All University of Tennessee schools will resume on-campus classes in the fall, the system announced Wednesday.
In the announcement, university Chancellor Donde Plowman said residential campus life “will look different this fall,” with social distancing and safety procedures as part of “the new normal.”
The system has created a “Re-Imagining Fall Task Force” to establish the logistics of social distancing on its flagship Knoxville campus, the announcement states. The task force will also plan for the possibility of continued online classes if the situation “worsen[s] beyond what we can control,” according to the university.
The system said a full report on the logistics of safely reopening for the fall semester will be delivered May 18 and posted to the task force’s web page.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.”
Last week, Texas Tech and Texas A&M also announced they will reopen campus in fall and play the normal football season.
"While we know online classes are an option if needed, we plan to be fully open and operational, with dedicated faculty and staff leaning into preparing for all the requirements necessary to do so safely across academics, athletics and campus activities,” Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said in a statement.