Skip to main content

Returning to Campus This Fall

May 06, 2020

Dear Volunteer community,

President Boyd just announced that all campuses in the University of Tennessee System, including our flagship campus here in Knoxville, plan to bring students back for an on-campus experience this fall. This was a decision made in coordination with the campus chancellors.

The health and safety of our students and employees are our first priority, and the residential campus experience will look different this fall than it did before COVID-19. Social distancing and enhanced safety procedures will be part of the new normal, and we will continue to rely on health professionals and data to guide our decisions.

The logistics of social distancing on a college campus will require considerable planning. UT Knoxville’s Re-Imagining Fall Task Force, through the critical work of its subcommittees and with campus input, has begun the process of considering how we can safely operate and deliver an on-campus experience. The task force will also continue planning around two other scenarios—including contingencies for continued online instruction—in order to be prepared should the situation worsen beyond what we can control. The final report will be delivered May 18 and will be posted to the task force web page. It will be a resource we can use to create a safe and meaningful college experience in the fall.

In addition, the UT System has initiated a statewide task force to combine the best thinking of each campus, infectious disease experts at UT Health Science Center, and the Tennessee Department of Health to leverage resources and ideas.

I am proud of the resilience of our students and the work of our faculty and staff through one of the most significant disruptions American higher education has ever experienced. I am also proud of the creative ideas and careful preparation going into safely bringing our Volunteer community back together on campus this fall. We are Volunteers and will continue doing what Volunteers have always done—step forward in leadership, service, and action to create the future we all want.

While we cannot predict what will come, we will prepare for it, and hold true to our Volunteer values for leading with courage:

  • Keep our community healthy and hopeful.
  • Keep students on track toward success.
  • Be creative. Be compassionate. Be flexible.


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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