By Regina Baker, Staff Writer–
A COVID-19 exposure occurred at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s bookstore on Aug. 18 sometime between 3-4 p.m., according to a press release from the university.
University officials report that an individual went to the campus bookstore during their infectious period and potentially exposed bookstore staff and customers to COVID-19. The university is conducting contact tracing to locate potentially exposed individuals and advising them to get tested, notify officials immediately and if experiencing symptoms, to quarantine at their place of residence, leaving only to go to a health care provider.
Free testing for students, faculty, and staff is available at the University Health Center and for individuals not affiliated with UTC, information regarding free testing around the Chattanooga area on the Hamilton County Health Department’s website.
Following the exposure, the university and bookstore took the necessary measures, in accordance with Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, to ensure the safety of all members of the UTC community and to minimize any disturbance to normal operations.
The bookstore and surrounding areas of the University Center received a thorough cleaning from the Emergency Management Team and employees received the necessary items to conduct proper sanitation of the facility.
UTC Junior Brionna Taylor shared how the university took action after this experience.
“They let us know as soon as the exposure occurred, we have been given sanitizer, gloves and what we need to work and stay protected,” she said.
The university and bookstore implemented new operational policies and procedures prior to the beginning of the fall semester to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. These changes include protective shields around the checkout, main desk and online pickup areas to avoid close proximity, stickers on the floor to maintain social distancing and directional signs to manage the flow of customers as they enter and exit.
Both the university and bookstore insist that every person on campus follows these new policies and procedures, to help protect all members of the community from potential virus exposure.
Kellie Wright, UTC’s Bookstore Manager hopes students maintain in accordance with health regulations, for everyone’s safety.
“We want students, faculty and the rest of the campus community to remain as safe and healthy as possible…we recommend that, as we are doing in our store, that students continue to follow the CDC guidelines, as well as any directives from the school,” she said.
To learn more about UTC’s protocols regarding COVID-19 exposures, visit utc.edu/coronavirus and to find out information about changes implemented at the bookstore in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit utc.bncollege.com.