The University has updated its COVID-19 protocols in accordance with the Tennessee State COVID-19 Omnibus Bill.

This means three things for students and faculty: the mask policy has been lifted, campus quarantine/isolation protocols are discontinued, and a federal contractor executive order has been put in place.

The new state law requires all mask mandates to be lifted everywhere except the University’s Health Services and the Counseling Center because, as health care providers, they are permitted to maintain a face mask requirement. 

UTC still encourages students and faculty to wear face masks; however, it can no longer be enforced. 

According to the office of the Chancellor at UTK, they will put a mask mandate back in order on November 22, to comply with the federal executive order. However, UTC is complying with the governor’s order to lift all masks requirements for the time being. 

UTC’s Chancellor, Dr. Steven Angle, stated “UTC is no longer requiring isolation/quarantine unless directed to do so by the Health Commissioner. As always, members of the campus community are urged to stay at home if they feel ill or have come into close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.” 

UTC still encourages students to fill out the COVID-19 form to receive recommendations if they feel ill or are exposed to someone with the virus.

President Biden has a new executive order, that outlines a federal vaccination and mask requirement for federal contractors.

“The University of Tennessee System has received an exemption that allows UTC the flexibility necessary to implement the requirements of the executive order as required by federal contracts,” Angle said.

He explains that UTC currently does not have any contracts from the federal government that require faculty to be vaccinated or wear a mask. However, that does not mean this cannot change in the future. 

“I think it is totally unfair to put added stress on students by constantly changing Covid policies,” UTC student Matt Crowe said.

He also believes the new mandates are removing a sense of safety on campus. 

He goes on to say he thinks new accommodations for students, like virtual classes and online exams, should continue to be offered during this time.

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