The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting each and every one of us. We continue to focus on the health and safety of our campus community and our mission to provide an outstanding education for our students.
We had hoped to resume face-to-face instruction on March 30 but given the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the US, it is clear we need to move to suspend face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the Spring semester. We know this decision is disappointing to our students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community, but this is the most prudent step to take for the welfare of our campus.
UTC will continue to offer online instruction, and students should be able to complete every course they are enrolled in for the spring semester. Summer courses will be offered as planned, but could move to online instruction should that be required. Students planning to graduate on May 1st and 2nd should receive their degrees as planned, but the in-person commencement ceremonies for those dates will not be held as scheduled.
Here are the specific actions UTC is taking today:
- All UTC face-to-face instruction which was suspended through March 30 will continue online through the end of Spring semester 2020.
- Summer Session. UTC will have a full schedule of summer courses with expanded online offerings. Face-to-face instruction may move to online should that be required.
- Campus Housing. An announcement to residents of UTC Campus Housing regarding move-out arrangements will be forthcoming in the next 24 hours. We currently plan to allow students to sign up for a time slot to move out between March 18 and March 31.
- Commencement ceremonies originally scheduled for May 1st and 2nd will move online or be cancelled. We are currently exploring options to safely celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates and will share these over the next few days.
- Procedures and policies for refunds related to housing and auxiliary services will be announced in the coming week.
- Telecommute arrangements for UTC Staff will be made on a case-by-case basis. We sincerely care about the health of our staff and will balance the need for business continuity and a campus presence with allowing telecommuting where it is possible. An announcement will be forthcoming.
- Budget Impact. We are closely tracking the budget impact of the COVID-19 crisis and are encouraging every manager to work with their vice chancellor to focus resources in areas of greatest need. Any current or planned personnel searches should be discussed with the appropriate vice chancellor.
- Student Financial Aid. The economic impact of the health crisis will continue to grow. We are already making plans to expand aid-based financial aid programs. Announcements will be made over the next few months.
Please continue to ask questions and check utc.edu/coronavirus for updates.
UTC is a community of learners, scholars, and dedicated professionals who are determined, innovative, and creative. We remain committed to our mission: “The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a driving force for achieving excellence by actively engaging students, faculty, and staff; embracing diversity and inclusion; inspiring positive change; and enriching and sustaining our community.” Our students and our community need us more now than ever before. I am honored to work with each of you as we define the future of this great university.
Thank you for your cooperation and patience in the face of this challenging situation.