Cleaning your hands often.
  2. Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    (If soap and water are not readily available, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.)
  3. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  4. Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  5. Staying home if you’re sick, except to get medical care.
  6. Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the used tissue in the trash, and immediately washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using the inside of your elbow.
    (If soap and water are not readily available, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.)
  7. Wearing a facemask if you are sick.
  8. Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.
    (This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces appear dirty, clean them with a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.)

Return to FAQ list

Have you witnessed or been the recipient of a bias-based incident?

As we navigate these challenging times as an inclusive campus community, please do not make assumptions about others based on perceived symptoms or identities (e.g., race, ethnicity and/or national origin). We want to foster a campus environment in which everyone matters and belongs. This means showing empathy and respect to all Vols, particularly those for whom this may be an especially stressful situation.

It is important to uphold our values during this evolving situation and to protect every aspect of our community’s well-being. For those who may need additional support, please utilize the following resources:

  • Students can contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 974-HELP or the Student Counseling Center at 865-974-2196 for support services.
  • Employees can access resources through the Office of Human Resources or by calling 865-946-CARE.
  • For more information regarding bias and to make a report, visit bias.utk.edu.

Return to FAQ list

Why were classes moved online beginning March 23?

UT System Interim President Randy Boyd, in consultation with the chancellors of all UT campuses, made the decision on Monday, March 16, 2020, to keep classes online through the end of the spring semester.

We made this decision to protect the well-being of those on our campus and to do our part to protect the health of our broader community. These are not decisions we made lightly. Our campus response to COVID-19 has been based on ongoing CDC updates and regular communication with public health officials and our own infectious disease specialists at the UT Health Science Center.

Return to FAQ list

When will classes move online?

All classes will be moved online following spring break, effective March 23, through the end of the spring semester. We will continue to communicate throughout this period so students, faculty, and staff know what to expect going forward.

Return to FAQ list

Are any events canceled?

All events are canceled through the end of the semester, including commencement. Celebrating graduates and their accomplishments is a top priority for UT leadership, and we are working on a commencement ceremony at a later date. When a plan is finalized, UT will share that information with students and families.

Return to FAQ list

I understand campus events are canceled. What about athletics events?

The Southeastern Conference announced on March 17 that all regular season conference and non-conference competitions are canceled for the remainder of the 2019–20 athletic year, including all remaining SEC championship events, due to continuing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In addition, all spring football games are canceled and there will be no pro days conducted by SEC institutions.

Read more on UT athletics.

Return to FAQ list

What about UT Institute of Agriculture employees?

UTIA has staff in all 95 counties, and regular and consistent communication is critical. Senior Vice President/Senior Vice Chancellor Tim Cross will continue to communicate directly with UTIA employees, including UT Extension and AgResearch employees across the state. Dr. Cross appointed a task to lead the development of UTIA plans in response to possible local transmission of the virus, and is working to ensure regular coordination with statewide Extension and AgResearch locations, as well as other stakeholders.

Return to FAQ list

How does the change to online-only course work affect research?

The Office of Research and Engagement is providing extensive guidance and updates for researchers.

Return to FAQ list

I’m going on a cruise for spring break. Can I come back to campus?

The CDC has now declared a global Level 2 Travel Advisory. Anyone returning from another country, or who has been on a cruise ship, including a river cruise, must stay home and not return to campus for 14 days. Do not go to work, classes, events, or other social gatherings during that time. If you experience symptoms, contact your health care provider. Students may call the Student Health Center Nurse’s Triage line at 865-974-5080.

Return to FAQ list

What is the status of research facilities?

The Office of Research and Engagement has outlined guidelines for labs and lists the current status of core facilities.

Return to FAQ list

Is campus open?

Yes. Campus offices should continue normal business operations. Research is continuing. Deans, directors, department heads, and others in supervisory roles should instruct staff to practice social distancing.

Several offices and resources across campus will have limited operations. Read more about what facilities are closed.

Return to FAQ list

What are the current cleaning procedures on campus?

Building Services is currently cleaning on its normal schedule. Disinfecting continues to be a top priority. We have heightened our disinfection protocols and continue to service all areas regularly. We use a disinfectant to clean all restroom surfaces and fixtures. Additionally, we have added Clorox Disinfectant Wipes for cleaning surfaces in offices and public areas. Those surfaces include doorknobs, desks, counters and handrails. We also have implemented the Clorox Total 360 System, which is sprayed into a large area and binds to and disinfects hard-to-reach surfaces effectively.

Return to FAQ list

Why do we have hand dryers instead of paper towels? Don’t hand dryers spread germs?

Facilities Services has received many inquiries about the effectiveness of hand dryers that have been installed in bathrooms around campus.

There is no definitive evidence that hand dryers are spreading germs. We have heightened our disinfection protocols in restrooms and continue to service all those areas regularly.

Return to FAQ list

Will employees receive updates on co-worker who are known to be self-isolating?

Supervisors will inform employees of any developments that may impact recommendations for employees in their units, but they will not share details of an employee’s private health status.

Return to FAQ list

What are some tips for transitioning to online teaching?

If you’re new to online teaching, or if you’re teaching a large lecture-based class, you might be more comfortable pre-recording lectures rather than delivering live sessions. You can use either Canvas Studio or Zoom to record a lecture or presentation, and distribute the recording to your students through your Canvas course site.

Rather than recording a full-length lecture in one sitting, consider splitting your class session into smaller chunks. This could make it easier for you to produce your recordings, and it also makes it easier for students to review specific sections of your lecture multiple times. Smaller “mini-lectures” are also good pedagogy.

If you’re teaching a small seminar-style class, teaching online live using Zoom might be a good fit.

Campus remains open, so you are welcome to use your UT office to carry out online teaching.

Return to FAQ list

What should I do about in-class assessments (quizzes, exams, etc.)?

When moving from an in-person class to an online environment, think about the in-class assessments that you have planned for the next few weeks. You may want to adopt a different approach to assessing student learning than you had originally planned.

Any planned timed in-class assessments, such as quizzes or exams, can be converted to untimed assessments that students can complete asynchronously and submit for grading in Canvas.

If you plan to assess student learning using a timed online quiz or exam, you should strongly consider creating a short practice quiz to give students (and yourself) experience with the online testing environment. Students who have not taken an online course before may find their first online exam to be fairly stressful, and the opportunity to practice online test taking could help reduce students’ anxiety about the transition to online learning.

Return to FAQ list

How do I teach a lab, studio, or field work online?

If your class includes place-based, face-to-face components that cannot be provided through online platforms, such as performances, laboratories, studio work, or field work, first consider alternate experiences that can be provided online that support your overall learning objectives.

Beginning March 23, instructors may choose to suspend place-based, face-to-face components for two weeks, if they cannot be immediately transferred to an online environment.

If you decide to suspend these types of place-based components in the short term, you must work with your supervisor to make long-term plans to accommodate student learning online should it come to that.

Return to FAQ list

I understand that we are supposed to practice social distancing at work. What if I sit in a cube setting or am so close to others all day that this is impossible?

Information on social distancing can be found elsewhere in this FAQ. If you believe you cannot practice social distancing in the workplace due to work setting constraints, you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with your supervisor.

If arrangements cannot be made to practice these guidelines in the workplace, the next step is to decide with your supervisor if a telecommuting arrangement can be created. Supervisors have been asked to be compassionate, creative, and flexible when working with employees.

Please call Human Resources at 865-974-6642 if you have questions.

Return to FAQ list

What about human subjects research, export control, and care for laboratory animals?

The Office of Research and Engagement is providing guidance on responsible conduct of research.

Return to FAQ list

What if my child’s school closes, and I have to stay home to take care of my child?

Employees may need to stay home with children or may need to provide elder or other care during this pandemic. The university wants to support you as you tend to these needs, and so we strongly urge telecommuting when at all possible during such circumstances. Please work directly with your supervisor.

Return to FAQ list

Can employees take computer equipment home in order to telecommute?

Yes, if all technical requirements are met. Contact the OIT Helpdesk at 865-974-9900 for technical assistance and to ensure data security.

If departments have equipment needs that cannot be met within the department, these requests should be collected and sent through the provost or appropriate vice chancellor.

Return to FAQ list

What will happen when a student or employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19?

There are numerous circumstances that would dictate a responsible course of action. Some factors that could come into consideration include, but would not be limited to, matters like whether the student resides on campus or off campus; which department, building or facility a staff member works in; if the faculty member is an instructor or administrator, etc. There are too many variables to clearly explain a single course of action. Essentially, our response would depend on the circumstance. The end result would be to take a course of action in coordination with the Knox County Health Department consistent with CDC guidelines for appropriate patient care, and potential contact outreach and care.

We commit to being transparent with our community about what is happening, to the extent allowable by federal patient privacy laws.​

Return to FAQ list

What resources and supports are available to employees and their families during this time? Is there an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

As we continue to figure out the new normal in both our professional and personal lives, each individual will experience the impact of COVID-19 differently. For some the biggest challenge is getting a printer to work at home. For others, it is worrying about a loved one who is unwell and far away.

Whatever your experience, our Employee Assistance Program has added new offerings to help you through this time. In addition to the usual mental health counseling benefit for eligible faculty and staff, a new COVID-19 public crisis line is available to you and your friends and family. In addition, a new app called Sanvello offers tools for coping and peer support as well as tips and FAQs for helping children and older adults during a quarantine.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is offered through Optum Health and designed to provide free confidential assistance to help employees and their families resolve problems that influence their personal lives or job performance. EAP services are available to all benefits-eligible UT employees and their spouses and dependent children. Benefits include up to five no-cost EAP visits with a provider in our EAP network per year.

Contact EAP any time

Employees can access EAP at any time by visiting here4tn.com or calling 855-Here4TN (855-437-3486; TDD/TTY dial 711). For more information about EAP, visit the Human Resources website.

The Optum Public Crisis Line is 866-342-6892. This line is available to everyone, so you can share the number with your family and friends. Caring professionals connect callers to resources 24/7.

Optum’s COVID-19 support page hosts a wealth of resources and supports for well-being.

Free Sanvello premium access will be available during the COVID-19 crisis. This app provides coping tools, peer support, and on-demand help with reducing stress and anxiety.

Resources available through EAP and Optum Health

Webinars

Coping with Traumatic Events
Traumatic events can range from acts of terrorism or war to natural disasters or infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19. Whatever form it takes, when trauma hits close to home it can be hard to process. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.

Get the Best of Stress
In this training, participants get an overview of stress basics as well as practical suggestions for coping with stressful situations like the COVID-19 outbreak.

Return to FAQ list

What if I was on self-isolation (required or voluntary) prior to the established administrative leave with pay (code: UAC 1/2/3) process on March 13, 2020?

The University can retroactively enter the administrative leave with pay (code: UAC 1/2/3) for employees on self-isolation (required or voluntary) prior to March 13, 2020. Please notify your supervisor and coordinate with Human Resources to ensure your time is captured appropriately.

Return to FAQ list

If I am currently on Family & Medical Leave (FML) what does this mean for me?

If you are currently on approved FML, you should record your time as you normally would for time off related to your FML. This time is not considered administrative leave with pay related to COVID-19. For questions regarding your FML status and time entry, contact familymedicalleave@utk.edu.

Return to FAQ list

I plan to host international visitors. What should my visitors do?

International visitors to campus must complete the international visitors registration form.

Remind visitors that they may not come to campus and must self-isolate for 14 days if:

  • They are coming here from another country or have been on a cruise ship, including a river cruise.
  • They are showing symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Visitors experiencing symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.
  • They have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Visitors who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 must not come to campus until they have been without a fever and feeling well for at least 72 hours.

If your unit is hosting international visitors, you must inform your guests of these guidelines before their visit and obtain an acknowledgment that they have received and understand the guidelines.

Return to FAQ list

Will there be a graduation ceremony?

Celebrating graduates and their accomplishments is a top priority for UT leadership, and we are working on a commencement ceremony at a later date.

When a plan is finalized, UT will share that information with students and families.

Return to FAQ list

I’m a UT employee, what do I need to know about telecommuting?

It is critical that we continue to practice social distancing to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. Please refrain from gathering with friends and large groups, avoid public spaces as much as possible, and keep yourself healthy so we can keep our community healthy.

Right now the goal is to minimize the number of people physically on campus. Please remember that the university remains operational. We should all continue to support our students and our core educational and research mission.

The decision on how to implement telecommuting is up to each campus unit and its leadership. Employees who can telecommute are being encouraged to do so. Employees who are at high risk as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are especially encouraged to have conversations with their supervisors about telecommuting.

The university is asking supervisors and managers to do the following:

  1. Work with individual positions and employees, including currently employed student workers, to develop a telecommuting and/or flexible scheduling plan to go into effect immediately.
  2. Determine technology needs for employees whose work is conducive to telecommuting. Anyone who has technology needs should send requests to their supervisors. Each vice chancellor will collect technology requests from their division and prioritize the needs. The university has purchased hundreds of laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots for loan. In filling technology requests, students are our top priority, followed by employees in high-risk categories and then by employees whose work from home is essential as determined by their supervisor.
  3. Determine what you need to keep your business going. Financial transactions still need to be processed, payroll deadlines remain the same, and students will need assistance.
  4. Think outside your own department or unit and position. Are there tasks that can be given to others? Can you share the work with multiple employees? What can your currently employed student workers do remotely?
  5. Consider flexible options and transformational work for those who can telecommute. Are there special projects that can be completed, procedural manuals that can be created, processes that can be documented, or professional development that can be completed or developed?

OIT Guide for Working Remotely

Information to help employees with technical needs as you transition to telecommuting can be found in OIT’s Work Remotely guide.

What is telecommuting?

Telecommuting is performing regular work duties but at a remote location, usually from an employee’s home. UT System HR Policy 0480 (Work Schedules) contemplates the use of telecommuting as an alternate work schedule, either as a regular arrangement or as a temporary measure.

All regular employees (faculty and staff) as well as temporary and student workers are eligible for telecommuting in response to a pandemic.

Telecommuting arrangements developed in response to a pandemic are considered temporary and not designed to remain in place once the circumstances of the pandemic are no longer a concern to the health of the campus community. Telecommuting arrangements may be reevaluated as needed.

Workers’ Compensation While Telecommuting

It is important to note that working from home mirrors office workers’ compensation liability and standard protocol. If a work injury is life-threatening or results in serious bodily injury, immediately call 911. For non-urgent injuries, the first step is to report the injury to your supervisor and to the workers’ compensation company, Corvel. A Corvel provider can be reached 24/7 at 866-245-8588.

For more information about workers’ compensation, next steps, and forms, visit the UT System Risk Management website.

Return to FAQ list

Will grading or other academic policies change to help students?

The Faculty Senate voted on March 25 to temporarily adjust several academic policies for the spring term as a means to support student success.

These adjustments include:

  • Extending the deadline to drop a class with a W grade to April 22, and permanently increasing undergraduate students’ lifetime limits on late drops from four to six
  • Allowing students, beginning in mid-April, to utilize a satisfactory/no-credit grading option during the spring semester for nearly all undergraduate courses and for any graduate-level course that allows it
  • Suspending academic dismissals for all undergraduate students through the spring and summer terms

It’s important to remember that dropping courses and altering grading options could have unintended consequences on financial aid and veteran benefits as well as other implications.

Undergraduate students who are considering using any of these policies should consult with their academic advisor.

Some professional programs, such as law and veterinary medicine, are working on program-specific policy changes. Graduate students should consult with their major professor and director of graduate studies.

Satisfactory/no-credit grading for undergraduate students

For nearly every undergraduate class offered during spring 2020, undergraduate students can choose, on a class-by-class basis, whether to keep regular A–F grading or to use satisfactory/no-credit grading.

  • Students will have the opportunity to choose satisfactory/no-credit grading in mid-April and must make this choice by 11:59 pm EDT on April 22, 2020. Students can change their mind before April 22, but they must make a final decision by April 22.
  • Each student can make their own choice on a class-by-class basis.
  • Students will use the online course registration system to choose satisfactory/no-credit grading for their classes.
  • Lab classes are among the many undergraduate classes where students can select satisfactory/no-credit grading.
  • Instructors cannot require students to choose satisfactory/no-credit grading or to keep regular A–F grading.
  • Instructors will not know whether a student has chosen satisfactory/no-credit grading until it is time to enter grades at the end of the semester.
  • Students who choose satisfactory/no-credit grading must complete all remaining assignments, quizzes, and exams.
  • The A–F grade that a student would have earned at the end of the semester will determine whether the student earns a grade of satisfactory (S) or no credit (NC). The grade of satisfactory (S) will apply if a student completes the class with any grade of C or higher. The grade of no credit (NC) will apply if a student completes the class with any grade below C.
  • For spring 2020, any class in which a student earns a grade of satisfactory (S) can be used to satisfy a curricular requirement where a grade of C or higher is sufficient.
  • Neither satisfactory nor no-credit grades will change a student’s UT Knoxville GPA.
  • Because neither satisfactory nor no-credit grades will change a student’s UT Knoxville GPA, these grades will not affect institutional scholarships such as the Volunteer, Pledge, or Flagship Scholarships. All students who are currently on probation for their institutional scholarships will be given an additional probationary term. Additional information will be forthcoming for students who are on probation for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • If a student has a Tennessee HOPE scholarship, their HOPE GPA will not be affected by either a satisfactory grade or a no-credit grade. Both S and NC grades will count as attempted hours toward students’ HOPE benchmarks.

Dropping classes for undergraduate students

April 22 will be the last day to drop a class with a W for spring 2020. This applies to both full-semester and second-session classes.

  • Classes that students drop in mid-April will be entered on the transcript with a W, the same as classes dropped earlier in the semester.
  • Students’ fifth and sixth drops will become available in mid-April.
  • Students should always consult with their academic advisor before dropping classes.
  • Students should contact One Stop before dropping classes to avoid negative financial aid consequences.

Academic dismissals for undergraduate students

Academic dismissals of undergraduate students will be suspended for spring 2020 and summer 2020.

  • Any student on academic probation in spring 2020 will be allowed to enroll in summer 2020 and fall 2020.
  • If a student currently on academic probation has not returned to good standing by fall 2020, that student will be on academic probation in fall 2020.

Return to FAQ list

What is the current status of research and creative activity?

According to the Office of Research and Engagement, campus-based research and creative activity are currently scaled down in an effort to limit face-to-face interactions and keep faculty, staff, and students safe.

Return to FAQ list